Not taking our relationship grief into 2023: Part 2

This post is part two of what grieving relationships look like. According to Robert Kavanaugh, the next grieving stage is Disorganization.

Summary from Part 1: I talked about anger and denial, particularly for putting myself in a position to be domestically abused or rather experience the beginnings of it. I gave my all to be a man that turned against me, with the mother in tow. I left when the arguments became daily, even over the smallest of things and when he put his hands on me. You can read more on that for this next part to make more sense.

Stage 2: Disorganization

I was a hot mess in 2021. LIKE A HOT GA DAMN MESS. I was that female, by herself, in a bar, at 3am, drinking quietly in a corner. Let’s get into it.

Before we proceed, I have very little recolletion of 2021, the year after the breakup. I was on autopilot doing a lot cringe things. Therefore, a lot of what I share was 2021. I’ll get to how my 2022 has been on a later post.

Barely holding it together.

I remember going home from a local at 9pm and falling apart in the middle of the road. I was lucky enough to be near my go-to liquor store and ducked under the counter to the other side. There I sat on crates and wept. I was in so much pain that my grief could not wait for the privacy of my room. I calmed down enough to call my bike guy to take me home. The guy behind the counter, we call him Maasai, was kind enough to let me finish crying and didn’t kick me out. We have a long relationship, and he understood I wouldn’t duck behind the counter if I weren’t in crisis.

The worse part about emotional pain is it turns into physical pain. Your chest hurts so bad, as though someone stabbed right through it and left the knife there. I drank a lot during that time and even sometimes this year. Konyagi was my drink of choice because I didn’t have a steady job then. And then I had alcohol poisoning. We are back to whiskey, ha!

There were days when I would walk to the main road at 3 am and hail a passing bike to take me to the local bar so I could drink for a few hours. The four walls of my room were swallowing me with self-loathing, pain, pity, and shame. I drank more than the average man, not even a woman. The pain of processing the damage done in those few months was immense, not to mention the prior traumatic experiences I was still processing.

Leaving the house at that time to go to the local bar alone is messed up and downright dangerous. I would call my boyfriend to send money if I didn’t have enough. How he didn’t leave me is beyond me. Any man would have walked away from that damaged shell of a human being I was.

There are pits, and then there is the bottom of the latrine. That’s where I was.

“It must be your fault.”

I kept wondering what I did wrong besides OBVIOUSLY choosing the wrong man. It hurts when you give your all to someone in whom people have no faith, thinking that things would be different for you. I had a soft spot for the soggy potato for a long time, thinking he was misunderstood. But behold! I was all over the place in pain and shame, and my emotions would change daily. I never knew what I would wake up feeling or do in the middle of the night when the numbing liquor ran out.

When I love, I love hard, so Disorganization was inevitable. My daily routine was thrown out the window and I didn’t know how to adjust to my new normal. My days were different, torn between staying in bed all week and going to the bar when I was done crying or random meet-ups with friends. The only solid thing was seeing my boyfriend every week towards the end of the year. Otherwise, anything went. It was like stumbling around in a fog and finding random disjointed activities to do.

“Get a back and a mop; that’s a whole ass mess!”

A friend I was in uni put it nicely, and I’ve shared the IG screenshot with her permission.

I have said for the longest time that women are not hospitals for broken men, and they should take their asses for therapy. It was until that character development that I said enough was enough. What I love about the man I am with is how he listens. Late late year, he/we went through something that even I couldn’t handle. As his girlfriend, I could not objectively play the counselor role. I sent him a number, had a session with the therapist, and he got clarity. After, we had couples counseling because we were on shaky ground.

A warning to women

It takes a humble man with a gentle spirit to admit he needs help and to get it. Women, watch your damn tone when talking to your man about therapy. WATCH YOUR DAMN TONE. I’ll come back and discuss this later with you, and I have a personal vendetta with women who tell their men they need therapy when they don’t go, either.

Just when you think you’re on the right path, the devil enters stage left

As recently as last month, I frequently thought about the soggy potato. I was like, “Why? I don’t want him back. I don’t care for him. He could continue being a soggy potato OVER THERE far from me for all I care.” It just wasn’t making sense.

My thinking is not always linear when it comes to my past. I am often triggered without realizing it. It could be a passing comment, a smell, or something, and just like that, my mood changes. His coming to my mind after this long was such a problem that I talked to several people to try and understand why I was thinking of this soggy potato after almost a year.

There is a back and forth in my mind about why I was thinking about this guy who gave me nothing but trauma and grief. My mind was all over the place, and I got the false idea that I wanted to get back at him. What, are you surprised that a woman scorned might think that way thanks to a few loose wires? He mostly came to mind in 2021, last year, but this year, for him to cross my mind in November with such intensity was off. The truth is, I wasn’t done grieving, and it came knocking at the most inconvenient time. I had strong feelings about the soggy potato because that is the most disrespect I have both experienced and taken, ever. I am still coming to terms with it.

Like, HOW?!

I was screwed over. Now what?

I want to move on, so I am writing this series. It is called scorching the earth, and I do this very well with people who’ve taken advantage of my time, kindness, and naivety. I want to burn that bridge to ash so that when the family is given back the envelope, they’re relieved to be done with me.

Just a polite warning, I carry a tiki torch for lighting my path and burning foolishness to the ground. Yes, God will avenge me, but I am not leaving room for you to return to my life again. Yes, surprise my dear, I have a mouth and tongue on me specifically for people who test me.

Trying to recover

I have been all over the place for a long time, mentally, at least. My panic disorder did not start in that relationship, but it significantly worsened. I deteriorated, and now I must be on strong antianxiety medication to function or leave the house. I did not have severe anxiety before that relationship, just depression, and suicidal ideation. Anxiety affects your mind, and I am experiencing the effects now. Social settings and high human traffic were handled by a shot or two of something strong. Since I don’t intend to be an alcoholic, let’s go with what the doctor has to prescribe, yes?

I have had to defer a semester to care and nurture for my mind, soul, and emotions in general. I also don’t appreciate the pace at which the units are being done. I attend school to understand and gain knowledge beyond the classroom, not pass CATs and exams and do term papers. If I don’t understand something, I panic, my brain shuts down, and that’s that. And yes, I am redoing a couple of units because I am not showing up half-baked to a counseling room. After all, my focus was not on getting A’s but instead on intimately understanding the inner workings of the human mind.

I digress, but that is part of this grieving stage. There is a lack of concentration because, again, your thoughts are all over the place regarding the thoughts. You are also preoccupied with the past, what could have been, what wasn’t, and what could have been done. There is bound to be confusion with all these thoughts vying for your attention. Not to mention the triggering content I come across when doing the various units.

If you cannot understand what is going on with your mind, how can you truly learn about it and help others recover and cope?

Lost, confused, and scared

Everything I knew evaporated. Everything I thought I was ceased to be. Nothing made sense. Who was I? How did I get here? It didn’t and still doesn’t make sense sometimes. And when you’re blind, you’ll bump into many things and even set yourself on fire, trying to burn off the things that hurt you. In the process, you hurt yourself, and I have done that for the better part of last year. I had no social identity, just a wreck reaping the fruits of her choices.

But there is still hope.

Thanks for reading this far, see you in Part 3 for Volatile Reaction as a stage in grieving.

Relationship grief we’re not taking to 2023: Part 1

*I edited this post because some of y’all are going through so much for me to keep it vague.

Come, let’s have a long conversation about the stages of loss and grief concerning that ex of yours. Please, just come, you’ll make sense to yourself because I am sure you don’t understand half of it.

Why am I here?

I was with a man I thought I would spend the rest of my life with, and we had started the traditional process. My mind, heart, soul, and soul were set on making it work. I gave it my ALL the best way I knew how at the time and under the circumstances. That’s why this blog matters.

I was ready for a life of mediocre to lousy sex, dealing with a mother-in-law who complained about everything, including white walls and how the food wasn’t bland enough, along with endless family drama. I was ready to be treated like a bimbo who didn’t know that onions needed rinsing and that coffee was the devil’s drink. I was even okay with the stigma of having a mental illness because wifehood is for suffering. Ama?

I was ready to, having lost my job, become the household enslaved person where I had to make sure the house was clean and the laundry was done. I was getting into the rhythm of it. I might have eventually even put my pride aside and left a debt at the mama mboga so that the soggy potato I was with could pay at the end of the day/week when he came to money. But please, may he never run out of Dunhills.

I gave it my all. At the moment, I thought I was prideful and should come down. I was ready to do that. But one thing I was not ready to leave behind was logic and sensibility. And having bland food. That and other luxuries like pizzas being an alternative to not making dinner. You won’t perish if you don’t eat the same food your mama fed you all your life.

I gave it my all. “My all” included throwing out my luxuries to have some essential things we needed in the house paid for. It meant reaching out to my dad for personal items because the man I was with could not provide them after I lost my job. He also took offense that I have expensive shower gels, lotions, and things because it meant less control over me. You can control a village girl but not a girl with a passport that has been to multiple countries. He wasn’t doing me a favor. It was increasingly clear who married down. My parents got me inpatient insurance with maternity because they were sure this bum wouldn’t hack taking care of me.

It is the raw truth of how I gave my all to a man that doesn’t even have a cup big enough to handle the drops of water I poured from my reservoir

Why am I saying all this? 

I am grieving. I am studying counseling psychology, but it’s taken months to hit me, Kenya Mpya style. I have been going through the stages of grief for the past two years. And here I was, planning on editing a podcast on the same theme I did with my friend Mundi. Stay tuned.

What triggered the realization?

The boyfriend and I joke around, like inner child-type stuff. He was in the kitchen, and I was in the living room; it’s an open plan. I say something silly, and he responds. Now, I was looking at the laptop, so from the corner of my eye, I saw his hands go up in pretend protest, and he briefly blocked the light. What does your home girl do?

I get into defense mode: I turn to him, hands in front of my face, body leaning back.

When I turned, I realized he was just making dramatic hand gestures. You can tell how homeboy was shocked and confused. He came, stood in front of me, all this time saying “no, no, no…” with utter concern like, what the hell was that?!

I explained it away with, “I thought you were going to throw something!” Note: it has been one and a half years, and he’s NEVER thrown anything at me. Not even a pillow. He wasn’t convinced, so I said what it was: trauma. You are beginning to see the dent that soggy potato [later post coming] put on my psyche.

Then something happened again! I make good food; man loves my cooking and just wanted a stir fry. That’s all. Guess how I interpreted that, “I want you to cook for me now.” Let’s just say we snacked on smokies. Food was in the fridge; he didn’t feel like having the same thing twice. I get it because I don’t, either. Yes, leftover rice is the basis of good stir-fried rice.

I apologized and explained the source, and there was pikelet batter in the fridge for his favorite breakfast. I only had a quarter of the seven I made hehe!

To that little judgmental voice that may cross your mind: Hush. You might learn something.

Enter the 7 stages of loss and grief based on Robert Kavanaugh!

*As my interpretation, so don’t quote me

Let me take you through them as I UNPACK the thing that has been nearly poking my eye for me to realize.

Stage 1. Shock and denial

To some, this guy was the village idiot. To some, he was an okay chap. Was he husband material? Everybody will say no. I didn’t know him like that, though. He was nice to me, funny, paid attention, anticipated my needs… cue narcissistic tendencies. Cool, he “understood” me and was accommodating. And it was the pandemic; we weren’t around enough people for them to tell me, “Giiiirllll! RUN!”

Then he turned around and became this manipulative, psychologically and emotionally abusive person who ended up pinning me to the sofa because he couldn’t communicate his point in words.

I left. I didn’t feel like going back home in a body bag. I am not being dramatic. Soggy potato would have “accidentally” killed me out of ego down the line if I stayed, and the mother would have lied her ass off to protect him. She never liked me anyway and never hid her disdain. She is the nightmare of in-laws. This woman threw sachets of coffee at me across the dining table that the son had gone to buy because neither the soggy potato nor I drank tea or milk when we’d gone there on Jamhuri day.

That said, she put a spread of watermelon rejects (that’s what the son called them) on the table and some stale peanuts for me in the name of a Jamhuri breakfast. I offered help in the kitchen, and she had me chop the onions, after which I said, “I got work to do,” and got behind my laptop to try to make some money. She looked me up and down because my dress slightly above the knee. At Christmas lunch, she threw some snide remarks, but I made sure my braids were on both sides of my face to cover how wasted I was and just how irritable I was. Yes, I showed up there drunk with the soggy potato because there is nothing fun or pleasant about being with that side of the family. Even the soggy potato had us leave early to go to my parent’s because that’s where the fun was.

Reality: It kind of sucks when you begin to see that you are settling to a standard much lower than what you grew up with or knew you could attain. And all for what, a man? Because that was not love, that was settling. That was this dumb script written out for me that women are for suffering and should remain as such.

I was to have shit sex and be forced to wake up to make his breakfast despite getting into bed at 4-5 am because of insomnia. I was to get vegetables on credit so that he could come and find supper getting ready. On top of that, he wasn’t going to buy a fridge. If I had a problem, then I was the one to purchase it. Otherwise, he wanted fresh everything every day in your early 30s and 2020.

Another side: I am shocked that I would let that be me. I would call an Uber at whatever time and go party on the other side of town because I wanted to, and I would not have to check my account balance or anything because I knew I could make money back. My closet is filled with clothes; I have given away clothes four times the size of that closet in the past three years.

I had money, but then when COVID hit and my mental health declined simultaneously, I lost my income, and I was at the mercy of having to purchase half a chicken to last us two dinners. Though somehow, he had the money for alcohol.

My shock is how I fell so far down.

Application: Now, how does this strong, independent, opinionated, intelligent, beautiful badass bitch end up there?? HOW? ME? HOW? By the way, I cannot! It cannot be me!