Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thursday Therapy: Opaque as Cellophane Tape

The other day N says to me out of the blue, “You miss BJ, don’t you?” Good lord, I thought, where did that come from?

Trying not to look too surprised I got all clever and said, “Huh?” followed by “Whadya mean?” (Yeah, cause I totally rock at the quick answer. Totally.)

N said (and sometimes I must say he amazes me with his 11-year-old insight into things), “You’re just with Dad because he needs someone to take care of him aren’t you? But you really want to be with BJ.”

Well, that stopped me dead in my tracks. Here I’ve been telling myself I’m playing the role without too much trouble, at least for appearances’ sake, and yet my son saw right through me. I wanted to ask what gave me away. I wanted to know what I hadn’t done quite right. I wanted to “fix it up” so nobody else would catch on to the act. But I didn’t. He’s my son. He’s a kid. He deserves to be a kid without the worries of how his parents’ relationship is doing.

So I covered. . . the best I could. . . the best I knew how at the time. . .

I said, “When people get married it is a very serious commitment, one that people shouldn’t take lightly. I am living up to my commitment to your dad, and I will be taking care of him for the rest of his life. It’s what I promised to do when I married him. Don’t make promises you don’t intend to keep.” The words sounded hollow to me, and I wondered if they sounded hollow to N.

I’m not sure I gave him the best answer. I’m not sure what I should have said. And this, ladies and gentlemen, will be my #1 topic for next Tuesday’s session with my counselor – how do I talk with N and model behavior for N that is helpful and not hurtful to N? What is okay to say and not okay to say? How do I navigate these shark-infested waters without losing an arm or a leg, or worse yet causing N to do so?

And what do I say when N says, again, “I sure miss BJ” without having tears roll down my cheeks as I think “Me too”?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Just a Short Update

I have never before in my life had a job where so many people assumed that I am moron with no knowledge and no skills to do my job and react with such surprise when I do something right.

Just shoot me now.

I am in hell.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sunday Stealing: The Halloween Meme

A major caveat is due at the beginning of this meme. I am not an aficionado of horror movies in general, at least not the bloody gory kind. Suspense thrillers are great. Watching hapless horny teens being stabbed multiple times, no thank you, not interested, move on. Therefore the answers below may sometimes be a bit flip, slightly sarcastic or answer an entirely different question than the one asked. And you know what? There ain’t a darned thing you can do about it ‘cept steal this meme and do it yourself in the manner in which you believe it should be done.

1. What is your favorite written work of horror fiction? The Shining by Stephen King

2. What is your favorite work of science fiction/fantasy? Star Trek, but only the original TV series and the movies starring the original cast, not the multiple mutated spinoffs and wannabes that came later.

3. Who is your favorite monster? Personally, I find it interesting when people answer Frankenstein to this or any question asking about a monster. Frankenstein was not the monster’s name. Frankenstein was the name of the doctor who created the monster. I don’t know that the monster even had a name.

4. What is your favorite Horror movie? I mostly like Hitchcock movies like Psycho and Rear Window and The Birds. For more current stuff, I mostly won’t see it unless it is based on a Stephen King novel, and the movie is never as good as the original book.

5. What horror movie gives you the most chills? The one played in the theater with the thermostat set lowest.

6. What character from any horror film would you most like to play? Whichever one I would get paid most to play.

7. Freddy or Jason? While Freddy as a part of Mystery Inc. was okay I always found him a bit bland for my taste, and a little too much like some rich frat rat dude with nothing substantial to offer in the way of brains, brawn, or any other useful quality and provided little in comparison to the humor of Shaggy and Scooby or the intelligence of Velma. Freddy and Daphne were obviously just the eye candy on the show. On the other hand, Jason Bateman is one of those rare child stars who has managed to extend acting into his adulthood in actual adult roles without going nuts and jumping up and down on Oprah’s sofa. Not to mention that he is a real person rather than a fictional character. Therefore, I pick Jason over Freddy.

8. What is your favorite Halloween treat? Almond Joy. I know, not a traditional favorite Halloween candy, but as a kid that was the only time I ever got the creamy, coconutty, crunchy goodness of the Almond Joy. Mmm. . . wonder if they have those in the vending machine at work. . . Hmm, may be time for a little field trip to the break room.

9. Ghosts or goblins? Having no idea what a goblin even is, I’ll have to go with ghosts on this one. At least I know what I’m voting for that way.

10. Friendly-faced jack-o'-lantern or scary one? Honestly, are any jack-o’-lanterns scary? I mean truly scary? I think not. It’s hard to take any punkin head too seriously.

11. What is your scariest encounter with the paranormal? Fighting with something growing in the back of the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. I do believe the moldy jello took on a life of its own.

12. Do you believe in ghosts? Why or why not? I am ambivalent on this topic. As a teen my family lived in a house where the husband/father of the family who lived there just previous to us hung himself in the basement. I often felt a “presence” around the house that I was certain back then was his ghost. However, as an adult I tend to think it was more an overactive adolescent imagination than a real ghost. However, I’m not totally convinced that ghosts don’t exist so yes, I am firmly ambivalent on the topic.

13. Would you rather be a zombie, alien, or psycho? Psycho because psychos have more fun.

14. Favorite Halloween costume? Cereal killer, when I dressed in a black sweatsuit covered in single serving boxes of cereal and carried a bloody knife.

15. Best thing about Halloween? Candy

16. Person in your family who most likes Halloween (not counting yourself)? N of course. He lives for the chocolaty goodness of the neighborhood plundering.

17. Are you superstitious? Lordy yes. I don’t have Southern roots for nothing you know. Ain’t nobody more superstitious than good ole’ southern country folk.

18. Share an unusual Halloween story. Once upon a time, a young boy was looking forward to Halloween. He went to his mom and asked for a costume that was not only inexpensive but easy to make. When she finished making the costume the boy tried it on. It fit perfectly and he exclaimed over how wonderful it was and was exactly what he wanted. On Halloween night, the weather was beautiful. The sky was clear and the temperature was not too warm nor too cold. The mother took her soon trick or treating. Soon, after just a few houses, the boy announced that he had enough candy and would like to go home and help hand out candy to the trick or treaters who came to their door. Upon arriving home, the boy found that only one of his treats was something he did not like and happened to be his mother’s favorite. He offered it to her politely and she gratefully accepted. He told his mother how wonderful she was to him and that it would be his greatest pleasure if she would put her feet up and enjoy some of her favorite TV programs while he handed out the Halloween treats. (Now that, my friends, is one unusual Halloween story, and of course, total fiction.)

19. What did you do for Halloween as a kid? Trick or treat with the neighborhood kids, usually about six or eight of us all together.

20. What's the best Halloween party that you've attended? Umm, the Fall Festival I coordinated at church several years ago. The kids, and the adults, had a blast. I dressed in a cat costume, a big furry one, and it was hot (in the sweaty I-might-pass-out way, not the OMG she’s-so-hawt way). We had good old fashioned fun, like bobbing for apples (most kids, and some adults, had never bobbed for apples before!) and a cake walk, and some newer type fun like face painting. We served witches’ brew (root beer poured over dry ice in a tub so the fog rolled out). It was great fun. I would love to do it again sometime if I ever have the energy.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Work Just May Kill Me

Sometimes I think I suffer from behavioral issues from which no one else suffers.  Then I think that can’t be right.  There must be other people who screw up as bad or worse than I do. 

Then I think, well sure, people sitting in jail right now have screwed up worse than me, but not just regular, normal people. . . not the people with whom I come in contact regularly.  They don’t fuck up and obsess over it like I do.  I’m sure of it.  They are competent.  They are capable.  They do what they are supposed to do. 

I, on the other hand, let stupid little things become huge roadblocks for me.  I (and don’t for a minute think that I don’t know that I, and I alone, are setting those roadblocks there) set up roadblocks so high I don’t just trip and fall over them.  I walk face first right into them and smack my nose.

There are things at which I am very good.  Then there those things at which I totally and completely suck.  Most of my job entails doing things at which I am very good.  A very small part of my job entails doing things at which I totally and completely suck.  It is this small part of my job that I am letting become a total roadblock to me.

It started small, and I built it up into a huge ugly massive thing.  It is now a big and bad problem.  You see, because it was something at which I suck I let it slide.  The longer I let it slide the worse it became because it was compounded by the whole not meeting contractual deadlines thing.  However, because it is such a little thing nobody really noticed, and rather than doing something proactive about it I just let it slide further.  Now it has gotten to a point where it has been noticed, and it must be handled, and of course, now I look like a way bigger idiot than if I had just spoken up way early on and admitted to being in over my head.

However, the reason I didn’t speak up and admit to being in over my head is that the only reason it is something I don’t do well is because it hits into some of my fears and phobias.  I develop huge anxiety over it, and it just becomes this thing that I just can’t face.  Also, I’m embarrassed to say to a supervisor that I’m having difficulty with a certain thing because of how my fears and phobias are holding me back from being able to do certain pieces of it.  You have no idea how badly I want to get over, get through, get beyond this phobia.  You have no idea how my heart pounds and the sweat pours just thinking about having to do it.

And now. . . now I am to a point where I have to meet with my supervisor today and update him on how I am coming on completing the task.  And I’m terrified.  And I don’t have a clue what to say.  And part of me just wants to quit and walk away from a job that 98% of the time I love just because of this one little thing.  Part of me just doesn’t want to face the humiliation of how badly I have let things get out of control because of one little thing. . . one tiny little thing that I built up into a huge concrete roadblock.  One reason I’m terrified is that when I’ve tried to talk to friends (and I’ve only really tried to talk to two) about this they’ve reacted like I’m from Mars because they can’t understand how anyone could let such a teeny tiny little thing be so overwhelming.  There has been no empathy nor have there been any suggestions beyond, “Just get over it and do it.  It isn’t that bad.”  Oh, if I could hear those words and then somehow magically be able to apply them!  Do you think I wouldn’t do it if it were that easy?  Yet I fear my supervisor will be even less sympathetic than my friends.  I fear that he is going to think the worst of me. . . that I’m irresponsible (and yes, I think in this instance I am) and untrustworthy (in some ways I am that too because you ought to be able to trust your employees to come to you when there’s a problem and I didn’t) and way beyond hope (but I don’t think I’m beyond hope, at least I hope not).

If you don’t hear from me for some time you will know that I either:
(1)   Quit my job and ran off to join the circus or
(2)   Fell dead of a heart attack from the extreme anxiety while talking to my supervisor about this

Damn.  I’m not sure which one to hope for. . . either one feels better right now than trying to have this discussion with my supervisor.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thursday Therapy: Phoenix Aspirations

Tuesday’s therapy session was weighed down with trying to help me manage on a day-to-day basis with W back in the house. It is a heavy burden. It is weighing me down mightily. It is a symptom of a much larger problem. It’s that same larger problem that pervades every corner of my life. It is ugly, and I am trying my damnedest to dig it up while at the same time doing everything in my power to ignore it. Ah, the joys of a twisted psyche.

I am a people pleaser. I have this insanely strong desire to please everyone, make everything right, to be the good girl, to earn the praises of being the best. I will twist myself up in pretzels trying to be whatever it is that someone wants me to be. Then I expect them to appreciate my efforts so much that they want to bend over backwards for me too. But they don’t bend over backwards being what I want. They are just who they genuinely are. I want to accept them just as they are. I want to just go with the flow. But then I want them to accept me just as I am. I want them to just go with the flow.

Now, cycle through that process a few times, get burned each and every time, and wonder what the hell is wrong. Stepping back and seeing it in black and white in that paragraph above it seems so obvious. Of course I can come close to pleasing others by turning myself inside out to be as close to what they want me to be as I can, but I can’t sustain it over time. I’m sure it is surprising as I change before their eyes into more of my real authentic self than the person I have tried and tried to be. One can hardly blame them for feeling deceived and disappointed, and rather than what they thought they were getting they have me. When I show my authentic self after winning them over with a totally different persona, of course they cannot be expected to be overly charmed with this stranger who has shown up in place of who they thought I was.

Yet I still don’t have the self confidence to present to the world my authentic self. It is deeply ingrained in me that I will never be good enough without putting on a disguise, hiding behind a persona that is not in the least like the real me. I remember as I was growing up I thought that I had no opinions of my own because I was so easily swayed in first one direction and then another. I look back and think that perhaps it was more open mindedness than having a lack of opinions. I could listen to one side of an argument and understand and empathize. Listening to the other side I could understand and empathize. It just took me a while to come around to deciding what I thought were right courses of action and wrong courses of action. I tend to think that those who are dead set on being right on issues at a young age are those who prefer not to think for themselves but have someone else they respect tell them how to think. I know it sounds like I’ve gotten off track here, but I haven’t. This is going somewhere. (I think.) Hang on.

Because I took time to form opinions, because I listened to all sides, because I was afraid that I would come off as wishy-washy or worse yet stupid for not knowing the right side of an issue to be on I would adopt the opinions of whomever I was around for the amount of time I was around them. It was a strategy that worked to a certain extent, at least it worked well enough that I was somewhat comfortable with it. What it also did was push me towards forming my own opinions, quietly though so as not to cause upset, as I would listen to arguments and in my mind shoot holes in them, listen to other points of view and shoot holes in them, and come up with my own individual synthesis of a viewpoint on an issue. The thing is though I rarely, if ever, spoke my viewpoints out loud. I rarely, if ever, went against the prevailing attitude of the crowd.

Is it any wonder people didn’t like me? Is it any wonder that they didn’t want me around? Why on earth did I think this strategy was working for me? On some level I knew it wasn’t, but I worked on changing the wrong thing. I tried to change myself to be more like what others wanted to see, to believe what others wanted me to believe. I tried to stop acting and genuinely change to be those things that I thought I needed to be to be accepted. However, that just didn’t work. Instead of changing the core being of me I needed to change my own perception of me. I needed to see that I was and am, just as I am, a valuable and worthy and decent human being. I needed to change my expectations of myself and what defined success and failure. I needed to loosen up and give myself permission to be ME, my authentic and genuinely true self. (Oh the irony that I picked that name when I started this blog.)

I have faults. We all do. I have to stop beating myself up about mine. I am doing myself no favors with all my negative self talk. As Stuart Smalley as it seems to me, I do understand that as long as I berate myself rather than praise myself I am hurting myself rather than helping. I may not go around repeating, "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me." However, I’m going to try to stop going around repeating, “I’m a fucking idiot. I hate myself. How could I be so stupid?” (And yes, that is what I pretty much repeat to myself day in and day out.)

BTW, my dear imaginary internet friends, you are the folks that are keeping me from losing it altogether, even the most critical of you. You are proof that there is something redeeming in me, something worthy enough in me to keep you coming back here. There is something in me that’s positive, even if it is that I can provide an interesting, or humorous, or tragic, or moving inside look at a slow moving but very powerful train wreck. Of course, I may just turn out not to be a train wreck at all but a beautiful phoenix rising from the ashes somewhere down the road, and won’t that just surprise us all?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Poll Results re: Men Who Cheat

Oh so long ago, I posted a poll in the sidebar. This was back when I was feeling rather defensive over certain comments I was getting on certain posts. As always, a defensive response does indeed indicate an admission of guilt on a certain level. I am full aware of that. Yet, one thing kept sticking in my craw. That one thing had to due with how many people seemed to be throwing the blame my way that married men with whom I’ve had sex were cheating. So anyway, once cooler heads prevailed, I realized that I was twisting their words in my head as badly as some were twisting my words in theirs – particularly given the results of the poll.

Now I have absolutely no interest in going back and rehashing the whole issue. It seems that most have had their say and most anything any of us might say now would just be to restate prior points. I’m just posting this so that I have a record of it here in the blog without leaving it, ad infinitem, in the sidebar. Besides, I needed room for the new poll in the sidebar, also about cheating. (So head over and vote now!)

All that said, if you do think you have something new to add (notice I said “something new to add” not “something that’s been said eleventy thousand times before but if you say it just once more maybe people will all agree with you”) feel free to leave comments. Or don’t. Whatever.  About all I'll say here is that I was really surprised that one person actually selected "It’s nobody’s fault, it just happens."  Really?  Was that a serious answer?  Really?


The married man.............11   50.0%
The man’s wife.............. 1     4.5%
The other woman.............. 0     0.0%
Combo of the married man and other woman.............. 4   18.2%
It’s nobody’s fault, it just happens.............. 1     4.5%
Other.............. 5   22.7%
TOTALS............ 22 100.0%

Just one other note. The percentages up there actually add to 99.9%. It’s little crap like that which will drive my little nit pickin’ brain nuts, but I had to check it out. It turns out you have repeating decimals ala 4.54, then 4.545 then 4.5454 with the 45 repeating forever. I thought it would be just perhaps a little too anal retentive and/or OCD to show too many decimals in the table above, and thanks to the repeating decimals in all but the 11 (which of course is exactly half of 22) no matter how many decimals you report your last column always is either a 9 or a 1 so I was never going to get my perfect 100% no matter what.

Yes, okay, too anal, I know, I know, I know! Just remember it’s focusing on these things that keeps me from dwelling on the other crap in my life that I can’t deal with. In other words, if I didn’t have my little obsessions with numbers I’d probably go stark raving bonkers so just back off. Back off and I won’t have to hurt you with my calculator, ‘kay?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sunday Stealing: The ABC's of Meme

I’m pretty sure I’ve done an ABCs meme before, but this one has several items that look new to me so I’m plunging right on in here. See if you learn anything new about me.

A- Advocate for: adequate healthcare for all

B- Best Feature: Well, I just said nose last week to a similar question but that was a question specifically about physical features. This question is more open that that so I’ll say my “live and let live” attitude that I have more often than not (though there are some notable exceptions).

C- Could do without: W

D- Dreams and desires: A man who would take care of me for a change instead of me always having to take care of the man.

E- Essential items: God's love and forgiveness, Illini loyalty, peace of mind, sense of security, and always a government issued photo ID

F- Favorite past time: playing piano

G- Good at: blowjobs (I know, that was gross and tacky and not what you wanted to read. Nevertheless, I have had a lot of compliments and been told that I’m good at them. So there it is.)

H- Have never tried: Skiing, either water or snow

I- If I had a million dollars: I would pay off my mortgage, put W in an assisted living facility, donate to charity, invest the rest, quit my job, get a part-time low stress job, and volunteer a lot at N’s school.

J- Junkie for: Chocolate

K- Kindred spirit: Each of the following in one way or another: J, BJ, Drama, JeniAngel, Val.

L- Little known fact: This is a tough question only because I’ve revealed so much on my blog that are little known facts IRL so chances are whatever I reveal now you may have read before. Hmm. . . okay, I’m pretty sure this one is truly little known: I still have the shirt I bought for BJ’s Halloween costume last year in the same bag from when I bought it. We ended up not going to the Halloween party we were to attend because I was sick. I didn’t know what to do with the shirt and always kind of thought I’d just give it to him sometime, but I never did so there it sits, in its bag, unworn and unloved.

M- Memorable moment: Attending parent child Illini basketball camp with N a few years ago and getting to talk to Dee Brown in person. OMG, there is no one on earth more personable or likable than Dee Brown.

N- Never again will I: give my heart to any man without knowing for sure that he is capable and willing to give his heart to me.

O- Occasional indulgence: sex with inappropriate people

P- Profession: Certified Pain in the Ass, bean counter and number cruncher.

Q- Quote: Husbands are chiefly good as lovers when they are betraying their wives. -- Marilyn Monroe (I'm not saying I agree with this quote but just that I found it interesting and particularly interesting given who said it.)

R- Reason to smile: lunchtime with M today

S- Sorry about: ever believing in BJ

T- Things you are worrying about right now: an undone and overdue work assignment, W’s health (congestive heart failure is acting up again without an obvious cause), personal finances

U- Uninterested in: being someone I’m not just to please someone else

V- Very scared of: independence (also spiders)

W- Worst habits: picking nose, biting fingernails, twirling hair around my finger

Y- Yummiest dessert: Hot fudge brownie sundae

X- X marks my ideal vacation spot: San Juan, Puerto Rico

Z- Zodiac sign: Taurus, the bull, stubborn, slow to anger, but really nasty once angered. Yep, that’s me!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thursday Therapy: Longings

No therapy this past Tuesday even though it would have normally been scheduled then. No, due to scheduling conflicts we are shifting a week and will resume every other Tuesday at lunchtime next Tuesday.

At first I was a bit distressed at going three weeks instead of two between my last session and my next one. It seemed we really started to dig down into the vilest ugliest places of my psyche at the last session, and I was eager to continue. I do want to get better no matter how it may seem to the outsider.

However, in its infinite wisdom the universe gave me an extra week to mull things over, and fight off a nasty virus, and get over not getting the coveted workplace promotion that three of us vied for but only one could have. Yes, there has been plenty going on and not nearly enough time to digest it and process it and put it all in proper perspective.

And then there was last weekend. Sigh. . . It seemed I’d been moving on fairly well without thinking much about BJ, or at least not dwelling on him, and then for whatever reason, maybe too much time on my hands, last weekend I missed him. It was the first time in a while that I really yearned for him, and I couldn’t seem to shake it. That feeling clung to me like a cobweb clings to your hair long after you’re over the initial shock of walking into it. No matter how I tried distracting myself the thoughts, the feelings, the temptation to give him a call, stayed right there with me all weekend.

Fortunately, the work week rolled around and work managed to occupy my thoughts. Plus M and I were able to spend lunchtime together on Monday, and that was very nice. It looks like M and I are going to develop a once or twice a week lunchtime thing. M’s a really nice guy, probably not the type of person I would normally hang around with, but that just makes it that much nicer of a friendship. We come from two completely different worlds and have very different outlooks on many things, but we enjoy each other’s company and enjoy our conversations as well as the benefits that inure with an FWB relationship. It’s as much F as it is B, and that’s important to me. It seems to be to M also.

In some ways, my relationship with M helps me to define myself to myself as autonomous from W even if W is living in my house. I continue to operate, in large part, as a single woman. It’s just that now instead of having one person to care for, N, I have two, N and W. W is by far the more difficult of the two even with N’s preteen fits of independence. Where N hears and understands my boundaries and at least as the decency to feel somewhat guilty when crossing them, W is clueless. He either doesn’t hear, doesn’t understand or doesn’t care what my boundaries are. He is the same old W. He will agree to whatever I ask and then completely ignore my request and do things the way he wanted in the first place. Same old shit. Round and round we go.

So what does any of this have to do with therapy and me getting better and working through my issues and coming out a better person on the other side? Isn’t that what these Thursday Therapy posts are supposed to be about?

Well, let’s see. I am coming around to understanding some of the dynamics of what I do and why. I am starting to see a little bit what purpose certain actions serve for me. That’s really an essential understanding if I am ever going to change because no matter how many times I try through sheer will power to avoid certain behaviors I fail. I fail because there are unmet needs within me and until I find out what those needs are and healthy ways of meeting those needs I don’t stand a chance of making long lasting changes. I can lump a lot of behaviors together in the category of Thing TS Does to Try to Meet Needs She Can’t or Won’t Acknowledge. Overeating is right in there. So is lying. Oh, and here’s having sex with inappropriate people. Yes, there are a number of behaviors that I see more and more clearly have a common root. I haven’t quite just yet ferreted out those unmet needs and even once I do I’m sure it will take some time to come around to finding, accepting, and utilizing more healthy alternatives in order to meet those needs.

I’m fairly certain the need to be accepted as I am is one of those unmet needs, and I’m pretty sure that I am the one who is going to have to accept myself as I am before anyone else can be expected to do so.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sunday Stealing: The Magical Mystery Tour Meme

1. Is there anybody you just wish would fall off the planet? Yes, W.

2. How do you flush the toilet in public? I don’t understand this question. After all, even in a public restroom the toilet is in a private stall so hmm, I don’t know. I think I just push the handle same as always unless it’s one of them there new fangled automatic ones then I don’t do anything at all but walk away.

3. Do you wear your seatbelt in the car? Yes, because wearing it outside of the car gets very uncomfortable.

4. Do you have a crush on someone? Yes.

5. Name one thing you worry about running out of. Safety.

6. What famous person do you (or other people) think you resemble? Camryn Manheim

7. What is your favourite pizza topping? Green Olives

8. Do you crack your knuckles? Used to, but don’t anymore

9. What song do you hate the most? The Wheels on the Bus

10. Did just mentioning that song make it get stuck in your head? Of course

11. What are your super powers? Ability to screw up my life like no one else can.

12. Peppermint or spearmint? Wintergreen.

13. Where are your car keys? In my purse.

14. Last song you listened to? I have no idea, but I’m sure it was some hiphop thing on the radio when taking N to school this morning.

15. What's your most annoying habit? Not trusting the man I love enough to give myself completely to him.

16. Where did you last go on vacation? Indiana.

17. What is your best physical feature? My nose.

18. What CD is closest to you right now? Physically? Drive by Alan Jackson

19. What 3 things can always be found in your refrigerator? Milk, ketchup, peanut butter (I buy the natural kind that has to be refrigerated)

20. What superstition do you believe/practice? See a penny, pick it up. . .

21. What colour are your bed sheets? Blue

22. Would you rather be a fish or a bird? Bird

23. Last thing you broke? My own heart

24. What are you having to eat tonight? Chicken, mashed potatoes, broccoli, rolls, and green salad

25. What colour shirt are you wearing? Pink

26. If you could be doing anything else today, what would you rather be doing? Sleeping (I’m still fighting the residual weariness and phlegm from the virus from hell)

27. Do security cameras make you nervous? No, they actually make me feel, well, more secure

28. If you wrote a book about your life, what would the title be? She Cared Too Much about the Wrong Things

29. Last time you went to a cemetery? Gosh, it’s been a while, so long I can’t remember

30. Last concert you went to? Gosh, it’s been a while, so long I can’t remember

31. Favourite musician(s)/bands you've seen in concert? Dan Fogelberg (oh come on, you had to know the answer to that one)

32. Next concert you're planning to attend? I have no plans currently, but if you’d like to invite me. . .

33. Do you talk to yourself? Of course! Anyone who says they don’t is lying. . . or really really well adjusted.

34. Have you ever adopted or purchased a pet? Yes, both. Adopted our current dog from the humane society because we just wanted a lovable mutt. Purchased our former dog from a reputable breeder before I discovered I’m more the lovable mutt type.

35. Have you ever been present when an animal is being born? Sort of. I’ve been in the vicinity when I was a little kid but my parents wouldn’t let me get close enough to see anything. In their minds, it isn’t the sort of thing children should know about.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Niggling Details

After W moved out and when things seemed good with BJ I went and changed all my emergency contact information from W to BJ. I didn’t want W to be the first notified if something horrible happened to me at work, for instance, and HR looked up my emergency contact information. I wanted BJ to know.

It just dawned on me this morning that I guess I now need to go back and change all that emergency contact information. BJ is no longer the correct person to notify. I don’t think he would even want to know anything about what’s happening with me. However, as much as it might be the proper thing to do, I don’t want W to be my emergency contact either.

I guess I’ll go with my parents. I can’t think of anyone else.

Oh, and the plague I’ve been suffering from this week? Well, it’s getting better if by better you mean that I periodically cough up great gobs of green goo but otherwise feel my energy returning slowly bit by bit. Yeah, I think I’ll count that as better.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Thursday Therapy: How Mental & Physical Health Intertwine

My body rebelled against me in a big way over the past week. I believe to the core of my being that mental health issues, particularly related to how one deals with stressors in one’s life, impact one’s physical health. I believe that the reason that what has occurred did occur was in large part due to my out of control internal stress and turmoil of recent weeks. That and the fact that this woman strolled around the book fair at N’s school coughing on all sorts of things and in the air in general and just spread her nasty ass virus to the weak among us (yes meaning me).

A week ago Tuesday or Wednesday I suffered a killer of a sinus headache one afternoon, a headache that could not be eased by means of over the counter medications meant for that purpose. . . UNTIL my nose started to run, which it did later that day and on into the next couple of days. The headache was gone, but the misery was just beginning. By Friday I was certain I had a head cold, but it didn’t seem so awfully bad. Surely a little over the counter medicine and a bit of extra rest would keep me going. Besides, I had a party to attend on Friday night, a party I very much didn’t want to miss.

So I went to the party on Friday night after having used nasal spray to help me breathe. The party turned out to be a total bust. Almost nobody showed, and those that did disbanded about 45 minutes into it. In a way it was a relief because it meant heading home to bed and to rest and to kick this blasted cold.

Saturday dawned, and the cold was still there but seemingly no worse than before. I slept in. Once I was up and dressed I took N to a matinee showing of Toy Story and Toy Story 2 in 3D. After all, I figured how much harder could it be to sit in a theater than to sit at home in front of the TV? After that we went home, and I took a nap.

Sunday came and went with little notice on my part. I dozed a while, then I’d get up and pee, and then go back to bed and doze a while more. W took N to church in the morning. I have no idea what they did that afternoon. I dozed some more. I managed to get up and come downstairs for dinner and to watch The Amazing Race on TV. Then it was back to bed.

Monday rolled around. Surely I was getting better. I’d done practically nothing all weekend. I got up, showered, dressed, went to work, blew my nose a lot, fought to stay awake, became annoyed at the sore throat that was closing in on me, and collapsed at home when the work day ended. I took my temperature after N teased me that my face was positively red even while I was freezing and shivering under a blanket. It read 100.0 F. Okay, not too bad but not normal either.

Tuesday and Wednesday I stayed home from work. I slept some more. I slept quite a lot. Occasionally I got up but not for long and mostly just to pee although sometimes it was to sit in the recliner for a while because my back was sore when I stayed in bed too long. My temperature fell to normal by Tuesday bedtime, but I was too wiped out to attempt work on Wednesday. I’m not totally convinced I should have come in today.

So what the hell does this have to do with my mental health? Maybe not a whole lot, but I do think there is a connection. I think my immune system has been impacted by a combination of stress and bad eating habits contributed to by stress. Maybe stress isn’t even the right word for it. Maybe it is more just emotions generally. I’ve certainly been awash in those as of late.

Then again maybe it’s just God getting me to rein it in the only way possible, making me physically unable to get out of bed for longer than an hour or two at a time for the last four out of five days. It certainly gave me a long time to think, or at least for ideas to kind of just roll around in my head. I’m not sure my thinker was thinking all that well.

Anyway, this ain’t much of a Thursday Therapy post, but then I ain’t much of a functioning person this week so you’re lucky you got this much.

As an aside, N has suffered mightily from this virus too even though I’m the only one that caught it. Today is his birthday, and I am woefully unprepared. At least he’s old enough to understand that sometimes birthday presents don’t arrive exactly on one’s birthday and that we can have a little party for his friends in a week or two and combine birthday and Halloween fun all in one.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

100 Things About Me

So I know it's the cool thing to do a 100 Things post.  I haven't done one up until now, mostly because I'm too much of a slacker to try to put 100 things together at one time.  However, I've worked on this for a while now and finally here it is.  Besides I thought we needed to lighten up around here just a little bit, at least for a little while.

One hundred things nobody ever cared to know about Trueself.
  1. I love to be in the spotlight.
  2. In spite of #1, I am incredibly shy.
  3. I’m afraid of just about everything except my own shadow.
  4. When I’m in front of an audience, however, I am quite confident as long as I don’t have to ad lib.
  5. I’m a wiseass.
  6. My sarcasm gets me in trouble repeatedly, particularly with people with little sense of humor.
  7. My dad has always used sarcasm, a lot, to make his point about things.
  8. I learned from my dad how to be passive aggressive.
  9. My dad and I both excel at passive aggressive behavior.
  10. My mom is the classic martyr who sacrifices for others only to make sure those for whom she has sacrificed know just how much she has sacrificed for them.
  11. I learned from my mom how to martyr myself.
  12. Deep down, more than anything, I want to manipulate people into doing things my way.
  13. I bend over backwards trying to please others.
  14. The reason I do this is because I expect those for whom I have bent over backwards will turn around and do the same for me.
  15. They don’t.
  16. I want everyone to like me.
  17. They don’t.
  18. I am a walking pile of contradictions.
  19. I love to play the piano.
  20. I rarely play the piano anymore because every time I sit down to do so N is right there wanting me to let him play although he never wants to play any other time.
  21. I wish BJ had shown interest in hearing me play the piano, but he never once asked me to play for him.
  22. When I was in high school I was involved in almost everything musical and theatrical.
  23. I miss being involved in music and theater.
  24. I miss being on the stage.
  25. I miss the costumes and makeup.
  26. I miss the rehearsals every evening.
  27. I miss the friends I had who were and continue to be very involved in fine arts.
  28. I would love to find the time to get involved in community theater.
  29. I am not a good pianist.
  30. Being a good pianist isn’t the point of playing for me.
  31. When I do play the piano it is very therapeutic for me and calms my soul.
  32. I was 27 when I married W.
  33. I was still too young to get married at 27.
  34. I married because I was afraid of being alone.
  35. That wasn’t a good reason for me to get married.
  36. I very much want to marry again some day.
  37. I am terrified to get married again.
  38. I’m afraid I’ll fail again.
  39. I wish N had a brother or sister.
  40. But I only wish that because he wants it so badly.
  41. It’s hard enough raising one child on my own.
  42. Although I would love to have a little girl.
  43. I love to read.
  44. I rarely read anything that isn’t online anymore.
  45. I ought to cancel my subscriptions to all the magazines I get and never read.
  46. Since I’m too lazy to cancel the subscriptions and they’re already paid for I’m just not renewing them when the subscriptions run out.
  47. My favorite magazines are the Utne Reader and the New Yorker.
  48. I have a subscription for Utne but not the New Yorker.
  49. I used to read the New Yorker in my therapist’s waiting room.
  50. Before that I used to read old copies in the cafeteria where I worked.
  51. For a while, due to a business W owned, we had a free subscription to the New Yorker.
  52. Have I mentioned that one of my favorite magazines is the New Yorker?
  53. Making a 100 Things list is a lot harder than it looks.
  54. Sometimes reconciling an account is a lot harder than it looks.
  55. Sometimes reconciliations are like trying to reconcile apples to oranges and figure out which one is more right or what adjustments one must make to make one equal the other.
  56. Reconciliations are one of the things I love about the work I do.
  57. Nothing feels better than getting a reconciliation balanced.
  58. At the end of the work day I want nothing more to do with accounting, financial analysis or reporting.
  59. I love a good numbers puzzle though like Sudokus, Kakuros, and the like.
  60. I love all forms of math until calculus.
  61. A poor teacher ruined calculus for me.
  62. I have a desire to go back to school and brush up on my math.
  63. I’d like to see if I would enjoy calculus this time with a different teacher.
  64. I have toyed with the idea of going to law school.
  65. I think I’m not jaded enough to be an attorney.
  66. I have toyed with the idea of going back to school and studying psychology.
  67. I like concrete ideas and hard and fast solutions to problems.
  68. Psychology probably wouldn’t be a good fit for me as a course of study.
  69. I want to enjoy my own uniqueness.
  70. But I want to be like everybody else.
  71. There is some appeal to me of having a job where I would listen to people as they talk about their problems and when they pause for a breath asking them, “and how does that make you feel?”
  72. Then again, I think I would get tired of listening to people talk about themselves in about three days. . . or sooner.
  73. When I started my job over two years ago we were supposed to have a new computer system in place within six months so I was told not to bother learning more than I had to about the old one.
  74. We still don’t have the new computer system in place so I guess it’s good I ignored what I was told and learned as much as I could about the old system.
  75. I have a ton of jewelry (not expensive).
  76. I rarely wear any jewelry.
  77. Most of my jewelry is still packed up from the last move.
  78. I used to wear a lot of jewelry almost every day.
  79. Somehow that changed when the depression hit.
  80. I still don’t think my depression meds are right yet.
  81. I certainly don’t ever feel as energetic or motivated as I used to pre-depression.
  82. I wear socks to bed in cold weather even if I don’t wear anything else.
  83. I feel slighted if a man doesn’t take his socks off when making love to me, as if it’s a message that somehow the event just isn’t that important to him.
  84. There have been times when I haven’t taken my socks off for sex, and it wasn’t because of a lack of importance of the event. It was solely to keep me from being too cold.
  85. I don’t know why I think that a man’s reason for keeping his socks on would be different from mine.
  86. Sometimes I like to sit down and have a good cry for nothing in particular but just as a way of letting off steam in general.
  87. I learned from my parents that crying is bad.
  88. I had not let my parents see me cry for over 25 years, but I did when I told my mom about splitting with W.
  89. I didn’t cry about the split because I didn’t want it but because it hurt to feel like such a failure in front of my parents.
  90. I grew up playing the role of “good girl” in my family.
  91. It’s a role I can’t seem to shake off of me.
  92. It’s also a role which I cannot live up to.
  93. That last sentence made me cringe a little because of ending the sentence with a preposition.
  94. Although I like proper grammar, I refuse to become too much of a stickler about it.
  95. One of my favorite words is “ain’t.”
  96. I’m also a fan of “gonna.”
  97. I ain’t gonna quit this list until I hit 100 no matter how painful it gets.
  98. I’m only 5’7” but almost always have to buy tall sizes for pants to be long enough.
  99. Sleeves on the other hand tend to be much too long on me even in average sizes.
  100. It took me six months to compile this entire list.
Whew!  Glad that's over.  Now I can get back to regularly scheduled whining and shit.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Sunday Stealing: A Fall Meme

Haven’t done the Sunday Stealing in a while. Just haven’t been feeling it and had other things on my mind. Today, however, my mind is in the fogged up state one gets when one has a cold. Ah, the first cold of fall, just in time to screw up every plan I had for the weekend. (Perhaps it’s God’s way of getting me to slow down. . . or perhaps it’s just that stupid woman’s fault at the book fair last week who walked around coughing on everything the entire time I was there. Meh. . . whatever.)

A Fall Meme

It’s not really fall in until... N starts asking about plans for his birthday party.

What did you need to do in the waning days of summer for it to feel complete? Spend Labor Day weekend with my parents.

A person I know was wrong for me but about whom I frequently thought after a break-up was... well, obviously J would be the correct answer here, now wouldn’t he?

If you could only attend one major sporting event what would it be? Fighting Illini in the NCAA national basketball championship. (And if any of you didn’t know this answer you haven’t been reading here long enough and/or carefully enough.)

Assuming that you write an anonymous or partially anonymous blog, by what non-physically identifying characteristics might you be identified in a bar? One of few people around here who regularly uses “y’all” in conversation, I’d be drinking a Jack & Coke off at a table all by myself looking incredibly ill at ease, and when I did speak sarcasm would pour from my mouth unabated.

Most blogs cover some sort of niche – personal, political, dating, culinary, etc. What topic, if any, would you like to address on your blog but doesn’t fit into your niche? Since my niche, as it were, is my life it is hard to find things that wouldn’t fit there. However, I suppose if I started posting fiction that wouldn’t really fit, but then again I've never really felt the desire to post fiction here.

If you could manipulate the time space continuum and give as many as three pieces of advice to a younger version of yourself, what advice would you give and to what age of you?
#1 – I would tell eighth grade me to be more of a rabble rouser and to speak my truth whenever appropriate whether others liked it or not.
#2 – I would tell college me to study more, drink less, and ignore boys.
#3 – I would tell 20-something me to not worry so much about having a man in my life and getting married and that Mom was wrong when she said you’re an old maid if you aren’t married by 30 and too old to have kids after you’re 30.

Who among your friends do you really wish had a blog because their stories, or perspective on something ought to be shared? Most of the women in my bi group.

If you were to take an e-cation (vacation from the trappings of our electronic world,) and assuming that employment obligations would allow it, how long of a break could you take? One month.
What would you miss the most, the least? Most would be constant contact with the people I know around the world with whom my only (or almost only) contact is through the computer. Least would be all the emails to sort through day after day.

On September 11th of this year, I attended a couple of parties and was somewhat conflicted by the fact that this ignoble anniversary shall pass with it being just another day in the eyes of many (and in some ways my own eyes as well.) Thoughts? I think that is the normal way of things. As time goes by, dates that were fraught with meaning tend to see that meaning fade whether it is a tragedy felt just by a few or one felt by a nation or the world.

How high are your walls? Okay, I’m taking this to be metaphorical walls, the ones I have built around me to protect me from the ugliness of the world. Mine are pretty damned high and getting higher all the time.
Who was the last person to scale them? The last person to scale them was BJ. I let him into my inner sanctum in a way few ever get to enjoy.
What tools should would-be climbers have on their belt?  The tools would-be climbers should have on their belt would be empathy, understanding, patience, and enough $$ to buy me the occasional Jack & Coke.

The sexiest thing a man or a woman can say to you (or has said to you) is: It feels so good to hold you in my arms.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Thursday Therapy: Finally Sharing the Really BAD Stuff

As much as I like Freud and value his sessions with me up until this week I had never come 100% clean with him about all of my activities of a certain nature.  On Tuesday, that changed.  We talked about J in more detail than before.  We talked about M.  We talked about me and my proclivities for bedding married men.

I cried a lot as we talked about the part where I don’t believe that I deserve better or am worth more. Shoot I don’t even believe I deserve as good as I have! Examining this belief and its origins and trying to change it are extremely difficult and painful things to do. It takes me to places inside me that I don’t want to go. It’s scary, and it hurts. We barely scratched the surface the other day, and yet it feels as though we have ripped a very old, very rotten, very stuck bandage off of a huge festering wound. We’ve uncovered it, picked at the scab, and damn it hurts. I have a very long way to go.

Part of me so badly wants to duck and cover, run for my life, slam that door closed, never ever look at it again. Don’t look! It’s too ugly! However, I know if I go that route I will never get any better and could get even worse. I have to look. I have to face it. I have to see what it really is and only then can I find a way to get over it.

Had to set this aside for a bit as it got much too uncomfortable. As luck would have it I happened to cruise over to another blog I read occasionally, not a daily read but probably once a week or so I’ll pop in to see what’s what, and wouldn’t you know a few days back I’m the topic of discussion over there. Yes, hatred for the other woman is rampant. Sigh. . . What I find interesting is how much discussion it has warranted lately as though it were a new phenomenon in my life. Hell’s bells it’s been going on here from the time I started this blog. There is absolutely nothing new in it. Ah well, perhaps the new part is that readers thought I’d gotten myself together better and was in a better place than I had been in the past. If that’s the case I can see how they’d be disappointed.

Anyway, back to the ugliness and the work to conquer it. BTW I think that people are so used to reading stories of what has already happened so that the story they read ends with some lesson, some moral, some wisdom that it makes it difficult to read things in live time, as they are happening and detailing the very difficult and sometimes boring plodding details as they emerge and repeat through the cycle of progress, backslide, progress, backslide. That’s where we are here folks, right smack in the middle of it living it day to day, fighting the good fight every single day.

Right now the focus at hand is getting me to see myself as worth more. I have heard it said that it takes ten “atta boys” (or girls as the case may be) to outweigh one critical remark. Now, I don’t know if that’s true or if there is any scientific proof that ten is the magic number. Maybe it’s twelve. Maybe it’s six. Who knows? The fact remains though that people grow up believing the worst criticisms about themselves more than the boldest praises. Somehow it is easier to believe bad things about ourselves than good things. Many times, we’re taught not to believe too highly in ourselves. My parents certainly ingrained that in me.

I know that as far back as eighth grade I held a “You’re Okay, I’m Not Okay” belief. I remember it quite clearly because it was part of an assignment where we kept journals and turned them in on a regular basis to our teacher for her review and comments. She spoke to us one day about the book “I’m Okay, You’re Okay.” She explained that there are healthy and unhealthy ways of viewing the world:
I’m Okay, You’re Okay was the way we should see the world and how healthy people see the world.
I’m Okay, You’re Not Okay was the way egotists see the world and, according to my teacher, how too many of us see the world.
I’m Not Okay, You’re Not Okay was a bad way to see the world but I don’t remember exactly what my teacher said about it beyond that.
I’m Not Okay, You’re Okay was a very bad way to see the world and, according to my teacher, extremely rare.
I wrote in my journal that day about my feelings of not being okay, not being normal, not being like the other kids who were fine and normal and everything I wanted, but couldn’t, be. I felt very brave when I wrote it and turned it in. When my teacher returned my journal to me she had written in the margins by that entry: “This is very sad. You shouldn’t feel this way.”

Maybe she didn’t understand that I had written that entry as a cry for help, that I was hoping she would read it and realize that I needed assistance of some kind, counseling maybe, and would help me get that help. I realized when I got my journal back that was not going to happen, that I just had to not feel that way whether I knew how or not. The only kids who deserved help were the ones that were troublemakers, not a goody two shoes like me who never got in trouble, always turned in assignments on time or early, and did the extra credit assignments whether I needed to or not. No, kids like me didn’t need extra attention. I had it all. All except a decent sense of self-esteem and a feeling of belonging that is.

I shut up for a very long time.

Freud did not try to convince me in Tuesday’s session that I deserve better and am worth more. I appreciated that. He seemed to understand how deeply convinced I am that this is untrue. He understood that what we need to do is not dwell on that concept because at this moment in my heart of hearts I cannot believe it but to focus on really digging into the hurt and the pain and the muck and the mire that inhabits my psyche. He is helping me to find the end of the yarn in that muck so that I can work to untangle it and eventually get it back to its proper state in a neat and orderly ball.

I have a feeling it's going to take a very long time, but I also have a feeling that we are starting in the right place. As long as I don't back down from here and keep moving forward even when it hurts like hell I think I stand a chance of coming out the other side and maybe, just maybe, someday believe that I really do deserve better and am worth more than I ever give myself credit for. Yet even typing that, I shake my head, smile sadly, and think to myself, "or we'll just prove I've been right all along, and I'll never be okay."

It's going to be a very long road.