Chapter 29 – Progress
Monday, March 20th, 2017
Calo and I have had a rough month, in which I constantly had to remind him that I love him because he is great, not because he pays me attention.
Last Friday, we had another fight and I refused to meet with him over the weekend, to consumed by reaching my goals for the month; getting rid of at least one compulsion.
It took all of my time and energy to stop skipping the first and last steps of the stairs, and after two slight break-downs, I was able to step on them only slightly anxious.
Then, the waiting game had started for anything to happen to dad, but it didn’t.
So, by the end of Saturday, I repeatedly walked up and down the stairs without skipping any steps, until I was sure it was stuck in my mind that the world wouldn’t stop turning because of it.
It might be unconventional to use this method, but simply talking about my compulsions, or trying to get a different mind-set to each of them isn’t working out for me.
Forcing myself to face reality, however, is.
It’s mostly because of Carson that I got as far as I got so far. Since he started teaching me about OCD and showing me results of endless of research, I felt a bit better about myself.
I simply can’t help everything. Bits and pieces, yes. But my brain is simply different from those of others and for that part, it is not in my power to change. Compulsions will always be part of my life, but those I have because of fear, I can change. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to not order things by colours or sizes. I just feel the need to do so.
I will probably always skip lines and cracks in between tiles, but I shouldn’t have to freak out as bad as I currently do.
I will be fine with my compulsions once they will feel like a second nature to me, and not as if they’re controlling me.
I don’t want them to control me, and Carson has shown me enough proof they don’t need to be controlling either.
But that got me to realise I don’t want to be controlled by anything. For once in my life, I want to feel free as a bird, without restrictions because of any compulsions, or the need to keep others safe.
Or satisfy a certain someone.
No matter how badly I know Calo is simply really insecure because he doesn’t like himself, I feel as if his insecurities and his need for me to prove I like him again and again are now controlling me.
It makes me talk different, act different, all to please him and prevent him from feeling insecure.
But all the more insecure do I feel about myself and about my relationship with Calo.
And I’m really done with feeling insecure. In the past few months I’ve proven multiple things to myself and others that I previously thought I wasn’t capable of.
I made friends of my own, I stood up for myself, and I even opened up to love while I previously rather kept to myself.
I’m starting to get a grip on my compulsions, or at least the anxious feelings behind them, and I’ve been working on joining P.E. and trying to find a museum – as requested by our Arts teacher Mrs. Gabriel – that I can go to along with the rest of the students.
I’ve given her two options and a demand that my mother would be allowed to supervise, in case I freak out anyway.
I’ve conquered my bullies, I stood up for myself and I even beat the shit out of Luke.
But now that I’m taking all these steps, I think what’s bothering me most these days, is the ongoing discussions with Calo.
About me being too busy some days of the week with all sorts of stuff – including visiting Milan during the weekends, seeing Dr. Delgado, taking pictures all around the country and meeting with Carson, Angela or Prayaav, the latter quickly becoming a good friend too.
About me hanging out with Carson too much, and to repeated question if I’m in to Carson – which I’m not.
No matter what the discussion or argument between us is, it’s always about me and I’m getting a bit sick of it.
I really love him, to death, and I told him on multiple occasions already. But somehow it I can’t get through to him that despite my other activities and friends, he is the only one I actually love and want to be with.
And I’m getting fed up with it, and too tired to mend us back together.
Though I do miss hanging on the couch with him now that both our parents know about the true nature of our relationship.
But I’m not sure if I can keep things up much longer.
Sooner or later, I’m going to blow up in his face, even though I know he can’t help his insecurity. He’s been working on it, with Dr. Delgado at home, and a new psychiatrist with which he has one session a week.
“Penny for your thoughts.” Calo hums, telling me he is in a good mood today. He looks good too, and I notice how I let a breath escape I didn’t even know I was holding.
Since when do I hold my breath whenever my boyfriend enters the classroom? Am I getting scared of his mood?
“Can we talk? About Friday?” He leans closer, wanting to peck a kiss on my lips, while I turn him my cheek to kiss. Not completely turning him down, but telling him I’m angry in the least. “Please… Nee. You know how hard this is to me…”
“I know, yes.” I nod in reaction, telling him I do know. “But do you know how hard things are for me too?” I turn to look at him, not really wanting to have this conversation in here. “You’re not the only one who’s recovering, healing… getting better.”
Calo sighs deeply, ashamed a bit. “I know…” He clears his throat. “I’ve been acting really selfish and I can’t believe I’m going to admit this… but Carson made me realise my mistakes…”
“You spoke to Carson.” I cross my arms, sending him an annoyed look. “Why? Did you want to fight with him?”
“No… yes… but then he… made sense?” Calo rolls his eyes. “He’s too smart for my likings, but seriously, Nee… I understand now.”
“Good for you. We’ll talk later.”
“Nee, don’t be like that…”
“I am like this,” I hiss, sending him a look full of disbelieve. “Why, don’t like it?”
“Way too much…” Calo smirks, and it sends a shudder of longing through my body, wanting to hug him and stay in his arms for the rest of my life. Damn, why is he that charming whenever he smirks, or smiles, or laughs?
“We’ll talk after school.”
* * * * *
I fiddle with my backpack, as I watch Carson walk away after giving me an encouraging pep-talk to not let myself get run over by Calo’s arguments.
To stand up for myself so that Calo will realise the effects of his words and actions on me.
On my other side, Calo is walking up to me, seemingly as nervous as I am.
We haven’t really exchanged much words today, and it’s wearing me out to see him with a sad look on his face, knowing he isn’t really happy at all anyway, and I make it worse.
But he made me angry in the first place, and I really need to start standing up for myself; Milan thought me that. Carson told me the same.
Mom even tells me the same whenever I have a fight with Calo and I’m the one adjusting fully to him, instead of him meeting me half way down the middle.
“Hey…” Calo whispers, sitting down next to me, while I stare towards the pond in the park, following a family of ducks I just fed about half an hour ago. “I’m sorry I couldn’t meet sooner…”
“You had therapy, I know.” I nod, knowing he has therapy right after school on Monday’s. “Carson kept me company.”
“Right…” Calo clears his throat awkwardly. “You know why I don’t like you two hanging out as much as you do…”
“And you know why I hang out with him.” I counter, already annoyed because again this is about what I do. “I’m not in love with him, Cay. I’m in love with you.”
“I know… and Carson really made it clear there’s nothing between you two… but I shouldn’t listen to him, but to you…” Calo sighs, slumping down a bit. “I really like you, Neo.”
Which is one of the things that is bothering me too. I told him I love him, but so far, he hasn’t said it back. And I don’t want to rush things for him, but it’s getting awkward.
“I know, but sometimes it’s really frustrating because you don’t seem to believe I love you, while I’m the one who already said love, and you didn’t.”
But that’s the thing, Neo…” Calo groans and lolls his head. “How can you love me?”
“Because I just do! Do I have to have an explanation? Why do you like me?”
“Because you’re awesome, funny, smart, you are you…”
“And all those things go for you too.” I tell him, forcing him to look at me. “You too are funny, smart, charming, caring,” I sum up. “But I don’t know how much longer I can go on like this. You’re trying to control me too much and for once I want to be the one in control over myself. You know I haven’t been in control… well… ever.”
“I know, and it’s not like I want to forbit you to do anything, really. I just find it heard to believe you love me, while we only know each other a couple of months. How can you even be sure you love me, and you’re not just liking the attention?”
“Cay? You really need to shut up and listen to me,” I grumble, turning to face him, sending him a warning look to really shut him up. “If I’d be into the attention, I would feel the same about Angela and Carson. I would feel the same about Libby, I would feel the same about Prayaav. But I don’t. All of them give me the same attention, and just like you, Angela and Carson did that from the start. That’s the difference between you and them; I love you, I like them, as friends. Just because my heart tells me I do, okay?”
“right… I guess that makes… sense.”
“Good, because if you ever doubt my feelings for you again, I will break your nose. And you know I’m capable of doing that.”
“You’re such a bad-ass.” He laughs loudly, and pulls me in a hug. “You’re allowed to hit me, as long as you won’t leave me.”
“Well, I really wasn’t planning on leaving you.” I hum, burying my face in the croak of his neck, while my arms slip around his waist. “I really love you, Cay.”
“And I love you too, Mr. Favre.”
I smirk, though he can’t see it, and then sigh in content. “Wanna go get an ice cream? Mom and I always get ice cream whenever we’re in the park.”
“Let’s get ice cream, then.” Calo nods, and catches my lips with his. “I’m truly sorry, and please accept an ice cream as a token of my appreciation for having you in my life.”
“Oh, I more then accept that.” I chuckle. “Though you’ll need to buy me tons of ice cream to make up for your annoying attitude in the past month.”
He chuckles too, then shrugs, then gets up, pulling me towards my feet too. “I’ll make sure we have big enough of a freezer later, so I can get you all the ice cream you want.”
“We have a deal, Mr. Delgado.”
We even shake hands officially and then laugh together, and I feel happy again, because at least he’s trying.
We’re both trying to be the best version of ourselves. But I know Calo is troubled, and I’m too, so I guess we’ll have a lot to overcome together, but I’m sure we’ll manage to get through it together; as long as we keep communicating, and be honest to one another.
He takes me to my favourite ice cream stand and get me my three favourite flavours; cherry, lemon and peach.
We had back to the park, licking our ice creams, chatting about Calo’s session with Dr. Fitzgerald, and my current sessions with his father. He tells me about his own conversations with his father, and the fact he started liking him, which he never did before. He always disliked his father, though he never knew exactly why he disliked him.
He’s still on rocky grounds with his mother, even though she tries to be there for him in every way possible.
He feels suffocated by her, since she keeps checking on him to make sure he’s fine. To me, it’s logical after he tried to commit suicide at the beginning of the year, to him she’s babying him.
I don’t think we’ll agree about that soon.
But at least we’re both making progress, and that’s all that matters.
We’ll be fine, eventually.