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(with apologies to the Beatles)

A bloggy friend asked me this morning how I was doing…HONESTLY.  And I honestly said, “I’m doing better.”  And then this afternoon, I fell apart again.  bleah.

I get so very sick of the ups and downs of myself, even though I know that’s normal for everyone.  Especially normal for me, given hormones and coming down with Kelsea’s sore throat, etc.  (Have to get that out of the way before I start work.)

I have a new therapist whom I’ve been seeing for three weeks.  It’s been about a year and a half since I last saw a therapist, and I was really NOT wanting to go, but I couldn’t seem to pull myself out of the depression and knew I needed something more than tears and serotonin.  She really has been a godsend.  Tough on me about facing reality, which is something I don’t always want to do.  I’ve found that I tend to hold onto my dreams, and while I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, sometimes you just have to let some of them go and evolve on their own without you.  That’s a painful process with me this time.  Very painful.

But as I said, she’s helping me teach myself how to rethink things, how to look at the real world without flinching and realize that I am fine – or that I can be fine.  We’ve been using EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), which involves retraining your brain to think differently about past experiences that caused you pain.  It’s complicated, and I don’t quite understand it myself, but it does feel like it’s making a difference.   Even on days like today, when I get on a crying jag, if I put on my iPod and listen to my bilateral sound recordings of thunderstorms, the ocean, and mountain streams that she gave me, I tend to get through the “episode” a little quicker and feeling a little less traumatized than usual.

God, I hate being this weak.  It pisses me off.  But it is what it is.  And it keeps, slowly but surely, getting better.

I think.

My note from the Universe this morning:

“One’s ability to stop kidding themselves is what brings about the greatest breakthroughs, fastest comebacks, and happiest feet.”

I had a disappointing weekend, a couple of drinks last night (which is unusual for me) and called my ex-boyfriend in a state of sadness.  I left a message.  He didn’t call me back.  And now it’s time for me to stop kidding myself.

It’s time for me to stop hoping.

I had hoped we could stay friends.  I had hoped he would come back to me someday – even though I don’t know when someday might be.  I’m starting to get the message that he doesn’t really want contact with me.  He really just wants to be done with me.  It’s not his job to be my friend or make me feel better.

I have no idea why I’m having such a hard time letting go and moving on, but I am.  It’s not as if I’ve never been dumped before.  Maybe I just never loved quite this well before.  I’m doing all the “right” things – eating okay, exercising, trying to see friends, looking for a full-time job, writing, trying to buy a house – all these things that are all pieces of “moving on”.

But I’m stuck.  Stuck like a wheel in mud.  And I’m so unhappy.  Yes, I have good days.  It actually seems that I’ve had more good days than bad days.  But the bad nights, like last night, and the bad days, like today, are still so very bad that I hardly know how to get through them.  One breath at a time – which I reminded myself of as I sobbed into my already-soaked pillow last night.  Of course, I am my own person and I don’t need another to complete me.  But I miss him, and the connection we had.  I was happy in that relationship.  But he wasn’t.  And that makes it wrong.  Both people have to be happy. 

Maybe I need to go back to therapy (ick).  A couple of friends have said it would be good for me now, to work through some past stuff, since I am in a place where I am free and set-up for change.  Yes, maybe they are right.  Maybe I need some help to push through this.  I’ve given it time.  Time isn’t helping.  I’ve been trying to focus on the positive, to forge new dreams.  Still, not helping, not really.

I feel so fucking pitiful.  And I hate that feeling.

Guess I need to give it more time.  In the meantime, I guess the tears will keep flowing.

Since I gave up my therapist last year, I’ve had to serve as my own – often.  At least I have a degree in psychology, and I don’t charge myself $110/hour.

An aside about therapy:

Let me say that therapy can indeed be beneficial, but I do also feel that it’s challenging to find the right therapist.  I believe my therapist helped me during my off and on visits over the years, but when I went on the current therapy hiatus, I felt like I was telling her about my life, but I wasn’t getting anything accomplished, wasn’t solving anything.  Not that I’m sure what I had to solve.  But I kept asking for specific assignments and it never seemed to work out somehow.  Nothing was changing – no, that’s not true, things were changing, I was changing, but it wasn’t therapy that did it.  It was me, and the support I was receiving from those who loved me.

Aside over.

I have continued to think about my experience yesterday with my friend’s opinion on my work, to think about it in the larger context of myself as a person, who I’ve evolved into over all these years. 

Even with the sexual abuse, I stood up for myself for a long time.  I didn’t worry about speaking my mind, or saying I didn’t want to do something.  Or that I did want to do something. I didn’t think that if I declined to do something, my love interest would leave me.  I never expected someone to be that harsh or that shallow.  I didn’t need people so much.  I didn’t need anyone’s approval.  I felt confident in myself, my ambitions, who I was.  I stood up for myself and for other people.  When something was wrong, I called it wrong.  When I knew the right thing, I did the right thing.  No, I wasn’t perfect – far from it.  But there was a quality of strength about me that I loved.  Independence.  Hopefulness.

Now, not so much.

Is it age?  Or is it my 25 years with Pat?  Unfortunately, I suspect the latter.  I was still assertive (though somewhat shy) when I met Pat.  When did I lose it?  When did I start feeling used, cowed, like I wasn’t deserving, smart enough, good enough?  I wish I could remember.  I know it wasn’t always, but I know it was a long time ago.

Now that I am on my own, I catch myself displaying similar feelings in a new relationship.  If I criticize him, he will stop loving me?  If I don’t acquiesce to something he wants, he will get mad at me?  If I want to do things he doesn’t, he won’t give a damn about me?  If I go do things he doesn’t want to, he won’t even care that I’m gone? 

Wow, that’s a sad statement of how my marriage made me feel these past few years.

I don’t suffer from these thoughts constantly or consciously.  They only pop up once in a while.  But they do pop up, and it’s almost automatic.  I guess 25 years of conditioning is still somewhat in play.  I wish it wasn’t.  But it is.  I wish I had the old me back.  Or at least the updated me.  But wish in one hand…

It reminds me of my tendency to drop things and feel like they’ve fallen into another dimension.  I’m working to change that, to remind myself when I put something down absent-mindedly, to look at it, and take the extra 10 seconds to put it in its proper place.  I need a similar awareness of my own automatic responses.  I can do it.  It will only do good things for any relationship I’m in.  And it will be good for me to find myself again.

I’m looking forward to it.

I’m not talking about architecture and domination. 

I’m talking about order and good habits. 

I’ve always viewed myself as being both unstructured and undisciplined.  Kind of a free-flowing ‘gal’.  (Ugh, I hate that word ‘gal’.)  On my way to work this morning, I decided I needed to do a little self-examination to see if this is indeed true – am I more like a flapping flamingo than a steady eagle? 

Let’s take a peek…

I am a confirmed pig.  Of course, I mean pig in the nicest possible way.  I’ve always been quite fond of pigs, and have, in fact, been experiencing a mild yearning for a teacup piglet. 

But back to the point.  I’ve never been what you could call ‘tidy’.  Our house growing up was tidy enough, but cluttered, as my Dad was a saver – one of those people who kept almost everything, because you never knew when it would come in handy.  He stopped short of being a hoarder, but not by much.  I think that was a common characteristic of depression-era children.  I inherited the trait.  E-Bro, on the other hand, inherited my Mom’s less-is-more attitude.  (This woman gave away her wedding dress, for gods sake.)  The clutter in our childhood home made him nuts.  MY room was always a disaster area. 

My Mom eventually stopped hounding me about it, and just kept my door closed.  I’ll admit to some slight embarrassment when our house was burglarized when we were on vacation one year, and it was difficult to tell that they had ransacked my room. 

During college, I lived one summer with a friend who defined himself as a “surface dweller”.  Everything he needed was on the surface, not hidden away in a drawer somewhere.  I was wonderfully comfortable with this approach. 

Once I moved out on my own, things didn’t change.  My little studios would just morph from clean to ground zero over the course of a month.  One day, about once a month, I would walk in my door and see that it was a disaster.  Then I would clean it up.  And become oblivious again, until the next time.

Pat was never the neatest guy, but he had a lot of anal-retentive in him, and so my slob-esque qualities were a source of constant friction between us.

I just have a “what’s next” attitude towards being tidy, which translates to ‘drop the towel and it is gone from my consciousness.’   I don’t like this attitude.  I’ve resolved to change it many times.  I always feel better when my house is clean and tidy and I have less stuff.  But somehow, my resolutions never stick.  Why?  WHY??

Since moving out of Pat’s house, I am definitely better at getting rid of things, but still I can feel the clutter starting to rebuild.  I am NOT powerless to change it.  But somehow it’s not at the forefront of my consciousness.  Mr. GF expressed an attitude the other day that I yearned for.  He said he liked taking care of his things.  That’s exactly what I fuss at Kelsea about, as she seems to display my attitude of  ‘a dropped towel immediately passes into another dimension,’ although fortunately, not my attitude towards saving things. 

I want her to take care of her things.  So why don’t I take care of my own?  Setting that example is the best way to get her to follow it.  And I WANT to be like that.  There’s a sense of peace that comes from lack of clutter and from order, and a positive sense of caretaking that comes from taking care of your things.  As if the things themselves appreciate it.

A larger issue is that this undisciplined attitude spills over into taking care of myself.  I don’t get enough sleep.  I don’t eat right.  I set good exercise goals, but then let them go.  And that’s not what I want to do.  I want my 27-year old body back!  Perhaps that’s unrealistic, but hey, I’m not asking for my 21-year old body back, and I’d settle for my 30-year old body.  But it’s not going to happen by thinking real hard, now is it? 

I feel decidedly better when I take care of myself.  There have been lots of excuses for slacking off – depression, losses, the divorce, the lumps, too much work.   There’s ALWAYS some excuse.  Which means that there should be NO excuse – other than projectile vomiting, because no one really wants that in the weight room.  What is it in me that keeps me from pursuing what I want?  Is it inherent laziness?  I’ve always worked, and have never considered myself to be lazy, but perhaps I am wrong.  Is it fear of success?  Meh.  Don’t think so.  Is it the need for immediate gratification?  Possibly – I may have been turned towards that attitude by our society’s constant emphasis on immediacy.

Having a partner in these kind of things helps.  I have always done better with a workout partner.  I always wanted Pat to help me with housecleaning (didn’t happen).  And now that I am on my own, it gets harder to do it all alone with each passing year.  Kathy and I have talked about walking together when she gets back after the first of the year.  But here’s the problem with that…

I just found out that my job officially ends on February 28th.  Lack of time will no longer be an excuse.  It will be time to stretch my flamingo wings, to see if I can grow pinker and stronger and more orderly, in order to make my life move forward, in order to not just stand in a marsh on one leg, head tucked beneath my wing.

It will be nothing if not interesting.

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