What’s the point?

Sometimes I feel as though the only way I am able to get things out of my head are to speak them to no one in particular. I spend so much time analyzing, dissecting, and discounting different feelings, that most get tossed away or shoved in a bottle labeled “To Be Dealt with Later.” In any given week, I can go through days of depression, anxiety, gratitude, irritation, annoyance, exhaustion, and just plain uncertainty. Each emotion, among a variety of others, are valid in their own way while also completely insignificant. It always changes. I always change, my feelings change, and life changes. Everything passes; so why hold on to and obsess over one state or another? At least this is my overarching attitude toward any discontent and life’s many dissatisfactions.

I know that not dealing with emotions can be dangerous, and it is a “skill” I am particularly good at. However, I am not sure how to go about retraining myself. Before I open my mouth I am analyzing every word. Am I being to selfish? Am I being too selfless? Is this a legitimate concern or am I overreacting? Am I projecting? Is it really that important? Most of the time I am thinking default to “this too shall pass,” or “I am going to not focus on this and try to focus on being of service to others.” The selfless serving nature of my default is mostly helpful, except in those cases where the feelings keep cropping up. I can only push my feelings aside so many times until I start getting quiet, bitter, and resentful.

What do I do then? I consider letting them out. I should talk about what’s bothering me. But again my inner voice chimes in; “your problems aren’t that bad,” or “you’ve already brought this up and wasted enough time, effort, and energy on it.” Still, I’m grappling with deep seeded emotions on a daily basis. What, then do I do? Inevitably I am forced here, writing my thoughts out for a faceless audience to whom I feel less threatened and judged by than any real person in my life.

So here goes. Lately, I have been feeling all the discomfort and violation I have accrued from all the relationships with men in my past: prompted from watching documentaries, to crappy rom-com shows, to real life objectification. Most recently, being brought back to the one traumatic moment with my partner, opened the bottle on all my other baggage in that category of my life. And there is a lot of it.

Uncomfortably objectified by my un-medicated bipolar, alcoholic father; I sought approval and validation from a very sick individual, in multiple ways, while building this wonderful emotion barrier I have today. The very first boy I ever kissed in any real sense of hormonal awkwardness, was a summer thing. We saw one movie and met for one lunch and that was it. He went on to proclaim that we had had sex, and that I was slut to the entire high school I had just started attending. I was shocked and angry, but as it wasn’t true and he was very insignificant in the grand scheme of things. I let it go. I was pressured into my first “relationship” as a tech intern in high school. The hyper sexual narcissist played to my naïve insecurities, pushing me to do things I was very clear I had no interest in doing. Finally, I put my foot down and told him to back off. This lead to a hostile work environment and me quitting that job and my interest in IT for good. I was raped of my virginity at 16 by a self-sworn good guy. He was only a monster in a mask. After that, I dove into the arms of a 21 year old, metrosexual man-child. He was also hypersexual in every sense of the word and loved to comment on my weight and brand/style of clothing. I didn’t care too much at the time as I had started drinking and he could buy me all the booze I wanted. By the time that was over, I left him for suspecting he was cheating. I’m sure he was, but had no hard proof. I learned to leave before I got too hurt.

Throughout high school I hung out with a group of guys I called my brothers. I never saw them as anything more than that; though each of them, at different times expressed their interest in me as more than a friend. One of them I would be engaged to. One of them I would marry and divorce. The one I was engaged to brought me into a world of drugs and alcohol on an entirely new level. I loved keeping pace with him. I loved getting lost, doing crazy shit, and not thinking about my problems. His lifestyle made that easy, but I was also trying to go to school and start a life for myself. So, eventually, I gave him an ultimatum to either quit the drugs, or I was gone. He quit the hard drugs, and I all but browbeat him into proposing to me. Still I wasn’t happy. I was drinking more than ever and blamed him for all the problems he had gotten me into. After graduating college by the skin of my teeth, I broke it off with him. I wasted no time trying to building a life with my now ex-husband, starting with earing my title as barfly when we were dating. I would get drunk and call my ex-fiancé. On a handful of occasions he picked me up and I would go out drinking and/or drugging with him. Once he had tried to make a move on me as I was passing out, and I asked him to take me home. Then next time was much worse in scale of the fight with my ex-husband. I drank more, drugged more, and woke up out of a blackout sore and without underwear on. I was too ashamed of my drunken behavior and my bad decisions. I never said anything about it. I had, after all, put myself in this situation. But I’ve come to learn that still doesn’t make it okay.

My ex-husband cheated on me. He pressured me into having sex before I was ready after our son was born, and complained to me for not paying enough attention to him. He blamed my inattention for his cheating and constantly asked who I was out screwing if he couldn’t get ahold of me immediately.

Stepping back a moment, my first job after my tech-intern position was at BestBuy, where my asshole of a boss hit on me relentlessly. Eventually I quit. After college I worked at Omega as a second job, where my 60 something Greek manager asked if he could kiss me. The other managers, all related, shrugged it off as him being an old man. So I quit. After being a stay at home mom for two years, I went to work as a hostess/bartender at Carlucci’s. I knew I was going to get drunk idiots flirting with me. I didn’t know two of four managers would be pursuing me like a dog with a bone. One particular bus “boy” liked to kid around that my son was his. He’d ask “How’s my boy doing?” in between invites to hang out, or lunch, or just go out back. His eyes devoured any decency. He was a salivating hyena.

So, no, I have not had a lot of positive experiences with male friends, with male colleges, or with men I placed my trust in. That’s why my most recent trauma from my current relationship was so bitter for me. It was just a drunken mistake. I am not blowing in out of proportion, and how could I given my track record, but it was the fact I and once again, thought I had found something different, something real that was once again shattered in that moment. I’ve recovered from that, but it’s there in the ever growing gallery of unpleasant life experiences with men.

It’s not surprising anymore. I try not to think about these things, because they just steal my peace and serenity. Yet try as I may, I can never really get rid of the trauma. It sickens me to the core, and yet it’s so fucking common-place. Oh well.

See, I feel like I have wasted my time an energy just saying all that. What’s the point anyways?

Whenever I’m Disturbed…

I am in uncharted territory again. I feel excited at the possibility of returning to school and pursuing a degree in something that will enable me to affect positive change in our world. Yet, I am completely irritated, and I don’t really know why. I can only surmise that changing my routine, focus, and the way I think to be more productive and driven has left me intolerant to old habits and ways of thinking. It seems counter intuitive. The more self understanding and focus I have, I would assume would instill further compassion and understanding of others. Instead, all I see are unhealthy thought patterns, time sinks, and bad habits that need to be quashed.

When I first wrote this blog, and WordPress.com’s lovely block editor ruined everything by deleting two thirds of it, I spent a bit of time venting about my mother’s entitled, childish behavior. I am not, however, going to retype all that as it is a huge waste of time and energy. That is who she is an I can’t expect anything different. She is stuck in her ways, and the chance of that changing or her doing any real personal development is slim. It is still extremely frusterating, but I will try not to linger on it too long.

Why am I so irritated? I guess I just want better lives for everyone I love, but know I can’t force-feed anything to anyone. This will be problematic as a social worker, and I will have to figure out a way to deal with the frustration. It’s almost infuriating once you start applying yourself and learning how easy it is to turn your life in a different direction. Perhaps this is just my experience. It may completely inapplicable in other regions of the world, but for most in people in the USA, a little focus, drive, and no BS attitude with yourself and things get clear real quick.

This is not to say anyone can be an astronaut or fairy princess. If you really want to be rich, there is a way. If you want to be healthier, there is a way. If you want to have a better relationship with yourself or another person, there is a way. It just takes an open mind to change and a willingness to apply yourself and sacrifice what you have to for the things you really want. This does not require sitting, doing nothing, doing the same things over and over, or living in self pity and denial. It takes action, breaking old useless habits, self restraint and self discipline. It only sounds hard. It is not any harder than being miserable with your life. The more you change, the easier changing other things becomes. Life is always changing. Either change with it or face the notion you have, in essence, accepted you life for what it is whether you realize it or not.

Here in lies my frustration. After lifting a blindfold off my eyes, I’m stuck looking around at everyone else with blindfolds on, wishing desperately I could rip them off. It’s something only that person can do for themselves. I have to accept this. So, instead of getting annoyed at other people, I am going to go back to focusing on improving my own life and eventually find a way in which to help others in a different way.

Ego be gone!

 

 

Nic Fit

I have found a way to live life without alcohol, and at certain times I have been able to quite smoking/e-cigs/vaping for extended periods of time. However, nicotine has been my adversary long before alcohol became a problem in my life. I remember coming into AA for the first time ready to change, and found I leaned on my old crutch nicotine a little harder those days. E-cigs led to full fledged vaping for a few years. When I brought it up to my sponsors, I got an “easy does it,” or “one thing at a time,” response. Most recently  I went back to e-cigs, and once again I am trying to get off this shit. I ask myself why the hell this is so hard?

I guess I am just prone to addictive behavior. See, I know nicotine addiction is one of the hardest dependencies to break. Just because I have quit before, though painfully each time, gives me a false sense of control over it. How do I know? I always, always wind up going back to it. If I am drinking, well I have no rational thought against it. If I am not drinking, I justify it by telling myself “at least it’s not alcohol.” Why the hell is there no 12 step program (that I have heard of) for nicotine?

Society has “dealt” with the issue by keeping smoking out of public spaces and raising the legal age to buy nicotine products; no small feat or gesture, but still it is EVERYWHERE. The difference between alcohol and nicotine glaring. Unless you are an alcoholic, normal people can enjoy alcohol in moderation. No body grabs a pack of smokes just for Christmas or buys an expensive vape and vape juice just to enjoy once it on the weekends. Nicotine doesn’t work that way.

I am so disgusted with my own inability to stay quit. When I was in my first or second year of community college, I wrote a paper on banning tobacco all together. This was before the days of vaping and e-cigarettes. My paper was published in volume 4 of COD’s scholarly journal ESSAI. I wrote it and gathered research on tobacco and nicotine as a means of motivating myself to stay quit. It was a very well research and supported persuasive piece. Nevertheless, I was back smoking before it was published; which all but sucked all the joy out of attending the publication ceremony. ESSAI is on its 16th volume now, and there have been no other tobacco related articles written.

I have to do something different this time, obviously. And since the only difference now is my support and reliance on a higher power, that is where I will have to find strength and motivation. Here’s hoping this is the last time I have to go through this.

 

 

 

 

 

Out of Sync, but Happy

Most days I am just trying to pass time at work to get through the day to crawl into bed. It’s a sad state of life that many people share. It is not a routine I plan to continue until I retire. I do plan to obtain my Masters Degree in Social Work to get headed down a more engaging career path. Today, however, I feel like I want to tackle every tiny problem or project I can think of.

This happens periodically when things start falling in place, in terms of my plans and responsibilities. It’s like a snowball effect. One thing gets done or goes right and then another and before I know it my fingers are tying to keep up with my brain as I type and I’m focused on things thirty steps ahead. This happens in stark contrast to my exhausted body. It’s very strange. On one hand, I could totally crawl into be and fall asleep immediately. On the other hand, I could just as easily clean the entire bathroom like I wish I could be doing right now. I am very out of sync.

So many things have been going right lately. We are finally getting settled in to my mother’s place. My partner and I (but mostly him) have been getting things sorted and put away slowly but surely. We have new furniture (which he also put together by himself), and a the mattress platform has worked miracles for getting a better night’s sleep. I have a plan for saving for college for my son after listening to a webinar hosted by the bank who handles my 401K. I gave myself a hair cut, not for the first time, but with better than expected results and new techniques. I officially have no use for a hair stylist ever again. I have started bringing my lunches to work and have backup breakfast items here for days I’m running late. I have killed my ice cream addiction. That’s not that I still don’t enjoy it, but I don’t HAVE to have it every single night. I’ve grown tired of my kombucha lust, again, and am drinking water at night instead of plowing through 3-4 cans of seltzer. All this means more money in the bank; more money to save and invest in the future. How exciting is that?

I can’t remember the last time I felt like I had control of my finances or financial future. Honestly, I don’t think I ever have. I have always been so stressed about money. Barely scraping by; buried under debt. I paid my own way through college, scrapped together a little bit for a wedding, bought a cheap condo with $1000 down, worked multiple jobs at multiple times just to get by, and became super-ultra-mega coupon lady to get groceries as cheap as possible when I had the time as a stay-at-home mom. Now, the condo is sold, my divorce lawyer is paid, and my bankruptcy lawyer is paid. Once the bankruptcy is over with, I will buy a used car at some point and spend the next year-and-a-half to two years saving, working, going to school, and getting ready to launch life the right way. Getting a second  chance with so many lessons learned is amazing, and sober no less! I am so very grateful for all of this.

I know I will hit bumps in the road. I am not invincible, nor am I doing this on my own. I have more help and support in my life now than I could have ever asked for. What I am driving at, is that the future looks bright. I am optimistic, happy, and hopeful. I don’t know what I did to deserve this chance to get it right. It was far from easy getting here, but for the first time in a long time, I feel like life isn’t too heavy to carry. I have a footing and believe in myself, my higher power and the support of others to keep moving forward toward an even better future.

 

 

 

 

 

Is It Real?

In a couple hours, the closing for my former “marital residence” will take place. Neither I nor my ex will be there, but the attorney’s and realtors will be there to do their thing(s). Have you ever seen a real estate sale breakdown from the seller’s perspective? This is my first time, and I have to say that everyone that can stick their hand in the pot will do so. Transfer fees, association document fee, moving deposit, taxes, mortgage pay off, two lawyer’s fees for a divorce, and I’m sure I’m missing something else… The bottom line, net proceeds from a $95,000 condo sale is $16,700. Yep, that’s it.

Some people would be thrilled with $16,700. It’s nothing to turn your nose up at, but for someone with 60+ thousand dollars in unpaid, overdue debt; it is a drop in the bucket. Enter the next attorney: round three is Chapter 7 bankruptcy. I will be filing next week. My attorney already has all my financial documentation and a blank check for filing fees and his fee. My mother will be taking a good chunk of money right away toward the new flooring we installed to make her place livable. I’ll be left with maybe $1000 in “play” money, half of which will go to pay off two small personal loans long overdue repayment to family/friend, and the other half toward a much needed trip (hopefully). The rest of it goes in the bank for a rainy day, a used car, and/or towards a down payment somewhere down the line after my credit scores come back from the dead.

After the bankruptcy is filed, a long, arduous journey toward financial stability begins. Budgeting will ensue while trying to swing earning a master’s degree, working full time, and taking care of an almost four year old. All this while nurturing a healthy, loving relationship with my partner, helping him grow, both growing in our program, and doing all this packed snuggly into my mother’s condo. Oh boy, I think I need to start thinking about healthy ways to relieve tension, as I don’t want to take it out on the people I love and feel like I already am. Perhaps I will look into a cheap gym membership down the block or at the YMCA. Although playing the guitar is a good stress reliever, I am no good at it and need to make time for lessons. Exercising is one thing I can just pick up and do anytime, and I know it will work for me as it always has.

There are not enough hours in the day to do all the things I’d like to do. I want to keep learning to play, I am learning Japanese on my breaks at work on my phone, going back to school to pursue a new career… it’s all new, crazy, scary, exciting, exhausting, and weird. So, I think something grounding (along with maintaining my recovery program) is going to be more than necessary to keep me from flying off the handle. We all need something like that to help us through awkward transitional times, in my opinion. Yet the thought of making another commitment to anything right now is exhausting. Perhaps I shall take up my yearly fall running until it gets to be too cold outside. Then I can reconsider the whole gym thing. Sure why not?

Future plans aside, living in the now, today is going to be a good day. I am taking a step toward financial security, another step away from my ex, and finishing yet another huge, difficult life change. I have a three day weekend to look forward to, I get to leave work early today, and if all goes as planned, I can rest a little easier tonight. Time will tell, but it won’t be a long wait. About 3 hours to go, and I will know my fate. Is this for real?

Self Worth

Maybe it is because I am exhausted from the move, sleep deprived from getting used to a old-new home, or because I have been more or less sick for two and a half weeks now, but I am having a hard time feeling like I deserve all the good things I have and the wonderful people in my life. In my head I ask myself, What the hell did I ever do to deserve so much love and support? I have had to lean on my partner and the help of AA friends and family so much lately that I feel like a leech. The move has been stressful, and I use humor to try and diffuse any tension arising from it. I hope my partner knows just how much I really am grateful for all his help.

I don’t feel like I deserve all this. Granted, I am living in a two bedroom condo with two adults, my son, and four cats, but I have a place to live. My mother has company for the first time in almost 7 years; good company in who knows how long. I get the chance to make up for being a shitty person in the past to her. My son gets to live with another person who loves him, in a great school district, and so far, all the cats are transitioning flawlessly. My partner has done so much; moving, running around, dropping this off, picking this up, being there for my son, my mother, and me in so many ways. I just don’t even know how to being to repay him. I hope this move turns out to be as beneficial for him as it does for everyone else. I hope we all grow and benefit mutually, but as I said, I feel lacking in my contribution.

I suppose all that I can do is try to get well and do my best to help everyone move forward. I’m no good to anyone in this state of mind and body. Feeling less than worthy and physically sick really takes it’s a lot out of me. I want to give, help, improve, love, shine, grow, but I feel like all I can manage to do is to survive each day. I need to restore my health and self love so that I can help and show my love as much as I want to. I am hoping that if I can just hang on until Friday (when we close on the condo), I will be able to do just that; rest, restore, and revive my best self so that I can contribute to life as I want to.

Moving On

This summer has flown by. This week is the last full week I will spend in my home of six and a half years. It was never really a home until a couple years ago. I have mixed feelings about leaving. It was a place of extreme misery, fighting, terror, and some of the most traumatic moments of my life. It is also the place I started to heal, where new, real love grew, and it is where our little unconventional family solidified. I learned to strum a chord on the guitar there, watched my child grow from a helpless infant to “Megatron!” stomping out of his bedroom this morning to wake me up to make breakfast. These new memories with the ones I love most make me sad to leave, but I remember the bad memories too.

I remember my heart racing from adrenaline every single time I heard the front door to the condo building open and shut. Terror struck and panicked, I wondered “was it him?” I remember feeling trapped, wishing I wouldn’t wake up in the morning, punching a hole in the wall, denting the dishwasher as I sobbed uncontrollably. I remember knives, police reports, hours and hours of fighting. I remember not knowing how to be loved, relapsing and pushing everyone away because that’s all I knew how to do anymore. I remember that windy summer night, teetering on the edge of the railing of the balcony, wishing I lived on the third floor, because falling from that height wouldn’t kill me. It would just hurt like hell, and I was in enough pain. I remember being physical trapped and chased around the tiny one bedroom condo. I remember staring deep into my eyes in the mirror above the sink and seeing nothing but a dark abyss. I lost myself completely in the depths of a living hell, and somehow found my way back to life.

Change is almost always painful, and I have been so focused on checking things of a long, long list and making sure my son’s transition is as painless as possible; I haven’t really thought about how it is or will impact me. Financially, it is absolutely necessary, positive, and beneficial for us all.

Socially, my mother, partner, son and I get along well, we are close to the little one’s other grandparents and we can walk to his daycare in the middle of a top school district, and both my partner and I are familiar with the area. We are close to stores, highways, and everything a person could need. There are a lot of great AA meetings in the area, and although most of my former friends live nowhere near there anymore, that is probably for the best. I am moving further away from my friend Katrina, but I barely see her anymore. It is further away from former AA friends, but we haven’t kept in touch at our current distance. A few more miles won’t change anything.

Mentally and emotionally for me, this move is a mishmash of weird. When I first moved into this condo with my mother, I didn’t like it at all. We moved from a three story, four bedroom townhouse that my Dad had completely renovated, to this tiny, dark two bedroom condo. I had no friends around and didn’t know the area. I was resentful my mother couldn’t pay for our old place.  She worked all day long after all, why couldn’t she afford it? I regret feeling this way now, of course, but as a young girl I didn’t know any better. I lived in that condo through high school, started my drinking career, fought with my mom, who I felt was overbearing. What teenager doesn’t? I was developing depression and anxiety and setting myself up for dropping out of high school. Somehow, I managed to graduate and vowed to get out of there as soon as physically possible. Which I did, at 19, when I move to Macomb, IL and attended WIU. I partied and got straight A’s. An Honors Scholar, graduating Magna Cum Laude; still I was miserable. I moved home after I graduated and found “house rules” unacceptable. I’m pretty sure I had one too many drunk break up talks with my mother about her being toxic to me, and moved in with my ex-husband parent’s place ten months later. I quickly tired of living in his parent’s mansion of mental dysfunction. I wanted a place of our own. We bought the condo I now live in for the next week back in December 2012.

I am not moving back home as the same person who left. I am sober, I have a child, a loving, beyond supportive partner, and a genuine desire to make a living amends to my mother. I want to work at a strong, healthy financial future for everyone, and utilize this fresh start as a launching pad into the best part or our lives. This may sound like lofty ideals (or just corny), but honestly, I have gone through so much and learn from so many mistakes that I think we really have something good here. Moving back home, improving the condo, helping each other grow, and looking forward to the future is really the point of view I have about this move. Still, change is painful. Some of the most painful changes in my life have turned out to be the best ones. This I know by now. So, moving on…