Waiting To Exhale

Jenny Perlin

My hands shook as I put the toothpaste on my toothbrush this morning. I realized every muscle in my body was tense and aching. My fists are always clinched. My arms always crossed tight over my chest.

And then I realized I never exhale. I hold air in my lungs like I hold so many of my feelings in my heart.

I’m dying for a rest – a break.

Almost ten years ago, I left my husband. There were months of planning and worry. I saved money. I rented an apartment. I consulted a lawyer. I bought new furniture. I moved out while he was at work. I left him a note. All of this without him knowing it was happening.

When it was finally over, I remember sitting on the back steps of the science building at work smoking a cigarette with a friend. The sun was warm. The quiet privacy between the holly bushes that flanked the steps and under the blooming magnolia trees was precious. As we talked and laughed, my legs started feeling funny. I wasn’t sure what was happening.

And then I realized the muscles in my quads were relaxing for the first time in months.

Oh, how I need that moment again.

Nothing used to be better for that reboot than a few drinks or twelve. Drinking was better than any of the meds the psychiatrist has prescribed. And here I had to go ruin such a simple cure by being an alcoholic.

I’m waiting by the phone
Waiting for you to call me up and tell me I’m not alone
I’m waiting by the phone
Waiting for you to call me up and tell me I’m not alone

Hello, speak up, is there somebody there?
These hang ups are getting me down
In a world frozen over with over exposure
Let’s talk it over, let’s go out and paint the town

Cause I’m waiting by the phone
Waiting for you to call me up and tell me I’m not alone
Cause I want somebody to shove
I need somebody to shove
I want somebody to shove me

Links of the Week – April 17, 2015

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* 18 Puppies On Their Way To Their New Homes!

* The Great Garden Gnome Massacre

* Long Exposure Light Photos – (Gorgeous!)

* Doctors To University: Fire That ‘Quack’ Dr. Oz

* Defeating Polio: The Disease That Paralyzed America

* Anne Lamott Shares All That She Knows: ‘Everyone Is Screwed Up, Broken, Clingy And Scared’

* MLB Teams Boost Mental Health Support Systems

* Love Is Not Supposed To Hurt… Then Why?

fuckingawesome

* New Study Says Tylenol Numbs Emotions – (Rushes to weekly grocery list…)

* 7 Things To Do When Your Kid Points Out Someone’s Differences – (Great stuff!)

* Hidden Cameras Reveal Airport Workers Stealing From Luggage – (Why are people so sorry?)

* Yogi Berra, Ready For The Game!

* Mindfulness Meditation Can Help Relieve Anxiety And Depression

* How To Trust Again

* What Self-Love Means: 20+ Ways To Be Good To Yourself

* Anne Lamott – Becoming The Person You’re Supposed To Be: Where To Start

* How To Get To Know Yourself In 5 Fool-Proof Steps

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* Baddest Mother Ever: Ten Signs I’ve Found The Right Biscuit Joint – (Link of the week!)

* A Boy and Her Dog: Owning My Shame – (I feel so much of this.)

* Fisticuffs And Shenanigans: Pride, You Made Me Proud

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“You can only go halfway into the darkest forest; then you’re coming out the other side.”

— Chinese proverb
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Unpacking Boo

Clearly the time has come to work through all the issues surrounding my “relationship” with Boo. No one should absolutely lose their shit because somebody they work with is moving to a job across town. But my shit I did lose. The very real, desperate pain I felt over the weekend was incredibly out of proportion to the actual event.

I have to figure out why this has such a hold of me – why I can’t let it go. I can’t allow this delusion to continue to control my life, obsess me, and craze me. I think the easiest way to work through it is with some lists with occasional narrative thrown in for explanation.

delusion
Who Is Mythical Boo?
*Emotionally available
*Caring
*Attentive
*Sensitive
*Committed
*Accepts me
*There when I need him
*Open

Who Is Real Boo? – The Good
*Funny
*Sweet
*Inquisitive
*Handsome
*Sexy
*Manly
*Best first date EVER!
*Never completely lets me go (no matter what dumb shit I do)
*My friend?

sex

Who Is Real Boo? – The Bad
*Emotionally unavailable
*Wrapped up in his work
*Undependable
*Not there when I need him
*Never completely lets me go
*Closed off
*Coming out of a BAD divorce
*Mean streak disguised as humor

Why I Deserve Better
*???

Clearly, the real Boo and the Boo I make myself sick over are not really the same person. That’s not fair to him. That’s not fair to me.

So why do I continue to cling so desperately to my delusion of “SuperBoo” and to my efforts to forge a romantic relationship with him?

Why Do I Continue To Fight To Keep It Alive?
*I’m desperate for male approval.
*I need to know that I am desirable and lovable.
*I don’t want to be alone.
*He’s my only option. He’s the only straight, single man in my life.
*I need to win, not fail.
*I can’t stop believing I can make him love me if I say and do the right things.
*I need to prove that I can “do anything I put my mind to.”
*I can’t accept that I can’t control him or the relationship.
*I want to fix him and heal his emotionally broken places.
*I want him to cherish me for fixing him and showing him how to love again.
*Letting my hopes for SuperBoo go means giving up on the hope for love, acceptance and companionship.
*If I stop looking at him, I have to look at me.
*I have no intrinsic identity.
*If I stop chasing this, I don’t have anything else to concentrate on.
*I have no other goals or dreams or desires for my life. (Sadly, I’m serious.)

The self-identity piece of this fascinates me. Boo is not the first man who I’ve gotten super-crazy about like this. First of all, I didn’t date growing up. I had a boyfriend for two weeks in 9th grade and then a couple of short term boyfriends in college. And then I got married when I was 25. So I never practiced relationships. I’ve always been so desperate for them that I clamp on like a bear trap as soon as a possibility arises, and my hopes shoot through the roof. That’s the biggest problem. I can NOT control my expectations. And inevitably the disappointment CRUSHES me. I can’t just brush it off and let it go.

But none of this started happening until I started graduate school. I got there and it turned out I WASN’T the smartest person who ever lived. I was out of identities. So I started looking for a man to define me – to put the socially-acceptable stamp of approval on me. I didn’t know how or who to be without an extrinsic label. I still don’t

So Who Am I Now?
*Not an athlete
*Not a scholar
*Not a runner

So Who Am I Inside?
*???

who-am-i

So What Does That Mean I WANT To Be?
*Someone’s girlfriend so I can prove to the world that I’m straight, loveable, and OK being me.
*Someone’s girlfriend so I can be protected and appreciated and loved.

What I Probably Need To Be
*Alone until I learn to define myself without a man, and learn to know who I actually am inside and not just as defined by the things on the outside – the things I do or wear or how I cut my hair. (I don’t wanna! *sniff!*)
*A woman learning who she is and why she’s OK.
*A woman who likes herself without needing any external approval to do so.
*A student (literally) of casual dating who doesn’t lose her emotional shit over one dinner.

And so here is the stupid postscript to all this. How do I deal with my ongoing relationship with real Boo in light of these admissions and realizations? Is there a way I can step back and start over again looking at him with new eyes? Can I unravel these emotional ties I’ve woven? Will any kind of relationship with him continue to bring me grief and disappointment? Can I ever get to a place where we can just be friends without me wanting him and feeling jealousy and hurt? I’m just not sure what to do. I don’t want to cut ties with him. But is that just a symptom of the problem at hand?

Hahahahaha! I can’t believe this is a song!

The Valley

valley

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…

Psalm 23:4

And one day your vision will have narrowed to a pinhole. Your heart will weep. There will be fire in your brain and a roar in your ears.

You will lean far over the balcony rail. You will fashion a noose.

But you will wait. And you will hate yourself for it.

The next day you will wake and eat a cinnamon roll. And for no reason, life will make sense again.

You will vacuum. You will take a shower.

Then, unexpectedly, a tractor trailer will pull up outside and carry you out of town. And you will love yourself for it.

Wait for it.

Links of the Week – April 10, 2015

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Bike lane – Roberto Clemente Bridge – Pittsburgh

* Study: People Who Love Grilled Cheese Have More Sex, Are More Charitable

* This Dog Was Adopted After Five Years Of Waiting When His Photo Went Crazy On Facebook

* Longtime Couple Found That Clothes Didn’t Make The Man

* Gay Boy Scout Leader Hired In New York: “We said yes to him irrespective of his sexual orientation”

* White House Says It Supports Efforts To Ban Gay Conversion Therapy

* Gay Conversion Therapists Claim Most Patients Fully Straight By The Time They Commit Suicide

* PostSecret: Saved

* PostSecret: Pray

* PostSecret: Unbroken

* Now Who’s The Moral Majority?

* Where Did Heaven Come From?

dying
How I feel this week. Thanks, pollen!

* If Single People Honestly Updated Their Facebook

* Everybody Hit Somebody – (A season with the Carolina Phoenix women’s football team)

* Houston Astros Sweater – (Gorgeous!)

* Philadelphia Phillies 1915-1919 Cap – (This will be mine. Oh yes!)

* John Hart May Never Make A Better Trade – (See ya’, Melvin!)

* Reeses Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart

* FLOTUS Michelle Obama Says Malia And Sasha Are Not Influential And I Love It

* We Need Star Trek Back On TV

* Shout Out To T’Pring’s Hairdo

* When My Friend Is Obsessing Over Her Crush Even Though He Clearly Doesn’t Like Her

* Obsessed

* Love And Anxiety

* Seven Big Signs You May Be Too Clingy

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cry

GodDoesntCare-web

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“I’ve come to realize that what I always thought was my feeling of falling in love, feels very much like my feeling of anxiety.”

– Deanna Dennis


“[Y]our life is yours and no one else’s.”

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-18184/8-life-changing-lessons-i-learned-from-seeing-a-therapist-in-my-20s.html

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It’s Good To Be Accepted

manhair

My grandmother asked me at lunch if it’s the new style to cut your hair like a man.

Happy Easter!

Sigh.

suicide

St. Mark Daily Lenten Devotional – April 5, 2015

by Kate Morrison

ScriptureJohn 20: 1-18

It’s here! Finally, Easter is here! Through this Lenten season, it sure has been a roller coaster of emotions. We have followed Jesus throughout the final days of his ministry. We have cheered triumphantly as he entered into the city of Jerusalem. We have partaken of the Last Supper. We tried to stay awake with him as he prayed in the garden, jeered as he was arrested and handed over to Pilate. And we wept bitter tears as Jesus was crucified and buried. We have waited in the uncertainty, scared, not yet understanding what Jesus was trying to tell us in his last days. 

But now, now we understand. Jesus is alive! Jesus has risen from the grave! Jesus has overcome death! No more crying. No more sadness. If we cry, let it be with tears of joy because our Savior has had the final say. Death rules no more. Let us rejoice on this triumphant day! The Lord has risen! Alleluia and thanks be to God!

Prayer: Lord, on this Easter day, we thank you for sending your son, Jesus, the Christ, into the world to overcome death and redeem the world of our sin. We are so grateful to you and for your infinite love of your people. Thank you God! Amen.

Saint Mark United Methodist Church

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