Friday, January 28, 2011

My Therapist Said I Should Journal...

I meant to say something about this last night - thus the title and all - but I was exhausted and it was late.  Plus, hours of trying to mitigate the rage into a slow burning seethe tempered things a bit.  Another day at work was just the kind of thing I needed to couch that which brings me to the purpose of the excersize....

When I showed up at my therapists office yesterday, I'm pretty sure she was expecting another mundane hour of discussing my job.  Instead, she got a mundane hour of me discussing my relationship.    Sometiems, I don't go to therapy and feel particularly understood.  At first, I thought she was just totally off base, but then I began to recognize that she's not wrong, she's just usually a few steps behind me, so to speak.

Thursday, after I realized weeks ago that it was time to get serious about making friends, about trying new things, about becoming independent in my co-dependent relationship, she said "there is a part of this realtionship that is based on needs, and as long as it's based on needs, its based on fears - and when you have something based in fear, there is a desire to hold the other person back, to keep them afraid so they stay with you.  She's right and I agree.  There have been times when I've felt that Mike was endeavoring to keep me where I was - small and sheltered and outside of the light - so that I wouldn't try to drag him along, and there have been a lot of times when I was relieved by that.  It was like a get out of jail free card.  I would even venture to say there have been times when he's discussed making some giant leap and I've talked him down from it.  I would like to think that I did it out of the goodness of my heart, to save him from making a massive mistake because I've seen him try so many things and fail, but there is a part of me that knows there have been times when he's started to talk like that and I've gotten worried that his plans deviated too far from mine and taken advantage of his willingness to listen to 'reason,'

Then again, though, I think some of the miscommunications between her and I might be my fault.  I feel silly doing most of the things I do to grow.  Honestly, writing up a list of things that I know people (whose lives I envy) do and deciding to try them and see how it pans out, then journaling about it?  Corny as hell.  (Working, to a certain extent as well, I might add, but hella corny.)  So, I don't talk about it.  I may make vauge allusions to the notion that i'm trying to get outside of my understanding of normal a little bit - to do things once and see how they feel - but i'm never just forthright.  Some of it, to be fair, is probably stuff I need to hear.  It may be unhealthy, but change comes to me mostly on the business end of a litlte self-flaggelation.  It's easier to be abusive about ones less appealing characteristics when you have someone elses cutting words to repeat, but either way it ends up making me feel defensive.  Still, in a constant show of my continued efforts at being more open to everything here i sit, journaling like she told me to, so there must be something to it.  (Therapy, as it were, isn't about what you're given, it's about what you give to the process and it's not like a little self-reflection can really hurt at this juncture.)

So I'm supposed to ponder why I'm angry... I don't know how much pondering it requires.

I'm angry because i'm hurt.
Because how dare he tell me "thanks for letting me walk all over you for the last two that you're starting to get serious about this whole me being responsible thing, I think it's time I strike out on my own."
I'm angry because I let him back in -
because our relationship has been nothing but a series of his screw ups and everytime he's promised to do better and it's bullshit...I'm angry because I can't even say it's a lie, since I know he means it when he says it.
I'm angry because he's willing to end our relationship over a god damned macbook and a few cell phones every year
I'm angry because he always waits for the moment when i'm trying my hardest to love him, inspite of how angry I am to be a complete ass.
I'm angry because he can't just be forthright about things and make a decision on his own.  I don't mind the doubts - I have them all of the time - but I don''t understand why he has to drag me through it every time.
I'm angry because he keeps making a decision but then he takes it back after he tears my life apart
I'm angry because he wont just leave and set me free from it.  I know he's angry because I don't just throw him out.

I'm angry because I keep letting him in.
I'm angry because I've let him walk all over me for so long.
I'm angry because I haven't made myself more independent sooner - because I put myself in this position.
I'm angry because in these ten years I've made a major trespass exactly once, and I paid for it for years, but he has the drugs, the money (three times now), the apparently constant breakups under his belt and I'm supposed to just let it go and be sweet now since I've agreed to give it another shot.
I'm angry because I wrote him a list of things I loved about him, and 96 hours later, he walked all over my heart.
I'm angry because he made me think this was the thing - because he said things like "name the day and we'll get married if you decide thats what you want" and I let go of a lot of things - namely myself and my relationships wih other people - because this was the thing and now he's the guy who leaves.
I'm angry because the fear and panic I feel over the idea of him leaving me instead of me leaving him threatens my definition of self.
Im angry because I let myself get invested in him.
I'm angry because every day when I look back at my past, I see all of the boys - the wonderful, better for me boys - I walked by because he said we were going to be solid.
I'm angry because I believed him.
I'm angry because I have to keep spending my money supporting him until he can get his teeth fixed in exchange for the convenience of not ending this relationship until i'm able to take care of myself.
I'm angry because I'm looking at the very real possibility of saying goodbye to his family which seems strangly impossible, even though I can't stand half of them.
I'm angry because this feels like a failure to me.
I'm angry because his fucked up emotionally stunted friends have the audacity to disapprove of him deciding not to leave.  First of all, how dare the "my wife stayed with me long enough to spend my lfie savings on shoes and then divorced me" and "my last steady girlfriend is the second craziest girl any of us know...and that was seven years ago." dispense relationship advice.  Second of all, passing judgement when you don't have all of the details is obnoxious.  My friends said the following "Maybe it's for the best.  This isn't the first time he's done this and, even if he's wrong, at least you wont be waiting for the toher shoe to drop." 
I'm angry because I picture them thinking of me as the evil girl who made him stay when I was standing there telling him to leave.
I'm angry because I feel guilty for 'taking advantage' of him, even though he's spent years taking advantage of me.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

there has to be a witty quote about therapy somewhere

Internet, Mike broke up with me again.  Or, I should say, he tried to.

He started out by saying "I'm not the guy you want me to be.  I'm never going to be the guy you want me to be.  I don't want to be the guy you want me to be.  It's not fair for me to be the guy I am and try to hold you here."

I followed up by saying, "Don't give me that bullshit - you have no idea what kind of guy you are or what kind of guy you want to be.  You're the guy who got stoned and played video games...and then when you couldn't do that anymore, you just stopped doing anything."

He countered with "Well, yeah, but I like it that way."

And I was all "Dude, whatever - just make a choice and call the play."

I think we're both right.

There are a lot of things I don't know about the guy I want.  I don't know what he likes to do on the weekends or if he likes to cook or where he wants to live or what he does for a living.  The things I do know I want are hit and miss with Mike.  I want someone who is generous.  Hit.  I want someone who likes to try new things, but doesn't need it like a lifeline (or at least doesn't need me to do it with them.)  Miss.  I want someone who gets me - my jokes, my references, my wit, my outlook, my interests.  Hit. Most importantly - I want someone who is going to be financially stable and I want someone who doesn't try to bolt for the door every time I take a step forward.  Those...well those are two big targets sailing right by him at the moment.

I suggested a couple of options as he was running down his melt down - talking about tearing himself down and starting over from scratch, building some independence of his own.  I suggested that he leave - that he go ahead and do what he wanted, the relationship dissolved.  I suggested that he stay and take a minute to think things through.  I suggested that he leave - strike out on his own and that we behave like any other couple - like a couple who hadn't been together for ten years...that he move out and get himself a place and that we date, like regular people our...well, okay my age do.  Eventually, when I got sick of not being answered, of watching him get all wishey-washey, playing with my life in the future, I made a move for the door to tell my leasing officer I needed a few more weeks to decide if I was going to extend the lease or not because things were...tenuous and all of a sudden things became incredibly clear to him and he no longer wanted to leave anymore, he no longer wanted me to go anywhere and he just wanted to go back.

He wants to go to NA, to learn to cope with his addictive behavior.  He wants his own financial independence - to work and to manage his own money and savings, to exist separately from me where money is concerned.  He wants to break up with Nate - the other half of his dysfunctional friendship.  He wants to try to figure out who he is and what he wants to be.  He wants to find a new therapist - someone who will hold him accountable.

Internet, I feel like a bad person for saying this - but i'm not really interested in that.  It might be the anger talking - I never put it past myself to say things out of frustration, even if they're only spoken into the ether - but i'm annoyed.  Ten years of doing this have made me bitter.  If there were someone willing to take the bet, I would put down a gaurentee that he won't make it through the steps, if he goes at all.  I would bet that his idea of figuring out who he is will involve a good deal of reading and planning in the beginning and a whole lot of nothing when it comes time to actually do things and that his 'financial independence' will not only rapidly become financial ruin, but that his new therapist is going to be one of the first cuts.

What I'm going to say next makes me an even worse person, because not only do I believe all of that with no hesitation, but I also don't believe we're going to make it another six months, and - for today - i'm not terribly interested in trying.  Right now, I need him.  There are so many things in my life I rely on him for and I am far too dependent on his many roles in my life to risk being without him, but his last foree into experimenting with the single life made me keenly aware that if I'm ever going to be happy - with or without him - I need to take a few giant steps in the other direction and define myself outside of him, cut those tethers and then see where we are.  And, internet, I think that's going to look a lot like "Honey, this whole living together thing isn't doing it for me.  For both of our sakes, one of us needs to move out.  We can still have sleepovers and stuff, but I need my own space and you need yours."

Don't get me wrong, there is a part of me that hopes he'll take his big step out into the world and he'll be a huge success - that somehow all of these years of frugality and spendthrifiness will have paid off and he'll be able to plan for the big things.  But there are so many experiences and so many years behind us that make me think this adventure will amount to disaster, and that I'm not really willing to put humpty dumpty back together again.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

On Things Its Impossible To Admit To

“Sometimes it’s a journey, most the time it’s just a bad joke...” - Michael Larsen

Internet, my flight to Infinitus took off with two notebooks, my trip out of Tennesee started with only one.

This actually started out with a pithy commentary on the prevalence of happy endings.  It was intended for the HPFF audience.  It was light, it was airy with the occasional hints of the personal that keep the hate mail to a minimum.  It, like so many other posts, didn’t end up like that.

The therapists - and I pluralize them because there have been a fair few over the years (what can I say, I fire the good ones and the bad ones never last through a whole session) - they tell me that I have a tendency to lose track of my “feelings.”  I generally counter by explaining that their premise is entirely erroneous - I don’t have feelings to begin with, I have thoughts which, when unchecked, manifest themselves into full blown neurosis.  On the occasion that I do experience a feeling, I generally find it so disorienting that I flail around a bit (proverbially, I mean)    until they go away.  Nonetheless, they all seem to agree on the notion that I should be more aware of those things so, while there was a time - many many anti-anxiety prescriptions ago - wherein I could complete a task without waxing philosophical, it’s a bit of a distant memory and I try not to miss it much.

I explain this, not because I think anyone cares, but because I hope, by virtue of my having explained that fact, you, dear Internet, can be trusted to understand that, when I say - for me - writing is a journey, I do not say it with an over-inflated sense of literary value but, rather to say that the experience is always a journey for me.  (One where the end, while mildly entertaining for the driver, tends to be less so for the people who are forced to watch the slides later.)

I’m always amazed at how much things change, for me, in the development of something.  As I mentioned, the thing that had me thinking about this was happy endings.  

Another thing I’ve been told is that when you write your characters into a place they can’t seem to get out of, it’s because you shouldn’t have taken them there in the first place.  I’ve always taken issue with that.  More often than not, I find it’s my inadequacies that are holding things up rather than the inadequacies of my characters, but nevertheless, I’ve been stuck on the same scene for approximately five months.  Five months.  Internet, I find this completely unfathomable.  I have re-written it from scratch at least four dozen times...Chopped it to bits, scrapped it all and started again, cut back further, started a few scenes ahead and tried to write backwards and nothing.  Nothing.  This is the worst kind of torture I can imagine - I would rearrange my furniture monthly if I could.  I would change jobs every six months and move once a year if it was practical.  I don’t do well with stagnation, it makes me crazy, and yet, there I’ve been, hammering away at this once scene over and over and over again in the hopes that, eventually, I’ll put something down onto the paper that allows me to get past it - to get through this terrible terrible point.

Strangely enough, as I was sitting there tonight staring at as far as I’ve gotten, I realized that I’ve become one of those people everyone always hates because, as I copied out the last few paragraphs of typed text, I was overcome with the conviction that this story couldn’t possibly keep the happy ending I’d originally intended.  (See, it always comes full circle, doesn’t it, Internet?)

I’m a total sucker for a happy ending.  I admit it - I wanted Rory to end up with Logan and I was relieved to see CJ end up with Danny and Josh with Donna.  The end to Dagny and Hank’s story always pissed me off, even though it was so much better with John.  I can’t help it - the part of me that still believes there is good in the world likes to see things go well for people.  Don’t worry, we’re working on medicating that out.  To make a more damaging confession, though, I prefer the unhappy ones.  It seems more honest that my favorite story ends with one character in Timbuktu and the other on their way to anywhere else in the world.  

The thing about this piece that meant nothing to me is that, at some point, it started to mean something.  I’m sure that Linda is right now staring at her computer screen rolling her eyes and that the first words she utters to me will be “Hon, It always meant something,” because she’s pushy like that.  She may even feel compelled to remind me that, at the beginning of this, tapping into the vein that allows me to write the only kind of interpersonal relationship I’ve ever really understood or felt comfortable in also meant tapping into a lot of regrets, a lot of things I miss, and a lot of things that completely ruined my life.  But I’ll at least argue that the thing didn’t take form until I scribbled a something on the cover of a composition notebook full of disconnected pieces and handed it to a friend at the close of a surprise encounter.

I’d lie and say I don’t know why I did it, but I do - and I bet you a dollar, you probably do to.  Either way, the over-riding header since that day, the thing I’ve been repeating as I get stuck has been “To the man who taught me nothing but meant absolutely everything, this will never be any good, but it will always be honest.”  

As I’ve struggled for honesty, not just with the writing but with myself as well, its impossible to deny that this story cannot have a happy ending.  No, it’s not just because I’m to afraid to contemplate that any of them could have - I’ve spent a lot of dark hours contemplating that, I’m pretty clear on the answer.  It’s that, no matter how good people can be together, it doesn’t make them good for one another.  It’s that the honest ending, the honest ending can’t be that simple.  

Of course, don’t ask me how I’ll get through the next thirty thousand words without the promise of a happy ending...and don’t ask me what will keep me writing them because the only thing I can really say is that I promised they would always be honest and now all of a sudden, I feel an immense sense of responsibility.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

How B6 Ruined My Life

A week or so ago, I went to see an allergist. We did a scratch test (I am allergic to everything. Confirmed.) and talked about all of the pros and cons of the RUSH Immunotherapy he wants to start me on...and then I asked the questions anyone with a lot of severe, progressive allergies does - what about bees?

He said testing is mostly pointless but suggested, in light of my other insect allergies, i should start taking B6 as a natural bug repellant. So...ya know, I did.

Internet, I haven't been to sleep before 2 AM since that appointment - and I take a strong sleeping pill nightly. Last night I took my sleeping pill (at 5 no less. I should have been walking dead by 8), plus two OTC drowsy allergy meds and STILL didn't get to sleep 'til almost 2.

At first, I thought it was the new allergy scrips, so i stopped taking them. When nothing happened, I was so bugged out from being tired, I thought I might have to kill myself if I didn't sleep soon and then last night - seven hours into wide awake despite every reasonable action to the contrary, I typed "B6 energy" into the search button.

Don't you think he should have mentioned that?

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Friday, May 28, 2010


The universe...It knows.

The big perk in this whole confessional drama was that, until it came time for Mike to graduate, I didn't have to think about it - except the universe KNOWS...

My sister in law decided to get us all together for drinks after work tonight - she's been planning it out all week and she was really looking forward to it so, as much as I wanted to come home and spend the night with some bad tv shows, some knitting and a little bit of silence, I pulled up my big girl pants and went out to the bar anyway.  The first half of the evening was fairly predictable, me and a few girls from work trying to make idle conversation while I was far too sober to find any of them entertaining....and then Melissa showed up and things got a little more interesting.  Not, you know, fun, but oodles more uncomfortable, which is interesting in it's own right, because she walked in with her youngest - her seven month old daughter, in tow.

It took me a few minutes to get through all of the 'you brought your baby to a bar' jokes in my head and, while I was trying to find something that rhymed with 'tacky' i suddenly assumed the roll I always seem to assume when there is a baby nearby - 'oooh! shiny!"  Or, at least, that's how they all seem to respond because after all of the wriggling, reaching and generally throwing themselves in my direction, the parents who don't know me well enough to know that infants can give me full on hives in a matter of seconds hand them off.  I can never really blame them, because if you've got an infant, anything that keeps them from crying and doesn't involve something life threatening probably seems like a good idea but, from my perspective, it's a raw deal.  A raw deal emphasized 100 fold by the two soon-to-be-parents across the table who spent the whole night looking longingly at the squirming kid sitting on the table playing with every plastic coated drink menu in reach and practicing her walking.

I haven't held a baby in almost years.  (I know this, because the last time I was in the proximity of a baby for any extended period of time was when my grandmother had major surgery years ago and the only kid there, screamed the whole time because I wouldn't hold her.)  When you're a teenager and you're holding a baby, people don't have much to say, but the moment you become an adult, the first thing people say is "you're a natural" and then the hives start...  Thankfully, my sister knows just how far I've gone not to have to hang out with an infant twenty-four hours a day, so she didn't have much to say and between baby-hazed couple ad the girl who knows me well enough to know when to laugh either didn't notice or found it distantly funny but I was still aware of that sense of impending pressure.  (What a liar I felt like making faces and getting nervous and uncomfortable while she giggled and tried to hug me every time I talked to her is a matter for another day...)

And to think, I'm fairly immune to social pressures....

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Journey To Motherhood Or, You Know, Not...

Deciding not to have kids is easy when you're a hyper-rational, commitment phobic, genetically screwed girl whose mother thought she should get one of the pricey seats at her brother's birth.  More than ten years later, deciding to question that decision is a lot harder.

I don't know how or when it all started, because, up to now, I never had a problem with facing a life without giving birth to someone who leaves legos on the floor and smokes pot in my bathroom but at some point, that baby smell and the prospect of stitching up a dinosaur costume for halloween - even being the bake sale mom - it all started to sound a lot less bad than it did once upon a time.  Sure, I still have my reservations.  I'm nothing if not a realist, so it's not that I don't expect to beg for death after 72 hours of no sleep or the first time I find a condom in the dresser drawer - it's just that all of that stuff seems, somehow, less important. 

I figured that this feeling - this ridiculous, non-sensical, masochistic feeling - would fade.  I certainly thought it would never stand up a night with my idiot kid brother and yet the impulse doesn't seem to be fading.

Fortunately, I'm far too stubborn to be caught up in a rip-tide of what could be no more than hormones so, frighteningly real though the longing for tiny blankets, strollers, itsy btsy bottles and adorable onesies is, I'm only dealing with it now because I know I'm going to need every second of the two and a half years between now and twenty-seven to prepare. 

I know - I know - "no one is ever prepared," but, ya know what, there's no reason to be less prepared than you absolutely have to be and me, I try never to be unprepared for anything.

Naturally, I was completely unprepared for any of this so what did I do but the only thing I do whenever anything happens or changes or catches my attention - I turned to the internet.  Normally, I just look for someone to talk to but since there are at least a dozen or so words I can't type or say and they're all fairly relevant to having that-the-most-tragic-of-all-conversations, I opted for Plan B (Freud would be proud) and started searching through the thousands of Mommy-Blogs for something different - not a dozen websites about women who struggled with IVF or who always wanted kids but ended up with them a little bit sooner than they'd planned but, instead, for the loan former baby-phobe among them.

It's taken ages and I'm still not sure I've found what I'm looking for - the absolution, the reassurance, the approval - whatever.... Knowing that there's some truth behind the "you'll like your kid," advice people are so ready to dispense, even when you aren't looking for it.... It's comforting.  I'm a long ways off from being anywhere near ready to make that choice, but I'm open to the question, I guess.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

One Day At A Time

There are two thing that everyone should know about depression.  The first thing is that when you start to climb out of it, it isn't all better right away.  The second thing is that the things that happened before - that happened while you were depressed - they're a little...murky. 

All jokes about alcoholism aside, I've fought tooth and nail for most of the growing up I've done.  (Colin, Sean, King, Ian, Andy, Brian... Anyone ringing a bell?)  The last few years have been a bit of a blur, so coming out of it to find that I'm a very different person from who I always was has been...hell, I can't even articulate what it has been because I'm still watching the previews.

A person makes choices.  Every hour of every day, there are choices that have to be made and, to an undeniable extent, these choices define who we become, so how is it possible that so many things that distinguish who we are can change when we're not looking?

Call me crazy, but I think you could certainly call marriage, children and careers the three biggest sticking points in a persons life.  Don't get me wrong, no one knows how littler decisions can alter your course overtime, but those are still the big three.  So what seemingly inconsequential and utterly imperceptible change in the fabric of spacetime occurred that turned me from the Highland Park, Brian and A Bird girl into the Wherever We Land (As Long As It Isn't Alabama,) A Rabbit and A Baby girl.

That's right internet, you just heard things that I still can't verbalize sober.