Wednesday, April 29, 2015

I have no place else to put this

First, since it has been awhile ... things are good with me.  My 18 month old daughter is (while spirited) delightful, I'm about to buy a house (hopefully I'll eventually get a loan despite that my credit isn't as great as it could be because I am bad about opening mail), and I have been loving my job for over 4 years now and am about to go on two international business trips.  I am happy.

The only time I think about this blog is when I think of texting guy.  I have been thinking about texting guy more than usual lately.  Something really awful happened in his life and I haven't been able to get it out of my mind, and I just feel completely and totally wrong that I didn't do more, heartbroken for him, helpless.  The reason I didn't do anything (other than a very carefully worded email) was mostly because I was paralyzed... and thinking that it would be completely and totally wrong TO do more.

I care about him so much, and I just feel like something is so wrong and off that he is not in my life at all, that I found out about his recent tragedy through a mutual friend... it's just an awful, horrible feeling that I can't describe.  I wonder if he knows I had a breakdown and went to the psych ward in December.  I wonder if our mutual friend told him that, or if he hears about me from her.  I always tell her not to tell me about him, because it's still, over two years later, too difficult for me to talk about him casually.  I still have a mini-panic-attack on the rare occasion I get a text from a friend "hey does [textingguy] live near the post office on [streetname]?  I think I just ran into him"

He used to tell me I was his salve, and I didn't even know what that word meant the first time he used it.  At least some part of my brain rejected that (and told him so), saying that no, some unhealthy part of both of us magnetically connected in an unhealthy way, and that "salve" feeling was just a drug addiction that we both needed to resist.  But when I imagine him in pain over something it just kills me to think that I could have helped and didn't.  At the same time, I never did help him.  I always hurt him.  And he hurt me too.

I don't even remember our last interaction well, but my best recollection is that he found some peace with me getting engaged but needed me to leave him alone.  So, I did, and am still leaving him alone.  I can't remember if there was ever anything beyond that, or even if that is really true.  Sometimes I think, it's been long enough, we should be able to be normal and it should be okay, and then I think... I can't even imagine being normal with him, and I'm not even sure I want to be, so where does that leave things?

Once or twice when we were on a "no contact" period I would drive into his complex and just look at his window.  He saw me do this once, so (even though I don't have that car anymore) I'm too scared to do it now - both for that reason and because I just cannot even crack open that door.

I have resigned myself to the fact that texting guy is going to haunt me forever, and that I am always going to be a little bit in love with him, and that that is okay.  It doesn't mean I love my husband less, and honestly if there is anyone in the whole world who understands this and is not threatened by it, it's my husband.

But the dreams have gotten more frequent and more intense and I don't know if they mean that something bigger is wrong, that I have veered off an important path.  These are things I will never know.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

2014 readers

Hi everyone-

I made my blog public again, because it's been long enough (I think) that the reasons I locked it down no longer apply.

Things are generally good, but I am crazy as always.  I am now almost married (to a guy I got to know during the Rules experiment, but dated after I had dropped the Rules) and have a 7-month old daughter.  I am now trying to figure out how not to be a horribly anxious parent.

If you'd like to read my Rules experiment from 2010, feel free.  It gets kind of dramatic at the end, after the six-month experiment was over.  If I had insisted on continuing with the Rules, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be with the guy I'm with... he's just NEVER going to comply with the stricter ones like calling for Saturday night dates.  But if I had applied Rules principles (funny phrase) longer, without being super strict on the exact Rules, I might have ended up in a stable relationship and settled down sooner than I did.  Rules principles being, mostly, "don't be all insecure and shit, and don't put up with being treated poorly but also don't create a big production out of it."


Friday, November 11, 2011

last words

I got into a car accident last weekend, and my six-month-old car was totaled.  It wasn't my fault, and I am not seriously injured.  These are things I should be and am highly grateful for.  But my six-month-old car was totaled.  I am, for many reasons, highly annoyed by this.

I was lamenting the anticipated loss of my car to someone shortly after the accident, one of my musician friends who is a little new-agey, and he asked me,

was there something just a little off about that car?

He did not mean mechanically, of course. He meant, was there some negative energy emanating from that car in some way, something that meant that that car should not be in my life.

My instinct was a resounding -no.  I loved that car!  I worked hard for that car!  I refused to settle on the color, on anything!  I adored everything about that car!  That car was so cute and so practical, and so suited for exactly what I needed it for!

But in the back of my head, something nagged me.

There *was* something a little off about that car.  Me.  I was handed the keys to that car after a jovial early match in a protracted game of make-believe, in which I persisted for months in entertaining a fantasy that would prove to be monumentally destructive.

And remembering it, I am inclined to feel like my totaled car got off easy.

Not exactly what I had in mind for closure, but it works.

My rental, which I sort of hate, has XM radio.  I have found myself listening to Broadway tunes.  They are magical.  They are vibrant and compelling and familiar.  It makes me so cheerful on my drive to and from work.

I found out that there is a musical called, of all things, Chess.  It has one song that goes...

Nothing is so good
It lasts eternally.
Perfect situations
Must go wrong,
But this has never yet
Prevented me
Wanting far too much
For far too long.

Looking back, I could
Have played it differently--
Won a few more moments,
Who can tell?
But it took time
To understand the man.
Now at least I know
I know him well.

Wasn't it good? Oh, so good
Wasn't he fine? Oh, so fine.
Isn't it madness he can't be mine?

But in the end he needs 
A little bit more than me--
More security.
He needs his fantasy
And freedom.
I know him so well.

No one in your life
Is with you constantly.
No one is completely
On your side,
And though I move
My world to be with him,
Still the gap between us
Is too wide.

Wasn't it good? Oh, so good
Wasn't he fine? Oh, so fine.
Isn't it madness he won't be mine?

But in the end he needs 
A little bit more than me--
More security.
He needs his fantasy
And freedom.
I know him so well.

I do not know anything about the musical "Chess."  But these words hit me, and help me to let go of yet another symbol of my attachment.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

world series of bitterness

I have relatively few sports loyalties.  The only one that stuck from my upbringing was the Braves.  I root for my Big Ten alma mater too, but not enough to go out of my way to pay attention to it.   

I do enjoy sports, though, and I enjoy deciding who I want to win a particular game and rooting for that team.  Especially during March Madness.  I wonder what the Rules would say about my instinct to root against whatever team any of my exes likes?  (Ergo, go Rangers!)  The anti-rooting also applies to my ex-bosses.  And this negative bias is enough to overcome any positive bias towards a team I have from other sources.  My grandparents grew up in St. Louis, for example, but the fact that I dated a guy from there means that I simply cannot root for the Cardinals.

I suppose I've found a way to turn sports into a girly activity, albeit an unsophisticated one.  And I don't think the Rules would approve of me telling everyone in the sports bar WHY I'm rooting for the Rangers in the World Series, but I also don't think they would care too much that this is the best decisionmaking proxy I've got.

Hopefully I don't run out of teams!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

addiction paradigm

As I alluded to in my last, froofy post - many, including my therapist, have encouraged me to utilize an addiction paradigm when struggling with avoiding unhealthy relationships and interactions.  And usually I find this way of thinking very persuasive and very effective.  I have accepted that I am wired as a dramaholic, and I am SO much better, happier, more pleasant, and more mySELF when I am sober.

Owing in large part to my newfound philosophy, I have successfully avoided unhealthy relationships over the past few months, probably better and more effectively than I have in my entire life.  This has involved cutting some people out, scaling back my relationships with some people, and working extra-hard to invest in some of the relationships that had accidentally soured but that I care about but don't believe were inherently unhealthy themselves.

Except that the analogy does not cover the part that is the most difficult for me, which is that with relationships, the crack has feelings too.

For example, I have probably spent the better part of a year more or less emotionally shutting out my parents.  I'm not sure they noticed it that much, because I haven't always been the most frequent communicator with them.  But in going through some of the mindfulness exercises and attempting to change the way I think and respond to stimuli has made me wary of veering too close to the people who I think taught me a very unhealthy way of being.

My brain does not blame them for this.  I think my parents are AWESOME, incredible people.  They loved their kids so much and only wanted the best for them.  But still, I have some hesitation and fear of those explosive fights that I used to have with my mother, of the judgment that silently broods in the background of my relationship with my father.  And I have felt more peaceful with my minimal and largely superficial interactions with them.

Eckhart Tolle, author of "A New Earth" (a book which ultimately has some very good concepts, but I do not like Tolle's writing style or, really, Tolle himself), speaks of the "pain-body."  I can't explain the concept very well, but it's sort of like a demon within, which feeds on conflict and insecurity and lots of other negative things, and basically wants to create unhappiness for you.  Tolle says many people spend most of their time living in their pain-body.  And again, while I think Tolle is nothing short of a pompous ass, this concept strikes me.

Taking it a step further, some of the people with which I have felt the strongest connection in my life - on some level I believe that connection was between our pain bodies, not ourselves.  My mother and I triggered each others' pain bodies quite easily - more so than any other pair in my six-person family (except perhaps my parents with each other).  My best friend from law school's pain body was absolutely kindred to mine - even though I do believe we have a soul-level connection as well.  But our pain-body connection makes it sometimes difficult to listen to her go through a painful situation because everything she feels and thinks is so close to home.  And "true love," as Tolle himself points out, can easily be mistaken for pain-body love; but the pain-body love is so consuming and addictive that it will try to overpower you into believing that you are missing something if you are not essentially in agony.  I now believe that most of what Hollywood portrays as "love" is pain-body love.  The projection has a devastating effect on all of us wonderers offscreen, already prone to pain-body ways.

So what do I do with this insight?   I want to improve my relationship with my parents, but I might just not be ready yet.  I know that as a child I was defenseless to my parents' insecurities and reactions and pain.  I am stronger now, an adult, not as susceptible to this, but still in a fragile state having not been "on the wagon" for too long.  I want to be there for my law school best friend, but the things her pain-body says to me are so true to my pain-body that I fear I will believe them.

It is a slow process, I know.  But I do not relish that others may be hurt by the way I feel I need to take care of myself.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


I'm not sure quite what possessed me to google my ex husband tonight. Seriously, all I wanted to do was put away my summer clothes, revel in the change of seasons and the promise of a new Jewish year, start putting a dent in the pile of work that is looming over me this week, and go the heck to bed before midnight.

You see, I was married briefly while I was in law school. For less than a year, and it seems so crazy now. I don't go around advertising this fact about myself, but neither am I ashamed of it, and occasionally it will come up in conversation. People usually seem surprised and mildly disturbed by it. The question I always get from them is, "are you still in touch?" And I get the sense that it would make them feel better about the fact that I'm divorced if my ex husband and I were buddies or something.

Well, sorry, folks, my ex husband and I are not buddies. My sisters and childhood best friend are still facebook friends with him (which I am not super happy about, but I try to reserve my "defriend my ex, you bitch"es for dire situations).  My last contact with my ex husband was when I e-mailed him this past summer to let him know that my rabbi would be contacting him so that I could finally obtain a Jewish divorce from him. And this is the extent of my existing relationship with a person I once promised in front of all my friends and family to spend my life with.

After googling my ex, I could not help but marvel at the irony.  The results were jarring, and I instantly remembered back to living in the midwestern city where I attended law school and he taught at the local highschool.  He claimed to be teaching because it was the easiest way to get three months off every year.  He at times seemed rather ambitionless and was quite happy for me to be the breadwinner, as it was looking like things would turn out.  We talked about where we would move after I graduated.  I mentioned Atlanta, where my sister lived.  He didn't want to move to Atlanta because there was not enough water - no place to put a boat.

Six years later, I live in Atlanta.  He lives on a boat.  Oh, and he went to law school and is working at a law firm now.

There is something meaningful about destiny within this set of facts, but I'm not sure what.  Perhaps it's just that the different pages that we were on then have become so clear fast forwarding through a few chapters of our -- separate -- lives.  Even if, in an ironic twist, he ended up on the same law-firm-associate page as me.    And I can learn a little about the essence of me by looking back at myself with him, and at him now, and me now.

He is such an important part of my past, if a difficult part.  I wish him and his wife nothing but the best.  But not even a little do I want to reconnect with my ex husband, to say "hi, what's up, nice BOAT" or anything.  That ship, pardon the bad pun, has sailed.

And I don't think being in each other's lives--with the reminder of that painful time, the reminder of the person that I was, who I did not like very much, the inevitable "what ifs" that drift into my consciousness regardless of  my unequivocal lack of regret over the fact that that relationship ended--would do either of us any good.

I used to say to people that the proximity of the ocean comforted me for some reason, as if I could somehow swim away if things got dicey.  But knowing he goes to sleep in a harbor every night, I have never felt safer to be landlocked.

(aside: "safer" is used in an emotional sense, and is not intended to reflect poorly on my ex husband)

Recently, I discovered that another ex, the ex boyfriend that I was getting over during my first six months of rules, was moving out of Atlanta.  Mind you, I discovered this in a somewhat bizarre manner--a very close friend of mine with whom I had become distant because she was *dating* him informed me that we could be friends again because he broke up with her due to his impending move.  She advised me of this approximately two hours after I had exclaimed in lighthearted frustration to my paralegal over this very situation, "why doesn't he just MOVE!"

I am ashamed to admit this, but learning of this ex's move marked a turning point for me - G-d had finally thrown me a little bone, just enough to remind me that the acute situational anxiety I felt I had been experiencing from every possible angle was ephemeral.  I suddenly felt faith; I regained motivation to rebuild my life and myself.  With just this little symbolic push, I finally came up for air after months of drowning in addiction to drama and depression and dissatisfaction and torment--

and by and large, I have been dry ever since.

Safe and dry, but it has not been without effort.  As the alcoholic who cannot even have a sip, whose friends greet the very vision of her holding a wine glass with looks of pure terror, I know how important it is for me to stay far away from the shore.

And it is for this reason, despite my affinity for the ocean, that landlocked I shall remain.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Work in progress

I just had a nice dinner with my friend JR, also a blogger, and we discussed some frustration with the whole blogging model. We both want to write in an exploratory fashion in our blogs in order to find whatever "hook" that we would need to make it a good "blog." So JR has resisted rude calls to change her blog, and I will resist my internal urge to force another experiment - not that I'm giving up on my six months of Rulebreaker's Rules entirely, just that I have not yet done enough self-observation and exploration to launch into that kind of policymaking exercise.

So my blog is currently in limbo, uncertainty, without such a major defined purpose. Such disorder usually makes me uncomfortable, but I need to learn to live in the gray.