My recent post was a little different to my usual contributions. It was part therapeutic vent, part whine, part testing the waters to see how I feel about seriously broaching what has become a sensitive topic for me- scuba diving.
I have been talking about it on and off for a while now, but truth be told, its been a long time since I’ve actually been in the water.
Why? Well, primarily, because it was Mr X who introduced me to it, and from the first moment I opened my eyes and began to breathe under water I was hooked. Sharing that love with him only served to tie that activity intimately with my intimate feelings for him. So, while I have been missing him, I have also been missing diving. However, every time I start thinking about booking myself onto a boat and dusting off my dive gear, I quickly turn tail and close the online booking form, or avoid the dive shop and drive to the cafe instead.
Much as I hate to admit it, that activity for me is still too closely linked with my emotions and as I get close to committing to entering the water, I start to feel that vice-like grip squeezing my chest, the panic rising and the tears burning behind my eyelids. It is a very real fear for me that by simply going for a dive I will undo all the good work I have done in getting over Mr X.
Likewise, I’m ashamed to confess that, as my dear friend’s wedding approached, so did my sense of dread at the possibility of seeing him again. Thankfully, in the end he was not in attendance, but for all of my bravado of late, I know that there was a very real possibility that I may have ended up in the bathroom at 15 minute intervals to shed a tear or two, and touch up my make-up before plastering a smile on my face and venturing back out to the dance floor (via the bar).
It has been such a relief of late to finally be able to wake up without him being the first thing on my mind, to not constantly be having to talk myself out of emailing or calling him (only to be disappointed at the inevitable lack of response), to not fear seeing him at random locations when I’m least expecting it (because he no longer lives in the area), and to plan my own future away from his shadow. To be able to forget, if even for just a few hours at a time, that I was so in love with him, and to not feel an overwhelming urge to burst into tears at the mere thought of him. To laugh without instantly wondering how long I can maintain that moment of happiness before the sadness hits me again.
Thus, it is with disappointment that I discovered recently, I was becoming increasingly agitated at the possibility of seeing him again, and realising that though I have come a long way, there is still a long way to go.
Regardless, I pushed on and allowed myself to entertain the thought of a diving holiday. I suppose my frustration has been getting the better of me the past couple of weeks and I had hoped that if I planned a holiday, away from my-our– typical diving spots and people, I would rediscover my love of diving without the toxic emotions that, so far, have been associated with the activity that I love and miss.
But in true Murphy’s law fashion, the moment I started to feel strong and determined again, something happens to strip away that confidence. A couple of events in the past few days has had me shying away from the idea of the holiday and any possible reminders of the past, preferring instead to focus on things unrelated to him in order to numb my mind and my emotions. The first development was seeing him at an intersection as we both sat stationary at a red light, facing-off like two enemies in a western film. Actually, it is more accurate to say I saw his car at the intersection. I refused to allow myself to break my focus on his number plate and look up at him.
He who acknowledges the other first, loses.
Then, on Friday I received an email from him, answering the question I asked him about 4 months ago, to which he had never responded. I had never contacted him again. So, to receive this email after such a long time, and long after I had stopped looking for his name in my inbox, was a physical shock that froze the air in my lungs. It was an unwelcome intrusion that left me feeling insecure and vulnerable. My inbox and phone had, over the last few months, become a safe zone again. I no longer held my breath when I checked them hoping -and dreading -that his number or name would appear. I had stopped checking them religiously every 10 minutes, my anxiety had diminished, and it felt wonderful.
Then out of the blue, here he was again, finding his way back in under my skin, intentionally or not, with the answer to a question which we both knew was at best, trivial and had really only been an excuse for me to get in touch.
And of course, I responded, thanking him for the information, and answering his queries in too much detail about how I am and what I’ve been up to. A response that I instantly regretted the moment I hit the ‘send’ button, knowing that by engaging him I had sentenced myself to countless hours of reminiscing, analyzing, fretting and obsessive checking of email.
So when he responded again today with more information, I was first of all shocked at his timely reply, having expected him to be silent again for another number of months once he realised that my overly eager response was a sure indication that I’m still far too consumed by my feelings for him. But this time, I could only bring myself to respond with a simple “thanks”, preferring not to spark up any more conversation, to remain ignorant of anything else that might be going on in his life (which by the sounds of it, is centred around renovating) because I know now, that ignorance is indeed bliss and sometimes its just better to not know.
As for the diving. Well, we’ll see. Just as a diver’s weight belt is designed to pull you in to the depths of The Big Blue, I fear that the very act of diving may pull me into the blue of a different nature, an emotional state which I want very much to believe, now belongs buried in my past.
Then again, if I can now find the strength to resist being sucked into the Mr X Vortex of Emotional Destruction, then maybe there is hope that in a few more months I’ll be able separate cherished past-times from past loves.