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I am wiped, people.  I don’t even know what to say about the last week.

I think I feel better.  I’m still feeling around the edges of this.  The edges feel solid, but it might be hollow in the middle.

However that I feel better (maybe) seems weird as this week has been pretty sucky.  In reverse order:

Back at work after a to brief vacation.  I got a promotion, but, wow, I was not prepared for the focus and energy I’d need for my new job.  I feel good about my ability to learn it.  And honestly I’m kind of glad to have it to focus on.  Less time to worry pointlessly about things I can’t control.

My vacation ended, um, confusingly.  Wait, I’m going backwards, so between work restarting and vacation I had a cancer biopsy on, well, I’ll maintain some level of politeness and say that my stitches make peeing awkward, sitting can be uncomfortable and at no time would I feel comfortable telling a coworker where it is.  It was an unpleasant procedure, though the team that did it was great and made me feel as comfortable as possible.  I’m (probably overly) concerned about keeping it clean while it heals and hoping the location means it will heal faster than say my foot or my back would.

I came home from the procedure more distressed than I thought I’d be.  I tried to distract myself by cleaning up the post house guest untidiness.  While doing the dishes a pipe connector broke and water started pouring over my feet.  I got the water off, threw down some towels and stood at the sink and sobbed for my mom. Who lives 2500 miles away.  As I pulled myself back together my amazing landlord and friend came and fixed the sink, cleaned the mess and even ran the heap pf wet towels through the laundry.  Later my mom called and successfully distracted me until bedtime, with many reminders to take of myself since a removal biopsy is trauma, it seems small but a centimeter of flesh lost wasn’t meant to happen to your body.

The entire biopsy was misery, I still don’t have the results and the stitches are awful.  This has been the delineating line between my vacation and my return to my new position at work.  And my vacation ended confusingly.

I didn’t sleep with Cedar. But only because he had the presence of mind to slow it down before it went to far.  But that was the last of our trip: we kissed, groped, fondled and pushed the bounds of intimacy. Then we slept and I took him straight to the airport with everything unresolved.

The thing is I decided before the trip started that I needed a friend more than I needed a vacation lover or possible complicated long distance relationship.  We very much enjoyed each other’s company on the trip.  It was a good trip.  Mind clearing, beautiful, full of the small, good kind of unexpected.  For days and days, nothing but sky and green and back roads and music.   Silence for all the right long stretches of time, good conversation in between.

The trip was only marred by being a little rainy and cool, and the occasional text from Hawthorn expressing a previously unknown amount of jealousy about me being with anyone else.  I tersely reminded him that he broke up with me and didn’t get to even comment on what I did now (much later, post trip, when he was consoling me I pulled out the big guns and meanly made him feel like utter shit about it).

In the aftermath of all of it I realized that what I’ve been wanting is Hawthorn back, things back the way they were. But now I know I could never accept that.  It isn’t a possibility.  I just don’t think I could ever trust him again.  And ironically it was his expression of jealousy that made me realize this.  Like he could decide not to want me and I could mourn and mourn and mourn, but if decides again after all that that he wants me then he’s untrustworthy.  Because when will he decide again that he doesn’t want me? I couldn’t go through it again.  I couldn’t even go through the possibility of being with him always filled with doubt that some unknown action of mine would make him change my mind again.

So I guess that’s a relief. I still feel sadness over the loss of our relationship, but in just a few short days I feel more calm around Hawthorn and less broken up by every interaction.

As for Cedar, I just don’t know. I haven’t really processed it all.  In the short, I feel like I do need a friend more than a complicated romance. There isn’t more to say about it right now.  I’m just giving it time.  That last interaction we had was so sexually charged, but somehow it was only about me. I don’t mean that negatively.  I feel like I gained power.  Or like maybe I found power I thought I had lost forever.

Still it’s all very jumbled emotionally for me. I’m trying to just let it all go, all out into the universe.  What returns, returns.  I’m just to tired to worry about it any more.  For now I want to be better at my job.  I want to make my home more my own, not just filled with things, but filled with things I made with my hands.  I want to read books and watch TV.  I want to sleep late and get my chores done.  Every minute of the last two years, every interaction with Oak, every second I spent longing for something else from Hawthorn has drained me.  I feel like I’ve been struggling for so long, grasping for emotional straws only to keep getting shoved below the metaphorical water, where I can’t breathe.  I’m not struggling and it turns out I float okay.  So I’m just gonna hang here for a bit and breathe big lungfuls of air. Recharge until it’s time to actually swim for something.  Until I know which direction to swim.

There’s obviously so much more to say, but that’s what this time I’m giving myself is for, right? Thinking it out until it’s clear enough to say.

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I worked a long, long day yesterday.  I went home, ate barely enough food and went straight to bed.  I was exhausted and painfully lonely.

I really do like having my house be entirely my domain and my responsibility.  I like having my own space, the sense of privacy that it brings.  But man, I really do hate being alone.  Or rather I hate being single.  And it isn’t the lack of sex, or the pointless stigma supposedly attached to it.  It’s just not having someone to call whenever I need too.  Yes, there are about a dozen people in the world who say I can call them when ever and talk to them about anything, ask them for anything. And maybe 4 or so of those I’d feel comfortable doing that.  I started to call Rose yesterday, but then I realized I had only about 30 minutes to get ready for my restaurant shift and there wouldn’t be enough time to talk to her about the things I want and still manage to get myself together for work.  And of those dozen people few are in this county and even fewer would I actually feel comfortable talking too.

I recognize that I’m kind of isolating myself lately, but I’m not sure how to change it.  I mean, I do talk to people, Hawthorn, my mom, some of my coworkers at the restaurant, my close friends (though not as often as I’d like).  It’s just that something is missing.  I’ve been dreaming a lot recently about my best friend who I, uh, ‘broke up’ with last year.  I don’t regret my choices or actions in that situation, but it’s made me feel very aware of what I’m missing: someone to talk to who knows me well, isn’t distracted by children or by their own really screwed up problems, who will listen to me without judgment, who I don’t have to tell whole long back stories too, who will stroke my hair and hold my hand and tell me it’s going to be okay.  Someone who is my partner in things, both good and bad.  And I recognize how selfish it is, but a few of friends who meet most of these criteria have their own current deep emotional problems and I really would like to have time where some one is paying attention to me and not comparing it to their own situation or problems or turning the conversation back to themselves.

Yes, I see that some of what I’m describing is therapy and I’ve already rejected that.  It lacks intimacy of the real kind (intimacy brought on just by telling your secret fears is kind of hollow in my opinion), it lacks physical comfort (even, or especially, the non sexual kind, hand holding and the like), and it lack immediacy (I can’t make an appointment and get myself to the place I need to be in to talk on a schedule, nor can I decide I need to talk and then wait hours or days for an appointment).

My need is for someone who can come right over and just be there to make me tea and hold my hand when I feel bad (mentally or physically). I can see how selfish it is, but I want someone to share the burden of how I feel, but someone who wants to help support me emotionally, who I don’t have to feel guilty about interrupting their life, because their life is already part of mine. And I really don’t think this is too much to ask for.


Maybe I’m not even ready for it yet.  It’s only been 5 months since Hawthorn and I broke up.  But I am very much feeling the lack of it lately.  And if one more person tells me this is my time to get to know myself and become whatever before I’m ready to share with someone else I am going to punch them in the nose.

Understand, I don’t think a relationship is going to save me, or necessarily even help me get better.  I just recognize that there’s a distinct lack in my life and that space is shaped like a boyfriend but could be filled other ways.

Mentally right now I feel like I’m huddled in a corner, rocking back and forth, whispering, “just take deep breaths,” over and over.

Period approximately 6 days early? Check.
Biopsy rescheduled for two weeks later because of the early period? Check.
Personal life, though lacking outright drama, filled with hard situations I’m trying to keep myself out of? Check.
Work utterly overwhelming and confusing? Check.
Cash flow way too low for current expenses? Check.
Ability to react to things in a timely and effective manner completely shattered? Check.

Gah.  I was in so much pain from the sudden start of my period yesterday that I had to pull over to cry while driving home.  I lost the whole evening to drinking water, taking painkillers and staring mindlessly at the TV, unable to muster enough caring to even read a book.  I am overwhelmed in my personal life by pressure from people I don’t have the energy to deal with, or by problems people I care about have that simply can’t even offer advice or much support on.  I have managed to hold it together at work overall through everything that’s been going on in the last year or so, but now work itself is becoming a threatening, complicated place to be, mired in many vague requests for information I don’t have and that I don’t know where to get, and people angry that they aren’t getting what they didn’t exactly ask for.

I have spent every last cent of my raise furnishing my house.  I don’t regret having done that because I need a place to be calm, but even with the decent insurance I have, I don’t know how I’m going cover my rising medical expenses (and we haven’t even gotten to dental work yet).  And even at that, the weather here has been so horrible that I’m not even calm at home half the time.  I’m sleep deprived from 3 am storms.  And even on nights I do get enough hours of sleep I wake up feeling anxious already like I’ve done nothing but have stress dreams all night.

My mini vacation is only ten days away and yet I feel like I’ll never be able to finish all the work necessary.  I do recognize that feeling this freaked out and anxious is cyclical (like the raging anger) but it sort of merges with the the other anxiety and becomes incredibly overwhelming.

GAH!!!!  If only I could focus I could least bury some of it in work or something.

Edited to add:  I guess I should mention that one year ago this week the river was only barely starting to recede and the whole city, myself included was still reeling from the devastation.  I had also just broken up with Oak and become ‘official’ with Hawthorn.  Two years ago this week, I was standing outside an emergency room, alone, with one less tooth in my mouth and had nothing more than some gauze to hold to it and incredible degrading rudeness from the staff there.  I drove myself home.  It isn’t all surprising that now is the time that I’m not doing well.

Despite my whining last night I did have a good time with Oak yesterday.  It was a nice, open conversation and I am actually happy for him, should his new potential love work out.  Even moreso, I’m amused that I figured it out before he did  (girls don’t invite you to drive 2 hours to visit three weekends in a row and comment on ALL your FB posts if they don’t like you).  “I guess she was flirting with me,” he said, “I guess I need to be hit over the head with that stuff.”  Having the conversation about all that seemed to finally relax him enough to be teasingly flirty with me, which was wonderful, though a little bittersweet.

It was an enjoyable day, all the way until I was walking home alone from my afternoon with Oak.  Partly because we’d talked a lot about how mad I am at Hawthorn and because I was mad at Hawthorn still and because my experiment of asking that guitar-playing boy out ended in two rejections (one more subtle and open to interpretation and the other pretty outright, though he still insists he wants to go get a beer some time.  Whatever).

Ironically, I was paying lip service yesterday to how much better I’ve been at letting things go and not getting riled up over things I have no control over or things that would seem otherwise inconsequential.  And yet, I spent the whole evening riled up over things I have no control over.  As the anxiety and fear start to ebb, I realize that I am just so filled with anger all the time.  More anger than I’ve ever had in my life.  And I still really lack any sort of control over my emotions and emotional responses so anger more often than not means tears and frustration for me.  Honestly, I’m so tired of crying that this in itself makes me more angry and perpetuates the cycle.

As a result of how I felt at the end of the day yesterday I spent some time trying to dig out why I am so mad at Hawthorn.  Certainly it’s obvious on the surface, the poorly timed break up, the incredible upheaval to my life right when I really needed to feel stable, the obvious selfishness of his actions all the way through.  But I think that bigger picture stuff is actually too much for me to deal with, it’s more how it plays out every day.  I do enjoy his company and some of the time we spend together.  I just feel like he takes it for granted that I’m going to go see a show or do something with him. And that combined with his repeated asking if I’m going after I’ve said no, leaves me feeling like he doesn’t recognize any of my boundaries.  Plus he often fails to come through when I do want him, leaving me feel like we only do his things on his schedule and once again I don’t matter, or what I want doesn’t matter.  Plus when he knows he’s angered or annoyed me he goes out of his way to try and appease me which just further frustrates me.  I don’t want offerings and presents after the fact, I just want my own needs and boundaries recognized right up front.

Of course I recognize the need to separate myself from Hawthorn, that will be the best way to limit these frustrations.  But even that is limited, since I have to work with him everyday.  And obviously I am in a very lonely place right now and he’s easy to call on to keep me company.  Which of course isn’t necessarily the best option, but we don’t all always pick the best options, you know?  And I still maintain that having sex with someone else will surely go a long way towards helping me let go of the current attachments, I’m just not sure how t make that happen without things getting messy and more complicated.  Or, in fact, I just need to meet new people who will think I’m charming and take up my time.

And when I’m feeling like this, I reach out more into to divine and unknown to try help understand what I’m feeling.  This mostly takes form in meditation and much in depth exploration of my astrological chart and where my signs are sitting right now. A very simplified example of that is my current horoscopes, which have for the past several days, mostly looked like some variation on today’s projection:

Physical passion
This influence arouses a strong attraction to and desire to be with someone. You will be much more aggressive than usual in going out and finding a partner. This influence is often a sign of physical passion. Under this influence a sexual relationship is very satisfying to both partners. Even without sex, you will be very happy with other people. You feel more vivacious and attractive than usual and may well be the life of the party. You will work hard to gain the approval of others during this time, so strong is your need for affection. Artistic activity is also indicated, for the general significance of this influence is self- expression through creativity and love.

It’s not like it’s telling me anything I don’t know.  More it simply affirms what I already know I’ve been feeling. I recognize how much positivity there is in all that.  I do feel more attractive.  I do want to go out and socialize more.  I am much less locked in by my negative emotions and ready to get back to living in the world.  Still following through on getting out more and seeing more and different people is work, even when it’s positive and my available energy for dealing with things, even positive ones, is still pretty low (although admittedly the positive social interactions do replenish that energy to some extent).

(An aside: hahaha! While I’m typing this, Hawthorn just stuck his head in my office door and offered me coffee and told me he brought something he knew I wanted from the old house–see? Offereings and gifts because he knows I’m pissed off.  ARG!)

In other positive news, I got a kitchen table in this weekend and hopefully the rest of my office furniture arrives today, which means I’ll be able to get everything except the books put away.  The apartment has been rapidly becoming more comfortable (the recent additions of a reading lamp by the couch, small stereo for the living room and getting the bed room fully unpacked have really helped) and much more like my own sanctuary.  It’s nice to feel like I have a place I’m supposed to be.

I feel better, over all.  It’s STILL grey here.  And in case my theory that I run on sunshine charged batteries needed proving: the sun came out briefly while I Was running errands yesterday, rush hour freeway traffic and all, I INSTANTLY perked up as soon as the sun shined on me.  Yes, I know all about light boxes and about half the lights in my house are “true sunlight” lights, but it seems that only the real thing, really does it.  And early spring is joyous, but not to my sinuses.  I’m getting simultaneous allergy/sinus headaches and storm pressure headaches. Makes me nauseous and no fun.  So more sun and less storms, please.  I’m not even going to complain about the pollen, it’s not worth it.


All that aside I am mostly cheerful today.  Things are making me laugh.  I feel like I have a positive outlook on the future, even if the present continues to feel a little stagnant and the future too vague.  I’ve been contemplating this balance of living in the present moment and planning for the future.  Honestly, I feel a little stuck.  Like for the last, let’s say 2.5 years (starting from about when Oak confirmed he was leaving and everything started to go awry) I have been simply waiting.  I waited for Oak to leave; I waited for Oak to get back; I waited through the flood and the aftermath; I dropped all my future plans (and Oak) and waited for Hawthorn to make new ones with me (he never did which should have been a sign from the beginning); I waited for Hawthorn NOT to break up with me; I waited to get out of Hawthorn’s house. And sure all those things have passed, but I’m still waiting: to furnish my own home, to figure out what comes next, to feel better/normal.  It’s like I can’t remember how to live without waiting.

It’s not like I don’t have things to look forward too, I do.  But most of it is small trips to visit friends (many of which can’t even be planned until my work schedule settles and I spend a few more weekends going broke furnishing my house).  And I’m excited about those things but I need a bigger picture plan.  Like moving to Spain in 5 years, or going back to school to become a an EMT, or learning pattern making for real and setting up a small business sewing.  Not that I will necessarily do any of those things, but there’s something about the planning and thinking about such grandiose plans that keeps the frightening, anxiety inducing vagaries of every day life at bay, you know?

I guess a big part of the problem is that I still feel really scattered from the anxiety and the drugs and the moving and the life changes and nothing seeming settled for so long.  I had a moment, waking up the other day, of how my new place is starting to feel like “mine” not just a place I am, which is nice.  I think getting it furnished will go a long way towards helping me. Still right now it’s adding to the anxiety load: not being able to find anything because it’s in boxes sucks, spending lots of money is stressful, &c.  But it is coming along and the end is somewhat in sight. Still I’m left with the feeling of waiting and the sense that I’m not quite together enough to dig myself out.

Perhaps the weirdest part of it all is that I’ve always considered myself to be a very patient person. I don’t shake Xmas presents, I don’t guess what’s inside.  I am calm, placid even, ready for anything, but happy enough to sit quietly until it’s time for whatever it’s time for.  I don’t know which came first, but either the anxiety broke that in me, or that being broken in me is where the anxiety came from.  I need to get back to that place of patience.  I’m still just not exactly sure where to look.  It seems like I can only wait to get to the place I need to be (settled, moved, planned, whatever) and I can barely stand the idea of waiting even a little more.  I just need to figure out what the more active things I can do to participate in making the future come faster are, so I can enjoy being in the moment more.  Ironic, I know.

I was planning this morning on coming here and writing about how much better I felt after the grim, grey weekend.  About how much I got done around the house. Blah blah blah. Cue my first panic attack in, hmm, at least a week, maybe longer.  Even more annoying, is how dumb it is.

So my couch is in at the store I ordered it from. Ten full days early.  Which is good news, except I have plans tomorrow that I don’t want to break to have to pick it up.  It’s also supposed to pour rain tomorrow and the next day. So that leaves today or waiting Since I’m also occupied Thurs and Fri evenings.  And honestly, the guy on the phone was UNHELPFUL, and seemed to think that I should come get the item that was back ordered RIGHT NOW instead of asking them to hold it for me.  Yes, you 21 year old twit, I can totally drop everything and come get a large object all by myself.  Anyway, today it is, I guess.  But that involves, rushing around, planning finding a truck and helper and blah blah blah blah all at the last minute.  So panic attack.  And not really brought on by the rush and the planning, but still I freeze at the thought of asking people for help.  Even for something like this.  I don’t like feeling like I owe anyone, I guess.

I can call Oak, he has a truck and fair amount of free time.  But honestly, after this weekend, dealing with him just seems too overwhelming.  Hawthorn offered to help and I guess I have to take him up on it.  And I feel resentful about it because he never listens to my plans and always makes things like this WAY more complicated than they need to be by being wishy-washy and noncommittal and then when he does commit to a plan it’s usually the most confusing way to do something. And, of course, Hawthorn can only do it right after work, leaving from work. Which means there’s a possibility he’ll forget to get the work truck keys before it’s too late, or he’ll get sucked into something at the downtown office and not be able to help me after all, leaving me fucked. And even if he does come through I’m wearing heels (99% of the time I have extra shoes in the car, but not today) and thus can’t do any of the lifting.

So happiness about finally getting some of my furniture, especially the couch?  No, of course not.  I’m completely panicked and freaked about having to ask someone for help, about not having the independence and control in the situation that I’d want and, frankly, about the damned thing arriving early and disrupting all the plans I’d made about picking it up (and paying for it).

Yes, I do realize how ridiculous this is. No, I’m not even going to apologize to myself for it.  Alas, if nothing else it’s an indication that there’s (still) something wrong with me.  Which I’m fine with, since I can recognize it. Indeed that fact that something this normal and easy is upsetting me somehow legitimizes how I’ve been feeling all along. Like I’ve been feeling so much better, I start to wonder WTF was wrong with me and was all the anxiety stuff in my head.  But no, I’m still crazy.  Which, for some reason really is kind of comforting.  Still even realizing it and being aware of what’s going on with me, I might end up locked in a bathroom somewhere crying before the day is over.  Hopefully that will be a day that ends with having a couch and I can feel better about everything while I’m curled up on it.

Edited to add (mostly for my reference): my mood continued to deteriorate all day.  Hawthorn graciously sacrificed his whole evening to help me with getting the couch and (not) getting shelves and suffering through several customer service debacles.  I had a nice dinner and Hawthorn was good company, but I spent most the evening frustrated and on the edge of tears.  And while I am glad I have my couch and grateful that Hawthorn helped so much, I am exhausted, emotionally worn down, entirely w/o emotional resources and very frustrated with the world in general.

The extent to which the weather affects my mood seems really extreme. At this rate I’m going to have to move to San Diego or some other place with no weather to maintain positivity.  It’s been rainy and grim for two days.  I feel dreary and grey and wiped out.  One wonders how I managed to survive similar conditions int he Pacific Northwest for so many years. I just feel stuck and stifled and desperate for the sun like a plant that’s all stretched to and pale and trying trying trying to reach for the light.  After two days.  It’s supposed to be cold tomorrow but I’ll take it if it means the sun shines a little.

I spent most the day doing chores and paid projects for other people. Satisfying, I guess but it got my house no closer to being livable.  I need to use this as serious Buddhist exercise in letting go.  Nothing will happen with the house until I have furniture there is very little I can do to speed that up so I need to stop fretting about it.  Still, life will be better with a couch to sit on and I firmly believe that thinking that is just truth and not more of my looking forward to something rather than enjoying the moments.  I will enjoy moments much more when I have somewhere to sit.

Oak and I went to Rowan’s for a bit tonight  and then went to dinner.  I didn’t have fun.  I don’t know if it’s the weather or my heavy yucky period or just my need for more down time/me time, but Oak is soooo much work.  He’s just always unhappy and even broken up and even after everything I still sometimes find myself of falling into the trap of wasting energy trying to make him look at things more positively.  And if I ever thought this was in my mind  r some convoluted complication of our relationship, I know it’s not.  Rowan is one of the most positive, outgoing, friendly people I know.  As we driving to the restaurant Oak commented that he always forgets how warm and welcoming Rowan is.  How positive he is and how he puts that into other people.  He went on  to say that he wished he was more like Rowan, more positive, more outgoing and nice. It was actually really frustrating because Oak is like that and people love him for it, but it’s like he turns it on and off and he rarely turned it on for me after we were dating, I only ever got to see him charm other people.  And he can’t seem to remember the joy he gets from interacting positively with people and just reverts back to curmudgeonly and cranky.  I feel after spending the evening with him tonight that I was right when told him during our break up that we would just end sad and depressed together, blaming the other  (the external) for not making us happy.  Just so exhausting.

Now I’m tired and lonely and I found myself thinking as I was driving home that I wished I had Hawthorn to curl up with against the cold, grim night and the loneliness.  I’m sure if I called him he would come over, but I know it’s a terrible idea.  For both of us.

This week feels like it had nine days.  Already.  And it’s not even over yet.  I think I’ve lost my love for shopping.  I think PMS-y drama during furniture shopping ruined it for me forever.  Probably this will not hinder my ability to spend money, I just won’t enjoy it as much anymore.

I’ve slept poorly the last couple nights.  Some which  can blame on the new house.  I mean who knew there’s be cats fighting and screaming while chasing each other cross the roof outside directly outside my windows.  Like not even in the  yard or anything, but right outside my second story window. At least I assume it was cats, plural.  It could have been my magic cat protector chasing possums that were trying to get in my window or something.  Still it was very loud in that way that makes one feel panicky and unable to get back to sleep.  I’ve stayed up too late working both at the restaurant and on (paid) sewing projects at home.  I’ve been waking up early, despite lack of sleep the night before.  Mostly I just feel unrested and ready to spend many evenings in a row reading and relaxing in my house.  Alas, I’m working a bunch this weekend, heavy duty work starts in earnest at my day job next week and, of course, despite having purchased furniture, I won’t have it for at least another ten days.  Yeah, so no real household relaxation for me for a while.

I have been making an effort to cook, or at least eat better at home.  I’m still drastically lacking in the exercise department and I haven’t called the physical therapist yet. I guess I really do need a minder.  Maybe therapy isn’t where my money should be spent, maybe I need a one day a week personal assistant to make my appointments for me and manage the parts of my life I”m really bad at.  I am actually considering hiring a once a month house cleaner.  Not because I’m dirty, just I think I’d feel better if I didn’t lose a day a month to massive cleaning overhaul of my home.

Mostly I have too much I want to do, not enough time/money/energy to do it and I’m starting to overwhelm myself again by worrying about getting things done, rather than just simply managing running  to-do lists like I was doing during the moving process.  I have the paid sewing project to work on this weekend, but otherwise I think I’m going to watch movies and organize nail polish.  Nothing too overwhelming, you know?  Hopefully enough, small, non-taxing things to give me a sense of accomplishment without further wearing myself down.

And I started my period today, so some of the sluggish ick I feel could easily be attributed to that, too.

For the last 18 years I have periodically wondered about, and half-assedly looked for a high school friend of mine, Cedar.  I have often wondered where he ended up and who he ended up becoming.  Through a really quite random chance a couple weeks ago I stumbled on some information that helped me find him pretty quickly and we’ve been corresponding for about two weeks now.  This has been a really interesting experience because it’s a real correspondence.  Not the usual, oh there’s so and so on Facebook, say hi, be amazed at how young/old they look, exchange and email and then just read each other’s updates that seems to happen.  Cedar isn’t on Facebook or any other social media and hasn’t reconnected at all with anyone from his past so the reconnection part is exciting a novel to him.  And I guess that’s rubbed off on me a little, but really I think I’m just very glad to have found him.

As I was driving home the other day I was thinking of something funny he’d written in one of his emails and suddenly I could hear him saying it, see how he’d move and what he’d do as he said it and I was really overcome emotionally, on a near physical level, with missing him.  Like I’d somehow been really missing him for the last 18 years and something just completely opened up to reveal both the loss I’d had when the friendship went away and the gain I had in it returning.  I mentioned this to him and said he’d had a similar experience when reading the first message I sent him, including hearing my voice, and that our entire correspondence had been sort of a rush of old memories and curiously easy new pieces fitting together.

Part of what’s been most surprising to me is how unjudged I feel by Cedar and the realization that our friendship even was like than when we were very young.  In a back and forth of emails that has been mostly a tight combination of 18 years of catch up and windows into every day life, I don’t feel the need to edit myself or gloss over anything bad, I just speak.  I have often realized in relationships as an adult that for me I know a friendship (or relationship) has deepened when I can be totally silly with that person.  Stupidly, ridiculously silly, without feeling at all judged or, rather without worrying what the other person will think of me.  I find in my conversations with Cedar that I am much, much more silly and more dynamic, moving from seriously, to funny, to teasing, to sexy, to haughty, to goofy and all around, without a care at all.

There is something to said for interacting with people who knew you when you were a teenager.  Rose has been my best friend for close to 25 years, here and there as we find each other. And I certainly feel safer and more comfortable with her than anyone else in the world, some of that is our connection as friends/sisters, the length of our friendship and some of I think literally does come from knowing each other as teenagers.  It’s like once you’ve been through something with someone and they’ve seen you at your worst, you’re just a little more bonded and being a teenager is sort of an extended ‘worst’ that fortunately eventually ends.

And Cedar appears to have grown up into every bit as good of a man as he was as youth.  I have very strong memories of feeling very protected by him as a teenager, as he somehow stood between me and what was bad in the world.  And so even if it ends up as nothing more than a long correspondence or a mildly renewed friendship, right now it feels really good to have someone around again who I feel like is actively looking out for me.  I mean, not that that the rest of you aren’t, I know you are, just this has weirdly magic connection to it, like something leftover from a childhood dream.

 

No, I didn’t die in last week’s storms. Yes, I have been very lax in posting.  I got a promotion at work which means much less time to screw off.  And well, still no couch at home and when I’m there I feel like I should be actively involved in unpacking or organizing, or something, and thus, not writing.  Of course I’m not really getting much unpacking organizing done either since I don’t have shelves or much of place to keep things besides in boxes.  It’s getting there, though, slowly.

I had therapy yesterday for the last time for a while.  I’m taking a hiatus.  I just can’t seem to settle into  making it as useful as I want it to be. Partly because I’m thinking of my larger problems as something I’ll deal with when I’m settled and I’m not settled yet, so it feels like it’s taking up time that I could be getting settled with, or relaxing or taking care of myself.  And therapy doesn’t feel like taking care of myself right now, it feels expensive and useless.  So, I’ve discussed it with my therapist and I’m planning on starting back around May 1, unless I decide I really need it in the interim.  I don’t think I’m in a place to just stop, so I really do intended to go back.  And honestly, if my insurance was covering it, I might just go to go, but since it’s crazy expensive, out of my pocket and all, I’m gonna hold off for a bit.

Also I really need to get on the physical therapy for my shoulder and neck.  The work promotion is great, but I can’t be going to a bunch of different appointments during the day all the time, so I’ve also opted to use what time I can flex out during the day for physical therapy appointments.

All that said, I actually got some work done in my therapy session last night.  I have plan for dealing with my further dental surgeries, and permission not to beat myself up to make it happen immediately but, I think a good way to get myself through it, so that was comforting to walk out with in my head.

I feel like I spent my whole weekend moving things, in furniture stores or at Home Depot, which was boring, frustrating and expensive.  And still I have no couch.  On Saturday Oak went with me to pick up Hawthorn’s chairs for my temporary use. And then we went and had lunch.  I haven’t completely gathered my thoughts on Oak being back.  After I broke up with him I told myself a lot of stories about his bad qualities to justify my actions.  When things were bad with Hawthorn, I think I really romanticized Oak’s good qualities to punish myself for choosing Hawthorn.  Now, I think Oak is still exactly who he ever was, the same mix of good and bad.  And I enjoy his company, but I can safely say that I only enjoy it limited amounts and for certain activities.  Because while many of his ‘bad’ qualities aren’t really bad, his no-nonsense practical approach to everything can seem really dark sometimes and kind of brings me down.  And if I don’t catch him in a good mood I find I spend all of our time together ineffectively trying to cajole him back to good humor and it never works and just leaves both of us exhausted and annoyed.  But when he’s up and chatty and we’re just taking a walk in the park I do love his company.

Almost all of this is true about Hawthorn as well, though in a different way.  When I’m not his girlfriend and his thoughtless, selfish actions don’t directly affect my life, then I do enjoy his company.  I like to go see music and art with him (both things Oak never seems to want to do) and I like talking him.  Despite everything, I feel like he’s actually listening to me now, when I talk.

So yesterday, I swung by Hawthorn’s house, with some friends who want to buy the shelves I have left there.  And after they left I was talking to Hawthorn, just BS about the day and he gave me a hug and started to tear up.  And you know, I really do feel bad for him, banging around by himself in that big, empty house.  Yes, of course he did it to himself, but it was his own thoughtlessness and lack of foresight that did it and not any maliciousness on his part.  I had to be somewhere to meet someone, so I told him to come over to my house in an hour and I’d make him dinner.

I wasn’t going out of my way, since I made exactly what I would have done with or with him there, but he seemed very grateful.  And so we just sat (stood–no kitchen table or chairs yet) and talked about both mundane and serious things.  He expressed several times that he couldn’t believe I still anything to do with him at all after everything. And also how tired he was about feeling angry and toxic all the time (from his divorce, not from me–his son is applying to college and this is forcing Hawthorn into a lot unwanted interaction with his ex-wife).  And I was sympathetic and as supportive as I could be, since I don’t think being mean gets me anywhere in situations like this, hurt feelings or not.  And then he helped me hang my mirrors (I can leave the house knowing if I look schlumpy or not now, yay!) and hovered a bit trying be helpful in any way he could, but left before he overstayed his welcome.  And you know, it was a nice evening with a friend.  I’m sorry that it’s still tinged with so much suffering for both of us, but I hope the real parts of our friendship endure through all these hard parts.

I hope the same for my friendship with Oak as well.  But as I told a friend this weekend, I am going to want to have sex again and I will probably want to have sex with someone I’m not in a relationship with, haven’t been in a relationship with and am not going to get into a relationship with.  And there’s a good chance this will be someone I know and our social community is small enough that conceivably either or both Oak and Hawthorn would find out whether I told them or not.  And in the wobbly balance of my current friendships with them, I’m pretty sure having sex with someone else would reveal how true the intentions of either of them are for friendship.  I suspect Hawthorn would be jealous but would get over it, and Oak would lecture me on the inappropriateness of it and then, perhaps even unintentionally, distance himself from me, but people are unpredictable so I could be very wrong on both counts.

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 woke up today thinking about chairs.  Partly because I have none.  Well I have one, but a cheap, well used rolling office chair doesn’t exactly make for good home comfort.  Ironically one of the first posts I made elsewhere after moving in with Hawthorn was about having a space with a chair to sit in that was all my own in a comfortable place.  I guess I’m still trying to get to that place.  Space at my new house is limited and it is my intention to buy three chairs (something like this, for use for sitting both at my desk and not at my desk, and two dining chairs for when I get a table) and a couch for maximum sitting comfort.

When I got divorced a decade-ish ago, we had a couple used couches and a love seat and matching chair from about the 1940s.  The love seat and chair set were given to us by a friend when that friend’s mother went into long term care and sold her house.  When we separated I took the chair and left the love seat.  It was a big over stuffed armchair in fuzzy deep green fabric (something like this but not leather). At some point my ex-mother-in-law decided she needed to complete the set for display while showing and selling the house my husband and I had lived in.  I refused to give up the chair.  I took nothing in my divorce but my own clothes and this chair.  It didn’t belong to her family (I left thousands of dollars worth of china and furniture that were given to me by my exhusband’s paternal grandmother–not as a wedding gift or anything, but given specifically to me, as a gift, before we got married–I left it because it belonged with his family, heirlooms as it were), it wasn’t worth much, had no sentimental value, she just wanted it because it matched.  I had many horrible, mean phone call fights after my divorce, mostly centering around that chair.  I refused to give it up unless it was replaced with a similar or better one.  No one had any more specific claim to this chair than I did!  This many years later and I actually have no idea what happened to that chair, but I have for years wished I still had a similar chair.

Now Hawthorn has a couple midcentury Danish modern chairs (something like this).  I am quite sure that he told me, when we started dating, that he bought these at an antique store immediately after his divorce and was waiting to have a house to put them in (they were in his office at work for a long time).  He has sat in one of these chairs exactly one time since I moved in with him (they are awkwardly placed in the far corners of the large living room of our old house).  When I was preparing to move I asked if I could borrow the chairs, just for two weeks or a month, until I got a couch and had else where to sit.  He agreed that would be fine.  Since then I have been treated to several discourses on how those chairs are the only thing he got in his divorce and how he gave up the chair he wanted and how important and sentimental those chairs are to him.  1. Our house was filled with pie-safes, wardrobes, an expensive sofa, several antique tables and a huge TV, all of which he had when he was married, all of which he took with him after his divorce.  2.  I’m not asking for them as a gift.  I am a careful, conscientious person who has just had her whole fucking life turned upside down by this guy and all I want is place to sit for a few weeks until I pick out and get a couch delivered.  I’m sorry I didn’t get right on the incredibly expensive couch thing, but I did have to outfit a whole entire household and pay extra rent and a deposit etc. (Yes, I recognize there are thrift stores, but I’m really allergic to animal hair and paranoid about bedbugs and I just want new upholstered furniture, damn it, everything wood can be bought used, but not if it has stuffing.)  Anyway, suffice to say, Hawthorn never said he wouldn’t lend me the chairs, yet the chairs are not at my house and he keeps offering to bring over some of the shitty dining chairs to sit on.  Man, I have a shitty chair, which for my present purposes is still preferable to your rickety dining chairs.

So, I woke up thinking about chairs.  My recent (pre-Hawthorn break up) desire for a good one, my need for one now, my exhusband’s mean-spirited chair fights and now Hawthorn’s chair dickery.  If the absence of desire is the end of suffering, let me tell you, I am suffering over chairs. Grrrr.

I have been thinking a lot lately about listening and paying attention.  This post (especially the comments) identified a lot of things I’ve felt about being a woman.  I think men often hear only what they think I am going to say (and this isn’t limited to men, I think my mother does this to me too).   With Hawthorn I have long felt like he was never listening to me.  Much of this, I know, is because he would ask me 3 or 4 times in an evening if I wanted to do something, as if he never listened to my answer before or he assumed I’d change my mind.  I’m not sure which but it was VERY frustrating.  Indeed it would have killed our relationship eventually, although hopefully in a less dramatic and shitty fashion than it did end. This post on communication with partners has had me thinking a lot too.  I often have no freaking clue what Hawthorn is talking about.  Like he’s using some shorthand that is all words and cues that I just don’t get (or he starts in the middle of a thought, I guess unaware that I can’t read his mind) and now that we’ve broken up and spend even less time together it seems to be getting worse and worse.  And then today Tiny Buddha told me that love means attention.  And let me tell you not being listened too and not understanding sure does feel like a lack of attention.

This is all to say, I guess, that I’ve long recognized the signs of why things would  never work out with Hawthorn in the long run. And perhaps most my hurt over all of this is his hideously terrible timing on the break up and his seeming disregard for me and what I am going through in relation to be rejected at just this time.  Also if he was really listening to or paying attention to me, he would know that lending my his damned chairs would go a long way toward repairing my anger about his assholishness.

Almost everything is moved into the new place (like almost as in, I’ll go back for the coffee table when I have a couch to put it in front of, you know?).  I am pleased at how much got done, without incident. Got up early Sat. morning, moved a couple loads myself, went with Hawthorn and got a truck, friends came, loaded the truck and unloaded it. Rowan came and mostly distracted me while moving (he helped too, but I think he helped keep me on an even keel while we did the hard parts). Then there was some fuckery (resolved, don’t mess with me when my blood sugar is low) with the truck return, then Hawthorn and I stopped for lunch.  His choice of place for helping move and the place was packed (and on a good day this place is slow).  Cue Star Chickadee meltdown.  Hawthorn asked if I wanted to go somewhere else. I snapped that by the time we figured out where else, go there and ordered, we’d have food from the place we were already in.  While we were waiting for our food I leaned on him and just started crying.  I don’t do well on low blood sugar, it had been a long day already, plus the added emotionally charged crap of the move.  I called Violet and asked her to come over and help me get the rest of the stuff in our cars.  By the time she arrived I’d eaten and pretty much recovered (also taken the only Klonopin of the weekend).  We got the last bits packed up and out.  Calantha came over and unpacked and pushed things around for me until I hit the limit of needing to be quiet and alone.

Sunday I shifted boxes around a lot.  Made curtains for the front windows.  The landlord came and fixed and did lots of things for me (like new grounded outlets, rather than the scary old 1940s outlets).  I went back to the other house to pack up the kitchen stuff.  I managed to get there while Hawthorn was out and be nearly done and ready to leave just about the time he got back.  He tried to get me to take a few more things, saying he could just buy new ones, but I took pretty much everything I wanted and got out as quickly as I could.

I canceled my regularly scheduled therapy appt for today on the assumption I’d be way more interested in unpacking and being at my house, which was probably a good choice.  Especially if I can manage to get out of work early to go shift more boxes around. The real question is why did I even come to work? Why didn’t I just plan to take today off.  SIGH.

Oak moved back to this city yesterday.  He got in some time late yesterday afternoon.  Moving has kept me busy and tired enough not to have given this too much thought.  I assume I’ll see him some time this week.  Probably in some neutral location.  I guess I’ll worry about that then.  Although my vanity is making regret not having gotten my haircut last week, but I’m sure I can pull it together to look decent for this inevitable social event.  Still to that end, here is a poem for Oak:

Clenched Soul by Pablo Neruda

We have lost even this twilight.
No one saw us this evening hand in hand
while the blue night dropped on the world.

I have seen from my window
the fiesta of sunset in the distant mountain tops.

Sometimes a piece of sun
burned like a coin in my hand.

I remembered you with my soul clenched
in that sadness of mine that you know.

Where were you then?
Who else was there?
Saying what?
Why will the whole of love come on me suddenly
when I am sad and feel you are far away?

The book fell that always closed at twilight
and my blue sweater rolled like a hurt dog at my feet.

Always, always you recede through the evenings
toward the twilight erasing statue

Happy kitchen is happy and my new kitchen is as happy as this one!

Moving in 3 days!  I’m, um, I guess as ready as I need to be at this point.  Tomorrow I’m going to sell my wedding ring and buy me a TV. Heh. I don’t know why it never occurred to me to sell it before, but Hawthorn just sold his and I’d I can get half what he got I”ll be happy.  I need 30 Rock every week every week way more than I need a reminder of a marriage than ended a decade ago.

Packing, furniture refinishing and all seem to be moving apace.  I’m completely scattered though.  I keep having these mini bursts of deep thoughts that I mean to post here but by the time I sit down they are gone from my brain.  I can say that I am feeling better over all.  I know because I find my desire to interact with people is dramatically increased.  And I’m really feeling this need to reach out to my friends, not just for support, but just because I want to enjoy them and being around them.

I got a promotion at work.  Which is awesome recognition of my work, but chaotic and more work.  And maybe not the raised I”d hoped for, but still YAY MORE MONEY!  And I’m negotiating for a fancy title, you know for future job stuff.  But it’s all a little stressy on top of my current stressiness. Still, soon to be moved and then at least I’ll have a calm place, yeah?

I’m in a good place with the apartment and work.  I feel like they are both things I deserve and have worked for.  For a long time even when good things happened I felt like I was waiting for the other shoe to drop, but not right now with these these things.  It’s fairly refreshing not to worry about needlessly about stuff like that.  However I keep repeating the line from Tales of the City where Mouse says that you can’t have the trifecta of a hot job a hot apartment and a hot guy, that one always ends up being a compromise.  For now, I guess I’m glad to not worry about the guy, but mostly I find I have to convince myself that that isn’t true.  Someday I’ll have al three, yeah.

Really, what I want most is spring time.  I’m spending way too much time thinking about spring clothes and winter ending.  The weather here is gorgeous right now, but I am certainly waiting for the other shoe to drop on that.  February, she can be cruel.  And March has that whole lion/lamb thing.

Ugh. I feel wrecked and overwrought. I think I would feel better if I was taking the time to dilligently and thoughtfully write here, but it doesn’t seem to be in the cards right now. In moving week you prep for moving, plan for moving, freak about moving, relax and let it go, freak again, prep some more, do some more, blah blah blah. And I feel this way after having paid someone to come pack everything! (Seriously all I have left to deal with really is clothes, toiletries and a handful of kitchen things and framed pictures. Hooray!)

Therapy is weird right now. I feel like maybe my therapist isn’t convinced I need therapy because I seem to be doing okay, so I spent today trying to explain that I simply cannot do the deep emotional work I need to until I get moved and get through this part. I just can not rip open those wounds until I have a safe place to go lick them after. And then I tried to explain about how everything has been back to back to back to back to back for the last couple years and I need therapy but I need to just talk and be calm in a safe place too. I don’t know. It was good, I think, but weird.

Then I came home and was PISSED OFF at Hawthorn. I can’t say exactly (yet) but basically he told me something at work (last week) that was unprofessional for him to tell me, he shouldn’t have told me and I wish I didn’t know. It’s been seriously stressing me out. So after packing was done tonight I told him that he owed me and apology and that he’d seriously fucked up. He said he didn’t know what say except sorry and I said that was enough. We both went about our business and later he came back and told me that I was very right to demand that apology and I surely deserved it and he suspected there were a few more apologies he probably owed me. I said that for now understanding that apology was enough and we’d worry about the rest later. So that was good.

I have nothing in my head, it feels like that isn’t moving or decorating related. I’m tired and I’ve definitely been over taxing myself. Still taking the St. John’s Wort and I think I’m going to start adding the 5-HTP back in as that really was helping with sleep before all this medication hoopla.

Oak is moving back to town the day after I move into my new apartment. I don’t think I’ve at all processed what this means to me or what it will be like to have him here. I feel like I really need him as friend right now but I can easily cross a line with him where he thinks I’m asking for too much, or he misunderstands my intentions.  I suspect it’ll be wobbly for a while

I had a pretty good weekend, although it says something about my mental state that the high point was discovering that a mini/half-size pair of pants I made (an experimental design for baby pants but made very small) fit my teddy bear from childhood. Then I took a picture of my teddy bear wearing pants and sent it to my mother. Also the pants the bear used to wear fit my hippo so now everyone has pants. This development is way more interesting to me right now than my emotional problems.

Happy Valentine’s Day. Have a picture of a puppy.

I have a bad attitude today.  Everything single thing Hawthorn is doing is really irritating me.  Despite that he’s gone out of his way to be nice and helpful, even his nice and helpful is annoying to me today.  I’m tired, despite having gone to bed relatively early and slept in late.  I slept restlessly, had disturbing and distressing dreams and generally don’t feel rested at all.  It’s ‘normal’ insomnia for me, I guess, but it feels worse maybe because I haven’t been experiencing it as regularly.  I’m still taking the St. John’s Wort, but I haven’t taken Klonopin or anything to help me sleep in, uh, I guess three days.  I imagine tonight I’ll take something as I can’t take another day of feeling this rough.  I’m a sort of punching, kicking, mood to burn bridges mood.  The snow, ice and single digit temps aren’t helping, although Hawthorn did drive me to work so I didn’t have to overwhelm myself attempting the terrible road conditions.

I have in my inbox an unread email from Oak.  I’m not sure why I’m resisting reading it.  I realized the other night that it had been a few days since I’d heard from Oak and that our last few interactions had been brief and unsatisfying.  I decided that he probably had thought better of maintaining friendship with me and that was okay.  I mean really, I broke up with him, destroyed both our future plans, reset both our lives and then expect him to be supportive caring and helpful to me now? It does seem like too much to ask.  Of course with in an hour of me deciding this he called, just to chat and check up on me.  So last night I made my post about wanting to go home or having a home to go too and after I email Oak a poorly thought out email on the same subject.  Trying to express how both my relationship with him and my breaking up with him were related to my need to have a home, or a place to feel safe, and how sorry I was about how it had turned out but that maybe it was for the best that my emotional melt down hadn’t happened after he and I moving across the country together to someplace where I had a much smaller support system. And thanking him for being so kind and so good to still be supportive of me and to let me lean on him now, even after everything that happened. And how glad I was he was moving back here, giving us a chance to start over as friends.  Anyway, I can’t bring myself to read his reply.

Gmail lets me see the first line: “StarChickadee, I think it’s going to be a great thing  for you to have your own place. It’s…”  Oak is subtle and full of minute cues that you have to know to watch for.  Our names start with the same letter and when we were dating  we addressed each other in email only by first initial, capital for him, lowercase for me.  I recognize that for him this was a special part of our communication, a secret code between us.  But I started it and when I started it it was partly because I often simply sign my emails with my lower case first initial and it seemed right to give him the upper case, simply to distinguish.  So now I continue to sign emails as such, but he goes out of his way to sign his first name in email correspondence with me, and generally doesn’t address me by name or initial at all.  So the fact that he started this reply with my full first name is meaningful, though I surely won’t be able to tell you exactly how until I read the email. It is for this reason, I guess, that I’m simply dreading opening this email.  I have relied heavily on him in recent weeks.  He has been a kind, generous, king among men to allow me to do so. And yet, our current status, even as friends is very precarious and strange and undefined.  I often find myself wondering if I’ve crossed an unrecognized line since, as I said, he is very subtle and sometimes his cues can be missed. I wonder if my continued signing of emails with my small initial irritates or upsets him and yet I continue to do it with defiance since it is mine choose how I represent myself no matter what and I want to keep that signature as mine and not only representative as something we shared.  And I recognize how silly it is to be so stubborn about a little letter, but I see it as indicative of how tenuous our current connection is.  I am sure that once he gets back here and we can talk in person I will feel better about the whole situation, as then I can read him easily and do not have to worry about small cues in language usage alone.

There is not enough coffee int he world for em today, it seems.  Lunchtime already and I feel slow, sluggy, lethargic and worn down.  Maybe I’ve just once again hit my ‘too tired emotionally to deal with anything’ limit.  I keep forgetting how close that limit is and knocking up against it until we’re both bruised and battered.

Nine days until I move, surely I can keep it together until then, until I can get home?

The weather is seriously wearing on me. It took forever to get home tonight, snow was falling fast and heavy and people were driving like idiots. I get it, we shouldn’t get much snow in the South, and nobody here can drive anyway, but, yeah, wearing me down. I’ve been mostly keeping busy. Painting furniture, preparing to move, working. Blah blah blah. I’m feeling okay in general, I guess. I need more focus. No, I need, uh. Well maybe I need to focus less. It has only been two days, but I have been taking my therapist’s words to heart and trying to be more in the moment. At least for some moments. At least so I can see the amazing sunrise I saw today and not forget it. At least so I notice how delicious the dinner I made tonight really was. Still I find myself without any real long term plans for the future, and yet mostly focusing on next week, on the week after, like whatever happens some time in the future will make me happy, or, fix something, or, I don’t know, just be different.  And I guess it will be different, but what if I’m still thinking like this after I’ve moved out of Hawthorn’s house? And yet, I feel like I just have too much going on. Like, maybe I’m not waiting for something to happen, but waiting for things to slow down? The last two years feel like they’ve been this endless collision of back to back to back to back to back things, bad things, good things, hard things, confusing things, frightening things, things, things, things. So I am looking forward to moving, but perhaps so I can finally have a calm place to just be. Is it a paradox that I’m waiting for this thing to happen in the future so that I can stop waiting for the future?

I guess, really, that I’m just tired. I’m tired and I want to go home. I’m tired of having places to live and not feeling like I’m home. I just want the next part to start now, it’s okay to be waiting for it and not in the moment, because it is going to be better, because I am going to make it home.

Oak keeps telling me to just keep busy, to distract myself until I can get moved and settled.  So after yesterday morning’s pity party, I absolved myself of all my planned responsibilities for the day, except getting my hair trimmed and meeting with the painter to get he estimate on painting the new apartment.  I oped in bed and read for a while, then I went and messed around at the new apartment, met the painted, washed new kitchen stuff and put it away and just generally was present in the new place.

Picked up Violet from the airport and took her to get a drink and cheeseburger for me.  Had a lovely time, felt emotionally restored after.  Went home, read some more, slept.  Today I watched some crappy TV for a bit, sanded some furniture and then went and worked my ass off at the new apartment (one of the biggest problems with renting is that other people’s standard of cleanliness isn’t usually as high as mine is).  I got the kitchen very clean, except one last little gross part which I was just too tired to do.  I sanded and primed the parts of living room that needed it, in anticipation of the painters coming.  And I spent a lot of time just wandering around and looking out my windows and feeling how much I like the place.

Both the painter and Violet said the place just felt good to be in.  I agree.  It needs a name, as I have named all my homes.  I can’t decide if it’s get’s a proper name like fancy old manor house or if it will be something else.

Hawthorn helped me by getting me a lot of power tools today so I can finish up the rest of my furniture projects before I move.  Violet and I had a nice conversation about my choices made in good faith and Hawthorn not being a bad guy, just doing what he needed to do and simply having bad timing.  I feel better about the world in general.   I am tired though.  Good hard work tired.  MOre furtinture work tomorrow.  For the keeping busy.  It seems to work.

Well I’m rather pleased with myself that I’ve managed to keep up with this blogging thing for a month so far.  Eleven more to go!  I tried to do an emotional inventory or progress report on myself last night.  I’m not sure if I was doing it because I had insomnia, or if I had insomnia because I was doing it.  So we’ll start there.

Insomnia: This has actually been a lifelong problem for me.  I have clear memories of my sleep troubles from when I was eight or nine.  It does seem to come in cycles and it does seem to be vastly amplified by stress.  The muscle relaxants definitely exacerbated it the couple of times I tried to take them (might experiment one more time with taking them during the day). The Lexapro actually seemed to help with the insomnia, but left me dull, fatigued and lethargic during the day (plus the intestinal problems made it a no go anyway).  I think that now that I am off the SSRIs, I will add the 5-HTP I was taking back into my regimen as it really seemed to help before and I believe it shouldn’t have ill effects with the St. John’s Wort (indeed they are often recommended together).

Sometimes I think if I could just get the sleep thing together I’d be much better off over all.  Possibly that’s true, but there’s so many other factors that I don’t think I should give too much sway to the power of sleep (though it is healing a and good).

Panic attacks: These had increased dramatically for me in Oct, Nov and Dec of 2010.  Now I am mainly back to having them only at night.  Which doesn’t help the insomnia much but is better than getting them while driving or being out socially.  The Klonopin does wonders for the panic attacks.  I have mentioned (to folks for sure and probably here) that I understand the dependency possibility with benzos like this but you can pry my Klonopin from my cold, dead hands because this stuff is MAGIC.  I think currently I am most relieved at the lessened panic attacks.  This makes all my other problems seem less insurmountable.

Therapy: I think it’s only just beginning to dawn on my how much long, hard work therapy is going to be.  It’s a bit intimidating but I think I am up for it.  Planning on continuing it until I think I don’t need it.  I do hope that this isn’t a forever thing.  I’d like to start setting limits and guidelines for it.  Like can I overcome my hysterical sobbing at the idea of going to the dentist? Can I learn to ask for help with out feeling like I’m doing something horribly, terribly wrong?  Can I create a relationship with my mother that feels good most of the time instead of half of the time?  Can I verbalize what I need out of relationships and set guidelines for continuing my trend of increasingly healthy ones (yes, I know recent events make them seem sucky, but both Oak and Hawthorn are Prince Charmings compared to previous dating history–I think I have already been making strides here and I’d like to continue that).  So within the bounds of all that, I can’t guess how long I’ll go to therapy, but I’m glad to have it as an outlet and a support and I think it’s been helpful so far, at least in showing me that there is a path and there is help.

Blogging: Writing in this space has been incredibly helpful to me.  I feel like it’s given me a place to order my thoughts and shake some of the chaos out of my head.  The vague anonymity of it (I mean I know you’re reading and I know you know me, but I don’t see you) has freed me from feeling judged about what I’m writing and I think I’ve done an excellent job of not self-censoring.  Ordering and writing down my thoughts here has really helped me with being able to later verbalize feelings and opinions on my health and my situation when I am talking to my friends in real life and I think has actually facilitated me being comfortable being much more open with people in person (therapy has helped with that as well).  So even if I am sort of parroting myself in person, I at least am using my own assessments of myself and feeling less confused and more likely to talk about how I’m feeling.

Medication: Clearly it’s been up and down.  I think my decision to make the leap to go on medication was the right one.  I don’t think it worked for me and I glad to find myself in a place to start trying more natural remedies.  However I think there’s a psychological impact of simply having taken the drugs.  I feel better. Period.  I doubt the SSRIs made me feel better in 8 weeks.  Maybe they did, but perhaps just the choice to have taken them, the asking for help and the actively starting to work on my problems is what’s making me feel better.  So sort of placebo effect as it were (with terrible side effects).  It hasn’t been easy, but I am glad to have the Klonopin and I am glad to know I have other options if I get to feeling where I am not doing as well as I’d hoped.

Relationships: Well, what can I say?  I feel confident that my inability to deal with things and see things for what they are (my anxiety and mental illness, basically) caused the demise of my relationship with Oak. I’m sticking by having made those choices in good faith while I was looking for safety and comfort.  I feel that at the time Hawthorm was genuinely offering what I thought I needed.  I did originally seek help not only for own sanity, but because tiny cracks had started to appear in my relationship with Hawthorn and I thought if I could get better I could save the relationship.  Clearly that didn’t matter since Hawthorn had the bad timing to accidentally coincide his break down with mine (or his precipitated mine, or something).  Despite their tragic ends, I think both relationships were good for me and I hope both were signs of a continuing trend toward someday having a strong healthy relationship or toward feeling free to not have one at all and still be happy.

Driving:  I don’t think I’ve talked about it a lot here, but I used to love driving.  Every instance of getting into the car, even to go to the store for milk was an act of freedom, was the possibility that I could just keep driving and go where ever I wanted in the world.  I loved the control of it, the power and that raw, open sense of possibility.  In the past two years I’ve had one car totaled while I was in it, been pulled out of another at gunpoint and forced to the ground, and stopped 18″ shy of dying in a really horrific accident that happened around me like a tornado but somehow left me unscathed.  Even taking an easy, low traffic surface street route to work was becoming cause for increasing panic attacks and incredible tension in my body.  I often wanted to cry when I got into and out of the car.  Recently I’ve noticed that my confidence is coming back while I drive and I feel much more comfortable and relaxed doing it.  I can even feel the sense of freedom and possibility starting to tickle at the back of my brain, like it’s getting ready to come back too.

Moving:  I think this is going to be huge for me.  It has sort of happened rather more quickly than I had planned, but so far it seems int he realm of doable.  Yes, getting my own space to heal and be in is good.  On the one had living with Hawthorn post break up hasn’t been a party but it hasn’t been as toxic as it could have been.  However, I HATED our house.  Of all the ones we looked at I wanted it the least.  Hawthorn chose it for the porch, the location and the architectural details.  I hated everything about it.  Nothing was functional, it was clearly remodeled for looks when it was flipped and not at all for functionality.  The landlord is a lazy jerk and repeated dealing with water POURING in from the ceiling, from light sockets, from door jambs and window sills has been severely anxiety inducing all on it’s own.  The interior colors actually make me angry in some rooms, the space just doesn’t feel psychically clean, either.  I was talking to a coworker (who as far as I know knows nothing about the Hawthorn situation) about moving to my new place today and how it seemed good even though I just moved six months ago.  And my coworker commented that she was so glad I was moving because she felt like I hadn’t been well since I moved into that house.  And it’s true, my allergies have been awful (as have Hawthorn’s), I can’t sleep for the noise the neighbors make, I fret about the ceiling falling on me, and besides the dust, age and other problems, I’m fairly sure the inside of the walls and airducts are crawling with mold.  So here’s hoping that the new place is just healthier all around.  It has a new roof–so no leaks, it has a brand new HVAC system and new ducts–no mold or dust, no past or future pets in the house at all to aggravate my already delicate allergies.  The only health concern really is that the new landlord has a pest service come once a month and I don’t know what kind of chemicals they use.  However since the trade off is no mice, no poisonous spiders and no roaches, I’m very willing to take it as a risk.

Body health: So far I am failing in this category. I’m giving myself a pass because there has been so much stuff going on (all my recovery efforts plus the unplanned break up and moving additions) that it’s been hard to add even more to it.  I have been walking more and doing a little yoga.  My future plans include much, much more exercise: walking, swimming and yoga and maybe hula-hooping?  I really need to make a physical therapy appointment and get going on that.  Just, you know, time and planning &c.  I am probably going to wait on the PT until moving is done.  I will get going on the exercise thing definitely (the community center and neighborhood gym is three block from my new place, no excuses).  I will try not to beat myself up on this and rather congratulate myself as I get going with it.  I know it will help so much to have less pain in my body.  I know it will help my mental health so much just to get the exercise.  I know it will help my outlook to look and feel better.  I could only just get so many duck in a row at once and I’m still herding these little wild running exercise and body health ducks.

I think once the chaos of moving dies down I am going to start working devoting a (certainly boring) paragraph of each of these entries to details sleep, exercise, panic attacks and the like, just so I’m keep better track of it and little more accountable for it.  Seems sensible, yeah?

Astrology:  While I give only limited value to astrology, and at that only as a descriptor not as a predictor, Free Will Astrology has always done wonders for me.  Even if it is just words that tell me how to frame my current thinking, it’s helpful.  This week for me we have: Taurus Horoscope for week of February 3, 2011 — I’ve found that even when people are successful in dealing with a long-term, intractable problem, they rarely zap it out of existence in one epic swoop. Generally they chip away at it, dismantling it little by little; they gradually break its hold with incremental bursts of unspectacular heroism. Judging from the astrological omens, though, I’d say that you Tauruses are ripe for a large surge of dismantling. An obstacle you’ve been hammering away at for months or even years may be primed to crumble dramatically. Yeah, I’m definitely feeling this!   Thanks, Rob Brezsny!  I will also continue to consult my father, who is an astrologer, about things like this Saturn transit of my Fourth House, as I’ve said, I feel like it gives me a framework to work in and understand things and I’m glad to have that.

I have spent seemingly every spare minute in the last few days either shopping for, planning for, measuring, or carrying things to the new apartment.  I’m exhausted, ya’ll.  I stayed home sick from work yesterday for the first time since this all started.  Tuesday night I had panic attacks, diarrhea and a terribly heavy period.  I got no sleep and opted out of work.  I’m glad I did too because I was barely mentally or emotionally functional when I got home late Tuesday evening, even before all the badness started.

I was thinking then that I needed to be careful still with my own self care.  I am feeling better.  I swear the two sunny warm days went a long way towards that.  And even with the work and money it’s taking, moving is helping too.  It gives me something to focus on and be excited about.  But still, I am a long way from being better.  In therapy on Monday when we started to touch on the deeper part of my problem with asking people for help I could sort of see the long painful future of digging this out and making myself whole.  I have definitely overcome the first high hurdle of asking for help, from my therapist, from my family, from my friends.  I think I am dealing well with either recovering from, or sidelining to deal with later, the break-up stuff.  I think I have made a mental space for myself that is safe and is about moving forward and healing and growing.  And I feel really, positive about all of  it.

However, I need to keep reminding myself that my emotional reserves are still at 0% and that some things are still taxing for me physically.  Just because I’m sitting in a sunny meadow and can see a clear path ahead doesn’t mean I am out of the woods.

Normally I’d take on moving as a herculean task that required my monitoring and management at all times and required as little help as possible, but this time I’ve asked for as much help as I can get.  For people to come pack for me, and help me do things.  I’m hoping to make it as stressless as moving can possibly be.  I’m trying to focus the worry away and keep my eye on the space I’m creating and how warm and safe it will be.  I’ve been successful in this thinking, but still I feel almost as if I need a little fairy on my shoulder reminding me to breathe and slow down and that it’s okay to take some time and cry or just rest.

Last night I started the St. John’s Wort in place of the SSRIs.  No comment on it yet except I seemed not to ave stomach upset or insomnia, so that’s a vast improvement.  We’ll see how it goes along.  I’m being better about my regular schedule for vitamins and fish oil too, so hopefully that combination will prove to be helpful.

I have cramps so bad that I feel like I might die.  My period was 12 days late and it feels like 12 extra periods worth of cramps.  The lady at Target cheerfully told me to have a nice day.  I just looked at her balefully as I walked out clutching 3 boxes of tampons, a box of pads and bottle of ibuprofen. Gah.

So I signed a lease yesterday on my own small apartment.  Now I can redirect all the energy devoted to being anxious, depressed or otherwise upset toward freaking out over getting packed and getting moved.  To my own space, which I am very excited about.

Therapy yesterday started with cheerful glee over getting the apartment (I found out about ten minutes before therapy) and then we talked a lot about Hawthorn.  I mentioned a few days ago that I have gotten over any guilt I might have and am pleased that he seems to be owning the consequences of his actions.  He has been very supportive of my move and of finding this apartment even though it’s detrimental to his financial situation.  I was really prepared to stay in our house through April if that’s what it took to find a good place, but now, having found a place, I think I will heal much faster from this situation than I otherwise would.

Calantha came over for a celebratory glass of wine last night and a catch up evening of girl talk.  She said I seemed really balanced and reasonable about the whole Hawthorn situation.  And I guess I am.  Don’t mistake me, I am still mad as hell that it came to this point.  I am hurt and while I am functional there is certainly a lingering sense of rejection, of being abandoned, of even being discarded.  I think once I’m settled in my own space and don’t have to be confronted daily with his (very much) unintentional slights, then I can start to work on my other stuff and maybe even eventually repair my friendship with Hawthorn.

After I felt resolved with the Hawthorn situation in relation to therapy we talked for a while about what I want out of therapy and I totally broke down over my utter inability to ask for help when I need it most.  I guess next week we are going to delve deep into recreating the feeling black hideous dread that consumes me when I find myself in that situation. Sounds fun.  No really, I can’t wait at all.  But I need to get past the things that are blocking me from talking openly, from asking for help, from feeling comfortable in situations I should be fine in, so this is good.  This good. This is good.  Therapy is good.

Overall though, I do feel mucho better-o, despite cramps of doom.  No more SSRIs.  I feel more upbeat and like myself over all.  I’m trying to keep it slow and in relaxation/recovery mode as much as I can still.  I’m waiting a few days for the SSRIs to clear my system and then I’m switching to an herbal anti-stress remedy (no, not pot) and St. John’s Wort to help keep my mood stabilized over the next couple months.  I’m curious about how this will feel and work, but I am definitely feeling good about the prospects for it.  Panic attacks have certainly lessened, although aren’t gone and there is this weird looming sense of anxiety just out of sight when I turn my head.  But I feel like I’m a good way toward shaking off the black depression parts, and the bloody nightmare stories in my head.  I don’t know that necessarily feel more stable, but I feel more capable and the possibility of feeling normal does appear to be just over that hill, if still out of sight.