Bump in the Head/Bump in the Road—by Jamie Levine
On the Saturday before Valentine’s Day, I was gearing up for a romantic overnight with Library Guy. But before I started primping, I took Jayda to her weekly dance/gymnastics class, and helped her get ready to tumble. As she sat on the floor, removing her socks, I squatted down to help her, grabbed her shoes, and stood up…right into the overhang of the formica front desk counter. BAM! I bashed my head. Hard. Though I didn’t black out or throw up, or even bleed externally, I knew I had done some damage. I spent the rest of Jayda’s class with an ice pack on my head, and suffered from a migraine all afternoon—as well as throughout the evening of my romantic overnight. But I still managed to have an unbelievable 18 hours with Library Guy, and left floating on top of the world…trying to ignore my pain.
My migraine lasted for three days, and my vision became a bit blurry, too. I’m slightly near-sighted and don’t wear my glasses too often, but suddenly I was wearing them all the time. A visit to my eye doctor confirmed that my eyes were not damaged, but he also surmised that the injury had jogged my head so much that my vision, which he had expected to worsen over the next year, was simply deteriorating faster now. It was nothing to worry about, but he did tell me that he expected me to wear my glasses almost all of the time now…and that he planned to bump up my prescription in the next few months.
Four days after my accident, although my migraine was gone, a dull headache and feeling of dizziness still plagued me, so I went to see my internist, who sent me for a CAT Scan. Fortunately, the test came back negative, but my doctor told me I might suffer from a headache for another week or so, since I’d obviously experienced head trauma. Terrific. Suffice to say, I felt miserable…and was a crabby mess. I was tired, achy, dizzy, and feeling very sorry for myself. And, unfortunately, Library Guy didn’t handle it very well. True, he checked up on me, but he didn’t seem to take my discomfort too seriously, and awkwardly told me to “hang in there,” and “cheer up,” while he spewed other platitudes, and seemed unhappy that I “wasn’t myself.” This behavior set me off.
I love being with Library Guy, and I think he’s an amazing guy. But there are a few things he’s been inadvertently doing, or rather issues he’s been avoiding, over the last few months that have been hurting my feelings and making me feel insecure. But, other than rattling off a few sarcastic comments here and there, I’ve never let him know how I really feel. And my head-injury-induced horrible mood, and overly-emotional state made me explode; I finally confronted him with everything that had been building up inside of me—in one long outburst, filled with sobs—and he listened. He didn’t get angry; he didn’t hang up the phone; he didn’t even express much shock. But he also didn’t give me the answers I needed. If anything, his lack of emotion and lack of response made me doubt our relationship and the feelings he had for me, because he didn’t say what I wanted him to say. Ultimately, I felt even more insecure for stirring things up, and apologized; he told me not to worry about it, but I did. And I felt a gap between us widen.
The next 24 hours changed me a lot; I was an emotional wreck, internalizing everything that had happened, and foreseeing the demise of our relationship. Sure, I knew in my heart that Library Guy wasn’t going to break up with me simply because of what I had confronted him with, but I started to wonder if maybe we weren’t both in the same place and that maybe he wasn’t taking this relationship as seriously as I am. And as much as I’ve told myself to “just enjoy the ride” and not worry about where things are going (since I never intended to be in a relationship before I finished grad school, and I’m certainly not desperate for a ring on my finger any time soon), I realized that’s not possible for me anymore. I’m in this deep, and if the thought of losing Library Guy now, after less than five months, already breaks my heart, how could I deal with losing him after a year or two? But as we all know, no relationship is guaranteed permanence, and being in one is always a risk. So, getting out now just to save myself some pain isn’t really an option.
The only option I have is to stick it out and make things work—by speaking up more and by remembering who I am: a strong, sexy, smart, secure, amazing woman—with or without a man by side. And thankfully so many of my good friends have reminded me of this and helped me get my mojo back. Library Guy and I have talked a lot more in the last few days, and have slowly reconnected. I’m also letting him absorb everything I’ve told him and waiting to see what he does with it. I do think he’s trying harder to make me happy. I hope he thinks I’m worth the work he’s going to have to do now to keep me feeling secure. Because I am worth it. And I think he is, too. And as the bump on my head continues to heal, I have a feeling in my heart that the bump in our relationship is going to smooth itself out, too. Bumps can cause some pain and they can certainly shake things up, but enduring them—especially with someone special by your side—can sure make a person stronger.