Getting back to it (together but apart)

Right before I leave Captain’s place in Portland, I start revving up for my return to Brooklyn.

It’s been something I’ve consistently done, not exactly consciously, but as I sit on his couch at my laptop thinking about how in a few days I will be back across the country, I want to start scheduling time with people and activities. It sort of eases the pain and separation anxiety of saying good-bye.

I’ll be the first to say being in a bicoastal relationship can be weird. It’s strange to spend almost all your time with someone for a couple of weeks at a time and then separate and get back into a rhythm of e-mails, texts and Skype dates.

It’s weird to be sleeping together, ass cheek to ass cheek, to be planning meals together, to be watching movies on Hulu and then go back to a studio apartment, alone and across the country.

Don’t get me wrong, I need and value my personal space and time, and of course, Captain does, too. It just questions my old beliefs of how a relationship should look and move. But then again, my previous relationship structures of monogamy and co-dependency didn’t exactly work out. And this one keeps going, in various different directions, which appeals to my higher self but not necessarily my ego-based personality.

But I’m getting off topic.

Whenever I come back to Brooklyn from Portland, life just seems busy and there is a series of stages I move through.

It took me a while to realize that every time I would leave, I would have feelings of elation of being back in my city and at the same time feel culture shock from suddenly being in a different place. Embedded in that, is the adjustment of being separated from someone I’ve been sharing intimate physical space with for days on end. After a few days of my new reality setting in, I typically come down and then finally balance out. This doesn’t happen all in order, and sometimes these stages don’t last long.

And to be honest, I haven’t found the key to balance in all of them because it’s a lot to juggle and process.

As much as I love what we are doing and know being apart strengthens me in a way that I need right now on this journey of mine, it takes a lot of emotional work. That emotional work often has a psychic effect that sometimes feels like even though there’s distance, there’s not a lot of space at all.

But oh, there’s space.

Space in the crevices of the day and silence sometimes when I’d rather there not be silence. What I unconsciously do is try to fill that space and time with distraction but what I realize what needs to happen is to use that space and time for my creativity. As someone who struggles with resistance to what is often positive for me, this is a challenge. And this is why I know this type of relationship is what I need right now as it forces me to get really real about how I use my time because certainly, it’s not other people’s job to fill it.

So yeah, I’m heading into an eight week separation period with some idealistic action plans on what to produce and create in art and in my relationships with others. And inside those plans lives the love I love.

Are you in a long distance relationship or doing the bicoastal thing, too? Want to share your story? Liz is looking for those willing to be interviewed for this column. E-mail her at



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