Thursday, October 3, 2013

Dear Blog, Remember Me?


Dear Blog,

I’ve been away. Probably because I see the darkness of my last post as a hole I need to crawl out from – but I figure I’ll just post and most on and I will eventually be burry it in the archives.

Quick update.

I got married. Three months ago.

So far marriage hasn’t been all champagne, roses and unprotected sex. But it hasn’t been all terrible either. I guess that’s what happens when you tend to have a black and white view of the world. You end up in a purgatory of grey fog. It’s a danger swinging high and low. Keeping up the momentum alone leaves one emotionally parched and hard…like a brittle sponge.

I moved to the suburbs. With a house. A husband. And a dog. Idyllic. Lovely. Check that box.

I love them. But I miss the city. Getting lost in it. The anonymity.

My best friend moved away. I’m lonely.

It’s easy to blame my husband or my marriage for my loneliness. He moved me away. If I could be in Dupont right now, walk out my door, feel the city swirling around me, perhaps I wouldn’t feel so stuck. Maybe I’d see more prospects for my future than having babies , mopping the kitchen floor or whatever other monotonous domestic cliché comes to mind. Even though I WANT kids and an nice home, etc.

And, as ever, I’m being dramatic because if I Were single, I’d be bemoaning my last date, the hopelessness of romantic prospects, and the inevitability of growing old alone.

There’s no pleasing me it seems.  

There never is.

And so I turn back to you, old friend. Dear, Blog. With your blank pages yet to be written ready to catch whatever nonsense my fingers punch out into the ether. Please have patience with me if my words lack eloquence. If I don't check back as often as I should. Relationships of any kind take work and time and I can't make any promises as to my level of committment or enthusiasm. Writing is hard. Writing the truth is even harder.  

Frankly,
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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Shame Spiral: Please Don't Judge



How do you know when a relationship isn't working?


Apparently it isn't when your boyfriend packs everything you have at his place into a suitcase and two laundry baskets and throws it out of his house into the rain.


I guess its not when you've cried so hard the night before Valentine's day that you burst multiple blood vessels in your eyes.


But when you, granted, in a fit of blacked out drunkenness, get into an argument about God knows what stupid bullshit, and it leads to you swallow 15 little white pills of Ambien....with the sick, twisted theory that maybe if you try to kill yourself he'll be nice to you for a little while....you get clued in.


And once you regain consciousness roughly 36 hours later and you realize what your little stunt put your friends and said boyfriend through (not to mention being incredibly lucky you did not, in fact, die) - the shame sets in. The utter shame, self loathing, personal disappointment that you, a beautiful, successful, 31 year old woman could do something so pathetic and so fucking stupid - is almost more that you can take. Let alone the fact that the man who was taking you ring shopping the week before is seriously reconsidering some major factors in his potential choice of future wife. Namely: sanity and stability.


And you are reconsidering...everything.


Neck deep in the shame spiral, trying not to mentally ass-rape myself, knowing that because I made a bad choice, doesn't mean I am a bad person, doesn't mean (necessarily) that i've undone everything healthy I gained in therapy (although Dr. B did get a call and I have an appointment on Friday), it doesn't mean I'm a mentally ill nutcase incapable of having a long term, meaningful relationship. Does it?


And the scary thing is that I know that none of these are the questions I should be asking. That I SHOULD be asking "why did I do it in the first place"? And the answer is...because...the thought of living without him is....not an appealing one.


That sentence is filled with all sorts of wrong. I know this. The only thing is that the idea of living in a war zone doesn't exactly leave me with warm and fuzzy, furry bunny feelings either.


The truth is that I want to stay. I want us to work. I want to be a sane, calm, normal girl that he can love. Not this crazy, codependent, clingy, pathetic shell of a woman I used to be. Frankly, I'd like to see that girl in the mirror again. I don't know when she disappeared. What's even scarier is that I don't know what to do to get her back.

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Conversations with My Father (Part Deux)

  
I think sometimes I over think things when it comes to my life - the romantic aspects of it. Clearly, finding yourself rolling head first down a hill in the rain with your best friend, doesn't exactly paint a picture of the "well examined life". Then again, judging on your viewpoint, perhaps it does. But I digress.

I blame it on my parents. They have given me such high standards both in the example they themselves set and the way they raised me to never to settle, to strive for excellence and whatever you do....don't marry the wrong person. As such, I put such weight into these issues that many times i find myself staggering beneath it. It’s a hard realization to know that there's no book I can read, no test I can take, no instruction manual to follow step by step in order to arrive at a good and happy life.  


My heart has been hurt so much over the years that I have learned to instinctively distrust it, working hard training my brain the dominant & more trustworthy of the two organs. But, in the end, I don't believe there's any perfect answer. No silver bullet. No cheat sheet. I'll just have to take the best information I have and use it to make the best decisions possible. And when I still feel that information lacking, I ask my father for his advice.

My latest query was to ask if it "bothers him that he and my mother don't share a lot of the same interests" (stoic history PhD marries bubbly elementary school teacher) and whether or not he's found that an obstacle to be overcome in their marriage. 

Ever the thoughtful professor, he penned a reply which I have included below. Frankly, I believe the sentiments are universal and everyone loves a bit of fatherly wisdom. 

Thank you, dad.

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Hi Sweets.  I've been a bit bothered by your question the other day, inasmuch as I do not think I answered it very well.  So I will try, briefly, to expand a little.
We like to think that we should have long-range plans for our lives, and while we are encouraged to do so and need to do so, the reality is mostly aspirational.  The reason for this is simple: we change as we grow older.  And as we change, our likes and dislikes change, goals change, financial circumstances change and so those plans must change as well. 
The future is a mystery with respect to many things, but especially with this abstraction called 'happiness'.  Most people in this world have never experienced it, I am convinced, and have made their lives commensurately miserable in the pursuit of it.  For 'it' itself is myriad in its forms and seems as fleeting as gossamer.  Yet it doesn't so much 'flee' as 'evolve' as we grow older.  The happiness of youthful passion inexorably gives way to the warmth of familiarity and sentimental attachment.  The happiness of watching a child grow, will give way in time to the stark reality of anxious nights, emotional conflict and a life-long uncertainly over the fate of that child.  The initial paternal giddiness gives way to celebration, dread, satisfaction and second-guessing, as life gives and takes its rewards and its tolls. But that's the whole point of living isn't it? 
You asked me whether I wished Mom knew more history, and the answer is: of course I do.  But I knew that history was not her strong suit when I married her.  Instead, I looked to her character, her maternal instinct, her loving nature, her eternal innocence about many things.  Where is the guarantee that a history degree would have come with all those?  Does that mean that, perhaps, I am not as happy as I could be?  Probably.  But then who is, outside the silly movies which have distorted our perspective on such things?  The familial detritus which litters the twenty-first century social landscape provides ample evidence that most people never find their ideal.  And while that may rule out attainment of the will-o-the-wisp we call 'happiness', it hardly makes impossible the more achievable, stable and nurturing objective: contentment.  And if, in the end, I can say that I am content with the way I've lived my life; that will be compensation enough. 
I hope this helps.  Didn't mean to go on.  And I certainly don't mean to tell you what to do, or what decisions you should make.  I said my piece enough as I was raising you.  It's up to you now.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

It's Like I'm Losing My Mind

I'm driving myself crazy.

I want to be skinny. Pass me that cookie. I love him. I love him not. I want to be married. I want to be single. I'm going to be alone forever. Leave me the fuck alone.

But  isn't that what people do? Make choices, choose this instead of that? A downtown studio for suburban single family? Trading autonomous whirlwinds of one's twenties for security in one's thirties? Metro cards for car keys? Friday night cocktail flirtations for Sunday morning coffee?

The bottom line, Eli is great. He CAN be great. But our entire relationship, I feel like he's dragging me along while I play catch up learning how to communicate, how to incorporate someone into my life, how to strike a balance, how to not hate existence when I'm out in suburban Maryland and wanting so desperately to disolve into the anonymous, bustling sidewalks of Dupont. How do I not feel like something is missing?

And then ten minutes after I wrote this, he called and I couldn't wait to be back by his side.Thus resetting the spin cycle of my indecision.

So THIS is how it feels to be losing your mind.

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Friday, February 17, 2012

True Love: A Letter



I have things to say, I have people/men/A man to bitch about, but I'm taking the high road (until next week anyway). 


I'm ending Valentine's week, 2012, sharing a letter I've had memorized since childhood (the product of having an historian for a father coupled with a love of Ken Burns soundtracks should suffice for an explanation as to why).  And so I share this letter with you, my Dear Reader, because I've always found its undoubtedly poetic prose and hauntingly romantic sentiment have the ability to help me transcend my own petty existence.  I hope whatever discomforts the week brought for you, it may do the same. 

It is a letter of love and farewell, written in 1861 at the beginning of the Civil War, by Sullivan Ballou, a 32 year old lawyer serving in the Union Army. A week after he wrote this letter, he was killed in the Battle of Bull Run. The letter was delivered, posthumously, to his widow, Sarah, who was then 24. 

She never remarried. 

Frankly,
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July 14, 1861
Camp Clark, Washington


My very dear Sarah,


The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days – perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write again, I feel impelled to write a few lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more. Our movements may be of a few days’ duration and full of pleasure – and it may be of some conflict and death to me. "Not my will, but thine, O God be done." If it is necessary that I should fall on the battlefield for my Country, I am ready.


I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in, the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans on the triumph of the Government, and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and sufferings of the Revolution. And I am willing – perfectly willing – to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt.


Sarah, my love for you is deathless. It seems to bind me with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and burns unresistibly on with all these chains to the battlefield.


The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to you that I have enjoyed them so long. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when, God willing, we might still have lived and loved together, and seen our sons grown up to honorable manhood around us. I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me – perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar – that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not, my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battlefield, it will whisper your name. Forgive my many faults, and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have often times been! How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness, and struggle with all the misfortunes of this world to shield you and your children from harm. But I cannot. I must watch you from the Spirit-land and hover near you, while you buffet the storm, with your precious little freight, and wait with sad patience till we meet to part no more.


But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the gladdest days and in the darkest nights, advised to your happiest scenes and gloomiest hours, always, always, and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath; as the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by. Sarah, do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again.


As for my little boys – they will grow up as I have done, and never know a father's love and care. Little Willie is too young to remember me long, and my blue-eyed Edgar will keep my frolics with him among the deep memories of childhood. Sarah, I have unlimited confidence in your maternal care and your development of their character, and feel that God will bless you in your holy work.


Tell my two Mothers I call God's blessing upon them. O! Sarah. I wait for you there; come to me and lead thither my children.


Sullivan