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Ugh, so I was going to talk about setting boundaries today.  I’ve been composing it in my head since Sunday, but then I went to my doctor’s appointment.  It seems everything I went there for is a-okay.  However, my answers to some of her questions alarmed her enough that I got to have an emergency pelvic exam (which she did over her lunch break, people) and I get to go Thursday for an intravaginal ultrasound (the nurse who just called me to confirm the appointment made it sound really unpleasant) and then I go next Tuesday for a biopsy on what appears to a basal cell carcinoma.  Which I am assured by all the medical folks I spoke today is no big deal and probably just needs to be removed and I need to be checked to  make sure there are no others that need to be removed.  Also it appears I might have mucosal vitiligo, which would mean nothing (?? yeah, they said that) except it does put me in a super low risk group for malignant carcionomas, so that’s good.

I was really upset when I got back from the appointment.  My mom called after I texted her and she was super anxious and upset about it which seems to have calmed me down.  So no big deal, right?  If it isn’t malignant, then it’s removed and I have insurance.  The ultrasound is for concerns over ovarian cysts which are sucky but also no big deal.  And it’s not like I can do anything but wait anyway. Still, SERIOUSLY?  Ugh.

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I had a great visit with my cousins.  It was fun to get out and do touristy Nashville things again. It was really fun to get to hang out with them. I talked A LOT. I talked a lot about me.  I was roughly 16 when they were born and so it’s only recently that we’ve been close enough age to really socialize, so I told them a lot about myself at their ages and things I’ve done with my life.  It was an interesting exercise to review and remember how many awesome things I’ve done (especially from their roughly 23yo perspectives).  It was sort of a confidence building experiment for me.

There was a lot of anxiety in the visit for me as well.  It’s hard to have house guests.  I worry too much over things I can’t control, even things that shouldn’t be worrisome. Plus there were huge storms and tornadoes here during their visit so some of my worry wasn’t even unnecessary.

I’m still very much struggling with how to find the balance I need to continue to get better.  I feel so much better than I did four months ago, but recognize how much further I still have to go.

I’ve been meditating a little on this post from Tiny Buddha.  I find I feel like I’m still missing some piece of where my anxiety is coming from.  I wonder, perhaps, if too much of my attention on it has been focused outward, on the robbery and the dental troubles and the break-ups.  I haven’t been looking at the internal stuff, much of which I think is the same as the article author’s: high insecurity and excessive need for validation, plus a hard time recognizing who I am, rather than who I was, and no clue who I want to become.

Despite the joy and love and fun I’ve had for the past few days, it’s also been excessively weepy for me as well.  I can’t say if just emotions feel heightened in general, or if it’s backwards motion in my quest to feel better, or if it’s simply ongoing hormonal yuck with the heavy period I’ve been having.  Or some combination of all of those.

I’ve been feeling the lack of closure with Hawthorn.  I can’t decide if it would be easier if I didn’t have to see him every day or if I stopped socializing with him.  I keep wavering on just pushing through, because eventually I have to come out the other side of this, or asking to step back, and taking as much of a break from him as I can manage.  But I do have to work with him and I do like him, and honestly I think it’s easier to push through and do the things I want with him and bear the parts that are less easy.  This morning he brought up having the port-mortem relationship talk because of an interaction we had yesterday (he was asking about an album he wanted and I gave it to him, but pointed that having listened to it every day for a month after our break up that the sound of the album was the shape of my broken heart) and still I’m not sure I’m ready to have that conversation.  Or maybe I’ll just feel better if I just get it done with.

I have really be reaching to socialize with people I see less often and get just get out and see people.  It’s been hard too, as people do disappoint and worry that my expectations are too high.  But then it seems sadder to expect less of people. I have lots of visitors and parties in the next 45 days and much of my own traveling after that.  I am going to make a concerted effort to spend the next 10 or so days being a little more introspective about my own anxiety and what I think I need to do to keep healing.

A few quick things on my mind before I fall into bed:

I just realized how much I am looking forward to April!  April is when life (spring) begins by my reckoning.  I’m getting a (sort of) surprise visit from some loved family members to kick off the month, then a weekend with Wisteria and some of my closest longtime girlfriends, then Dandelion’s wedding (which I am crazy excited about) and then my birthday at the end!  What a month! And it will surely be full of sun and flowers (and rain and leaves)! Hooray!

I had a nice evening with Hawthorn, mostly we talked about work, but it was a good, healthy sort of unloading and getting it out (mainly project talk and coworker gossiping, but we don’t do that at work, so sometimes we need to outside of work).  I do still feel angry with him and I think we will have to have a long heart to heart in the next few weeks or so, just so I can make sure he understands how I feel now that I’ve had so much time to work it out.  I think for closure on this I really need to genuine “I’m sorry I hurt you” apology (as opposed to the “I’m sorry your feelings are hurt” fauxpology).

My rage of earlier in the week was very definitely hormonal.  I’d just like to record for my future reference that the emotional upheaval and disturbance around my cycle and the physical pain associated with it are getting consistently worse and lasting for more days in a row.  Related: as I suffered incredible, sharp stabbing pain in my breast today, which I’m repeatedly assured is just normal and I only need to worry about if it continues after menopause, I was struck by how angry I am about women’s place in the world.  It’s all well and good that we can sue for wage discrimination, that we are supposed to be treated as equals, that we are no longer considered property, but when will we really get to be equal? When will women’s medicine get funding equal to that of what erectile dysfuction gets?  When will we finally be so fed up with quietly suffering pain that we ask for it to be changed?  When will we really learn to speak up for ourselves and not resign ourselves to being paid less, to being talked down too, to the assumption that we’ll still do women’s work, that we’ll do all of this while bearing the pain of childbirth, the pain of simply having a reproductive system?  When will we take ownership of the world enough that we stop accepting food and packaging and products that disrupt our nervous, endocrine and reproductive systems so much more than they do men’s but we still accept our place as being one of suffering and let it happen.

*cough* Um, yeah, I was definitely feeling like we aren’t doing enough for each other, ourselves or the world today. Stupid body pains. Alright, Imna take my hormones and go wonder why I’m not married to Wil Wheaton, or bedding Colin Farrell.  Stupid hormones making me a parody of  stereotypes. *grumble grump*

It’s all about perspective, folks: a story in three parts.

(1) I went out for a post work beer with Oak last night.  He texted mid-day and I was dirty. Like should have showered before bed and decided to wait til morning, and then, you know, hit snooze 7 times.  I rushed home, washed and blew out my hair, realized I didn’t know exactly where my make up was packed, decided I didn’t care and set out to meet him. Which was huge, right, no make up? It actually made me feel way more confident to realize I looked pretty good and came across as some one who just didn’t care.

It wasn’t awkward exactly.  We just talked about work and moving and job hunting and my apartment and my family.  Come to think of it, mostly I talked.  I offered to walk in afternoons with him, as we often did when I dated. I left with a sense of having enjoyed his company but not exactly with the sense of longing that I anticipated.  I actually feel like all my saying I don’t want to get back together isn’t lip service, which was more of a relief than I expected. However, I can’t say exactly why, but I think maybe he isn’t as opposed to the idea as I am.  So I guess that could get weird, but I’m not going to worry about that unless it presents itself.  All in all it was pleasant and I think I’m very glad he’s moved back here.

(2) Hawthorn came into my office this morning and offered to borrow a work truck at lunch and bring his chairs over to my house.  He said he wasn’t trying to dissuade me from borrowing them, just he didn’t want them sold or ground up for mulch.  I pointed out I wouldn’t do that and reluctantly I agreed to let him lend me his chairs. 🙂  I actually feel vaguely paranoid that he is reading this, but I suspect it came more from my very vocal complaints everywhere about not having anything to sit on.  My incredibly adorable, wonderful landlord is putting up shelves for me today, so the end result should be TV and place to sit, which is pretty exciting, I think!

I’m actually only annoyed about the chairs now because last night I was thinking about writing up a post about how angry and bitter I am about Hawthorn and I swear every time I start feeling like that, he shows up and does something nice.  It’s kind of frustrating.

(3) Through an odd and really random set of circumstances, I reconnected with one of my closest friends from high school yesterday.  I have actually literally been trying to track him down for years but even my very powerful google-fu hadn’t been able to unearth him.  Yesterday I stumbled across some key info (the city he lives in and the industry he works in) and was able to pull him up pretty quickly.

We’ve passed back a couple emails in the last 24 hours and what really strikes me is what becomes important when trying to sum up that past 20 years. Like in that perspective my divorce, now 11 years past, is still a looming spectre, but the entirety of my relationships with Oak and Hawthorn barely merit a mention.  Rose gets props (24-ish years of friendship!) and Dahlia gets lots of time and storytelling on being the best/smartest sister/kid one could have.  Travel matters, both past and future.  When I talk about my current job, I realize I like it even more than I thought I did and recognize how much I’ve hated most other jobs I’ve had.  Anxiety gets mentioned under the guise of the oral surgeries and the robbery, because it’s still a focal point but even it puts things in perspective for me now.  All in all it was a good and interesting exercise for me.  I don’t know how long I can hold onto the feeling but I feel lighter and more positive about things, although my entire lack of future plans stands in sort of sharp contrast to the past years of my life.

Life really does sometimes feel like I’m being offered a flower from a chipmunk.

I feel wobbly, nauseous and gross this morning.  I’m 90% sure it’s the Skelaxin, so no muscle relaxants for me.  Sad.  Will call my doctor today and update her.  Was an hour late for work because I feel like I only slept for about 3 hours and was too wobbly to drive earlier.  Yuck.

So for a long time I’ve been struggling with this idea that I need someone to take care of me. The very concept is anti-feminist, anti-my generation, anti-my own identity.  Of the endless loops in my head, “I wish someone would take care of me” is among the top three. And maybe it isn’t so hard to accept if I can really pin down what being taken care of means to me.  This morning it would mean driving me to work, picking me up later and possibly holding my hair back while I barf.  Most days it would be about supporting me in my crazy endeavors, about showing an interest in what I’m creating, about cooking for me, making sure I eat and just sort of paying enough attention to know when I need extra care and affection even if I’m not asking for it.  Maybe that’s a tall order, but it doesn’t seem like it should be.

From an email from my mom yesterday:

When you told me about [breaking up with Oak], you cited  how he wasn’t psychically supporting you in what you’d been going through.  And you said that what [Hawthorn] was doing was offering you comfort and support…which I don’t think anyone has done a good job of offering and carrying through for you. That’s likely a consequence of looking more together than anyone else around.

I have so much to say about this, I don’t even know where to start.  I guess it’s what bothers me about Hawthorn’s change of heart. I really had hoped I’d found someone to support and care for me.  And I feel really betrayed that that’s been ripped away from me.

Honestly I doubt it would have worked out between Hawthorn and I no matter what.  And weirdly I don’t really care why.  I mean I could make a list of reasons but I don’t care too.  This is weird because ever since I broke with Oak I’ve been telling myself stories over and over and over and over all the ways it would eventually have gone wrong between us anyway.  How it never would have have worked.  Every possible scenario that would have somehow broken down our relationship.  Every excuse possible to make it okay to have ended it.

And it is true that I didn’t feel like Oak was emotionally supporting me, it’s also true that I never asked him.  I always presented a front to him of being together, in control and in charge.  I never said I was scared and needed comfort, I never asked him for help of any kind. I told him it was okay to go when I wanted to ask him to stay.  I told him I was fine when I wasn’t and then I got hurt when he didn’t notice how much I needed him.

Perhaps all of this goes back to not being able to get my words out when I need to.  Maybe part of it isn’t valuing myself enough to think I deserve help?  I don’t know, I don’t even really think so.  I think maybe it’s more about being afraid of what people will think of me.  And I am no where near being able to start with what my problem is there.

The increasing anxiety and bizarreness of the past year has often left me wishing to be rescued rather than simply taken care of.  And maybe Hawthorn rescued me and is releasing me now.  But I do know for sure that I need to be taken care of. And I know that can mean whatever I want it to.  And I am going to learn how to ask for it because anything else is far too lonely to contemplate.

And, oh, Brezny-scope, I love you so:

FREE WILL ASTROLOGY
Week beginning January 20
Copyright 2011 by Rob Brezsny
http://FreeWillAstrology.com

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): I find many of you Tauruses to be excessively self-effacing. It’s a trait that can be both endearing and maddening. Even as my heart melts in the presence of Bulls who are underestimating their own beauty, I may also feel like grabbing them by the shoulders and shaking some confidence into them, barraging them with frustrated exhortations like “Believe in yourself as much as I believe in you, for God’s sake!” But I’m guessing I won’t be tempted to do that anytime soon. You appear to be due for a big influx of self-esteem.

Several conversations with other people saved for my own reference. Click to keep reading…

I think my weekend away with my mom and sister helped me feel less trapped and freaked out.  I spent a whole day with my mom who was really sympathetic about the PTSD (though she later chastized me for not talking about it sooner and I know talking about stuff is something I need to work on, more on that in a minute).  My mom was relatively unresponsive on the Hawthorn situation.  She was sympathetic but pretty much just said that I should try and work it out with him and if it becomes clear that it isn’t going to work out, then just find myself an apartment and move on.  She wasn’t callous about it or anything, just matter-of-fact. But all of it feels less dire after talking to her about it, so that good.

Then I spent an entire day with my little sister, Dahlia, who has her own heap of life drama, so I did my best to be understanding and helpful and not add to her burden.  She felt like my anxiety issues really explained a lot of my behavior in the past year.  She had no commentary on the Hawthorn situation, except to say that if seemed he was going to get my name tattooed on him I should break up with him because that’s just weird. Heh.  No risk of that happening.

Finally I spent some time with my oldest friend in the world, Rose, who suffers from agoraphobia and anxiety and had a really good long talk with her.  She made me feel less crazy and more supported.   She thinks that I should sever it with Hawthorn and beg Oak to take me back. With the caveat that I shouldn’t be making any decisions right now, at least until I start feeling like I’m on an even keel again.

I went to the doctor today and we agree the Klonopin is excellent and helping.  The Zoloft not so much.  Dr. was really unhappy with the side effects (dizziness, nausea, blurred vision, stomach upset) and that it seemed to be making me more jittery.  She didn’t think the side effects would go away if they hadn’t already and really didn’t want to increase my dose, so she switched me to Lexapro, which I’ll start today. She also got me into physical therapy for the tension and pain in my neck and shoulders and gave me muscle relaxants.

The weather here at home is bleak and wintery.  I know some folks love snow but it feels desolate and oppressive to me.  I am, I think, maintaining a fairly positive outlook, given everything, but I’d just assume see that sun while I’m trying to get better.

Friday is my therapy appointment and I’m very much looking forward to it.  I know I have trouble asking for help and I certainly need to get over that.  But I also just have problems talking sometimes.  Like it really is easier for me to write it all out than to say it out loud.  I find often there are things I want to say but the words sort of stick inside me, like there’s some unidentifiable thing forcing me to keep to myself.  Also I really value personal privacy.  I’m unlikely to share a lot of myself with anyone, even a lover or a boyfriend, but it’s never been to the extent where I felt like I couldn’t even if I wanted too.  So I am really going to try and work on being more open (in therapy, not just wishing I would be, but like actively working on it). I want to dissolve whatever blockage is holding in my words and my feelings.

I did talk extensively with Rose about how I feel fine talking to Oak about things. And maybe it’s not just my comfort level of talking to him, but I actually feel like he’s listening when I talk, which is something I don’t experience with very many people. (This is what prompted Rose to suggest I should get back with Oak vs. Hawthorn, not some personal preference, just she thought I should be with someone I could really talk to.)

I’m not homesick like I thought I’d be.  I did have some very nice moments with my family and I’m hard to preserve those as memories I can reflect on on a rainy day.  Something I need to do more of.  I’m considering cataloging some of it here, but some of it feels too personal to even put on paper.  Not because I don’t want to share it, but because speaking it or writing it might somehow diminish the magic of it.

A good trip over all.  I feel more supported and less isolated, but perhaps no less confused than I was before.

I spent 11 hours today in airports and on planes.  I spent most of it feeling sorry for myself over the whole Hawthorn situation, some of it sleeping, some of it reading and at least a little of it feeling gloriously in awe at how amazing it is to to fly over the Rocky Mountains on a clear winter day and then watch the sunset around the edge of the world.

Tomorrow I spend the day with my mom and get to tell her everything that’s been going on.  I will probably need a sedative first.

I wish I better understood exactly what is going on with Hawthorn.  He treats me kindly, kisses me in greeting, rubs my shoulders when I hurt, holds my hand, offers comfort when I ask. But when I press him on what is happening in his head I can’t even figure out what he’s talking about.  Yesterday he started crying in a restaurant at lunch. Because he’s afraid of… I don’t know what exactly.  Not being able to do what ever he wants, when ever he wants, maybe?  Something about having to plan everything months in advance and checking in with someone. And wanting to move to New Orleans. Maybe, except he hasn’t been there in 10 years, so he’s not sure if he’d want to live there.  Or he’s upset because he can’t just go to a concert when he wants or something.  Except he can.  And when I point that out to him he says it isn’t that it’s, well, who fucking knows.  Perhaps it is extreme mid-life crisis or something.  I suggested therapy to him.  I mean he can’t articulate to me what it is that’s driving him to break up with me.  He doesn’t have a plan.  He doesn’t know what he wants, except something else. I think because somehow in his mind, having a relationship with me is exactly like his previous relationship.  Even though it isn’t.  At all.  Which he acknowledges when I point it out to him, but somehow he can’t stop thinking of it that way. Or maybe I’m getting it all wrong and something elese is going down but I can’t trouble out what it is.

And I feel like I am swallowing so many of the things I want to say to him.  I mean, yes, I made my own choices, but wow did Hawthorn push and prod and cajole me into being here, with him. And now he doesn’t want me?  Because he’s afraid it’ll be like a relationship he had with someone else? And hey every time I asked for space or tried to set a boundary he acted like I was shutting him out, like I was somehow wrong for not wanting exactly what he wanted in that second. And now he needs the space I’ve been giving all along, that he previously wasn’t looking for and it still isn’t enough.  Plus I just feel kind of more crazy for not even really understanding what’s going on.  It kind of makes me want to scream, fuck you fuck you fuck you, and smash things.

Last night was a bad night.  I can’t tell how much of it was me just freaking out and how much was the Zoloft. It seems like maybe with the Zoloft, I’m fine for about 2 hours after I take it, then there’s a period of about 3 to 5 hours where I feel dizzy-ish, sort of cross eyed or unable to focus and a little shaky and queasy.  The Klonopin seems to allay this a little but I don’t want to rely on that.  I think I’m going to start taking the Zoloft before bed instead of mid-morning.

Ugh, thanks, horoscope, I get it:

Taurus (April 20-May 20)
What confusing commotion would you like to walk away from and never come back to? What lessons have you learned so well that you’re overdue to graduate from them? What long-term healing process would you like to finish up so you can finally get started on the building phase that your healing will give you the power to carry out? These are excellent questions to ask yourself as you plan your life in the next six months.

And thanks, Lifehacker, where were you 8 months ago with this plan?

Tomorrow I fly home for the weekend to see my family and, subsequently, tell them everything that’s been going on.  This is really hard for me.  A little bit because I feel like a messed up, broken failure, but mostly because I don’t like to upset my mom or make her worry.  It makes me feel even more awful.  Plus, honestly, a good part of why I don’t talk to anybody about stuff like this is that I don’t want anyone’s sympathy.  It makes me feel weird and kind of yucky.  And this also gives my parents another opportunity to try and convince me to move back.  Which I steadfastly and resolutely do not want to do.  In fact, much of the reason I chose to stay here with Hawthorn was so that I could stay HERE and not have to move back there. Gah, just writing this paragraph is seriously stressing me out.

I will be attempting to blog from my phone while traveling.  We’ll see how that works out.  I have many hours of layover on the trip.