Am I Sacrificing?

I am such a jerk that when it comes to my friends and family, I will sacrifice everything to maintain a certain level. I think this is because I’ve seen a lot of crap in my life and I think that I can’t do anything on my own. Or, maybe the reason is so ineffable and buried so deeply that I will never, ever figure it out. In any event, I will sacrifice every aspect of my life and myself to maintain an even keel. The problem with this, however, is the fact that when things start breaking down within me, I don’t necessarily know what the cause is. I don’t take as much time for introspection as I really should and so, when it comes to why I’m doing X, Y, or Z, I may not always know until I take a time out to think about it.

After my last post, TH and I have been working on things. We’ve been communicating more and more with each passing day. It’s very much like a honeymoon stage, which worries me. I know that’s how things work out between two people when they have a huge fight and are establishing their relationship anew. All of my divination attempts have reminded me that we’re starting over, that this is a time to take the relationship to its proper place, etc. So, I know that this honeymoon phase will last for only so long before we start actually having to live and prosper. And I have to admit that I’m a little worried about what will happen when we’re both living under the same roof again.

But, the thing is that this post isn’t about my worries for the future; this is about my worries for the now.

All week, we’ve been having sex. I’m not overly worried about it since I do have a tendency to want sex once in a blue moon. My only problem is that I’m wondering if I’m sacrificing myself and my thoughts on my sexuality in order to make him feel better? It’s something that I’ve been thinking about a lot in the last day or two. I’ve wondered if my sexuality really is what I think it is or if it’s actually something a little different. The problem with defining your own sexuality is that it’s fluid and shades of gray; it’s not easy. However, it’s easiest to define myself as asexual at this time until I figure out more of what’s going on in my head.

And at this time, I wonder if my definition isn’t quite incorrect, but if I’m doing this in order to maintain a sort of pleasant buoyancy in our relationship. Obviously, this is a conversation that I need to have with TH, but it’s only something that came to me yesterday and I’m not ready to voice my worries as of yet. The thing is, if I am willing to sacrifice something I feel is accurate in describing myself, what does that mean for our future? And another thing, how the hell do I figure that out?

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A Year in Review (Better Late Than Never).

I have been debating about this entry for a while. I haven’t really wanted to write over here, actually. I’ve been told that all I do is “complain.” Even though I have a little caveat on the side bar that clearly indicates that is the point in this entire blog, I’ve been keeping myself away even though I’ve been at near-explosive levels of irritation and rage in the last month alone. I’ve also been accused of using this blog to belittle and angst at people. Again, I have to point out that it clearly states on the side bar that if you don’t like what I have to say here then don’t fucking read it. With that, let’s talk about this passed year.

There is no other way to put it: 2012 sucked for me.

For almost the entire year, minus the month of November, I have been unemployed. Most people would assume that being unemployed would be “fun.” I’ve heard people discuss the whole unemployment thing like it was a game. “A bit of time off to get your head in order and then you find a job.” The reality is that unemployment is extremely boring and beyond terrifying. For months on end, you are endlessly hunting for something to replace the last position you had, at a similar pay rate and with similar hours, only to find that there are twenty people in line with you for the same position for the same reasons. And invariably, you don’t get the job and you’re left angry, depressed, and beyond upset at the callousness of your situation.

It may take a while but the “joy” of having some time away from work is quickly replaced with nothing but negative emotions that you have to try to constructively get rid of, otherwise you’re bound for depression town with no way out. Medication is all well and good, but to remove yourself wholly from the depression, you have to get out of the situation causing said depression. How do you do that when 7% to 9% of the entire country is in similar boats? There is, unfortunately, no quick fix for these situations, either. The government keeps going on about how they’re “fixing it,” but the reality is that most of the unemployment numbers are as low as they are because people have lost their benefits and are no longer eligible for any sort of assistance outside of state welfare programs.

I bet if anyone stopped to look at the numbers of welfare programs, state by state, we’d see the reality of the unemployment numbers. I wrote about this in October or so, in which I wrote about my frustration and angst. I was lucky, unlike a lot of people in that situation. A job opened up with the temp agency I had been “working for” since August and I was able to actually take it. For a glorious month, I knew where the money to pay my bills was coming from. But then, the unemployed thing happened all over again, only that time, I wasn’t eligible for state unemployment benefits.

What has made our situation all the more devastating is this fiscal cliff shit that has been going around and around. I watched as the unemployment aid that TH was receiving completely dried up. That’s right; for the last half of December and thus far into January, TH has not had any unemployment benefits either. In all honesty, I think unemployment for construction workers, painters, and other trades should be calibrated differently than other workers but they aren’t. So, we have been literally living entirely off of what is left in my savings account. It got us through Christmas; it got us through no state aid in health insurance, food stamps, or cash assistance. Every now and again, I think ruefully of being denied Head Start funding for my son and wonder, if things had been this dire in August, would we have gotten more help?

Throughout the entirety of 2012, I have felt very much as though a large round mill stone has been around my neck in one form or another. Aside from constantly going to interviews – success; someone wants to talk to me about my qualifications – I have had more rejection E-mails than I can count. All of that has really added up to fray up my confidence. I’m not exactly the most self-confident person in the world, so in either receiving the “thanks, but no thanks” E-mails or no responses at all… it’s added up. I’ve constantly felt as though I am completely inadequate, unable to take care of my family, and just a complete failure in every sense of the word.

What really irritates me about this whole situation is that I have only, ever, applied to jobs that I felt I was qualified for. Occasionally, on a whim, I would fill out for jobs I had no business looking into. Mostly, I’ve been looking in the customer service sector since I know that job backwards and forwards. And for the most part, I’ve been informed that since I don’t have a college education, I can’t possibly get the job. Since customer service really has no business being a college course, I’ve been at a complete low ebb, flowing from anger and irritation to depression and inadequacy.

In early December, I loss a childhood friend who was very dear to me. I’ve written of this friend before. She was “BFTX.” Since she started her path into Christianity, I’ve been waiting for the inevitable fall out that would happen between us. I am distinctly pagan, specifically polytheistic, in my practices. I’ve known that there would come a time when I would lash out or she would. I tried very diligently in giving her advice regarding her “darker moments” and I had tried very hard to maintain a friendship that was slowly falling away into a crumbling heap mess. I won’t get into the specifics, if I ever will. But, the loss of my childhood friend because of a difference in religion really hit me square, center over my heart.

I always thought that our friendship would slog through every possible hook that could be thrown our way. We past through hell, ten times over, together and we managed to come out, not whole, but at least relatively safe on the other side. We stopped talking to one another quite a few times since we started our friendship at eleven, but no matter what, we’ve always managed to pass through the sinkholes and come out all right. In this one, however, I don’t really think that could possibly happen. She’s since blocked me on Facebook after claiming to have apologized for being a bit of a jerk regarding our differences in opinions. Since the words, “I’m sorry I was a dick,” have not reached me, I don’t consider anything she has had to say on the matter properly closed.

I have yet to heal from this loss, in all honesty. It still tweaks at me in ways that I cannot convey. When it comes to soul mates, you just think, Forever and ever, but that’s not always the truth of it. There must be reasons why we are constantly searching for the soul mates. And even sometimes, it doesn’t really matter what the situations are… maybe you find them and maybe you don’t. That doesn’t mean that you’ll be with them forever. Fairy tales have passed out of this world for a reason and reality is a lot of things from happiness to pain. In this particular instance, pain is what I’m learning and what I will, hopefully, one day be able to recover from.

In the mean time.

This past year has been literally awful in so many different ways. I’ve felt, very often, misunderstood, unwelcome, disliked, and unqualified for various reasons. I have felt like a complete failure in religion, friendships, family life, and on a personal level. I have felt as though everything was going to fall down around my shoulders and without my being able to fix it. I think after time goes by and I move further away from this past year, I’ll hopefully be able to look at it more subjectively than I have in this entry. Right now, I simply can’t. There has been too much heartache and too much pain for me to look for all the good things that have happened. Good things have happened in various ways, but the overwhelming feeling of 2012 has been a complete nadir.

As everyone else in my situation has said, or people giving advice to me have said, it can only go up from here.

It’s a Good Day.

TH has this very funny, amusing thing that gets me giggling whenever it happens. Whenever he and I are talking about our future and I do that girlish thing where I mention the word “forever,” he gets this panicked look on his face for a split second before his usual mellow-guy face takes over. I poke at him and I laugh at him. I think he likes the fact that I find his panic amusing because it means I can tolerate the behaviors that stem from that panic. You’d think that after five years of being together and having a kid together, he’d get over the panic. But, no. When I mentioned it to BFMA, she laughed and said, “Guys.” It does seem to be one of those odd guy behaviors that you don’t really know how to handle. I find it funny. And while I was thinking about this tonight (the panic look happened last night), I had to admit that it’s been a good day.

It wasn’t just the fact that I can poke fun at my lover for freaking out over the “forever” thing, although that was part of it.

I received a really touching, loving comment from BFTX today in relation to the WIP. I felt warm and fuzzy from her sweet, kind words. I also had to admit that as she delves deeper and deeper into her Christian path, I like her more and more. Does that make sense? Most especially coming from a pagan? It’s not that I didn’t like her before, but now she has more than just a simple three-dimensional personality. Now, she has the substance that goes along with the three dimensions. She’s kinder, sweeter, more loving. She’s also found something that works for her. She’s no longer wandering around, looking for something that fits to what she needs and desires. And while we don’t always see eye-to-eye on politics or dogma, we’re still friends and we still care. And that made it a good day today.

Today, TH went to work with his mother who is a part-time landscaper. (By the way, having a future mother-in-law like her is awesome because TH knows how to cut flowers just right and keep them alive for weeks. I highly recommend having a family member as a landscaper and horticulturist.) So, it was a good morning with TS, when he wasn’t being a fresh brat. We had quiet time and cuddle time. He was kind and sweet to me. Before coming home, TH mentioned to me that he was going to get me a practical gift for Mother’s Day. I texted him all in caps, “ARE YOU GOING TO GET ME A BOWLING BALL WITH THE NAME HOMER ON IT?” For anyone who didn’t grow up with The Simpsons, you won’t get the reference, but TH did. So, you know what he came home with right? He brought me home a bowling ball with his name written on it, like I had asked for. He also brought me home a brand new coffee maker to replace the one that was leaking all over my counter top. This shows me that not only does he pay attention to me (even if I’m whining), but that he knows me very well. I like flowers and cards and girl like things, but I can’t function without my coffee. And that made today a very good day.

This afternoon, I was remonstrating with myself for not taking my big fat dog on a walk, like she deserves. Jasmine is about five to eight pounds overweight, which might not seem like a lot but it is for a Dachshund. And while I knew I had things to do like pull laundry out of the dryer and put it away as well as walking Jazzy, I laid down on the couch and took a two-hour nap. It was refreshing and nice. TS did his usual thing when I fell asleep on the couch – annoy me, irritate me, try to get my attention, and then played quietly on the floor when he realized that I was out for a while. Both he and TH tiptoed around me and did the things that they had to do without waking me up. And when I woke up, I felt like I had at least partially caught up on my lack of sleep (since I haven’t been sleeping so well lately). I felt refreshed and ready for anything. And that made it a good day.

A little while ago, I was catching up on the television shows that I watch onDemand, regularly. This is House and The Big Bang Theory and Once Upon a Time and CSI:. TS had already fallen asleep since his sleep schedule has been pretty odd lately. (He’s been staying up late because he’s been taking brief naps and then is up too early, which causes more napping… It’s an endless cycle!) So, anyway, it was towards the end of the final program that I wanted to catch up on when TS came running out of his room like a bat out of hell. I could tell from the look on his face that he had probably had a bad dream. And he did. We cuddled on the couch and snuggled together and then TH and TS had a long discussion about what is and what isn’t real. And even though it’s past eleven at night and even though TS should be asleep already and even though I should start to think about getting ready for bed myself, I’m enjoying the family time. We’re together just about all day, every day so we don’t really take the time to spend time… as a family. We’re just so sick of being in each other’s faces, I think. Anyway, we got to all sit down and talk about things and listening to TS and TH discuss what was and wasn’t real… That made it a great day.

And with today being a great day and the quasi-serious conversation TH and I had last night, that ended in his panicking for a minute or twenty, I realized that things really aren’t all that great right now. I mean, things could be a lot worse, but they could be better, as well. With all of that running around in the background, I realized that things are going to be okay. The reason being because I have hope. TH might be a bigger worry-wort than I am. (No. Really.) And he may have ample reason to worry, but I have the hope that things will get better. And that made today a really good day.

“Which girl has beautiful eyes and beautiful ears and beautiful hair? Mommy.” And that made it the best day ever.

Stigmas, Friendships, and The Things In Between.

BFMA is diagnosed bi-polar. This is actually something that I don’t share often because I hate the looks or comments I’m liable to get for being her friend. For example, once I let her diagnosis slip after mentioning she watches my son for me at a dirt cheap price. “Are you sure that’s safe?” No, I thought it up for convenience’s sake because I’m a shit mom who doesn’t care for the welfare of my child*. In reality, my response was an exceptionally dark look that discouraged any further discussion on the topic after an extremely snide, “No. He’s fine with her.” That’s only happened to me once; I can only imagine how many times that’s happened to BFMA. Of course, the reason it’s only happened to me once is because I’ve only let it slip the once.

(* In reality, I never once worried about BFMA watching my child. TS is her nephew. She would never bring harm to him or allow him to be harmed.)

I’ve been friends with BFMA since 2006. In the grand scheme of things, that’s probably not a long time. However, timing really has no bounds when it comes to experiences we’ve shared. Honestly, the only reason we became friends was because MEH was best friends and “band mates” with MEH’s BF. We were thrown together, in all reality. I think I talked to her a total of once when we had to evacuate for Hurricane Rita and that was a brief conversation. (She gave me advice on how to keep my books safe from disaster should the hurricane hit the island.) Prior to that, all I had heard was MEH’s BF bitching about living with his girlfriend and how she “cramped his style.” For all I know, she heard similarly about me in regards to my past relationship with MEH’s BF, and probably a bunch of horrible shit about how I had “stolen” his best friend. Anyway. She’s said it (and so have I), neither one of us was really sure if we wanted to be friends with the other. We had heard the dirt about each other via MEH’s BF time and time again. But, for good or worse, we became friends. And it’s been a long road.

The two of us lived together (with MEH) after MEH’s BF callously tossed her out of her own home. She had the option of either moving back in with her mother (disaster) or living on the street. I was friendly enough with her then that I mentioned how the only way MEH and I could get out of our slummy situation was if we had a roommate. And an extreme friendship was born from there. She and I went apartment hunting while MEH worked until we found the place in Easthampton. We were excited and thrilled. She was worried about living with us since she had lived with the EM and her husband before. She said living with a married couple was pretty hard. She also mentioned that she wasn’t the easiest person to live with. I told her not to worry about it.

All of this, mind you, was before we knew that she was bi-polar.

I won’t sugar coat it: living with her was difficult. However, the problem was that she had these extreme ups and downs that we didn’t understand. We thought it was depression coupled with ADHD since she had been diagnosed with both before. She had been put on medication for both before. It seemed to work out. However, her manic periods were filled with endless, sleepless nights on the computer and frenetic conversations about a thousand things.

She was always worried, I remember, that I wouldn’t be able to follow her conversational segue ways. If you’ve ever lived with someone with ADHD, then you know what I mean: it can be hard to figure out how a conversation moves from robotic arms to curtain patterns. Sometimes, she’d stop in the middle of a conversation and, fearfully, ask me if I knew how we had gotten on the subject. By that point, after having lived with my kid brother and with MEH’s little brother, I knew how to get from subject to subject. I think in the entire time I’ve known her I’ve only been able to honestly say that I wasn’t sure how we got on topic once.

I don’t know if anyone understands how much that means to someone who is either ADHD or bi-polar: the fact that someone who doesn’t have those diagnoses can follow along. It’s actually a lot more than anyone could possibly understand if you’re not friendly with someone who is diagnosed thusly or you happen to be diagnosed with these disorders. Think of it this way: it’s like learning that you fit into a size six jeans after wearing a ten for years. Any girl who has made that accomplishment should instantly understand the rush and joy of knowing that someone can understand your thought processes.

The other issue was, of course, her depressive phases. She was actually really good at keeping these either hidden or at bay, I’m not sure which. A few depressive phases ended with her being in bed for a day or two. Another ended with her being rushed to the hospital on a psychiatric hold after trying to kill herself (and subsequently, trying to run away from the ambulance and hospital). A lot of nights, especially those that had to do with depressive phases, ended with the two of us drinking well into the night. (We drank a lot when we lived together, actually.)

But, to be honest, these things were minor concerns. We never really had any major conflicts between the two of us. I think we fought a grand total of once and never about the bathroom. (This was mostly due to the fact that we had two.) In fact, it was really more like the two of us against MEH a lot of the time. Or, if MEH and I were really going at it, she did her best to the diffuse the heat behind MEH’s words and eyes*. She was so worried that moving in with us was a bad idea because she had watched the denigration of EM’s relationship with her husband after she had moved in with them. And yes, MEH and I fought about BFMA but it was silly things, small things, and never anything that I was worried about. She was a good roommate.

I will say this, though. Even though she had a lot of ups and downs. Even though she had a lot of problems. When we were living together, she was a lot more together, I feel, than she was later on. And that includes after having been diagnosed and been put on medications. She was more together and more with it; she was more aware of things going on around her. She had her paranoid delusions and her occasional flare-ups of severe agoraphobia, but she was aware of these things. She still is, even on medication, but I think the reason she was more even-keel back then was because she had magic to fall back on and she believed in it. This isn’t something I’m willing to discuss in more detail at the present, but I think with her meditations and her rituals and her ability to believe in something, she made her life that much easier to get through. Anyway.

After my marriage fell apart, I moved to Texas and BFMA moved to Florida.

I remember the day she found out that she was bi-polar. She called me afterward and told me the news. And I think my response was, “Huh. Well, you know, that makes sense.” And then I went on to tell her that just because she had a diagnosis that didn’t mean she could go out and buy a bagpipe during a manic phase. (This is a direct reference to a scene from Where The Heart Is, which we both love.) She said, “Things are going to be harder now.” And she was right. Of course, she was right.

When something is wrong with you and no one professional is willing to listen, you get to the point where you either give up or you would do anything for a diagnosis. Most people saw BFMA’s medical jacket and just shook their heads at the repeated suicide attempts, the times in respite and on psychiatric holds, the diagnosis of ADHD and mommy issues coupled with depression. Yes, it’s a sad testament to the fact that the girl has had a shitty life. However, the doctors just saw all of this and thought, “Another statistic,” or maybe they just didn’t care anymore because they had seen it all before. It was only when she reached Florida that someone actually listened to what her problems were. She was given a test and you know what? She was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, coupled with ADHD.

And that’s when things changed.

For her.

For me.

I’m not going to sit here and say that things drastically changed for me because they didn’t. I wasn’t the one with the diagnosis, but our friendship changed. I don’t know how or why, and I’d like to think it wasn’t on this end that things changed. I was still me and I still understood her thought processes. I was still me and I still could deal with the fact that she wasn’t always wise with her money. I was still me and I still understood that she could get suicidally depressed in a matter of minutes. But, it was like because I didn’t have the diagnosis or because we now had a definitive answer, she changed something inside of herself and things became harder between us.

I don’t know if anyone who reads this (if anyone reads this) understands what it’s like to live with a diagnosis like this. I started this blog entry with an instance of mine that was related to her. When people find out about her diagnosis, they pull away or they ignore it. It’s either something that’s big and important and life-shattering or it’s something that can’t be changed. (To me, it can’t be changed.) A lot of people put up with her ups and downs for a while before they move on. She’s gone through a lot of boyfriends because of this and a lot of friends, too. They couldn’t stand to deal with the changes in her mood. It was like the moment she got a diagnosis, she had a scarlet letter sewn into her clothes, but it’s only one, I feel, that she can see.

Sometimes, I think she sabotages those relationships because she doesn’t think anyone should have to put up with it.

Sometimes, I think that those people are just weak assholes who should be roasted over a slow fire for being unable to love her unconditionally.

Recently, BFMA got a boyfriend again. Prior to meeting this guy, she asked her patron to give her someone who would understand her ups and her downs, who could just deal with it right alongside her. And you know what? Her boyfriend is also bi-polar. But, in this instance I’m not happy for her. I’m worried, in fact. I think this is a case of “you get what you wish for” and I’m more than a thousand times scared that it’s going to end badly. When I mentioned my fears, recently, to TH, he said, “They’re like two halves of a person and not a complete set. They’re just going to feed off of each other. It’s going to get bad; it’s going to get ugly.” And you know what? I think he’s right.

It’s at this juncture that I find myself in our relationship. I haven’t heard from her since the blow up between OF and I. I miss her. She is, after all, my only friend. But, I’m not going to call her. I’m not going to go and smile and say, “Everything’s okay. I’m better now. I’m sorry.” The thing is… I’m not sorry. I’m worried and scared and fearful that she’s going to wind up on a level of hurt that I, as a friend, can’t deal with.

But more than all of that, I’m hurt. I’m hurt because I could understand her ups and downs and I could understand her thought processes and I could hold her hand through all of the bullshit, medications and not medicated, and it wasn’t enough.

It wasn’t enough.

Patterning Your Life Around Other’s Opinions…

…is nothing more than slavery.

So, let’s say you’re having a conversation with someone you really care about; friend or lover… whomever. And that conversation is mostly one-sided (theirs). You’re mostly there as a verbal punching bag, not because you’re a douchebag but because that friend needs to vent. And during a lull, you toss out some glimmers of decent advice. Then, you get to the point where you’re having this conversation with somebody and you realize, Wow. They so do not get it. At that point in the conversation, you can either try to put things to rights or you can just sit and watch the train wreck.

Personally, I kind of prefer the train wreck scenario. It’s probably not the nicest thing one could do, but it sure is entertaining. Okay. Not just entertaining, though; it’s also nice to watch the train wreck because then you feel superior. And come on, let’s face it: who doesn’t like feeling superior? But, the responsible thing is to fix the misunderstanding… right?

Honestly, I’m beginning to suspect that ‘fixing’ it is really overrated. It means that you have to take more time out of your day to correct the misconception. While that may not take long, I’ve come to find that it can be a real endeavor to correct the misunderstanding somebody else has about what you said, what you believe, and the intent behind it. It can be hours, days, or weeks… if you’re lucky enough to get these people to listen. And you have to really wonder to yourself, is it worth the energy you might use to fix the train wreck?

That’s the whole point right there.

Is. It. Worth. The. Energy.

To be perfectly frank, I have to say that it isn’t. You may love the person and worry for their welfare. You might just want to wave your non-existent magic wand to fix the fuck ups that have caused this conversation to manifest in the first place. However, that doesn’t mean that you’re going to be fixing a damn thing. And besides, how much energy do you want to put into this whole thing? How much time do you want to put into this? Love, friendship, and affection aside: do you have the spoons necessary to correct the mistake? Can you do this?

I’m at the point where the misunderstanding isn’t mine to fix. If someone thinks that you’re that big of an asshole and that you meant whatever misconception they’re throwing around, then the misunderstanding isn’t yours; it’s theirs. They took the message/advice and convoluted it for whatever reason. And on the heels of that, then was it ever really worth the conversation in the first place? Obviously, your affection for the person was misplaced because now they think you’re that asshole who would mean something that grotesque.

At that point, I’m pretty much of the mind that the correction isn’t yours to make. They decided that you were a big-time jerk and ran with it. You know what the intention behind your message was. So why expel the time and energy?

Again. You only have so many damn spoons.