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I am really glad to be home from visiting my family.  I definitely do not want to move back to the city I’m from, and currently prolonged interaction with my family really stresses me out.  But I confess, I had a moment while there wondering why I would come back here.  My chosen home seemed empty and isolating, see in from a distance.  A city that contains only my tiny apartment, where I live alone and hide from the world; that contains Hawthorn and Oak and too few people that I really care to open up too; that contains oppressive heat and so many political view with which I don’t agree.  And yet, I am so very glad to be home.  It’s like I need to be here to remember the things I love about this place, about the South, about having my own life not tied to other people’s desires for me.

During my week with my family my mom and my sister managed to bicker so much that I teetered on the edge of telling them both to STFU, very out of character for me.  And my family, specifically my mom, my sister, one of my cousins, one of my aunts, and my mom’s best friend all made it very clear that they did not like Hawthorn.  They did not make it clear if they did not like him because he broke up with me so now they are all pointing out his negative qualities, or if they simply never liked him and now it’s okay to tell me.  Either way, grrrrr, not helpful at all.  And apparently they’ve been conspiring about how to get me back together with Oak.  They haven’t actually gone so far as to contact Oak yet, but I actually sort of fear that they will.

It makes me feel like everyone pities me and that no one thinks I can handle my own life and my own choices.  I’m pretty sure Hawthorn was a better boyfriend to me than Oak ever was.  I think he was more in it for liking me and enjoying my company and Oak, well, I’ve never been sure what he was in it for besides sex. He was never open enough with me for me to know. But all the women in my immediate family seem to have some fantasy based around how charming Oak can be when he turns it on. And I didn’t argue.  I didn’t say anything.  It just wasn’t worth it to me to spend time explaining how miserable he is internally and how hard it is to a carry that and how I felt like I spent our whole relationship either trying to cajole him to smile, or apologizing to bystanders for his negative attitude (which was subtle but prevalent).

I read Deathless on the plane (spoilers follow, though somewhat vague, but spoilers still) and it was filled with Russian fairytales and Soviet strangeness, but mostly it was just about a woman living her life, making some choices and having some made for her, all the while either trying to figure out who she was or going along with it.  Over the course of it she has two husbands (sort of simultaneously) and ends up alone when both eventually die.  When her first husband comes back to her he tells her that he understands that she never loved either of them less, that she could love endlessly, the way parents can love two children equally.  The two husbands could easily have been exceptionally exaggerated cartoons of Oak and Hawthorn as well.  In which she’s carried off by the first husband (Oak) and then somewhat ignored and unhappy with where she finds herself, she runs off with the second (Hawthorn) only to eventually take the first back, but not before making him suffer and prove his true love to her.  And then both are pretty much immediately killed before she has to make a real choice about it and she goes and lives long years, just doing her work and sort of loses herself.  Eventually she returns to herself and makes the long journey back to ‘home’ the land her first husband kidnapped her to.  Only to discover everyone there is dead and ghost and doesn’t remember her at all.  Finally she goes back to the burnt out home she shared with her first husband, having discovered she is a ghost herself and determines to find him or simply recreate him to spend eternity with.

There’s so many spun out metaphors in the story for me.  Not just the obvious relationship stuff, but about finding yourself, abd about what you see and how you see it differently from other people and how that makes you who you are.  It was thought provoking, not just to my current circumstances, but life in general and choices I’ve made have made me who I am and how they will continue to change me for my whole life.  It made me think a lot about who I will become and how I will get to that place.  It sort of made me remember myself, set me on a mental journey to get back to where I am supposed to be, I think.

I think I am in better place emotionally after my trip with Cedar and my trip back home.  Work is currently so overwhelming that it’s hard to think about anything else, which is not a bad thing for me right now.  The more I write about, log and think about how I’m feeling the more obvious the underlying hormonal and other mysteries of my physiology seem to be cyclically making me unhappy.  As if my own created unhappiness has been slowly draining away, leaving me with only something that can hopefully be controlled, or at least better understood.  I’m feeling very clear on how much I miss Hawthorn all the time and how much I don’t miss Oak.  I think my priority is to get completely back to myself, to finally get past the sense of loss from breaking up with Hawthorn.  I’m not sure exactly how to do that yet, but I’m working on it, like a background process that’s running out of sight until it can spit out an answer.   I no longer feel like I”m gasping for air, but rather that I can take at least one measured breath and look around me and wonder how I am going to get where I am going. And hey, where am I going anyway? Maybe I’ll try and take some more deep breaths and just look around for a while.

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.

I am in a snit of self-righteous indignation this morning.  Also I’m tired and my head hurts.  These things are related.

I worked a long, long day yesterday.  My day job was full insane troll logic and epic jackassery on the part of a client.  Still I went home, took a power nap, dressed up all pretty and went to my evening job, where I maintained a genuinely cheerful mood and felt somewhat energized and almost relaxed.  I got off my shift early enough to go home, read VC Andrews (what, oh you read crap sometimes too) and get to bed at a reasonable hour. Get to bed at a reasonable hour, be sleepy and and fall asleep without Klonopin or other sleep aids (I usually take Benadryl).  For the second night in a row.  This is exciting!  Good news!  Wheee!

And then one of my jackass friends texted me in the middle of the night to make some bullshit inappropriate comment about Hawthorn.  Not only was I woken up, but I was fucking livid, to angry to go back to sleep easily.  Now I’m running on less than six hours sleep and my good mood of last night has been killed by feeling like my safe zone for talking about things has been violated. (Also don’t tell me to turn off my phone when I sleep.  I use it for my alarm and I never trust that to work when it’s off, plus it’s my only communication and emergencies where I’m needed can happen.  And I really don’t think it’s too much to ask people to be civil and polite and not be loud in the middle of the night.  I should not have to turn off my phone because people have no self editing.)

This morning I sent an email to the offending friend telling them to please respect my schedule and not call of text me at unreasonable hours in relation to my schedule. And then I told them that this and previous comments about my relationship with Hawthorn, though surely well intended, had hurt my feelings and insulted me.  And that as far as I was concerned if we were going to maintain our friendship that the topic of my relationship with Hawthorn and it’s course and ending were 100% off the table conversationally until I said otherwise.  I expressed that my emotional resources were low and I’d appreciate boundaries I set being recognized.

Here’s how I feel about this right now:  Was my anger over the text out of order and utterly disproportionate? Yes, but presumably because it was the proverbial straw of people saying dumb things.  I feel fine about the email and really somewhat proud of myself for having set boundaries with this person.  A large part of my problem is that I often won’t speak up for fearing upsetting other people (this is mostly with my mother but bleeds into all my relationships–like I never told Oak how much I needed him and if I had things might have much different, but I didn’t want him to feel bad). I guarantee you the email I sent this person made them feel bad, despite the fact that I was polite and, I feel, overly generous and as kind as I could be about it.

As I mentioned before my emotional reserves are at 0% and though I could regret it later, I am not above burning bridges over this shit.  I understand that I’m in a messed up mental and emotional place and probably shouldn’t be making too many big decisions, but if folks can’t recognize how much I mean business when I say, “don’t cross this line” then I don’t need them.  Not negotiable. If looked at from a certain angle about 90% of my problems come from letting people cross lines with me that should have been drawn long before.  I meditated on it for a while this morning and I think therapy is supposed to make me happier.  Make me understand my motivations better.  I don’t think it’s supposed to make me an open book and a cuddly puppy if I am not that person.  So even if it’s only because I was pushed to the edge, I think drawing this line is a very good thing for me.  Though somehow ironic, since my other problems do involve needing to be more open.  Then again, it is about being more able to speak my mind and speak about what I need. Yes, all in all a good thing.

However, the entire incident has left feeling much more tense and physically locked up than I’ve felt in a week or two.  Which means I have been feeling better.  Too bad I needed that confirmed by feeling worse again.  I have exceptionally long workdays today and tomorrow too.  Where is my handsome houseboy to come rub my shoulders? I swear, missing things like this is the worst part of breaking up.  Who will rub my feet now!?!?

Quarter dose of Lexapro starts tonight (I know I said that yesterday, but I was wrong, I had one half left, so this time quarter for reals, yo).  Hopefully the upswing in how I’m feeling continues.

Thank you, my dear friends, for all your out pourings of love in email over the weekend.  I will reply in time and in kind. You all make me feel more normal, happier and glad to have shared with you.  I had a rough bit of it this weekend.  Work sort of forced me out to be more social than I wanted. Hmm, no, I do want to be social, rather I was forced to face a lot of acquaintances and explain the situation with Hawthorn.  Which by itself is fine, I just find most people’s responses to be fairly intolerable.

Overall I feel well liked and people have been very sympathetic.  And I do appreciate that very much.  However so many people thoughtlessly say things that cause me to have to defend Hawthorn and his choices, which really is a position I don’t want to have to take right now.  And people thoughtlessly say things that unintentionally make me feel bad about myself or the choices I’ve made.  I know everyone means well, but saying things like, “He’s just a girl stealer, I knew from the beginning, I just didn’t want to tell you for fear of hurting your feelings,” doesn’t make me feel better.  It makes me think you think I was duped and that I’m an idiot and that I can’t tell the difference between someone scamming me and someone who genuinely likes me.  A lovely friend commented here about honoring choices that were made in good faith.  This is perfect wording.  I stand by my choice to move in with Hawthorn because I made it in good faith. And, despite everything, I think his initial choices were made in good faith as well.  He just wasn’t as ready for this as he thought he was.  But again, I’m still angry, so I don’t like being pushed into a rhetorical corner where I feel like I have to defend him.

And for the most part friends I saw were, if anything, overly cautious and gentle with my feelings, so I shouldn’t be complaining.  I do feel a little like I should print up a t-shirt or a card to hand to people to something.  I think it would say: Yes, we broke up.  No, I’m fine. Yes, it really is as amicable as these things can be.  Yes, I will need to find a new place to live.  No, I don’t want to stay in your guest room in the interim.  No, I don’t need anything right now.  Yes, I swear I’ll call you if I do.

This is the path I've been taking to get where ever it is that I'm going. I think in the future the Hawthorn situation will either be an oxbow lake or a short cut I couldn't have known I needed to take.

I did spend a good part of the weekend sorting, organizing and planning things. The terrifying and amazing part of all this is getting to completely rebuild my life.  I really don’t think I can stand to have roommate, despite my fears around being home alone.  I am confident right now that I can find a place I can afford on my own that I will feel safe in.  I fell asleep last night imagining a place that had only my pictures on the walls, that has only things in it that I want.  I will never be a minimalist, nor truly aspire to it, but I have working hard for a few years now on paring my life down to essentials (my essentials are probably grander and more numerous than some other people’s) and this gives me a chance to really think about it, since basically at this point I own my (vast) sewing set up, my bed, dresser, wardrobe, desk, some shelves, a few plates, a sauce pan and chef’s knife. Oh, and a coffee table.  So I will need to acquire many kitchen items and places to sit when I move.  But I have time to dream about how simple and lovely that could be when it’s all in my own space and only my things that I want to have.  I am definitely feel positive about this, even with the heavy stresses of finding a place and actually moving.  I the idea of a place free of anyone’s clutter but my own is rapidly becoming very appealing.

I started watching the new BBC Sherlock Holmes this weekend (with Hawthorn–we’ve been keeping up our routine of spending an evening or two a week having dinner and watching something together and I think that’s really helped keep things much more civil) and there’s a part in the beginning where Watson’s therapist tells him to work on his blog every day and record everything that happens to him as she assures him it will help.  Thank you, campy BBC TV show for validating me!  I laughed out loud!

I spent some time over the weekend reading about, meditating on and talking about medications.  I’m going to talk to my therapist today about having her, my mom, Hawthorn, a friend in town (and you all, of course) monitor me rather than taking the SSRIs.  I feel about 120% better since I started halving the dose on the Lexapro.  My current plan is 4 more days on the halved dose and then 4 days on a quarter dose and then no more.  I have worked out a weekly exercise plan with Violet and with Hawthorn and on my own at home (my bedroom is big enough to hula hoop in).  I understand the risk of dependency with the Klonopin, but really I don’t think I’m taking it to excess and man, oh man, it really does make me feel better.  So I’m hoping that exercise (which will include getting out to see people, at least Violet) and therapy and my developing positive outlook and the occasional Klonopin to stave off the panicky moments will be enough to get me through right now.  I will pay close attention to how I feel and hopefully with everyone else paying attention, if I really need psycotropic drugs someone will step in and help guide me back to that.  But right now I think it’s making me feel worse, definitely physically, I don’t know that the benefit of long term chemical changes that I don’t really understand are worth it to me right now.  As always I reserve the right to change my mind at any time and I could be wrong about this, but I’m really hoping that therapy of a variety of kinds and having something to look forward to (my own sanctuary) will get me through the immediate parts of this and hopefully send me out stronger and healthier on the other end.

I am absolving myself of all decision making this week.  I have had my mom and a couple friends already (unintentionally) pressuring me about moving right away. And wow, I can not face moving right now.  Honestly I have two full, completely private, completely mine, rooms in my house with Hawthorn. Yes the situation sucks, but it’s not like we’re stuck in a one bedroom apartment or anything.  Thus far he is going WAY out of his way to compensate for his shitty shortcomings.  Obviously I could change my mind any minute on this, but currently I feel safer and less stressed about the idea of staying than I do about moving.

I talked to Oak last night about the situation for a while. He voiced his frustration that he feels that Hawthorn actively and aggressively pursued me and pressured and promised me the moon to move in with him.  And now is rather blasé about saying oh, I don’t want to be in a relationship. Oak felt it would be one thing if I had been the pursuer rather than the pursued, but that currently Hawthorn’s actions are incredibly selfish and disingenuous given how much other people’s (mine, Oak’s) lives have been affected by the course Hawthorn chose.  And right now, I think this is what upsets me the most about the situation; he’s being selfish at a time when things should be all about me! (Ha, I know, right?)

I am trying hard to own my choices and the decisions I made. I generally can acknowledge and be responsible for my own mistakes. But I don’t know if I can say it was a mistake to choose Hawthorn and move in with him.  At least not given the information I had at the time.  I was simply trying to find a safe easy place to fit into the world.  I assume the universe is telling me that that wasn’t the place I was supposed to be and now I have to find the place I am supposed to be.

I also dislike the idea of hurriedly packing up and moving into the first vaguely adequate place I can find.  I want to find some place that I want to be, that I’m comfortable in, that doesn’t feel like a place to just park my stuff. But again not making any decisions right now.  I have support, friends and places to go if I need too.  I just don’t think I need to go just quite yet.

Where do I find one of these?

On the drug front, the Lexapro so far is WAY better than the Zoloft.  Side effects so far seem to be occasional lightheadedness and mild somnolence (which isn’t necessarily bad for someone with insomnia).  And maybe it’s starting to make me feel better?  Maybe it’s too early to tell and just the lack of side effects and the hope that it will help is what I’m feeling.  Panic attacks and sense of hysterical fear are WAY down, but that could easily be the judicious application Klonopin at the first sign of such.  Still, given everything, I some sense that I’m starting to feel a little more steady, more functional and a little less on autopilot.

Last night I told Oak that it some ways, not excusing my choices or my responsibility for where I am, still it seemed almost like I’ve been living someone else’s life for the last twelve months. Like somewhere around Feb 2010 things just got way off track and I didn’t even notice until I was so far from ‘home’ that I couldn’t find my way back.   I have in the last few months been having the unsettling sensation that I’m losing pieces of myself, like I’ve just become a shell that needs to be filled back up.  Or perhaps it’s more that parts of me that I identified as my sense of self are somehow getting walled up in the the past and I haven’t moved far enough forward to clarify for myself the sense of my new evolved identity.  I believe this is in line with Saturn transiting my 4th house.  I was thinking this morning about how this particular transit is about self identity and security and if you don’t heed the need for growth here that the universe will kick your ass.  I think the universe just kicked my ass.

Have a therapy appointment this afternoon.  Will probably scrap what I’d intended to talk about about and focus on how sound she thinks my decision making is right now and what I need to do to have the space and emotional tools I need to plan my life.  Since the all the future plans I’ve made in the last two years are now entirely off the table. And yes, I can go anywhere, do anything, but what, exactly is that?

I had my first therapy appointment today.  She encouraged me to continue writing here as much as possible and said that it’s hopefully equally as useful as therapy.

I have spent a lot of time thinking, “what is my problem?”  I have spent hours trying to guess at the mystery that makes me act the way I do.  I left therapy today and went shopping (I needed pillow cases, and, um, a clearance ceramic tray glazed with chrysanthemums as my reward for not chickening out on therapy) and wandered around thinking the usual, what is my problem.

It is no stretch at all to say that everything wrong with me comes from bottled up emotions.  I can’t talk about how I’m feeling.  I can write about it, to some extent, but when I’m in direct conversation it’s like the words form in my brain but never make it out of my mouth.  This extends to asking for help when I need it, for support, for attention and for affection.  In a relationship I am much more likely to write you a long letter than to spill my heart to you.  I have often been accused of withholding when it’s really more like an unintentional blockage.

As I walked around looking at cheap things made in China that I could probably make myself, I thought about what keeps my words locked inside me.  Here are some reasons:

  • I am uncomfortable asking for help.
  • I don’t want to upset anyone with my problems
  • I am afraid of what people will think of me.
  • I fear honesty will cause people not like me
  • I feel too exposed.
  • I hurt all the time and I don’t want anyone to know.
  • I do not want to be rejected.
  • I do not want you to see how lonely I am.
  • I am afraid of making you angry.
  • I don’t think I express myself clearly and do not want to be misunderstood.
  • I don’t want you you to think I am being mean when I am just being honest.
  • I fear you will think I am stupid.
  • I have no familial history of talking about feelings.
  • I do not want to appear weak or vulnerable.
  • I am by nature a private person and I haven’t figured out the bounds of safety for talking when I need too.

And I guess it’s all those reasons together that’s gotten me where I am, but I’m not sure exactly.  Someone once told me that of everyone they knew I had seemingly the least number of reasons to be insecure but was in fact the most insecure person they knew.  And hey, I will gladly speak up righteously and loudly on your behalf, I just haven’t ever felt comfortable asking for anything for myself.  It’s hard to say that I value others more than myself because I think I’m fairly selfish, but perhaps my own sense of self worth keeps my words down? That seems almost too easy.  And yet how does one go about valuing oneself more?

Last night I dreamt that someone tried to cut out my tongue.  The blade only made it about three quarters of the way through and I was choking on my own blood, keeping my hands over my mouth and then I woke up.  I told my therapist this and she was fascinated that I would dream about losing or trying to keep my tongue the night before I started therapy.  I’ve actually had this dream once before a couple weeks ago.  In that instance my tongue got cut out and my mouth filled with blood and I was leaning over and trying not to get any on my white shirt.  I don’t usually make any effort to understand or interpret my dreams, but I gotta say, the tongue/talking thing is kind of trippy.  And creepy.

When we were together I never managed to say any of the things I needed to to Oak.  Now I want to call him and tell him everything, everyday.  I have been mostly resisting this urge as I don’t think, given the circumstances, that it’s fair to him.  I have been communicating with him, some in email or texts but I’ve trying to limit it.  I just need to be really clear with myself about why I want to tel him everything, why it’s okay to be so open now.  Possible reasons include being still in love with him, feeling safe because he’s far away, feeling safe because he’s pretty much already seen me at my worst, because he asks good questions and listens, and, I don’t know, other things.  I love Hawthorn, but the idea of walking into the other room and talking to him about all of this seems impossible. The idea of calling Oak and talking to him about all of it seems like a relief.

I seem to be tolerating the Lexapro okay so far.  The queasy grossness from the Zoloft is gone and I guess I feel a little weird and spacey, but pretty much okay.  I’m going to give it a few more days before I say for sure.

Now I am going to go shower and get dressed for a party.  Let’s see if I can manage this without sedating myself first.

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