Someone rather than no one

When a man wraps his arms around you, pulls you in and drowns you in kisses, after months or years of barrenness....you can't help but want him to be right. Your skin is so starved for touch that his hands feel like the warmest softest electric casmere. Your body and then your soul wants him to be good for you, wants him to be the one to end your lonely nights. You long for him to be the one to give you comfort, love, and affection. You want this because he is the one who is there. Because, you believe someone is better than no one.

But then it becomes a contest between your rationality and your starving desire. Your desire clings to the good things in him and tries to explain away the bad. 'He didn't mean it because...It's not his fault because...' and your tired mind, which just wants someone to love her, gives in. It fills in the explanatory blanks with something acceptable. And the self-deception begins.
Having cranked myself up with caffeine all day today, I am wide awake. There will be no sleep tonight. My body is tired but my brain will have none of it. Because, now that my mind is freed from the fight against itself, I can devote my reasoning skills to my life instead of the uncontrollable horrible thoughts in my head. That renewed capacity and a revealing conversation with another woman has finally broken me out of his spell.

For the last few months, even though I broke up with him, I have not been able to let go. We broke up and then the cat died. So I plunged into grief and instability. And surprisingly, he was still there. He was a voice on the phone still calling me almost every night. Just like before. I needed the caring voice, like a lifeline to reality. Then one night in July we had an intense post-break up smooch session, that also added to my confusion. It felt like we hadn't even broken up. It felt like a long distance relationship because we talked on the phone but almost never saw each other. Because we weren't in a romantic relationship, I didn't have any reason to be frustrated or hurt by him. He was so sweet. He seemed so concerned about my well-being. And he acted like someone who still had feelings for me. Why did he call me from Miami as soon as he got back from South America? That's what a boyfriend does. Why did he call me as soon as he had some exciting news about his work? And why was he still calling me before he went to sleep?

Then I began to doubt what I had done. Maybe I imagined the meanness. Maybe I was delusional with fears about his intentions. Maybe it was all my fault because I didn't know how to communicate with him....etc, etc ,etc. So I decided that if something started up again I'd go with it. When he stopped calling me I started calling him instead. I'd invite him to see a movie with me or to lunch but he always declined. Then when I decided to write him off and started pulling away, he'd do something else to reel me back in. He'd start calling again, giving just enough to keep me around and wondering. Exactly like he did when we dated. Back then, everytime I got convinced that he was only using me, he'd suddenly be all up in my grill. Like he had some supernatural sensors attuned to his fleeting prey. Why does someone with a brain and 13 years of dating experience fall for that game? Because...

It felt so good to be with him. Being in his arms felt like falling into creamy velvet. Maybe it only felt so good because I needed the affection so desperately. But I went with it. I convinced myself that something good was happening. My life did seem better with him in it. So I told myself he was relationship retarded, I needed to explain away things that seemed weird. I believed that he was actually worse at this than I was! He communicated even less than I did. He had greater intimacy issues than my own. And because of this, he would force me to strengthen my weaknesses so I could deal with him. He would be good for me. Ha! HA! HA! HA!!!

Now I know this for the fairy tale it is. Pure fiction. Last week I spoke to our mutual friend Bianca. They dated a few years ago. I suspected they had, but he never told. I asked if they used to go out and he said, "sort of" with a wince to imply that he'd rather not say what they were really doing rather than 'going out.' Fine. So he made it sound like they just had sex but it wasn't serious Ha! Ha! Ha!

She told me they were together for 2 years! Not only that, but Bianca was going to convert to Judaism so they could get married. He wanted to marry her! He wouldn't even call me his girlfriend!! He went overseas to spend a summer with her. He didn't want to come to New Jersey to see me. After the first month they were together, HE was the one who wanted to define the relationship. After 7 months with me, we had no such thing. Of course, she was having sex with him. And we know what a massive difference that makes. harumph.

I also found out his college girlfriend I thought he dated for 3 years, it was 6!

Initially this information made me incensed and ill. Now with a few days to digest it, I'm still incensed. And still a little ill. But the important thing here is that I can finally see what fiction I wove. I wanted to hold on to him emotionally. Because he was someone rather than no one. And I did care about him. He cared about me too but...clearly, he is not relationship retarded nor afraid of commitment. He just didn't want anything serious with me. We weren't in a relationship, we were just messing around so there was no point in actually talking to me about anything. I had to guess that he was in the Army Reserves after 4 months with him. He was beyond stingy with personal information. I thought he might have Asperger's Syndrome. (Which is social autism.) He just didn't want to get too involved with me. I was nothing but his toy. Which he actually told me one night. I thought he was being playful when he said it. *shiver*. No, he really meant it.

I knew all this at the time. I feared it. I never wanted to define the relationship because I knew he didn't want to commit to someone who didn't put out. Because a girlfriend who gives him sex is better than one who doesn't. So it would be irrational to cut himself off from finding a better girlfriend by committing to the worse one. But I didn't want to believe that.

This all vindicates the insecurities I had while we dated. But I wanted it to work so much. I wanted for him to be the one to rescue me from the hell of dating. So I tried not to see what was happening, until my reason won out. Hooray for me. I'm never dating again.

Here's the moral of the story: While complaining about this to my friend, I told her it made me feel like garbage. My friend replied, "Because the only thing different is the girl, right?" I said, "the girl and the fact I wouldn't have sex with him. I know that made a big difference." My friend said, "Yeah but if you had this would have lasted a lot longer and ended the same way only you'd be a lot worse off." When she said it I knew it for truth. Had we been having sex then I would be the one to go through two brutal years and come out damaged instead of bruised. This way, I got out after only 7 months, and the emotional damage is minimal. Hooray for me again.

I return to being my own woman. Knowing I am better off with no one rather than someone like him. I only wish it didn't have to feel so bad.

**I don't feel bad for bad mouthing him because everytime our friend asked if we were dating, more than once, he flatly denied it. What kind of person does that?


Am I in Kansas? ...A Suburban Bawl

No Way! I just noticed that across the street there is a moving reindeer. One of those Christmas light sculptures. I thought all the lights and decorations in the little neighborhood were cute, but this goes too far. What am I doing here? Moving reindeer? Out in the open on the apartment's lawn? I don't belong here. I'm thinking evil thoughts about what should happen to that reindeer. Imagining what fun could be had with the moving antlers, what offensive things could be hung from them....Bad me!

But it is sweet. And everything is so pretty with all the white snow. I love this weather. Going outside in the cold makes me feel alive. Everything looks so clean. The air is cleaner too. It smells like smoke instead of urine. It is beautiful here, on this street overlooking Manhattan. But oh so quiet. So still. I needed this suburban vacation from the ghetto. I needed to reduce the drama in my life. To get away from the tension. It's been heaven in that respect.

However. I'd like to go back when I can afford it. Because I hate that the grocery store is a mile away. That I have to go to Walgreens for my medication when the service is so appalling. As are their prices. I miss my lil ghetto pharmacies where they knew my name and gave me a break on the hundreds of dollars I spent each month. No dry cleaner on my block. The nearest one is a 15 minute walk away. There is no dollar store which means I have to pay full price for regular household items such as light bulbs, dishsoap and trash bags. Unbelievable! And I really miss the Chinese produce stores. They always had fresh veggies for good prices. And we have no diners or little cafes where one can go to grade papers while enjoying some homefries, grits and biscuits.

I can't go back to ghetto life. Those things are not worth exchanging for the gunshots at night, permanent drug dealers in front of the house, men peeing on the front of the house, or the nightclub booming until 4 am. What I hated most was the subway station. The A train does not run very often--that's typical for poor neighborhoods--so usually one must wait 10-30 minutes in the filthy station, with the yellow fluorescent lights, panhandlers, pungent funk, and dirty looks from other patrons. No thank you.

This apartment has been a Godsend. I found a haven from the world. But nothing happens. There is nothing to watch out the window, other than the freaky reindeer. It's funny how sometimes you have to lose something to learn how much you need it. I need the drama. I need the craziness of citylife to diminish the craziness in my head. I need distractions outside to keep from my getting lost inside. So I have learned something valuable this fall, well, two things: The suburbs are not good for me long term and I prefer rude city students to the boring polite suburban ones.

AND I GOT A TICK IN LONG ISLAND last week!!!!! Seriously. Friday in the shower I saw this black bump on my shoulder. Can you imagine the shock of finding a tick in the middle of winter in New York City?? Yuck. I could only have caught it on my walk to the train station in the village out there. They have spots of wilderness and wild animals. A nasty gaggle of geese feeds on the grass in a parking lot I have to cross. One day they scared me to death as I passed them because they all looked at me and then started honking and running towards me. These aren't small birds. When 20 of them chase you with their monstrous noise it is very frightening. I ran. But that's the kind of wildlife I'm dealing with out there. Birds and bloodsucking parasitic bugs.

One day I will return to the concrete paradise.


Dear Anonymous,

Yes, all I do is complain here. The blog has become my emotional garbage can. Which is a shame. I used to tend this blog very tenderly and with much love. I used to do a lot of things. But I'm not looking for sympathy. The fact is that my life does not suck at all. The only thing missing is financial comfort and a lover, but what are ya gonna do? I'm extremely privileged and blessed and lucky. And I'm very aware of that. I'm living my dream. Herein lies the rub, I'm not enjoying it. Before you judge me as having a bad attitude, read below. There is a list of some of the things I have done over the last 13 months to bring on my remission. I have pretended to have fun. I have tried to have fun. I have done fun things. Quite a few. I've gone through the motions over and over.

I tried a new medication. And re-tried an old one. Weaned myself off of xanex and I'm proud to say that I have broken that dependence. It took 13-14 months of ugly withdrawal. I found a not-boyfriend and let myself have feelings for him. I even tried to foster that into a real relationship, though my attempts were feeble due to mutual incompetence. I then extracted myself from that relationship when it become more bad than good--mostly because I was so insecure and becoming delusional.

I nominated myself for student government and now I represent my department and go to meetings once a month. I interviewed for a lay-out job on the school newspaper, I did not get it. I interviewed for a teaching job in the boonies-suburbs and got the job. Total culture shock resulted from my sojourn into that Long Island Village. I've had to develop a whole new teaching style because they don't respond to the same things city kids do. I registered for a class I technically didn't need to take but I thought it would be better for me to do so. Which means I'm sitting through a 2 hour seminar with 15 other people once a week voulntarily. Then at the last minute I signed up to take one of the comprehensive exams--spent a few days studying, took the 4 hour beast and passed.

I went on dates. Went to several parties. I threw myself a birthday party--and thank you to all the lovely people who attended. I moved to a new apartment and got out of the ghetto. The move involved a lot of work on my part and then having to learn a whole new lifestyle because I now live in a more suburban area. I spent some time decorating my new apartment. This summer, I met one or more friends several times a week to do work in the library. Wrote an overdue paper and did research on other overdue papers. Went shopping for fun. Tried to update my wardrobe with new style. Went to movies with friends. I met new people, even went out of my way to meet new people.

I read novels. Learned to cook new food and improved my diet. I've cooked dinner for several friends. I learned new and better habits--now I keep my house fairly clean, and I even have clean underwear in the dresser! I'm more punctual than I used to be. I tried jogging again but was not impressed. I went to Philly for a weekend to see friends. I made plans for a book project with a friend. I started going to church again, to 3 different wards, one of which is in a foreign language. I was faithful to a Yoga routine--up until the break up in June. I hung out with my friends across the hall. I've gone bowling. I've gone out to eat with people. I flirted with the boy who lived downstairs from me and had dinner with him. I soured on him after I heard him and another housemate's loud sex echoing up the stairwell 3 floors. But I was still chatting him up anyway until the day I moved.

I bought theater tickets for me and my best friend who flew up in the spring just to go with me. I entertained my sister for a few days in October. We went shopping and took scenic walks. In April, a friend from Louisiana spent a few days with me and we saw the sights: walked the brooklyn bridge, rode the SI Ferry, did China Town and the village AND attended the singles ward in Manhattan! We were friendly and met several people there. Two weeks ago I joined friends from out of town in Little Italy for dinner. Then I had a friend over for Thanksgiving, we ordered Chinese food and watched movies. I cooked us a pecan pie. It was so good I made myself another pie that weekend. Then I ate it. I'm friendly to the new adjunct in the office, I frequently initiate conversation with him. I talked to him yesterday.

I smile at people and say hello and pretend everything is hunky dory. I also walk an average of 10-12 miles a week from commuting and doing errands and city life. Finally, my lil ghetto kitty thinks she is a dog. She whines at me everyday until I chase her around the apartment or throw balls for her to chase. She also howls at the door until I take her for walks up and down the stairs in the building. So, she's a good therapuetic cat in that she makes me run and she makes me laugh.

Does that sound like the life of a severe depressive? Absolutely not! DESPITE doing all those things, I was never glad I did it. Except for the things where I did things for other people. I'm glad that I could still help other people. And leaving the ghetto made my life better. But it hasn't made any difference on my illness. I can't control the thoughts in my head. I can't control my own emotions. My personality is disappearing. I FEEL LIKE I AM LOSING MY MIND AND THAT HAS BEEN DRIVING ME CRAZY!!! Until now. The new plan is to learn to live with this rather than trying to get better. There is no better. What I can control is my resistence and struggle--not the illness. By eradicating the struggle, I have lessened my burden. I'm going to lose my mind gracefully and in peace. The new plan is already working,life is much easier now.


I was the one worth leaving

Other than my work, and my malfunction, nothing has been happening. No new stories to tell. There have been things I could have pursued. But I've had no interest.

It's all the same now. Going, coming, staying, sitting, walking, sleeping. All the same to me. The torturous thoughts in my head are still gone, thank goodness. I can't write anything when it's there. I asked my brother about it last night. He said he gets those too. He's had them since he was a child. But his medication has kept it under control lately. My brother lives with our mother. He has had severe bi-polar depression and maybe schizophrenia since his youth. In his early twenties he was a lot better off. He could take care of himself. But since then he has not been well, which is heartbreaking. He is a beautiful person, the most Christlike person I know.

Since I have let go of the guilt and the struggle things have been easier. Maybe this is what I need anyway. Maybe I've just needed to stop everything and let myself grieve. I was so afraid the depression would take over that I barely let myself mourn my losses of the last 3 years. I don't have to worry about that anymore.

This may still be a good thing. I have given up control. The Buddhists don't believe we have selves. When we give up that fixation then our problems go away too. A not unfamiliar idea. She who loses her life will take it up again? I don't care what happens to my life anymore. This may be a good thing.

So I lay my broken heart at the foot of the Savior's cross. Let Him do with it what He will. I can not save myself. I am not good enough, not strong enough, not enough. I have run out of ideas, my strength is spent, my pride broken, my plans lay fallow, even my faith has faltered. I am nothing. But if God still loves me, then what's left of me is for Him; heal me or damn me, I offer no resistance. My life, my will is His.*

Even in this state, that is not easy to say. I have clung greedily to my life--determined to squeeze everything out of it. Haughtily assured that I knew what was right for me. I have kept the commandments but set my heart on the world. I selfishly pursued my own goals and ran from the people who needed me. Now my choice is to sink into mad isolation or put my life into God's hands.

*The dishonor of returning a broken gift is not lost on me: "Here God, I'm good for nothing, but I'm all yours!"