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 Mythical Boo?
*There when I need him
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!
St. Mark Daily Lenten Devotional – March 30, 2015
by Kenneth Baggs
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 1: 1-7
Nearly twenty years ago, my mother passed following a losing battle with cancer. The year prior to that, my partner of nine years was killed in a car accident. The year following Mom’s death was tough. I went into a depression, although it was not something I was willing to admit to myself at the time. I went to church because I knew that Mom would want me to be there. However, my depression kept me from the joy of church – my friends, the music, God’s word and fellowship. I went through the motions of going to church and to work, but all I really wanted to do was to be home watching movies on TV with my terrier lying beside me.
About a month before I reached the first anniversary of Mom’ death, I received a flyer in the mail for a grief support group that was forming at a local church. As I read that flyer, I recognized myself as they described the life of a depressed person. I knew I needed to go to that support group, to help me to get out of the fog into which I had fallen. In the group, as I listened to others tell their grief stories and as I shared my grief story, I began to heal. On the anniversary of her death, I opened my house to friends to celebrate her life, and to mostly thank them for being there for me as I went through her illness and death. It took time, but in receiving the comfort of others who had gone through the same suffering as I had, I was able to overcome the depressed state I had entered.
Our scripture today encourages us to share our affliction with others, so that we may receive the comfort of God, but also to bring comfort to others. Sometimes we comfort others by sharing, other times we comfort by listening, and sometimes we bring comfort simply by being there beside them. Don’t be afraid to share your suffering with others, as you never know how God will use it.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to reach out to others, to comfort them as you have comforted me. Amen.
Links of the Week – February 27, 2015
* 10 Ways To Be Her True Life Superhero
* How I Feel About My Responsibilities
* Christianity Without The Cross
* 24 Times Your Favorite Kids’ Cartoons Suddenly Got Really Deep
* Fun With Kirk And Spock – (WHY do I not own this book?)
* 27 Times Tumblr Used Art History Perfectly To Make A Point
* How We Talk About Our Teachers – (Turns out we use different descriptors depending on if they’re male or female)
* Star Trek Spock With Ears Socks
* The “Golden Years” Are Gone: Why Retirement Is Hell For Women – (Oh good. Something else to look forward to.)
* How Much I Was Distressed During “Fox and the Hound”
* Game Day Program – Ohio State vs. Indiana – Thanksgiving Day 1903 – (So cool!)
* When I Hide In The Bathroom Stall Until I Hear My Coworker Leave So I Don’t Have To Make Small Talk With Them – (Every time.)
* Check Out Ambidextrous Pitcher Pat Vendittes’ Chthulu-Like Glove
* Adventure Time Oreo Necklaces
* Subway Riders Can Be Animals – (Awesome paintings!)
* You’re Not Happy Because You Never Learned To Be
* The Emory Wheel Editorial Board: Gender Neutral Pronouns Necessary For Inclusivity
* Just Let Them Kiss Already: Why Are TV Shows Are So Weird About Male Relationships?
* I Can Haz Cheezburger?: Extrovert vs. Introvert – (As illustrated by cats…)
* Why Each Sign Is Dangerous – (Scorpio)
* Stained Glass Backboards Are Completely Unnecessary And Beautiful
* 10 Things I Wish I Knew At The Beginning Of Sobriety
* 19 Anti-Social Motivational Posters That I Really Want To Hang In My Office
* Study: What Are The Most Addictive Foods? – (This is why I have frozen pizza six nights a week…)
* “My Mom Can Kick Your Ass” Kid’s T-Shirt
* After His Brother’s Suicide , Writer Seeks Comfort “In All The Wrong Places”
* Get The Picture: Stubborn Is As Stubborn Does – (You can only do so much)
* 19 Pictures That Will Hurt Your Fragile Soul – (Owwwwwwwwwww!)
* The Refuge: A Healing Place – Depression
* The Center: A Place For Hope
* Photos: Evan Gattis The Astro
* Unlocking “The Woman Code”: 4 Tips To Know Your Value
* Unexpressed Emotions, Rage And Depression
* NASA Sees “Bright Spots” On Dwarf Planet In Our Solar System – ( OoO )
* This Wondrous Dutch Light Installation Mimics The Northern Lights – ( ❤ ❤ ❤ )
* A Tortured Soul, Josh Hamilton’s Battle Was Never Over
* GPS In Shoulder Pads: Vanderbilt Goes High Tech
* The Frisco RoughRiders Have Your New Favorite Presidential MiLB Logo – (Must have a cap with Big Head Teddy!)
* Reviewing My 2015 Goals Thusfar – (11 out of 26. Eh.)
“As other girls prayed for handsomeness in a lover, or for wealth, or for power, or for poetry, she had prayed fervently: let him be kind.”
– A Spy In The House Of Love, Anaïs Nin
“I turned over in bed and listened to the traffic in the rain. A few cold, clear truths rose one by one through my consciousness like a flock of birds: I wasn’t even remotely worthy of William and I wasn’t ever going to have him; I’d asked my mother to lend me money and she’d said no; I’d given all the change to the cabdriver; no one was going to pay off my debts; no one would save me from myself. I fell asleep to the soft beating of wings in my head.”
– In The Drink, Kate Christensen
“One fine spring morning I awoke in my own bed alone, with an ache in every orifice and a memory of bending over on the Christopher Street Pier at four in the morning with my drawers around my ankles while John stood behind me, holding my hips. As I gripped a piling to keep from tumbling into the Hudson, I gazed down into the filthy water and thought gaily to myself, Well, here I am, and this is me.”
– In The Drink, Kate Christensen
“Throughout these long afternoons outside with her, I was always conscious of being a speck at the bottom of a vast, ragged bowl of rock under the empty sky, buried in the silence and heat, surrounded by blank sand. The foothills, with their gray-green mesquite fur, rolled away to faraway mountains that sat sharp-spined on the horizon, unconnected to the valley floor, as if they’d been set down ready-made. The buttes and mesas to the west glowed deep red; veins of magenta and green spidered along rock formations shaped like tablets or giant hands, stacked in layers of cinnabar, crimson, brick. Masses of clouds echoed the rock shapes in their charcoal or ocher strata, wind-shaped crags so dense they looked mineral. The air was thick with the breath of sage and hot dust. At sunset the air hung low, striated like a weird plowed field of pigmented earth, backlighting the mountains with shirred, neon clouds, leaching all the color from the rocks, abstracting the bushes to dark cutouts. The wind moved like a huge hand through the valley, filling me with a restless, empty impatience I later identified as loneliness.”
– In The Drink, Kate Christensen
Lawd Knows I Can’t Change
Reading back over my blog the last few days, I see that nothing has really changed for me over the last year and a half. Meds have kept me from feeling as bad physically (’cause y’all, heartbreak and sadness and depression physically hurt!), but I still whine about and wrestle with all the same things about myself. Is there something I like about feeling like shit and wallowing in so much self-pity?
Why do I have an urge to continue spewing the same problems all over the internet for people to read? It must be exhausting, annoying and incredibly boring to read the same stuff from me over and over.
I do still believe somewhere deep and misguided inside of me that if I share my “this girl is fucked in the head” issues enough, someone will come along, say or do the thing I’ve been missing, and suddenly I will be healed! I’ll be a new person! I will be whole and satisfied – finally!
But I know nobody can fix me – my heart and all the things I hate about myself and my life.
I say that over and over, but I don’t know how to change myself. I don’t even know if I want to change. If I have to change into an extrovert, is that still me? If I LIKE myself am I still me?
Where do you even start trying to change your life? I can’t afford to quit a good job with benefits to go live in the woods in a cabin, chop my own firewood, shovel cow shit and read books. I’m exhausted by the thought of joining groups of people I don’t know. Match.com and eHarmony were a huge disappointment and waste of money. I’m not really interested in anything anymore except church and theology and things I want to control. And I’ve pretty much given up on finding someone to love me because it just hurts way, way too much.
So how do I affect change in myself? How do I even know who I want to be? How do I change the way I think? How do I change my feelings? How do I change all these negative emotions? How do I learn to like myself? How do I learn to feel like this life is even worth living?
Added: I don’t even know WHY I’m so unhappy. That makes it hard to change too.
Shut Up, Brain!
I’ve been sleeping on the broken-down couch in front of the TV every night for the last year. One day about 18 months ago, the person I was seeing got up, took a shower and went home; and all of a sudden, sleeping in the bed alone was just too much.
I was also in the middle of my deep depressed place, and on the couch in front of the TV was my safe place. All my friends kept me company there and soothed me after it got dark: Peggy Hill, Blossom, Niles Crane, Dorthy Zabornak, Sam Malone. They kept me in a level, fuzzed zone where my brain didn’t have to think about anything but jokes. As long as I was still awake and watching TV, then it wasn’t the next day yet and I didn’t have to get up and face the real world again.
But the couch hurts and I’m feeling stronger, so I thought I’d give the bed another try. It was so dark and quiet. It felt so amazing to stretch out across the mattress instead of squnching up with a hip falling between the couch cushions and a crick in my neck.
I lay there for a minute feeling so comfortable and relaxed. One cat was spooning me and the other was chewing my hair. This could work!
And then I thought about Boo, and about Boy 1 and Boy 2, and eHarmony guy, and what I want my life to look like, and whether I should quit trying to have romantic relationships, and whether I should try to quit giving a shit about anything at all. And I thought about Lost Boy, and I thought about suicide, and I thought about driving across country, and I thought about my family, and I thought about living alone in a cabin in the woods. I thought about “a walk in the woods” being right outside the back door. And I thought about living out of a van. And I wondered how I’d get rid of the condo. And I thought about writing. And I thought about New Year’s Eve. And I thought about being alone. And I thought about being old alone. And I worried about money. And I worried about what it would be like to quit my job. And I worried about what the consequences would be if I really did the things I wanted to. And I worried about men and I worried about me and I wondered why I’m so bad at being a woman and why I’m so bad at being grown and I worried about my cats and I worried about my mom…
And I then I got up, laid down on the couch and turned on the TV. Shhh. Shhh. Quiet now. Yep. Yep. Yep. Mmmhummm.
Have Yourself An Anxious Little Christmas
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!
I’ve always loved the holidays – the lights, the gifts, the music, the television specials, the anticipation! And I still love all those things, but a confluence of several factors including my divorce and the death of my dad have changed things. There is an empty place in my heart.
The holidays are supposed to be a time for joyful gatherings. But I always feel like a giant zit under a magnifying glass when I’m alone there these days. I rarely feel self-conscious, but inevitably I do at holiday parties.
I feel it particularly strongly at family gatherings. Except for my widowed mother and grandmother, I’m the only one not coupled up and the only adult without kids. It makes me feel like Forrest Gump at the Black Panther party, and like I screwed up all the things you’re supposed to be and do as a grown-up. Here I am, 46 years old and alone at the holidays without any “family.” And it’s my fault for quitting and walking away from my marriage because I thought I could find something better.
Disney and Hallmark and all the others have conspired to make me believe in happy endings, in love stories, in holiday magic. I have daydreamed countless scenarios where my magical holiday ending finally happens. My imaginary stories are so romantic, full of kisses and Christmas lights and love!
But a life’s true story isn’t wrapped up tightly in a bow after two hours. There are very few happy endings. And there are many, many sad and lonely people.
Every year at the holidays, I swear this time will be different. I’m going to beat the holiday blues. I’m going to love myself. I will be enough. I’ll have more gratitude. I will find joy.
I will not have a prolonged anxiety attack from Thanksgiving Eve through Christmas Eve.
So far on night one of the countdown, I’m not starting out too well…