If that wasn’t love

How can someone feel happy, relieved and completely heartbroken, all at the same time? How is that allowed? It seems like some sort of cruel joke for all of these emotions to join the party. At the same time!

I discovered my former roommate left town today. I drove past where he was staying and noticed both his vehicles were gone. Then I unblocked his social media and had a look. Sure enough, he’s hit the road. “Good for him”, I said to myself as a wash of relief drenched me. I don’t have to be nervous about running into him around town. I told a few people who knew the situation and they were happy to learn this too.

As I was sitting on the couch, about an hour ago, it finally hit me. It’s really over between us. We can’t even be friends. I know we can’t. He’s not a good person for me to know. He’s not a safe person for me to know. I know all of this in my head and in my heart. I was trauma bonded for Pete’s sake! So why am I feeling heartbroken?! Isn’t that the opposite way of how I “should” be feeling?!

I’ve been reading bits and pieces about attachment theory and how our early bonds with our caregivers shape how we connect with partners. I have been reading how we continue unhelpful coping patterns when we don’t heal from them. I’ve been reading and learning how to shift these early lessons so I can someday have a healthy romantic relationship. I swear, the more I learn, the more I feel really broken and rather fucked. Seriously! Self awareness is great but it kinda sucks because you’re suddenly aware of how your patterns and coping skills have shot you in the foot, for 46 years. All kidding and hyperbole aside, awareness has been good but it’s made me wonder how much I could have avoided if I’d only know!

I read something today which said: (Paraphrasing) Sometimes we confuse love with pity. What we think is love is actually empathy on steroids.

As someone who can’t figure out why I cared for someone so deeply, without any return of affection, this made me question if I felt love or pity. Maybe it was pity for someone who I was certain had fallen on hard times? Maybe it felt good to have attention from this person. Are my insides and my emotions so jacked up that I honestly cannot identify what genuine love feels like?! Am I so fated to repeat this bloody cycle a few more times? It never make sense why I fell so completely for a “down on his luck” guy who was quite content with me taking care of him. That’s not the kind of person I want for myself! I don’t want yet another person to take from me and not return any of the kindness or emotional labor. I don’t want another “just stay positive” sort of person either. I also can’t handle being with someone who is not in touch with their emotions or who can’t communicate and give opinions on things I find important.

I simply, simply can’t repeat what I’ve had in the past. I need emotional depth and emotional support in my next partner. I need to be protected once in a while too. Just because I’m a strong person doesn’t mean I’m unfeeling and should handle everything on my own. I mean, I can but don’t stand in the shadows and watch me do it. I need a partner in crime who actually has my back. One who believes I’m a good person, even if someone is talking bad about me and the backstabber is really convincing. I need someone who is calm and doesn’t have an explosive temper. I can’t live with another person I fear. Three times of doing that is more than enough. I need someone who can appreciate my “squirrel!!” mind and who isn’t annoyed by my quirks. I need someone who will lovingly nudge me out of my comfort zone once in a while. I need someone with a curious mind and who has their own hobbies and friends. I don’t want to lose myself within a relationship again. For once, I want to feel secure, cared for and appreciated. I don’t want to feel from my partner that they’ve “settled” for me either.

So here we are, nearly at the end of another rambling blog and I don’t feel nearly as heartbroken as I did. I do miss the good parts about my former roommate. He’s a charming, interesting, guy who likes movies, disc golf and he is a writer. He also has a good sense of humor and a quick wit. I miss those things when I think about him. I still find him quite attractive too but I hope that feeling fades. It doesn’t make sense to still be attracted to someone who is so bad for me to be around.

I think this is the first time I’ve been so specific about the qualities I need in a person. Before, I’ve written about wants. Wants are negotiable, needs are not. I finally have my list of non-negotiables. See?? Growth!! Thankfully, I have a therapy session coming up. I imagine this one will be another chaotic spewing forth of things I’ve finally processed over the past month, just like our previous session. I am starting to feel like I owe my therapist a bottle of wine after our session last month. She is a gem and a blessing and I am so happy she is in my life! It’s encouraging when I can identify the ways I’ve grown, even within the past few months.

Define Femininity

At my last therapy appointment, we got on the topic of being or feeling feminine. I mentioned I didn’t feel I was very much like what I thought this meant. My homework assignment was to define femininity. I’ve been stumped ever since. I’ve looked at the prompt on my notepad and I don’t know, within myself, what femininity is yet. Perhaps at the end of this post, I’ll have a better idea of what it means to me.

I’ve decided, in my head, to be feminine means to be “attractive”. As a young girl, I learned through osmosis that being desired is highly important. I learned this from my sister as I watched her date young, stupid guys who didn’t even know themselves much less how to be a good boyfriend. I saw my sister spend hours on her makeup and hair every time we went in public. I remember wishing someone would find me desirable and attractive but the only thing anyone ever did was call me “cute”. Cute is for puppies, babies and children, or so it seemed in my head. I have never taken being called “cute” as a complement. Perhaps it’s because my sister and another gal in the youth group told me I wasn’t “pretty” but I was “cute” when I was 13. That fucking word is a dig, every time I hear it. It makes me feel like I’m less than every other female in the room. Certainly not “desirable” or “sexy”. Even now, I still feel like the least attractive person in any group.

I think from early on, I never associated beauty with myself and my appearance. I still don’t think I’m attractive. Only sometimes do I see it in the mirror. Most of the time, I see my gray hairs sprouting at my temples, the bags under my eyes, the extra weight around my middle and my saggy belly and boobs. I think to myself, “Who the hell would every find any of *this* desirable or attractive?!”. As long as I can remember, I wanted to be a model. My mom was dead set against this and whenever I brought it up, she always discouraged me. Not once did she explain her negative reaction. Had she told me the modeling industry is cut-throat, often drug ridden and no one cares about you, I might have gotten a different message. Instead, her objections only cemented what I’ve always felt about myself. I’ve always thought I was just ugly, and her reaction to my idea of modeling only “proved” what I felt. “Even my own mother thinks I’m too ugly to be a model. That’s why I’m bullied. I’m ugly, that’s why nobody likes me. Nobody wants to be friends in school because I’m hideous. Everyone is laughing at my big nose and my fat face.” I did get teased about my nose when I was young. I wanted rhinoplasty for the longest time.

Fast forward to me at 17 years old. I started dating my first boyfriend. He was 5 years older and was always worried about what other people would say if they knew we were dating. He always used my age against me, saying I didn’t understand things because I was so young. (I was really sheltered, so that wasn’t completely inaccurate!) He did like my long hair, however, and it a certain light, I was told I looked older. My ex husband liked my long, blonde hair. My hair is thick and heavy. It’s a mop to manage and I recently chopped it off (professionally). I did it because I was tired of all the men who “preferred” long hair on a woman. I did it to look less feminine. I did it as armor, to keep the bullshit spouting charmers away. Surely if I looked uglier and less feminine, nobody will try to ask me out. If they did and I have short hair, I can be certain they must like me for me, because it wouldn’t be my looks that drew them in.

I’ve gotten a lot of complements on my new hair cut but I am going to grow my hair out a little. Shoulder length, I think. In my line of work, I don’t get asked out, regardless of hair length. I work and I go home and I don’t dabble with dating sites anymore, so I’m not actively trying to meet someone new. I’m still trying to recover from the last man who hurt me. I’m in no hurry to jump back in the ring again. So, femininity. How to define it? Somewhere in my psyche, I’ve equated femininity with wearing makeup and doing your hair and dressing well. I’ve equated it with “desirability” and a woman’s ability to be attractive in society. I’ve associated it with being weak (which it isn’t, but somewhere in my brain that message stuck). I’ve associated femininity with needing to be rescued, with gossiping and with cattiness towards other girls. I think I’ve associated the idea of femininity with every negative, toxic behavior women who are not self aware display.

My star sign in Gemini and I’ve always felt there are two sides to my inner self. Female Gemini’s are said to be a bit more masculine. I’ve always identified with the more masculine side and I tap into it when I need to be strong. I wear black when I need to be strong and bold. The feminine side of myself is playful. I wear dresses or skirts when I feel attractive/feminine. I wear pink when I feel playful and want to feel girly. Silly enough, I don’t feel “strong” when I wear pink. I feel more playful and demure in my long skirt and pink lacy top. I don’t know where the disconnect in my brain came from, where I equate femininity as weakness. Perhaps it’s due to being taken advantage of and treated badly within sexual relationships. I know I turned on the feminine energy whenever I was faced with an angry customer when I worked in retail. My thought was, “Maybe if the find me attractive, they won’t yell at me.” Now? With my short hair? I’m itching for a fight. Like a literal, physical fight. I don’t care (in this current moment) if anyone finds me attractive, because I don’t want them to see me as weak and therefore “prey”. I have a lot of anger inside. Especially recently. I’ve been treated badly yet again and my “beauty” didn’t save me from any of it.

This one was a bit of a ramble. If you’ve gotten to the end, thank you for reading. I think my edible is kicking in, so that might explain some of this! Be well, folks.

Just Be

This past week, I attended a massage continuing education workshop. It was taught by Ian Harvey, Massage Sloth! I was so stoked that he was coming to my state to teach and I signed up as soon as I got that email alert. Ian is a lovely fellow and he’s exactly what I expected. His personality shines through in his videos and I was happy to meet this awesome person. It was easy to feel as if I knew him already, so I had to watch coming across to familiar! The class was a lot of fun, the other students were super cool people and I learned some techniques which I will be using in my practice. All in all, it was a great experience.

This morning, I was reflecting back on the class and my time at class. If anyone has read even a little bit of my blog, you’ll already know I have a bit of an issue with social anxiety. I’ve had body issues in the past and they’ve tried to pop up again recently. I’ve put on some weight, or feel like I have, and that doesn’t help my mental state when I’m about to meet new people. About a month ago, I started getting that same old feeling of “I don’t like my face”, which is the exact issue which sent me to therapy the first time. (These thoughts effect everything and make it hard for me to function outside my house, when they’re really strong) All of these things were coming up, just before I am heading into a new social situation! Why my mind is grasping at straws to sabotage my hard work is beyond me. It really makes me angry at my brain, but I digress.

In the past, I’ve tried to be “on” when I meet new people. I read a description of how people “perform” in relationships/friendships and won’t show their real self for fear of rejection. I saw myself in those words and a light bulb went off. Still remembering my experiences as a bullied kid, in the past I’ve wanted so desperately for people to like me. In past situations I have made a point to be very helpful and step in if something is needed. Be useful so people wouldn’t get angry at me has been something I’ve been conditioned to do when I worked in healthcare. In my CNA class, we were told being a good assistant was anticipating what the doctor needs, before they ask. Awesome. This, being told to an insecure, codependent, people pleaser. I ran with this information and I became a great assistant. Need someone to read minds?? I’m your gal. I’ve been doing that since I was 4 years old.

I’ve been on a personal growth mission for a good long while now and I’m finally coming to this area of my life: How I relate and interact with people. So, this week at the workshop, I didn’t do any of that stuff. I didn’t perform, I didn’t jump in and try to save the day so people would think I’m a good person. I didn’t try to be extra personable and outgoing (which is not who I truly am anyway). I just “was” for the most part. I had to silence the fears in my head and I had to set aside thoughts of not appearing good enough. I found I wasn’t scared to talk to people this time. I wasn’t scared to speak in front of the class (I was asked to share about a client). I didn’t try to do or be anything other than who and what I am. And for that, I’m really proud of myself. Some of my triggers were set off with techniques we were learning (draping someone’s arm over mine, being in potential close bodily contact with a client) but it just showed me those things I thought I’d conquered might need further slaying. I worked through them in massage school, I can do it again. Also, communication is essential with any client and I don’t have to do certain techniques if they make me uncomfortable. I can improvise. That’s part of the joy of being a massage therapist! Their is joy to be found in creativity and finding new ways to tackle obstacles.

A Beautiful Life

This past weekend I was pretty down. That seems to be the case anymore. I drag myself to the work week, looking forward to my 3 days off (yup, my schedule is awesome) and then I do nothing for two of those three days.

I find myself scrolling mindlessly on social media, for hours, when I have time off. I am definitely distracting myself from life. I am moving into a different place within the same town. This is a temporary thing (hopefully) as we can’t afford to live here long term. My lease is starting for a 6 month stretch, then will be month to month thereafter. My goal has been to buy something or move to where I can afford to buy something. I just want a little piece of security in this bloody uncertain world. So far, I’ve signed up for all but one of the utilities for my new address. I’ve done all of that just today. Everything is in place, waiting our move on Nov 1st. Moving is an overwhelming task. Packing the whole house, coordinating services, reserving the Uhaul to transport the large items. I genuinely look like a functioning adult!

However, deep down, I feel like a scared little girl. The feeling of strength and that of fear ebb and subside, depending on the hour. I’m happy my dad will finally be able to sell his house (and pay off the one they bought in NC) and it’s been a good almost 4 years living at Bremont Way. Moving can be exciting but also terrifying, for me. I feel like my safety net has been removed. I’m the little birdie, standing on the edge of the nest while life shouts, “Fly, bitch!” and kicks me in the ass. (See cartoon below)

I suspect to the outsider, it would appear I’ve been quite spoiled and have had it pretty damn easy living in my dad’s house, not having to pay the ridiculous rent everyone else is stuck paying. Truth of the matter is, the past 4 years have been some of the hardest. I’ve changed jobs more in this span of time than ever before. Much of that was due to an inability to fully function and have anxiety. Dealing with anxiety and depression while attending & completing massage school, dating and breakups, filing for divorce, losing my first dog, living alone for the first time ever, living though the pandemic on my own, contracting Covid, getting into and out of a bad roommate situation and now moving to a new place…โ€ฆit’s been a lot.

I guess this post can be a look back on all I’ve accomplished on my own. All the jobs I’ve managed to make it through, all the times my mind almost won but didn’t, all the times I stood up for myself and it mattered. All the tough conversations I had, instead of stuffing down what I needed just to keep everyone happy. I’ve been undoing and unlearning some deeply ingrained stuff. I’ve been unlearning things from my childhood which were unhelpful and damaging. It has been exhausting. It takes a lot of energy to process heavy stuff and I suspect that’s why all I want to do is sleep for days when I have the chance.

I haven’t written much about the roommate situation because I still feel angry at myself. I am angry at myself for believing anything he ever said and thinking he had my best interests in mind. He didn’t. He only ever thought of himself and his wellbeing and it definitely showed by how he treated me. I feel stupid for believing anything kind he ever said, because it was only another puzzle piece in a delicately crafted faรงade, one that fell eventually. One who lies cannot continue to lie forever. Eventually their true colors shine through. For anyone who see how someone treats other people and you don’t like what you see??? That is how they truly are and they will have zero qualms about treating you with the same distain, loathing and disregard. It’s only a matter of time. Believe what people show you, not what they say. Because there are bullshit spewing masters out there and they definitely have you number. They tell if you have poor boundaries and they can tell if you’re a caring, giving person who puts themselves last. They will use this information against you and use every weakness or insecurity you reveal against you and to their advantage, if possible. This has been my experience, at least. That in itself is a lot to accept and work through. That level of betrayal is very painful, especially if you genuinely cared about them. To finally wake up and see you’ve been played, it does something to a person.

Sometimes you have to live through the most painful things for them to finally become crystal clear. This clarity is golden in the long run, because it ensures you won’t be hoodwinked by this same person again. I’m hoping to never be snowed by this type of person in the future. I’m also hoping that if I do encounter another person wit “use and abuse” tendencies, my subconscious will shout my former roommate’s name so I’ll know it’s time to run.

My two biggest fears are me falling for someone’s lies again OR running off good partners because I’m so guarded and jaded, I won’t be able to see true goodness. I don’t want to be that person. I don’t want to be hard, abrupt and uncaring. I don’t want to put up all the walls I’ve worked so hard over the years to tear down. I feel like after all of this, I don’t know how to be a trusting person anymore, and I don’t like this. I’m still trying to process and separate the cutting things I was told from what I truly believe about myself. I’m still trying to separate the real me from the voices and noise and judgements in my head. Again, it’s exhausting and it makes me cry in frustration and sadness. I am frustrated because I feel unbelievably and completely broken beyond repair. Like I will forever use my unhelpful coping mechanisms out of habit and fear. I feel sad because I want a beautiful life too, and I don’t feel I have one at the moment. Right now, my existence is not social media sharing worthy. I am not bright and sunny and full of joy. I’m not going on trips or adventures or hanging out with family and friends. I’m here, sitting on my couch with my dogs, crying and typing this post. But hey, I’ve made it this far. Who knows? What’s ahead might not actually suck and there could be some great things I have yet to accomplish. Stay tuned.

My Mind is a Weird Place

I started a new medication to hopefully help with anxiety and depression. My therapist suggested I try Oxytocin nasal spray to help with mood. The first two days I was on it, I had the most introspective thoughts. Introspective but yet I was detached from my thoughts too, like an observer watching thoughts happen in real time. Definitely a new experience for me and also a sign I wasn’t quite used to my medication yet. I am still able to witness my thoughts and feel detached from “feeling” them. It’s actually nice. I’ve been able to dig in and be real with what I feel, but not feel the pain of their destructive nature. (If this makes any sense, I will be so pleased)

For once, my internal negative loop was not mindlessly playing. I was able to stop the track and acknowledge what I’ve been telling myself automatically, without scrutiny, for years and years. Today, I was having a conversation with someone I’d reached out to online. She mentioned that how we feel inside is more important than how we present ourselves. Ya know what?? I was finally able articulate what I feel about myself.

I told her, “I feel like the dullest star. I feel like the ugliest girl in the room, especially around other women. I feel like the most boring, most undesirable person in any setting”

In therapy, it was said that telling one’s dark secrets takes away the power of said secret. Being able to articulate how I felt, it brought awareness to the feeling which secretly lived within me. It’s not a secret anymore, and it’s already losing it’s power over me. I was going to share the other epiphany I had about a section of my negative self talk loop, but I genuinely forgot. It’s as if my acknowledging it made it fade from the track, which would be incredible if it genuinely did.

I’ve been acknowledging and processing a lot of old, damaging core beliefs and it’s been exhausting. In a bid to distract myself from all of the processing, I’ve plunged head first into tiktok. It’s an app which one can share a one to three minute video. Creators interact with their followers a lot on this app and I’ve found some interesting communities. The person I had the aforementioned conversation with was someone I found on tiktok. Her name is Gina Hatsis “The Too Much Woman”. She is a motivational speaker, sharing her story and journey to embracing being “too much”. As in, a woman who will not dull herself to make others feel comfortable. She is an amazing woman and I’ve been encouraged by her content.

I am working very hard at becoming the strong, confident woman I see in my mind’s eye. I’ve been in therapy, with my current therapist, for almost two years now. She does a combination of talk and hypnotherapy. I have grown a lot in the time I’ve been doing this type of therapy. I’m heading towards 50 and I’m actually excited about what’s ahead. (Which is a new and encouraging outlook I’ve embraced)

The bold, unfiltered me

Not sure why this train of thought popped into my head tonight, but it did. It’s Friday evening. I’m off work and I am dreading having to cook dinner. This fact got me thinking about me as a person and then me as “dating material” and ya know what? I genuinely feel like no man in his right mind would want me, and here’s why:

1. I don’t want to be a grandma, unless the “children” in question have paws
2. I don’t like other people’s kids, unless they are respectful and well behaved, and then sometimes not even then
3. I’m not looking to be someone’s step mom or looking to jump in to raise your babies.
4. I am 46 and I am past having kids, without scientific intervention. You’d have to be pretty fucking special for me to even consider this at this point in my life.
5. I hate to cook, I’d rather hire a chef or eat out.
6. I don’t like bars or clubs, they’re too loud
7. I don’t like drunk people, unless it’s with my partner and we’re getting silly drunk in the comfort of our own space, just the two of us.
8. I don’t like my partner to drink heavily as a rule. Sometimes it’s ok, not all the time, and no binge drinking either. (Hangover’s are a bitch)
9. I’d rather stay home, unless going out somewhere adds value to my life.
10. I’m not a church goer and have some pretty serious anger towards the church. If you dig religion and it works for you? Great. Don’t expect me to fall in line.
11. I am not an outdoorsy person. I am very sensitive to heat and I sunburn easily and react badly to insect bites.
12. I have struggles with chronic pain, I’m prone to depression and anxiety and these things negatively affect my outlook at times. I do not keep muscle relaxers in the house, for my safety, because I know where my mind goes when I’m really down or struggling.
13. I will not watch horror films or anything gory because it still gives me nightmares (as a 46 yr old woman)

Now, I do have a few perks. There’s not many, but they’re decent.

1. Communication is very important to me and I feel I am quite good at explaining what’s on my mind
2. I give a damn good massage and I will touch your feet
3. I am adventurous and open to new ideas, suggestions and will try most anything at least once.
4. Cuddly, sexy, naughty activities are very important to me and consent is essential on both sides. Communication and respect are absolutely necessary must have components of intimate playtime.
5. I love hard and I have a huge heart, which has gotten me hurt and caused me to be completely blind to red flags. This is a pro and a con, if I’m honest.
6. I have a good sense of humor
7. I appreciate words, their origins and writers who use them correctly
8. I’m a Sapiosexual, intelligence is hella sexy.
9. I love psychology, human behavior and understanding the human condition
10. I am a good listener
11. I am sensitive. Sensitive to your mood, the vibe of a room, anger, light, sounds, smells and basically sensitive to the entire fucking world… (it’s not a pro, but it’s important information to know!)

Just a few things about me. I don’t know what man would consider wanting to get to know me better after reading this, but I’d be happy to meet the brave soul who’d choose to roll the dice. Stay sexy, friends.

This is how you make sane, crazy.

Boundaries are good, and encouraged, unless it effects you.

Your actions and words haven’t match, probably ever.

Continually questioning my sanity, I’m in a thick daze.

My mind lost and questioning my sanity, amongst your wordy hedge maze

Stories manipulated to play in your favor

Something is “off”, but I can’t put a finger on it.

I wished it didn’t come to this. Your gaslighting is a hell of a defense.

You certainly learned and experience it from the best.

Knowing you’ve suffered mental abuse too, makes me sad. And, I know this much is true.

Mental abuse is hell, I should know. I’ve experienced it, thanks to you.

Dreams of New York

I was video chatting with my friend Jason, from Canada, last night/early this morning. I was telling him that I am looking at New York as a place to relocate. My roommate is from upstate and he’s told me about the area. That made my interest stronger but as I remembered back to when I was a kid, I have always been intrigued by New York.

When I was a kid, I remember my dad telling me that he went on a trip to NY when he was in 6th grade. His teacher sponsored the trip but it was not technically a “school” trip, although many of the kids who went were from his class. They left on the train and went from Washington DC to NY via bus. This trip cemented my dad’s fascination with trains and train travel. I also remember a fabulous picture of my grandmother (dad’s mom) at a train station, with her suitcase, beaming as she was starting her adventure to New York. Her trip was a graduation gift and I am so surprised she was able to go! My grandparents and great grandparents were not rich people but I feel they knew the importance of such experiences for a young person. My dad also went to Canada in the 5th grade, on another sponsored trip by his teacher. These trips shaped my dad’s life and opened his mind to things outside of his immediate surroundings.

I honestly had forgotten about my early memories of hearing those stories until talking about this with my friend Jason! As I got older, my curiosity did not wain. It only grew. For my graduation present, I went on a plane trip to Phoenix. It was my first time ever on a plane. My dad went with me and we had a great time. I also remember that trip because it was the same weekend of OJ Simpson’s infamous police “chase” where he’s driving his white Ford Bronco down the California freeway. I remember my dad laughing at me because I was annoyed the news coverage was on every channel and it was super boring to a 17 yr old mind! Memories were made and we had a good time.

Trips expand your mind and they can introduce different cultures or food that you otherwise might not have experienced. As I got older, I started following Dancing With The Stars and my favorite male dancers on the show were the Chemerkovsky brothers, who grew up in Brooklyn, NY. I followed them on social media, followed their dance studio business and dreamed of some day taking lessons at their studio. I have been a fan of The Basement Yard podcast and Other People’s Lives podcast for years. Both are based in New York. Joe Santagato is one of the driving forces of OPL and The Basement Yard is his baby from the beginning. Joe grew up in Astoria, Queens, NY. I love hearing about the area, the culture and all the crazy things that happen in daily life.

Fast forward to my 30’s. A friend from high school, whom I also worked with, moved to upstate NY. He is a photographer and he has lived around Troy and Poughkeepsie (spelling?). I was a little jealous because he just picked up his life and went! I wanted to be that brave too because I really desired change in my life. I’m now in my 40’s and I still desire change!

When I worked at Massage Envy, I met a client who told me he was from Rochester, NY. I was not familiar with the area and we got to chatting about his recent trip back home. He told me about all the culture and we talked about architecture of the area. It’s an older city like Louisville so there’s some similarities. That chatting turned into us dating for a few months after I left Massage Envy. We broke up horribly, didn’t speak to each other for over a year and reconnected in November of 2020. At that point, we reconciled and he’s currently my roommate. My feelings for him never went away despite being so hurt when we broke up. After about 4 months of him living here, I realized my feelings had grown quite a bit. (Never told him the depths, because saying anything was difficult enough) I told him about my feeling and he told me he didn’t want a relationship. He’s currently working towards moving out and I’m heartbroken. I’ve been working through all the horrible wounds this rejection has unearthed. I’m triggered constantly when he texts other people (that sounds insane, I know. I bloody feel like I’m losing my mind with triggers). His presence is a constant reminder that someone I grew to love and care deeply about does not want me. (He’s not in a good place within himself to have a relationship. It is my understanding that it’s not like he wants someone else instead of me.) My mind flashes back to all the times where I was cast aside by people from whom I just wanted their love and approval. So needless to say, I am processing a lot of past trauma right now and it sucks ass. It’s been quite a process of mending my heart and pulling back emotionally from him. Heartbreaking work, but to be honest? I genuinely do not want someone if they do not want me. I’ve been working on consciously changing my regular dating patterns and impulses too. All of this heartache and internal work is going to set me up better for the next time I choose to be vulnerable with a potential partner. I follow Gina Hatzis (The Confidence Crusader) on tiktok and she posted a video which blew my mind. She said, we confuse emotional intelligence for emotional availability. That was so me in this situation and that’s why it hurt so much!! I thought we were getting close emotionally when if fact, I was talking with someone who is a pro at intellectualizing feelings instead of actually feeling them. He does have a psychology degree after all (yet another topic of interest we share)!

But, back to New York! My experiences with my roommate have not soured any desire to visit and possibly relocate to New York. I am thinking upstate, maybe closer to the Finger Lakes would be nice. My roommate told me about “ice wine” from the vineyards in the area and it’s unique to the Finger Lakes. It’s also gorgeous there and I follow a good number of photographers from Rochester. I’ve been researching their real estate market and making current plans for my future which will put me in a better earning position if/when I do relocate. My friend Jason said he’s never visited Niagara Falls and neither have I. Canada has opened up travel within the country, which is encouraging. Nova Scotia has done well at containing the Coronavirus and they have minimal new cases with the Delta variant. I’m hopeful I can visit New York and check out surrounding areas by next year. Hopefully I can meet my friend Jason, in person, at last!! Again, I am going to shoot for Spring to visit. Probably early April. So to anyone thinking my decision is rash and based completely on this failed relationship?? It’s not. I’m viewing my current experiences as yet another catalyst pushing me forward to something I’ve wanted in my heart already.

**I didn’t really edit this so pardon any glaring typos or breaks in flow.

My Latest Epiphany

So, I’ve realized I do this thing which attracts two very different types of people.

I pour love into people who really need it but don’t want it/can’t accept it/are too emotionally unavailable due to their own trauma. Then there’s the ones who want love (or attention?) but they also want EVERYTHING ELSE from me in the process, until I completely am used up and disappear within the relationship. Both types of people cannot return the love they receive. The first type can’t because they simply do not have the bandwidth or capacity because they’re so empty inside. They are trying to conserve what little reserves they do have.

The second type is a user and a taker. They don’t return the love they receive because they probably don’t really like me in the first place, but they like the perks of me giving everything I have. Why mess that situation up, right? It’s pretty damn cushy. And why not have someone take care of you, even if you’re not really attracted to them? One can always imagine they’re sleeping with someone else instead of the person (me) who is actually in their bed. That should work, right? Hell, lets even have a few kids and make the illusion look convincing and oh so picture perfect.

Mind you, these are two VERY different types of people but I seem to attract them both.

After deep introspection, I think I finally figured out why this has been my pattern for these 46 years. My biggest question of the week has been: Why the hell do I do this?! I’ve finally figured out the “why”. It’s because there’s so much unhealed pain in my own heart which I haven’t addressed. I haven’t been strong enough to address or face before until now. So, instead of pouring love into myself, I’ve given my love away to others. Emotional pain is the absolute worst and I never want anyone to feel what I’ve felt for most of my life. I’ve given lots of love and invested emotionally in people and I was under the idea that if I gave, they’d love me. If I gave enough, maybe I’d get some love back in return. If I gave enough, maybe they might see me as loveable and worthy of love and affection and the attention I have longed for. That selfless, codependent shit only pans out in movies or sitcoms. It’s not how relationships work in real life at all.

This has been a huge and really difficult epiphany to swallow. It’s been a really tough week but once I finally acknowledged some things, this revelation was able to spring forth. Like the Kool-aid man. Times five. I’m not going to lie, how I’ve felt lately is precisely why I do not let doctors prescribe me muscle relaxers or anything else I could use incorrectly/abuse. The last time I felt this shitty was back in 2018 when I mixed muscle relaxers with wine and lost a day. I got through that and I’ll get through this. It just sucks and personal growth can be a really painful process. It reveals all the little things about ourselves that need to change because they don’t serve us. It reveals all the poor coping mechanisms we’ve adopted along the way, which have run their course. Giving a lot of myself and giving to others might have worked when I was a kid. It may have gotten people to like me but as an adult, it simply leaves one spent and empty. Reenacting those painful childhood/young adulthood experiences and expecting a different outcome, instead of addressing the “why”, simply never works.

We’ll repeat the old wounds from the past until we are able to recognize our unhelpful patterns. We can heal these patterns once a new awareness is gained. It takes time, it’s uncomfortable and can be very painful along the journey but it’s so worth the joy which waits on the other side of the storm.

F*ck My Brain

Why is it I can be so compassionate with others, see their struggles, learn their triggers and understand their reactions and empathize but when it comes to showing myself compassion, I have nothing but scorn and anger/disappointment in myself? I’m working on the self empathy aspect of this equation but it’s damn difficult.

Anytime I have an emotion which I deem “undesirable”, I dig deep and try to find the root cause for my reaction. It’s exhausting internal work. I really don’t like who I am sometimes. Especially when my wounds pop up in unexpected places of my life. That anger and feeling set up to fail and feeling hung out to dry by a coworker? Turns out the scenario triggered unresolved anger towards my mother. As enlightening as this was, I still feel completely frustrated that I still have to heal this shit. Especially at age 46. My wounds and insecurities are still quite plentiful.

On the topic of insecurities, many of them revolve around the same theme: rejection. But it’s not simply rejection that triggers me. Rejection or perceived rejection brings up strong feelings/fears of inadequately. It brings up feeling like I am impossible to love. Hell, my mom couldn’t seem to love me (yup, this is how I’ve always felt), how could anyone else ever love me?? The unhelpful loop in my head of, “No one will ever choose you, love you or want to be with you” has gotten louder over the past few weeks. When this cycle of self loathing hits, it’s a tough one to break out of and it effects pretty much everything. To cope, I get high, which only delays my dealing with the emotions.

I genuinely do feel unloveable. My past relationships have been with people who wanted me around when I was happy or when I could offer them something. When my ability to be happy or to give ran dry, I was seen in a less favorable light. When I was going through therapy, in the beginning, and all sorts of painful stuff was being addressed. I was not able to be happy. I was a walking, open wound. Couple that with being brushed aside because you can’t function like before? It creates more wounds and makes me very scared to be vulnerable, but I’m doing my best to push through. I didn’t realize the internal work I started 7 years ago was just a scratch on the surface. I see that now though! I’ve come quite far but I’m finding that some of my core wounds are now popping up, ready to be addressed.

Rejection and feelings of inadequacy are the perfect storm for jealousy to thrive. Jealousy is a dangerous one and I don’t like it at all. How many people have been murdered due to jealousy?? I know that’s a pretty grim thought, but asking this rhetorical question gives one an idea how strong an emotion jealousy is. Jealousy makes me feel like I’m going insane or certainly heading in that direction. I hate it. I feel out of control, which is yet another trigger of jealousy. The pattern for me is: Feeling out of control that I’ve been rejected, probably for not measuring up in some way and having zero control over what is happening to you. It’s the perfect storm.

Now, I am fully aware that my feelings are mine to address, heal and evaluate. They are not the responsibility of anyone else to “fix” and my reactions and triggers are mine. Even if others set them off. Those around us are our mirror. They show us what we need to heal, if we’re aware and open to the work. I’m open, I’m willing but god damn. It’s fucking hard sometimes.