I think I might have PTSD. Seriously.
On Memorial Day last year, I came home from work sick. I found my husband and my best friend be-bathrobed, standing in the kitchen, drinking coffee. There was a bottle of Astroglide on the kitchen table. When I looked again, it had disappeared, but the guilty looks on the faces of the other two people in the room stayed.
I'll omit all the horrible screaming that followed. By the end of August, it was All Over. We'd all managed to divorce fairly amicably (I only punched him once) and then things went to hell.
Last Friday I had a dream that I was standing in front of Man A with my favorite pair of polka-dot pajama pants on, and he grabbed my hips and said, "Your ass is *huge*."
Last night I had a dream that he told me, quite calmly, that he'd met somebody with much better legs than I have, and that he didn't want to see me any more.
Now, then. I am not normally obsessed with my own concept of my body. I put on about twenty pounds after I left nursing school, but that wasn't entirely a bad thing--the last semester of school I'd lost that much through a combination of stress and IBS.
The woman who replaced me is lithe and catlike. She's built on a much different scale than I am. Where I'm short and stocky and strong, she's long and flexible and slender. We used to joke that it took her until she was thirty to both break the 90-pound mark and get an ass.
She's got perfectly regular features, a generous mouth, and large green eyes. Her skin is like opals. I've got a rubber face, freckles, and I'm frankly kind of funny looking. People often remark on facial expressions I'm not even aware I have.
So. With the anniversary of The Debacle coming up, all I can figure is this: my subconscious is revisiting the things that made me most upset back then; namely, that the person who'd always told me I was the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen had suddenly changed his mind. And that he traded me in on a new model that was so much different from me.
Strangely, my self-concept regarding my brains and my sense of humor hasn't changed. I'm not having dreams in which people tell me I'm stupid or simply not funny any more.
Why this is playing out in dreams starring Man A is beyond me. (Man B, by the way, has been moved to the column labeled "Nice Friend To Have". Friends are more valuable than dates, anyhow, and I feel sort of like I've ended up with a marvelous big brother.) Maybe it's that he's the first person I've gotten involved with since The Debacle, and if it had been Rush Limbaugh I was dating, the dreams would involve him instead. Maybe he's merely a convenient stand-in for my subconscious in my dreams.
Fear not, faithful readers. I'm not going to be throwing myself on the floor and wrapping my arms around A's ankles, begging him not to leave me. I'm certainly not going to starve myself in an attempt to look more like the woman my ex-husband is still living with. The butter in my refrigerator will not be replaced with weird processed garp that's supposed to taste like butter and make you slender and green-eyed to boot.
I'll just be acting a little stranger than usual for the next couple of months, I think.
Nobody warns you about this when a relationship ends. There are lots of things you don't get warned about, of course, but this one came out of nowhere for me. The last thing I expected was to be sitting on the edge of the bed this morning at 0500, shaking and leaking tears and feeling frightened and frustrated again.
Off to go walk a couple of miles. And lift some weights. And then eat butter.