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Doing the Work (Again)

I’m back in Maine after successfully sailing my boat to Grenada. I was able to get a pair of very salty sailors to come with me and was blessed with favorable winds and becalmed seas, so we had an uneventful and speedy passage.

Due to the chaotic season I had I’d largely shelved doing the work of processing the end of my and #CJB’s relationship/friendship/partnership. Im doing that work now and it sucks. Diving deep into why I care(d) so much has been enlightening, but damn do I kind of hate myself.

One of my major resources as I do this work is Mark Groves (@createthelove). He is a relationship expert and dishes out truth bombs and tough love about why we put ourselves through so much bullshit when it comes to love. It was Mark who initially taught me about limiting beliefs – the lie that you were raised to regard as truth. My limiting belief is that I am inherently unlovable. This was the lie my narcisistic mother made me believe was a fact. It is why I overgive in relationships, it is why I push people during arguments (convinced they will eventually tell me how they “really” feel), and why I simply do not give up on people – if I can just make them love me, it will prove that the limiting belief is a lie.

Listen, I know how fucked up that is. I’ve done SO much work on loving myself, on setting my own definitions for integrity, success, value, and worth, and aligning myself to those definitions. I’ve mostly become someone who is aware of her own badassery and doesn’t seek validation from others.

Except #CJB, of course. My repeating of my gernational trauma with him was a huge setback and to be completely honest is still much more open wound than scar. I was listening to a Mark Groves webinar on letting go and he said something that resonated: “If you’re still holding space for someone to potentially come back to or re-engage with you, you’re putting the power to let go and gain closure on them. If you give away that power, you can’t ever fully move on.”

This. This is where I’ve discovered I’ve been sitting. While I haven’t reached out to #CJB with words, I did send him a bithday e-card. Why did I do that? Because I’m still trying to “win.” I know that his ex gf not wishing him a happy birthday or Merry Christmas always bothered him, and I wanted to make sure that he couldn’t say that about me. That way, if we ever started talking again, I wouldn’t have been the worst ex he had.

Jesus Christ. I still care about the opinion of that toxic, abusive narcisist. I am so ashamed of myself. Further work has made clear that John didn’t so much break through my boundaries as much as I took them down for him in an effort to make him prove that limiting belief to be a lie. Which he cannot possibly do as that has to come from ME. *I* have to decide that I am indeed lovable. Most of the time I have although it has been pointed out to me that I still act often as though I have something to prove. Part of that is being a woman in a male dominated field. Part of that is still me pushing my wound into the world and asking people to heal it. I’m working on it. #CJB was both a setback and a lesson.

This work is as important as it is hard and I am aware that hating myself is part of the process. I am going to be working on lessening #CJB’s power by taking it back for myself. Poet Chloe Frayne wrote, “I was always so afraid of losing people that it took me a long time to understand that I am somebody who can be lost, too.” He lost me. I need to stop looking for him as though I was the one who lost him. I chose to go no contact. I chose to sever the bond between us. The more I reframe the end of us as something I have power over, the more powerful I feel. This is what I need to be working on.

Gluing the Pieces · The Broken Bits

All this Extra Space

It’s been five months since my last interaction with #CJB. I went no contact back in February when it became clear to me just how much he was using me – both to make his life better and to expend his negative energy on. It has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

At first, I wanted to reach out a million times a day to ask a question, reminisce about a memory on fb, to check in and see how he was doing. To just … have my worth validated, or maybe even just my existence. I’d spent years making him the foundation of my life and fighting to be the foundation of his. Once I went no contact I was in a kind of free fall. There was a sense of peace in that I wasn’t being abused any more, but in my weakest moments it wasn’t that version of #CJB I remembered. It was the best friend, mentor, caretaker, and adventure partner. Every time I had a question about sailing I immediately wanted to reach out. Every time I leveled up, I wanted to share. Stifling that urge has been so much harder than I thought it would be.

With time and distance has come a sort of clarity. I realize that he was keeping me dependant on him emotionally. That he would give me just enough praise followed by strong criticism to keep me fighting to do whatever it took to earn his good favor. A lot of the time, I was doing things to make his life better or easier. I was a chump.

One of the biggest things he kept me beneath him about was sailing. He said he’d teach me and then when he was angry he would take that away. He would tell me all the time how much more experience he has, and how I will never be the sailor he is. At his ugliest he would hurl demeaning statements at me about my inexperience and tell me with utter certainty that I would fail.

#CJB’s voice has become the sound of all of the demons in my head. I’m facing a difficult 400 mile delivery of my boat to Grenada, in hurricane season, with only my very green first mate for help. The demons shriek that I can’t plan this trip. That I don’t know enough to be successful. That I will fail because I know nothing. That I’m not sailor enough to do this thing. As you can probably imagine, my anxiety is pinging hardcore. I trusted him on all matters sailing for so long, I can’t help but listen when I hear “him” say I can’t do it.

The bitch of it is that I know if I could reach out to the good #CJB, that version of him would ease my anxiety. He would explain to me all the reasons why I’m ready for this. He would go over my passage planning, give me pointers, point out things I may have missed. I am SO unsure of myself without him to guide me. And I know that is because he made me this way. I know I have learned and grown beyond what he taught me.

But damn those demons are convincing.

Im not going to reach out. I won’t get the nice version of him. The company we work for fired him a few months after he had me removed from his boat. They said it was because of the condition of his vessel, but it was also because of his terrible attitude and temper. But a narcissist can’t see the role they play in their own failures. They need someone to blame, and for #CJB, that’s me. No matter that I had nothing to do with his boat or employment after I left. Somehow, his getting fired will be my fault.

So I won’t reach out. It isn’t worth the risk to my already fragile peace. I will stress and cry and doubt and fear and stress some more, but I will do it anyway. Hopefully I’ll make it to Grenada in one piece and will be able to shut some of those demons up.

If this is growth, or healing, it sucks. I will never understand a person’s need to cause hurt and damage to another human. I will never understand weaponizing negativity. I am not sure I’ll ever cure myself of the urge to fix, correct, or heal what was broken, but I’m getting better about not acting on it. Ugh.

Adventure of the Risen · Gluing the Pieces · The Broken Bits

Forced change

One of the things I know about myself is how much it takes for me to give up on someone. When I was married, Paul tried over and over again to show me he was resistant to change and wasn’t going to grow with me. It took him having an affair and completely destroying who I am as a person for me to let that dream go. To let the choice I’d made to go through life with him go.

Friends, family, lovers … the pattern repeats over and over. I am self aware enough to know this stems from childhood trauma, but seem powerless to stop it. It takes life giving me a HUGE kick in the ass to force the issue. Hence Paul’s affair, and what has recently happened with CJB.

We ended up getting another negative review. The bosses called us back to the office and let us know that we had failed, and one of us was going to have to leave the boat.

This was further complicated by the fact that I had called one of the bosses to report that on an owner charter, CJB had been drunk and nearly got the boat owner and his friend involved in a bar brawl in the ghetto. His behavior was completely out of control and I was genuinely concerned that someone was going to get hurt.

None of that mattered. Despite CJB violating his contract, company policy, and maritime law, the decision was made to move me off of the boat. This gave CJB exactly what he wanted and was a move that was going to coat me over $20k in tips alone.

But instead of giving me a chef job on another boat, they did something unexpected – they gave me the captain’s job of a newer, better boat.

I was astounded.

I had received my captain’s license I the mail just two weeks prior. To be given a commission that quickly is unheard of. They further agreed to pay me a higher than normal salary to combat the loss of tipped income. I accepted the offer and moved as soon as I could onto the boat.

CJB tried to pull a few shitty moves. The first was to buy me a cake to celebrate my commission. I told him not to bother, that the only reason I received it was because the bosses (and perhaps life itself) had forced me off his boat in order to save me from his abuse. That I wasn’t feeling particularly grateful to him. That he had me removed from my home and life, and I didn’t appreciate it. So no, I didn’t want a fucking cake and his fake ass congratulations.

Y’all. I was so full of conflicting emotions. So glad to be safely away from him. So amazed to have achieved this dream, and six months sooner than anticipated. But so fucking hurt that he had me removed. He accused me of “betraying” him by going to the bosses about his behavior. Said I was a rat. Threw cheese at me, talked shit about me to his friends. Raged at me about what a piece of shit I was.

When I got everything off the old boat and onto the new boat, I sat in my new galley and cried. Cried in relief, in despair, in hurt, in gratitude, in complete overwhelm.

I tried the first day or two, to not talk to CJB. To quit him cold turkey. But of course things happen, and I ended up working exceptionally hard to rebuild a sense of camaraderie between us. Why? I can’t tell you. If I had to come up with an answer, I’d say it was probably to prove that I hadn’t failed. That rescuing our friendship meant I hadn’t lost, hadn’t repeated the patterns of my childhood.

For a while, it worked. As long as I was offering him endless support, encouragement, and assistance, he was content to be my friend. And then one day he asked too much of me and I snapped at him. Told him it was too much. That I had limits and he’d crossed them.

You can imagine how well that went.

In an instant he showed me what he really thinks of me. Took facts and twisted them into lies wherein I was the villain and he the innocent victim. It was absolutely ridiculous. I was so mad and so hurt that after everything I did for him, everything I’d continued to offer despite what he had done to me, he was still insisting that I was 100% the problem.

So for the last week, I have finally gone no contact. It took this last act of selfishness for me to GET IT that he doesn’t care about me and only allows me in his life so he can use me for his benefit.

Life kicking me in the ass again to force me to move on.

I’m not sure whether I’ll never speak to him again. Part of me burns to point out that he treated me exactly as his abusive brother treated him. But I also know he won’t ever see the truth of it. That he will continue to paint himself as the victim, because he refuses to deal with his historical bullshit.

As for me, I love being captain of my own boat. I have a little bit of imposter syndrome. CJB told me several times that I’d never be more than a paper captain. That I can’t do the job. That no one will work with me because I’m terrible. But I’m fighting through it. Focusing on what I know how to do and asking for help from the team at work when I don’t know something. Giving my guests amazing vacations and showing anyone who looks just how capable I truly am.

Here’s hoping I can show myself, too.

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What do you do?

When your heart is broken, when the person who inhabits your very soul, not only doesnt love you but actively hates you?

How do you let the constant abuse, hatred, screaming-until-a-vein-pops-out anger roll off your back?

How do you not internalize everything they say?

And when you’re stuck living and working with the person who promised you the world and now seems you unworthy of it, how do you go on every day?

The Broken Bits

Post Critical Mass Era

If you’re wondering how that charter went over Christmas, it went exactly as badly as I thought it would.  CJB, without me to bounce his negativity off of, was in a surly foul mood the entire charter.  They wrote a bad review that the bosses called us onto the carpet about.  Now our jobs are in danger, we may get fired or removed from this boat – either of which would screw my chances of captaining this vessel next season.  Not arguing didn’t work.

I don’t know what to do with someone who is joyless.  Who is bitter and resentful of every demand on his time (and with a boat of this size and the type of work we do, the demands are endless). Every time he snaps at me and is irritated towards me about something that is not my fault, I become resentful and defensive. That leads to us fighting.

We have a charter starting on Wednesday that will require us to bring our best possible game. There’s an owner charter right after that, and I’m sure we will be called onto the carpet about it.  That will be unpleasant.  Part of me wants to throw John under the bus – tell the truth about everything happening and let the chips fall where they may.  But some of those chips may fall in ways I don’t want, so I’m scared to do that.  I’m totally stuck. 

This feels terrible.  I do not know what to do, aside from making sure everything in my power to control is done the absolute best it can be.  I’m working on that now, my to do lists long and exhausting.  I am trying to remember my affirmations and keep my chin up. 

I’m not sure that will be enough.

Adventure of the Risen · List

Affirmations

Changing the way I react to #CJB is going to kill me. I’m sure of it. The first day he didn’t notice the second day he slowly realized what I was doing, and today (day 3) he is now trying to goad me into my old habits.

Y’all. It is SO HARD not to snark back at someone when they are shitty to you! I’m not someone who ever holds my mouth in check. Its oppositional to who I am as a person. But being snarky, clapping back, giving what I get is what got me in the mess I’ve been in last season, when I was having suicidal ideation from the sheer awfulness of his treatment of me.

I can’t go back there.

I had a tiny slip up this morning, after I stubbed my toe on his toolbox (which shouldn’t be in the galley on the floor). I decided to go run a few errands off the boat to get away and reframe my mental state.

As I stand here in this interminable post office line, I’m reciting some affirmations:

1. I choose to be happy and cheerful.

2. I am deserving of good things.

3. My attitude and reactions are in my control.

4. I am strong, capable, and hardworking.

5. No one has the ability to affect my mood without my consent.

I’m treating myself to a fruit smoothie before charter. I am sharing a bunk with #CJB this week, which will be an additional challenge. His entire aura, mood, and energy has spiraled down further and further into an ugly oubliette of hate, anger and frustration. Now that he can’t use me to vent his frustrations on, he is reaching critical mass with his negative emotions. I guess when I was in the thick of things, I couldn’t see how bad he was. Now that I’m choosing joy and nonconfrontation, I see it much more clearly. The trick will be making sure I’m not in the path of the eruption that is clearly coming.

Wish me luck! I’m going to need it.

Adventure of the Risen · Gluing the Pieces · The Broken Bits

The Trouble with Paradise

The last post I made here sounded so hopeful. I don’t think I really felt all that hopeful, but I wanted to be. Iwanted to think that I could get over CJB with a little grit and determination.

It takes more than that, though.

I’m not sure I can articulate how impossible it is to get over someone when one lives, works, and spends all free time together. Every time he is nice, my heart trips up again. Every time he is cruel, my heart tears a little more.

The last two months have been almost all the latter. CJB has become vitriolic in his arguments with me. We were on shore provisioning for a charter and he verbally and emotionally abused me for ten straight hours.

The above video has no real picture, as I hit record and set my phone down so I could catch CJB’s words. Ironically, we were sailing over to the office in order to meet with the HR guy about how we were improving our communication and relationship (after the provisioning day, I called HR and asked for help. As you can hear, it’s really terrible and more than I can manage on my own). He has become so filled with anger and hate it has totally poisoned our friendship. We spent the entire off season together, mostly getting along (certainly not fighting like this), and as soon as we got back, all this ugliness came back, too.

Friends, I have tried reason. I have tried arguing back. I have tried waiting until the fight was over and discussing it with cooler heads. I was at the end of my rope long before I called HR, and boy did I hear about that!

This is the soundtrack to my days lately. I hate it. There are eight months left to our contract which feels like an eternity. But at the end of this contract, there may be a captain’s contract waiting for me. If I can stick it out, by August I’ll have the time I need to have the credentials needed to get my own boat.

I’ve hemmed and hawed over what to do. If I ask to be moved to another boat, I’ll lose twenty thousand dollars in tips. This boat is busy and expensive. Also, the bosses are on board with me potentially running this boat next year, so if I leave I’ll have a bitch of a time getting it back. I most likely won’t get it back if I’m being honest.

As of right now, I’m choosing two things: a rigid stance of nonconfrontation, formality, and reserve; and an intense focus on doing what is best for my body, mind and spirit. My interactions with CJB now only consist of work. I politely refused his offer to go flying in his plane the other day. I turned down dinner and drinks with a mutual friend and him last night. I bring up only work things and ask only work questions. He is still angry from Monday’s fight so he is being verbally agressive and beligerant. I am ignoring the tone and attitude and focusing on the work. Nonconfrontation – the new “don’t poke the bear.”

The other choice I’m making is myself. For too long I’ve made my schedule secondary to his. Made myself available to his plans. Things like staying aboard so he could have use of the dinghy. Waiting to watch movies for times when he is ready. Etc. Time for me to make plans for myself. Time to use the space and equipment I am entited to for my own happiness and growth. First up is fitness. I plan on getting up early and taking the dinghy to shore to go for a run when we aren’t on charter. I also plan on taking the time to swim my laps around the boat when we are on charter. I’m joining the gym next month and resuming formal fiddle lessons. Signing up for my next dive class and setting up the dives for that certification. Planning a trip for my vacation week in March, now that CJB and I won’t be traveling together. I’m looking at what things I’ve been procrastinanting and starting in on those things. I will be using the dinghy, the boat, our time off, equipment to find a way to bloom this season. And I’m doing some introspection work so that I can be sure the focus is on me, and not on how I should react to him. The first three questions are ones I’m working on this week; I want very much to use this blog as a reminder and aid for me to keep my eyes where they belong and my head where it needs to be.

Question 1: What makes me feel solid/strong?

Answer: starting my day out with good choices or accomplishments. Going for a run and making a smoothie for breakfast. Knocking out a big project first thing. Putting in the time to adhere to my skincare or beauty regimen. Completing a task I’ve been procrastinating. Successfully completing a difficult task. Practicing self care (swimming, sunning, a run or walk, playing my fiddle, painting my nails, etc.)

Question 2: What refills the well?

Answer: attention/dating. Doing something that feels decadant like cooking a full meal for myself, or spending a couple of hours knitting, reading, or watching a movie. A visit with friends. Small indulgences like an expensive smoothie from the juice bar or a burger at my favorite bar. A snorkel where I get to interact with my fish friends. Doing a good job with my work tasks. Watching the stars.

Question 3: How can I honor myself?

Do not get sucked back into wanting to hurt CJB back or make him understand or try to even the score. Wait five seconds before responding to anything. Try to do things on your own first before asking for help. Practice gratitude. Focus on your solo path. Plan time for things you love. Fill your days with productive endeavors. See (and try to be) the good. Allow space for your feelings.

This is what I have so far. I’m blogging so that I will put my energy and emotions here instead of laying them on my friends’ shoulders. I don’t want to be the girl who always whines about her life. It’s my life and I have the power to affect positive change in it. It’s well past time I did so.

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Offseason

Look at me. Sailing, seas, sunburned nose.

I’m a sailor now. Full time. To be honest it’s more a combination of sailor, chef, tour guide, housekeeper, and mechanic/electrician/plumber, as CJB and I are the only crew on this boat. Our first season is behind us. We have sixty days off while our boat waits out the worst of hurricane season on the hard (dry dock) in Puerto Rico.

I feel like I simultaneously learned a lot and nothing at all. I had almost no experience on modern boats at all when I took this job, and even less of cooking fancy meals for up to twelve people. Our training was kind of trial by fire, trial by error, and sea trial. CJB and Idid it, though. Barely, but we did it. By the end of July I was able to handle all the myriad duties required of me in a day, and CJB was pretty good about pitching in where necessary.

It was a long hard road to get there.

This has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Not the sailing. That’s actually not all that difficult on a modern boat in the Caribbean. Instead of hauling lines by hand and using the weight of my own body to force sails up, I push a button with my big toe. Rather, I’ve been forced to live the excruciating hell of living, working, and adventuring with a man I love with every piece of me but who does not feel the same way.

This blog is supposed to be about me healing from my past emtional trauma. About nurturing the tiny warrior inside of me. About learning to be whole on my own and not living at the mercy of a man who decides for me how happy I can be. I don’t want to go too into detail about the crushing loneliness and depression I suffered this year, nor about the suicidal ideation I experienced for the first time in my life. I may live in paradise, but I’ve been in a dark hole mentally and emotionally for most of this year.

And it’s not even all CJB’s fault. I’ve tried to date. Dating in the Virgin Islands is truly abysmal. The men are all running from their problems and this is as far as they can run without leaving the country. They cannot show up for me when they can’t deal with their own issues. I had my hopes up several times but in the end they mostly turned out to be garbage. I’m so tired of it. I’m tired of knowing my worth being coupled with others’ total inability to see or value it. I’m tired of being passed over, benched, ghosted, and put back on the shelf like some kind of generic brand snack food: probably fine, but just not what they want. Ugh.

Things with CJB remain the same. We live, work, and adventure together. We spend almost all of our time together. But he is constantly on the lookout for the next girl to put on a hook and he continues to push me away emotionally. He is still the fastest way for me to achieve my next career goal (that of becoming a captain and driving my own boat), and we are under contract together until August of 2021. I don’t know what will happen then. I’m doing everything I can to position myself to be ready to stand on my own two feet by then. Financially this job is a boon and walking away would be tough, but I don’t think I have the fortitude to continue living in a situation that might actually kill me just for money.

But things aren’t all bad. Box Girl is visiting much less frequently. The Caribbean is good for me. I’m able to take up more space there. Be more authentically myself. I’m learning to play the fiddle, giving in to my love of lingerie and buying myself things that make me feel pretty, discovering a love of SCUBA diving. I’m open water certified and hope to get my advanced diving certification when I go back this fall. I’ve become a powerful swimmer, found a beer I truly enjoy, and fallen in love with the beauty of the islands. It is, as Coulson once said about Tahiti, a magical place.

Maine, it turns out, feels less like home. The house I built that I was (still am) so proud of is rented and I have no plans to do more than visit my things in storage there annually. I have been here a week and visited all my favorite haunts. Been to all my favorite places. But it just doesn’t feel much like home anymore. I think maybe we’ve outgrown each other. This trip has felt like … permission. As though I was seeking approval to say goodbye to the life I thought I wanted, and Maine has obliged me. I will only return in the future to see my dog, who remains the best thing to have ever happened to me, and the only soul who truly loves me unconditionally.

This blog post is a bit of a downer, I know. I’m not “living my best life” as much as I was hoping I would be by now. But I’m not giving up. The pheonix doesn’t just rise from the ashes once. If necessary, it will burn that fucker to the ground again to rise up as something altogether different the next time. I will continue to fight to heal, learn, rise, grow, and bloom. It’s time I remembered that.

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Life in Paradise, Part II

CJB were laying in our bunk one night during our first charter.  I was tired and hoping to fall right asleep, but he likes to play on his phone before falling asleep.  I rolled over to ask him to get off facebook, when I discovered he wasn’t scrolling – he was chatting with a girl.  More specifically, a hookup he’d visited when he was last in Florida. While waiting for her replies, he switched to Whatsapp and Facebook messenger to conversations he was having with other girls, too.  Most former hookups.  I watched him tell every girl the same thing – all lies – about how much he truly connected with them and missed them, etc.  As I lay there, keeping my breath shallow and even, heart pounding with adrenaline, I had a very uncomfortable realization: I was begging for the love of a man who is only interested in catching and keeping as many women on the hook as possible.  He isn’t looking for one girl to sail the world with.  He’s just looking for girls.  Period.

All at once I felt supremely stupid and ashamed.  I’d spent months trying to win him back into my bed, trying to show him my worth.  But it isn’t that he doesn’t see it – it’s that he doesn’t want it.  No matter how awesome I am I’m not going to be what he’s looking for.  I’m not someone he can lie to.  Someone he can pick and put down when he feels like it. I don’t provide him with that winning feeling when he scores with a “hot” girl.

How stupid am I?

And the more I looked, the more I realized he was keeping me on the hook, too.  I’d asked him several times if he ever saw us together again and his answer was always, “I don’t know.  I can’t predict the future.” That’s an answer designed to keep me on the hook and trying.  Keep me around so I can make his life better and easier (which I do) without having to give me what I wanted.  Just keep trying, Stupid Girl.  Maybe this with be when he sees what he’s been missing.

Oi.

After that charter CJB and I had the first of several knock down drag outs.  I pushed him to tell me why he wouldn’t resume our physical relationship.  Pushed him to tell me why he said maybe when he really meant no. Dared him to tell me that he’s not keeping me on the hook just like every other girl.  And I told him how it makes me feel for him to accept all my help and hard work and love with no expectation of returning any of it. I told him what a piece of shit he is for not being honest with me.  My false hope was what brought me down here to work with him to begin with.  He needed me to get this job so he encouraged that hope. It wasn’t pretty. I cried and screamed and swore and we both said some pretty nasty shit. He moved to a different cabin on the boat and I’ve slept alone since.

For months we went on like that.  Every time he brought a girl back to the boat to fuck (he loves using the boat, because girls give it up easy once they see this luxury sailing condo that he’s the captain of) it felt like he was throwing his rejection of me in my face.  Look at all these hot girls I’d rather be fucking than you.  He told me I could bring men back to the boat, too, but it was never something I felt comfortable doing.  How could I bring a new guy to the boat when the old guy I was still hung up on was there? No thank you.

But then, finally, a funny thing happened.  Somewhere in all this pain, rejection, and desperate feeling, I started to realize that he was doing me a favor.  Every time he told a girl a lie I was glad it wasn’t me. Every time he got a girl’s number at the gas station or grocery store I was relieved I could see through his smarmy charm. As an honest person I was still horribly troubled by his duplicitous behavior but I stopped seeing it in terms of how it was a rejection of me. I began to see that these things that he does are things he can’t stop himself from doing. He truly doesn’t believe if he is honest he will be able to get girls. He knows on a deep level that he cannot be his authentic self with them, but can’t stop his need to “win.” So he tells lies and plays his games and gives every girl he meets just enough hope that they might be that magical one that she does what I did – she falls over herself to make it easy for him.

And you know what? I am worthy of so much more than that.

I’ve begun to see CJB’s friendzoning of me as a bizarre kind of life preserver.  I felt at the time that he was casting me out, but in reality I think he was saving me. Because I know about all of the lies. I know who and what he is.  I know what he needs, what he wants, what demons drive him … I know his authentic self.  Because I’m not one of those girls, with me he pulls back the curtain. He knew that I am too important to him to lose, so he chose to cut off the bits that would put our relationship at risk. His method was garbage and caused me so much more hurt than was necessary.  But … while I still sometimes feel the sting of knowing what we had is no longer something he wants, I can see now that we wouldn’t have it now even if we were still together.  Because he can’t control his need to keep girls on the hook and wanting him, and if we were together he’d never be able to confine his interest to just me. That has nothing to do with my worth and everything to do with his unworthiness.

Thus I’m slowly beginning to heal from the utter decimation of all of my hopes where CJB is concerned.  I once thought we’d spend the rest of our lives traveling the world together; now I’m trying to figure out what my future looks like without him in it.  For my own sake, I need to let him go and LEAVE. We have a contract for the next year and half here in Paradise.  I need to be ready to quit him cold turkey once that contract ends. If he can’t or won’t meet me where I am, then I need to enforce that boundary and go. He doesn’t get to use me as his girlfriend – traveling partner, masseuse, co-napper, adventure companion, study buddy, and more – if he has no intention of meeting my needs as that girlfriend.  As long as he is the brightest and biggest star in my sky, I’ll never see any of the other stars that are shining.  And I’m looking for a new star to hang my hopes and make my wishes on. I just need enough time alone in the dark to find him.

Uncategorized

Life in Paradise, Part 1

Hello, all. I’m typing to you from the salon/galley of a 52′ luxury sailing catamaran, moored in a quiet harbor off Saint John in the US Virgin Islands.  I live on this boat as first mate and chef with CJB as my captain.  While we are quarantined here we are drawing our salary (not a lot, but it covers my expenses) and maintaining the boat. We chose the gorgeous Hawksnest Bay as our quarantine hidey hole because it has some of the best snorkeling in the Islands and has few or no other boats moored nearby. 

I realize that was a lot of information, without much context for how I arrived here at this table, sipping coffee as the boat rolls gently over the low North swell sneaking into the bay. I hope, since I have copious amounts of time these days, to update my life here.

It’s been a lot more cracks and a lot less phoenix than I was hoping.

So Christmas went exactly as I thought it would. It was a wretched day that really cemented to me how I have no one in my life right now who truly cares about me. It’s been more than a year since I’ve heard from either of my parents, and no friends or dating prospects so much as texted. But the next day I felt better, and by the 28th CJB was back in Maine with me. He came to celebrate New Year’s Eve and go together to our new job as charter boat crew down in the Virgin Islands.  We got the job after delivering a boat here in November.  He promised me I could make sailing my full time job, and he delivered on that promise.  It worked out beautifully as we both lost our jobs last fall and both needed the other to get this job. He needed a chef and I needed a captain.  I’d never cheffed before for that many people (our boat will sleep up to ten guests and two crew), nor made fancier style foods in line with luxury sailing yacht vacations. But we figured it out. 

CJB and I are not together.  When he came back in June I confessed my feelings for him – told him I am in love with him, and that all I want to do in this life is travel through it with him.  He told me he sees me as a friend.  Yup.  He friend zoned me on an Eponine level.  It has been incredibly hard to get over the loss of that side of him.  Not only were we incredibly physically compatible, but he unlocked aspects of me I didn’t know existed. He opened a door and then just … shut it in my face.  I had no warning; he never mentioned it while he was away in Florida last winter.  When I forced the issue and he did tell me, he was home in Maine for the summer and living with me.  I’ve seen him almost every single day since he rejected me. 

A bit about me: I do not fall in and out of love easily. Once I set my mind and heart on someone, it takes an act of God or Mother Nature to change them.  Spending every day with him, seeing all the things he does that make my heart melt … it doesn’t lend itself to me losing my feelings.  So I didn’t. I spent all summer trying to seduce him back to my bed and to convince him to see my worth as a (sexual) partner.  It didn’t happen.  We hung out as friends because that’s what he decided we are, and I just died a little every day. I couldn’t wrap my head around how on Earth he can’t see how perfect we are together.  We are far closer than just friends.  We cuddle while we watch movies.  We nap together like puppies, curled around each other. We cook together, each one of us riffing off the other until we have developed some unique and delicious dishes.  We make each other laugh every day. We are equally astounded by the beauty of this place and the awesome of this job.  He is planning on buying a single engine plane soon and wants to spend our off season flying all over the country.

I was trying and failing to get any kind of emotional distance from him. The physical proximity just makes that impossible. Then I learned a few things that both helped me and gutted me equally with regards to my heart where CJB is concerned. 

2019-11-14 16.55.49But that’s a story for another day.