Sum of the Parts

A few weekends ago depression hit me like a ton of bricks. Maybe it’s been the day after day of rain here that put me into a funk, but it was one I couldn’t seem to shake.

I was driving to Nerdie’s house on my way to spend Saturday night with him and celebrate Super Bowl Sunday the following day. While driving on the winding roads between Napa and Sonoma Counties, I was enjoying the sights surrounding me of rolling green hills dotted with cows and flanked with vines. I then had a sudden, painful pang in my gut of missing PhD. Just completely out of nowhere. Maybe a memory of a fun Super Bowl past spent together? Maybe because I was driving west toward SF? I’m not really sure, but it hit hard.

Then I reflected on Nerdie, the five others I was currently dating locally, Diamonds across the country and those on the fringes popping in and out of my life periodically.

Were all these men simply pieces of PhD, that when added together, was me somehow trying to recreate him? Or had I been with PhD so long that these types of guys were the only ones I would or could like?

I did a run down in my head of similar characteristics between my current guys and PhD…

  • Nerdie: Well, Nerdie…into Star Wars, video games, fast cars, loves sports
  • Diamonds: Well-dressed, well-quaffed, works out, big man, big muscles
  • Frenchie: Who I haven’t introduced to you yet, but is actually French-Canadian; tall, intellectual, challenges my brain, loves good food and wine, handy, smart, creative
  • Limey: Also haven’t written about him yet; well-traveled, bearded, well-dressed, well-quaffed, stylish, loves good food and wine
  • Somm: Gosh, wow! Realizing right now I have a lot of writing to do because I haven’t introduce him either! Tall, cute, funny, of course loves good food and wine, fun to get shit-faced with
  • Porno: And it continues with the haven’t-yet-written about…a guy on the newer side – we love to watch Porn together, hence the name; funny, loves good food and wine, creative, easy-going, handy, loves sports
  • Burgers: Well an even newer guy; loves good food and wine, fun to get shit-faced with, funny, easy-going, loves sports, music and movies

These are generally all the same characteristics PhD had. Do I enjoy them because of PhD or because that’s what I enjoy? The thought of the former made me cry myself to sleep two nights in a row.

It made me contemplate whether I had really gotten as far as I thought I had in the last year processing and moving through the pain of our break-up. Maybe I was just fooling myself, and deep down I hadn’t moved an inch – that what I really wanted was PhD back. And I’d forever be trapped in Dante’s inferno swallowed up dozens of levels so deep I’d never escape.

In the end, I still don’t know. I snapped out of it on Monday afternoon. On my hour-long drive home in the rain back to Napa County, I cried it out hard in the car. Knowing that when I got home I had consulting work to do, I had no time for wallowing in a pity party. I had already done that for the past two days.

I’m still curious to perhaps spend some time reflecting on it, but the truth is in the end I can see it anyway I want. I make my own truth and my own reality. If I wanted to be miserable and depressed about it, yes, I could just focus on the question and be sad thinking I hadn’t moved forward. But I choose not to be miserable and depressed.

Yes, there are similarities with each of them and PhD. I spent 17 years with him – very formative years in my 20s and 30s – so of course as I grew up I grew up with him, and loved all those things, mentioned above, about him – or grew to love them over time.

But I don’t think that’s point. The point is, fine, I like similar things between PhD and all these men. So what? Then what it becomes is what new things can I learn from these men? What new adventures can we share? How can I better open myself up to what they have to offer and the experiences we can have together? What new ways can I share and receive love and sex?

Basically, how can these new relationships teach me, challenge me, bring me joy and love, and be places I can safely share parts of myself that together make me whole?

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