what we deserve
The last several weeks have been pretty emotional for me, but in ways that I didn’t expect. Since moving out here and saying goodbye to my beloved Colorado, I’ve been incredibly busy with work. For a while things had slowed down, but then I was ask to help another client–which was awful–and then I went back to normal when things picked up. And man, have they picked up. Oh, and my coworker had a baby ridiculously early and then went on maternity leave. My manager–who I loved and thought of as a big sister left–and my other coworker who was on maternity leave came back to find out she was now managing our team. We are now down to 2 1/2 people (since she’s still working in her old role part-time for a bit), including me. Which means, as the senior person on the team, I’m meeting myself coming.
Now, I’ve whined about being sick for a while, but it took me a really long time to feel even remotely comfortable here. It took me so long to find my work groove–to actually be productive. I did the best I could, but I felt like I was circling the drain. And if you know me at all, you know how intolerable that feels for me. When I’m in this place of chaos–where everything is changing–where my stable things aren’t stable? Well, I tend to revert back to a very destructive place–people pleasing and perfectionism. And man, has that been a thing. I’ve been overscheduling so much and just feeling like the balance I had is off the rails. It’s getting better–or maybe–I’m getting better at self-care. But I’m still working too much.
It doesn’t help that my employer is so appreciative of my hard work. Because it makes me want to work more. Sneaky bastards. 😉
But that’s not what this blog entry is about–or at least, not what I intended–but…like most of my writing…it goes where it needs to. So, we’ll see where we end up.
This year has been hard. Like soul-crushing hard. Like–what the fuck else do you have for me hard. To recap–cat got cancer, had major surgery, had a horrible reaction to anesthesia, got pancreatitis, almost died, got diabetes, almost died, got IBS, had many recurrences, almost died some more. All of which wiped out all my money and caused me to have to get some loans–which I just paid off today.
Oh, and did I mention that when my cat had cancer and I was dealing with all of that and how to pay for it all by myself without any support at all in any way that I was writing a thesis and finishing a degree that I’ve been working on for about six years? Only I didn’t finish because cat got cancer and I was going to die if I did that. So, in the name of mental health–I took a hiatus from academia. And wondered if I’d go back.
So, there was that. I moved cross-country–despite doubting everything on Earth. Despite 10001 reasons why not. Despite every obstacle known to man being thrown at me. I stopped therapy because I couldn’t afford it. I didn’t write all that much–except here. I retreated in a big way, not really engaging friends because I knew I was leaving. My health had its ups and downs. And well, love–come on with that shitshow. And there was so much death. Heart-wrenching deaths, sometimes, just peripherally. And unfortunately, that’s ongoing. This past weekend, one friend’s brother was murdered and another’s parents had their home invaded. I’ve struggled with taking care of myself and being a good friend–often questioning why this world is such an utter mess.
But there’s been good. Work–very good. I have a work family now. A place where I’m valued and seen. Where I can be myself. Where people are more like me. Where I don’t have to talk about high heels with vapid suburban housewives who don’t understand anything. I’ve blown away goals all year–despite the hurdles and the crazy–getting personal notes from our CEO. I might win a vacation–an actual vacation. I don’t really do vacations anymore. Or haven’t for a while.
And I found snippets here and there of–I guess–infatuation or love or what have you. Even if it wasn’t right or never went anywhere because of me. Well, and because they were fucking stupid.
Which brings me to what I want to talk about. I recently found out my old therapist abandoned her CO license in favor of living an independent life and traveling. Which means she is now a life coach. I loved her and couldn’t find anyone out here who ever came close. She’s a specialist in ACoAs and trauma. An expert on codependency and love addiction/avoidance. She’s helped me a lot, so I was basically overjoyed when I saw this news because it means I can Skype her for sessions all the way here in California–even if she’s in Thailand.
I reached out and told her I wanted to resume in January. Why not sooner? Well, my heart and brain is still reeling from this fucked up year. And I need calm for a while. This shit is hard. And I told her I want to focus on relationships because it’s the one thing I can’t seem to figure out. And I knew what she was going to say–that I had to deal with all that crap–all the PTSD and trauma and bullshit from everything I grew up in. So, really, you can’t focus on one thing. You got to heal it all. Okay–fine.
But this week, I had a bit of a revelation. Namely, that I’m full of shit.
And it started with a dating site. A stupid dating site.
Back in Colorado, I found this site that’s about mindfulness–(it’s a Boulder creation). And so, a lot of hippies and Buddhists are on there. And I thought, surely, being the big ole hippie I am these days–that I could find love there. So, I set up my profile (which is free, but messaging isn’t–though I’ve found workarounds). I answered all the meaningful questions, and I actually found a few people I liked–though none of them liked me, apparently. But whatever, I was in weird, complicated stupid land–so I didn’t much care.
Stupid boyland is now resolved–though still weird and complicated. But I have moved on. I’m done with that idiocy. Grateful for it, but fucking done.
And then this guy shows up and sends me a message. He seemed decent. A good, nice soul. Super Berkeley hippie though. He ends his messages with “Blessings.”
I, of course, know too much about him (because I’m a professional Googler) and his pictures on the site are older…but still obviously him. I was sorta intrigued about him at first, but work was insanity and I was falling asleep early every night. And I was sick. So, his invitation to chat kept getting postponed. Plus there’s the zero privacy thing with roommates. I felt bad–so typical people pleaser, I asked if he could talk last night. Halloween–I know. I checked at 5 pm yesterday, and he hadn’t responded…and then I didn’t check again till this morning…and he responded right after…so yea…he probably thinks I blew him off. Which–hahah–seems to be a pattern in my life.
Anyway, I should have responded this morning. As a polite, nice, good person. But I was busy and tired. And I started questioning why I should go there. I mean–even when everything was all lightning bolts–it didn’t work out. So why do that? Maybe it’s all just a waste of energy and time I don’t have. But then I reminded myself that those lightning bolts were unexpected and had I listened to my inner cynic then, I’d never have found those adventures. But then part of me was pretty okay with avoiding such encounters.
That wasn’t what got me really thinking, though. It was how nice he was/is. The Blessings. The hippieness. There’s a fakeness to California hippieness that isn’t authentic to me–and that’s probably wrong and judgmental. But I kept thinking–I’m too mean for someone like that. He won’t like me. Of course, he won’t.
And I realized then that–for years–I wore this armor of nice. Of being a good person. The girl trying to heal everyone and save the world. I built my life around that persona that wasn’t quite me–just some penance for some wrong I blamed myself for when I was six. And it made me question if anything I’ve been working toward–these big things–are actually mine or just more bullshit side effects of trauma.
Do I need to pay thousands of dollars to be a therapist? Go through all that torture? Do I end up happy–or immersed in another version of the TFA debacle?
Is what I do now my life’s work? Can it be? Or maybe my life’s work should be my fucking life and not the way I pay bills?
These are things I’ll be examining over the next few months–probably in therapy. I do know that so much of this path I’ve been on has not been loving. Has not supported me in anything except self-abuse. And while it’s great to want to help someone, abandoning yourself means helping no one.
And damn, I don’t want nice anymore. I like that I’m a bit mean. That I am ascerbic. That I have a backbone. That I question and challenge and don’t roll over–most days. That I’m not paying penance for some bullshit that isn’t mine to owe. That I wrote a blank check to and sold my soul to in restoration. I like that I have my Daddy’s humor. I like that I’m real and honest about the shit that hurts and stings and sucks. That sometimes I complain. That I get angry.
I like me. The one I didn’t choose. The person I am. The one I was meant to be before nice took over.
And the people I love are not nice. That’s why I loved them. That’s why they broke me. That’s why they left.
But–is that another pattern? Why don’t I love the nice guys who bless me? Why don’t I feel at home with those people? Who am I to say they’re fake? Who am I to say they would’t love me and all my honest anger?
Why can’t I let myself be surprised? Let myself not think about it and just give someone a chance to prove me wrong?
I guess we’ll see if I respond to that email.