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.
Who Is Real Boo? – The Good
*Best first date EVER!
*Never completely lets me go (no matter what dumb shit I do)
Who Is Real Boo? – The Bad
*Wrapped up in his work
*Not there when I need him
*Never completely lets me go
*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?
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!
I often fantasize that when I die, my spirit will stay here long enough and be omniscient enough to know how people react and feel. I’d like to see my own funeral like Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn.
First one and then another pair of eyes followed the minister’s, and then almost with one impulse the congregation rose and stared while the three dead boys came marching up the aisle, Tom in the lead, Joe next, and Huck, a ruin of drooping rags, sneaking sheepishly in the rear! They had been hid in the unused gallery listening to their own funeral sermon!
– The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain
Don’t worry. This isn’t a cry for help.
But I wonder about particular people. Would he be sorry? Would he miss me? What would he think? (It’s him I think about and wonder about the most. It’s a sickness.)
Would she come all these miles for my funeral? Would she be able to go on?
What would my funeral be like? I know where I want it to be and who I want to do it. I know what I want done with my body. Would those things happen?
What would people say at my funeral? Who would stand up and tell stories about me? How many people would be there? (Who would run sound? 😀 )
How long would people remember me?
Who would remember me?
Why would they remember me?
I wonder if hair is sort of like the rings of cut trees. Does it hold the memories of its days? Can it retain the residue of warm, cozy diner breakfasts and awkward sleepovers, of disappointments and poor choices, of hurt feelings and unrequited desires?
Every time I grow my hair long it’s to try to prove to a man I’m feminine enough to be desirable. Love me! Love me! Love me! My desire for him overwhelms and obsesses me, but his desire for me is fleeting at best. Why do I even think that my hair will make a difference. I’m always me either way.
Every time I cut my hair off it’s because I’m done trying, because I’m just tired of fighting the fight, with my hair and for a man. Those other memories need to just go away.
This is for me.
I was going to fix you.
Give you so much of me that it would patch your broken heart.
You’d be so grateful, you would fall in love with me.
And that would fix me.
But you’re still broken.
I’m still alone.
And you don’t even notice I’m gone.
Maybe I’m the only one who was broken after all.
I just want to share how much more manageable my holiday anxiety has been this year – probably better than it’s been in about 15 years. I’m sure being on Paxil for a year has helped a lot, and the realizations I had last month about my expectations for the holidays seem to have made a big difference as well.
Staying busy helps too. Frankly, I was so depressed last Christmas that it was hard for me to get off the couch and do anything. That doesn’t help my blues at all. I think the Lamotrigene prescription has helped here. It’s a mood stabilizer that’s made my highs lower and my lows higher. Not getting so low that I can’t function makes it easier to do the things that keep me from being so blue and anxious.
Being ABLE to be busier has helped so much. I was busy training and racing until the first week of December ended. I’ve been running sound for almost all the Sunday services and the Christmas cantata this month. I’ve also done a couple of funerals and a wedding.
I went to a ridiculous Christmas party for the church youth group last weekend where we played Dance Central 3 and the adults spent way too much time huddled in a corner laughing and playing with Poo Dough.
Then I drove five teenagers home from the party. They listened to the Classic Hip Hop channel on Sirius and marveled at songs they’d never heard before – songs from 1994 – before they were born…. (Seriously?) And they wrote profound Christmas wishes like “Poop” in the fog on my windows. Good times.
Just being with people, staying busy and laughing (the opposite of what you want to do when you’re depressed) makes such a big difference in how I feel. I think the mood stabilizer keeps me above that low end threshold that makes it hard to care if I’m taking care of myself or even to do it even when I want to.
I usually try to take some time off running at this time of year to let my body rest and heal some, but that time off is really bad timing for my anxiety. Even after my busy weekend, I was feeling the holiday squinkiness sneak in last Sunday night. But I did something I wasn’t able to do last year, I made myself get up early before work on Monday morning and run because I knew it would help. (And it did.) I knew it would help last year too, but I couldn’t get myself to do it.
I’ve also been wrestling with my feelings for Boo for the last couple of years. When I was in the depths of my depression last year, I got to the point where I couldn’t feel anything at all. When I started coming out of that, I had feelings again, but I had trouble figuring out exactly what those feelings were and what they were about.
I feel like I’ve about sorted all that out. For the last year I’ve assumed any bad feeling I have is sadness and unrequited love about that relationship. And so if I felt something bad, I thought it was about Boo, which made me think too hard and too much about Boo, which made me feel bad, which made me think too hard and too much about Boo, which made me feel bad….
But I had a big moment in therapy back in the spring when I realized that what I have always thought was the feeling I experience of “being in love” is very much the same feeling I have when I’m feeling anxiety. (This may be an important realization…. *snork*)
I still haven’t figured out why I feel like it’s so important to me to hang on to Boo. He’s never really done much to reciprocate those feelings I have for him. But there’s obviously something deep-seated in my need to hang onto him in some fashion and in the fears I have of letting my hopes for us go.
I wrote in a recent post that I wished “I had the courage to give up.”
For me, having the courage to let things go means being brave enough to stand on my own without having to use things and people as crutches, without having to try and control the outcome of every single thing in my life. I’m starting to feel like I’m strong enough to try and begin letting the Boo thing go.
I need to believe and trust that it’s the healthiest thing I can do. The Mr. Spock part of me knows that’s true. The disgusting, weak, clingy, needy, girly part of me is still afraid. That makes me a little anxious.
But that’s OK. I am better. And this Christmas is better – even when the anxiety still creeps in.
All I know is that I have my running clothes sitting out for tomorrow morning. I will run. I will breathe. I will calm my mind. I will keep getting better. I will keep getting stronger. And maybe one day I’ll even find something to value in the weak, clingy, needy, girly part of me.
And to you, I hope if you’re depressed or anxious or lonely or scared this Christmas, that you’ll know you’re not alone. Love is all around you, even when it doesn’t seem like it. Just keep slogging through and know that it won’t always be like this. We’ll hold each other up until then.
Much love, friends!