Finding My Home

Today I’m going shopping for new furniture for my soon-to-be beautiful, modern, romantic bedroom. Sure, I’m a broke grad student/grocery store worker, but that’s what student loans and credit cards are for, right? I’ll be paying off my student loans for the rest of my life, so I may as well be comfortable in my own living space. Plus, I’m getting my tax return back soon, so why not go ahead and spend money I don’t have, now? It’s the American way. The good news is I have excellent credit for that tiny house I’ll one day own, or more likely, townhouse. Though I must admit that my tiny house dreams have been squashed. Having lived in single bedrooms for the past two years, without my own kitchen, and without my own bathroom until now, I’ve gotten a taste of what life might be like living in a tiny house, and it’s a bit like living in a Barbie doll house. You get to smell other people’s poop and hear them having sex, when you really preferred to think of them as robots without bodily functions. So yes, today I have excellent credit for that townhouse or condo that feels like I’ll never be able to afford, what with the six-figure debt I’m accumulating, but I must keep my positive thinking cap on and know that one day it will become a reality.

In the meantime I’ll have a gorgeous bedroom. IKEA, the Kmart of furniture stores, has the best ideas, and I envision my room looking something like this or this:

nyc-room

But super organized, like this (imagine the walls less pastel and more of a gray-lavender, the romantic Benjamin Moore piano concerto of my last bedroom):

organized-bedroom

But the reality is, right now my rooms looks more like this:

messy-room

But that’s okay! I’m getting there.

Decorating my own space feels so… stabilizing. I feel so much more grounded today than I did a year ago or even six months ago. Most of my life felt shaky, temporary. And while everything is temporary in that everything changes all the time, that feeling was within me. It was an overwhelming feeling of defeat, of giving up before trying. No need to decorate this place, I don’t own it, and I’ll just move in a few months or a year anyway. The marriage didn’t last, the job wasn’t what I wanted, real life was out there waiting, or rather, I was waiting for real life to happen, if I could just figure out how to get to it. I had no real home. Nowhere felt like home. Maryland was not my home because I was born in the real South, but Georgia’s not my home either because my mom didn’t live there, and I have no interest in that state. North Carolina was probably my home more than anywhere because Mom lived there, and then my sister and my best friend, and then my boyfriend’s kids, so I’d probably move there one day. But without meaning to, my life had already taken root, loosely, in Maryland. Then Mom died. And when your mother dies, and then the person you think of as your soul mate breaks off the relationship that you prioritized over everything else in your life, you feel… homeless. I did, anyway.

But that’s not true for me anymore.

Home was right here, all the time. Not necessarily in Maryland, though I do love this state. Will I live here for the rest of my days? Who knows? My plan right now is to get through grad school, and then apply to jobs everywhere. Depending on where I am at that point in my life, I could wind up in California. I doubt it, because it’s so expensive there, but west coast life really appeals to me. The point is, it’s no longer about waiting for life to happen. It’s about being here now, making a home here now, being comfortable with right where I am, now.

So I don’t know if the ex and I will get back together or not. I do love him. But I have been sent off into the world on my own, a stronger woman today, and I have a life of my own, things to do, friends to make, rooms to decorate, school work to study, management skills to learn. The man I end up dating will have to be able to deal with that for the relationship to work. One thing I know is that the old way didn’t work. Putting Steven first wasn’t good enough for him, and it sure as hell wasn’t good for me. To be fair, I don’t think he saw it that way. But that’s certainly what I did, whether he realizes it or not. He probably put me first too, and that’s not healthy either.

I want to write more and edit this post but I have to get ready for work, and I want to publish something. I am a bit of a lazy blogger, putting all my first drafts up, but I have a feeling I’ll have to delete this blog once I get my career going because this shit is too personal. It’s like an online diary for the world to read. I can’t possibly let the world know all this. Or can I? Maybe I will anyway, because eff it. This is who I am, and people can like that or not.

Okay. Work. I have to go there.

Love,
TCH

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Just Another Post

Remember how I wrote in one of my blog posts that I’m the healthiest person on Earth, through no effort on my own?* The post read as though I took my doctor’s word for it, and the lab results that only checked for a few issues, but I was being facetious, and lazy because I was in a hurry just to get the post out. And I like to think of myself as funny, though my sense of humor may be a bit warped at times. Anyway, just to clarify, though I do love my doctor (and this is the only doctor I’ve ever liked by the way), I’m a skeptic and I don’t completely trust that doctors know what they’re talking about just because they’re doctors. She is an integrative doctor, but like anyone else, she can’t know everything.

I determined that my vitamin D levels were on the low side which was probably why I was so fatigued, so I took a bunch of vitamin D every day and absolutely noticed a difference in my energy levels. After the third day in a row of insomnia, and knowing the only thing I’ve changed was that I’d started taking vitamin D, I did some research and found that I must be low in magnesium, and possibly vitamins A and K. So I stopped the vitamin D for a couple of days and took some magnesium, and got excellent sleep and feel back to normal. Dunno if I still need vitamins A and/or K. Tomorrow I’ll start taking the vitamin D again but in a lower dose. (An herbalist suggested taking it five days in a row then two days off to give the liver a break.) Because what happened was that by the third day I began to feel anxiety of the major kind that felt like the beginning of mania.

As a side note, this is why everyone should educate themselves and not just take their doctor’s word for everything. If you feel symptoms and your doctor finds nothing wrong, you just have to keep investigating. Unless of course you’re just a hypochondriac—but I wonder how many people are truly hypochondriacs? Doctors don’t know what to do with us, so they tell us we’re okay, and we go around for years with some kind of mysterious issue no one can diagnose, and boom! One day you learn you had Lyme disease or IBS or Hashimoto’s or something else this whole time, and no one knew. You know your body better than anyone else, and if you’re honest with yourself, and patient, you can figure it out. It’s up to you how soon you want to do that. Practitioners and their patients should work together; patients need to get more involved in their own health care rather than depend on a physician to say everything is okay and dismiss you, or prescribe something that could be affecting other issues or other medications or supplements.

Anyway. Off my soapbox. I don’t want to bore you. The point is, I felt borderline manic, which I’ve experienced two other times in my life. The first time was during my split from my first husband (and I was still drinking at the time), and the second time was after my split with my second husband (I was sober then). The first time, I went to see a therapist who thought I might have bipolar disorder, but after a few sessions determined I was not. After talking to others who’ve been through divorce, I’ve learned that it’s not uncommon to experience extreme anxiety, as it’s one of the most stressful events in a person’s life, along with death and job loss. Apparently even for those of us who don’t have messy divorces, custody battles, child support, or assets to divide. Because what happens is that you realize your life is not going the way you thought it would; you realize the plans you’d made aren’t going to happen, and you’re going to be alone, at least for the present time. Uncertainty becomes clear, even though it’s really that way the whole time—it’s just that we all live in this illusion that whatever life we’re living now is that one we’ll continue; that we’ll be married to this person forever, and the reality is that’s never the case. No one ever knows what will happen. People die, they divorce, life changes, people change.

That feeling of mania made me paranoid, as it has in the past. If I was going on a date with this other guy, maybe my ex was planning on going out with someone else too. Maybe that’s why I hadn’t heard from him all day, because we usually email each other every day. Or maybe he was pissed that I was going out with someone else. I hadn’t heard from him since I’d uploaded that blog post, so maybe he’d somehow found it and read it. Or maybe he simply had already met someone else and was already sleeping with her. Maybe he assumed I was sleeping with another guy. Anyway. I’m sure you’ve never experienced this kind of paranoia when it comes to your own break-up. 😉

It killed my pride to do it, but I finally emailed and asked him if he was okay. I might have texted him if I could remember his number, but I deleted it weeks ago during an effort to get over him—and that’s probably a good thing. He emailed back and apologized, and said he hadn’t been feeling well, he’d been in bed, and it’s easy to ignore his phone because he doesn’t really talk to anyone. In other words, he’s having a depressive episode and isolating himself. He said that he’s a work in progress and trying very hard: going to ACA meetings, meditating, reading spiritual books.

It was another awakening. I remembered my therapist’s words, and my sponsor’s words: This is who he is. Can I accept that? Is that what I want?

As someone who’s been depressed before to the point of feeling suicidal, and who has tried suicide before, and who has experienced anxiety to the level of mania—which by the way is not happy and fun (well, maybe a little in the beginning, I can’t lie)—I felt, and feel, deep compassion for him, and anyone else who has to go through that on a regular basis. It destroys relationships. Being isolated from others is the worst thing a person can do, worsening the depression, but the sufferer seems magnetized to it, feels like a burden on others. It’s heartbreaking.

I love him very much.

I also realize that maybe I am letting go, bit by bit.

Another thing I wish to clarify, in case there was any confusion, is that I do not think this other guy is the solution, any more than my ex is the solution. He’s not the solution and he’s not the problem, as my CODA sponsor says. Or rather, I’m trying to learn this, because somewhere in my mind I must think a relationship will save me, or otherwise I wouldn’t qualify so well as a codependent. But while the attention was exciting for about 24 hours, it occurred to me that in the end I am still me, and I still have to take care of me. Dating this guy, or getting back together with my ex, cannot and will not fill the hole in my soul. While it’s been mostly a fun distraction, it’s just that: a distraction. At times I found myself irritated because this other dude would text me while I was trying to focus on school work or watch my new show. Then some other guy I ran into recently started texting me, and I was like, Oh man, I wish my ex could see this. These other guys are interested—why can’t YOU appreciate me?

But then what would that solve? Nothing. And it would just hurt my ex.

So today I will ask my higher power to help me focus on what’s important: school, friends, sobriety, work, spirituality, and/or whatever else it is I’m supposed to be doing. No human power can fix me. I must have faith and patience that life is unfolding as it should, and try to gain wisdom and experience as I go. I hope to finally learn from my mistakes and not have to repeat old, unhealthy patterns to learn the lessons I’ve been put on this earth to learn. But it takes what it takes, and I am not God, so I will just keep on keeping on, as my mom used to say.

The song at the end of this post may not be the most appropriate song for this post, because it implies I’m still angry at my ex, but it’s the acoustic version which makes it more suitable because it feels more like letting go. These days I listen to more pop music, which I thought I’d never do, because quite honestly, it sounds happier, and nothing like anything I’ve spent much time listening to for my entire life. This song for example sounded happy to me, and I’d hear it over and over at work, until one day I paid attention to the lyrics and realized it’s not a happy song at all.

It’s not that I’m giving up on my ex, but I’m no longer waiting on him. I’m not saying all the lyrics apply, but I like the lines “If happy ever after did exist / I would still be holding you like this / All those fairy tales are full of shit / One more fucking love song I’ll be sick.” It sounds bitter but it’s really just true. It doesn’t mean love isn’t real and beautiful, but there’s no such thing as happily ever after. The honeymoon period doesn’t last forever, but I believe that in its place something deeper develops. In the meantime I’ll continue on this journey of learning self-care and self-love.

*It has taken continuous effort for me to be healthy, and I’ve faltered many times, so please know that I was being facetious. And I also don’t believe I’ll live forever, or that I have perfect health. I often write my posts in a hurry without editing them because I simply do not have the time, and I just want to get my voice out there.

Namaste,

TCH