Sometimes Things Happen.

Sometimes things are going to happen.

Sometimes things might happen.

Sometimes?  Sometimes things don’t happen at all, or, at least, not the way they are planned.

Actually, it’s usually that last one, but that’s not what I’m thinking about.

Sometimes, I plan to write about something, but I want to wait until the thing happens, or until the thing is over and the whole story exists to be told.  And then because I want to wait to talk about the thing, THE THING is all I can think about.  Any and all other THINGs are absent from my mind when I’m trying to think of something to write about and then I go days and days without writing anything…

And then THE THING happens, and I’m too busy to write about it and it never gets written about anyway.

Sometimes, the thing that I’m thinking about – and by “thinking”, I think it safe to say, I mean “obsessing” – is something that, maybe, I shouldn’t write about at all.

~~~~~

I am, apparently, an inherently negative person.  I know, that’s shocking!  Apparently, it comes with, or is the cause of, or is in some way or other partnered with clinical depression to be, well, not negative, exactly, but fatalistic? negativistic? doomsday thinking?  I’m not sure really…

Three weeks ago, I went for my regular therapy appointment.  I sat down on the couch and I said something like this:  “So!  I’m sure this is completely inappropriate, but who cares.  And I’m sure you’re going to say, ‘no’, but I figure it can’t hurt…  But you can say no.  It’s OK.  But anyway…  I’m having a birthday party next Saturday and I would be glad for you to come.  You know.  If you wanted.”  (There’s nothing like being clear and concise and confident… And that was nothing like it.)

She said no, of course.  And I wasn’t the least bit surprised.  She said something along the lines of it being something she can’t do in her role in our relationship and then she wanted to talk about what it would be like for me if she were there among my friends.  I admitted that it would be a little strange and while I trusted that she had the good sense not to say the wrong thing I did wonder how she would handle the “So, how do you know Kevin?” question.  I told her that while our relationship is different from any of my other relationships, she knows me better than pretty much anyone else that would be there (including Michelle really).  And while our relationship is, by design, kind of one-sided, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to extend the invitation.

She told me, as I knew she would, that she could not attend the party, but that she definitely wanted to hear about it when we met again, which would be after the party.  Our conversation revealed that this was my first ever birthday party, that I’ve never had one before because my family didn’t do birthday parties, and as an adult I didn’t believe I had anyone to invite and/or that anyone would show up if I did.  She thought the fact that I was having the party was a good thing, some sort of progress for me, but also an opportunity for a lot of anxiety, and these “feelings” she keeps talking about, to come up and so she would want to know about the party afterward.

Last week I went in, sat down, took a deep breath and she asked me, “So tell me about the party.”  We talked in great detail about the party.  What went on.  Who was there.  The good turn out of people (about 15.)  The interactions.  The conversations.  The music (I made an iTunes playlist.)  The cake.  I also told her about the myriad disappointments that occurred.  All the people who never acknowledged the Evite.  The number of people who declined the invitation.  The handful of people who I really wanted to be there who weren’t.  The deviled eggs that I looked forward to for two weeks which got knocked over on the way to the party and were inedible.

Deb had a number of favorable comments that, proof-in-the-puddin’, I don’t remember, about my handling of the situation and the “progress I have made” and I, of course, discounted most of what she had to say.  She told me that she had all this confidence and faith in me and my ability to do… whatever, and I keep telling her “I can’t”.

I asked, “I said ‘I can’t?'”  (I didn’t say I can’t.)

“Well, OK.  Not, ‘I can’t’.  ‘Yeah, but'”, she told me.  (Yeah, that I said… a lot.)

I don’t know why I’m predisposed to seeing the negative side of everything.  I mean, I know we all do that to some extent, but it seems like most people at least see things equally positive and negative.  My birthday party post was so short, with just the pictures, largely because, as fun as it was and as much as I enjoyed the people that were there, I couldn’t think of anything to say besides “I wish that…”

What I wish, is that I was less like that and more able to take things as they come.  I wish I was more confident and able to feel good about myself, who and what I am, without constantly having to worry about what other people are going to think.

~~~~~

This week-end, I found out something.  Something that I already suspected.  Something that doesn’t surprise me, and yet blew me away.  And something about which, despite all the reasons I should feel differently…

Michelle’s nephew Curtis graduated from High School on Friday.  His Graduation was Friday, Saturday I went to Michelle’s for my bi-weekly laundry extravaganza.  Saturday night, Michelle’s family had a barbecue to celebrate Curtis Graduation.  And on Sunday, at the butt-crack– actually, before the butt-crack of dawn, Michelle flew to Tulsa (with strict instructions NOT to call my mother) for two weeks, for work.  When I arrived at Michelle’s house on Saturday she told me that she would be leaving me to go to the Barbecue and asked if I was going to come over when I finished my laundry.  I asked her who was going to be there.  If they were having a party for Curtis and his just-graduated-from-high-school friends, I wasn’t interested, but if it was a family thing than I would try to stop by.

Michelle told me, “I think it’s just going to be family.  Maybe one or two of his friends will stop by.  I think Jonathan will be there.”

I enjoy every opportunity I get to torment Michelle because deep down inside I am an evil bastard.  I asked, “Who’s Jonathan?  Is that his boyfriend?”

While continuing to stir the shrimp scampi she was making, part of our traditional, Kevin’s-birthday-meal, she chuckled and said, “yeah.  Sort of.  Until he upgrades.”

Did anyone else just hear the record screech to a halt?  No?  That was just me?  OK.  Moving on.

I let it go for a few minutes so we could finish the conversation we were having.  and then I asked her to clarify.  “So…  Were you just…  going along with what I said?  Or is Jonathan actually Curtis’s boyfriend?  Is he really gay?”

I used to jab at Michelle every so often with the idea that Curtis was gay.  I’ve suspected it since I met him – when he was four years old.  Michelle always got defensive and said he wasn’t, which is what made it so fun, naturally.  Once gain, evil bastard!  Now she’s talking about it like it’s not big deal, which so help me, it shouldn’t be, but daaaamn!

Apparently Curtis and Jonathan have known each other for years.  Curtis was in a special program at his high school that’s geared toward performing arts and not to invoke the stereotype, but there’s a reason why stereotypes exist.  Curtis, purports himself to be “bisexual”, but like so many people (especially gay men), I’m not sure I believe such a thing exists.

So here’s the part I should be ashamed of…

Curtis is 17.  He’ll be 18 in August.  Already at 17, he’s figured out (or thinks he has) that he’s “bisexual”.  Already at 17, he’s got a boy friend.  At 36, I’ve never had a boyfriend.  Already at 17, he’s come out to his family, and apparently had no qualms about doing so.  At 36, I’m pretty sure I’ll never come out to my family.

So I’ll admit it…  Yes, I’m jealous, or maybe envious, is the right word.  Is there really a difference?

If I weren’t an inherently negative person, then surely I would see how wonderful all of that is.  I would be proud of him for not denying himself.  I would be happy for him that he had the strength and the courage to come out to his family.  I would be proud of his family for creating an environment where he could come out and for being so accepting of and loving to him.

I would be.

Oh, wait…

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Poor, Poor, Pitiful Me

I don’t really know where this is going to go.  I really shouldn’t even be writing right now, but I can’t seem to focus on anything else so maybe this will help clear my mind.

I’m feeling so lost right now.  So many things going through my mind and I don’t know how to sort it all out.  I genuinely hate feeling this way.

~~~~~

My class ends next week.  I have the final exam on Wednesday and I’m terribly afraid I’m going to fail.  I don’t really have a lot of time to study and I’m kind of all studied out.  Thursday I have a twelve-hour shift in the county trauma center as a part of the curriculum for my class and I have no idea what to expect from that.  I’m sure it’ll be fine, but I’m terribly anxious right now thinking about it.  I’m so ready for the whole thing to be over except I don’t really know what comes next and as long as I’m in class I don’t have to think about that.

I feel like everyone’s expectations, including my own, are too high and I’m not going to live up to them and that could be really embarrassing and hurtful, if I fall flat on my face.

~~~~~

Late one night last week, when no one was paying any attention (which is usually when I have – and post – my most pitiful, feeling-sorry-for-myself thoughts) I posted to Twitter, “I wish I could see what you see.”  I only got one response to that, which really was one more than I wanted, but that one response was about the inches of snow on the person’s back patio.  Definitely not what I meant.

I’ve made a lot of connections with people on the internet and those people all seem to like me.  The thing is, I genuinely do not understand why.  I just don’t see all the apparently good things they seem to see.  I certainly don’t see the “sexy” guy some of them talk about, when I look in the mirror.

But those people are all on the internet, they’re not physical beings in my life and with a couple of exceptions, they’re all far away.  Why is it that I can’t make connections with real people, one’s who don’t live in the box on my desk, or the slip of a screen in my hand?  Why is it that I can’t connect with people who live near me?

~~~~~

I had lunch with, Lori,  a friend from work, today and after the course of our conversation lead to how I spend holidays alone, she invited me to come to her family’s house in Modesto on Christmas Eve.  It was a very generous offer which I sincerely appreciated but which I also declined.  I told her that I feel like I’m intruding on other people’s family time that way and that Christmas is a particularly complicated day for me.  I don’t enjoy being alone, but I don’t enjoy feeling like I don’t belong either.

~~~~~

Being alone has sort of become a recurring issue for me lately.  I am really tired of being alone.  But there are so many reasons why I am and I couldn’t even begin to guess at how to change them.  It’s not just that I’m tired of being alone, but I’m tired of being… God, I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I can’t think of another way to put it… I’m tired of being single.  I’m tired of not having anyone to share my day with and have conversation with and laugh with.  I’m tired of going to bed alone every single night and waking up alone every single morning.  I’m tired of coming home to an empty apartment and cooking dinner for one and cleaning up all by myself.  I’m tired of having no one else to clean up for and putting it off because of it.  I’m tired of feeling apathetic and lazy because I don’t have anyone to be accountable to or for.  I’m tired of feeling lonely and unworthy and unwanted…

And I’m tired of feeling sorry for myself.

Proper Grammar and Raw Nerves

I had this brilliant post formulated in my head for today, but I kept putting off writing it for no good reason whatsoever, and now I can not really remember exactly how it was going to go because I am just so tired, which is ironic (I think – unless it is not ironic but merely a coincidence – I am not really sure I know how to use the word ironic properly) because the post was going to be about how I am so tired.

I do not even mean physically tired, although I absolutely am that!  I am mentally tired; exhausted might even be the right word.  I am not even sure what to say.  Things have just been taking their toll on me.

The last time I attempted to go back to school, in 2002, I ended up in the deepest depression I have ever experienced.  I felt like I was under so much pressure and that there was so much for me to do with not enough time to get it all done.  When I started thinking about going back to school this time around I had very real concerns about whether this would happen again.  To be fair my depression was essentially undiagnosed at the time and I wasn’t under any sort of treatment for it.  These things are different now.

I went into this round of adult education with my eyes as wide open as I could make them and I have been very watchful and alert to the potential pit falls and road blocks I might encounter.  There have been many, sadly, and I’ve been very fastidious in my efforts at managing the situation, but recent weeks have brought many challenges.

My last post really stirred some things up inside me; more than I would have expected.  And now, on top of everything else, my emotions are — I was going to say that they are out of whack, but maybe they are in whack for the first time in a while, I don’t know.  I know it is new and that I am struggling to deal with it and I do not much like it.  I feel like one big raw nerve, not so much irritable, though I am irritated with some things, more so…

I said in my last post that I do not cry.  By and large, that is true, although I did well up a little when I reread the post after my awesomest and most loyal reader commented that, “Maybe you don’t cry… but I do, and I am.”  I feel like I could cry.  I feel like I should cry.  I feel like I need to cry and maybe if I did, I would feel so much better… But I do not and I do not know why.

There is a lot going on inside me that is taking its toll and there is a lot going on around me, things that are completely outside of my control, that are just rubbing my one big raw nerve all the more raw-er.

I’m not sleeping because…

Um, well…

Because I’m not going to bed, honestly.  I don’t have any problem sleeping once I go to bed, it is the getting to bed that is the problem.  So much to do and not enough time to do it all and almost like a child, I am afraid I will miss something if I go to bed.  Only instead of being afraid I’ll miss some experience or some fun activity, I am afraid I will not get “it” all done.  I’m afraid I’ll miss something.

And then I do go to bed, much later than I should have, and I sleep soundly, as far as I can tell, and when the alarm(s) go off in the morning, it is all I can do to drag myself out of bed and into the bathroom to get ready for work and then I am late for work (more so than we are all already accustomed too) and then I have to stay later and then I’m later getting home and the whole cycle starts again.  And so, yes, I am also physically exhausted.

Maybe the physical exhaustion is contributing to the mental exhaustion.  Maybe the mental exhaustion is contribibuting to the physical exhaustion.  Maybe it is the chicken and the egg scenario.

I know it is temporary. I know I will get through this, just like I always do.  I know that the class will end and I will have fewer stressors and things will get back to normal, such as normal was.

But Lord, I could use a nap!

Get Out Of My Head

It’s amazing really how quickly and easily I can get wrapped up in my own head.  I guess that’s the right way to put that.  I’m not really sure.

I re-read yesterday’s post and I realized I didn’t really covey my sentiments as well as I would have liked and I wondered why.  Do I not know what I’m feeling?  I thought I did.  Am I unable to articulate it?  I know lots of words but sometimes I’m not as good as I think I am at stringing them together in the right way.  Am I afraid to say what I really mean?  Possibly, but if so why?  And I think, really, that’s the answer.

For all the talk about how I keep this blog for me, and it’s my thoughts, and my commitment to honesty, and blah blah blah, I do find that as I – I’m going to contradict myself here – as I form connections with the very small handful of readers/commenters (there are a handful of people who only comment to me on Twitter) the more I think about these real people who will read my blog and what they will think when they do and then I start to sensor myself.

Part of my real life job, though not in my job description, is risk assessment.  I spend a lot of time thinking about how actions will affect people, how they will react to them.  I spend inordinate amounts of time planning for likely eventualities.  And I’m good at it, which perhaps doesn’t come as much of a surprise.

My point is, that’s kind of where my head is most of the time; planning, softening blows, anticipating outcomes and reactions.  So maybe when I’m writing, and I’m thinking about you and you and even you reading what I’m writing, maybe I’m getting too caught up in my head, thinking of all the ways you might react to what you read and how you might respond in your comments.  Maybe I’m managing your expectations, your responses, in advance, somehow.

I made a commitment to being honest when I started this blog, and I can say that I have absolutely upheld that commitment, unless you want to split hairs and say that a lie of omission is still a lie.  It’s true that everything I have said is true.  It’s also true that I have not said certain things for fear of the reaction it would get.  It is also true that I have… softened some of the things that I have said so as not to illicit pittying replies, or words of encouragement that won’t really hit the spot.  (See, even as I write that paragraph, I fear how it will be received; that someone, somewhere, will think “well, fine!  I just won’t try to encourage you at all anymore!  Hmmmph!” and I’m not saying that.  I guess the truth is, it’s not the encouragement that I want to avoid so much as the assumption I make in conjunction with that encouragement: that the person doing the encouraging now thinks I’m a pathetic, whinny looser.

So clearly, I need to work on getting out of my head.  Spend less time worrying about what you all will think, and more time sorting out my thoughts and feelings and making them make sense in written word.  I need to put more energy into “full confession” and less into “polite commentary”.

My commitment to you is that I will try.

What’s So Bad About Being Alone Anyway?

I had my bi-weekly therapy appointment today.

It never ceases to amaze me how some weeks I feel worse when I leave than I did when I got there.  It’s not always like that, but sometimes it is, and today was one of those times.

Our conversation started out awkward as I told her I wouldn’t be able to pay her until our next visit.  Too many automatic bills on the same payday as my rent is due.  It’s out of my hands… Only it’s not really, but I don’t know how to control it… yet.  I couldn’t help feeling like — I don’t know what, really.  Deb said it was almost like I was afraid I was going to get into trouble.  Maybe she’s right, I don’t know.

It’s not like she has to worry.  She knows I’ll pay her for both sessions next time.  It’s happened a few times before when the timing was bad and I’ve always made good on my bill.  I’ve never given her any reason to worry that I’ll skip out on her.  I feel guilty though, because she’s self-employed and relies on the payments from her– what am I a patient?  A client?  I don’t really even know.  But I can only assume that, unlike me, she is not living paycheck to paycheck.

I don’t know.  Maybe I wanted her to tell me exactly how this would affect her, or more specifically, how it would not affect her.  Maybe I wanted her to let me off the hook when in truth, I’m the one who had me on the hook in the first place.

From there our conversation turned to my relationship with money and what I lacked growing up and my need to fill the void.  I talked for a bit about the financial lack I grew up with and how earlier in my adult life (not so terribly long ago at all, actually) I had a bad habit of frivolously spending money and then not having enough for the things for which I needed it.  I’ve made significant improvements in that respect; thinking carefully about how and on what I’m spending my money and whether or not it’s worth the expense, whether I can truly afford it.  I’ve learned a lot and done a much better job of controlling my finances each pay period and what I’ve learned is that I now need to work on effectively managing my money on a monthly basis, carrying over funds from one pay period to the next as needed to cover expenses that the next check won’t be big enough to cover.

This whole being a grown-up thing kinda sucks.  I really hate “I can’t afford it” being the thing that holds me back, the thing that keeps me from doing what I want to do.  But it is and it does.  Being a grown-up kinda sucks.

Then Deb said she felt like we weren’t just talking about money, lacking material things.  She thinks there’s a relevant connection between the lack of material goods that I’m apparently trying to make up for (or at least I was) and the lack of emotional provisions I grew up with.

This is an old song, and if you’ve heard it before, please forgive me and skip down a few paragraphs.  But here’s the thing.  My parents split up when I was two years old.  I’m the youngest of three with a sister three years older and a brother five years older than I am.  My Father cheated on my Mother and ultimately left us for the other woman.  I saw him on two week-ends a month (sometimes less) and the other two watched him come to the house and take away one of my siblings and leave me behind.  (He thought he was doing a good thing by spending one week-end alone with each of us, and then the fourth one with all three.)

My mother was clinically depressed and had nothing to give her children in the form of emotional support or availability.  She didn’t manage her money well and left her family lacking in material possessions and good food on a regular basis.  She was always “too tired” to deal with her children.  She never helped with homework, she never “played” with her children.  She never even wanted to listen to us.  Oh, I could tell you stories about her inability to be available, but suffice it to say, she wasn’t emotionally available and she wasn’t paying attention enough to know what that was doing to her children.

My brother hated me.  He used to beat me regularly.  The world is a different place now, but if we were kids today, we’d have been separated and taken out of my mother’s home by now.

My sister and I got along OK, but she’s three years older and there came a time when she was more interested in teenager things, and her friends outside of the home, than she was in me.

I was unpopular and relentlessly teased in elementary and middle school.  And in middle and high school, my mother never approved of the people who actually did want to be my friends.  She wouldn’t let me go out with my friends.  She’d yell at me to get off the phone with them after 15-20 minutes. And they couldn’t understand what the situation was.  Eventually, she drove a wedge between me and each of them, until being my friend was just too much trouble for them to go to.

I was alone all the time, even in a room full of people.  It sucked, but I got used to it.

I truly believe I have worked through most of the anger and pain that I felt for so long over the lack of emotional connections growing up.  But despite working through those things, I don’t know how to “undo” the damage.  I’m working from a deficit, here.  I don’t know how to do emotional connections and I’m not at all convinced that it’s worth learning, even if I could.

I told Deb, “I don’t know how to fix that ‘lack.’  I don’t have any control over that, so I just focus on what I can control; money, things.”

And then we stared at each other for several agonizing seconds, like we were in some sort of Mexican stand-off.  Maybe I was trying to convince her, maybe she was waiting for me to reconsider.

People are so afraid of being alone.  They’re so afraid to be alone that they’ll stay in bad relationships, years after they’ve stopped being any value at all.  People hop into bed with the first person who shows interest in them, all in the name of emotional connection; trying to fill the void of love left by their parents or other significant figures.  Only it never works and people hop out of that bed and into the next one, over and over, just trying to find something that can’t be found in the first place, and for what?  So that they won’t be alone?

But I’m used to being alone and it’s not so bad.  I’ve got no one to answer to. No one to fight for the remote, or argue over what shows to watch.  No one to clean up after.  No one to be dissatisfied with how much, or how well, I clean up after myself.  No one to hog the covers at night or squirm in the bed while I’m trying to sleep.  No one taking up space in the closet or dresser.  I go where I want to go, do what I want to do, watch what I want to watch, listen to what I want to listen to.  I deal with my own problems and I don’t have to listen to anyone else’s.

So really!  What’s so bad about being alone, anyway?