Without a Leg to Stand On

When a relationship is new… actually, back up. When you first start seeing someone, before it’s labelled anything at all, you’re on best behaviour. You do your best to look good. I mean things like paying extra to get your hair trimmed/styled so it’s decent even though you’re not due for another 2 weeks, you use the exfoliating scrub, and you make sure it’s clean not just under the nails but your bellybutton too. But once this whatever-it-is becomes something, you get more confident and you start to relax. This might evidence itself in a few different ways.

  1. Physical appearance. You might notice your hair is a bit flat or that you don’t have on the scent you know they like. You aren’t going to rush home and fix it because this isn’t a big deal. This state of “not giving a crap” isn’t a bad thing. It’s hardly pragmatic to try and always look perfect. Frankly, it’d be exhausting.
  2. Actions. You might deny that your body has the capability of producing farts. Well, pull out the beans and pull up the sheets for a dutch-oven because you’re going to let one rip eventually. I’m joking. Because those are gross. Mind you, it took me just under 1.5 years before I felt comfortable doing a #2 at P’s house. I did it while P took a shower, flushed 3 times, sprayed air freshener, flushed again, and then ran back to the couch.
  3. What you say. Again, this can be a good thing. No one wants someone who agrees with them on everything. Jeez that would be a boring conversation. But once you’re comfortable enough to call someone on their crap, that’s tricky.

After P&I went for dinner with my work mates, we were chatting before we got into our cars. P said, “I don’t know how much [LS] is doing, if any. I’m not seeing much get done.” I didn’t say anything. I seethed and kept it inside. Ok, it’s true, I haven’t been nearly as focussed or productive as I need to be. But you know what, I’d prefer that you didn’t make me look bad in front of my work friends. I went back into P’s to pick something up and made to leave. P had originally said probably no sleepover that night, which is fair enough. I honestly didn’t mind. But then he asked,

P: Aren’t you staying?

me: No.

P: Well, would you like to stay?

me: No, that’s ok.

P: You can stay if you want, I don’t mind.

me: No thanks. I’m fine.

And I drove off. I talked to my erstwhile supervisor N, who I became friends with even before we stopped working together, who had also been there at the dinner. N rightly pointed out, regardless of whether it was true or not, that P would be unlikely to see me study. Why would you go over to your partner’s house to study? It’s to see them. So I got over myself.

But then, last night, I went to go see Star Trek Into Darkness with P and two of P’s good friends. It was really good and I enjoyed it. Don’t worry, no spoilers. Anyway, when we were picking up tickets and then again in the car ride home, P said something similar to his friends. Again, I didn’t say anything. But what the hell. I’m right here! At mine, P came in to pick up a cake tin I’d borrowed.

P: Will I see you tomorrow?

me: Uh… no? I have study group in the morning remember? And I have to study.

P: Oh. Well, ok, I’ll see you during the week, alright?

I don’t know. What do I have to say or do to give the impression that I do study? I’ve gone upstairs and studied while P watched TV. In fact, last time, P was having a look on dating websites. I didn’t say anything, but P said, “I just like to have a look.” I’ve known P’s had wandering eyes, but so long as it doesn’t go anywhere… This sounds really bad. Other times, P says such lovely and unexpected things. Yesterday morning when we were in the bathroom about to step into the shower, I felt P’s arms wrap around me and heard a murmur of, “To me, you’re perfect.”

I’m confused. Right now, my emotions are wild and I don’t dare follow those thought processes too far. I wish I could be like Spock and better control my emotions; really, that’s just emotional intelligence. It’s not suppression, but acknowledging feelings I have while not being ruled by them.

Can I not have the sniping comments and jabs? I want to say something, to stand up and assert myself. But P’s right. That’s why I’ve kept silent this entire time. In my mind, if I get back on track with my notes and study schedule, then I can say something. Otherwise I don’t have a leg to stand on.

Or am I wrong?

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Wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle, yeah!

Huzzah!!!!!!!!!!! I am completely exultant.

I was at P’s place last night, and despite it being only a week away in Melbourne, P was very affectionate, verbally and physically. And I got presents! Well, I like them. I can understand why most people, even other dentists or dental students, would think toothpaste, toothbrushes, mouthwash, and retractors might not be the best present, but they’re conference swag!

Sidebar: Swag in the proper sense of the word, like goodies they give away. Not the one that’s an abbreviation for “swagger” and has that has superseded “epic” and “literally” in excessive usage. Oh and “yolo”. *shudder*

Anyway, bottom line: IT WAS SAID. I was teasing, talking about the fit and cute tutors in a histology lab, and we were joking about why would anyone be doing a degree in anatomy (P: there’s no money, me: they’re too attractive). I can’t remember the exact lead-up, but this happened:

P: You know, I love you for more than your body and –

me: (interrupting) Wait. Wait, what? … You love me?

(pregnant pause)

P: I’ve gone and freaked you out, haven’t I?

me: No, no. I’m happy… But what about what you said last year? (when P said they weren’t sure they’d ever been in love)

P: Well, I know that when I don’t see you, I miss you. And when I see you, I’m happy.

(pause)

P: (as if to carry on) ..It’s ok –

me: (interrupting with a kiss) I love you too.

Aha!!!!!!!! Houston, we have contact!!! Wheeeeeee!!!!!

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about broaching the topic of having children at least three times after, but I held my tongue. It’s a new thing I’m trying, restraint. Instead, I got a bit of practice saying “I love you” a couple of times later that night. Yes, I’m immensely happy, even this morning after. To me, that was better than any movie. Suck it, The Notebook!

That’s all.

😀

You’ve got nothing on Maggie Fitzgerald.

I have one week of uni left. It’s surreal to visualise life without lectures, tutes or assignments. Since I found a place for my internship next year, there is a bit of security. But this doesn’t mean the rest of uni will be easy.

I had a debate assignment on Friday.

Tutorial #1: 13 days before debate

I know from the start I want Gmail Girl on my team. She’s smart. We’ve already had a whole semester of practicals and tutes together, so I know we get on pretty well. Gmail Girl turns and asks Hotmail Hellion if she wants to be in our group. I presume she based her invitation on previous interaction. We are the affirmative, so that is some consolation given our strong opposition. Our opposition is made up of the very people I wanted to avoid as competition. But they have already formed a group. We spend that first tute brainstorming points.

Tutorial #2/Out-of-Class-Meeting #1: 3 days before debate

Hotmail Hellion misses both the tutorial and meeting. Only the day after does she tell us – she’d been rostered on to work. Fine.

I organise the argument into 3 perspectives and suggest an overarching position. We put Hotmail Hellion as the third speaker, so all she’d have to do is summarise the arguments and rebut some points.

Out-of-Class Meeting #2: 1 day before debate

We meet up to look over speech points and make sure we have a unified argument. I read Hotmail Hellion’s points. She has new information. She’s not supposed to introduce new material as third speaker. It’s not strong. I cut two out of four paragraphs with Hotmail Hellion’s consent, after pointing out what was wrong with them. After an hour, she has to leave to go to work. Ok.

Gmail Girl and I cut our documents down. I reduce mine from 3 pages to 1 page. I summarise Gmail Girl’s argument and put it with my excess points; I have effectively written the speech for Hotmail Hellion. I add on three rhetorical questions, the perfect sucker-punch. Gmail Girl agrees, it’s the verbal equivalent of flipping our opponents the finger. It’s good.

I leave with optimism, and Gmail Girl promising to text Hotmail Hellion a reminder to dress nice.

Day of the Debate: Morning Before the Event

We agreed to arrive at 7:45am to practice. Gmail Girl is too nervous. That’s alright. I lean over to Hotmail Hellion. She says she couldn’t open the email I sent her. I have my Macbook with the speech document on it. (My handwriting turns into a scrawl under pressure.) She skims over it and says that a lot of what she has already covers it. I emphasise the strong ending that both Gmail Girl and I have agreed on. She nods. She isn’t writing any of it down.

I then notice she’s in casual wear. I made the offhanded comment, “That’s a colour you don’t see on sneakers every day.” She enthuses, “Oh! Yeah, I have another pair in orange.”

I no longer harbour any hope of winning.

Day of the Debate: The Main Event

Million Dollar Baby

Image via Wikipedia

Gmail Girl gets through most of her points, smoothly cuts out some material, summarises and links to my speech within time.

Negative Speaker 1 is… how shall I put this nicely, aggressive in her arguments. I type out, “See what I mean?” Gmail Girl nods with wide eyes and leans away from the podium. I can see the front row audience edging away from it as well.

I speak next. I’m nervous but manage to rebut the opposition, and finish my own points.

I can’t remember what Negative Speaker 2 says.

Hotmail Hellion steps up to the podium. She waffles on about her points, barely references my points in her summary… Whatever. What I’m looking for more importantly, does she give the old 1-2-1-2 I wrote for her? No, debate Million Dollar Baby she is not. I’m furious.

But not as furious as with the third speaker of the opposing team. Since when did anyone consider weight loss and smoking cessation to be disease states? And since the marking unit coordinator hadn’t specified against it, she couldn’t forbid his use of a poster. You muppet, no one uses props in a debate. That’s the whole point.

Day of the Debate: Break

We don’t speak to our opponents. They don’t speak to us. It’s a bit juvenile, really.

I say hello to the other marker, my tutor from last semester. She says my team was one of the strongest. She is surprised Hotmail Hellion had done as well as she did. She thinks I should have spoken last.

Her words breach the dam. I tell her all of it – how none if it went according to plan and all of it hit the fan. HONESTLY. What, do you need me to hold your hand? No? Then what is the problem?

The tutor says I’ll know better for next time. Then pauses, and says with a wry smile, “Well… there isn’t going to be a next time.”

Several other people come up to me and say that they were impressed with how calm I was after the negative first speaker. I guess I hid my nervousness well enough. That soothed some nerves.

Anyway. It’s done. It was 15%.

I still can’t imagine being done uni.