Tuesday: I have read about love, about falling in love and how it feels. Like a drug, like pain, like not being able to think of anything else. And then I thought I had fallen in love with Tom, I was happy and thinking of him very often and looking forward to our meetings. But I still felt like myself, I still had moments of clarity and didn’t feel completely crazy as I had feared I would. I thought I could manage my emotions and have some balance. But not today. Today, I long for Tom so much it hurts. I am restless and nothing can satisfy that longing, not overeating (I tried it), not visualising (tried that, too), not distracting myself. Am I only now TRULY falling in love? Or is it just my mood, the fact that I have a cold and am at home with no work to do, feeling useless and fat and guilty, rejecting myself? Is this the reason I long for him: to feel his love and so to love myself again? Maybe. Oh, how selfish! In that case I am only using him…
I felt like this once before, for a day or two, when I was also slightly sick and couldn’t help overeating. Maybe it really is just this special mood that makes me feel so crazy, and it will pass. I have to hang on, try not to write too many embarrassing messages and not gain too much weight until I am myself again. Oh, I hope it’s only that. Otherwise, love would be torture!
Wednesday: I think it’s better today. And I have been thinking about why I suddenly felt ill (not very ill objectively, but extremely tired and just as if I couldn’t bear going to work, to engage with people all day, to live my normal life) and had all kinds of cravings or urges, much stronger than normal. Why I kept overeating. I think the reason is that I felt overwhelmed from Sunday, and all my behaviour since then was my old patterns of self-care kicking in: Retreat, keep the world at arm’s length, shut off emotions and soothe yourself by any means. These things I do are harmful and make me feel ashamed of myself, weak and worthless. But now I think I know why I do them, or feel such a strong compulsion to do them. And now I have to find a way to forgive myself and care for myself in a different way.
Sunday was overwhelming because Tom and I took such a huge step together, on so many levels. Our open conversations and revelations about each other. Our kiss and embraces and physical closeness. And the strong emotions all this caused: love, excitement, fear, vulnerability. Just everything. I underestimated the significance at first and thought that everything was fine, that I was ok and not too affected. But maybe I’m more sensitive than I thought. Maybe experiencing all that for the first time at my age, with this level of maturity and my habit of reflection, was naturally going to be too much. I couldn’t consciously take it in, so my body and brain shut me down for a time and put me in ‘safe mode’ to process everything.
The things I only half realised on Monday are much clearer now. Tom has told me again that he hasn’t been in love for a long time and never felt so strongly about anybody else. That Sunday was incredibly wonderful for him, but very emotional. That he’s thinking of me, finding it hard to concentrate. That he’s looking forward to our meeting tomorrow because he thinks he can’t bear to wait any longer, that he’s missing me. And this is wonderful to hear, as I keep saying: very, very flattering. A small, selfish part of me has long wished to mean so much to another person. But oh, it’s scary! What if I DON’T love him that much, what if I can’t? What if I notice after a few weeks that I never did truly love him? Or fall out of love with him? Or feel stifled and long to be free again? He’s so open with me, so trusting. What if I hurt him? What if I can’t do justice to him? What if I’m too scared, too weird, too far behind, holding him back? I still want it all, but it’s just as huge a responsibility as it is a privilege.
I will have to come out of ‘safe mode’ and grow into it and deal with it. I told Tom last night, after he wrote that, that I felt flattered but hoped I would be able to do him justice. That this was all new to me and felt like groping in the dark, and that I might well step on his toes a few times in the process. He replied that I could step on his toes by all means, he would accept that. And that I was special and he was so glad we had found each other. He is special, too. Very special. He has such depth, and he keeps revealing new aspects of himself.
Thursday: I’m feeling more like myself today. It helped to talk to Mrs. H this morning, to be very open with her. She agrees that this staying home and eating is my mechanism of dealing with difficulties, especially in situations where I reject myself. And it doesn’t help, it just delays having to deal with everything. And it adds a lot of guilt and self-reproach that I don’t need. I felt as if I had to be happy and ‘cool’ and able to deal with everything. But apparently, I am not, or wasn’t.
Tom is going to come to dinner in a few minutes. I’m nervous again and feel as if the things that happened aren’t real. They are so unusual that they seem like something from a dream or daydream. I will get used to it. I must stay here, stay present, stay real. I must not abandon myself.