Friday, August 22, 2014

Drink the Kool-Aid


I just want to say that the past week has been awesome, and I feel so much better than I have in a very long time. I'm happy and having fun, I'm smiling a lot, I'm friendlier, I'm more open. It's great! I feel like a new person, and I think part of it is just having someone tell me for the first time that I'm not actually damaged, and I don't have to be the person I have been or feel the way I have been feeling or do the things I have been doing. I've somehow internalized a lot of beliefs through my life that have done nothing but hold me back, and now that I can finally see that, I'm done with them.
 
Oh, and if all of this wasn't already good enough, I was at work when I took all these photos! I'm finally starting to appreciate how great my life is in so many ways instead of taking it for granted and always thinking it's never going to be good enough and the grass must be greener elsewhere and I need to run off and live on a sailboat if I ever want to be truly happy.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Baby Steps

 
When I saw my therapist this week, I told him basically what I wrote in my last post, about how I'd kind of stoically accepted that I was settling into a quieter, lonelier time in my life, and he almost scoffed at me for how ridiculous that sounded.. which I had as yet failed to realize. I tried to tell him that I just don't connect well with others and that I'm a loner by nature and really it's fine, but he wasn't buying it. Of course, as with all things, there are reasons why I have always believed this to be true, none of which I ever explored or admitted and none of which are based on it actually being true. My therapist immediately hit the nail on the head of my lifelong introversion by explaining it as a defense mechanism. I have low self-worth, so I don't expect anyone to actually like me in any meaningful way, so I dislike them first thereby discrediting the negative opinion I assume they must have of me.

I've completely adopted this belief to the point where I really don't even allow for any chances to prove myself right or wrong, which is ridiculous when I actually take a step back and look at it. I'm going to be 31 in less than a month and I just accept that I am almost entirely incapable of forming friendships and that "people suck" and therefore I have to spend almost all of my time alone? Bollocks. I'm tired of accepting that and forming an identity around it, so I am actually genuinely trying to be more social, as well as more cognizant of how I present myself to others because I know I most typically come across as an asshole.. despite that I'm really just insecure and defensive. So this weekend I actually went out one night to, like, a real bar with real people, as opposed to drinking at home alone. And I also invited someone I've never even hung out with to come paddleboard with me rather than going alone like I had planned.  

I have to admit, while I am still used to being an introvert and do enjoy my time alone, I had a lot of fun spending time with friends and making new friends this weekend. Definitely more fun than I would have had I been alone all weekend, which makes me realize that friends are as important as everyone has always told me they are and I need to put more effort and energy into both making friends and being a good friend. It's so much healthier than, you know, resigning myself to being a curmudgeonly, misanthropic hermit any time I'm not in a romantic relationship. Look at that- growth! It brings to mind another Murakami quote (yes, I go through authors one at a time, I'm still on him):
Why do people have to be this lonely? What's the point of it all? Millions of people in this world, all of them yearning, looking to others to satisfy them, yet isolating themselves. Why?
It's such a relevant quote to me, because really what have I ever gained from isolating myself from other people and accepting a life of so much solitude? I'm still dealing with my breakup, the way I'm feeling is not just going to magically go away, but I don't have to deal with it alone just because I'm single, and I don't have to immediately attempt to soothe my hurt feelings by finding another romantic interest. Everything is going to be fine. Different, but fine. You know what they say, "you can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, well you might find, you get what you need.."


First photo taken by Genevieve 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Slow and Steady

 
As I wrote before, I've been trying very hard to stay busy and productive lately, because otherwise I start thinking too much and getting myself down, and once I'm down it's hard to get back up. I don't always have the motivation to do everything I plan, even if it's something as simple and pleasurable as kayaking with my dog, but I know it's important that I just do it. I had literally zero plans for the weekend, it was just me as it often is, which is ok. I'm definitely used to doing things alone and I don't need other people to have fun, but I would be lying if I said I haven't felt much more lonely lately than usual.

It doesn't matter if I'm actually alone or around other people, the feeling of loneliness usually remains. I've been trying to put more effort into friendships lately, but I feel such little connection with most other people that sometimes it's actually more comforting to just be alone than be around others. I've never had tons of friends, there are only a few people I actually spend time with, and out of the four people I've been closest to in recent history, one is single-parenting a toddler which makes it difficult to hang out, one now spends more time with my ex husband than with me and is moving soon, one fell in love and is also moving aqway country soon, and one broke up with me. Yet another reason I'm having a hard time with this breakup, it wasn't just the loss of a boyfriend but a best friend as well.

I'm realizing more and more that despite how I think or feel about it or what I try to do about it, I'm entering a slower, lonelier, more quiet time in my life for a bit. It reminds me of a quote from Murakami's The Wind Up Bird Chronicle:
The point is, not to resist the flow. You go up when you're supposed to go up and down when you're supposed to go down. When you're supposed to go up, find the highest tower and climb to the top. When you're supposed to go down, find the deepest well and go down to the bottom. When there's no flow, stay still. If you resist the flow, everything dries up. If everything dries up, the world is darkness.
It feels as if there is no flow at the moment, and all I can do is accept it and settle in, knowing that it's just a phase and won't last forever. I'm trying to be all I need right now, and trying to appreciate the quiet stillness that comes along with that. When I went kayaking yesterday, it was sunny and hot at first, and then I watched the inevitable storm clouds roll in, but it never rained. The clouds sucked the oppressive summer humidity from the air and enveloped the sky. Everything was so unbelievably still and peaceful, like the calm before a storm, but the storm didn't come and the stillness stayed all day long.

When I finally got to a stopping point and pulled my kayak ashore and set up my camp hammock, I wasn't in the rush that I normally am when I have to try very hard to relax, like it's something penciled onto a to-do list. I wasn't playing out timetables in my head and thinking of everything I needed to do, because I knew I really had nothing to get back home for, it was just me and Tank alone in the woods, listening to the cicadas. I think that's when I actually resigned myself to just settling into this new phase of my life, and accepting that things have changed and continue to, and that I don't know what the future holds even a little bit. No one ever knows what the future holds, I know, but there are different forms of certainty that we take for granted amidst the larger uncertainties, and I feel like some of those are gone now, too. 



My little kayak trip was enjoyable in a kind of placid, almost somber way, and despite that I wasn't overtly sad and was enjoying the day, I wasn't in a particularly smiley mood. But I remembered advice I had given a friend years ago telling him to just smile even if he didn't feel like it because the sheer physical act of doing so actually releases endorphins--or so I've been told--so I tried to smile regardless. Again, it's not that I'm unhappy, it's just that everything I do that normally makes me happy feels a little bit off and empty now, so it's a different feeling. It's not great, but it's not necessarily bad either, it just is. So there's no other choice but than to accept it. 

P.S. Again, I'm sorry about the iPhone photos. My birthday is next month if anyone wants to get me a new digital camera. Kidding not kidding.
P.P.S. My blogosphere friend, Rae, recently visited Florida on vacation and has been posting photos and stories from her trip. She just posted the afternoon we got to hang out if you want to read and see some photos of my pups and house.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Rapid-Fire

 
I re-started this blog a few months ago to keep up with my adventure chronicles like I used to, but it has clearly devolved back into the embarrassing personal diary that I'm sure only I still read. But maybe that's ok. Maybe that's what I need right now, since I rarely have any idea what I'm thinking or feeling lately. For the first time in my life I'm seeing a psychotherapist weekly, who is helping me to figure out some of the issues that keep me from being who I want to be or living the life I want to live. I can recognize all the bad things I say/do/embody and I can--and do--analyze them to death, but I don't know why they're there in the first place or how to fix them. Unfortunately it's not a fast or easy (or cheap) process, but it's interesting and helpful to see it from an objective third party perspective and to get deeper than just vaguely attributing these things to generalized depression, because there's more there.

I (obviously) haven't been able to make much progress on feeling better from my recent breakup, and it's hard to make sense of why since logically I know that the only thing to do is just understand that it's not meant to be and move on. Why be heartbroken if he's not the one anyway? But there's so much there, and I'm constantly cycling through emotions that seem so illogical and make little sense to me. I am heartbroken to not be together anymore because I do still love him and miss him, I also feel terrible and wholly rejected that he doesn't love me back, I feel angry with him for giving up on us and for causing me pain, I also think it's ridiculous to be angry with him because why would I expect him to stay with me?, I feel angry with myself for all of my shortcomings that pushed him away, I feel like I have no self-worth, I feel confused about how upset I am since I remember that while we were together I often knew in the back of my mind that he wasn't right for me in many ways.

The list goes on and on, and it feels like I experience all of these varying, sometimes seemingly paradoxical emotions in rapid-fire all day, every day. I put on a happy face every single day, I keep up my daily routines, I try to stay healthy with spin class and yoga class and green smoothies and whatnot, I try to stay busy and productive and spend time with family and friends, I try to do good outside of myself by keeping active in animal rescue, etc., so it's more than a little bit upsetting that this one aspect of my otherwise good life has such a singular, overshadowing impact on my mental health and overall well-being and feelings of self-worth. Rationally I know better than to allow it to, I do, but I also feel like I have no control over how I'm feeling. Nor do I even understand how I'm feeling most of the time. Clearly.

I know that none of this is making much sense and I'm just being redundant and talking in circles, which makes me feel like even more of an awkward idiot than I already do. But I feel like all I can do is just get it out at the moment, even if it seems like there's no point in doing so. I'm also trying to not be so hard on myself for harboring all of this irrational, embarrassing bullshit, so maybe there's some form of acceptance in just admitting it all here.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Full Cycle

Oh man, I was having so much more fun in my defiant, put on a strong face, "screw that guy, I'm moving on" phase than I was in my "I'm shit, I ruin everything good" phase, but I couldn't even keep up the charade for a week. All it took were a few reminders of how horrible/idiotic/borderline sociopathic so many men are to make me realize all the reasons I loved James to begin with, which brings me full circle in the all-too-fun phases of grief. I think it's natural and understandable that I wanted to feel wanted since I feel so rejected, but moving on right now is pretty much a joke. I think part of me just wanted a distraction from the pain of heartbreak, just someone to pass the time with and divert my attention, even if they're not "the one" (whatever that actually means). And I think part of me is so scared that he will move on before I do, and that it will just kill me. But understandable though that all may be, none of it is healthy and it doesn't make me any less heartbroken.

So now I'm stuck actually having to deal with my painful emotions, and with my overarching fear that there is no one out there for me, which may seem totally irrational but the possibility has always felt very, very real to me. I hate all of this so much, I hate writing about it here instead of filling this place with happier things, and I just want it all to go away. But I know it won't, and while some days are better than others, the pain and fear and hurt and emptiness are always there looming in the background regardless. James told me that it would get easier with time, which just makes me think of a quote from an almost unbearably emo band from my adolescence that rings true: Time doesn't always heal, it just breathes and swallows memories. That's Mineral, by the way, and if you're familiar with them you know that quoting them is not an ideal place to be, emotionally.

So I'm just trying to stay busy, and do things I love and things that are important to me, and just be my own person right now.
 



 I've gotten go to scalloping with good friends.

 I've gotten to go to some really beautiful places for work.

I got to finally cover up a terrible tattoo that I spent a lot of money and time lasering off with something way more fun (and added bonus- I never have to get my ditch tattooed again).

 I got to rescue a homeless dog from a bad part of town and find her a great home with a friend, and got to watch her play outside for the first time.
 I get to play outside with my own pups all the time, and watch them freak out over manatees despite that they see them all the time (they'd never hurt one, don't worry, and the manatees are always super curious and are the ones approaching the dogs).

I get to do whatever I want whenever I want and only answer to myself, which a lot of people would envy. Everyone keeps telling me about emotional independence and how important it is, but I already feel like a very independent person who doesn't need other people to be happy, and yet I can't help feeling like something so important is just completely missing from my life. Everything I do that would normally bring me joy just feels a little bit off and empty, which is hard to ignore. I don't even know how I feel most of the time, I just keep cycling through emotions and I feel legitimately crazy, even more so than I typically do. And it definitely didn't help to hear Patsy Cline's Crazy come on the radio today, either. Relating to Patsy Cline is almost as bad as relating to Mineral.
Crazy
I'm crazy for feeling so lonely
I'm crazy
Crazy for feeling so blue...

...Worry
Why do I let myself worry?
Wondering
What in the world did I do?

Oh, crazy
For thinking that my love could hold you
I'm crazy for trying
And crazy for crying
And I'm crazy for loving you

P.S. Sorry I keep posting blurry phone photos, I have absolutely no idea where my camera is.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Past The Fact


I guess I should probably wrap up my Bahamas trip since it's already been about, oh, two months since I got back from it. I apologize that instead of posting pigs on Caribbean beaches, I've been whining about a breakup, but I don't do well with breakups (shocking, I know). I never greet them thinking "hey, we tried, things didn't work out, we have some nice memories to look back on, best of luck in life, let's be friends and pretend we never had any romantic feelings for one another." I truly do not understand how people seem to do that so easily, because all I can think is that I just wasted a lot of time and a lot of emotions and it was all essentially for nothing, and that it's so strange to immediately go from being so close to being basically strangers. I'm immature and melodramatic, sure, but I think the people who deal with breakups rationally and maturely are actually the batshit crazy ones.

While I know it's likely not the healthiest approach, and it's easier to say than do, my only coping mechanisms are to just block my ex and our entire relationship from my memory as fast as possible, pretend that none of it ever existed, and move on. It's probably too soon to be moving on, but it's definitely more appealing than sitting at home alone, crying into my wine over someone who doesn't want me. I know I'm not perfect, but I took total responsibility for my own negative contributions to the relationship and sincerely offered to do anything I could to fix them, and he just gave up. Despite all my posts blaming myself for everything, it wasn't all me, but he wasn't willing to work on anything or even just give me a chance to. He just bolted when things got tough, essentially making everything he had ever told me bullshit. So no, I'm not going to sit home like some rejected, moping asshole. He wasted enough of my time, I'm moving on.

Shit. This is not what this post was supposed to be about. I guess that means I had more to say, but c'est la vie, let's move on to happier things.. like an entire island in the Caribbean inhabited only by wild, swimming pigs!

Our last two nights we stayed at Staniel Cay, which is one of the few islands in the area with any kind of infrastructure, and it just so happens to be next to Big Major Cay, which is home to the famous swimming pigs. I had heard of them before and was more excited to see them than do pretty much anything else on this trip. In anticipation, my mind was filled with images of me frolicking down a deserted beach, followed by my trusty pack of pigs, and tossing apples and bananas to them in a carefree fashion. This mental image, however, was temporarily halted when we finally got to the beach and were immediately greeted with ENORMOUS pigs swimming out to our little dinghy with their mouths open. And when I say swimming out to our dinghy, I really mean chasing the dinghy everywhere, so aggressively that I was actually scared to get out, and I'm not someone who scares easily when it comes to animals.


You can't tell how big this pig is by the photo, but she was definitely big enough to do some damage if she so chose (see this photo). I was both in love and terrified at the same time, as well as disappointed that my happy mental image was quickly shattering. But luckily I finally saw another tourist approach the beach and fearlessly disembark their vessel, and the bloodbath I imagined did not ensue, so I hopped out as well and the frolicking commenced.
(Please forgive the blurry iPhone photos)

Yes, that is shit floating in the water. But this is my happy place.

Will maniacally chase boat for food.


There were always different pigs on the beach each time I went back, and I wanted to know where they were going when they weren't begging for food from every random tourist who motored up to the beach. I started sneaking back into the brush and trees, and found this adorable sight of little buddies nestled together in the shade. My heart melted.


Please forgive the blurry iPhone photos, as that's just about all I took photos with at this point. But I do have a couple from a DSLR that are pretty great:


This one of my dad on his dinghy with one of the bigger pigs just camped up beside him is one of my favorite photos from the trip. I can't believe the things my parents put up with just to make me happy, because I know hanging out with hungry, wild pigs is not their first choice of activities for a Bahamas vacation.


We didn't just go to pig beach while staying in Staniel Cay, though. We also visited Thunderball Grotto, the site of two James Bond movies Thunderball and Never Say Never Again. It was also apparently one of the locations in Splash, which I didn't know at the time. It's an unbelievable cave, and no photo I took does it any justice.

I can't believe this is the best photo I have of the cave! I need to go through my dad's GoPro footage and take some stills..


Staniel Cay was fancy enough to actually have a "yacht club". The quotation marks are there because I've never been to a yacht club that didn't at least have windows, but I love open air everything and it was way more my style than any other yacht club I've been to on my dad's boat.

I love these seats made out of barrels, and I always love colorful paint, and things hanging from the ceiling, and old photos on the walls.

So, that's about it. Here's a (non-iPhone) photo from our last night on the boat. I did wake up at the crack of dawn the next morning and steal my dad's dinghy to go back and see the pigs one last time, but after that we had to fly out.

After a week of beautiful weather, it rained on the last morning. I can't imagine a more fond farewell.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Quixotic Consequences

"some hearts are ghosts settling down in dark waters
just as silt grows heavy and drowns with the stones"

  
I'm hoping this will be the last woe-is-me post for awhile, but at the moment I still need to vent and try to process my emotions into something more manageable than the swirling black cloud of shit that's currently enveloping me. Yes, I know I'm melodramatic and overly-sensitive and things affect me more than I should allow them. But that's who I am, and I can't change it, I can only try to cope with it. So. The end finally came last night, and while I saw it coming, I wasn't prepared for it in any way and spent over two hours begging him to change his mind. Begging. Literally begging someone to be with me who clearly does not want to be with me. It feels really good if you've never tried it. Nothing I said, no amount of tears, nothing got through at all. He hadn't come over to "talk", his mind was already made up. 

But despite that my logic was telling me to just give up, I couldn't. I was completely unable. All I could think about was that there was no way that I wouldn't wake up next to him again. Or make him breakfast. Or go kayaking with him. Or lay in a hammock with him and read. Or laugh over beers with him. Or curl up next to him on the couch. Or go camping with him. Or kiss him and stroke his hair and look in his eyes. There are so many things. I didn't know that the last time for all of these wonderful things that I enjoy so much was actually going to be the last time. I'm not ready to let that go, it's just not fair, and I refuse to believe that I will never get to experience any of them again. It hurts so much that all I can do is wish they never even happened to begin with, so I wouldn't have these memories, so I wouldn't be thinking of and dwelling on all the things I've suddenly lost.

Breakups are the worst. Everyone has experienced it, but we wipe the pain from our memories so that we have the strength (or rather delusions) to keep trying. But fuck, they ARE terrible. And I can't remember the last time I experienced one like this, where I have zero desire to be broken up. My last breakup was so long coming, and being that I was the one who initiated it, it wasn't as bad for me and I was happily ready to be single again. It was definitely painful to be hurting someone I cared for, but I wasn't dwelling on all the things I would miss about him. The one before that was someone I knew deep down I shouldn't be with, but who had totally made me fall for him, and when he cheated on me and ran off to California to marry someone else, the breakup was rough but in a totally different way. This is the first time I can remember in so long where I feel entirely resistant to the idea and heartbroken that I've lost someone I truly don't want to lose.

And beyond the heartbreak over losing him, I feel betrayed. He told me he loved me more than he has ever loved anyone. Any time I pointed out our differences, he said they didn't matter. He wanted to buy a sailboat with me and travel, and when I mentioned what a huge commitment that was, he said there's no one he'd rather do it with. Any time I went through any of my depressed or anxious episodes, he held me and told me I'd have to try a lot harder to scare him off. Even while breaking up with me he kept telling me how wonderful I am and how much he loves me. I just don't understand any of this. How could someone who feels this way and says these things give up on us and on me because the going got tough? Why am I not worth it for him to want to work through this rather than losing me? That's what people who LOVE someone do. Why even use that word if it means nothing?

I just can't handle any of this right now. And, once again, I'm worried I'll never be able to trust anyone again, because what's the point? Every relationship ends, and everything good that happens just becomes fuel for feeling horrible later on. How does something go to nothing so fast? It makes no sense but happens all the time.




I figured I'd intersperse the depressed bullshit that only affects me with some photos from the Fourth of July when I went kayaking alone with Tank and a travel hammock and white wine. I used to do everything alone outside and it looks like I'm back to that.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

"It always fascinated me how people go from loving you madly to nothing at all, nothing. It hurts so much. When I feel someone is going to leave me, I have a tendency to break up first before I get to hear the whole thing. Here it is. One more, one less. Another wasted love story. I really love this one. When I think that it's over, that I'll never see him again like this... well yes, I'll bump into him, we'll meet our new boyfriend and girlfriend, act as if we had never been together, then we'll slowly think of each other less and less until we forget each other completely. Almost. Always the same for me. Break up, break down. Drink up, fool around. Meet one guy, then another, fuck around. Forget the one and only. Then after a few months of total emptiness start again to look for true love, desperately look everywhere and after two years of loneliness meet a new love and swear it is the one, until that one is gone as well. There's a moment in life where you can't recover any more from another break-up."

Monday, July 7, 2014

Skinny Love

"I tell my love to wreck it all
Cut out all the ropes and let me fall"


It’s hard to wake up every morning and immediately feel this enormous wave of disappointment wash over you at the mere thought that there’s a whole new day ahead, and the maximum amount of time that there will be in the entire day until you can go to bed again. Fuck antidepressants, tinkering with your brain makeup and making you feel weird, or worse, or nothing at all. Why hasn’t anyone come up with a pill that allows you to just hibernate through depression? Because being awake is entirely overrated. I’ve been on a steady diet of Advil PM to sleep through the nights and not wake up and toss and turn and think, and booze to get me through the days (which I cut off today because, oddly enough, it’s not helping. Weird, right?).

While inside I feel like someone in dirty sweatpants on the couch drinking Jack Daniels, eating a tub of cookie dough, and crying over romantic comedies, I’ve actually somehow managed to balance my usual unhealthy, masochistic practices with relatively healthy eating and somewhat regular exercise. That seems sort of contrary to me, and I wish I could take it as a sign that I haven’t completely given up, but I’m guessing I subconsciously know that getting fat would only make me feel worse and exercise takes up time during the day (and supposedly forces endorphin production but that has yet to affect anything). And I definitely have been crying over romantic comedies.. and literally anything else that could possibly rouse any tiny bit of emotion. And I definitely need to cut it out with the Beach House, Bon Iver, and Lana Del Rey on repeat. Jesus, it's like the hipster's suicide playlist, it's terrible. 

I have managed to get out of my house to go kayaking with my dog, mow my lawn, go to the gym, watch fireworks, and even go scalloping for the first time this year, which is arguably my favorite thing to do in Florida, ever. But despite sticking to some modicum of routine, and doing things that normally bring me so much joy, I don’t feel anything good. At all. It’s just this stifling, ever-present, sour haze that envelops everything lately. As Plath wrote, “I felt very still and empty, the way the eye of a tornado must feel, moving dully along in the middle of the surrounding hullabaloo.” And when Plath quotes start to feel relatable again, it just makes me feel infinitely worse, because I don't want to end up with my head in an oven, and I don’t want to feel like this, and I don’t want to deal with this, and I don’t want to write about this, I just want it all to go away. But that's not how it works. It never just goes away. 
My dad told me years ago that he thought my depressed bouts always coincided with breakups (which kind of belittles the mental issues I’ve dealt with for so long), but in this case the depression preceded and caused the breakup, which just amplifies the whole scenario. Especially considering that it’s a situation that I do not want, yet one I created. Actually, I don’t even fully know if I’m broken up. I assume I am but we’ve never actually talked about it, he just keeps telling me he needs time to think, which doesn’t give me much to cling to, as I assume all he's actually thinking about is how to break up with me in a way that doesn't add to the way I'm already feeling. Part of me just wants to go ahead and get it over with so I can hit rock bottom already and try to start building myself up again. The other part of me is not ready to give up, at all, and desperately wants to try to correct the damage I’ve caused. The other part of me feels like I don’t deserve to get him back, and that no one should have to deal with me, and that it’s admirable he managed to put up with me for so long. The other part of me thinks that because he’s told me so many times that he loves me, he should love me as the full package, the good and the bad, and want to understand me and help me when I’m down, because that’s what love is, right? I mean, fuck, I never asked for any of this, and anyone who hasn’t dealt with it doesn’t understand how much it can affect life and how difficult it can be to manage. But I have too many conflicting viewpoints bouncing around my head right now that I don’t know what to do or think.
The last time I felt this low over a breakup, it was more over what my ex did to me than the fact that I had lost him. I was depressed, both inside and outside of the breakup, but I was also incredibly, justifiably angry at him and I definitely aimed every ounce of negativity at him while I tried to process my emotions. But right now I have no one to be angry with and direct anger towards except myself, because the person who hurt me was in effect just me. I’ve been upset that he has stayed away from me to “take time to think”, and that he hasn’t tried to see me at all, because I’m depressed and I need him and he’s not here. But I know I can’t blame him, because I drove him away. I wish he could understand why I do that, and that I don’t mean it, but regardless it’s too much to ask anyone to stick around when you’re constantly pushing them away. Who would ever voluntarily deal with that? I assume either no one at all, or someone who really loves you, which may just not be him, and maybe he's finally figured that out.
 
"And now all your love is wasted
And who the hell was I?
I'm breaking at the bridges
And at the end of all your lines


Who will love you?
Who will fight?
Who will fall far behind?"

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Broken

This is a too-personal post, but few people read here anymore, and this is the first time I've had any impetus to write in a very long time, so be it. 

I've always had a knack for being able to put depression into words. I've been dealing with it on and off through most of my life, so it's a necessity for me to put it onto paper (or a screen) in order to make sense of it. And as a result, I've had more than a few people over the years tell me that I've helped make their seemingly incoherent thoughts and feelings a little more coherent and easier to cope with, or helped them to finally be able to understand what their loved ones were going through, making it easier to empathize and assist. And yet somehow for the past 15 or so months, I have been completely unable to enable my own boyfriend to understand me at all, the person I'm arguably closest to, which feels like such an unfamiliar failure on my part. Feeling perpetually misunderstood and likewise treated with a lack of empathy, however unintentional, has not been easy. For either of us, I'm sure. 

I've always psychoanalyzed my own behavior, because I know I do things all the time that outwardly seem completely contrary or illogical. I've proved to myself repeatedly that I have little control over the actual actions when they're occurring, but if I didn't at least try to make sense of why I did them, I'd have gone a lot more crazy a lot longer ago. In terms of interpersonal relationships, I know that I do everything I can to push people away, more often than not to see if they'll chase me and fight for me, or likewise to prove to myself that they won't as a self-fulfilling prophesy of sorts. I won't ask for help when I'm feeling unwell, but I'll send up a million red flags to see who will notice them, and then rather than taking responsibility for my own resulting terrible behavior, I'll blame who I'm with for not noticing the red flags and helping avert the situation. I'm melodramatic, I send out pathetic, attention-seeking cries for help, I burn bridges at the drop of a hat, and I sit back at the end of the day feeling totally alone in the universe, even though I created the scenario, because it's what I feel I deserve.

I've tried to explain all of this to my boyfriend, partly because I'm a verbose broken record, and partly because I feel I have a duty to wear my crazy on my sleeve just so everyone knows what they're dealing with. But being a (truly unbelievably) completely normal person, it just never seems to register with him. I've been in an episode of sorts the past few days, I knew full well my boyfriend didn't have time for me due to a very important obligation at work, and if anything needed my support. So in typical crazy fashion, that's when I come unhinged, pushing him away, testing him, knowing he can't and won't come to the rescue. No matter how many times I expect him to come bursting through the door to save our relationship, or to even recognize why this is all happening and even just ask me if I'm ok, it's not going to happen. It's such a strange feeling to have spent so much time with someone and know that they still don't understand such vital things about you..

But I can't blame him. And I don't blame him. I like to blame other people, but it's a lie because inwardly I always blame myself. I make everything about me, but at least I'm consistent and direct the punishment to myself as well. I create the situations that hurt me, because I'm a masochist. And I push him away because I know he deserves to be with someone with way less baggage, and that I deserve to be alone. But goddamn it hurts. Every other time I've pushed him away, and he didn't push back, I eventually told him I was sorry, and that I'm fucked up, and that I'd do anything to make it work. But I have to wonder if this time, something that started as part of another embarrassing episode, isn't actually for the best, because how can it ever work with two people who are unable to ever see eye to eye? That's so much easier to write than it is to grasp, though. I already miss him so much. I'm miserable. I didn't go to work yesterday, I couldn't get out of bed, I drank two beers on my lunch break today, I've eaten Xanax or Advil PM the past few nights just to sleep. All I want is to run to him and bury my face in his chest and pretend like we won't end up back here again eventually. 

But I'm broken, like a vase. And all this psychiatry and therapy and antidepressants and support and effort is just the glue that holds the pieces of the vase together. No matter how meticulous of a job you do fixing it, it's just never going to be a proper vase. I'm broken. And he's not.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Past Participle

Well, I suppose enough time has passed to where my self-loathing has receded to a point where I can at least try to communicate like a normal person. In my (slightly embarrassing) last post, I touched on how difficult it can be to relate anything about a vacation in any coherent way once it’s over and I’m back in my normal routine. I can sift through the fond memories and colorful photos all I like, only to inevitably end up feeling like they were all a dream regardless. But despite enjoying my posts from the last time I was in the Bahamas, specifically because they were written during the vacation, there is definitely something that feels inherently wrong about taking a laptop on a vacation, which is why I had zero desire to take mine with me this time. The computer is a wonderful tool, but it’s also wonderfully distracting from the present moment and real life, both of which I was actively seeking out in my vacation, so no, no computer this time and no regrets about it.

And yet, despite that I had no real distractions from the present moment, I still felt like I couldn’t grasp it, and for the first time I stopped blaming my own incompetence and shortcomings and realized that it’s simply not able to be grasped. The present moment that I’m enjoying so much lasts a fraction of a fraction of a second, an amount of time no one can really grasp in any real way, and as such it’s already become past by the time I even recognize it. I kept talking with my boyfriend and my parents about this concept during this trip, which they all adamantly disagreed with me about, but it still feels true to me. And just last night, while reading Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore, someone in the book quoted Henri Bergson, “The pure present is an ungraspable advance of the past devouring the future. In truth, all sensation is already memory”. I was dumbfounded to run across that quote, and read it over and over, because YES, THANK YOU, THAT’S PRECISELY WHAT I KEEP SAYING, JUST WRITTEN BETTER. No one agrees with me on this, but my viewpoint is directly in line with that of a major 20th century French philosopher, one who has won a Nobel Prize nonetheless, so that has to at least validate me somewhat.

Regardless of whether or not I’m right about reality or the present moment, all of my vacations are spent repeating the words "don't forget this, don't forget this, memorize every detail, you will likely never see or experience this again in your entire life, don't forget this." I fill memory cards with photos, believing it's the easiest way to keep hold of the moment, even though I know that it barely captures anything. You can't take a photo of the smell of the Caribbean ocean air or fresh coconut bread baking, or the buzz of a tiny 9-seater Cessna engine as it wobbles over islands, or the taste of a freshly-picked coconut, or the way the rough coral rock felt beneath your feet, or all the moments of laughter you shared with people you love in a setting so beautiful it hurts to even think about. You just have to savor it in the moment and trust your memory. But, I don't. I don't know how to truly savor the moments that I most want to savor. I don't know how to be present in a moment that I know is, in reality, already over. I am happy, I am beyond happy, and I am soaking it in in every way I can think of, but I still can't ever shake the lingering thought that it’s already over and will never happen again.

How can that not induce panic?! Especially when the things I'm seeing and experiencing are so beautiful?
 
 
From our first night, at a marina in Nassau. Nassau, to me, is the complete antithesis of everything I mentally equate with the Bahamas. Just thinking about Atlantis makes me throw up in my mouth a little bit. But I did enjoy this little marina.
I think James enjoyed it, too.
I was happy when we finally made it to Shroud Cay in the Exumas, though.
Exploring Shroud Cay in the dinghy. Unbelievable.
And snorkeling around Shroud Cay. No big reefs or anything, but there are always things to see.
From Shroud, we visited Warderick Wells, where the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park headquarters are. We hiked to the top of Boo Boo Hill to see a stunning view of the ocean side of the island.
No amount of photoshopping can reproduce the actual turquoises I saw. There were colors I didn't even know existed.
My adorable mother, with the inland side to her left and the ocean side to her right.
Inland view from the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park office.
One of the exhibits of the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park- a pilot whale that died from ingesting too much plastic. The amount of random plastic I saw on the ocean side of all these various uninhabited islands we visited was astounding. In the worst way possible.
From Warderick Wells, we headed to Compass Cay, which is the first island that had any kind of civilization on it. And by civilization, I mean generators, spotty and expensive wifi, and a grill for hamburgers. Whereas the Abacos are pretty well settled, the Exumas are mostly uninhabited. It's so nice.
Exploring the ocean side of Compass Cay.
They may not have much on this island, but they do have their very own planetarium.
The marinas are all so cute, cluttered with painted driftwood that travelers have left over the years.
Most of the marinas in the Exumas have their own population of nurse sharks that hang around to feed on the carcasses of fish by the cleaning station. Compass Cay was no different. We had so much fun swimming with these gentle creatures.
Compass Cay was the perfect jumping off point to explore all kinds of neat areas. This is "The Aquarium" above water, probably my favorite place that we snorkeled.
The second you jump in, sergeant majors surround you, and follow you around the entire time. I love them.
But there were all kinds of other fish. Queen angelfish are stunning.
I really wanted to eat this guy. Buuuut there's no fishing in the Land and Sea Park, which is a good thing considering how overfished the Bahamas are.
My dad. What a nerd.
I'm a nerd, too. I get it from him.
Triggerfish are also one of my favorites.
The first few times we snorkeled, I took both my iphone (in a Lifeproof case) and my underwater camera. Top photo is camera, bottom is iPhone. I realized I liked my underwater iPhone photos better and stopped taking my camera. The angelfish photo above was actually taken on my phone, too!
On that note, I'd like to say that this probably would have been one of the best snorkeling pictures of me to date if my Luddite boyfriend knew how to use a damn iPhone.
Another fun spot to explore, the Rocky Dundas Caves.
No photos can really do them justice, especially not blurry phone photos. If there's one thing the iPhone doesn't do well, it's distance and weird light conditions. But the caves were just insane. 
And yet another cool spot to explore was a sunken airplane.
Are we done yet? No? There are more cool places to explore? Yep. This is Rachel's Bubble Bath. The ocean (bottom) crashes over the rocks at high tide into the big inland pool and bubbles all over the surface. I could have stayed here with a cooler of beer for hours. Or forever.
I also got my best above water-below water photos (I don't know what they're called) of the entire trip there. I always get excited when I can take these on my crappy little point and shoot.
Bouncing around on that little dinghy, getting sprayed by seawatr and burned by the sun, exploring all kinds of crazy places that I never knew existed, will remain one of my best memories.
Although I have some pretty great memories from the big boat as well. My mom doesn't love this boat nearly as much as my dad does, but PLEASE DAD, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DON'T SELL IT.
I wanted to get this all out in one post, but I've already inundated you with enough photos, and you probably hate me by now, so I'll return again to post about the last couple of days on Staniel Cay.. which you should know will basically just be a million photos of me freaking out over an island inhabited only by wild swimming pigs. I'm relatively easy to please.