Revisiting the Past: Oh, Wait. Still Painful.

September 29, 2013 § Leave a comment

My cousin told me that part of being depressed is not being able to let go of the past, and that the only way to let go is to revisit those memories and look at them differently, see the situation from outside perspective to understand why things unfolded the way they did. This is part of “true forgiveness” which requires you to forgive yourself and to forgive the people who hurt you, so that you can let go of the pain of those memories and see them for what they were: yet another example of how humans make mistakes. It absolutely makes sense. 

I actually came to a similar thought on my own over the past year and have forgiven myself for the terrible things I did when I first moved back to Alabama. Today I tried to go back further, to go back to the times that really hurt me, to try to approach them from a third-person perspective, to separate myself from the pain and see those events differently so that I can forgive those involved, myself included, and let go. 

All that resulted from that exercise was me reliving some of my worst memories and feeling the pain of them all over again and all at once. Through the pain, I saw a pattern and a lightbulb went off. I’ll explain. 

No one wanted to date me in high school. Some guys seemed to toy with the idea, flirting with me for a while, but then they realized I was a mess and moved on. In high school, I was very morbid and very obsessed with the idea of mortality, consumed by the grief that accompanies the realization that everyone you know and everything you see, touch, and make, will be gone one day. Essentially, I was grappling with the fact that everything is nothing and nothing is absolutely everything. I cried a lot and made art. Not really “datable.” My dad used to tell me, “Alex, you’re not the woman someone wants to date. You’re the kind of woman someone wants to marry.” Even in retrospect, I think that’s a hell of a good line to tell your daughter as she’s crying because the boy she thought she was in love with (I wasn’t, by the way) starting dating her tall, skinny, blonde best friend who didn’t spend most of her time moping around because she couldn’t get over the fact that everyone dies. Can you blame him? 

So I went to college and accepted the first guy who gave me any kind of attention. My first sexual experience was with that guy, a complete stranger, and I was really too drunk to remember most of it anyway. That guy then made it clear to me that I could only see him if we were going to have sex, which I agreed to, but after a month or so he dumped me. I was friends with the guy who lived next door to his dorm room, a guy who I was studying with one day, knowing that my ex-boyfriend (can that word even be applied to him?) was just beyond that concrete wall. One minute, I was sitting on the floor studying for a religion exam and the next minute my friend was on top of me, pinning me to the ground. My dad trained me for a situation like that, so I fought back like hell, even when he told me he would hurt me if I didn’t stop struggling. I thought “What could he do? His hands are too busy holding me down, he can’t do anything to me.” but then he bit my face. Twice. And I froze, only able to scream for help and for him to get off of me, which I did. Thompson was just next door. I know how thin those walls are, I know he heard me. He didn’t care. No one cared. My “friend’s” roommate even came in, and when I asked him for help, he just turned around to his computer, completely ignoring me and mumbling something about how people should lock doors. I had rug burns on the backs of my hands, bruises on my wrists, and bite marks on my face, but no one helped me. I was a girl in a guys dorm. I should have known better, right?

That began a fairly self-destructive year of very bad, dangerous, degrading decisions. During one of those spirals, (when one of his friends was cheating on his girlfriend with me; I didn’t know about the girlfriend at the time) I met Alec and things began to change. 

Alec was dating someone else at the time, but he befriended me and we talked every day despite him being in another state. He talked me through these spirals, trying to convince me that I deserved better treatment and that I was worth more than that. I stopped spiraling, starting hanging out with Alec over the summer, and then by the end of the summer, we were hooking up. It wasn’t until the very end of the summer that I realized he still had a girlfriend and hadn’t broken up with her like I assumed he had before he started hooking up with me (anyone who knows Alec can understand why I would be shocked that he would cheat on anyone, because he’s just not that type of person). So I “cheated” on Alec, he didn’t talk to me for a month, then we got back “together,” and then Alec “cheated” on me with his girlfriend. All the while I was hooking up with Alec, photographs of he and his girlfriend stared back at me from his dorm room and his bedroom at his mother’s house. I remember a distinct moment, when we were cuddled in bed together, and I was gearing up to ask him something so my heart was pounding out of my chest. I asked him, “Why am I worth crippling your relationship but not ending it?” and in true Alec style, he waited a long time before answering, “I don’t know.” 

By now you’re probably thinking I’m a terrible monster for continuing to be with a man who has a girlfriend, but Alec was my first love. I felt like I couldn’t breathe without him. Every second I was with him, it felt like my life was on fire. First loves are like that, they make you crazy and occasionally very destructive. There are a lot of details that I don’t know about. I know his girlfriend knew about me fairly early on. I know that they were in some kind of open relationship that I didn’t understand. I know that there were lies from her end. Anyway. Maybe I am a monster, but I did it out of love. 

Once they broke up, the pictures of her remained and when I pitched a fit about it after a few weeks, Alec made it clear to me that the breakup wasn’t easy despite him having me in his life now. We eventually moved past it, he took her photos down, but he never once printed out a photo of me in the five years we were together. She may have put those photos up, and he just never took them down (which sounds like him), but I’ll never know. All I know is he convinced me I was worth more than how the other guys treated me, but then he went and did the same thing. As the years went on, we had sex less and less, and even though I told him I loved him on rare occasions, the one and only time he said it to me, he later admitted was a lie. 

So when we broke up, when I left Alec because I didn’t feel like I mattered or that he really wanted me, I went a bit crazy when I moved home and fell back into my spirals of self-destruction in the same way I did freshman year of college. Once again, a guy cheated on his girlfriend with me, and when they broke up, he still didn’t want to date me, he just wanted the “fun” parts. Another guy only wanted me when his semi-girlfriend wasn’t in town. 

And people wonder why I have intimacy issues? People wonder why I have self-worth issues? Well it’s all right there, folks, though I left out most of the gritty details. 

It was stupid of me to think I was ready to revisit those memories, to think that I could see them objectively, to think that I was anywhere near strong enough to separate the memories from the intense pain they cause me. 

Looking at these memories together, I see the pattern. I see why I’m alone now and why I’ll likely be alone for the rest of my life. I’m not “broken” because I suffer from depression, I’m broken because this is what I’ve done to myself, or what I’ve let be done to me. When you see everything lined up like that, it all makes a lot more sense. 

And I will always be broken, because I will never be able to let go of the pain of those memories. 

I will never be able to forgive those guys for treating me like that. 

I will never see their side of things. 

I will never let go. 

And because of that, I will always be broken. 

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When Taking This Product, Avoid Alcoholic Drinks

September 29, 2013 § Leave a comment

This may be a somewhat nonsensical post because I’ve been drinking and just took a sleeping pill that says I should avoid taking with alcoholic drinks, but bear with me.

I think I need to start avoiding alcohol. Earlier today I seriously considered jumping off a bridge that I walked past on the way to a dog walking job. I debated things like how deep the water was and if the height of the fall was enough to kill me or just enough to break my legs and leave me in pain with constant aid and supervision for the next few years of my life. 

Later, on my way home, I realized, almost with a laugh, that I’ve never written a suicide note. That thought has never even crossed my mind. I think that’s what people do when they kill themselves out of anger or revenge, when their suicide is directed at other people. I don’t have to write a letter because the people who know me best know my suicide would have nothing to do with them. They would know I hung on this long because of them, not in spite of them. 

My cousin and I have been sharing a lot lately, about our depression, how to deal with it, how it’s sabotaged our relationships. I feel like I’m in a somewhat unwinnable situation because I know how it feels to be depressed but I also know how it feels to watch someone else be depressed. My cousin is ready to try medication, to see if his problem is chemical instead of genuinely emotional. I’m afraid to try meds. I’ve watched dad go on a roller coaster with medications: when they would work, then they wouldn’t work, when they worked but he went off of them… I don’t know how my mom and brother fared, but speaking from my experience, I feel like my dad took a lot of his own issues out on me, whether it was just because of the meds, I’ll never know. I don’t want to go on that roller coaster ride, I don’t want to hit those highs and lows that dad did. 

But I don’t want people to feel what I felt either. I don’t want people that I love to suffer because I’m suffering, either because I take it out on them or because I burden them with my mental health issues. It’s a huge burden to tell someone that you’re broken, even worse to tell them that they can’t help you. The only thing worse than hurting someone you love is putting them in a position where they can only watch you be in pain, where they can’t help you. When I moved home last year, my dad was suicidally depressed and so far gone that it was incredibly painful for those around him, myself included, to know he was in so much pain but not to be able to help him. It’s infuriating to feel so helpless. It’s agonizing. 

You should share the truest parts of yourself with the person you’re in love with, with the person you’re in a serious relationship. But what do you do when the truest parts of yourself are the parts that are broken, the parts that come with an “unfixable” label? The parts that say “You’ll never be able to make me happy because I am broken.” You are burdening them unnecessarily, you’re putting them into a painful, frustrating situation unfairly. They can’t help you so you’re better off not telling them. You should never cause the person you love pain, not if you can help it. 

So what do I do? I’m alone now, which is dangerous because I don’t have the supervision to keep me from hurting myself. I tried counseling and found it as exhausting and artificial as it was completely useless. I’m afraid to try medication because I’ve seen my dad try it for 15 years with terrifyingly varied results. I know he thinks these new meds are the cure, but I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop. What can I do? What options do I have left? 

My cousin says there is hope in the moments of happiness we’ve experienced. I can feel that hope when I’m in an okay place, but as soon as things get dark, all hope is extinguished. He send me a youtube video of a young man speaking about depression that I found very moving, but as I’ve processed it, I’m not sure he offered any answers. I can’t tell people I’m suicidally depressed every so often, I can’t tell them that despite my great parents and the life I’ve enjoyed as an over-achiever, that I still feel worthless and unlovable and like damaged goods. I can’t tell my new intern friends that I just stood on the edge of a bridge and was seriously considering jumping. 

I wish I’d never told Alec and Mark about being depressed. It put them in a very unfair position, forcing them on the outside of a situation where they could only watch me be in pain but couldn’t interfere, couldn’t help. It was unfair to involve them in the first place, as a depressed person can never really truly make someone else happy. We can’t engage like normal people, we can’t feel the same level of connection and intimacy. Part of us will always be locked away in that dark place. 

I don’t know how to fix it. I don’t know how to go about seeking treatment when I feel so convinced from the outset that the treatments will fail. I can’t forgive myself for letting people love me when I knew going in that I was broken. I can’t forgive myself for telling those people that I was broken, for basically telling them they could never make me happy because I’m incapable of being happy. My cousin says two things are hugely important — true apology and true forgiveness — but as sorry as I am for ever causing anyone I love pain, I will never be able to forgive myself. True forgiveness is unattainable. He says that’s part of being a depressive and I’m sure he’s right. Doesn’t matter, I still can’t fix it. 

I’m afraid to fix it. My reality is based in being depressed. I’ve been depressed since high school, maybe even before. I’ve gotten increasingly self-destructive. I’ve increasingly lashed out at the people who love me. What do I know about being happy, much less making anyone else happy? My world is dark and I’m used to that, I’m comfortable with that. Fear of the unknown has been a source of paralysis throughout the history of humanity. I am afraid to be happy. I’m afraid to seek treatment. I’m afraid of what will happen if I try to pick up the pieces, if I try to get better. I can’t decide if I’m more afraid of failure than I am of success. 

For now, I’m in the dark and in the dark I will stay. 

Side Effects

September 26, 2013 § Leave a comment

Apparently there are side effects that come with my 8 hours of solid sleep filled with the occasional warm and cuddly dream. My well-rested mind has decided to let all the memories of Alec and Mark come bubbling back to the surface, despite my usual staunch resistance and attempts to forget. 

I wasn’t the right girl for them, but good god, they are two great guys. Incredibly kind, affectionate in their own way, and for some strange reason I will never understand, they stuck by me.

Alec and I broke up once, after about a year of dating, because our phones dropped a call when we were fighting and we both assumed the other had rudely hung up so neither of us called the other back. That was the only time he ever seemed like he wanted to leave me. In five years, through quite a few fights and arguments and days of cold shoulders from me, Alec never faltered. 

Mark was the same way. We had a little hiccup in the very beginning where he second-guessed dating me, but that was the only time. When I saw our huge blow ups as breakups, he just saw them as something to work through, something we would move past. He always took me back, was always there waiting for me to turn around. 

I have been unbelievably lucky to have these two wonderful men in my life, two wonderful men who loved me despite my long list of faults, my many buckets of crazy, my readiness to head for the door at the first sign of trouble. All the memories that have been flooding my mind last night and today have been happy but painful, so I’ve been crying a lot when I’m alone. It’s nice to remember those moments when I knew I loved them and when I knew they loved me. But it’s incredibly painful knowing that’s lost, that those moments will stay in the past, that I was the wrong girl for them. 

My biggest worry is that they’ll both end up alone, that somehow being with me has marked them for bachelorhood, like I tainted them or ruined women for them or broke them or something. I just want them to be happy. I want like hell for them to be happy. I couldn’t make them happy, but they fucking deserve for someone to. I don’t know who I worry more about, Mark or Alec, but I know them both, I know their souls. They deserve to be happy.

I hope I never lose these memories. It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. Painful as hell, but so true.

Good Times, No Really

September 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

I’ve been accused of only making blog posts when things are bad, so I’ve been trying to update this blog with good times for the last week or so but I’ve been too busy to find time to do it. Well, I’m making some time. 

Things have been GREAT lately. The other interns still don’t seem to like me, but that’s okay since one of them does and that’s all I need. I’ve started my second job, a dog-walking/pet-sitting gig, and it’s going really well. It’s super easy money ($10/30 min) and the clients are always super happy and excited to see me! I was getting really sore legs and feet for the first couple of days but I bought amazinggggg Dr. Schol’s insoles that have completely alleviated that. I did SIX dog walks on Saturday AND went to Burgerfest AND tried out a new bar AND I liked it. I’m hoping all the extra exercise will help me shed the pounds I keep holding on to. This week I’ve been getting up extra early because I’ve been doing a dog walk in the morning and a dog walk in the evening. It’s a little bit of a pain, but the dog has completely warmed up to me so I enjoy it now. He’s a puppymill rescue so he’s pretty skittish but not aggressive at all, he just likes to bark his little head off at strangers in his house and then he’ll be really timid around them outside the house. He doesn’t bark at me anymore, so I’m feeling pretty good. 

Oh. 

And. 

Perhaps the biggest thing is… drum roll, please…drumdrumdrumrollrollroll… I’ve started taking sleeping pills! I was sleeping absolutely terribly for the last few weeks, tossing and turning all night and having really bad dreams. Now I don’t toss and turn at all, I fall asleep pretty quickly (I try to take my pill at 9 and am usually out by 10) and my dreams lately have been incredibly comforting. I’ve mostly been dreaming about Mark and Alec since I moved here, and my good dreams are no exceptions. My dream last night was really simple — I had met (or run into?) Mark somewhere and we sat and talked for a little while, then when it was time to go, he stood up and bent down so I could kiss him on the cheek, then he kissed my hand as he’s done one hundred times before. He walked to the door, turned around and gave me a smile, and then left. I woke up feeling really happy, feeling like our parting was so sweet and beautiful that it made okay that we were leaving each other once again and possibly for good. 

I don’t know if my dreams have done a 180 because I’ve started taking sleeping pills or if it’s a result of me being happier now that things are finally going well at work, but whatever the reason, I’m just glad my subconscious isn’t torturing me every night anymore. 

Things at work have been AWESOME lately. One of the curators is prepping for an exhibition that’s opening in late winter and she said I could write a little piece on a mystery painting. Now, give me a piece of art I actually know what to do with and I’ll run with it! I’ve completely blown up the project (in a good way!) in that I’ve found all this amazing stuff on the painting that completely changes how the curator originally viewed it. I’ve done such a badass job that she’s even expanded my essay in the catalogue to 1500 or so words, possibly longer. It’s SUPER DUPER exciting because I’m actually doing something that I’m good at — fucking researching and writing about art!! 

My other boss was out of town which was a nice break from his terse emails, though I will say we met this week and he was incredibly nice to me in our meeting, so that’s something. I don’t really feel comfortable with a lot of the assignments he gives me though because he’s not very approachable to ask for help and most of the things he assigns me I don’t know anything about or I don’t know how to do them. It can get very discouraging very quickly, so it’s nice having my other boss give me things I actually enjoy doing. It’s all a balancing act! 

I’ve also deleted my OKCupid profile because online dating is absolutely not for me, and on top of that, I DON’T WANT TO FUCKING DATE RIGHT NOW. I’ve spent the last 6 years wrapped up in relationships, it’s about damn time I focus on myself. I like being alone. I like having my apartment to myself and the entire bed to stretch out in (well, there is the dog…) at nighttime. I have some serious work to get done in the next year, so a relationship is just going to be a distraction and interference. I don’t need that right now. I need to focus on ME ME ME and I’ve got big plans for myself. See below. 

I’ve also come up with a VERY reasonable game plan for the next year, as follows:

1. Apply to UNC-Chapel Hill for PhD. I think I have a really good chance of getting in because both my grad advisors got their PhD’s there. I’ll be visiting the campus likely next month, and I am actually asking my parents to fund the trip because it’s crucial to me getting into the program and I can’t afford it on my own. Also, I think I may do better in the long-run at a school that isn’t at the tippy top of the top tier because I’ll have less competition to do more things at a school like Chapel Hill versus Yale, Princeton, etc. 

2. Apply to the Winterthur Program in American Material Arts (UDel). It’s another MA degree, but it’s fully-funded and considered more like a fellowship. It’s a very well-respected program, would offer me loads of professional development opportunities, would supplement my UAB MA degree, and would help me make connections at the tippy top tier schools so I might have a chance to apply to them after I complete the program. 

3. Apply to the National Gallery’s year-long internship. Why? Because it’s the fucking National Gallery. I would give anything to be back in that museum. And I’ve heard that internship is a really good stepping stone because it’s so prestigious. 

So, those applications are all due December/January and I’ll start hearing back in March I believe. Easy peasy! 

If I don’t get accepted to them, then I’ll just apply to random jobs like crazy next spring including AmeriCorps VISTA. There’s an opening here in Dallas, conveniently enough, working with sex-trafficking issues, raising awareness, helping victims, etc. so I’ll go for that if they have an opening next year. I’ll apply outside the state as well of course. Gotta cast a wide net! 

Besides traveling to visit the PhD and MA programs listed above, I’m also currently putting together my CV and trying to edit various chapters of my thesis to submit to different symposia and conferences coming up. Anything to get my work out there! I’m also submitting similar abstracts and manuscripts to journals to try to get published, but I can do that anytime, so right now I’m focusing more on the symposia/conferences since the deadlines are mostly in October and early November for ones that will fall within my internship contract which means I can get financial help for travel since there’s a little bit of money designated for professional development in the program. 

Woot! So that’s my plan. It’s a very solid, very practical plan in my opinion. Totally achievable. The only little thing that might be ridiculous is that I’d like to take the GRE, yes for the fifth time, to try to raise my score. I’d likely take it in November, but with all the craziness coming up at the museum in October, plus traveling to see those two schools, plus dog-walking gigs on top of my normal job, plus trying to manage a social life with the other interns, plus seeing my parents… not a lot of room for studying to take that stupid fucking test yet another time. BAH! But I should still try to get my score higher. 90th percentile is just scraping by. I’d like 95th at least. 

OH. AND. 

My parents got a beach house and are moving next week!!! Yupp. yupp. yupp. I am SUPER excited for them because they have lived in the country in Alabama for like ten years or more, so it’ll be a fantastic experience for them to get out of the country, back into civilization, and to get away from the craziness of the extended family. I’m planning on going down to see them in early November hopefully, but that’s still currently up in the air. Lots of things to try to plan and plan around. They’re going to come out to Dallas to see me as well, of course, but maybe in December for Christmas? I have zero interest in going back to Alabama for any reason, so I’m trying to force everyone to come see me. 

I’m feeling positive. I’m sleeping well. I’m getting lots of exercise without having to force myself to work out. I’m doing original scholarship at work. I’m loving living in Dallas. I’m alone, but I’ve got a great dog and a great apartment and there are great things coming my way. 

An Extended Case of the Mondays

September 17, 2013 § Leave a comment

So the week is off to a very shaky start following a crap weekend. Yay!

Yesterday I did set out to prove my hypothesis by going on a date with someone I briefly talked to online. Pretty much the second I shook his hand, I knew it was going to be a long night of me wishing I was anywhere but there, and it was. I kept wondering why I didn’t just interrupt him mid-sentence to say “Sorry. I’m not interested. I’d love to go home now.” but for some reason I didn’t. I reflected on this on my drive home, and I actually think that it’s a sign that I’ve matured in some ways. In high school, I probably would have left unceremoniously and likely very rudely after about five minutes. Maybe it’s just some kind of Southern politeness brainwashing, but I’d like to think it’s a sign that I’ve grown up a bit that I didn’t completely ditch this guy like a callous bitch.

I sat and listened to his terrible jokes and his boring stories and his really heavy southern accent and somehow I developed this painfully shrill fake laugh. It’s so bizarre to me that other people can’t read chemistry, because I was literally ready to go about five seconds into the “date” but he kept ordering beer after beer after beer, and then complained about feeling awkward because I had one beer (which I ordered before he got there) and then asked for water.

Normally I would consider the entire miserable experience a waste of my life, but instead I’m trying to see the positive. I’ve grown up a bit, understanding that this other human being went out on a limb, put himself into a potentially very awkward situation with a complete stranger, so I shouldn’t be a huge bitch to him and leave. He can’t help it he’s totally uninteresting to me and that he can’t tell I’m completely not into him at all. I just can’t believe chemistry can be that one sided. Anyway. Eventually I yawned enough times that he politely dismissed me and I politely went home, expelling a huge sigh of relief as soon as I reached my car, knowing that within minutes I would be happily at home, alone, with my dog on the couch watching Parks & Rec.

Now that I’m no longer horribly bored and uncomfortable, I can reflect and see that two positive outcomes came out of that date:

1. I’ve grown up enough to respect strangers as human beings instead of being a huge bitch to a person I don’t know at all for something they couldn’t possibly change or predict.

2. Fuck dating. Or at least fuck online dating. I’ve never had chemistry with anyone I’ve met online, and I’ve only had chemistry with about three people on the face of the planet in general, so I think I should stick to dating people I can’t keep myself away from instead of trying to date people I don’t even know in the slightest.

So I feel good about that. I’m scratching online dating off the list and I’m going to enjoy being alone until someone comes along who has chemistry that can match mine and Alec’s or mine and Mark’s (good fucking luck, future dude! that’s a hell of a high bar to reach).

Unfortunately, my positivity ran out and could barely get me through the day today. It’s been a rough week work-wise and I’m becoming increasingly frustrated with one of my bosses who basically refuses to teach or help me, even when I explicitly beseech him.

I’m a very fucking independent worker, okay? I’m super self-motivated and I work hard. I am very low maintenance as far as managers are concerned, so it almost physically pains me to have to ask for help. And when I ask for help, it means I ACTUALLY NEED IT. But he won’t help me. He won’t teach me. He won’t give me any positive feedback. All I get from him is negativity, long lists of what I’ve done wrong, and a general refusal to help me. I’ve gotten a lot of sympathy from the rest of the staff and certainly from the interns, but that doesn’t go very far when I have to spend 8 hours a day feeling like a needy little failure.

It makes me mad, too, because I’m a smart kid. I’m totally capable and he should be glad to have me working for him but instead he misses our meetings, ignores my emails, and refuses to teach me. When I’m not fighting back tears at my desk or fantasizing about how much better I’ll feel once I get four margaritas after work, I’m writing an extremely carefully-worded email in my head explaining to him that things are going to need to change. I’m not some little bitch he gets to ignore and then throw work on without teaching me how to do it. I’m a fucking intern and I’m here to learn everything I possibly can, and I’m a huge asset to him if he can get off his high horse and actually deign to explain what he wants from me.

It’s a delicate situation though, because I don’t want to make things worse or make him any more mad at me than he already is. Or disappointed. Whatever, however he feels about me, I don’t really care. I don’t want to make it worse, I just want to be able to do my job and do it well and not waste literally hours of my day trying to figure out how to read this man’s mind with only negative feedback to work with. I’m so blunt and honest, it’s hard for me to handle these delicate situations. Ugh. I hate that I have to be in this situation at all. Don’t I deserve a good, caring, helpful boss who wants to be a mentor instead of a master? I’ve been through enough crappy bosses, I damn straight deserve a good one.

We (some of the interns) went for margaritas after work at our soon-to-be-a-tradition Tuesday spot. Everyone else was celebrating a job well done and a job actually enjoyed, while I was trying to drink enough to forget that I moved 700 miles across the country to be shat on by yet another egotistical, self-centered, narcissistic museum employee. Things got serious somehow, and I ended up having to explain why my “ultimate life fantasy” was a salaried job with health insurance because all my other life fantasies got thrown in the trash fairly painfully and unceremoniously. One of the interns I actually like laughed out loud when I told her that my old “life fantasy” involved having children. Yeah, it’s laughable that someone like me would ever reproduce. That was a nice kicker to the end of a pretty crappy five day span.

Oh, and I had fabulous dreams last night about Mark and Alec both dating new people, new people who were absolutely awful and trashy and totally not worth anyone’s time unless you like Jersey Shore dumpster diving. Anyway, the very upsetting dream ended with me screaming “I WILL FUCKING KILL YOU BITCH IF YOU DON’T GET OUT OF MY GODDAMN HOUSE.” which actually made me feel a lot better because you’re damn right that bitch took me seriously. But that’s what I woke up with on my mind, maybe residual guilt for dating someone new? No idea. My dreams over the last few weeks have been adding to the difficulties of my days because I feel upset and exhausted when I wake up and it takes me a while to push through that. No matter how vivid my dreams are, they are not real. Why is that so hard to remember?

Sorry if this post is all over the place. I blog because it makes me feel better, and I desperately need to feel better because things have been pretty low lately, but I admit this post was more about emptying my brain of the things it’s been obsessing over today instead of a cohesive, thoughtful post.

Thursday I start training for my new/second job, so that’s exciting (not really) but I also get to see a professor lecture at the museum (a professor who I’ve applied to work with TWICE for PhD and who has rejected me TWICE. maybe I should ask him about that after the lecture… only kidding.) on art I’m interested in, then the museum has a special event on Friday that could be fun, then saturday is Burgerfest and an art walk, so that should all be good fun. I simply can’t see how Burgerfest could disappoint!

Surely this week will get better. Surely.

[I may go back and edit this later to try to make it more coherent and cohesive, but for now I’m leaving it as my alcohol-driven drivel of a sad 20-something woman in what feels like a mid-life crisis]

When the Going Gets Tough, Acknowledge That You’ve Changed

September 16, 2013 § Leave a comment

It’s been a rough weekend and not the best start to a week that I hope will get better. As has been my habit lately, I’ve been trying to be more thoughtful about things in a methodical, productive way. While my relationship with Alec was very different than my relationship with Mark, I do think my feelings at their ends are similar, and of course, quite painful. My reactions to the ends of those relationships have been markedly different though, at least in action. I don’t want to list all the things I did around this time last year, but I will say that I was reacting to the pain in a very desperate “Make it stop right now” kind of way, similar to how people who are severely injured will beg for you to knock them out so they don’t have to consciously experience their pain. I was desperate and absolutely furious at Alec for not fighting for me, for letting us fail. Anger and desperation lead to some pretty self-destructive behaviors, but I pulled out of it and I got better.

I was also completely done with Alec. I knew after 5 years of being together, he didn’t deserve a second chance. He had plenty of time and plenty of opportunity to try to fix things, and he completely froze. Part of what I did was to ensure in the worst but most effective way that things were permanently over between us.

I haven’t had an impulse to go down that road again following my and Mark’s breakup, though I have to admit I was half-expecting to. I think it may be a direct result of the lack of anger in the breakup. I wasn’t angry with Mark at all and I’m certainly not angry with him now. He tried like hell to keep me, but I wasn’t ready to let him. We both tried like hell to make things work, we just weren’t successful in the end.

So mostly I just feel more depressed than usual because I’ve now gone through two major breakups in the 12 months. I’ve left two great men who loved me, I moved 700+ miles away from them. I left them behind. No anger really, just the feeling of defeat and the thought that there must be something wrong with me for this to have happened. Twice.

I’ve thought a lot about anti-depressants lately since my depression has been teetering so often on the edge of suicidal. Is the source of it chemical? Is it emotional? I don’t even know. To my knowledge, I haven’t had any major trauma. Growing up being me was depressing enough, add a trauma on top of that and I would have ended me for sure. My mind just leans so far towards depressing and upsetting thoughts, negativity and dissatisfaction. Would anti-depressants work? Counseling didn’t. I’ve lived my entire life with a severely depressed father so I’ve seen how ineffective and problematic anti-depressants can be.

For now I’m hanging on. Trying to celebrate little successes and find happiness in what I can, primarily in my goofy, adorable dog. I am trying to date (forcing myself to, really) as a search for answers more than anything, searching for the right path.

There are three possible outcomes that I see from dating right now:

1. I’ll remember how awful dating is and choose to be alone and be happy about it. (this I think is the most likely/realistic)

2. I’ll find someone who is a better fit for me than Alec and Mark were and I’ll pursue another serious relationship that will be healthier than the last two.

3. I’ll realize how much I’d rather be with Mark than anyone else and try to do what I can to fix things.

Last year, dating for me certainly went along the lines of #3, but I’m not sure I should expect that this time. It may be the case that I just need to be alone right now. Logic is certainly telling me that, but I want to experiment to prove my hypothesis. Maybe want isn’t the right word: I *need* to experiment to prove my hypothesis, at least so I can feel more convinced that I’m choosing not to date because it’s better for me and not because I’m scared of interacting with someone on that level again. Animals who are hurt often react in aggression and anger or in timidity and fear. I’m worried that my lack of anger right now means I’m hiding out alone because I’m scared. I guess the irony of it all is that when I dated Mark I kept telling myself not to get too involved because I  never again wanted to feel the pain I felt when I left Alec. Whoops! Had I been less afraid, I may not have had to go through this pain at all, because we probably would have still been together now.

Live and learn. Life is funny that way.

Two songs that I over-related to on my drive home from work today:

That Lingering Feeling

September 12, 2013 § Leave a comment

I don’t normally do morning posts, but I need that feeling of peace and release that I get when I blog. I’ve noticed that my depression is still hanging on, despite all the distractions I have at work and the extracurricular activities I pursue at the museum and with fellow interns, it persists.

Last night I dreamed that I wrecked my car, and in the junkyard I found a ratty little Chihuahua that had been abandoned there. As I was trying to care for this helpless little thing, I got a call that Mark’s mother had died. At her funeral, I got the call that Alec’s mother had died, and when I was trying to comfort him on the phone he told me that he’s fallen in love with someone, which ignited in me nothing short of a furious anger, since he’d been with me for five years and never said anything close to that about me.

I woke up with that hurt and anger swirling in my heart along with the concern and grief that comes with watching someone else lose a parent. My own grief was certainly mixed in as well, since I knew those women. Mark’s dad would have to go on alone without his charming, chatty, enthusiastic, softer half. Alec’s mom was alone.

I tried to shake off these thoughts and strong feelings (with dreams as vivid as mine, you wake up absolutely thinking they’re real because the pain in you heart tells you they were), throwing on a random dress for work before walking the dog.

On our walk, I put my hand into one of the pockets of the dress and found a movie ticket stub. The stub was for the movie that Alec and I saw when he was in town a couple of months ago, when we saw each other for the first time in the year since our breakup.

The movie stub read “This is the End.”

 

 

I think I’ll need a strong drink today.

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