The Single Life, Adult Spinach, etc.

Remember that guy I wrote about in a previous post, my crush, Jay? He stopped by the store yesterday (…to see me? and) to get some paleo bacon and cashew butter, and he wanted some spinach that was not baby spinach, ie, “adult spinach.” There are so many things right with that previous sentence. First of all, he stopped by the store. My store, my domain. I own that place. Not really, but I love it there. I am the happiest grocery store worker you’ll ever meet. When I bounce into the store in the morning, it’s “Good morning, Al,” and “What’s up, Rashal,” and “Hola, Valentina,” and everyone else is like, “Good morning!” It’s a place where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came.

I would have loved for Steven to come visit me there, in my domain.

If you’re new to this blog, I’ll stop for a moment to tell you about this wonderful little corner of the world. It’s an organic grocery store owned by a compassionate couple who, for example, paid for the funeral of one of the employees who died suddenly of a heart attack two years ago. When I first moved to the area and found this grocery store it was like the clouds parted, and a ray of light shined down on the store, a haven in the midst of a cookie-cutter DC suburb, and in my mind, not even that swanky compared to the Atlanta suburbs, yet this is what they call prestigious here–not that I really care about prestige. I shopped at this little grocery store all the time. And the owners and employees give a damn about other living creatures and the environment. They are what you call woke.

So Jay came into the store after a conversation in which he’d casually mentioned he might stop by Saturday, after which I casually mentioned I wouldn’t be there that day but would be on Friday. And lo and behold, he shows up on Friday. It would’ve been more convenient for him to go on Saturday because we both go to a meeting near there on Saturday night. But he went Friday.

I feel like such a teenager, dissecting all of this.

It is so fun!

This is the fun part of dating, of being single, the prospect of a new love, the dawn of new opportunities, relationships, an awakening to the reality that there is a sea, a vast sea. A whole nother world.

one person

Steven was my world.

It really helps to have a therapist, sponsor, or friend who can help me remember what’s important. My higher power, which I call God, speaks to me through my friends. They remind me that I don’t want what I had before. Sure, I’d turn back time and take back my hurtful words, absolutely. But I would also be able to speak my mind without an overreaction from him. My sponsor reminded me that he’s not my higher power, that for this to work the relationship will have to be different. My therapist reminded me that I’m a more confident person now, a woman who got her shit together, and that he’ll need to be able to deal with that. She said he may be the kind of man who respects me for that, and I responded, he may be, but he may not be. I truly do not know.

What’s happened through all of this is that my obsession with Steven is dissipating.

I’ve awoken to the fact that there are other men out there. In particular, there’s Jay, this other man who goes to Al Anon and meditation, ie, focuses on living a spiritual way of life, cares about the food he puts into his much younger-looking, strapping body, who’s been trying to get tickets to the Hirschorn for weeks now to the Yayoi Kusama exhibit (apparently it’s damn near impossible). Talk about woke. And he has two dogs, a boat, and a motorcycle. Ie, he’s fun and loving.

Presumably. None of that really means anything if there’s no chemistry. But as of right now, there’s mad chemistry.

One interesting little caveat. Dude is 57 years old. 57! That means in three years he’ll be 60. In three years I will be 44 (going on 17, like I am now). That’s a big age difference. I thought the guy was in his 40s. That’s how healthy he looks… And the other problem is he just got out of a seven-year relationship.

One might guess where I’m going with this. I’m already deciding it will never work, and at the same time, I’m wondering what woman (women?) Steven is talking to right now (because I will kick her ass. I will kick all of their asses.*), and why he can’t have me come over for dinner right now. Why are we waiting for a few more weeks? Oh, right. To move into his new place. It’s what we in recovery call a geographic. He’s doing a geographic. It means that we think our lives will change by new scenery but then we learn that wherever you go, there you are. Though I do think it will do him some good, to be fair.

Who knows what will happen with Jay and me, if anything. The point is, I’m seeing that Steven’s not the only man in the world. At the same time, do I really care that Steven devours store-bought, processed cupcakes and hates museums? Nope. Not really. I love that man. And the Fresh Market peanut butter explosion cupcakes are heavenly. At the same time, does that mean our relationship will work out? Not necessarily.

So this infatuation with Jay is like I’ve traded one drug for another. It’s like I’m getting off heroin and now I’m hooked on methadone, or I stopped drinking just to smoke pot, that sort of thing. I get it. But I have a couple of weeks break from school and it’s a fun diversion. When school starts back, I’ll focus on school. I promise. Maybe.

This is what’s called getting over him, or trying to. It’s all part of the process.

*Just kidding. I’m not really going to kick anyone’s ass.

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:


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):


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


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.


If I Could Turn Back Time

I got myself into a little bit of a situation here. The thing is that this guy I went out with, let’s call him Nick, offered to help me get my stuff that’s in storage down in North Carolina. I don’t have anyone else who can really help me. Originally one of my girl friends was going with me, but she can’t do it now, and I really don’t like asking anyone for help. They’d have to take a few days off work to drive nine hours one way, help me move boxes that fit into a moving van, follow me nine hours back in my car while I drive a Uhaul van, then help me move those boxes into my new basement. Nick is offering to do that.

Meanwhile Steven asked me out on a “date” to his house for dinner. My sponsor reminded me that we don’t really know if this is a date, and I should just ask him. Are we just friends hanging out? Is this a date? At the time I didn’t think to ask if it’s just a booty call because I don’t think of him as a booty call kind of guy but who really knows. According to my roommate, it’s spring time and everyone in the northern hemisphere is horny right now. If it is a booty call, he can forget it. You don’t get sex with me without some kind of commitment or desire (followed by action) to work things out, buddy boy. The girl who allowed that to happen doesn’t exist anymore.

So I asked him. Is this a date or just a hang?

His answer: Yes, this is a date and a hang. This is a date in which we talk about things and hang out.

In that case…

In my imagination, Will Ferrell (who plays my boyfriend) sings this karaoke style in the movie that is my life, although it’s from Tina Fey’s perspective (and Tina Fey plays me, in case you didn’t read my last post). Really I guess it’s from both of their perspectives. Maybe they sing a duo together. This is the turning point when they apologize to each other and admit they want to get back together.

I can’t ask Steven to help me move my stuff. We’re not officially back together, and we don’t know if that will happen just because we’re having dinner together. Besides, he wouldn’t be able to do it now because he’s in the process of moving himself.

My sponsor reminded me that I’m single and I don’t owe anyone anything. Nick and I had a conversation about what this is, and I made it clear I’m dating around, I’m not over Steven yet, I don’t want to sleep around, and we’ll be in separate bedrooms when he comes with me to North Carolina. He said he wants to be friends first, he understands, he doesn’t expect to be in the same bedroom. He sincerely just wants to help out.

What I haven’t mentioned is my concern over how this will look to my stepfather. Hi! Here I am with some random dude who’s helping me move my stuff, even though last time you saw me I was here with Steven, professing my undying love and talking about how we’d be together forever… Well this guy is just a friend, and we’re not sleeping together. A memory of visiting my stepdad and Mom after college, before my trip to London, popped into my head. They were living in Kansas City, and I had three weeks before my move to London to live there on a six-month work visa, and I took a job as a waitress to earn some extra money before going. At the job I met a guy who I went out with, and got drunk with, and didn’t get home until maybe after midnight. We’d gone to some casino where they offer free drinks, and I don’t remember much after that. I remembered my mom being asleep when I got home, but the thing about Mom was she always waited up for me, even when I was 22 years old (which back then was old). But later my stepdad said something about how I dated a lot of guys… I forget how he worded it, but my translation was this: You slut.

This all happened before Steven asked me out. The decision happened before I went on a date with Nick. Nick offered; I didn’t ask. I’m not prostituting myself for Nick to get my stuff for me. I would feel much more empowered had I stuck to my original plan of going with my friend Paulina. Paulina and I moved my stuff into where I live now, with minimal help from any dudes, and called ourselves “badass bitches.” In mental preparation, I sent her this video:

We imagined ourselves driving off into the sunset a bit like Thelma and Louise. Or like Eve and Gwen. I was going to wear a do-rag and she would wear a fedora in the movie of my life that exists in my mind. But now that’s not happening. And I feel bad about it. But I don’t know what else to do. So that’s what I’m doing.

I want to write more about the “slut” reference, because that’s been on my mind lately, since watching “13 Reasons Why,” but I need to get ready for work. Let me just say this: it’s a must-see for parents of teenagers, especially those who have forgotten or don’t know what it’s like to feel isolated in high school. I relate so much to Hannah Baker, and to Jessica. I’ll leave it at that for now.

Peace and love,

Breaking Up and Making Up… Or Something Like That

Can you ever really know how much you hurt someone else? In any given conflict, I’m thinking of how hurt I am, and yes, I might feel guilty for whatever hurt I caused, but I’m more focused on my own feelings. But if I think of how hurt I felt and realize that we all feel the same pain then I know. Maybe different actions hurt me than hurt you or someone else but it’s all pain. I say this because my ex (aka “Steven”), or anyone in my life, has the disadvantage of not being able to tell their story on this blog.

A few weeks ago Steven had told me that he thought about our relationship every day and still felt ambivalent, which I just could not get. How can you ruminate over this every day and still not know? You either love me and want this or you don’t. He was afraid if we got back together we’d just break up again, which was also a fear of mine. But I believe the way not to break up is to stay committed, and the only way to find out if it will work is to try. I felt that he was asking me to promise not to leave, to guarantee that it would work, for me only to commit. I wanted the same thing: for it to work, for him to stay with me, but I cannot promise or guarantee that we’ll never break up because I’m not a fortune-teller and I cannot predict the future. We wanted the same thing but it was easier for him to break up and not try than to stick it out. All that other stuff is easier too: going to the gym regularly, eating a healthy diet, spending less money on going out to dinner, spending more time with friends, investing more time in my own spiritual and mental health, focusing on my studies and career change path. For him, he has kids, an ex-wife, travel out of state to visit his kids every three weeks, an established career as a scientist working for a government who may no longer see a need for him and his colleagues, and he has bipolar disorder. For some people managing all that life stuff while in a relationship isn’t difficult. They work out together, they have the same friends, they eat healthy together. We did ride our bikes together, went to church together, and we even went to a couple of parties together, even though we hate parties. But more often than not what we liked to do was devour cupcakes while binge-watching “Stranger Things” or “Bloodline” or some documentary. When you do that enough times, at some point you realize you’ve gained 10 pounds and you no longer have any friends or life outside the relationship. Not that there’s anything wrong with doing that on occasion, but we could easily fall into making each other our world. It’s so hard to find balance sometimes.

If you’ve been following this blog you know that my mom died suddenly and unexpectedly last August, I became depressed, Steven and I had a terrible Thanksgiving last year in which we both grew resentments that never healed, another painful event happened right after Christmas, and then finally we broke up on New Year’s Day. After that I cried to everyone I knew, commiserated about it on this blog, agonized over it in meetings, started going to Codependents Anonymous. I got sad, I got angry, I did everything I could to try to keep him, then I did everything I could to get over him.

Then a few nights ago Steven asked me on a date.

Needless to say, I didn’t sleep much. He’s moving into a new apartment that he says has lots of free visitor parking out front, and he’d love for me to be his first visitor. We could make dinner together and sit on the balcony. Of course I said yes.

You may be thinking to yourself, Is this really what you want? What about the hell you went through, and all the ups and downs? What about his terrible lack of money management? His self-centeredness? His controlling nature? The way he goes above and beyond for me, then gets resentful? His terrible eating habits, just asking for diabetes? What about all of that baggage?

What about that guy, Jay, my new crush? The one who looks like he gets his aggression out on a punching bag for fun and then meditates for an hour before eating a grass-fed steak with a side of steamed organic vegetables? The one who owns two cars, has no children, no ex-wife, and spends his days building microscopes?

Yeah, I know. Boring. Or maybe not boring. Who cares?

Here’s the thing. It’s worth it. I am in love with Steven. If it turns out I cannot deal with his idiosyncrasies and he can’t deal with mine, so be it. Isn’t it worth trying again?


At the same time, I’m nervous. Does he really mean it? Is he just having a manic episode right now? I half expected to see a dozen emails in my inbox the next morning with plans about how life-changing this new apartment will be and how I’ll fit in there, but I didn’t get that, which is actually a good sign. He seems pretty even-keeled.

You may think I’m making a big codependent mistake, that I shouldn’t get back on that roller coaster, that the highs aren’t worth the lows. Maybe you’re right. But I have to find out for myself. I don’t pretend to think this is the solution or that everything will be perfect now. As a twice-divorced, twice-cohabitated woman who has never committed to anything healthy for longer than seven years, who spent most of her life devoted to drinking and evading responsibility and decision-making, bumbling around taking whatever came next, hoping this is the thing that will fulfill me, but always feeling that it wasn’t quite right—I’ve been there and done that.

One thing I didn’t mention in my previous posts is that after he sent me that song a week or so ago (“Do You Remember” by Jarryd James”), I sent him this one:

The first line really gets me: “You’re gonna leave / Ain’t gonna break my heart.” Because it’s so obviously untrue. My heart got broken over and over again with every time he shut me out, and now what am I doing? I’m going back for more.

This time I feel differently, which I think is progress. I used to feel so relieved when he’d come around after a disagreement, like I could breathe again. Like how an alcoholic feels after spending the entire day at work not drinking, obsessing over how good that first drink will be. When I used to drink, I spent the mornings hung over, swearing I’d never do it again, knowing I would, and as the day progressed a drink started looking better and better. By the end of the work day I was driving straight to the liquor store. When he and I were together I could not wait until the moment he’d forgive me, or apologize, always feeling like, Everything’s okay now. I’m okay now.

I thought I might feel regret if he came back, that by then I’d have changed my mind and decided this wasn’t what I wanted, yet all this time I’ve expressed to him (from my viewpoint) that I’m just waiting for him to come back. (It’s possible from his viewpoint that I have not expressed that so much as I communicated good riddance and it’s your loss and I don’t need you anyway—in so many words. It’s true, I’ve expressed both, all of those feelings: I’m here waiting for you, let’s work this out, okay if you don’t want this then fine.)

I thought that by the time he came back, I’d feel some sort of knowing, guilt, that it’s not going to work out but that I’m trying to force it simply because I can’t deal with rejection and not because I want him back. But I don’t feel that way either.

I’m not necessarily okay just because he wants to see me again, any more than I’m not okay if he doesn’t. My being okay has nothing to do with him.

One of the many sayings I’ve heard in recovery is that expectations are resentments waiting to happen. You get this idea of what everything should look like, how it all should go down, and when that doesn’t happen, you’re disappointed, angry, hurt. You want to blame someone because they didn’t do what you wanted in the way you wanted it. But that’s what we do sometimes. We let others down, and they let us down.

The short version is that I love him and believe it’s worth it to try again. If it doesn’t work out, then I’ll know at least I gave it every possible shot.

So yes. Let’s do this.

But wait.

There’s more.

…you’ll just have to wait for my next blog post.

Peace and love and hugs,


Love and Dating, Finding Myself… You Know, the Usual

One of the reasons why it’s good for me to talk with others before forming my opinions is because that’s when I am reminded that my perception is not reality, and not to take their words personally. When others say something in general, it’s not about me. It’s not some code message warning me to stay away or come closer or whatever. What I’ve learned, and need to remind myself of sometimes, is that my life always goes better when I just take someone at face value for whatever they say.

For example, let’s revisit the conversation I had two nights ago with my two male friends who have recently broken up with their SOs. Friend #1 and I were talking about our break-ups and being single, when Friend #2, who I’ll call Jay (aka my new crush) enters the picture. Jay says something along the lines of, “I was asking my friend the other day, ‘What do you do about the sexual tension [after the break-up]? There are so many problems that can come of that.’ And she said, ‘There are four thousand and one problems that can come of that.’ It was a good reminder.”

And then at some point soon after that he talked about enjoying being single.

My translation: “My girlfriend and I just broke up, and now I really want to have sex with someone else, but not with you, Ella (or Anna, or whatever my pseudonym is)—because if I was interested in you I wouldn’t be standing here talking about how I feel about you in an indirect way. And it doesn’t matter anyway because I’m not going to sleep with anyone or date anyone because I’m focusing on the single life. I don’t want a girlfriend and I’m not going to have sex with anyone.”

After consulting with a trusted friend, the correct translation is more like this: “My girlfriend and I just broke up, and now I want to have sex with someone else (or maybe with the ex? It was unclear.), but that would complicate my life, and so I will enjoy being single instead.”

Which is a wise thing to do. That’s what I need to do too.

So the date last night was just okay. Dude actually kissed me at the end of the night which I thought was bad manners, though he did ask and I did let him. Mainly because I didn’t feel comfortable saying no. Which is bullshit because I could have easily said I don’t believe in kissing on the first date. I am Delayed Reaction Girl, but that’s okay. Because now I know for next time. I just didn’t expect him to ask me or try, on the first date. See, it helps if I think of this in advance and prepare my answer, in advance.

He’s a nice guy. But I couldn’t help but compare him to my ex. All the little things my ex would’ve done or wouldn’t have done. When the waiter asked what table we wanted, my ex would’ve asked me what table I wanted. When the waiter took hours to get our check for us, my ex would’ve gotten his attention. My ex would’ve asked me if I wanted his lemon for my water. He would’ve asked me if I wanted to take the leftovers home, and then he’d have insisted on it when I said no.

The kiss was terrible. Possibly the worst kiss I’ve gotten since high school. Forcing the tongue down the throat is not a turn-on—for me, anyway. My ex gave soft, gentle, slow kisses. Once I went on a date with a guy who kissed me like a lizard catching flies. Dude’s kiss last night was worse than that.

This is the not-so-fun part of dating.

Ah well.

Keep on keepin’ on. Put the Positive Thinking Cap on. Eventually I’ll meet someone and we’ll have an exciting, fun first date. We’ll realize we have so much in common, and we’ll be so happy to have met each other. Even if I didn’t get to continue on to experience an even deeper level of love with my ex, I’ll get to meet someone else one day and experience the newness of the relationship, the wonder of learning about each other, the beauty of growing together. We’ll get through hardships together that will be painful and then we’ll grow together through and experience a deeper level of love. If that were to happen for me right now would be insanity, because clearly I am not ready.

But one day it will happen. I have faith. In the meantime I’ll focus on gratitude for the single life, and my life today. I can use this time to focus on me.

here’s a good video/song for you. I love how dramatic Nate Ruess (the lead singer in Fun) gets in this video. It makes me want to hug him. When I get really into a song, I imagine myself making the same kind of facial expressions and hand gestures, falling to the knees, etc. It’s all part of the movie I have in my head starring Tina Fey as me, which I’ll tell you more about later.

Anyway, my favorite line is this: “I still wake up / I still see your ghost / But I still don’t know what I stand for.”

But it’s okay. That’s what we’re figuring it out right now.

Peace and love and hugs,

The Friend Zone

In today’s daily reading from More Language of Letting Go, Melody Beattie writes, “Stop asking yourself if you’re good enough to handle the situation. Ask yourself if the situation is good for you.”

Somehow I had this feeling that once I started letting go, truly, in my bones, and looking at my previous relationship in this light, that it would somehow magnetize my ex towards me, and lo and behold, he sent me a long email last night. Not that that’s a marriage proposal, but it’s all part of the push-pull of our relationship. The way in which I’m either invisible to him or his bestest friend in the universe.

I was out late at the diner with my new old friends and didn’t respond until this morning, after he’d sent another email, early this morning (ie, he’s not sleeping, ie, he’s getting over the depressive episode and drifting toward mania). He wanted to know how I was doing, and how my family was doing, and wrote that he was going to therapy and ACA meetings and riding his bike, etc.

Last week was probably the first week I didn’t check my email repeatedly to see if he’d emailed, or ruminate over why he left, and whether or not he’d come back. I’m not proud to say that it was due in large part to the fact that another man has been texting me, and we’ve gone out on a coffee date, and tonight we’re going out on an actual date. I wish I could say it’s because I’m a badass woman with her own (female, platonic) friends and have no need or interest for a relationship, but that would be a lie. But I can say that I don’t want to get into a relationship right now and am not sure how best to handle the inevitable sex question which will make everything complicated if it happens and… let’s be real: boring if it doesn’t. God please help me be okay with the boredom.

In the meantime, another dude appeared on the horizon, who I saw last night, who also recently broke up with his girlfriend of seven years. This guy I’m even more attracted to and I have more in common with, and when I saw him last week I sensed this feeling was mutual. Of course this week the first thing he mentioned was how happy he is being single and that sex complicates everything and causes all kinds of problems, et cetera, et cetera, yada yada. My response (via body language): friend zone activated. No lingering eye contact over here. The platonic, impenetrable (literally) wall is up, buddy. Message received. I don’t have to sit next to you at the diner. I’ll go sit over here with my other friend because we’re all just friends here, being friends, platonically.

Because that’s what happens for me. The men I don’t want become super needy, and the ones I do want are unavailable. The first man was married to his wife for a hundred years, and the second man who I can’t stop thinking about did not marry his ex-girlfriend, and he’s a hundred years old. Probably never been married. Probably hates marriage or maybe he got so badly burned in a divorce he’s forever turned off. Oh and just kidding. Both guys are about 47 (reminder: I’m 41 in two weeks though a lot of people think I look about 12… or 30—I only say that because I have to remind people of this. Like how last night one of my new friends, a guy in his 50s?, starts going into this long diatribe about how life was before the internet, and I had to remind him that I know, I was there, and can we please get to more interesting conversation, please?).

I digress. And I want to correct my previous paragraph because I am re-wiring my brain for positive thinking. Here’s my revision: the right one is out there for me, and right now is time for me to grow. When the time is right, I will find someone who’s ready for a relationship, and I’ll also be ready for a relationship.

Back to the daily reading. All this time I spent trying to mold myself to be the perfect partner for my ex, suppressing that quiet voice inside that asked, Is this really good for you? That is the real question to ask. That’s the voice to listen to. Had he and I still been in a relationship, he’d have never liked that I was out with friends, especially with other men being there. I knew that and never went out with friends, and had no male friends for that reason. And this was all an unspoken agreement. I simply would not have even gone out with them due to this unspoken agreement. I may not have even gone to the meeting, because I made him my higher power.

Of course I still love him and wish the best for him, and I think my anger is finally beginning to subside. I no longer believe in coincidences. This had to happen for me to grow, and probably for him to grow as well. We meet a lot of potential partners in our lifetimes, and I often think, Maybe in another lifetime. Because it’s about timing, and clearly the timing is not right for me with any of the men mentioned in this post, or anyone else. Now is the transition phase. Now is the time to just be friends and focus on my personal growth–even if it gets boring sometimes.

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.