Kids, the week leading up to my 30th birthday, my loved ones were super excited about planning my various parties and our impending island getaway … me, I was having the worst freak-outs I’d had since my teens.
I didn’t talk about it often back then, but I was what you’d call a functioning depressive – I could go about daily activities, be social and interactive during the day and laugh along with everyone else, but when I was alone, I had intense freak-outs, endless insomnia and really, really black moods.
I got why everyone was so excited, and I appreciated their efforts, I truly did. So yes, for the most part I faked it as far as I could, hoping that at some point their excitement would infect me.
I know you’re wondering why, in particular, I was feeling this way and that surely, a milestone birthday is something to celebrate, right? It was, but very simply, I was depressed because my life looked nothing like I thought it would be and here’s why ….
I was 13-years-old and in love for the first time. Zunaid, a year younger than me but way more experienced if all of the school gossip was to be believed, was as in love with me as I was with him and life was beautiful.
In that way that characterises all first puppy loves, I spent a year of bliss indulging in super long landline phone calls (uh, if you want to know what landline phones are, ask your Nan); spending hours getting lost in those chocolate baby brown eyes of his and revelling in the fact that I was dating the hottest guy at school and he was nuts about me.
So nuts, in fact, that he once pulled down his school pants to show off the teddy bear covered satin boxers I’d given him for Valentine’s Day to the entire school body …yes, yes, I know, eeuww Mom!
Young love burns bright and fast and Zunaid and I were no different. Our hours-long conversations always revolved around how we were going to get married and have …wait for it …FIFTEEN kids! How we were ever going to afford that many children with barely high school qualifications to our names was anybody’s guess but hey, the dreams of the young, huh?
Naturally, because I was going through a bit of a bad girl phase and Zunaid, my Chocolate Boy, was the definition of a bad boy (have I mentioned that he stabbed his cousin, my ex-boyfriend, because he’d dared to mention he was thinking about getting me back? Yeah, my honey sure loved me!), all of the adults in my life was against this relationship from the onset.
And I can’t blame them – we did get caught making out while my male best friend set the school field on fire in a jealous rage, because he was in love with me and I was in love with Zunaid. So much drama, so little time.
In an effort to set me back on the straight and narrow, your great-grandparents sent me back to live with my mother and attend a Model C school in the Southern Suburbs. They say distance makes the heart grow fonder and for a while Zunaid and I tried to make a go of it (weekend reunions were oh so bitter sweet!) but six months later, we lost touch and I was heart-broken for the very first time.
So utterly devastated but without the maturity and the words to explain how I was feeling, I had the first of my teenage depression sessions … I won’t lie, suicide came up a time or two. I started seeing my school guidance councillor and we worked on easing my depression through writing, performing as part of the school drama clubs and making captain on my debating team.
But the loss of the future I would now never have, the life and love of a guy who felt the same way about me and the children we’d never create together would haunt me for a while still…
Until I met He Who Shall Not Be Named …
There had been crushes after Zunaid and short lived dalliances with guys in clubs, friends of friends, blind group dates and the like but I hadn’t truly fallen in love again because I thought I’d lost my soul mate.
When into the darkness of my blackest moods came the blonde, blue-eyed He Who Shall Not Be Named. So very different from anyone I had ever known before, it took a few months of him dogging my every step, showing up unexpectedly in places, eager to claim my space and company for his own to the exclusion of anyone else before I let my guard down long enough to let him in.
For a year, I fell hopelessly and utterly in love, down and down in the spiral of headiness you try your best to run away from but can’t. Much like your Uncle T said about the one he love and lost, when you are that in love, every moment lasts a lifetime, every gaze feels as if the world has melted away and there is only the two of you in a bubble.
He Who Shall Not Be Named and I became masters at making other people uncomfortable when they were around us because we’d be talking and then just let sentences taper off while we gazed adoringly at each other, not hearing when others spoke to us or caring.
There is no other way to describe the way I felt about him other than he was my drug of choice. When I was with him, I was high, so very, heart-achingly high with the depth of my feelings for him, it took my breath away. With Zunaid, I knew logically I wanted his children but with He Who Shall Know Be Named, my body physically ached for it just watching him be gentle with other kids.
And the way our bodies were attuned to each other was insane. We could be at opposite ends of a crowded room, not realising the other was there and suddenly, we’d be right next to each other, perfectly aligned. Naïve as I was, I took his irrational possessiveness and stalker-like tendencies to be proof that he felt the same about me.
But Life and the Universe are cruel and bitter hags. There was always a touch of the effeminate about my love and though I rallied against all evidence of it and endured cruel mocking by some of our so-called friends, eventually He not so much as said it outright as started acting it when in my company.
It would take another ten years for me to accept that he was gay and that I would once again have to say goodbye to the future I envisioned for us of marriage and children that looked like him. My emotional wounds would be ripped open over and over again over those ten years because he could never leave me and things well enough alone – always veering between wanting to be my gay best friend and re-staking his claim on me possessively. It was a lot like sitting on the Iron Throne and getting cut every time. Leona Lewis was right …
He Who Shall Not Be Named was still a part of my life for a long time and a constant reminder that I had been so utterly idiotic, it was inconceivable but I often wondered about Zunaid and whether, if I had just stuck it out, I’d have been happy, married and with child every year…. If wishes were horses, right?
What’s my point, I hear you ask, and what exactly has this got to with my freak out? Well, a lot actually. As the countdown to my 30th began, I was single and twice bitterly disappointed by love. I was utterly morose and convinced more than ever, that true love would not be a part of my future and consequently, neither would you …
And I wanted you, my babies, more than anything, more than life … I wanted you.