You know how sometimes you can’t talk about things as they are going on & instead you just have to live through them?
I know it’s been quiet around here. A lot has been happening, & I haven’t officially said anything, so here we go:
Nick & I broke up in October.
It’s been about a week and a half since I moved out. All I am willing to say, for posterity in public on the internet, is that I think he is a really tremendous person & I’m proud of the time we spent together. This week I have been thinking back on the good times in the old apartment with Nick & Geraldine & my summertime roommate, Sam, and appreciating the shit out of those moments. There’s a lot that I look forward to, but also a lot I’ll miss.
It’s time to get back to the good things lists.
It’s important to me to take some time to be mindful & appreciative of the things that are happening in my life right now, especially since some of them are so new.
- Most significantly, I am awestruck by the strength & power & generosity of my circle of family and friends. Y’all have been so forthcoming with yr patience, advice, your moving muscles, yr time & your listening ears, yr couches, yr text messages, yr bravery. The amazing people I am lucky to know are my biggest source of happiness and inspiration. All of my admiration & love. xoxox
- Beautiful morning light. Have been waking up earlier in the morning to a BRIGHT bedroom & feeling full of energy. In this very darkest part of the year & with my Seasonal Affective Disorder, this is such a big big gift. This lets me get stuff done nearly effortlessly & that is a wintertime miracle.
- Eating nearly an entire crate of clementines. Yessss.
- Apartment decorating time. I have so many ideas & a long way to go yet but pulling my things out of boxes & seeing how they work all together felt so good. Doing this for myself, rather than as a couple, is so much more personal… looking at my stuff is a bit like looking in a mirror.
- Thrift store magic. I normally strike out hard when I thrift in Ptbo but when I went this week I feel like some mysterious friend who is my exact size with my personal style dropped off all the things I have had in the back of my mind for so long. I wish I could meet that person & buy her a beer & listen to her stories.
- Organizing my closet by colour: white, grey, black, navy, & “other”. Greyscale lifestyle.
- The last two weeks included visits from both of my long distance best femme friends, & it was amazing, but now I want many more visits for much much longer. I have been trying to find the silver linings of the pet-free lifestyle & being able to drop everything and get outta town is one that I plan to try out.
- My boss just let me know that he bought a coffee maker for the shop: can you hear the angels singing? So pumped.
- Just got the pattern in the mail for those knit curtains! Yesss.
- Ginger tea.
- Cheese carbs date with my best knitter friends last night. All the cheeses, all the netflix, all the knitting, it was awesome.
- My last counselling session involved learning some visualizations to generate calm & focus. It has totally been working, & I feel lucky every single day when I think about being able to access professional help in managing this wintertime depression.
- I bought a tiny pine plant (too small to be a tree) & hung a few vintage ornaments on it & it feels cozy and nice, actually. Tiny xmas tree! Experimenting with my plant-buying hypothesis, discovering that just walking into to the flower shop with its greenery & humidity is a super mood booster.
- Learning lots & lots of new things! I worked my first knitted cables this week AND I have been studying like mad for an accounting midterm that I am taking this weekend. Accounting! Who woulda thunk. Feels good to change things up though.
A whole month went by & I barely said a word.
I took some photos though and they look like this:
To tell you the truth, as much as travel & adventures & friends & vacations are nice, I am tired.
Have been working six day, sixty hour weeks to pay for all the good times, and I’m ready for a stint of no fun myself. Or maybe just the kind of fun that happens when I sit on my porch with a book. The kind of fun where I take a nap with a good dog.
I was in h&m recently and they had all these band girlfriend related shirts. One read, “I fancy the lead singer.” Another one said (yep) “Meet me backstage.” I couldn’t roll my eyes hard enough.
I want to find all the young ladies who would buy such a thing & invite them over to live with me for a week. It’s not super glam. Actually, I want to find the assholes who thought those shirts were a good idea & tell them to pull their heads out of their asses long enough to realize that young women have way more going for them than who they date. Those shirts should say “I am the lead singer” or STFU.
There is a lot of mythology about being a lady who dates a band dude.
It’s both glamourizing and vilifying & usually simultaneously slut-shaming and infantilizing – and all of it is total garbage, of course. Come over & watch me play fetch with the dog a lot, make dinner for one, find another way to say “wish you were here.” The other day I was getting home after the bars closed & sent a drunk one-liner of an email to Nick, who was just waking up. We had a very hilarious skype conversation & that’s the closest thing there is in my life to an actual date.
I think the reason I write these posts is mostly to demonstrate that being a partner to someone who has a cool job is absolutely no substitute for being cool yourself. And because I have come across this far too often, I want to say right now that I don’t think that means that the girlfriends of male musicians need to also be in bands. There is more to life than music you know (but not much more.)
I’ve been reading through all the band girlfriend posts at Bossy Femme because there’s officially one week to go & the introspective part of me can’t resist the urge to see if my summer so far has turned out how I expected it to. Before Nick left I kept saying, “Four months is one quarter of a year and so much happens in a year.” How true that is.
Here’s my big truth: I am a little bit sad that my single lady lifestyle is coming to a close.
It has been wonderful to have total control over my time and resources. I decide if I am going out or staying home. I decide what’s for dinner & when it is served. I can immerse myself in my interests with an intense focus. I can stay up very late & get up very early without disturbing anyone. Single ladies got it going on, basically. In fact, I kinda think that the single lady lifestyle should inspire more people.
I was saying to a friend that Nick’s classic-country tastes will be a shock to my witch-hoppy system. I haven’t heard anything with a pedal steel in months & all the music I listen to rhymes “bitch” with “bitch.” Nick and I have a great deal of interests in common and I really miss being able to do “our stuff”, or to have someone around who “gets it” about something that my other friends aren’t into – but this has been a wonderful summer intensive of delving into the things I like that are solely mine.
I know that lots of people fear that they will “lose themselves” in their relationships & if anything this time to be alone feels like an absolute gift. There are an awful lot of people who only know me as “Nick’s girlfriend” & even tho many of those people have become great friends, it’s still been lovely to just be myself. And it’s been even better to spend a huge amount of time with my friends – being able to put my energies towards building support & trust & good times with these people makes my heart lighter.
Still: love is pretty rad.
I don’t want anyone to read this post & think that my point is somehow that this relationship isn’t especially important to me. More than anything, I think that the result of all this time apart is a great reinforcement that our relationship is based on this idea that we don’t need each other, but we do choose each other anyway, & that is fundamental to me.
Lots of the things that Nick and I talk about are dreams & plans for the future together and basically that future gets to start up again as soon as he is back & I am really excited to actually do all the things!
And another secret:
Next week is pretty much the pinnacle of band girlfriend perks. I get to spend hours doing some car-talk bonding, and I get to have hotel sex, and I get to see my friends and great bands and friends in bands pretty much for free, and I get to sleep on whatever floor all those pals are staying on, and I get to visit my best friend for a tiny bit of time, and I get to go to the ocean, & I think I get to listen to Nick Ferrio & His Feelings sing a few of the songs that Nick wrote about me when he was away last summer, too.
Band girlfriend lifestyle. Not glamourous. Not (that) slutty. But still pretty okay, sometimes, you know?
Right now Nick’s season of faraway touring is about halfway over. This feels like two things:
We’re already halfway through!
We’re only halfway through…
I’ve been taking stock a bit about what has happened since I wrote this post in March about the beginning of tour season. And again about whether I still agree with what I said at the beginning of May, when the European part of the tour started.
Have I been doing everything I thought I would do? What have I learned since then? What has happened in my life? Is Nick missing anything I haven’t been able to tell him about?
We are pretty good at keeping in touch long distance but not being able to actually touch is the part that is difficult. More than all the sexy makeouts, what I miss most is some physical proximity. Being close enough together to hold hands. Sitting at the same table at a cafe.
I think that was probably the most accurate thing I have said about this issue. Two months in I am less likely to make a sexy makeouts disclaimer – I totally miss those. But also I am most lonely when I see couples doing regular stuff. Totally jealous of people who can pick out produce at the market side by side, who can hold hands in the car, who can lean into each other sitting at the bar. I miss making Nick perfect at-home cappuccinos. I miss listening to him play the same song over & over so he can get it just right. I miss stealing all the blankets in the middle of the night.
In past years I suspect I’ve felt resentful that Nick’s bands essentially press the “pause” button on our relationship, but I no longer think that’s true. We are closer than we were months ago. With nothing but email to go on we have become focussed & active listeners. We have more opportunities to talk about what we want to do next. I have to figure out so many synonyms for my feelings or I risk repeating myself. How is this sort of progress different than a couple of months would be like, in person? I’m not sure. But I know that my sense of trust in us, together, is stronger than it has ever been.
Some days I feel like there is so much that I’ve accomplished & that I wish I could share. Other days I feel like my life is minuscule compared to the stories that arrive in my inbox. My guess is that those things are simultaneously true.
Nick has been to the end of the country, & back, and across an ocean, & everywhere. I left my city once, to visit my parents about an hour and a half away. Nick’s life is so global and mine is hyper-local. He could be two hours away from me & I would not have noticed any difference. Even around here I don’t go anywhere that I can’t even walk to. There are such drastic shifts in perspective between the two of us, I’m not sure how we do it. I used to be astonished that this dude would be able to be with a person who didn’t have some travel stories to reciprocate. Now I’m just very thankful about that.
Once Bridget asked me what I planned to do with the time apart & I said I wanted to knit a bunch of sweaters. “Like a sailor’s wife!” she said. I find this comparison somewhat pleasant, tho most of the sweaters I’d want to make are for me. The most accurate way of understanding the distance between Nick & me would be to calculate how many yards of yarn I’ve knit, how many stitches. How would those compare to the kilometres between the two of us? At home Nick wants me to stop knitting so we can just cuddle, but now there are no such interruptions.
I brought home Margaret Atwood’s Penelopead from the library last week. I hadn’t thought about this before I took the book home, but it’s also about a lady who makes things while her partner is far far away. Perhaps the right books find you at the right times. Peggy! Thank you.
In all though, looking backwards to the middle of March when I had a live-in boyfriend seems so long ago I don’t even really remember what it’s like. Getting through the same amount of time again is simultaneously something I know I will have no trouble doing and something that I don’t know how I will manage.
I don’t have any big events or projects planned, but in the meantime Nick is talking about visiting a record-breaking number of places & also recording an album. Will I get through my Age of Acid Empires Dress? Will I be able to find some time and some money to visit my friends who live a couple of hours away? In the next province over? By comparison these are such small things but I have the tiniest budget.
I feel like at this point I’m over being self-righteous about how independent of a lady I am & I’m willing to do some absurd bargaining. What would I trade for a chance to just sleep in the same bed for one night? To have Nick show up on the patio for a beer sometime? To be able to walk the dog together? I’m still disappointed that no one has figured out teleportation. How I would love to be able to just have a quick lunch with Nick before work sometime. There are so many mundane & spectacular things I want to chat about.
I’m just going to try to be myself, stay in touch, and try to be patient.
Exactly four years ago yesterday,
Nick and I were on opposite ends of the country. I was with family in Nanaimo, BC, looking at enormous prehistoric trees. Nick was on his first (I think!) East Coast Canadian tour. We missed each other maybe more than we had expected. During one of our long distance phone calls we decided that all the casual sex we’d been having should be a relationship after all.
By now, it feels completely natural that feelings of missing someone and caring about them would be intertwined in this way. Back then, I had maybe heard Nick’s bands maybe one time each – I had no clue that I was getting myself into some serious long distance romance territory.
Looking back, it seems absolutely fitting that we decided to be “together” when we were about as far apart as you can get while still being in the same country. Last summer, The Burning Hell did a Canadian tour right after a European one and I remember feeling like Nick had come “home” even tho we weren’t even in the same province or time zone. But his cell phone worked again. Text messaging wonders! Distance is so relative.
I think that yesterday was the first anniversary we have ever spent together in person – that guy has been on tour every summer since 2008. We didn’t do anything particularly special but I think we still were feeling that time spent together is such a luxury. I knit while Nick recorded some video for Exclaim! TV and then we had some roti & some lattes and got stuck in rush hour traffic together. Sexy!
I’ve been saying that at this point I have an honours degree in “Ferriology” and by that I mean – this relationship has taken a lot of work and a lot of learning. It has survived a lot of strain and distance. We have tried all sorts of things to make the time apart feel easier and more fun, and at this point – I feel like we are getting it right. I feel proud as fuck about it. I feel like the two of us can do almost anything together, and that includes being able to handle being apart.
I need a partner who has huge passions and big goals. Nick needs to play music. We need each other’s support. & in the summer at least, that means sending a lot of emails and making a lot of video chat dates. & looking forward to the fall when we can get back to ordering pizzas, cuddling up on the couch, and watching an astronomical amount of football.
We’ll meet up again a day or two before Sappyfest. I’m so super excited to rekindle our Sackville love affair. That whole festival feels like a really long & really special date where all of our friends are invited and all of our favourite bands are playing.
But in the meantime:
I’m doing so, so great.
Every time Nick tells someone that he is away until August 1st, people look pityingly and curiously at me. I think there is a perception that truly great love can or should replace rock and roll. I used to feel that perhaps if I was even more awesome, or if we “really” loved each other, we would be together the full year through.
But honestly, I think I need these summers apart to recharge, to spend time being the introvert I truly am, to make crafts, to spend late summer nights out with my friends. I’m looking forward to all of this stuff. I have a great new roommate. I have an overwhelming list of homebody projects to accomplish. Nick is spending lots of time in Finland and the closest I will get is probably Ikea (not even the same country, get it!)
The relationship I was in before this one ended because I really felt that I needed more time to just be myself, to do my own thing, to spend with friends, to find out what I can accomplish on my own. I thought that I needed to be single to do that, but in fact, this relationship gives that to me AND lets me be super in love at the same time.
I’m really proud of us.
Love you Nick. Have the most satisfying summer that you can manage. Stay safe. Don’t get arrested. Write a lot of songs for me.