Day 549 – “You Want it Too Badly”

I haven’t been associating with The Suit for a couple of weeks now. We haven’t met up, and I’ve stopped texting him. I’m trying hard to move on. I’ve been very busy with my internship (which I’m enjoying), and trying to be as social as possible throughout the week so that I feel less pressure to fit everything in on the weekend. I’m making new friends and becoming closer to my older ones. My life right now is pretty enjoyable actually. But I woke up this morning feeling lonely.

I know this is a normal part of life. Everyone gets lonely. I know it’s temporary. I know it leads to bad decisions when I try to make the feeling go away as soon as possible. So I’m not. I’m just on here, acknowledging it.

The last time The Suit and I met, he told me he didn’t want a relationship because I want it too badly. I’ve been thinking about those words for the last couple of weeks, trying to figure out if they’re true. I don’t know if he meant with him or just in general. It’s true that I want a relationship with him. But I don’t want one so badly that anyone will do to just fill this void inside me.

The American, who was the subject of a recent post, has actually become a dear friend of mine. The feeling of wanting a relationship with him has gone. We are completely platonic and both completely happy with that. We discuss with each other the people we are dating, giving each other an opposite-sex perspective.

I have met quite a few men over the past few weeks, some that have wanted to see me more, some where there was completely no desire to them again, one where there was a physical attraction and nothing else, some that I’ve wanted to pursue a friendship with, but none that I’ve wanted to pursue a relationship with. I just haven’t felt that spark with anyone, not since The Suit. No one yet has fulfilled my “criteria”. The one with whom there was only a physical attraction and nothing else, The DJ, I have been sleeping with, but I definitely DON’T want a relationship with him (we have both been completely upfront with each other about what this is and that a relationship is not going to happen between us, there will be no hurt feelings. We have nothing in common but an attraction, and that is definitely not enough for me).

So right now I do have people in my life that fulfill the various roles that previously I would have wanted one person to fill, and I think that is much healthier and much more stable. But, I still want The Suit.

So no, I don’t want it “too badly”. I want The Suit too badly. God fucking damn you, Suit, for not wanting to be with me.

Day 525 – Maybe I’m not so Broken

Today I was meant to have lunch with The Suit, the first time we would see each other in almost 4 weeks. I confirmed with him this morning, and when the time came I made my way to the city.

I was on the bus with one stop to go when he called me to cancel. But I didn’t freak out. I didn’t get angry. I told him it was fine. And I didn’t push to make  new arrangements. I went on with my day. Did some shopping, ate lunch alone, came home. I was completely ok. Even if I was a little disappointed.

“Wow,” I can hear you all gasp, “What progress!” Well, no, not exactly. I didn’t need to do any of that other stuff because of the reason he cancelled. His sister had been taken to the hospital, and he had to go see her. So, I didn’t feel invalidated or devalued, or blown off. Which has made me realise that it is these feelings, and not specifically broken plans or disappointments,  that are what cause me to go into a tailspin sometimes. And these feelings would make anybody feel kinda shitty. I’m not denying that I take it too far when I feel this way and I still have some work to do on regulating my emotions, accepting them and not acting impulsively on them, but I have made progress. So maybe I’m not so unreasonable. Maybe I’m not so broken.

It also helps a lot that I’m feeling pretty good about myself again, and my life doesn’t seem so dark. I have a lot happening again. Seeing friends, meeting new people, a little freelance design work and a full time 3 month design internship starting next week. I feel like a proper human again, the internship especially buoying my spirits and feelings of self-worth. I feel like I’m finally back on track, and even though it’s unpaid, it’s a huge step in the direction I want to go in.

Now that I know specifically what it is that makes me act like a crazy person, I can start to directly address it. As a little kid who felt ignored and undervalued, there wasn’t a whole lot I could do beyond throwing a tantrum in order to get the attention and care that I needed. The tantrums probably worked sometimes, I can’t really remember. But as an adult, all they do is push people away, make them think “what a fuckwit.” As an adult, I have many more avenues open to me. I can cut people out of my life who make me feel devalued, or lessen my reliance on their opinion of me. I can stop comparing myself to others.  It all comes down to self-esteem, and needing others to make me feel validated. As an adult, I’m really the only person who needs to believe in me.

So, fuck it. I’m awesome. And it really doesn’t matter if you think so. I save insects from the toilet and worms from the footpath. I give to charity every month, even though I can’t really afford it. I’m a good designer and I speak two languages. I’m pretty funny and kinda pretty. I own up to my downfalls and never stop working at trying to be a better person. Bill Murray once made me a cup of tea and said I have a nice ass. I’ve survived two suicide attempts.

So, I’ve done ok so far.

Day 521 – Maxed Out on Pain

I’ve been hurt again. I don’t want to go into details, but it’s the same story, different man. The American. He’s new. New-ish. In my life long enough to hurt me. And I know I can’t risk being hurt again anytime soon, and so I have no business putting myself out there right now.

I started to feel a little hope again. Had started job hunting. Had a business idea that I was excited about. Having little bits of goodness in my life motivates me to seek out more. But now I’ve crashed again. No job, no plans to continue studying, no love interest, and my life looming ahead of me, empty.

There is an illusion that a new year brings a new start. Everything is fresh and clean. Anything can happen. But nothing has really changed. January 1 is just the day that follows December 31.

Day 507- “I Don’t Exist When I’m Alone”

This is what I said to a friend today.

He said “I’m a different person when I’m alone.” I replied, “I don’t exist when I’m alone.”

I don’t really know why I said this. And as soon as it was out of my mouth I felt sad, and unsure as to whether it was even true or what had prompted me to say it. But saying these words connected in my mind to something we had been talking about earlier in the day; about my childhood and how I had spent so much of it alone, from early morning to late at night, while the rest of my family worked on the house we were building. I was too small to help in the early years. It started when I was five years old.

We had moved from Sydney up to a rural area on the Sunshine Coast at the end of the school year, and for three long months over the summer before grade one started I was left alone in the house. I didn’t have any friends yet to call over, and my sisters, being quite a bit older than me, were recruited to help my mother and father with the laboring.

I remember the boredom and loneliness of those long hours without anyone to keep me company but the television. Watching the movie Grease several times each and every day, rewinding and restarting as soon as it ended; I can still recite the dialogue if pressed. The anticipation of my mother coming home after dark to relieve my solitude, so much like the way I feel now when I’m expecting a lover to arrive. This continued for years: after school, weekends, and school holidays. Sometimes I would have friends over to relieve the loneliness, but the majority of the time that I spent at home I was alone, waiting, anxious, not knowing when or if my mother would come home, my father being as violent and unpredictable as he was.

I had never before connected the way I feel when I am alone as an adult with these early years I spent alone , though it seems so obvious now. But now that I know, what can I do to change the way I feel about time by myself? I feel that time alone is time lost, time not shared is time not experienced. Time sucked into a vacuum. I’m still aging. Time is still passing. But I have nothing to account for it. No way to prove I ever even existed during these periods…unless I am with someone, to corroborate.

For now this is just another connection, another realisation. For today that is enough. I understand why being alone is so painful: the child in me feels she is missing out, while others are out creating something. I understand why waiting for someone to show up makes me feel so desperate: the child in me doesn’t know if they will ever come back, and one more second alone is an eternity of loneliness, interminable.

She only needs some reassurance that she will not be left alone forever. Or now that she is an adult, to go out into the world and join the others. She no longer needs to wait for someone to take her hand and lead her out.

Day 500 – Not Sticking is Not (Always) Weakness

Do I feel disappointed that what was intended as a 90 day challenge to overcome my “condition” has blown out to 500? Yes. But, I’m also proud of myself that even though it’s been a long journey, I have stuck with it. I’m still going, still working, still trying. I move forward and I slip backwards, I fall down and I pick myself up again. I am a work in progress, as we all are, and probably will be until the day we die.

Something I’ve always seen as a weakness of mine is my lack of resolve. I will say I have decided something, and sometimes I do stick to it. But often I don’t. That has always bothered me. Even when stubbornness in others is a trait that I despise, for some reason I have never been able to see my lack of stubbornness as anything but weakness.

But this blog – and getting better – is something that is important to me and so I have stuck with it. I haven’t given up. I can take solace in that, that when something truly is important, I do have what it takes to persevere. Giving up on something that isn’t working is acceptable, and not necessarily a sign of weakness. Sometimes it may even be a sign of strength.

Something I had resolved to do but didn’t stick with was my decision to cut The Suit from my life. We met up three times this week. At the first meeting he apologised for letting me down on my birthday, and we decided to continue our friendship, strictly platonically. The second time we met we had lunch together, and discussed whether the friendship would work at all, given the attraction. Even though it may be difficult, his presence in my life is too valuable to me to throw away. Being with him is easy and enjoyable, and our talks really do help me; with him I think I have made more meaningful progress in a short time, as though I am playing a game in difficult mode and I’ve been forced to sink or swim.

Our third meeting of the week, yesterday, saw us back in bed together. It was too good to regret, and I don’t. I’m not letting myself hope that it meant more than it did, or see it for more than it was. I know that whatever happens, whether we stay friends, become more, or nothing at all, I need to learn to let go of him. For my own well-being, I need to stop putting so much pressure on any one person, whether they are my partner or not.

I could try to find a partner who would pander to my current needs, but that wouldn’t be progress. It would feel nice for now, but I would only be setting myself up future pain, keeping myself weak and dependent on the whims of another. I want to become independent, and find a partner I can co-exist with, not be co-dependent with. I need to know that I will be okay if they go away.

I may not see The Suit for the rest of the year; he will be going away to spend Christmas and New Year’s with his family. I will miss him, but I will live.

Day 498 – Shame or Something Like It

I spent today with my mother and my five year old niece. That should have made for a pleasant day, connecting with important people in my life. But, like always, it left me uncomfortable, ill and exhausted. Which made me feel guilty for feeling that way.

I don’t really know how to word it, and it’s been something I’ve only recently put together and am still trying to work out, but spending time with my family, my mother especially, feels incestuous. Being around her fills me with shame. I can’t open up to her, or turn to her for comfort, as it always deepens the negative emotions in me. I feel so guilty about feeling this way, as she has never done anything wrong to me, has always treated me with love and never judged me, and would do anything to help me and try to make me happy. She is a great mother. And I can’t return the favour by being a great daughter because of how uncomfortable being around her makes me feel.

All day, all I wanted to do was be in contact with someone else who could make these feelings go away; someone I have a sexual connection to, I suppose to dispel the incestuous feelings.

When I realised this is what is making me seek out connection with someone in whom I have a sexual/non-platonic interest, I discussed it with my therapist. It confused me, because I assumed that my history of sexual abuse by my father would make me want to shun any kind of sexual contact with anyone. But she suggested that it could make me go the other way. Maybe the sexual attention I got as a child made me feel validated, but because it was incestuous (and even as a little girl it made me uncomfortable), I now obsessively seek out people who can make sex feel right again, and feel comforted by them. I’m still working it out.

There have been many instances in the past where I felt I was getting too close to a sexual partner and it began to feel incestuous to me, and I would end the relationship as I could no longer bear the thought of sex with them without feeling ashamed or dirty. There have only been a few people with whom this hasn’t happened or is yet to happen, but for me it is rare and has ended many relationships.

I never got to this point with my ex and had hoped it meant I was healing. But it’s impossible to say, as I haven’t been in any long term sexual relationships since him. Over the past year though I have been becoming more comfortable with sex and nudity. Whereas in the past I would have to get dressed or put on underwear as soon as the act was finished, I have now started to actually enjoy lying naked with someone, and the vaginismus that had plagued me since my teens has almost completely gone away too. Sex with The Suit has been the best of my life so far. *sigh*

Finally starting to put the pieces together and working out why I feel the way I feel will hopefully help me to be more mindful and work out how to get past these feelings. I want, need, to be able to receive comfort from my family (as well as from myself of course), so that I can stop obsessively seeking it out from a sexual partner.

Day 497 – Boredom Loneliness Fear

Over the last few days I’ve been getting better at examining my thoughts. Whenever I feel anything negative, I attempt to trace that feeling back to it’s thought of origin.

I’ve been finding that my negative feelings are predominantly ones of anxiety based on boredom or loneliness. Tracing those back even further, they both seem to have their roots in fear.

For me, boredom and loneliness are very similar, and often I can’t tell one from the other. They both present as feelings of anxiety, a physical and mental discomfort that I desperately want to end, which leads to fantasies of suicide. So when I get these feelings, I immediately feel an urgent need to reach out to someone in order to make the feelings go away. This was my first clue that it is a need to connect with another human being that triggers the feelings of boredom or loneliness, and the resultant anxiety. Following that back, it is fear that I am missing out on human connection that triggers these. Fear that my life is passing me by. Fear that I will miss out on achieving what it is I want to achieve. Fear that I am running out of time.

It is this fear that is the basis of all my anxiety, all of my panic attacks, all of my negative behaviours. The behaviours that push what it is I want further away. The fear is creating more fear. It is a vicious cycle that I need to break out of.

But how?

Coming to these realisations is progress, but not if I stop there.

All I know to do right now is to keep examining, questioning and challenging my thoughts, and stopping myself from automatically reaching out to others as a way to cope. Because when I get past needing others to cope in this way, then logically, I should also get past the need to act out in ways that ultimately push them away when I inevitably burn these people out.

Day 495 – It’s Not Fair

It’s not fair, is it?

The child whose mother drank while pregnant and now has a cognitive impairment. The man crossing the road who got hit by a drunk driver and can no longer walk. The woman who dared to stand up for herself and got acid thrown in her face. The boy whose father walked out and left him man of the house, robbing him of the rest of his childhood. The little girl who was sexually, physically and emotionally abused by her father and has lifelong depression and anxiety. The last one is me, and countless others.

It’s not fair, is it?

But that’s what you get. We all get something to challenge us. Some more than others.

There is no more point in crying “why me?” It is not just me. It is everyone. Everyone at some point will say “it’s not fair” and “why me?” Somehow that makes it easier to accept. It still sucks.

I have three options: continue to struggle against my lot; end my life; or accept the challenges I’ve been tasked with and make every effort I can to overcome them.

I’ve been writing this blog for 495 days, and sometimes I feel I have achieved so little in that time. But I’ve been alive for 12,423 days so far. And I may still have twice that to go. I don’t want to struggle through another 24,000 days.

Please, universe, help me find the strength to choose option three, and not look back.

Day 492 – Goodbye to The Suit

He’s let me down too many times. He’s let me down on my birthday. He pushes me to the point where I want to die. The things I like about him, and there are a lot, could be enough to get us through, except for one thing: he doesn’t want to be in a relationship with me. He wants the easy parts of a relationship: the sex, the fun hang outs, the intimacy, the closeness. But when it really matters he can’t come through. He can’t cope with being needed by someone. He can’t cope with putting another person’s needs before his own selfish desires on occasion. Today meant so much to me. To be there for my birthday dinner. But, he’s too drunk to make it. Even after multiple assurances that he would be here.

This morning we decided that we were going to continue our relationship as friends, but there is no trust left. There is no point.This is his first act as my friend.

I wish this wasn’t happening today. I find my birthday and all of December distressing enough, and just wanted to have a fun, stress free day. But his disregard for my feelings has spoiled this. His broken promises have made me feel worthless and inconsequential. Just so he can get drunk with his friends.

I know I deserve better. And I hoped he would be capable of that. He’d indicated in the past that pleasing someone and living up to their expectations was a new thing for him, and he enjoyed it. But that’s out the window now I guess.

He’s the first man who has been able to take my anxiety and panic attacks in his stride, to calm me down, to discuss our problems together. I didn’t want to let that go. But when he’s triggering so much of that panic and anxiety, I suppose I really need to ask, is it worth it?

My “condition” has fucked up yet another relationship that meant a lot to me.  I can’t help but be angry at myself too.