Saturday, January 13, 2018

Leaps of Faith: When Anxiety Makes Change Terrifying

Change is scary.

Transition is difficult.

I always berate myself for getting so thrown by changes in my life. Things that should be a relief, like coming home after being away at school or an internship for a long time can be agonizing as I navigate a surge of emotions and frustrations. I remember I used to get so overwhelmed and emotional when I went back to school after break even though I was happy to be back...I would think about how I was getting closer to graduation and just generally feel overwhelmed at the prospect of being back with friends at my second home.

Last fall, when I moved ten hours from home to an internship, I remember being flooded with overwhelm and emotions as I dumped suitcase after suitcase of my belongings into the converted motel room I would be inhabiting for the next two months. I was still reeling from heartbreak and had only been home for two weeks since my summer intensive internship program -- two weeks that had been filled with tumult over transitioning back to life with my family after a summer of relative independence as well as figuring out what my next step was.

Soon, I'll be moving to another short-term work opportunity in a state even further away. I'm excited but also overwhelmed by the prospect of leaving my family, who have been my bedrock in recent months. I'm stressed about all the obligations I have leading up to my move, which I know will leave me feeling drained. I feel alone, not knowing anyone who I'll be living or working with. I feel nervous about the drive there, especially after my psychiatrist spent most of my med check appointment doling out unsolicited advice about making long trips and subsequently messed up writing my prescription, leaving me with anxiety about my drive and yet another issue (getting the meds I need for the two months) I have to sort out before I leave.

I'm scared. I worry about getting lonely and depressed again once I get there. I worry I won't be able to do my job well. I worry about what I will do after this internship finishes.

But at the end of the day, I think about all the experiences I've gotten to have by stepping - hell, leaping - out of my comfort zone multiple times in the past year. Not all of the experiences were great, but I grew through it all. And I will always remember what my mom said to me when I started to cry when she dropped me off at my internship last summer: "You are supposed to be here because you deserve something more than just sitting around at home."

It's terrifying to push yourself out of your carefully-constructed comfort zone, especially when you struggle with anxiety, stress-induced depression and panic attacks, and are sensitive. But we have to take those leaps so we don't become a prisoner to our demons.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

There's always something better...: When You Don't Feel Like You're What People Want

Lately, my self-worth has taken a real blow.

I just feel like I am not people's cup of tea. I'm not what anybody wants. The facts are staring me in the face everywhere I look -- proof left and right that I am not good enough. Check social media -- people haven't liked my post. Check my phone -- friends haven't responded to my messages. Check my blogs and I am still getting maybe two views a day. It's all about as bleak as this January weather.

There's always a better blog to read. A cool one with glossy photos, sleek design, promotions for products, and constantly-updated social media.

Better music to listen to that's upbeat and slickly produced and well-marketed and has sexy photoshoots.

A friend who doesn't dump all their feelings on you whenever you talk.

A friend who doesn't come off as desperate when you do talk.

A friend who isn't crazy.

A girl you could ask out on a dating site instead of going up to her in person.

A girl who's prettier, has straighter teeth, wasn't raised so conservative, can get wasted, can bang you tonight instead of saying she needs to get to know you better.

A girl who's not so emotional, not so vocal about all the shit she's gone through, not so desperately interested in you that it makes you lose interest.

A girl who's not crazy.

----
I feel like all my relationships are unfulfilling and I feel directionless with what to do with my life and talents. I feel depressed. Again. It never really goes away, does it?

I didn't think I was that bad until last night I was lying on the couch with my mom -- beside my own mother, who loves me dearly -- and I seriously thought about killing myself that night. I just felt like such a nobody and felt so lost, I figured it didn't really make a difference whether I was here or not.

I hate people who try and force you to be positive to deal with things, but ultimately, at times like these, I have to keep faith in my mind, even if I don't feel it in my heart, that there is something better. Not something better to compare myself to to make myself feel bad, but better things in store for the future.

Maybe I will find a beautiful, restful place to live.

Maybe I will find a fulfilling job.

Maybe I will continue to help people by sharing my story.

Maybe one day my hard work and dedication on projects will pay off.

Maybe one day I will find friends who are dedicated, persistent, and loyal.

Maybe one day I will be loved by a man who really cares.

Maybe one day I will be content with who I am and learn to love, accept, and appreciate myself and my accomplishments and hard work to overcome my struggles.

Because real friends and significant others love you no matter how annoying you get or how shitty your life becomes. It breaks their heart to see you suffer as much as it breaks yours, and they want to see your through and support you. Real friends love your crazy.

And life is about learning to accept who you are and what you've done, finding your path. You may never find acceptance, but you can find something better -- fulfillment in doing what you love and loving who you are.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Mindfulness: When your feelings are overwhelming, pause to realize the miracle you are living

I've never liked forcing myself to do stuff.

I hate planners, schedules, exercise, resolutions, etc. So even though I always heard people recommend meditation and mindfulness as good ways to cope with anxiety and depression, I never really wanted to take their advice because I didn't want to force myself to sit quietly and not think about the emotions that were constantly pulsing through me. To not acknowledge my feelings would mean I would be treating my emotions the way everyone else did -- ignoring them.

So when I was reading singer Jewel Kilcher's memoir Never Broken (which is pretty heavy and I would recommend) and she started talking about the importance of mindfulness and taking time to notice your feelings and the things around you, I got frustrated because I didn't want to take her advice, but I knew I should.

Grudgingly, I've been trying it the last couple days. Just for half a minute or so every once in a while. But I have to admit it helps.

I've been balancing feeling surprisingly numb about some things in my life at certain times and powerfully emotional about them at others. I've been continuing the process of grieving relationships where my feelings weren't reciprocated. Two were romantic interests that happened this past year, one was from a couple years ago, but the wound has never really healed properly, and I find that dealing with the rejection from the other two reopens the wound from the third one. I feel stupid that it still bothers me after all this time, but, wow, it really bothers me. I can't seem to heal and let go.

Simultaneously, I also feel exasperated with my friendships. I feel like giving up. I don't want to reach out any more and invest all this effort into things just to end up exhausted and disappointed. I feel like hardening my heart, dropping out, numbing myself to having any feelings at all towards these people because it's just taken too much out of me for so many years to almost always be the one initiating, investing, remembering the date and wishing someone good luck, asking about the guy, sending the letter, blah blah blah. I just want to curl into my hole and hibernate. I wish I could sleep all day. I wish I could just shut the world out so I can't be hurt by it.

With that, I'm starting to feel the fear reemerge that romantic relationships are too difficult, too complex, too risky, too foreign, and I should just avoid them rather than fail. Which is assuming that I even have a choice...They avoid me. I guess a better term is just give up. I feel like I should just stop getting my hopes up and say, "Fuck it. Nobody wants me, so I'm going to stop pouring myself out for people. I would just get hurt anyways, most likely." I'm scared of relationships. I've always been scared. I don't want to fail. I'm afraid of arguing. I'm afraid of making a bad choice. I'm afraid I'll be let down and disappointed. I'm afraid I won't be accepted for who I am.

With all that going through my head, including a renewed reminder of how this man who, gosh, I could have sworn it was turning into love...I can't seem to shake him and it's been six months, so isn't that love? -- well, I don't think he loves me back. In fact, I think he might be falling for someone else, though there was a little while when I talked to him the other night that I sensed something might be different...He was a little more protective, a little more sensitive to what I thought, a little more willing to praise...And tonight, the painting he posted had the caption that strangely echoed one of my one recent posts...I thought there might be a small chance there was hope, and, shit, how my heart glowed...

But, yeah, pretty sure I'm wrong...Jumping to conclusions. As usual. If he was interested, he would have said something by now. Maybe he would start a conversation. Maybe he would ask to meet. Everybody's told me as much. (But a little corner of my heart will hold out hope for a while yet, nonetheless.)

So with all that (getting back to the point), I stepped out of the shower tonight and sat down, eyes closed, deciding to try this mindfulness thing again.

First, I noticed the light, shining brighter on one side of my face than the other. Pinkish as it filtered through my eyelids.

I felt the warmth of my hands against my knees. It struck me how it signified that life was radiating through me. I am pulsing with life constantly, I just don't stop to realize it.

I placed my feet up on the tub and hugged my shins, resting my cheek on my bony knees, letting this revelation sink in:


No matter who rejects me or how little attention I get -- I am alive. I am a force to be reckoned with. It is a gift to have this life, even if it seldom feels that way these days. I often feel like it's a waste that I'm here, but in reality, it's a miracle. For some damn reason, all these cells in me are fighting and working full-time to make sure I stay alive, so I guess I should listen to that.

Something wants me to be here. And even if it's not my friends or these men or sometimes even myself...

It's my body, fighting for me to live and do whatever the hell it is I'm here for.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

This poetry is probably bad but whatever

I can't fix your problems
No matter how bad i want to
Take you in my arms and kiss your face
That stupid smile with the dimples
Make you feel true love, uninhibited by conditions or expectations

But I know that although i hate to admit it,
I do have expectations
Though i would rather call them "hopes"
Hopes that you will realize you need fixing
Hopes you will ditch those friends you get plastered with
Or at least find a new hobby
Hopes that you will change your mind about what you said about commitment
Hopes I could be good enough to be the one to make you change it
But I don't want to be one of those girls who sees a man as a project
I want to love you for who you are
unconditionally.

I wish I could sit by your side a thousand more times and hear you pour out your secrets
I never told you how special i felt to be privy to what you seldom spoke
It was my drug -- light stuff compared to what you've done as I understand, but heavy and heady for a lightweight like me

It killed me when you went silent
I worried for a week whether you were okay but didn't want to push you
I know you hurt the night you opened back up, but it was one of the best nights of my short, stupid life
You let me see that vulnerable side again, but we laughed together as much as we sat in stony silence
You asked me what I thought,
and maybe that made me drunk on power, knowing that for once I was needed
Looking back, I think you just needed someone to talk to
But at the time it was the hit i needed to get hooked on you
And I've been craving it ever since

I've never been high or drunk
Maybe that's why you don't want me -- I'm too naive
But i have my reasons
I'm too anxious and grew up too sheltered
Plus I'm such a wreck sometimes
I'm scared if I started, I might never stop
Kind of like you
But I told you that once, didn't I

Sometimes i wish I'd told you I was worried
Worried you might be coping with things the wrong way
I just wanted to be supportive when you felt like you had failed
Because to me, you will never be a failure
But, shit, how I worry about you.
It eats away at me sometimes,
   wondering if I should have said more,
   imagining what you're up to

All the same...
Shit, I miss you.

It's stupid, knowing you don't care too much about me any more,
But I pray for you sometimes
Since I can't talk to you, I'm not sure what else to do
But love you from afar
And beg a deity to maybe give me a chance to be the one who will change your mind to think of white dresses instead of the white powder that sometimes clouds your mind

Shit, I miss you.
I try to shove those feelings deep down cuz I know its a lost cause
But right now, laying back that night in my head as I curl up in my twin bed, my mind always drifts to what I'd rather be doing with you

It's funny cuz I know
I know right now you're probably fucking her, stupid wasted
But I can't shake you
Not after I've seen your heart naked

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

It's not fair (still): When people let you down but you can't bring yourself to let them down.

I am frustrated.

Again.

Because when my friend texted me this morning, ranting in all caps that he had found out his former best friend was getting married through a friend who saw on social media, I knew I had to write back. I couldn't ignore someone in so much pain. I automatically remembered the betrayal I had felt in similar situations, the way some people remember where the keys on the piano after not sitting at the bench for ten years, the way others' feet start running every time they slip those worn out sneakers on and step out the front door onto the pavement. Muscle memory, only with emotions.

I could feel a tiny bit of that burning pain I knew must be searing my friend's soul that morning, like hearing the crack of thunder far in the distance and anticipating the familiar roll of thunder and patter of rain that you know will soon engulf your little corner of the world. Even if it's the first storm of the summer, and you'd almost forgotten about the pesky things, you remember what a thunderstorm is like because for years you've sat through them. It's sort of the same with chronic emotional hurt. You've been through it so many times that when someone says it's happening to them, you know exactly what they mean. And you know how much it sucks. And you know it can't be put into words. And you know that there's nothing you can say to make it better. All you can do is try.

It's frustrating not to know what to say, but it's worse to say nothing.

So I said I was sorry. I said it sucked. That people suck. That it was wrong.

I was mad though, because I had messaged him a week or so ago with a long word vomit about how I was struggling, with no reply. Normally this is a friend I can be honest with and expect support and understanding. I was tempted not to reply to his message, but I couldn't be that person. I know the pain too well.

All the same, I've been falling back into blue lately, having one dark cafe day after another, feeling that familiar blankness softly cover my mind with a numbness like snow falling silently on a dark street, quietly changing the landscape, flake by flake, until suddenly you wake and look out and your entire landscape has changed. Others look out and see a winter wonderland - maybe a day off work or school, a romp making snowmen and angels - but you just see grey. As far as the eye can see - color stifled, the senses muffled in earmuffs and thick layers, isolation enforced, the world shut down temporarily.

I hate that feeling. It makes me so scared.

Scared it's all going to go down to that deepest, darkest place I've been where I couldn't handle to pain and nobody could help me carry it. Before that awful year, I started feeling blue this very same time of year. It came on quietly, slowly, just as it is now.

Now that it's happening again, I feel afraid it will spiral out of control again.

I feel afraid I will not know how to push through it.

I feel mad because it keeps happening.

I feel mad because it's unfair some people can just be happy. 

I feel alone because I'm afraid to keep reaching out to talk or asking for help because I just don't know who cares any more.

I feel alone because I know he is not the right man and he will not love me. He does not love me the way I deserve.

I feel mad because it's not fair that I give to others and others rarely give back to me. Sometimes they even take.

I'm mad because I love and he doesn't and I end up getting hurt. I keep being the one who gets hurt while he goes on with his life, semi-oblivious.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Love kind of sucks. (But I'm still obsessed with it.)

It's unbelievably hard to be disappointed in relationships. It's hard to put yourself out there emotionally, to make yourself vulnerable, to risk getting hurt or being rejected or being embarrassed...and then to have the risks you took be disregarded. I can't imagine how much it hurts to be turned down or broken up with. It's easy to downplay the pain of having things just...not work. But it hurts.

It hurts to get your hopes up and keep trying to get to know a person, but then it slowly becomes clear that you're the only one doing the work in the relationship. It hurts to get up the guts to ask someone out, have things go well, in your eyes, and then have them respond with ambivalence when you suggest you meet up again. It's frustrating to always be the one starting the conversations; are they busy or are they sick of you?

I'm sick of seeing pictures of him going out with friends, over-indulging like he's still in college, while I suffer from this wraith-like illness. I've let him know I've hurting. Maybe not in so many words, but he knows I struggle. But even though I put aside everything to be there for him when he needed me, I find him strangely absent all these times I need him. He's rather ghost-like himself in his interactions with me. I guess sometimes I'm a fun distraction if he wants to procrastinate. But he has other friends. And he must have other distractions, because every time he makes me a promise, it never seems to get fulfilled. I always tell myself he's just busy. I always secretly hope he might actually send me that thank you email. Might let me know he appreciated my listening, that he considers me a friend. I just want to know where I stand with him. And I want to know I'm wanted. It's selfish, it's stupid. I guess if he considered me a friend, he would treat me like one.

----

I don’t know why I keep forgiving you, after all the times you’ve let me down. Hurt me. Disappointed me. All the times you’ve gone out getting drunk and fucking around with your friends while I’m at home crying my eyes out on the phone over you. I know I’m stupid for giving you every second chance I did, but you’re even more stupid for never appreciating me, for letting my go without a fight. I was there for you when you needed me, and where are you now? You’ve known how bad things have been, I’ve never made it a secret. So where are you now? And why didn’t I think you would be my friend, much less my lover?

I'm stupid, but so are you, my beautiful one, so are you. You will always hold a piece of my heart, and you will never take good care of it, unlike the rest of your antiques. 

And I will be the one who hurts.

Not you. Because you never cry after all, just like you once told me. 

You said you almost cried when you talked to her. Sometimes I'm jealous of her. I know I shouldn't be, but I am sometimes. 

Fuck you for the way you've fucked with me.

I know I should hate you, but I can't seem to kill these other feelings. Yet I can't bring myself to call them love either.

I know I probably dodged a bullet in all this - we wouldn't work, would we? But it really kills me sometimes. I loved every minute I was with you, even the awful ones. I feel your absence after all these months. I miss your conversation -- I ache for it. I don't know if you would laugh at all of this and show it to your friends, or if you would get really silent the way and shut the world out you do when you know you've fucked up with someone you know matters. 

I wish I knew how you felt about me, regardless of whether we should or could be together.

I wish you wouldn't shut me out.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Friends kind of suck.

"Now I'm fucking lonely / and you didn't want me / trying to show me / that you didn't own me / but all you do is leave me / fucking lonely / knees on the concrete / got up I'm bleeding / for no goddamn reason / but all you do is leave me fucking lonely / leave me fucking lonely"  - "Lonely" by Demi Lovato
I wrote in another post about how I met up with an old friend from the first college I attended. We hadn't seen each other in two years, since I had left our alma mater because of the severity of my depression at the time. My friend spent quite a bit of time catching me up on the drama that had gone on in her little friend group from our alma mater since I had been gone. The awkward part of this, of course, is that I was friends with all of the members of this friend group. For some reason they bonded with each other and I never made it onto the wagon, even though I would hang out with them occasionally (when they deigned to invite me) and was friends with all of them individually. During my last year at the school, they would have hang out and go on road trips together, and, as I found out in the course of my conversation this September, have secret meetings and trips off campus I wasn't even aware of.

Anyways, I kept in some touch (or at least attempted to) with some of this group since I left that school, and I had caught wind of some troubles in paradise, but I was never entirely sure what was going on. My friend decided to dish on everything, and I was a bit surprised about all the drama, a bit taken aback that so much went on without my knowing. I was most shocked by all the difficulties they apparently went through during the school year after I left, pretty much none of which I was told about. My friend talked about how much they had struggled, how hard it had been, how much they had had to rely on each other, etc.

I nodded empathetically, I even felt guilty about being so absorbed in my own struggle with depression at the same time they were struggling. I started to question whether my struggle was special or even a valid complaint at all. She never acknowledged what I had gone through or that she had excluded me, even though I had in recent months expressed to her my pain over those things. Beyond that, it felt like she was rubbing in my face how close she and her two friends (also my friends) were, and what great friends they were.

I'm thinking of all this again today - I'd much rather be moving on with my life - because this friend was going through one of her besties' photos on social media and commenting on all of them, I'm assuming to cheer the friend up and show her appreciation for her. I honestly, as shallow as it might be, felt a bit jealous, a bit angry...I've tried to hard over the past three years that I've known this woman to be a supportive, loving, encouraging friend. I've tried to open up, I've listened when she broke down, I've listened when she raved about friends she loved, I've kept in touch since we moved to different areas...I don't honestly know what more I could've done to be a better friend. But for some reason I'm not good enough to be her best friend.

If at any time during this difficult time that she and her friends went through, any of them had turned to me for comfort, I would have provided it, no matter how much I myself was struggling. My friend acted like they only had each other and talked about how much closer they got relying on each other, and I felt even more excluded. I don't know why I couldn't have been included in the group after one of their members betrayed them. I don't know why they're issues were so all-encompassing that they it kept them from checking in on me after I left school because of my mental health issues.

I know this all sounds petty, it's just that it feels like this same shit keeps happening to me over and over in different incarnations. If it's not these friends, it's another set. If it's not a friend, it's a guy I like, who I go out of my way to express interest in, support, compliment, etc., and receive lukewarm "thanks" - if even that - in response.

I've been talking about the concept of anger with my therapist in recent weeks, how it's an emotion we tend to marginalize because it's socially frowned upon, especially in women. Coming from a religious background, I know often anger is condemned as immoral, but there is legitimate anger; Jesus yelled at the moneychangers and overturned their tables. It can be a serious problem that oftentimes we push that anger down; it poisons us, it spreads, it festers. It never gets dealt with or solved.

It's okay to allow ourselves to space for anger in our heart, to acknowledge that we are hurt and mad. There are completely valid reasons to be mad sometimes. Acknowledging that anger and getting it out, whether by telling a trusted friend or therapist about it, writing it down, painting it, exercising, screaming into a pillow, or whatever. Tear their photo up, throw your shirt across the room, shout "Fuck you" aloud when you're alone...there are non-destructive ways to expel some of that frustration and experience catharsis.

Pardon my French...but I think it needs to be said:

Fuck my crappy friends. Fuck the guys who haven't seen the good woman in front of them; one day I'll find someone who sees I will love them (and fuck them) like nobody else could. Fuck this hurt I've been carrying around all these years. Fuck this inferiority I've developed because of internalizing that I don't seem to be any of my friends' priority. Fuck social media and likes and feeling like only whatever the popular girls are after you graduate college can post pictures of their new dresses - you're not cool enough for that. I'm over seeking external validation for the good or bad I go through.

I hurt that year that my friends did. I was fucking dying inside. Nobody will ever take that way from me. That changed me. I will never be the same as I was before that year, and I don't feel the same as most people my age because of it. And if you were my friend and couldn't even send a fucking email to respond to my announcement that I wasn't coming back to school because I was that fucking depressed, you should just reevaluate yourself as a person.

Nobody can ever take away the accomplishments you've fought for or the shit you've fought through. If people don't acknowledge that you struggled, that doesn't mean it didn't hurt. If people don't applaud your hard work, it doesn't mean you shouldn't be proud. If people ignore you, it doesn't mean you're not worth knowing any more than nobody photographing a sunset means that it wasn't an absolutely magnificent thing that happened to the world. It just means the world was too dumb and preoccupied not to stop and appreciate the beauty right in front of them.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Feeling stupid, part 100000: When pursuing love goes down in flames.

I've been feeling pretty not-depressed for a little under a month. It's been weird, but nice. It's hard to wrap my head around not feeling like a ton of bricks is weighing on me all the time. But it's been freeing to not feel shrouded in darkness and weighed down by some unknown, unshakable force. I've felt so much stronger and then things started going well in my life, too.

And then yesterday happened.

Yesterday was great until about 11:15pm.

You know the saying, "When it rains, it pours"? Well, it was pouring good things for once in my life. I found out I had been offered an internship I really wanted and my paper had been accepted into my alma mater's academic journal. I received another delightful email in an enjoyable correspondence I've been having with someone who works in my field who had been giving me advice about grad schools and careers as well as reminiscing about her time in two of the same internship programs I've been in this past year. I also started up conversations with two guys....

I guess a lot has happened during my unofficial hiatus from here. But to put things briefly -- I pursued a relationship with the man I developed very strong feelings for this summer, only to receive an apathetic response, so I decided to put the relationship on hold indefinitely. As of yesterday, I hadn't, apart from a brief exchange, talked to him for a little over two months. Two months. It was hard at first, but a series of events made me feel like it was time to let go. At first I was just going to be silent for a couple weeks, but then I became afraid to talk to him again. That anxiety continued up until recently, but overall it was gradually more and more freeing to know I had put myself first and disentangled myself from a relationship that was bringing me more hurt than happiness. I felt free and independent as I traveled alone and focused on myself.

As I moved on from Man #1, a guy who I was working with started to catch my eye, but I felt really shy around him and never got much opportunity to talk to him. So I eventually resigned myself to fate and gave up on the prospect of getting to know him. Lo and behold, my last week there, I interacted with him more and more. Then one of my last few days, I decided to woman up and approach him and have a full conversation with him. I promised to say bye before I left, so my last day, I walked through the museum and found him. Thankfully, nobody was around so we could talk relatively uninterrupted again. I kept hanging around awkwardly, secretly pleading inside that he would ask me out. Then at one point he asked when I was leaving for home, and I answered tomorrow, but then added that I was free tonight. Long story short, we ended up going on a date - my first ever date! - my very last night in town. It was lovely, I felt at ease until I got home and my anxiety set in, he was wonderful. But it was inconclusive where things would go, and I was headed to a state 10 hours away.

Anyways, I've been telling people how much better Man #2 fits me than Man #1, all the while secretly worrying over the fact that my feelings for Man #1 sparked much quicker and burned much brighter than they were doing with Man #2. I felt afraid that my feelings for Man #1 could never be eclipsed by another guy, that I would be emotionally unfaithful and distracted from anyone else that might come along. I felt guilty for asking Man #2 out when I knew that I would be leaving, yet I also felt pretty kick-ass and excited that I had taken control of my love life. But ultimately, that gave way to my typical angst over being seemingly the only one in the relationship who was really invested in the relationship.

I was thrilled at the good news yesterday, and even more excited at the two conversations pinging on my phone throughout the evening and into the night. I agonized over the meaning of messages received and spent minutes revising and rewording replies. I felt vaguely aware of how fleeting this high would be, and guilty for the fact that I was being giddy and distracted from my family, on my phone with boys. Then I realized that that's what normal young people do. All the same, the high did crash...Conversation with Man #1 tapered off, and I told myself it was fine; I needed to let it go when it lost steam because before I would annoy him by talking too long. Conversation with Man #2 went on longer, but I sensed he was getting weary of it. I wrote something, got no response, felt embarrassed, and freaked out and wrote a long note apologizing and saying it was good to talk and I hoped we could reconnect if I returned to his area. He replied amiably, but with an answer I read as very passive about whether or not we got together, like he could care less.

I called my only friend who stays up past midnight, knowing I needed to talk to somebody or I would overthink myself into a tailspin. I distracted myself, yammering away, and my friend reminded me that the guy might not feel as excited about the relationship as I was if he was looking at things pragmatically, in terms of me being far away. I still felt crushed and deflated. Tonight, I frankly feel stupid. Stupid for chasing yet another guy. Stupid for being a hopeless romantic again, thinking we could work it out in spite of the distance, letting myself make my decisions based on the hope that I might get to see him again if I took a job here or there. My other friend told me almost the exact same thing that she said about Man #1 - he was too far away and it was too early on to do long-distance (even though I was about to move only an hour and a half away from him and I ended up driving an hour or more regularly on the weekends to go and visit places.) So then I felt like even more of an idiot.

We're not stupid if we pursue relationships. We are hopeful. We are adventurous. I am driven, I am independent, I am courageous, in my own little way. I went after what I wanted and put myself out there, which is more than these guys can say. I have always wanted to walk the road less traveled, and I will continue to blaze my own damn path. People who have it figured out, who have their career laid out and their boyfriend in their back pocket can judge my choices all they want, but dammit I'm just trying to figure it out without an instruction manual. I'm trying to push myself every day to be a little less shy, a little more bold, a little more true to myself, and a little more confident in my own abilities. I'm constantly trying to create and add to the world and let people know I care. Maybe I'll leave some tiny legacy behind. Just maybe.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Dumb.

I can't sleep. I'm tossing and turning, the way my mind has been going back and forth these last few weeks since I left him.

I hate this job. I hate this state of unknowing. I want to go home but I also want to stay so I can experience more up here before I have to go back to my normal place.

I finally was able to see a therapist yesterday. I was so excited because I've been wanting more and more to work on these doubts and hurts that have been plaguing me, to work through this relationship that has been consuming my thoughts.

The woman hit me with a barrage of questions about where I was working and living and what career I wanted to pursue and whether that was really my passion. I tried to patiently answer them, understanding she probably wants to get a sense of where I am in life. But I was frustrated because this was not what I wanted to talk about, and I tried to broadcast that but she wasn't seeming to pick up on that. I missed my old therapist who I just clicked with and who got me, which made me miss this man who I just clicked with and who was so perceptive of my needs.

I finally told her I was here mainly because of a relationship I had developed over the summer months that meant a lot to me but was now kind of stuck. She just told me that I needed to ask him if he had any time free to hang out and leave it in his hands and if he said he was busy, I probably needed to move on and focus on my own life. I nodded but explained that I was confused because he had said he was too busy once to see me and then another time he had come up to the area right next to me and not offered to get together. It made me question whether he wanted to get together.

Eventually she told me that I needed to focus on clarifying my own direction in life and my own needs and working on my self-esteem, and once I did that, I would find the right person. I told her that a lot of people had told me that. She laughed. I wanted to scream. If I had a dollar for every time I had gotten that bullshit advice...

For one thing, I hate being told I need to focus on myself and work on my self-esteem. Don't just assume that because I want a boyfriend, that means I don't have good self-worth. I like myself. I also like other people. The two aren't mutually exclusive. Also, both these concepts of "focusing on yourself" and "self-esteem" are so nebulous, I don't really even know what they mean. I feel like a lot of mediocre and bad therapy can rely on these sorts of catch phrases. My session ended with an exhortation to, "Live in the present moment." As my mom said, "What if the present moment sucks?"

I recognize I'm driving myself crazy worrying about this guy. I also recognize that I hate the place that I am in in life right now, but I don't know whether it's worth staying or not. I realize I probably just need to bite the bullet and ask this guy whether he wants to get together or really isn't interested. I need to let go, but my fingers are clenched so tightly around this....I don't know how to move this forward and I hate trying to have to read his mind. I guess if he were interested, I wouldn't have to. But I just really want things to work for once. And I realize that once you find someone who made you so happy in the present moment, it's stupid to let them go without a fight.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Proud.

'Cause you brought the flames and you put me through hell
I had to learn how to fight for myself
And we both know all the truth I could tell
I'll just say this is "I wish you farewell"
I hope you're somewhere prayin', prayin'
I hope your soul is changin', changin'
I hope you find your peace
Falling on your knees, prayin'
I'm proud of who I am
No more monsters, I can breathe again
And you said that I was done
Well, you were wrong and now the best is yet to come
'Cause I can make it on my own
And I don't need you, I found a strength I've never known
                  - Kesha, "Praying"


I'm proud of who I am.

The last couple days - probably longer than that - I've struggled with self-doubt as I've revisited my past. I met up with an old friend from the first college I attended yesterday. We had some great conversations about faith and our disillusionment with the Evangelical Christian culture and our evolving understanding of religion. It was nice to talk about things that have been on my mind for a long time but who I haven't really had much opportunity to discuss with someone who's on a similar page.

But on a certain level, I left wanting something I couldn't quite identify. I realized that on a certain level, our conversation had left me feeling bad about myself. My friend seemed so confident and self-assured. She knows how many kids she wants. She knows what kind of man she wants. She's comfortable without a man. She seemed to maybe even be judging me for being hung up on the man that I am. She has a fervent faith and prays and goes to church and has strong views on political issues. I just felt like a bit of a mess.

I don't know where I'm going. I've probably said this before, but I'm afraid to plan my life out any more and I constantly flip-flop about what career I should pursue. I don't know whether I want kids. I know I get hung up on guys who don't like me back. I know I'm messy. I know I overshare. I know I'm not entirely sure what my faith looks like. I know I like to push the boundaries of the straight and narrow but I also am a square compared to most of the world. I know I shouldn't be writing all my feelings on the Internet. I know I don't know how to pursue the man I want and I've probably made a mistake in pursuing him as much as I have. I know I should probably find a church. I should know where I stand on all the issues. I should be passionate about more than mental health advocacy because that's not what's in vogue to care about.

But I kind of like me anyways. If I overshare, it's because I'm trying to be vulnerable to help other people who are going through something difficult but maybe are afraid to say something. If I love people who don't love me back, at least I love without expecting something in return. I hope I'm honest and that I let people know how much I care. I know it doesn't come as easily to everyone as it does to me, but it's nice to know you're appreciated, especially after you have expressed admiration for somebody else.

I guess I'm frustrated because I invested a lot into this friendship but never felt like that was completely reciprocated, especially after I left that school and we were geographically separated. I had to stop talking to her for a time because I was so emotionally drained getting angry at how she wouldn't acknowledge my feelings or share about herself and be honest about her own life. All of a sudden, in the last couple months she was suddenly interested in being friends again. It was nice to meet, but I felt a bit incensed that after she didn't prioritize our relationship, she could make me feel bad about myself. If anyone should feel bad, it's her for not appreciating my friendship and for never apologizing for never (as far as I recall) checking up on me when I was fighting depression after I left school.

You don't have to have it together or pretend you don't. Who even likes being around someone like that. Maybe it's my personality, but my favorite moments I've had with people have been when they let the pretenses drop and they were goofy and weird or honest and raw. It's easy to feel inferior to people who don't appreciate the love or friendship we extend them because that means they have the power to reject us and a reason to not want us.

But tonight I'm listening to a song I wrote about the guy I liked my junior year who I always kind of wish things had worked out with, and I'm proud of myself. Even if nobody wants to listen, I created that song, and it is a masterwork to me in that it perfectly encapsulates how I felt in the period that I wrote it; it is a monument to a heartache that has haunted me the past three years of my life. It bring a tiny bit of healing to me whenever I sing it. I created something beautiful out of shit. I keep doing that.

People may never apologize for the way they've let me down or even outright hurt me, but I choose to let go because I don't want to hurt myself any more.