So, maybe this is obvious to everyone, but it wasn’t really to me. No, not really. I had a big insight into myself tonight, after I woke up from the longest nap ever. So, we’ve learned recently that my whole motivation behind having a solid career and a great love life is about purpose. I’m a meaning-driven human. Makes perfect sense.
And like a typical love addict/avoidant, which is what I learned to be from the dysfunction of my childhood, I chase after meaning like it’s heroin. And I’m not picky about where I find it.
The revelation? All of my settling for less than was about self-worth and my method for getting that self-worth was having a purposeful life. Because that was success. That was what overachievers sought out. If I had a purposeful life, my life would mean something and I would be worth something–not just taking up space and a waste of soul and spirit. Not some girl everyone could just throw away.
Take a breath. Stay there. Let it hurt.
Be so wonderful, so essential to your employer that they can’t say no. Be so easy–so cheap–so non-demanding–they won’t dare abandon you. Be the good girl always cleaning up the mess, hoping today Daddy will notice you need him to hug you. That, today, you’ll be good enough, in his eyes, to warrant attention.
It’s not so much purpose I’m looking for. It’s attention and love–being seen and valued. Both of those things. That’s my driver for absolutely everything.
The problem is–I’m so hungry for it that I will take whatever scrap of it I can get–even if it’s a lie. Even if it’s not worth the cost. Even if it’s not mine.
Sure–I have ethics and standards–lines I won’t cross. I won’t maim another for my own fulfillment–but that has less to do with goodness and more to do with my own devaluing of myself. Other people are always more valuable to me than, well, me.
So, this struggle I’ve had my whole life with work–and finding my purpose–with love and finding my “soulmate”? It was all about one thing: knowing my worth and letting me love me.
Which I sorta knew–but didn’t–not really–until tonight. That’s all it really is. Every bad thing in my life boils down to that–and really–I had no idea how much I didn’t love or value myself until I moved out here. Mostly because I had to confront parts of myself I really didn’t like to get over those pesky feelings I kept having about myself. That here provoked. If you ever want to make a girl who grew up in poverty feel really awful about herself and where she’s from, plop her in the heart of Silicon Valley.
And you know what? On some level, I knew that’s what I needed. But I was wrong about why. I didn’t need to confront my privilege. I needed to feel my own self-loathing. Life takes you wherever you need to go, even if you’re wrong about why.
The reality of it is that I have been recreating that search for love from external sources that started when I was a motherfucking baby in all things. It just so happens that work is less obvious and personal. I’m better at achieving than I am at loving. Because I also never learned how to love people. It was always this wild and mysterious thing in my life–a lot like the outbursts of emotions I used to have when disassociating didn’t work anymore. And well, that’s no way to love.
No wonder I settled. No wonder I was disrespected and neglected. No wonder abuse crept in. No wonder they left. No wonder it was wrong.
But, for me, with those failures? It wasn’t a bad job or a shitty lover or just a mismatch. It was a bad, worthless, unlovable me. So, clearly, I needed to work on myself. Clearly, I had to fix myself before I inflicted myself on someone else. Before I could possible deserve to be part of the valued part of society–those who procreate, get married, and make money. Of course, I had to struggle with absolutely everything. That was what I deserved, right?
Where did this idea that I was bad and awful come from? My parents never thought that. Except maybe in moments. It was nothing they said to me.
It was what they did. So, as unconscious as it is that I don’t love myself, it was also unconsciously communicated by my parents that I was not worth anything. And it’s been repeated in my love life and jobs. Again and again and again. Even in the aftermath of those relationships. I’m not worth being his friend. I was never that important. I will never be that important. They never say that, of course, but it’s said loud and clear in the ways they disappear. And that will likely always sting. And make me hate them. And make me try to prove how wrong they were–to myself–while believing they are absolutely right. And not knowing I believe it.
And isn’t that what I do with work, too? Only I leave before they can abandon me. I demonize them and show them I can do better, while choosing just a gussied up version. Look at me in my big girl pants.
To be fair with myself, I will say, I’m better in a lot of ways. My choices have been better. My current job has elements that reflect self-love, but the underbelly is there, too, and tends to clock me. At the same time, the foundation of it reflects my devaluing and was never a mystery. It was a case of trying to delude myself into thinking it was something it wasn’t. And you can see that same pattern in my love life emerge after my last major relationship. After that debacle, I actually found and chose someone who was everything I wanted and needed–someone who was actually capable of what I needed–but I set myself up to fail from the very beginning because I didn’t believe he could ever love me. It eventually bit me in the ass, and because I did that, it wrecked the whole thing and created insecurities and doubt where it shouldn’t have existed. And after that, I went back to that settling and then isolating shit because–clearly–I was bad and wrong and that’s what I deserved.
Something clicked over for me recently. Where now I see the shit I do–what I’ve allowed–what I attract. It’s always stuff that makes me feel less than. Always some kind of manipulation or mixed signal. Always non-commitment. Even in my fucking career right now with the new client! The delay is their non-commitment to us. And instead of doing right by me and letting me go and be happy, my managers have me chained to this wishy-washy bullshit that makes me hate myself and everything I do. This fucking limbo. I’d rather be discarded than half-valued. Again, so black and white. The mind of a child.
The good news about all of this is that I know exactly what it is that needs healing and even where it comes from–and I’ve been healing it…and had an instinctual understanding for what was broken. The bad news? This is the work of a lifetime. This is grieving a life I will never have. This sucks.
But this is my journey. And at least I know what it is now.
This week has been kinda great up until last night when it became kind of unbearable. I can tell when I’m getting worn down because I start making dumb mistakes. Like I missed a hair appointment on Saturday because I accidentally set my alarm for 8 pm instead of 8 am. Yesterday and today was like the most brutal of all brutal work days, and I had to move someone’s screen with me, which I hate doing. Welp. I told her a time in Eastern, when she was in Central…and put it into my calendar on Central time. Sometimes, I forget I’m not in Colorado. The timezone thing is hard for me, but I make mistakes when I’m meeting myself coming. And I wrote down the wrong day for my therapy appointment so even that will be a source of stress (and I really needed therapy today).
I’m really annoyed with work right now. Not even because of anything bad happening. What started out as a preferred thing in this situation has become something I can’t stand. It’s the microscope and the pace and the whole idiocy of how they do things. I miss working with clients. If I mess up here–it has consequences that are kind of unfair–political shit. And I just sort of hate it. At the same time, I’m questioning how much I want to be involved with this new client or even if I should stay in this profession…or here. The work angst is real, and I’m not very tolerant of it. It’s truly fucking with my mental health. It was nice, this weekend, to just have a break from it. From having to deal with messy roommates and having to care for my cats. I mean–I did that–but it wasn’t this constant thing. There was room for me. For once.
The week is scooting away so fast, and I have lots to do that I said I’d do. But I’m sick and still dealing with dental shit–and yes–it’s been going on forever. Yes–I’m sick of it, too. I want to be well enough to do this shit and make this place feel like home. But work takes all of my joy and all of my anything.
Ugh. I’m sick of bitching about it. Even more sick of being upset about it.
The love life looked promising for a little bit, and maybe it still is, but I don’t know. Maybe I’m reading into things and seeing red flags where there aren’t any. Every relationship I’ve been involved in has had these sorts of things, but I looked past them–forgave them. But now I wonder if I would have had I been a healthy person. The red flags were harbingers of what happened later. So, maybe, I shouldn’t be forgiving about it. But then–you’d never even give anyone a chance, right?
Anyway–this has turned into a bitchfest, which is not what I wanted. But I figured out something–which is why I started writing.
In my life, whenever work is going well, I tend to have an abysmal love life. And vice versa. It seems I can never be happy with both at the same time–and that’s always felt puzzling.
It’s that thing called purpose. I’m a purpose driven person. If I have something to work toward that feels like mine and is fulfilling–that’s what gets all of my attention. I’m all or nothing, always. I’ll give so much of myself–probably too much.
But I’m better at it. Maybe because work sucks right now. But I’m setting down boundaries with those who don’t get that I have a life of my own. That it’s not all about them and their needs/wants. I’ll respond when I want to/if I have time. You can do the same. That’s fine. But I’m not investing more time until you do. I’ve always been a balance-oriented human–mostly because I tend to give way more than I get back. And that gets old fast. Maybe it’s the Leo in me. I don’t like being taken for granted.
In any case, I’m stepping back from the love shit and the work shit–doing me for a bit–and doing what I can to keep the balls rolling–but not so concerned about who I disappoint.
Maybe it’s their turn to be disappointed.
Someone said that once you’ve made a decision that change is necessary, making like a corpse for a bit is actually the healthiest thing. It’s called integrating it. I’m always the instant actor. The instant relationship girl. Fuck that shit.
I’m still not feeling like writing, so follow me on Twitter (@midairalmacita) if you want to hear about the random parts of my life. I am pretty active on there and actually interact, so go find me.
This weekend was pretty fantastic, for lots of great reasons–but mostly because it was full of those small little parts of being human that I live for. I often write about these things, and it’s really–for me–the best part of living. A lot of that was because I had the type of weekend I’ve always envisioned having when I thought about moving here. Having access to a car, and going stir crazy, allowed me to finally stop hermitting. A comedy of errors ensued, and I’m pretty sure I made a lot of people laugh this weekend.
I proved a lot to myself this weekend. That I know what my heart needs. That I’m capable of going out and getting it. That there are obstacles, always, but for me–life is also always an adventure. I laugh and curse, but I never fucking give up. I also am still capable of meeting life with an open heart–if I just keep trying to show up for myself and others. And the shit that’s still in my heart is going to be there. But instead of dishonoring those parts of me, meeting them with gratitude and knowing my worth–even if I’m not totally convinced–goes a long way to healing it…or making the shit matter less.
It’s nice to know my heart is still very pure in the ways that count–and that some people even value it.
The Soup Lady
My roommates are out of the country for the next week and a half. (Who’s counting?) They’ve been gone a couple days now, and I’m finding I’m loving the living alone life–I call it Introvert Paradise. While I’m not on vacation, I’m sleeping oddly–at all hours–but well. I’m walking around naked every chance I get. I’m not doing the dishes. Or cooking. I’m basically being a lazy Bachelor–even though I’m a female. Sink eating is a thing, as is eating straight from the pan. No fucks given.
But I recognize how dangerous this living alone thing is–especially here. It can get mega-isolating–being in a place where you essentially have no friends and can get anything delivered.
Maybe I had a better handle on it when I actually did live alone. But being an introvert and living alone is a recipe for some Unabomber level hermitting. It doesn’t help I have a sinus infection (which was causing my tooth pain–yea…I figured it out!).
I think I was much happier living alone, back in the day. It was all I knew since losing my mother, so it wasn’t this novelty for me. It helped immensely that I had a job that required regular leaving. And a small mailbox. Heh.
I only started this thing because I was going through a really bad financial time and so was my roommate. He also couldn’t find housing in Boulder that was in his price range and ended up living in a hostel for a while. We were more than friends at the time, and it made sense to combine our forces for the greater good. We severed the romance the week he moved in, so that was a rough start to this journey–and it was painful the first few months. I almost kicked him out that fall. I don’t mind living with others, but it sure helps if you love them. And since that is no longer present, it can be tough. So, I feel like I’m detoxing in an odd way. Mega-introverting. But I’ve also felt like being alone right now has made my mental health challenges more apparent. Not so much the anxiety–because, for me–that’s a social thing or a worry thing. And without people, there’s little of that. I can also control more. But the depression I’ve been grappling with, here and there, has been more of a thing. I’ve been fighting my way out of it, but some monster keeps grabbing at my ankles. I’ve not felt like writing or doing much of anything this week–and I’ve been in a particularly bad mood–fed up more than ever with work. Work just feels like a black hole to me right now, and I know it’s a huge part of my current struggles. But I also don’t feel equipped to make the necessary decisions I need to make to change the situation. So, I’m just really trying to practice self-care and wait it out. I know it will pass.
Anyway…I was reminded of something I shared on FB from my long dead past blog (which was basically just this), and it was a good reminder that I’ve been here before and life got better. So, here’s what I wrote back in 2010. So long ago. Some other life. But still this. Just a different variation.
Last night, while trying to go to sleep, a random thought just sort of sauntered into my brain. Not long enough to really leave much of an impression–beyond a silly status update on Facebook and/or Twitter–but enough to note that…hmm…perhaps, this is worthy of a blog post some day soon. The thought was simple enough. Condensed, it boiled down to this: I miss stories.
Now, I know that probably seems odd–especially given how many of my blog posts are stories more than conversations. But I do. I miss them in a very specific way. I miss hearing them and sharing them. I miss talking to people in meaningful ways. I think that comes with the territory for my life right now. It’s a lot of time spent inside my apartment with just one other person. And we haven’t done much actual talking besides the day-to-day routine of getting through our mutual days. We used to, but our current situation means that we are more likely to grump at each other and spew superficial niceties than actually converse about things that matter.
Which has meant that, most of the time, though I am rarely ever alone–I feel really alone. I don’t really know how to change that, either, other than to work on myself–to focus on myself and get on with my life. Unfortunately, I’ve felt less inclined to engage other people lately. I just don’t have the energy to deal with BS anymore, and the more people push me away–the more I’m inclined to let them. A thought I had the other day: if a relationship requires you to fight for it, all the time, chances are–not right for you. And giving up on that person becomes sort of necessary for you to achieve some sort of peace within yourself.
I’ve had a lot of lessons in that recently. Unfortunately. One prominent one being that I reached out to an ex who was going through a difficult time, and he basically ignored me. I didn’t reach out because I wanted a reaction. I honestly did it to honor myself–who I am–and to offer my genuine concern. It was a vulnerable thing to do–to admit that I had cared about him and that I was willing to care for him again…if he needed me. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I hoped, now, he’d be someone different than the person I chose to kick out of my life. I hoped, given his situation, he’d have learned a thing or two about cherishing people. I know, for me, my Mama’s illness changed everything about how I interact with people. If someone apologizes–if they make a noticeable effort–no matter how shitty our past selves have been–I will open a door and let them in for bit. What they do with that open door is up to them. It does take hard work, from both sides, to rehabilitate relationships.
Despite my hope, the reason the two of us don’t speak anymore is because he was basically an abusive jerk for a good six months of our relationship/friendship. A lot of it, no doubt, was a reaction to me shutting down and my own behavior. I’m responsible for my part, but he reacted in ridiculous ways sometimes. Hurtful, mean-spirited, unnecessarily bad ways. And I’ve forgiven him, mostly, for that. I say mostly because, for me, it’s difficult to truly forgive someone when they’ve never expressed regret over it–when they’ve never tried to make amends. That behavior is why I stopped respecting and liking this person. I can forgive a lot of crap, but not owning your own bullshit–when you know it’s bullshit–well, it’s kinda retarded.
Which is why I really didn’t have an expectation of acknowledgement. True to form, he lived down to his track record. I wasn’t surprised, but I was disappointed that the person I once cared about doesn’t seem to exist anymore–or is buried so deeply inside that maybe he’ll never come out. I don’t know. It’s sad to me that such a brilliant, warm light has been lost. I still believe it exists. But I am done mourning him, and I am done reaching out. With anyone.
I’ve been feeling a need to crawl inside myself for a while. Living with another person makes it hard to do the things I’ve always done, with the space and time and quiet, to figure things out. It’s hard for me to have actual conversations with my friends without disturbing this other person. I feel restricted. This has little to do with my roommate. It’s just a part of living with someone. And unless the place where you live is huge–or you share a deep trust/bond with your housemate–it’s a bit difficult to just stretch out and be yourself. No holds barred. I suppose, sometimes, I get to a point where I put distance between myself and others emotionally because there’s no way to do it physically anymore. It’s something I did a lot as a kid. Because nothing in my life was ever just mine. It always belonged to Mama, too. There was no privacy. So, my real thoughts and feelings became poems and stories.
I’m thinking I will be writing more soon. I’m trying to set up a space in the apartment that’s more private–so I don’t have to interact so much when I’m at my computer. I have lots of projects to work on.
I suppose I miss stories because I miss me. I miss the me that had a richer life than this one–who found stories every day. And who had people to share them with. I miss creating things. I miss laughing. I feel like I’m always carefully trying not to step on toes lately because my humor is not appreciated or understood. I miss people sharing their lives with me on a regular basis, too. I miss these things because, more than anything else, this is how I learn. And I’ve gotta believe that my stories matter to other people–simply because they matter to me. So, it’s important that–instead of reaching out so much–perhaps I need to reach in more and create the life that gives me stories to tell again. And people who are willing to listen.
My roommates are going out of town for two whole weeks starting Monday night, so it’ll give me an opportunity to really finally unpack and organize. My plan is to do at least an hour of home stuff each night with more on the weekends.
My first priority is to just get rid of the obvious shit and separate my stuff from my roommates and the shared items. When we moved, it was a bit of a chaotic thing, and towards the end, my roommate just started throwing shit in boxes. The problem with that is a lot of stuff we didn’t want came with us and was not at all organized, so unpacking has been horrible. He also got rid of stuff I never would have wanted tossed–including family heirlooms, so I’m still a little upset about that.
So, the first goal is just to figure out what we have and get rid of all the shit we definitely don’t want or need. From there, I’m planning on using the Marie Kondo method for purging because we have too much stuff. It’s ridiculous. I’m just going to do a quick version of it, with obvious things–enough to whittle it down. But at some point, I plan to do it all–pretty in-depth–especially the kitchen. But that means working with my roommates to get their shit out. Once everything is either staying or going, we can get the appropriate containers for them, so everything has a home. Then we can finally buy furniture for my room and the living room and start decorating–so this place feels more like an actual home. But the big goal over the next 2 weeks is to just get rid of the damn cardboard.
One of the difficulties I’ve had with the Kondo method has involved everyday routine items I need. I mean–my vacuum does spark joy for me because I’m a weirdo. But most utilitarian items don’t. Some stuff? I just need. And there is no joy. But I started thinking more about it, and all of this is just about mindfulness. So, maybe joy isn’t the feeling I’m wanting here. Maybe it’s contentment or satisfaction for those items. Does this thing fill my needs? Is it the very best at filling that need? Does it improve my life in some way?
This is going to help me so much with that–because I have a lot of shit that isn’t so joyful–but fills my needs. For me, I’m not going to toss out tons of shampoo because it doesn’t fulfill these concepts. And it’s hard to donate such items. So, they’ll be pushed to B status and stored until I can use them up. Such is the price of choosing excess. Once it’s time to replace, I will mindfully seek out what sparks joy and is the very best at fulfilling that need.
Mindfulness is pretty awesome, and I’m just so excited to finally tackle this project.
Tomorrow, I’m planning on doing some inner work on career stuff. Maybe I’ll apply the concept of sparkjoy to it.