Train wreck, continued…

29 Oct

Last week was constant travel and stress for work, and this weekend just continued my emotional mess. I wallowed WAY more than I ever do, and spent hours watching Suits and feeling the sads. I did some things, including pumpkin picking, and there were bursts of fun, but Saturday night I should’ve done something and instead I wallowed. Normally, I force myself to socialize in those moments to get me out of the funk, but I didn’t have the emotional energy for it. It was one of those nights where I could’ve used company, but didn’t want to actively do anything, only everyone I know that could’ve included me in plans was doing something. Anyhow, at my book club Sunday I realized I should’ve gone to their event because they’re chill enough. The boyfriend helped, though, because he was willing to talk through some of our issues more.

This week has been marginally better so far. Work is still insanely stressful, but at least I’m busy. I’ve actively been refraining from getting more involved, even though there are some great opportunities being presented. I’m too busy to give my time away any more, which is a blessing and a curse. The sex I’ve had with the dude has been fantabulous, which always helps. My body remembers the deliciousness and just wants more… My family stuff is worse than ever, but I cycle through wallowing.

I’ve decided I do need to set up something with a therapist. I’m rapidly approaching a point where I feel overwhelmed and the desire to wallow and be sad is more present than I’ve had it be in over a decade. I’m not OK with that. I want to go back to enjoying the world around me more and thinking the best of people and situations. I’m not sure how to do that, though, with this debilitating loss. It’s made me rethink relationships with some people and impacts how I see everything. Now for the dude to help me figure out my insurance and where to go…

And, on the positive of all positives, I have a week long beach vacation starting Saturday. Clearly, I need this vacation more than ever.

Emotional Train Wreck

20 Oct

First off, I’ve learned that I’m really terrible at resisting temptation when I’m on vacation. I can generally make better choices than I would’ve before, but it’s hard, especially when relying on other people’s kitchens and cooking. When I’m home, I control when I eat out, where I eat out, and the caloric content of my snacks and breakfast. At other places, egg whites and the like are not in abundance, and so I start my day immediately 300 calories above where I want to be. More than that, I still am a bit of a food tourist, and I like seeing the unique sweets or restaurants a place has to offer. When there’s no gym available, and honestly, when no one else is working out or prioritizing fitness, it’s difficult to get that in too. I went to Boston a few weeks ago and to Philly/NYC this weekend, and both times I ended up completely off-base in my fitness and food choices. It sucks, because I do so well at home, but then I see little to no progress because of those weekends.

Anyway, aside from that, I’m an emotional mess. I’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster for a few weeks now. I feel tired and about to cry a lot of the time. Work has been busy, which is good, but my current supervisor is completely incompetent and that wears on me. My dude and I had a slip up, of sorts, because of him being really stupid about something. Given that, it’s been really hard to trust him and to relax about our relationship. Doubt festers and breeds jealousy, which are negative emotions that I don’t like experiencing. They change how you view people and experiences, and that’s not good. We’re working on it, but it’s challenging.

More than anything, though, is the persistent missing of my mom. As time goes by, the reality of it sets in more and more. It’s so hard. My dad is actively dating this other woman, which sucks, and yet he also is really lonely and sad when he’s not with her, which sucks too. My sister isn’t doing all that great – her job was seasonal and is over, and she has too much time on her hands, and it’s easy to see the toll that’s taking. On my end, I just feel alone. I know I’m not; I have family, friends. The world, and their worlds, don’t and shouldn’t revolve around me at all.

That said, it’s difficult. People are very self-involved, and the ones who do reach out have such negative things going on in their own lives (or their outlook is just that way) that it doesn’t aid the situation. More often than not, though, people are just really busy, too busy even to reach out to call or check in. People don’t use the phone at all, which never used to bother me, but now does. People don’t ask about my mom or how any of that’s going, as if it just didn’t happen. Maybe they just don’t know what to say, but it feels like they don’t care. People that don’t live nearby put the onus all one me – if I want to talk, I can call, and they’ll try to answer, but that’s the most anyone has offered and it seems pretty fake, honestly. I just wish people would voluntarily reach out on their own – it’d make me feel a lot more cared for.

Really, it just makes me want to hole up and never reach out to anyone. It puts me in the “would they notice if I X” mindset. Really, there’s nothing less comforting than having people consistently check their calendars for weeks out and still not having time for our friendship. I hate it even more because people keep throwing it back to me like “this used to be you” in terms of my schedule. And yes, for a few years, my schedule was constantly booked. The difference, though, is I always found time for people. If someone wanted to hang out, I made sure to find a time within a week or, at most, two, to dedicate time to that person (which was WHY my schedule stayed so booked). I also sent emails and articles and such to people in the interim to foster the relationship. These people, it’s not like that.  It’s harder because I’m in a place right now where I need people more than ever, and yet I’m the one trying so hard to make it work, and I feel like this is a time when I shouldn’t have to try like that.

It’s all worse after this weekend and with the holidays approaching. It was extremely difficult to spend time with my dude’s family. It’s awesome seeing him in that environment, and I like meeting the people he cares about. That said, seeing his mom interacting with the family and him, and doing all the things my mom used to do…It just brings home how I’ll never have that again, and I will never again have someone to look out for me or care about me in that way. I don’t have that cheerleader, that source of love and comfort (and occasionally that pain in the ass).

When it comes to the holidays, thanksgiving will be nice. I’ll see my aunt and uncle, and my dad, and the dude is coming with. Thing is, I haven’t spend thanksgiving with my parents in years, so that’s not as painful. Christmas, however, is going to be a nightmare. Being back home in the house without her, being near my sister and her overwhelming emotion and grief, and having no one to hold together the traditions. My dad’s already discussed not even doing presents, which right there is already upsetting. I may get to see some friends from high school, but really, I won’t have anyone there for me. It’s all about me holding together the traditions and making sure everyone else holds it together, but as per usual, no one ever checks in to see how I’m doing. That’s not how my family works. I thought my dude was coming with, but his mom’s birthday is that weekend and birthdays are a huge deal in his family, and honestly, it’s ridiculously expensive to go to where I’m from. I couldn’t pay for it without my dad helping me, so I do get that. And, as always, time off is hard to get.

I struggle balancing what’s fair and reasonable to ask for as a need with what my partner may wish to do of his own initiative. On the one hand, it’d make a huge difference to me to have him there. I could really use the emotional support. On the other hand, can I ask him to spend the money and take the extra time off work, potentially stressing his time with his family? That seems unfair. Plus, the woman side of me feels like it should come from him; if he doesn’t want to be there, doesn’t feel the need to be there, then I don’t want him there…even if that makes it even harder for me.

Anyhow, emotional train wreck, basically.

And no shit, five minutes after I finished writing this (at work, since that’s where I was hit with emotion today),  my dad emails to say he booked a vacation for an 11 day European trip with his new girlfriend. The vacation is in april. Serious, much? And only 2 and half months after his wife of 33 years unexpectedly died. WTF? If I wasn’t a wreck before…

Too Soon

22 Sep

My dad went on a date tonight. My mom died 6 weeks ago. Isn’t that all there is to say?

On the one hand, he doesn’t have many friends, and making friends in the middle america states is difficult. Spending day in and out alone, thinking of a future alone, minus occasional interactions with my sibling and I, well, I get being lonely. He’s a dude, he could even be horny. I understand that he may want companionship and feel lost in his grief.

That said, joining an online dating site and making a date just 6 weeks after your wife of almost 33 years passed? Going on the date 2 days after what would’ve been your 33rd anniversary? WTF?

And of course, he’s told no one, just me. I want to encourage him to be happy, and I do want him to find happiness with someone else…but I can’t comprehend it yet. I thought I had a year or so.

Thing is, I still reach for the phone to call my mom, I still think of telling her things. I’m constantly shocked when I remember she’s gone. I can’t even understand the world without her yet. I’m still trying to understand a world with my dad without my mom, to imagine more weekends and situations where we’ll be together and she won’t be there. So…it’s a bit difficult for me to believe my dad can not only comprehend it, but can let someone else in so quickly.

I’m trying to remember the ways in which my dad demonstrated his love for my mom and showed his grief. I believe he desperately loved my mom and was truly heartbroken when she passed. This may just be his way of coping because he doesn’t know what else to do. But really, it’s hard, because I need to adjust to him alone before adjusting to him with someone new. But, it’s his life, not mine, and we’re all grownups, and my needs don’t necessarily come before his, not anymore. :(.

On the plus side and not too soon side, dude and I are madly in love and it’s fabulous (and celebrating 7 months!), and I’ve lost 15 lbs and 14 inches. So, *woot* on those notes.

Confidence

3 Sep

My dark chocolate today said ‘it’s OK to be fabulous AND flawed.’ The irony being I flawed in eating the chocolate…

I’ve been doing relatively well on my nutrition and fitness habit-building, except for when I have visitors in town. I got really excited about some food-tourism stuff with my dad, namely liquid nitrogen ice cream and a gourmet rice krispy treat store. I also didn’t make it a point to delay our plans for me to work out. As a result, I’m not feeling super great about my weekend in terms of my plan, although it definitely was fun and great to spend time with my dad.

I’m struggling a lot with my mom, too. It was really hard to have my dad in town and not her. I’m so used to planning around things she’ll enjoy. I’m used to shopping, and as materialistic as it is, it’s sad not to have someone to buy me things anymore. My mom was the one to send me money sometimes, or if she knew I was looking at a sweater or dress but couldn’t afford it she’d buy it and send it to me without me ever asking, or she’d suggest or proactively get me some of the necessities – toiletries, haircut, bras, etc. – when I was in town or the same place as her. My dad doesn’t proactively spend money on me, it’s a request, must be a necessity, and even then is rare. It’s an adjustment, and buying those random things reminds me of the loss. Sometimes I’ll get excited to tell her about something before I remember I can’t. I want to ask her for advice or get reassurance before a new thing, and I can’t. I was so nervous about meeting my boyfriend’s mom, and I wanted nothing more than to talk to my mom about it, but I couldn’t.

It’s hard, too, because I can’t really fill in the reassurance/validity gap. I get that in an ideal world, I’d be so majestically self-assured that I wouldn’t need anyone to reassure me or validate me. My nerves or anxiety are usually based around other people’s thoughts, opinions, or reactions, and at the end of the day, my thoughts, opinions, and reactions are the only ones that should truly matter. I generally know how I feel – I’m that self aware – but I do still like to get others’ opinions to inform my decision, and it makes me happy to please those around me. Does that make me insecure? Maybe. Generally, though, I got that validation from my mom, and that was enough to keep me from seeking it out elsewhere. Now, when trying to seek it out elsewhere, I’m getting comments about how it seems insecure to need that type of reassurance or validation, and those comments are right, which sucks.

Don’t get me wrong, I do generally like myself. I’m happy with my strengths and personality, and I am thrilled with where I am in life. I don’t mean that sarcastically – for real, financially, professionally, romance and friend-wise, etc. – it’s all amazing. Currently, I’m unhappy about the loss of my mother, and I’m unhappy about my weaknesses. I’m always unhappy about my weaknesses and trying to improve on them, it’s a constant struggle, but lately other people have commented on some of them. With the loss of my mom’s cheerleading, having these things commented on is like a sucker punch to my confidence.

Basically, I need to work on improving my self confidence. I think generally working on my fitness and nutrition help with that, as it gives me a ‘proud of myself’ cookie. Moreover, I need to find ways to accept that in life, there’s no ‘right’ way to do something, I’m never going to be doing something right or wrong or good or bad. I can’t seek out guidelines by seeing what pleases people around me or what fits into society’s norm. My metrics have always been the following, and I need to refocus on that:

  • whether something would make me happy,
  • if I’d regret not doing it,
  • if I feel happy with how much energy I put into something, and
  • if it will improve my life more than take away from it.

Some handy advice to keep in mind or try soon (from lovely various internet sources):

  • Get crystal clear on the things that truly matter to you.  If they’re not in your life, you need to bring them in.
  • Write a list of the things you’re tolerating and putting up with in your life, then write down how you can remove, minimize or diminish each one.
  • Take a few minutes each day or just each Sunday (or any day that fits you) to use a journal to write down how you have grown, how much closer you are to your goals now, what you have overcome and learned and so on.

The last one, in particular, I think may be a good exercise to add on to my gratitude journal. Instead of just saying the great things in my life, focusing on something – just one thing – that I’ve improved or done well or learned can shift that a bit to be more introspective.

In the meantime, revisiting strengths and weaknesses will be helpful in me identifying which strengths to use to overcome weaknesses.

Strengths:

  • Loyal
  • Give good, unbiased, logical advice
  • planning/logistics
  • organizational skills
  • connecting people
  • seeing the positive in things/easily amused
  • diverse interests…musical theater, books, writing, reality tv, board games, stand up comedy shows, outdoorsy adventures, classes, food/restaurants, travel, movies
  • leadership
  • my job – synthesizing lots of information, research, data analysis,  writing, questioning people/data procurement
  • research
  • my passion…for public service, my family/friends
  • enthusiasm/energy level

Weaknesses:

  • Stubborn
  • Impatient
  • care too much about what others think
  • over-commit myself
  • don’t always communicate my needs effectively with others
  • don’t always properly prioritize my own health/fitness

I had a rough day thinking about all this, but ended it well. My lovely boyfriend talked me through things, and was really understanding about my needing certain types of validation/positive reinforcement for a while. He also emphasized that it isn’t weak to ask for compassion and encouragement from my friends, that actually it’s totally natural since we all deserve love and compassion. It kinda drilled home that I can ask others for those things I don’t think I’m getting directly, and maybe they won’t think less of me for it, maybe it’s just that they don’t 1) realize I need things or 2) know what to do that could be helpful.

Current Focuses (foci?)

20 Aug

What I’m focusing on in order to keep my mind occupied…

  • using myfitnesspal (app and online) as a food diary and exercise log, focusing on eating healthily and going to the gym or incorporating fitness where I can
  • educating myself on personal finance and keeping a strict budget, budget plan, and monitoring investments and overall financial portfolio
  • getting up to speed on “once upon a time”
  • maintaining routines, which for me includes book club, game night with grilling, and sunday errands
  • vacations and travel…dad coming to town, going to surprise him for his birthday, going to mexico for a week, going to boston for thanksgiving
  • staying organized in all facets of life
  • reading more, of all kinds – magazines, news, blogs/RSS, books
  • looking up classes to take with people – cooking for one friend, intellectual for the boyfriend, and artsy for another friend
  • getting my car up to date, including the GM recall, maintenance/preventative care, cleaning, etc.

If you have suggestions on things I can make into routines or make routine in my life, or things I could do to take my mind off things (preferably that are not food oriented and are inexpensive, and ideally, that can be done in 1-2 hours).

Loss, Continued.

20 Aug

I’m both good and bad. People keep asking me “how are you?” and I finally lost it a few days ago. There’s just no right way or even feasible way to answer that question. Even if I’m having an awesome, everything-is-great day, it’s still shitty because my mom is gone. I can’t tell her about the awesome things. I won’t have her love and support and be able to share my happiness. I get that people don’t know what to say, but “how are you” is a placeholder, and it seems insincere, like they want me to say “I’m fine” so they can wash their hands of it. Because really, what happens when I say “shitty”? I’m supposed to tell them how to act, what to do, or validate what they say…but really, all I want is comfort. A friend said she kept asking me how I was because she wanted me to know she cares, she’s here for me, and that I can talk to her…why the fuck don’t people just say that? I want to know people care, and that I have people in my corner. I’m sure I never knew what to say before either, but I know for me, I’d much rather people ask what they can do to help, or say they’re sorry, or say something about my mom if they knew her, or even just say they care about me and are here for me. That’s all it takes, folks.

A few things are even more difficult than they maybe should be, because apparently I was more reliant/dependent on my mom for some self esteem boosters that I thought. I knew my mom was my ‘first call’ for happy news, because she’d always be 100%, genuinely happy for me and proud of me, and she was vocal and enthusiastic about those feelings. Successes felt more like successes after I’d told them to her. Things felt real when I had her reaction, it validated my accomplishments. I got an award at work last week, and I can’t tell her, and it feels like no one cares. With my mom, I’d get gushing for minutes with all this positive affirmation and love, and it made me so happy to make her proud. With others, I get a congrats, and while genuine, it doesn’t feel the same at all. Similarly, if I was feeling sad, I knew I could call her and she’d talk about something to distract me. She loved me unconditionally – no matter my mood or reactions, she still showered me with affection and gifts and love. She had her down moments – she was manic and bipolar – but overall, she was an amazing mom. Anyhow, I don’t know how to handle my happy moments now. I don’t know that I have anyone else who will care about me as much as she did. My dad and sister love me, and I know they’re happy if I succeed, but it’s just not as effusive or enthusiastic. I don’t know that anyone will ever have that level of unconditional love and enthusiastic support that my mom provided me with. That’s the loss I’m really struggling with. That’s why when people say, how are you, it actually makes it even worse if I’m happy because when I’m happy I want nothing more than to call me mom.

I’ve been staying incredibly busy since the Saturday of doom. I realized then that many hours alone right now isn’t good for me. I struggle most at night, before bed, when I think about her, or on my commute. I’ve had very few hours to myself in the last two weeks, and it’s shaping to look like that in upcoming days too. I’m trying to keep some routines, stay relatively productive at work, and watch my diet and fitness like I was before her death. People at work that know what happened seemed pretty surprised I was back so soon, but I can’t let myself get in my head. I think I’m perpetuating a denial of what happened, in a way, because it keeps me from crying and totally losing my shit. I know it’s a matter of time, though, before it all caves in, at least in some fashion. I’ll be doing my things and being busy, and the second I have a down moment I reach for my phone to call my mom and realize I can’t. It’s so difficult.

I’m debating reaching out to a therapist, or trying some form of counseling. I don’t really know how to handle grief. My boyfriend pointed it out best – I’m the type of person that enjoys being happy and strives to keep a positive outlook, so the fact that I’m unhappy and sad makes me even more unhappy. Unfortunately, this isn’t something that can be resolved. My surviving family is all at a distance, and that makes it even harder. I worry about my dad. I worry about my sister. I am sad that I feel like the person that worried about me is gone.

I know people care about me, and I’ve had some amazing friends throughout all of this. Some people have truly been incredible. Still, though, I know that in a lot of ways, the impetus is on me to reach out because people don’t want to intrude on me before I’m ready, but simultaneously I feel like I’m imposing if I reach out to someone when I’m negative/sad. I also feel like I’m sort of a shitty friend right now because I “take” positive energy from folks and am sort of draining, and I have a lot less to “give” than I normally do. I can’t give advice and comfort about everyday or serious struggles as well as I normally could, because I’m using so much of that energy to hold myself together right now. I know on the surface people apparently think I’m doing great, because I can converse and laugh and make plans…but inside, it’s a constant battle.

I feel a bit selfish, because a lot of the things I talk about missing about my mom focus on me. On what I took from our relationship. Realistically, though, I miss being with her more than anything, hearing her voice, talking about anything. I want to hear about her day, even trivial things. My mom knew everyone, and I liked hearing about all her friends and distant family and people around town; she was connected in a way no one else in our family is. I want to hug her and cuddle. I want to watch cheesy hallmark movies and abc family shows. I want to plan recipes and pick out restaurants. I want to go shopping and get her input on clothes. She was the life of the party, and things were never dull when she was around. It feels like a huge energy force just dropped out of my life, super suddenly, and I don’t know what to do with the empty space.

Grieving

9 Aug

Emo title, I know. I’m falling totally behind in my awesomeness journal entries. I was doing decently well, despite my mom’s slow recovery; I had been diligent in working out, and things were good with the dude, and friends were good…and then my mom died, just over a week ago. It’s been extremely rough, to say the least. It wasn’t expected and I’m still reeling. There are so many things I can’t stop thinking about, and it all kills me.

I got back home last night (super late, after many flight delays), and was able to spend an hour or so with some friends at a bar downtown. I appreciated people stopping by to say hi and show support. It’s hard, though, because people say call them or let them know what they can do, etc., but when it comes down to it, everyone has their own lives and they’re going to live them (as they should), and I don’t want to intrude on that. All the people I saw last night had plans today, and I’m not going to ask people to cancel them or force myself into their plans. As a result, tonight I’m home by myself, and it sort of sucks. One roommate is home, but she’s not really socializing much today. I had two friends offer for me to come over, and I should have gone, but I didn’t really want to leave home either. I don’t know. They live near the boyfriend, and since he had other things in mind for the evening it would’ve been even more frustrating to be right there and not with him. Plus, I didn’t have the energy to go out and do things, I just want to be at my house around familiar things. I just didn’t really think I’d be doing that alone, either.

I had been thinking all week I guess that I’d spend the weekend with the dude, but he had shit he wanted to get done at home today, so that ended up a bust. I don’t know, to me, the weekends are for errands and fun, but I can get my errands and such done around plans with other people. Dude is out of town next weekend, and I was excited to spend a night alone with him without worrying about getting up early or whether or not too much wine would be an issue or something. I’d been researching all these different things we could have done…arlington county fair, comedian in town, movie, country bar, etc…but really, watching TV with some wine would’ve been awesome. He makes me happy, and I really like him, so I wanted to spend time with him. He was awesome this past weekend, and I got excited to continue building on those feelings, and since we weren’t really alone that whole time I was excited about the weekend’s possibilities.

I didn’t really want to push the issue either, though, because if he has stuff to do I’m not going to be the reason he doesn’t get things done. I’m also a bit gun-shy because this feels like my interest level is more than his, which makes me feel nervous and like I’m being needy. I’m already sensitive to feeling like I care more than he does given everything that happened last month, so it goes into that some too. The bitch of it is that he ends up not doing the shit he’s needed to do anyhow, and if you’re not going to do it and you know that, why not plan fun things?

My failed assumption wouldn’t normally be as big a deal to me if I wasn’t grieving and sad. I’ll see him tomorrow, and I totally get that people need to live their lives and may want space or time to themselves and such. I get that, I really do. I know us not hanging out isn’t him trying to be hurtful or avoiding seeing me or him being not into me, and that it mostly lies on me for not explicitly stating I wanted to spend Saturday night with him earlier on. That said, it’s like, I feel like I’m imposing to call people and ask them to cancel their plans to come keep me company so I’m not super sad. With the boyfriend, I guess I figured I wouldn’t have to ask/specifically state things or need for him to cancel plans. He knew that I struggled at nights before going to sleep with thoughts of my mom, and he kept calling me and saying all these things that we could be doing if I were with him, so I assumed that if it was a weekend and I was in town, obviously we’d be doing those things. Plus, I guess I thought he’d be equally excited for us both to be in town and have the weekend night together, so I figured he’d be assuming or planning on taking that time together too (not all the day both days of the weekend, just saturday night). I didn’t want to have to demand or impose on him to be here, but since he’d so clearly planned otherwise in his mind, that’s how it ended up seeming to me – like I’d be imposing if I tried to convince him to spend time with me. I didn’t have it in me to entreat someone to be here with me.

I think I should’ve just stayed in Indiana with my dad the entire weekend, because he’s all alone right now too. The irony is I didn’t because I wanted to do things with the dude that I’d had to cancel the weekend before, and I figured him and/or other people would want to hang out. I never told the dude that’s why I was coming back early, but since he’s out of town next weekend, I wanted us to have time together. I guess I should’ve been much more clear about that.

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