Monthly Archives: November 2013

Say No to Drugs. Say No to Drugs

“I want to kick his ass. If I met him I’d be torn between the urge to hug him and start crying, or hitting him as hard as I could.”

My shrink seemed surprised: “Why do you want to hit him?”

“I am so angry that he’s managed to turn my last 3 weeks into a series of drug-like adrenaline highs and black, horrible lows.”

He writes and calls in unpredictable bursts. I never know when to expect it, and the tension is addictive. This article that K sent me shed a bit of light on the situation; I feel as though I have become absolutely enslaved to his whims, fully addicted. So I need to quit, but it’s honestly harder than quitting smoking in college was for me- and after only 3 weeks! It’s only 1:44 PM and I last wrote to him at around 9PM last night (with no reply, of course. 5 messages yesterday, 2 replies.

I will not write to him any more, until he agrees to meet me. Period. I am afraid this means I may never hear from him again. And I am as irritable and fixated as though I was trying not to dig a cigarette butt out of the trash can and smoke the filter. My entire psyche is screaming: “how long will it take him to notice?! how long will it take him to care?!” But I deleted everything from him off my phone. I’m serious this time. I don’t even know his number now.

When i last sent him a message saying that I was done, he called immediately after days of no reply. I think he likes me emotionally torn out here in the abstract. Or he doesn’t have his emotional shit together either, but doesn’t want to lose me entirely in the meantime. He was very, normally available until it was clear that he and i had serious chemistry. Then he freaked out, deleted his OKC account and commenced radio silence. (Caveat: he was widowed a couple of years ago, tragically, and this is the first time he’s started to try to date again.)

Either way, my mental health is so bad I am either actively mistreating or being mistreated by every romantic interest in my life right now.

Funnily, I have a friends-with-benefits situation right now that is nothing but easy. The guy is amazingly sweet, relaxing to be around, and so much like me. But with him I am the aloof and unavailable one. I am the abuser.

I worry I only want things I can’t have, people who rebuff me and make me feel small. To my therapist- that is why I want to hit him so hard. Because I really want to hit myself.

(More stories again soon, and less emo online dating inspired hand-wringing, I promise. Since I’m quitting this guy (1:55PM), I hope to stabilize soon.)

***

No contact. If you see me, ask me how long it’s been. Keep me honest. If I’ve weakened and “smoked a cigarette”, judge me as I deserve to be judged.

(This is how bad it is: My mind says “Maybe I can show him these posts some day and we can laugh…”)

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On Why I Have a Black Sense of Humor (or why I’ll never be one of the WOO girls)

I don’t write much about my family. Hell, I don’t really even write much about everything I’ve gone through. While there are so many things about which I demur, complements I can’t accept, ideas about my life that I disbelieve.. I do agree with people when they say that I am strong. Because I am actually much stronger even than most people know. Simply, I deal with a lot more than I confess to anyone. J knew, but he was the only one. (Writing this fills me with guilt; I am much more comfortable with modesty…)

The thing is, I don’t think the problems in my family are mine to claim strength from, really… though I’m doing it now. The individual family members who have to cope with their demons are the stronger ones. Sure, I have my own demons but nothing compared to what my sister and father, aunt and uncle have/had to deal with.

I won’t talk about my sister here, although if I were it would be to say how much I admire her for persevering despite inheriting much more than her fair share of the family sick. I want to respect her privacy; she’s one of my heroes.

No, I kind of need to talk about my father.

My father’s family has overwhelmingly suffered from crippling, devastating mental illness… typical Irish family, eh? Since I can remember he’s been an alcoholic; I’m pretty sure he was removed from his own company (Cancer research) because of it. He simply has no interest in healing from the slow-motion suicide he’s been performing my entire adult life. As I’m a bit obsessed with health and wellness (happy body, happy mind), I often share information with him where it’s not wanted, pass on literature he discards, etc. He openly resents my interventions, my timid prayers for his safety.

I have had moments where my attempt to repress and ignore the effect he’s had on me break down, like when he stopped trying to hold it together in front of J, and was smashed during one Christmas visit. I found his jug of cheap vodka in the cabinet, and smashed it in a wild frenzy of rage and grief, leaving behind the most gut-wrenching note to my father in its place.

My mother hides the vodka bottles because she doesn’t want to put them in the recycling bin. Who would see? I don’t know.

My father tried to kill himself this week. My mother called my sister over to help, and when S arrived he was crying like a baby. They wanted me to talk to him on the phone, to distract him while they tried to get him admitted to a hospital.

He told me that it was my fault.

He told me that I was an indifferent child, and that it was my fault this was happening.

I know that’s not true. I cried and shook, and told him the truth- that I study Japan because of him, that I admire him more than anyone, that I work so hard because he worked so hard. I also got angry. “Dad, I was just a normal kid. This is your head stuff, not about me.”

I mean, I know. I know that nothing he said to me is true. I also know that he won’t stop until he’s dead. And that I’ve failed my parents, as the only one healthy enough to do so, by not giving them grandchildren. I’m running out of time before my dad dies, and my own body cannot. Or so I am reminded.

He’s “safe” in the hospital now. I can’t contact him.

And this is why I don’t have time for boys who won’t meet me, who text and call but avoid hanging out with me in person. I don’t have time for bullshit and games and Rules following and dating crap. I have no patience with head games and I won’t pretend I’m busy when I’m not and v.v.  J served me the divorce papers on Tuesday. Typical birthday week for me, really (head cold on top of it). But you know what? I’m ANGRY. And in this state, nothing can touch me because I’m out for blood.

Almost of the things that I thought existed to support me have proven illusions this year. I’m left with the truth that there’s me. In the end I am my own strength. I feel temporarily suspended from the torture of my social anxiety disorder, because there’s not much left for me to be afraid of anymore. Almost all of my nightmares came true, and here I remain. I couldn’t possibly be the same person I was a year ago. But ultimately, I’m better… tougher. I’d even say I am one tough bitch.

The Week I Cried in Yoga Twice

… or “I need to get my shit together, seriously.”

I don’t think I’m cut out for much of anything right now. I don’t feel like I’m doing a particularly good job at… my life. I can’t concentrate on my work, as I’m either too depressed or too manic for self-discipline. I don’t think much of what I’m writing is any good. I feel like I only receive the uncompetitive grants and awards (which may be as much a function of my research topic than anything, but I’m not sure). I feel like I fail at online dating so far, and I still don’t know what to do about T who is back in Japan and still lurves my messy, broken self.

Sigh.

I spent this week on pins and needles waiting for the guy in my last post to contact me, and here it is Friday morning and I wasted Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday staring at my phone and hoping.

Nothing.

So my chest aches and I feel like the most useless, unlovable, messy person in the world right now. How did I scare this one off? Am I doomed to repel anyone mentally healthy because I can’t fool people well enough that I’m in a good head space right now? I thought I was doing a pretty good job of putting on a mask.

There’s this song that has sort of become the theme of the 40-day yoga boot camp that I’m doing.  I mean, I’d heard it before I joined the yoga challenge but it’s been played several times during classes. Wednesday, in a dark, shadowy room lit faintly yellow by street lamps from the outside, I felt acutely my desperation that this guy contact me. I repeated to myself the need to “let go” and “stop struggling”, but just as quickly as I felt myself relax, the turbulent anxiety filled up my lungs again. Lying on my back, I felt my eyes well up. “I am not okay”, I had to acknowledge. I wanted to plug this guy into the hole in my life, to use him to buffer myself against my own screaming anxiety and fear. But perhaps he sensed it, or perhaps someone else came along via OkCupid and he moved on. Either way, the waiting and the hoping has turned my week into a nightmare of pillow-punching and hand wringing and kitchen-swearing and…

and…

I just felt so stupid for how rarely I truly fall for someone like that, but for how completely it happens. The last time it happened, well… I am still not over that crush, and I think he’ll always have a part of my heart. (That was an impossible crush, and though he took my breath away every time I saw him, and still does, I can never tell him.) So, as foolish as it sounds, this week’s guy was probably #4 in my life who had this effect on me, and he has disappeared.

Lately I have had immense difficulty closing my eyes. During the twice-daily meditations, during yoga (particularly the end savasana), I stare blankly ahead at walls, ceiling beams, etc. It took me a while to notice that my eyes weren’t closed, so vacant and unseeing was this stare I’ve developed. Lately I’ve found my mind quietly whispering the chorus to the aforementioned song…. Hallelujah… Hallelujah as I stare.

The yoga instructor yesterday caught me in the twilight, lying on my back with my eyes wide open, tears trickling down my face. His eyes met mine as he stepped past. Perhaps he didn’t see.

Every time I feel different from most people lately, more special(er), smarter, etc. I am humbled. I am not better. I am not more gifted. I am a decent academic writer with some pedestrian problems and some really significant traumas. I’m taking this guy’s disappearance so hard because of how unlikely it was that I actually let someone in right now.

Just found myself listening to Johnny Cash’s cover of Hurt, which is also devastating. It captures a bit of the burden I’m carrying around these days.

Channeling my Junior High

Okay.. so… I’m not the most patient person in the world. I’m trying. That yoga challenge I’m doing has me meditating twice a day for 30 minutes each time this week, and because my mind is all over the place lately this is extra challenging. Why is it all over the place? Boys. For the first time in 15 years, boys.

I’m a proud person, and I don’t like being made to feel like I need something from someone I don’t trust. Need-imbalance may actually be one of my least favorite sensations. Because of the yoga thing I am trying to sit with it, recognize how uncomfortable I am, and the kinds of thoughts it leads to, and then let it all go. But I rarely succeed in expunging the sensations. Actually, y’know what? Let me back up a bit and make this whole entry a little less vague.

So there’s a guy I really like. It started very slowly, with occasional messages on OkCupid, and me just having fun bantering with him (the way to my heart= a man who can not only take my teasing, but match me). I wasn’t paying much attention to him, honestly. He was just one of the many guys that I expected to cycle in and out of my new online dating life. A little fun, and that was it.

I’d say I was enjoying talking to him steadily more with each message, but I didn’t really feel invested until he called me on Thursday, Halloween.

He was supposed to be leaving for a 5 day trip out to one of the oil rigs (me, queen hippie talking to an oil company engineer?!), and he’d asked if he could call me. I said sure, why not. I didn’t expect that he’d call just as I was making my way from Houston’s outer limits to Austin, on my way to a conference. I also didn’t realize that the phone’s GPS would quit working entirely as soon as I took the phone call, thus forcing me to drive with no directions.

Anyway, his voice had an almost immediate affect on me. It wasn’t just the adorable British accent, but something familiar and unidentifiably comforting. I loved talking to him. I loved it so much that when I realized the GPS wasn’t working I pulled over to continue the conversation rather than getting off the phone with him. And typically, I loathe the phone.

We messaged back and forth after the call, but my trip became a bit of a nightmare (see previous post!) and I cut off the conversation. I had a few messages from him waiting by that evening but didn’t attend to them immediately. Friday he called, and I missed it while I was at a conference event. He also gave me his email address and told me he’d be shutting down OkCupid soon.

Okay.

(I’m trying to speed this along here).

I think he left for the rig on Saturday, and he’s been working the night shift there. I next heard from him on Sunday morning, and then Monday morning. Tuesday was nothing, and so far today there’s nothing. I sent him an SMS Monday, and a quick email Tuesday. This morning (Weds), I weakened and sent him another SMS. Nothing serious, just light.

But what I hate is that the lapses (Saturday, Tuesday) in his capacity to get in touch have me absolutely squirming. I don’t in the least blame him or think he needs to be using his sleep-time to try to contact some girl he has yet to meet in person. No, I’m not insane, I swear, or even particularly needy. But I am super bad at delaying gratification. And when I want something, I tend to take immediate and direct action to try to get it.

The result is that I am joined to my phone right now, staring at it and willing it to ring. I’m willing it to light up with an SMS from him. And our conversations have been so easy and fun that I feel weirdly smitten with this guy… I don’t know if it’s my natural response to having forced-limited contact or what.

This actually happened when I first met J, as well. He only had net access at work so he was incommunicado on weekends (this was pre cellphone). He also had a bustling social life, and seemed to end up at different Boston netgoth parties than did I. I pined (ha ha, pun because we all used the unix program “pine” for email back then. Er… yeah) for his messages. I oh-so-casually asked people at parties if he was planning on attending.

He and I had the same awesome flirty-banter early-on as well.

And this new guy even looks like J, so clearly I have a type and a pattern. It’s no wonder I am a bit smitten, actually.

I don’t think this dude is going to be back in Houston until tomorrow, but in the meantime I just poked at my phone again to see if I’d missed a message. It made me want to throw my phone out the window and scream “EFF THIS! I REFUSE TO THINK ABOUT HIM A MOMENT LONGER!”

I need to get some got dang work done. I need to focus, not get lost in daydreams about this stupid boy. I am terrified that I’ll let on how much I want to talk to him, and he’ll erroneously take it as a sign that I’m high-maintenance and get too fixated too early on in my contact with someone. Sigh.

I hoped writing this down would empty my brain a little bit, so I could go back to paper writing. We’ll see. Breathe, me, breathe. No more messages until he makes contact, as excruciating as that is.

My Spooky, Scary Halloween Misadventure.

the silver part of the grill coming off.

Roadside portrait, with foot.

First, I want to note that I am writing this within line of site of a couple of witches, monsters, a zombie or two, and a group of graduate students from India. I’m downing chamomile tea by the bucketload at one of Austin’s most comforting vegetarian restaurants, as I try to recover from the day I’ve had. Let me say first that last night I did something stupid and drunken, and this morning I was busily/traumatically updating my sense of self to include “person who does stupid shit”.

***
On the way to Austin, my car started acting up; the route between Houston and Austin has these odd places where you pass from completely rural (ranches) to tiny communities and suddenly encounter a stop light.

At the first of these, my car began to shake and vibrate dramatically. The “low oil” light flicked on and off. The “external light system failure” light flicked on. And off. And I started swearing under my breath, because I’d just taken the car to the shop on Monday to make absolutely sure I wouldn’t have problems while driving this route. They replaced the car battery, and deemed the rest of my complaints “a symptom of the dying battery”.

As I puttered along … slowly, cautiously…. my eyes were suddenly drawn to a piece of shiny metal poking out from the front of my hood. Alarmed, I glanced at the side of the road. Not really anywhere to pull over. I eased myself half into and half out of a ditch filled with reeds and bog (from the monsoon that had befallen us until about 4pm today), and gingerly slid from the driver’s seat.

I hadn’t noticed it before, because I’d been rushing from building to car in the pouring rain, but someone had clearly hit the front of my car HARD. It must have happened when I was at the yoga studio earlier today. I’d backed into a spot at the edge of the lot, with the car’s right-front side facing the parking lot entrance and a narrow street. There was a huge scrape up the front of my hood, and the grill was hanging on narrowly. As I went to touch it, a piece snapped off. Lovely.

I climbed back into the car, and wound up on the phone with J. We agreed that I’d drive slowly, look for a place to buy duct tape, and call in an insurance claim when I got to Austin. Slower now, I puttered along Route-something-or-other, listening to my audiobook about perfume and grumbling to myself about yogis who don’t leave notes when they hit someone’s car.

I hadn’t gone much further when the piece of grill that was loose snapped free and hurled backwards in the wind, disappearing from my view almost as quickly as I could pull onto an even narrower shoulder. I moved quickly to reverse the car (not another car in sight, only damp brown grasses and the occasional gnarled tree. Flat, Texas ranch land). As I reversed my car, it suddenly turned off. Just… shut down. No sad, whining sound. Nothing.

And then it was eerily silent. I got out of the car to look for my grill, and though I searched frantically in the dimming light, it was seemingly nowhere. I could hear the wind rustling the grass as I trudged back to my car. I sat back down. I tried the car. Nothing. Nothing.

I reached for my phone to tell someone that I was in the middle of rural Texas, and my car wouldn’t start, to call my insurance’s towing company– but the phone was dead. My phone, which had been at 80% battery charge only moments before, simply lay there. A dark, electronic brick.

This is when I started laughing; as my sister would later put it, the “unhinged laugh”, not a .. healthy laugh, not a good laugh. Still no sign of anyone else on the road. I had no particular sense that anyone good or helpful would come along, but that it would of course be someone who would drag me out into the field and kill me there. With my phone dead, my whereabouts would be a mystery. I’d die in my Halloween-themed mummy socks, somewhere between Austin and Houston, on a straight, flat road that seemed to stretch from one end of the world to another. I sat back down.

I don’t know that it was particularly long that I sat there on the seat, with the wind blowing in my face. Eventually, I wrenched my eyes away from the sky and tried the car again. It started with as little fanfare as it had turned off! But the phone was still dead.

No matter. I’d charge it.
That’s when I realized I’d left my suitcase by the back door of my house in Houston. No clothes. No medication. No toiletries. No charger. No directions to Austin if I couldn’t get the phone on.

I looked down at the mummy socks and the t-shirt I’d gotten from the yoga studio with “Go with the Flow!”  printed on it. I imagined how progressively weirder it would get to be wearing that at an academic conference. Day 1: “Okay, she’s a little odd.” Day 2: “And… dirty” Day 3: MENTAL ILLNESS.

I’d dressed for a combination of comfort, and with awareness that I was going to Austin and could parade around half-yoga geared, half Halloweeny with no qualms. Presenting a research paper like that? Not.. the plan.

The laugh came back.

It was the mummy socks that pushed me over the edge. Why had I worn the mummy socks? Because it’s fun to drive in novelty socks on Halloween, that’s why.

Epilogue:
I stopped at the nearest gas station and got an iPhone car charger, so I did make it safely to my hotel in Austin (and it’s lovely). But the clothes problem? Let’s just say I need to figure out when during this conference I can escape to find a Target. To buy passable clothes with money I don’t have.

My hotel is also across the street from a Haunted House. When I pulled up a troupe of zombie girls were doing a choreographed girl-band-esque routine. Two guys regarded me drunkenly from their hotel room balcony. But will they like my mummy socks tomorrow, I wonder?