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To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

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(Boys I’ve loved not shown to scale…)

Relationships continue to vex me. There never seems to be the right man at the right time with the right desire and the right commitment. And a weird thing has been happening lately where people I have loved in the past are starting to come back around again.

One man reappeared out of the blue after 10 years. He just popped up in the comments of one of these blog posts one day. He sent me a dozen roses. What the hell is that all about?

Then another ex sent me a text a few weeks ago reporting how many months it had been since we talked, since we’d seen each other, and since we’d had sex. What the fuck is THAT all about?

It’s like they’ve completed an orbit of me or something. (Wait! That simile makes me sound really fat!) How about, they’ve come full circle in realizing my incomparable womanly awesomeness!

It’s as if my exes are women who’ve had babies. After a suitable amount of time, they seem to forget the pain and think they want to do it all over again.

But the problem is, they’re exes for a reason. In the meantime, I’ve been chasing my Boo for two years now with varying degrees of success. Lots of face time. Only a tiny bit of SUCKING face time.

Why can’t I seem to get on the same page with a man and us love each other and be available at the same time? (I mean. I did it once before!)

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Boo, my “not-boyfriend” as he’s come to be known in Sunday School class, drives me absolutely nuts. But despite that fact, we’ve actually become good friends.

I’ve kept no secrets from Boo about the feelings I have for him. Most men would run screaming from a woman who’s pursued them as mercilessly as I have pursued him for the last two years. He doesn’t. But what he does do is take tiny little baby steps closer to me and then take off running in the opposite direction like a scalded dog.

It’s funny how things have evolved between Boo and me. I used to just want to claw my heart out of my chest when I couldn’t convince him to love me. It hurt me so much. (And know that I still believe completely and delusionally that if I love him hard enough and show him and tell him that enough, he’ll fall in love with me. I am a MO-RON!)

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He and I used to have some kind of messy conversation about this stuff every three or four months and then get cold to each other for a while.

Now we have this same messy conversation and then just go on with each other the way it was and nobody seems to be torn up about it. (My prescription for Lamictal helped me a lot with the pain too. Lows are not as low. Highs are not as high.)

Somehow, in the midst of all this complication, we’ve become good friends. Our friendship has become one I cherish. Boo is an awesome person. He makes me laugh my ass off. (He’s totally inappropriate and sarcastic. I love that. It actually turns me on a little…) He pushes me to try harder and do my best. And I love being with him even when he’s in a bad place where he can’t open his mouth and manage to say two words out loud.

So I suppose I just put this all out there to say that, DAMMIT, when you’re a little girl, nobody ever tells you love is going to be so complicated!

Men. Can’t live with them, can’t live without them.

Can’t stop thinking about their muscular forearms, and their big, strong hands, and their mischievousness, and their handsome faces, and their smart-assedness, and those hugs and kisses, and that stubble….

Jesus, be an intercessor and maybe a bottle of Mermaid Spirit Magick Voodoo Houdou Oil for Seduction Sensuality Femininity Acceptance! I can’t do this down here without some help!

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(What’s an incomparably awesome woman to do?)

A 20 Mile ‘Run’ With A 5 Cent Head

C’mon, Meat! Throw it! You know you’re not gonna hit me, cause you’ve already started to think about it, eh?! Thinkin’ about how embarrassing it would be to miss in front of all these people, how somebody might laugh?! Come on, meat, show us that million-dollar arm, ‘Cause I got a good idea about that five-cent head of yours!”

– Crash Davis to Nuke LaLoosh, “Bull Durham”

I gave up. I’m so ashamed of myself.

When the Garmin finally beeped 20 miles and I pushed the stop button, I took off my cap, put my hands on my knees and said out loud, “Fuck! Fuck this fucking run!”

That about sums it up.

The first half of the run was fine. I turned around north of Oglethorpe at about 10.25 miles. And then I’m not sure what happened. A weak place in my brain cracked and said, “You should stop and walk.” And I did. And the run was done. Oh, I still had to make it all the way home, but I was finished.

This is the same five cent head that had me shoot at the wrong basket in my first middle school basketball game. The same five cent head that made me throw a million balls into centerfield trying to catch runners stealing second. The same five cent head that lost the league championship when a routine ground ball rolled between my feet at second base and into the outfield.

My brain doesn’t allow me to let those things go. I spent the last 9.5 miles of this run taking account of all the ways I’m a loser. My negative thoughts spiral and spiral and spiral down a dark hole of regret and self-doubt. I ruminate on all the things that are wrong with me – all my weaknesses and failures.

And I’m terrified that blowing this last 20 mile run before the race is going to keep me from reaching my goal, and all this time and suffering and all the 4:15 morning runs are going to be for nothing.

Then I will be a failure. I will be weak. I will be embarrassed.

I asked myself again after a little cry in the middle of Buckhead, why I feel like I have to run another marathon. I think I’m trying to prove that I’m strong, that I’m not a quitter, that I’m special.

If I’m strong, then I’m invulnerable. No one can hurt me. I can take care of myself. I don’t have to care what anybody thinks about me. It’s not scary to be alone.

If I’m not really a quitter, then quitting graduate school, and my marriage, and working my steps, and therapy, are all just flukes.

If I’m special, then I can be self-righteous and judgmental and self-confident and proud and cocky.

When I read back what I just wrote, I see that I’m running to be a person I’m not. Oh, I am strong and determined and special, but those words don’t mean what I’ve defined them as there. I need to see and accept the person I really am – strengths and weaknesses – and be OK with her. (Maybe even like her a little….)

So I suppose the real question is, what happens if I don’t break my 5 hour goal in Savannah? I’ve never dealt well with failure or losing or not getting my way. I was still crying after losing softball games well into my 20s, and I STILL think if I pester Boo enough I can get him to love me. Acceptance is not my forte.

It occurred to me several weeks ago that I don’t like this level of training. This probably needs to be my last marathon. I’m trying so hard now to focus on doing things in life that make me happy.

But am I stubborn enough and so driven by shame that I would train for another miserable five or six months to try again if I fail this time? Would I suffer again just for some arbitrary goal that doesn’t mean anything to anybody but me?

Could I simply accept that I didn’t reach my goal and that I don’t want to try again?

That sounds an awful lot like quitting.

Sigh. Why can I not be OK with that?
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20 miles
4:23:03
130 avg heart rate
13:09 avg pace

Splits

  1. 10:51
  2. 11:06
  3. 11:41
  4. 11:44
  5. 11:47
  6. 11:47
  7. 11:15
  8. 11:05
  9. 11:16
  10. 10:43
  11. 12:16
  12. 13:51
  13. 13:31
  14. 15:12
  15. 15:01
  16. 13:52
  17. 14:18
  18. 17:54
  19. 15:34
  20. 13:42

Total weekly miles: 40.5

Compare to Last Week

Weeks to Savannah Rock n’ Roll Marathon: 3

Coming Attractions

Atlanta Thanksgiving Half Marathon – November 28

Battle For Black Rock 12 Miler – December 6

How Now?

How do you take back control of your brain? I took the step to disable my Facebook account a couple of days ago, and as I discussed in my last post, I’m taking a break from Boo too. It’s been a pretty interesting learning experience, even though it’s only been a few days.

I see many of the emotions I’ve been attributing to my “relationship” with Boo are still there and maybe aren’t really about Boo. In fact, some of those feelings seem to be intensified since he’s not there to run to. I’m feeling a lot of anxiety and anger for some reason, not about Boo, but in general, since I’ve cut off my contact with him.

It feels like my meds need to be adjusted, but I can’t just keep on increasing my meds every six months. At some point I need to ferret out the reasons I’m feeling all these things and deal with them.

It’s interesting to see how often in the last week I’ve finally recognized my reflex to contact Boo when I’m feeling any negative emotions. I’m not sure if that is just what you do when someone is your friend, or if I’ve been using him as a crutch to try to smooth over my other feelings. The irony of reaching out to him for comfort and reassurance is, sometimes he makes me feel wonderful, but other times he makes me feel like hell because I don’t get as much attention as I crave from him or the answers I want to hear. So reaching out to him is really a crap shoot emotionally.

My day and a half away from Facebook has been enlightening as well. I initially stepped away because the sheer volume of virtual noise was making my head swim. But at the same time I couldn’t quit my incessant habit of reading or posting. After I deactivated my account, it didn’t take long to realize how much of my life I’ve been living “performing” for Facebook. Every thought I have I think about how it would play on Facebook and how I could word it just right for the maximum laughs or strongest impact. Everything I read I consider whether I should share it on Facebook and how that share would shape my image to my friends and acquaintances there.

I’ve lost the ability to just live and experience things within myself. I’ve been spending a ridiculous amount of time using Facebook to seek attention and approval. And frankly, that’s been a pretty positive thing for my self-esteem, but I need to learn to have an unexpressed thought. I need to be able to look at a sunset and think, “Wow. That’s beautiful!,” instead of “Let me run get my phone so I can take a picture and post this on Facebook so everyone can see how much I’m appreciating this sunset!” I need to find approval within myself and focus my mind more narrowly. I’ve been like a yard sprinkler, spewing forth every thought in every direction. Like turning to Boo when I’m anxious or bored or sad, I’ve been using Facebook so I don’t have to look at me.

The Facebook break has been a good step. It’s helped calm my brain and helped me concentrate on myself. The Boo break is still hard. I miss him. But at least I don’t find myself pining for him nearly as often.

I can see how I’ve been using Boo and Facebook to help tamp down and cover up my feelings. I’m using both of them just like I drank. I’m trying to find something to soothe my mind and make me happier and funnier and more clever and more accepted and more loved.

What’s counterintuitive is that although I reach out for and crave acceptance and attention virtually, when anybody reaches out to actually give me that in the real world, I totally reject them. I push them away, ignore them. I become avoidant and isolate myself. What is THAT dichotomy all about?

The question now is how to figure out why I’m sad and angry and anxious. Why do I need so much external affirmation, yet run away from it at the same time? Why do I not have more self-confidence when I actually do realize that I’m smart and funny and fun and kind and have a nice waist to hip ratio.

Why am I not tougher and stronger? Why can’t I be the badass I really want to be? 

Whatever

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Here’s some of the mess swirling around my head.

Boys

The Boo saga continues. No matter what I’ve tried, I can’t shake my feelings for him. He and I have tried to be friends this summer, but when we’ve spent a lot of time together just hanging out and having lunch and stuff over the last month, I realized that it might not be possible for me to deal with only being his friend. It might be all or nothing. When he looks in my eyes, when he makes me laugh, when he’s a smart ass, when he shows me a little crack in his facade that reveals his vulnerability and hurt, I just can’t quit him. I can’t figure out why I’ve imprinted on him like a baby duck. I don’t know why there’s something in him that lights up my heart.

In the meantime, I had gone out with someone else a few times. I was hoping that seeing somebody else (not that I’ve been “seeing” Boo) would change my heart. He was very sweet and attentive. We had lots in common and never ran out of stuff to talk about. We had two really good dates. He was the kind of guy that any girl would be thrilled to have. (He even has a job!) But when I was driving to meet him for our second date, I felt horribly guilty because I just wanted to cry my eyes out all the way there because he wasn’t Boo. (I’m ruining my life.)

I decided to be honest with him, because it wasn’t right not to. It wasn’t right to keep moving forward with him if he was in the dark about my duplicitous feelings. So I explained all that to him yesterday and of course he doesn’t want to see me anymore. Who could blame him?

Frankly, it was kind of a relief because I was having such horrible feelings of guilt and I didn’t want to hurt him. And also, it’s just one less thing to worry about.

In addition, in an attempt to wipe Boo out of my brain, I told him on Friday that I thought it was the best for both of us if we didn’t communicate for the next month. I’m hoping that not seeing him and not talking to him will help me let go of my feelings for him. Every time I have any contact with him, it tweaks my heart and raises my hopes and triggers all my daydreams of what we could be and do together.

I’m hoping not sitting waiting for him to text me or ask me to lunch or take me to New Orleans will give me a chance to clear my head and think about other things. I’ve realized that he’s become a kind of security blanket for me – somebody who I can hang onto as a slim, but reassuring, hope for the future when I’m feeling there’s no hope for not being alone forever.
No matter how weird and twisted and complicated things have gotten with me and Boo, as many things I’ve said and done that should have driven him away from my sheer insanity, he’s never gone. I’ll think I’ve ruined things for good, and suddenly, there he is again. I don’t know if this is because I’m the same kind of hope of last resort he clings to like I do to him, or if his lack of ability to say “no” just keeps him from having the nerve to tell me to go away.

So here’s how I feel after three days out of touch. I miss him being there. I wish he would let me love him. I know I have no control over how he feels about me no matter how many ways I’ve tried to manipulate his feelings. I need to let go of the situation, but I can’t so far. I wish I could not care. I wish I didn’t love him. I wish I could make him love me.

Running

I’m on week two of my new marathon training plan. I’ve signed up for the Rock n’ Roll Savannah Marathon on November 8th. This is my third marathon and I really want to break 5:00:00. Now that’s pretty slow in the world of marathoning, but I ain’t going to ever break 4:00:00, so this is what I’m aiming for. So I’ve undertaken a really challenging training program. The most I’ve ever run in a week is 40 miles. I ran 35 miles last week in the first week of a 12-week training plan. It eventually goes up to 55 miles a week. I might have bitten off more than I can chew.

I think one reason I’m in such a mental funk is that I’m probably exhausted. I got up at 4:15 Monday morning and ran 11 miles before I went to work. Then I spent 9 hours at work, came home, changed into my dobok and went to Tae Kwon Do. Afterwards, I went to the grocery store, came home, called my mom, ate two Pop Tarts for supper and passed out on the couch.
When you’re pushing your body so hard, it’s really important to eat and drink and sleep right. And I’m not doing any of that, which means the training is even harder. I’m coming up about 1000 calories short every day. I’m not drinking enough water. I’m not eating healthy. I don’t sleep in the bed anymore. About a year ago when I stopped seeing the person I had been “seeing” on and off, I couldn’t sleep in the bed anymore. It was too empty. I started sleeping on the couch in front of the TV. It was less lonely. I had the Zira-cat to snuggle with at night. And now she’s gone too.

But I push myself. I push myself. I don’t know why I have to see how far I can push myself with running. I have this compulsion to prove SOMETHING to myself. I’m not sure what.

Tae Kwon Do

On the flip side, there’s Tae Kwon Do. When I went to my friend Mandy’s black belt test back in the spring, I was struck by how much mental and physical control was involved. I thought, “This is something I need to do. This is something that will fix my head, something that can switch my focus from Boo to myself, something that will teach me to love and trust myself instead of needing someone else to show me approval or love or worth.”

I wanted to approach it as the opposite of my running. I just wanted it to be fun and carefree. And it was at first. I love the quiet and the stretching and the cardio and core work. I love rolling around on the padded floor. What’s ruining me is the actual stuff you’re supposed to learn. I can’t tie my belt right. I can’t kick right. I can’t learn my poomsae forms to save my life. It’s the poomsae that really the worst. (Poomsae is a programmed series of movements and punches and blocks.) It’s so embarrassing that I can’t get it. And it’s turned into a mental thing that feels just like math class. I get up in front of the Master and the other students to do it and my brain gets all big and stupid and I can’t remember it and then I’m embarrassed and can’t breathe and want to cry and just run out. And it’s totally not fun and carefree anymore.

I cheated my way through math. I can’t fake this. (I do seem to be able to cry through it.) The Master told me yesterday that if I didn’t take this seriously that I was never going to get better. I know that. But if I pretend I don’t care by not learning to tie my belt, then the reason I can’t get it is because I don’t give a shit. If I show that I actually care, then I get REALLY upset and embarrassed when I don’t get it, and the reason I can’t get it is because I suck. I remembered that this is totally why I never try new things, because it’s humiliating.

Oh, if only my head were the little teapot so I could just tip it over and pour it all out. If it were only that easy.

P

Coming Back

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Haven’t written in a while. The things I’ve thought about writing I don’t want my mom to read. Never should’ve given her this link. (Hi, Mom! Nothing personal!)

Anyway, just thought I’d give an update since my last post was just some lame, vague post about the boy instead of my usual heartwrenching, eyeroll inducting, TMI post about the boy and my PAAAAAIIIIIINNNNNNNN! (Oh, William! The pain! The pain!)

It’s been a couple of months since I’ve written about my “inner life.” Things seem to be balancing out. It’s been months since that day I sat in the stairwell at work and cried for three hours and COULD NOT STOP. I think the prescription for the mood stabilizer has probably helped a lot. And I think just lowering my expectations about the boy have made a big difference.

I’ve been trying really hard to find a way to move towards validating myself and my accomplishments internally, and not feeling like I need to find that approval and “completion” from Boo or any other man.

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I’m trying to spend more time doing things besides laying on the couch at home by myself watching TV and snuggling with the cat and overthinking. I’ve bought a hammock and have spent a lot of enjoyable time rocking back and forth in the sun on the balcony reading. I’ve gotten back to running after a few weeks off and am getting ready to run the Quest for the Crest 10K  in the North Carolina mountains in a few weeks. I’m running sound every Sunday at church. I went to see Rob Zombie with my brother a few weeks ago and am going to see Garrison Keillor with my buddy Chris on Saturday. Took my first Tae Kwon Do  class on Monday. (Which was AWESOME!) I’m going to see Ingrid Michaelson next week at Center Stage with my friends Kat and Pinkie. And I signed up yesterday to run the full Savannah Marathon on my birthday weekend in November. I’m going to make it a long weekend with a stay on Tybee Island.

It was a year on Mother’s Day that my bout of depression began. All last summer I felt nothing at all. It was the strangest thing. Slowly, after I started therapy, I started to have feelings again; but I had trouble I’d never had before defining exactly what they were and why I was feeling them. I’ve gotten better at that and am starting to notice that I’m beginning to have subtlety of feelings again. And I’m beginning to better be able to place my feelings with the reason for them. For a long, long time, I’ve thought if I was feeling anxious that I was feeling badly about Boo. But I realized just last week, that sometimes my anxiety is just the anxiety about nothing that still breaks through the Paxil from time to time. That was really a relief and made me feel much less obsessive.

Things got weirdly serious with Boo for a few days last week when he was on the road. Serious enough that when he got back into town I fully expected to hear from him. I felt that it was only appropriate to hear from him. Yet I have not. I am realizing that I’m becoming a victim of being there for him when he wants me and then being completely ignored when he doesn’t.

It’s exactly like this!

There doesn’t seem to be any middle ground for a friendship or a romantic relationship or anything else. And does it really matter why you’re not being treated with respect? Does it matter if he’s just not ready, or he’s scared, or if he’s going through some other stuff, or he’s seeing someone else or if he’s just a dick?

I don’t know which of those is the answer. But I know I’m feeling used. I’m feeling like I’m running into the same brick wall over and over. I’m doing all the giving and he’s doing all the taking. I’m not getting anything I need or want. I don’t think I can live off the drib and drabs of attention anymore that get my hopes up and then squish them like a bug when he gets fickle and disappears.

So, I’m trying INCREDIBLY hard to leave the ball in his court until, if ever, he can come correct and treat me like I deserve. (I know I should probably take that ball and throw in down the sewer, but I just can’t let him go completely yet. Call me weak. So you caught me still caring.)

So I will go to Tae Kwon Do and get mentally and physically stronger and more confident and more disciplined. And I will run and run and run. And I will sweat. And I will spend time with friends. And I will swing in the hammock. And I will lay by the pool in the sunshine.

I will not be bitter. I will be hopeful. I will keep on believing in redeeming, healing, trusting, heart-swelling, arms-wide open love. And I’ll try to start looking for it in other places.

And I’ll start looking for it in myself. I deserve that.

Boo

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He may not be ready to call himself my boo. But he’s something to me. We’re something to each other. We are both broken and scared. But he has a light in him, y’all. A light he can’t even see right now. He is amazing. And I may be crazy. But I believe in him. And I’ll keep hanging on.

“I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being.” – Haifiz of Shiraz

Obsession

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As crushing as my anxiety and depression became last summer, it still felt like something that happened to other people on a regular basis. I clearly needed help, but it never felt like something that marked me. But now I feel like I’m really crazy.

I spent my time at the therapist Wednesday talking about how I couldn’t stop my brain from thinking about Boo. What did it mean when he said this? Should I say that? Has he texted me? Should I text him? When we talk about sex, that means he wants to have sex with me, right? Where is he in this relationship? How awesome was it when we hung out and ran and had breakfast Saturday? Why does he open up to me and then push me away? My brain constantly whirring and imagining and worrying and celebrating and mourning, even when I desperately just wanted to rest my mind and watch “Andy Griffith” and eat Pop Tarts.

I thought everybody was like this at the start of a relationship. I just wanted my therapist to help talk me through some of the anxiety. Instead she looked at me like she was very concerned, asked me if I was still cutting and told me as soon as I left there I needed to call my psychiatrist and make an appointment as soon as I could to talk about more medication. “Tell him exactly what you told me,” she said. Apparently everybody ISN’T like this. Apparently I’m obsessive.

I started looking back through my life and I have obsessed for long periods of time about:

  • Jesus
  • My high school church youth director
  • The first guy I slept with AFTER we slept together
  • A guy who taught some training classes I took, who I wound up propositioning
  • Star Trek
  • Ron Dittemore/The Columbia Space Shuttle Disaster
  • David Tennant/Dr. Who

Obsession has clearly been my pattern. I realized it. And then I felt irreparably insane.

Sure. Everybody gets depressed. But now I’m just bat shit crazy. Mentally ill. Off my fucking rocker. How can I ever live my life or have a relationship with a man if I’m not normal, if my brain doesn’t work right? This feels like being broken, wrong, damaged, worthless, irredeemable. I feel like I should quit trying. I can’t get this right.

And when I talked to Boo last night, it turns out he’s not my boo. Mixed signals. Misunderstandings. Wishful thinking. False expectations. Stupid girl. Stupid, stupid girl. Stupid, stupid broken girl.