Who I Am

Here we are, Day 37 post DSB-break-up.  I couldn’t be more thrilled with my new-found freedom, spare time, lack of anxiety, and re-connection with family.  I mean thrilled, over-the-moon.  What I am less thrilled with is the basic and simple fact that I have to work, REALLY HARD, at figuring out this new life again.

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You know, what it means to be single, to not be tied down.  While I used to have a very rigid schedule, everything is very loose now.  It bothers me, to a degree.  I feel like I am reinventing Rosa, and in a way, I guess I am.  The Rosa of the past two years put up with way too much shit, had her self-esteem slowly chipped away, and mentally blocked out all of the “wrongness” that was the relationship with DSB.

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But I see it now.  I see it clearly.  I see where I should have stood my ground, made different choices, forced him to leave much earlier in the game.  The minute he tried keeping me from my family, or badmouthing them, I should have ended it.  I didn’t, and I have nightmares about it, frankly.  About how I gave up my family for a relationship that really wasn’t all that great, or healthy.

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I feel a lot of shame, am actually really burdened down by shame and guilt.  The Rosa of the last two years is not the Rosa I want to be.  And I’m changing things, sometimes in little steps, sometimes in huge leaps of faith.  It’s hard, though.  I have great family and friend support, but I am lacking something.  I think I know what it is, but I’m not positive.  What I think I am facing is a deep sense of uncertainty and insecurity.

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Because I feel like I’m reinventing myself, I also feel like I don’t know who I really am.  I’m uncertain about what I like and don’t like, what I will put up with and I won’t.  I worry that my reactions to certain things are either over-the-top or not intense enough.  I feel wildly varying emotions about so many issues, so many people, so many subjects, and just so many things.  And along with that, I have had two cycles in the past month, and just when I’m feeling good, something crops up and I feel like all the progress I have made has been obliterated.

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I’m not saying that’s how it is, but just that it FEELS that way.  I feel lost a lot of the time, and a lot of the time I’m putting on a happy face when inside I’m in a rage about something or I’m so agitated I can barely focus on what it is I’m supposed to be doing.  Lost.  Lost.  Lost.  I am like a ship out at sea that has lost it’s navigational system.  No way back to dry land, to safety.  But isn’t it safe HERE?  NOW?

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I am good with life changing, but it seems so huge, so dramatic.  I feel like a totally different person now than when I was with DSB.  It feels good to be able to do what I want to be, but there is so much uncertainty now.  Before, I knew where I had to be at what times and what I was supposed to be doing.  Now, there is no plan, there is no schedule.  I’m living life flying by the seat of my pants and it terrifies me.  I don’t feel secure in this person I am trying to be and I feel very unsure about what I should be doing on a minute-to-minute basis.  Before, it was all planned out and orchestrated.  Now, well, like I said!  Seat of your pants!

When this song first came out, my grandpa had passed, but my grandma was still around.  I’d substitute Grandma’s name for the one in the song, and the line about looking like my dad and momma being my biggest fan were (and still are) SO TRUE.  This song really grounded me during a time where, again, I didn’t know who I was.  I’ve listened to it four times now on repeat, after writing everything above (which frankly, needed to come out either way), and it is grounding me again, like it once did back when times were rough.

If I live to be a hundred
And never see the seven wonders
That’ll be alright
If I don’t make it to the big leagues
If I never win a Grammy
I’m gonna be just fine
Cause I know exactly who I am

I am Rosemary’s granddaughter
The spitting image of my father
And when the day is done my momma’s still my biggest fan
Sometimes I’m clueless and I’m clumsy
But I’ve got friends that love me
And they know just where I stand
It’s all a part of me
And that’s who I am

So when I make a big mistake
And when I fall flat on my face
I know I’ll be alright
Should my tender heart be broken
I will cry those teardrops knowing
I will be just fine
Cause nothing changes who I am

I am Rosemary’s granddaughter
The spitting image of my father
And when the day is done my momma’s still my biggest fan
Sometimes I’m clueless and I’m clumsy
But I’ve got friends that love me
And they know just where I stand
It’s all a part of me
And that’s who I am

I’m a saint and I’m a sinner
I’m a loser; I’m a winner
I am steady and unstable
I’m young, but I am able

I am Rosemary’s granddaughter
The spitting image of my father
And when the day is done my momma’s still my biggest fan
Sometimes I’m clueless and I’m clumsy
But I’ve got friends that love me
And they know where I stand
It’s all a part of me
And that’s who I am

I am Rosemary’s granddaughter
The spitting image of my father
And when the day is done my momma’s still my biggest fan
Sometimes I’m clueless and I’m clumsy
But I’ve got friends that love me
And they know where I stand
It’s all a part of me
And that’s who I am
That’s who I am

 

 

My Guilty Pleasure (TW)

Today’s Daily Prompt begs the question:

What’s the one guilty pleasure you have that’s so good, you no longer feel guilty about it?

Guilt-Trip-Sticker

 

This is a good question, because I have many guilty pleasures.  Most of them are food-related.  A few are not.  I read several other blogs’ take on this question, and it seems that food or food-related items rank way up there as a guilty pleasure that they are making no apologies for.

It’s food and it’s fuel, right?  I know very few people who actually operate that way, although they claim they do.  It’s about taste and texture and comfort.  It’s about memories and celebrating and tradition.  Food can be art.  Can fuel be art?

Food can also be guilt.  Food can be a habit that is (seemingly) unbreakable.  Food can be a pattern, an imprint on our soul, a war that we constantly wage.  As a person who grew up dealing with bulimia, to an adult who constantly battles with Binge Eating Disorder, with very occasional purging thrown in for good measure, I cannot say that I am able, at this point, to have a relationship with food that mimics the “food is fuel” model.  As much as I would like, I’m not there.

I like food, actually LOVE food, but food is also the enemy.  Too little, while failing to try and eat in moderation, and I make up for that later with way too much food and a whole pot full of bad feelings about it.  If I eat an inordinate amount and am in a very bad place, I revert to old bulimic behaviors.  Why don’t I just stop already?

Food is my guilty pleasure.  But one that I do feel guilty about, which is not what the Daily Prompt really wants me to write about.  My relationship with food is better than it used to be.  I eat healthier, binge less, but it still happens.

My bingeing has been better since DSB left.  I am not keeping a lot of food around to binge on, and I had a better-than-usual experience my last grocery shopping trip in which the only real trigger item I bought was peanut butter.  Let’s just say that the peanut butter’s days were numbered and it is long gone.  And I feel really bad about that.  But there’s not much I can do now.

It will be interesting to see how my eating disorder moves along now that DSB is gone.  Already, I said, it has been better.  I want to know — will I be able to finally cure myself?  Given the right blend of vegetables and fruit and starch and protein, will I be able to banish those obsessive stuff-your-face thoughts out of my head?  I certainly hope so.

It’s certainly something I need to work on in therapy.  Something I haven’t mentioned in eons.  I’ve just been plugging away, not mentioning it because, well, I feel pretty guilty about it.

Which is why this is such a big post.  It is very hard to tell the world that you are overweight and have an eating disorder.  It is not well-understood.  “Well, just eat less!”  Right on.  All I have to comfort myself with right now, is that I am trying very hard, being extra vigilant, and hopefully with those two things and the help of my therapist, I can nip this life-long issue in the bud…forever.

 

Brain Dump

For the final 118 minutes of today, Saturday, the 27th of December, year of our Lord 2008, I am going to not care about what anyone thinks of me.  I have spent far too much time today consumed by it.  I am also not going to worry about that which I cannot change, which I spend hour upon hour obsessing about, on a daily basis. 

I have never been diagnosed with a generalized anxiety disorder.  Have I, at times, often even, felt unbearably-crawling-out-of-my-skin anxious?  Hell yes.  I’m trying not to work myself up to that point right at this very moment.  It has been explained to me that these feelings of anxiety are merely a symptom of PTSD, that the racing thoughts and obsessive thinking are only signs of my bipolar disorder.  That’s fine.  I don’t want another label.  Spare me. 

I have been given tools through DBT that enable me to work through my anxiety, to live with lower levels of it.  I distract myself with music, blogging, reading, talking on the phone, cleaning.  I self-soothe by taking a shower, painting my toenails, eating something I don’t eat often, playing with my hair, petting my dog. 

When I can’t distract or self-soothe my way out of it, I problem-solve.  What can I do to remedy the situation that has me obsessively thinking thinking THINKING?  In general, I end up calling the source of my anxiety (if the source is a person) and apologizing or clarifying something I had said earlier.  I spend entirely too much time thinking that I have said something wrong, done something wrong, made someone mad.

The funny thing is that I behave as if I don’t care what anyone thinks.  I say what I’m thinking, always.  To a fault.  I put this blog address up on Facebook and invite every soul I went to high school with into my brain.  At work, I don’t feel the need to really censor myself, although I generally tone down my personality a bit.  People at work think I’m “bubbly.”  That word was actually said.  By more than one person.  Oh, and “friendly.”  People at my old job thought I was a hardass bitch.  As QoB points out, funny that when I hated my job, people disliked me and now that I like my job, people seem to really like me.

But I would like to think that something at my core has changed.  That I have become a friendlier, less crazy-ex-girlfriend, more mellow person.  I know that I feel like a friendlier, less crazy person. 

Something that I have discovered about myself recently is that I am bitterly judgemental.  Mostly of myself, sometimes of other people.  Sometimes I shock myself by the thoughts I have when I say them out loud.  Then, I look around to make sure nobody heard.  Kind of like when Grandma calls the waitstaff at the nursing home “colored” and you glance around to make sure nobody noticed. 

All of this poison, mostly self-directed, in my head can’t be good for me.  For awhile, I was doing a pretty good job at releasing it, but now it’s as if my aura is blocked and I am turning purple.  That may sound stupid to some people, sometimes it sounds stupid to me, but it’s something I believe.  So here I am, on my blog, releasing my poison, so that I can go back to that pleasant fuzzy peach color that hints at sunshine or even the cool, calm seafoam green that I painted all over my bathroom walls.

This is what I have been missing.  The dumping grounds for my mind.  This post may not make much sense, but it sure made me feel better.  It’s good to be home.

I don’t blog about it much, or ever, but I feel a spiritual connection with someone higher through music.  The YouTube for today makes me feel clean again, after I have rolled around in the grime of my mind all day.

Alison Krauss, Down to the River to Pray

Avoidance

It has been over two weeks since I have last blogged.  Almost three, in fact.  And I really haven’t been keeping it up too well since August, even though I see it as a valuable tool.  I have been choosing not to use it. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I get on the computer at least once a day, with the time available, and think to myself, “I should blog.”  And there’s a part of me that desperately wants to.  It’s not for lack of things to blog about, that’s for sure.  Even if I were to just blog about daily happenings, I have fodder.  And I know if I would blog, I would feel better, even if I’m not feeling bad.  It’s just a good feeling to put thoughts to words, to let the jumble in my head fall out onto the screen. 

Instead, I come up with an excuse.  I tell myself I don’t have enough time, that I’ll do it later, will make up anything in order to walk away from the computer.  And I’m left with all of this unprocessed thought rattling around in my head, making me dizzy. 

After what I went through this spring (if you’re new, read anything between April and June), I came through with a drastically different outlook on life.  I had therapy today with Goddess of Mindfulness, and we talked about how different my life is now.  We talked about exactly what happened, that in a sense turned the key for me, that let me see that my life could be vastly different, that I as a person could be and feel so dramatically different. 

Once I realized that I didn’t have to live my life numb, hateful, miserable, struggling struggling STRUGGLING, letting my past and my emotions control my life, I think I really wasn’t sure what to do next.  For 27 years, there was always something for me to fixate negative energy on, whether real or (more often) created by my own over-anxious imagination.  Suddenly, I was focused on feeling better, feeling amazing really, and I let myself get a bit caught up in it. 

And was totally caught up, oblivious, until I leaned back in time and ripped out that old “I AM MISERABLE” headline from the Rose Daily Times and decided that I needed to make some huge life changes (namely moving out of the country and getting the hell away from everything I know) in order to be satisfied. 

Right after I went through that change, some other pretty big changes happened.  Namely Matt.  And yes, everything with him is as truly wonderful as it could be.   

But I can be happy, and still have the potential to be happier.  I can feel good and still feel better.  And I can be non-symptomatic and still have ideas and thoughts and feelings that are troubling to me.  I can’t pretend that I figured all of that out on my own in the last 24 hours, but I can tell you that I’m relieved to know it and own it now. 

And starting, um, tomorrow, or maybe in a few hours, I’ll put some of those ideas and thoughts and feelings into words. 

Expect to hear more from me.

As for my YouTubes at the end of each post, I’ve decided to start posting a song I was listening to while blogging on each post,  unless there’s just something terribly appropriate. 

Nickel Creek, Sabra Girl

Dear Grandma

I don’t know what to say to you that will make you feel better, and that hurts me.  I feel like I have all of this training and useless knowledge about how to help someone who is depressed, and it doesn’t apply.  I feel like there is more I should be doing, and I know there is. 

I don’t come visit, because I can’t stand to look at you.  I am afraid I will cry in front of you and scare you.  I am afraid I will say the wrong thing.  I am afraid to see you because I saw Grandpa the day before he died and if I come see you, you might die too. 

I know you are giving up.  You offered one of your most prized possessions to me — Sparky’s duck toy that Kizzie loves so much.  I know you would never give that away if you were still going to try and get better. 

Every time I talk to you, I try hard to sound as if things are normal, as if life is going on and everything is great.  I talk about the mundane events in my life like they are exciting.  I don’t know if this makes you feel better, but it makes me feel like I am giving you something. 

I know I wasn’t always nice to you growing up, and it is painful for me to remember.  I know that I can’t change what I have done or said, and I don’t remember doing anything particularly atrocious, but I know that I have hurt your feelings more than once.  For that, I am sorry.  I wish I could take it back, but I can’t. 

Most vividly, I remember when I was in grade school or maybe junior high and it was the evening of a Halloween party I was going to at Sara H.’s house.  I don’t remember what I said to you, but I know I said something that made you cry.  At the time, my only worry was DH finding out and yelling at me.  I am sorry for making you cry.

When you moved into the assisted living, I did my best to avoid you.  It seemed like we had nothing to say to each other and I didn’t want to deal with you, living like you were.  It seemed as if you went from super-human, making cookies and cinnamon rolls and scrubbing the floor on your hands and knees, to using a walker and not being able to drink liquids or eat without choking.  I didn’t understand and I didn’t want to. 

Over time, I accepted that you were older, and then Grandpa moved in across the street.  That made it easier to visit you, because for some reason I always wanted to see Grandpa.  He made me feel good and he did all the talking.  That was the difference between you two. 

When I was growing up and up until the day he died, you always threw into conversation, “You know your Grandpa loves you.”  Mom always thought that was your way of telling me that you loved me too.  It wasn’t until after Grandpa had been gone awhile that you told me that YOU loved me.  Sometimes you still lapse and talk about how much Grandpa loved me. 

I know that when you die, I am going to feel guilty that I didn’t visit more often, didn’t make more of an effort, ignored you, failed you, made you cry, didn’t pay attention to your feelings.  This may not be how you perceive it, but I feel like our relationship has always been strained…that only Grandpa loved me and you were second in line. 

I am not going to be able to bring myself to give you this letter, namely because I know it would upset you.  I am posting it because I want other people to know that it is okay to be angry or feel guilty or feel unloved.  It is okay to have a hard time interacting with someone who has given up on life and is waiting to die.  I have to think it is okay, or I couldn’t bear the guilt, so it must be okay. 

I don’t want to lose all touch with reality when you go.  I want to remember the few good memories I have with you, and not dwell on the fact that I wish Grandpa were still around instead of you.  I know that is a horrible thing to say, but it is true.  I don’t feel like you really love me and I don’t really think you are capable of making me feel so.  Deep down I am sure that you do.  It is most likely even your belief that you make me feel loved.  But you can’t.  That is not your fault.  It is who you are. 

And I am who I am.  That is why I am writing this letter to you today.  To tell you I’m sorry I can’t make you feel better, to express regret over things I shouldn’t have said or things I should have done, to tell you I’m sorry that I don’t visit more often, that I have pushed you to the back of my mind for years. 

Mom said it gets easier to accept aging and dying as one gets older.  Unfortunately I do not think I will have that luxury in your case.  I am not wishing for you to die…I wish for you to feel happy, to remember a good time, to have a moment of clarity and know you are loved by many. 

 And no, Grandma, you’re not bothering me.  Keep calling. 

 Love

Rose

RosieGrouchyPants

I woke up this morning at 3:00 a.m.  So much for medication.  Since that’s not working, I’ve been using my “coping skills” and taking it easy.  I’ve spent the last three hours listening to CD’s and playing fetch with my dog.  Yes, I know…I live a life full of excitement, but my mental health depends on it. 

Poor mental health = inability to function = getting fired = living with my dog in a refrigerator box under the bridge.  You can see how I wouldn’t want that for myself. 

I did manage to sleep a bit during the day today, which I was pretty excited about.  The main reason I’m excited is because I’m starting to get really whacked out and feel pretty on edge.  Also, my memory is starting to go and I find myself wandering aimlessly around my house.  I did manage to clean like a madwoman today, which is really not all that unusual for me.  I call it a “cleaning disorder” and Malcom says, “That’s just your OCD, baby.”

Kizzie has been adjusting to the erratic sleep patterns just fine.  She naps with me when I nap, and she acts like a crazy idiot when I’m up acting, I’m sure, the same.  My dog is so supportive. 

I managed a visit with my Grandma today, which has become depressing as hell since she had to move into the nursing home part of her living center.  I suggested she try therapy and perhaps a bump in her anti-depressant dose.  She says, “Oh I’m fine.  I don’t need that.”  She then proceeds to act depressed and complain a lot and be ungrateful.  I suppose some things never really change though…they just intensify with age. 

My parents are working like mad for the upcoming lawn and garden show.  I think they’ll have a kick-ass display if the work and stress doesn’t stroke them out before then.  They’re really excited about it, too, which I haven’t seen in years, so I’m happy for them.

I’m hoping that I have therapy this coming weekend to deal with all of the sleep and resulting bullshit I’ve been experiencing.  My therapist is beyond awesome and I’ve been with her off and on since I was sixteen.  I’m trying to think of an appropriate blog name for her in order to protect her identity.  I’m thinking “Goddess of Mindfulness”, which of course I would shorten to GOM.  Its really an amazing thing to learn about…mindfulness, that is…it has helped me tremendously. 

Malcom:  “Are you watching the Super Bowl?”

Me:  “What the hell do you think?

Malcom:  “Grrrrrraaarrrr.”

I apologize dearest Malcom.  I feel somewhat homicidal aggravated that the Super Bowl is going on while I feel miserable.  I’m so annoying on little sleep.  Reach across those three states and slap me…I know I might think about it if I were you.  XOXO