Ugh…

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I’m feeling so depressed lately. I think it’s just the time of year. My birthday is coming soon, and it always triggers my depression. For most of my life, my birthday was never about me.

I’m becoming more aware of what the beginning of depressive symptoms looks like for me. I feel like I’m a spectator in my own life, hovering on the outskirts of experience, looking in through the window. Reading lips through the glass, nodding along in time with the words. And when I go inside, it all goes sideways. No one knows how to deal with me. Not even myself. I’m everything and nothing. Potential unfurled in a chaotic display, damaging everything in sight.

I’m sure I’ll feel better once I get through the actual day itself, but right now I just feel yucky. Apologies to anyone who must suffer me IRL. :(

The universal “neener neener”

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Oh, glorious day, what beauty, what fragile justice you unfurl!

I’m in my office, and I hear my boss and hated colleague raising their voices. She’s stammering an explanation, her clear tell when she’s busted for something. He’s calling her out for yet more interference into my job, and this one’s apparently a big one. I guess she’s been sending out emails to people and trying to insert herself into projects that should fall under me. And, surprisingly, she’s been giving out bad information, so boss is calling her out on it.

He basically told her to stay in her lane and I’m just sitting here in my office scrolling through my emails trying to figure out which project she’s stuck her nose into this time. As I read down, I find that this was particularly devious on her part. I get the skinny from the woman in the office next to him, said he called her a liar.

So, while this is awesome, to see someone who’s made such grand overtures to harm me taken down a peg. It still feels bitter sweet in my mouth. I don’t really enjoy schadenfreude. It sucks for anyone to be yelled at, and it’s embarrassing to have your shit called out in front of others, regardless of how necessary it might be. I’m embarrassed for her, that she ran off after the confrontation and pouted for 30 minutes.

Maybe this is what emotional maturity is like, seeing justice that’s needed, but also having compassion, because we’re all human. I know I’ve made mistakes before, needed to be called out on them, and genuinely try to learn when I am. I’m trying to be present in the moment, where I’m happy to see my boss managing, but also realistic at the emotional fallout that can cause, because it impacts all of us.

Blast from the past

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I’m lucky in my friendships, I think. When I was in school, especially college, I would probably not have said so. But looking back now, the people that endured over time are the folks I think I’ll be friends with for the rest of my life. And, yeah, some people I thought were my friends really did some hurtful things, but they’re gone and the ones I’ve got left, well, they’re just awesome.

I’ve been trying to get a conversation in with one of my oldest and dearest pals for a while, but schedule and our mental wherewithal notwithstanding, we finally connected. She and I have been friends for decades, in the times before cell phones and emails, we were actually pen pals. Our friendship is one that we just pick back up where we left off when we see each other. And for that I’m so grateful. She’s like my touchstone.

The girl who introduced us lived down the street from me growing up. She’s also awesome, but less interested in keeping in touch, and more focused on having fun. I would see her through social media, and wished her well. It wasn’t until I talked to my friend that she mentioned how my neighbor was asking about me. Then the bomb dropped. Because she’s on social media, publicly so, my estranged mother has been pestering her for information about me (and my estranged brother – I love him, and I hope he loves me, but we’re not in touch and that’s okay, really).

So, I get the full story from my pen pal. How she denied any information to my mother, since she truly didn’t have any. This is sort of deliberate on my part, not just with her, but with so many people I wish I could stay in touch with. It’s embarrassing to have to explain my family’s dysfunction, the stalking, the no-contact, the uncomfortable conversation and worrying people just won’t understand. It’s easier just to be silent.

In being silent, though, I don’t give people the chance to hear my side of the story. I just assume that they don’t want to hear it, that my mother and father have them snowed, and that they already think what my parents would want them to think: that I’m the asshole and that I did this without warning or reason. I honestly don’t know what people think, I do know what my extended family has done, the things they say, to make me understand that they will never see things from my perspective. It’s easy to second guess yourself when that’s all you hear. And so, to keep out the venom, I shut off everything.

I decided though, based on the gentle prodding from my pen pal to get in touch with my old neighbor. She, of course, holds no ill will toward me, and was remarkably understanding. She gave me some insight to my estranged brother’s own circle of protection from his friends, and although I feel better knowing he’s okay, and he’s safe from them. I feel a bit foolish, like coming out of hiding, realizing it was only a small (yet very loud) minority that wanted me to be a certain way and that my friends, the very people my abusive family railed against, were the ones who protected me, who stood up for me, who kept me safe and secret.

This is what abusers do to keep you in line. They lie, they make you think that everyone believes what they do. They do whatever they can to steal the light inside you for their own. I’ve been estranged from my mother for over four years now, and it sometimes feels like I’m the one in hiding. My abusers get to walk free without any fear, convincing strangers, and the people who I care about, what a monster I am. I had to give birth to my son in secret. I will have to protect him from them for the rest of my life. This is the reality I am living. But I’ve come to see that people can love me, have always loved me, and that’s something my abusers can’t take away.

I’m doing the best I can

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Really. It may not seem like it to anyone else. But man, I am busting my ass hard these days. I am in a work situation that I can’t control much of or leave, so I’m left with the alternative of finding ways to deal. Yes, I borrow heavily from my buddhist texts, extinguishing self, ego and desire, simply to endure another 8 hours before I can go home.

Yeah, I do okay at work though. In fact, just last week, I got validated on a major complaint I had with a colleague that my boss took care of eventually. But the victory was hollow, because I knew my colleague would bring some sort of retribution for it, and the thing she was doing to irritate me may in fact become part of her job in the future. Fine. Remove desire. Remove ego. Remove self. It is just business. It is not about me. It is only what it is.

I’m strained though. Trying so hard to figure out if I’m going in the right direction is emotionally exhausting. My purpose is so hard to discern, but the only thing I know is right is to raise my son to be better than this. It is my hope that he doesn’t end up with the same doubts and anxieties that I battle, but perhaps has the confidence and self love needed to establish himself as an autonomous, kind, loving human being. But each day we move forward, I have no idea if I’m doing it right. I’m just doing the best that I can.

A miscellany of emotions

I am in a bit of a mood right now. I didn’t sleep well because my son did not sleep well. We had to schedule a day off from work because his daycare is closed for inservice. It also coincides with a morning therapy appointment I had previously scheduled and my husband’s departure for a week of business travel so our schedule to make it all work was extremely tight. 

I arrived to my appointment to be told, contrary to the time confirmed from their voicemail service, and my phone, that our time was actually set for tomorrow morning, a scheduling impossibility. I couldn’t even take a later appointment today because my husband was waiting at home with our son to hand him off before leaving for the airport. 

This was not my error. This was my therapist entering the wrong day in the calendar software. We use the same system at my job and it’s easy to click the wrong day on the five day display. I remember telling her that the appointment we scheduled was my brother’s birthday and discussed the nicer points of being the first appointment on a Monday. 

But none of that mattered. The time was obligated to someone else and I didn’t have time to play games. I walked out without rescheduling. I’d been on the fence about this person anyway so this might be my deal breaker. 

The reason I was more upset than usual about this was I really needed to talk about a voicemail I discovered in my blocked messages folder over the weekend, ironically enough, after checking the confirmation for my therapy appointment. It was from my aunt, my father’s sister, sent about two weeks ago. 

She was calling to let me know information about my parents, admitting that she’s in touch with both. The tone in her voice seemed annoyed, maybe forced, hard to tell. Her persistence in keeping in touch in spite of having no contact at all with either of my parents and her betrayal of my trust in passing information along to them including pictures of my son, makes this contact from her particularly annoying. 

The information she passed along wasn’t surprising, my mother’s relocation to Pennsylvania and a vaguely worrying update about my father’s declining health. It’s typical communication from her, a well-worn pattern of her role as the de facto matriarch since my grandmother passed a little over a decade ago. The codependent nature of my family of origin is highly enmeshed and toxic, with no respect for personal space or boundaries. There are no secrets, and I’ve learned that more and more throughout my estrangement. 

Lastly I’m sad because today is my youngest brother’s birthday, and no doubt a reminder of the family I wish I had, the heavy sadness at the truth, and the damned if I do/damned if I don’t more of what to do next. It is in these moments I try to stay present, and yes, feel angry and sad, but hope and joy for the future. Recovery doesn’t happen in a bubble and we have to nurse our wounds as we lurch forward toward what we hope is the right direction. But who can know for sure? 

I’m on my own with my son this week and it’s going to be stressful nonetheless. I’m hoping for smooth sailing. But we take it one day at a time. 

My bad, you guys

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I’ve been battling a cold for the last couple of days (read: denying with the entirety of my being that I was sick), but it finally got the better of me. I spent most of yesterday in bed, and when I finally couldn’t stand it any more I went to town on my basement. Like literally, turned the mess of collected dust and flotsam and jetsam from the dryer, and random boxes and piles of “I’ll deal with it later” into a respectable space that I wouldn’t be completely mortified to show strangers.

basement

Then, about halfway through the final vacuuming, I thought I was going to throw up, so I went back to bed. I had every intention of writing a post, but instead I slept. Perhaps you’ll forgive me. Perhaps not.

For the record, I’m not much better today, but I’m back at work because of “obligations” and the fear that taking more than one day off makes me look like a crazy person, and subject to more unwanted attention than I already receive.

What is this nonsense?

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So, it’s Monday, my most hated of days. But the one thing that gets me through, rain or shine, is that it’s PAD THAI DAY!!! Yes, I know, that it’s like the most toned down nonsense you could possibly pass off as pad thai, but I love it anyway.

I walk over from my building every Monday, promptly at 11:00 because the lines get long and it’s made to order. They throw a bunch of shrimp down, I ask for double, because that’s how I balance the pasta/protein ratio that I crave. They toss in a huge handful of cilantro and some limes on top and I add some extra hot sauce from the condiment stand that melds with the hot deliciousness.

I also go grab a coffee because that much carbohydrates makes me sleepy. Then I walk back to my desk to savor my prize. My office suite takes on the wafting delicious aroma, and people passing by ask with great jealousy “what did you get?!” like they might have to fight me for it. I have to put on chapstick to eat it, no joke, the hot sauce is that spicy (#whitegirlproblems) but it’s worth it.

It’s all about the happy things that get us through the day, and for me, this is one of them. Picture not shown because I was too busy eating it. Maybe next week, I’ll snap a pic.

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