Sunday, December 23, 2012

Another personal Christmas tradition: Six to Eight Black Men

Wait... I think that came out wrong. What I mean is that another Christmas tradition I've developed, just for myself, is listening to David Sedaris read his essay "Six to Eight Black Men," about cultural differences, particularly surrounding Santa Claus. If you can't listen to it, or just prefer to read along here is a pdf of the essay. I also post this almost every year since I found it, but I don't mind repeating myself. Just ignore it if you have heard it before and you don't want to hear it again.

The "No Tears" Christmas Playlist

One of my favorite parts of the holidays is that I get to listen to my Christmas music. I'm fine with most Christmas music, but I really like weird, mean, funny, odd Christmas songs. I blame my family. While my mom collects Christmas albums, there are two that I remember the most from my childhood. One of them was the album with "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" on it. The first year that the song came out, or the first year we heard it, we thought it was hilarious. Not just my mom and I, but also my uncle and my grandpa. No, I don't know what my grandma thought of it. It seems like she usually ignored the things that we all thought were funny. The rest of the album is kinda dumb, but I'm surprised we didn't wear out that section of the album. Oh yes, it was an actual album. We bought it on vinyl because we couldn't find it on tape. (It would be another few years before we had a cd player.)

But the album I remember most will probably always be A Christmas Together- John Denver and the Muppets. Yep, you read that right. John Denver and the Muppets. It was a television Christmas special in 1979. The television show was a few years before I was born, but we had the vinyl and listened to it every year while we put up Christmas decorations. Though it suffers a bit from the sappy peace on earth stuff that filled up Christmas stuff from that time period, it's still great. But when your favorite Christmas album is the Muppets, you tend to seek out less mainstream Christmas songs. So here is my "no tears" (that means no sad songs) Christmas playlist.

Hating You for Christmas- Everclear

For everyone who looked at other people's Christmas cards and newsletters and wanted to tell them to go fuck themselves. 

Christmas in Hollis- Run-DMC

My mom loves Die Hard and I think this might have been the first rap song I ever heard. 

Ben Folds- A Bizarre Christmas Incident

Any song where Santa gets stuck in the chimney is pretty funny. This one is hilarious. I remember playing it with my grandpa in the car and the moment when I could see by his face that he was actually listening to the song. "Did he just say that Santa was naked?" Also, Ben Folds' explanation for his inspiration is pretty funny. I never would have thought this story, which I'd heard before, was his inspiration.

Santa's Lost his Mojo- Jeremy Lister

I also like the idea of Santa in Mexico drinking tequila and wine because he's tired of giving those little brats presents.

Ain't No Chimneys in the Projects- Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings

This is a kinda sweet song about the things you wonder about as a kid and the things we realize when we are adults.

Elf's Lament- Barenaked Ladies

Maybe Santa went to Mexico so he wouldn't have to do with his elve's efforts to unionize. 

You're a Mean One, Mister Grinch- 

The Grinch is another staple in our household. We watch it every year. This song just slinks. 

Twelve Days of Christmas- John Denver & the Muppets


Merry Christmas from the Family

The first time I heard this was on a Christmas compilation that I had bought because it had Tori Amos doing Little Drummer Boy. I always thought this was the best song of the bunch. I especially liked the look on the faces of older family members when they heard the word "tampon" in a Christmas song.

Baby, It's Cold Outside
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Sign Off - Audra McDonald - "Baby, It's Cold Outside"
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive

Alright, now I know that this song sounds a little rape-y. I loved the back and forth between the man and woman (actually called "wolf" and "mouse" in the lyrics, not specified to be a man and woman), as I've always loved duets with this kind of playing off one another. As I started to process the lyrics, I was a bit dismayed. But this interesting piece helps me to let myself off the hook. Basically, the mouse wants to stay and is just worried about what other people will think. Also, the "say, what's in this drink" line didn't mean "is there a roofie in this drink?" like it would now, but was a way of playing off doing something you weren't supposed to do on whatever was in the drink. Ok, so seeing Stephen Colbert and Audra McDonald dance and sing it together doesn't make you feel better? How about we neutralize the gender problem? Enjoy this bonus version, with Kurt and Blaine.

We Wish You a Merry Christmas

Ok, well, if you don't want to stay inside with a predator, you can go outside and demand food and drink. According to the #1 on this list from, though I'd heard it on a History Channel show years and years ago too, Christmas caroling was very cold trick or treating for adults. "So bring us some figgy pudding...We won't go until we get some.."

So there is your holiday cheer. Stay tuned for the "crying in my eggnog" Christmas playlist.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Crossed Wires

I'm not exactly a stranger to my emotional reaction being completely inappropriate or not what one would expect, but it often still surprises me. I'm getting a better handle on it, but nothing exemplifies it like the last couple of days.

I guess I should go back and first talk about what my DBT educational group is working on right now is Wise Mind (a place that is not ruled by your emotional mind or your reasonable mind, but uses both sides) and the how and what skills. The How Skills are Observe, Describe, and Participate and the What Skills are One-Mindfully, Non-judgmentally, and Effectively. Last week, our homework for group was to observe what frame of mind you were in. This week, it's to observe and describe how you are feeling and to participate as fully as possible in your daily life. Though this can be a problem for anyone, BPD people, who have a particularly difficult time with emotional regulation, often just get taken on a ride by our emotions without ever observing exactly what those emotions are or what spurred it. Sometimes you are feeling what is actually a secondary emotion, without ever realizing the primary emotion behind it or the instigating incident. (For example: you might be feeling and expressing extreme anger but it might actually be propelled by a deep fear.) I'll come back to how this is applicable in a minute.

So you all know that I love my job, right? I have complaints, like everyone does, but I really do find it rewarding and I feel like I'm good at it. I have some evidence to back that up as well. But sometimes I still dread going to work. I have a main client and then one that I help out with. With the other client, at least half of my shifts are 5pm to 8pm, most often on Sundays. Usually I putter around the house all day and I feel generally Sunday-y. By the time 3pm rolls around and I have to start getting ready, I am filled with dread about the coming shift, sure that something will go wrong, wanting more than anything to go back to bed. Until recently, I often had the same feelings about hanging out with friends most of the time, which is why most of my friends have been cancelled on multiple times. But with work, as with hanging out with my friends, it was never as bad as I had made it out to be in my head. If I just did it, I usually had a good time. While I think that working evening shifts when I've been up all day and just want to relax makes it more difficult to get going, I have no idea where all that dread comes from. Maybe I need to start observing it more or better, so that I can describe it more fully.

So back in November, I agreed to fill in for that client's regular caregiver over the holiday, starting today (Saturday) til Wednesday morning. It is split shifts, 8am-11am and then 5pm-8pm. My parents can't leave town because my step-dad is on call at his job, so it wasn't like we were going out of town. They agreed to work our festivities around when I was working. Then, Friday the regular caregiver called me around 2pm, just as I was going to settle in at home to do nothing for the rest of the day, and asked if I'd work his evening shift. He sounded really upset about something that he was going through and I wasn't really doing anything, so I agreed. As soon as I hung up, I regretted it. I just wanted to lay down and veg out. Then I just wanted to cry. But I sucked it up, listened to some funny Christmas songs on the way there, and it was fine. Not just "fine, I made it through the shift" but I actually enjoyed it.

One of the only things I can cook well is lasagna. Originally this client and his wife were going to have Christmas together, not with the rest of their larger family, who they spent Thanksgiving with. I decided I'd make them a lasagna on my own time, as a little Christmas gift, so they'd have food and leftovers. Of course, their plans changed and they'll be having their traditional family Christmas dinner. Of course, I'd already promised them a lasagna. We decided that they'd have it tonight. Their son and his wife came in town today and had dinner with them, my lasagna. Despite my worries that they might not think I'm doing a good job or that they wouldn't like my lasagna, everything went well. Actually, it went great. They are so nice and they really seemed to appreciate what I was doing, thought I was doing a good job at it. Even better, they really liked my lasagna.

Because dinner lasted longer than usual, I was there an hour later than normal, getting him into bed. His daughter-in-law hugged me before I left, thanking me so much. I got in my car smiling. Then, thinking about how thankful they seemed and about how good of a job I'd obviously done, I felt the tears welling up in my eyes.

What the fuck is going on? Why am I crying? I'm happy. Not just I should be happy, but I actually am happy. I not only do I have a job that I'm good at, but I have one that matters, that adds a great deal to these people's lives, lets my clients live with as much dignity and comfort as possible. And it's not just that I feel like I am doing a good job, but they think I'm doing a good job. I am happy. Why the fuck am I crying?!?

These are happy tears.

I know that I'm supposed to be observing and describing, but this all feels so weird and not like it is what is supposed to be happening at all that I am just throwing up my hands at the moment. Plus, if I'm actually sad about something, I don't actually want to participate in that sadness at all right now. I just want to try to enjoy my holiday. Fuck sadness, fuck crying. I'm going to be happy this year. Or at least tonight. 

Monday, December 03, 2012

So My Therapist Says, Vol. 4, Very Special "Thank You" Edition

As you might know from the last post, a young woman that I met last year in hospital killed herself the Saturday before last. When I talked to my therapist the day after I wrote the post, we talked a good deal about suicide and about how other people, often people who have never had mental health issues much less ever felt suicidal, feel obligated to offer their opinions about suicide. (And, oh man, did that problem with people's opinions about suicide not get better after the events of this weekend.) We talked about how I feel that it's not my place to say that someone must suffer for the sake of others, even if that suffering is psychological. Yes, I am pro-choice, even to the point of being pro-abortion if that is the woman's choice. I am pro-euthanasia, pro-assisted suicide. I'm thankful for the time that I got with grandfather and with my uncle, but I would like to think that I would have abided by their wishes if they wanted less medical intervention or decided to end their life rather than suffer, especially once they knew they were going to die. On the other hand, as I said in the last post, I am eternally grateful my attempts were not successful. My therapist offered some of her opinions as well, including that she understands that some people might be suffering so much that they feel that is their only choice. As a therapist, she feels it's her duty to never say that a person is beyond treatment. In fact, many of us BPD people have been told that we are beyond treatment before we find DBT. She talked about having the conversation with suicidal people or self-harming people where they push back against her assertions that they shouldn't do it, that they assert that it's their life and they have a right to do what they want with it, even if it's a negative thing. She said that she can't say that they don't have that right, just that everyone's life is worth trying to make it worth living in as skillful of a way as possible.

As for everyone expressing their opinions, particularly those who say things like "How could s/he do this to his/her family/friends/loved ones?" or that suicide is cowardly or whatever other bullshit people say, she gave me a great comeback,"You just say to them,'I'm glad that you are fortunate enough to have never felt like that, but we can't know how this person was feeling. Let's just mourn for the loss and the loss of the family." Then she shared something extremely personal experience with suicide and dealing with those kinds of opinions. She told me that very few people there knew about this. But obviously she felt both that I could benefit from what she shared and that she could trust me enough to tell me.

And I wanted to write this post to express how grateful I am that she told me. Overall, I'm always thankful just to have a caring therapist who is always available, but I'm thankful that I have her as my therapist as well. This, however, was such a special experience. Many mental health professionals don't share anything about their own personal lives. Some don't even have pictures of their loved ones on their desk or any personal touches in their office. I really like that the people at the place where I receive therapy feel that sharing some personal info and experiences creates more of a connection with their clients as well as allows them to use their own lives to draw examples from. Even so, my therapist didn't have to do what she did. She didn't have to show an open-mindedness about how suicidal and self-injuring people feel. She didn't have to trust that I would not twist it. And she definitely didn't have to tell me the specifics of her own experiences. She didn't have to trust me with her personal knowledge. But I am so grateful that she did.

I realize that it must be a really hard job to do. There are so many fine lines to walk, especially when it comes to discussing suicide with someone you know has had multiple suicide attempts in their past. For example, on the one hand, you don't want to discourage our bodily autonomy, a feeling that this body we live in is ours. Many people getting treatment where I do, at the level that I am, have felt like we were forced into taking medications or forced into a "voluntary" hospitalization. We have hostility towards medical professionals who tell us that we have to do, or not do, something, so you're not going to help our therapeutic relationship by telling us that we can't do what we want with our body. I think this probably goes doubly for those of us with BPD. Another thing that BPD people deal with more often than the general population is trauma and abuse. When you've experienced a traumatic event or lived in an abusive situation, you start to internalize that your body is not your own, that it exists to serve others' prerogatives. Many of us disassociate from our bodies, our feelings, or both so we don't have to deal with this problem. The last thing we need is another person, specifically the person who is supposed to be helping us heal, telling us that our body is for someone else.

On the other hand, you're not going to tell us that self-harm or suicide is ok. You're the person trying to find the best way to get us to stop doing that shit. Even if I'm in a place where I'm not self-harming, haven't thought of self-harming or suicide for quite a while, you don't want to leave me with an idea that I might later use to rationalize self-harm or suicide. You do want us to leave continuing to feel that those are not positive, helpful coping mechanisms. You want us to feel like our bodies and our selves should not be hurt, that we have value and worth.

So I wanted to give a very public "thank you" to my amazing therapist. I'm so grateful for all your help and for this specifically.
Where I'm The Doctor & you're Amy, get it?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

When your best hopes and desires are scattered to the winds

I want to write. I've had a post on alcohol rattling around in my head for two weeks and another about leaving my hometown for a week. But all I can think about is you.

You as Lisbeth, girl with the Dragon Tattoo
You were found dead on Saturday, of an apparent suicide. The "life celebration" is Thursday. Your Facebook page is full of people talking about how much they loved you and how much they'll miss you.

I didn't actually know you very well. About this time last year, I attempted suicide. Like most people in that situation, I absolutely did not want to be hospitalized afterwards. And there you were. This cute little baby-dyke ball of love and energy and acceptance and welcome. And all at once you look across a crowded room to see the way that light attaches to a girl. You made me smile, just to look at you, so young and fresh and pretty. You got me to play that stupid Settlers of Catan game. You and the big guy were spots of promise at a really desperate time, when I felt like I'd fucked up the couple months of therapy that I'd been working on, felt like I'd always just end up back in the same place. Afterwards, you created a secret FB page for those of us who were in the hospital at the same time. The group even met for a few dinners, though I was only there for one. I have ended up becoming real friends with another member of the group. Though ze's moved several hours away, I still see zir whenever ze comes back to visit other friends.

Our dinners stopped when you went into an intensive in-patient program in the Large Midwestern City. You stayed there after the program was over. Through the summer, I'd see pics of you at famous locations all around the city, particularly the baseball stadium. You seemed happy. Then again, you always seemed happy, which must not have been the case, considering how we met.

But I hoped that all of us were doing better. Through FB I knew that another person had dealt with medication abuse issues and was back on zir feet. The person that I'd become friends with has found a job ze loves and likes the new city ze is living in. Though it took me until August, and two failed jobs, I finally found a job that I think I can stick with, that I really find rewarding. I finally feel like the skills from therapy are becoming second nature, not "ok, what skill should I use here?" I'm really feeling good.

I'd seen that you'd been back in the hospital a few weeks ago but you said that you were fine, no worries. But sometimes the toughest part is when we get out of the hospital. And holidays. And fall/winter.

I don't presume to tell people that they should stick it out, no matter how much they are suffering, because life is sacred, because it might get better, because of their family and loved ones. I don't know their pain and only they can say if it is bearable. I've read that 10% of major depressive disorder is treatment resistant. I have no idea what the stats are on bipolar, mood disorders, or schizophrenia. Even when medication works to treat the mental disorder, the side effects can make it difficult to continue. These are diseases. Like diabetes. Sometimes you just take some meds and are more mindful of things in your life. Sometimes they take whole parts of you.

Last June, you turned 20 days after I turned 30. Time doesn't always bring wisdom though it does bring experience. It might not have changed your mind, but I wish I could have told you a few things before you were gone. I would have told you that you might not be able to change who you are, but you can find ways to manage bad behavior. I wish I could have told you that life is both longer and shorter than you could ever imagine. It is long enough not to spend it miserable. It is long enough that you'll get more chances than you'd think. It is long enough to find and lose love over and over and over. That it feels neverending when you're watching someone go, but like the time with them went in the blink of an eye once they're gone. That hard times come and hard times go, hard times come and hard times go...just to come again. That they do go. That so much of this will pass, yes the good, but also the bad.

But I'm sure people had told you all those things before. You decided to do this. It's not my place to say you didn't do the best thing for you. Even if I did, it wouldn't change anything. So I'll put these thoughts out there, with hopes that you'll hear them and hopes that they might help someone else. Maybe me on a day when I really need them. And I'll mourn, for my loss, for your family's loss, for your friends' and lovers' loss, that half the world don't even know what they could have had. Whatever comes after this, I hope you find peace or at least reprieve.

Friday, November 09, 2012


When I turned 15, as we walked around our local mall, my friend handed me an object wrapped in a plastic bag. My birthday present was a vhs tape, Goldfinger. "It's the best one and I wanted to start you out right," he said. I rolled my eyes. What a waste of a present, I thought. There was no way I was going to watch a movie centered on an egotistical male chauvinist. But I had a huge crush on my friend, Mike, so I didn't act too serious when I teased him about his obsession with James Bond. By the next time my birthday rolled around, not only would I have seen all the James Bond films, but I had copies I'd made of his movies and could recite the names of all the movies, in order, along with the actor who starred as Bond in each other them. Most of us, to some extent or another, will attempt to get interested in things that the people we are close to like, especially when we are crushing hard on them. I already liked movies and, what can I say, his enthusiasm helped me to see more in the movies than just some egotistical male chauvinist.

We aren't friends anymore. After high school, we drifted a bit, but it wasn't until the last time I moved back home that he stopped returning my calls and emails. I didn't realize it until just recently, but I think that all my crazy got too much for him. I understand. At least now I do. When I try to put myself in his shoes, I wouldn't want to be friends with me either, especially the me I was back then. Also, I think that our bond was probably one of proximity and lack of connection to other people as much as anything else. We didn't really fit into other groups at school. We were in honors classes together and shared some interests, like movies. I'm sure that we both wanted friends and to feel like we fit somewhere. It might have fizzled out more quickly if I hadn't been so persistent, which I only was because I thought we might get together romantically. Of course, we never did. He is gay, came out our freshman year of college. It is probably better that he ended our friendship. We had less and less in common as time went along after high school. I truly do hope he's happy and has the life that he wants. Every time I see a Bond film, I think about him. Every time a new Bond film comes out, I wonder what he thinks of it.

TyRoy is the first person I've met since him that was so into James Bond. When we were 15, Mike presented James Bond movies as the ultimate in male wish fulfillment, the toys, the cars, and most especially the women. Of course, I've since wondered how much Mike's talk functioned as a beard and how much he watched Goldfinger to see Sean Connery with his shirt off. TyRoy, however, really does love James Bond for those things, just like he pines to live Don Draper's life.

I saw the last James Bond movie with him. Because of our shared love for Bond, I was sad that we wouldn't get to see it in the theater together, as he's now on the West Coast and wouldn't be back for a trip long enough to see me until Christmastime. But as his girlfriend still lives here, he does come out here to steal some time with her whenever he has long weekends, like Thanksgiving.

And this weekend. It didn't occur to me until, on the way to the movie theater, I saw the field of flags for Veteran's Day that he'd have a long weekend this weekend, which is why he warned me that it would be hit or miss to contact him this weekend. Just before the movie started, I got an email confirming what I had suspected. He's here in this city, probably seeing it right now in fact, with his current girlfriend.

I can't say that I am not a little bit sad. In earlier emails, we'd both said that we wished we could go see it together. I thought that ours was a problem of geography, but I see now that it wasn't. It is a question of time and priorities. But it is not that I do not understand. They do not get much time together, which means that he does not get much time in which to be very happy.

During a recent conversation, TyRoy had asked me the difference between BPD people and regular people. In thinking about this, I had to frame it in terms of how I was before I had my BPD under control and now. I am sad. I miss him. That is as it should be. But I am not mad at him. I do not feel like he abandoned me. I am not crushed. My day isn't ruined. The movie isn't ruined. I do not feel like our relationship is ruined, like our bond is anything less than what it is. I know that in his shoes I'd be watching that movie cuddled up with the my significant other, my lover, taking advantage of every moment that I could get with her. I am just a little sad.

And regretful. I recently told my own Moneypenny that I would never go back in time to change anything because I know what I have now and I can't bring myself to say that I wouldn't want them, which is what that amounts to in my mind. I still wouldn't change anything. The ways in which I'm messed up are what brought me to TyRoy, so saying that I wished I had been better in the ways that might have kept us together would probably have also erased that we ever were together. And it might erase his happiness now. But I regret that I wasn't those things enough that it makes continuing to improve all the more important. You never change for the one who left. I don't want to be in the same spot, several years from now, saying that I could be watching the next Bond movie with my bestfriend, if only s/he wasn't with someone else because I was too much of a burden as a partner or a friend.

We Are What You Say by Dead Sara

You gotta sink to learn to swim
These are the rules that they teach and they want you to live
Apologies will never do and I know that way too well
Brought down by somebody else's lack of education
Shouldn't be you that it hurts
But I took all the advice that I could take
Before I thought to give up

I bet you thought I'd give up

And this is what they told me…

These are the lies you gotta believe
They'll give you everything to lose if you disagree
Apologies are over used and I'd be cutting the line way too thin
I'm aware of this bitter behavior
I lost myself somewhere I never wanted to beNow it's time to start all over - we were held to the light
But we never went blind

Oh Oh Oh...Oh Oh Oh...Oh Oh
You can't back down kid, back down kid
Oh Oh Oh...Oh Oh Oh...Oh Oh
You can't back out now, back out now
We are what you say
We are not what you think

Too lonely to survive the loss that was staring back with bloodshot eyes
I almost fell below the ground that I was standing on
Oh no, you said it yourself, you're disappointed
And I'm ashamed and embarrassed to say that
I was a failure, a failure

But not matter how low

Oh Oh Oh...Oh Oh

You can't back down kid...back down kid
Oh Oh Oh...Oh Oh

You can't back out now

Oh Oh Oh...Oh Oh Oh...Oh Oh
You can't back down kid...back down kid
Oh Oh Oh...Oh Oh Oh...Oh Oh
You can't back out now...back out now
We are what you say

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Reframing and Building New Boxes

After the uprising of my LTRR feelings last weekend, my therapist had me create a list of boundaries that might assist me in staying in wise mind, instead of falling over that crazy cliff. Like a good girl, I did make a list of all the things that we do that "just friends" don't do. (Or at least that I don't think "just friends" do, but I'll get to that later.) Of course, even though I was at work, I almost broke down crying. I had planned on writing more about how I felt about stopping each behavior, but it was too much. I spent the rest of the week depressed and couch-bound. 

I guess I might as well share my list, huh? Ok. In no particular order:
  • My friend paying for stuff
  • Seeing each other dress and undress
  • Asking the other person what they would prefer we wear
  • Being sexual
  • Cuddling
  • Sharing the same bed
  • Touching in everyday situation (for example: holding hands to get through a crowd, put your hands on the other person's hips to move them out of your way, walking arm in arm when I am wearing heels and need some stabilization)
  • Sharing food and drink

After the general sadness and depression, my first feeling was willfulness. "I might make this list, but I'm not stopping this shit." *pout* 

Then, I tried to think through why I am so resistant. (Yes, I know that, on the one hand, that helps me to justify it. But I also thought that a better understanding of why I was resistant might help me stop. I'm sure you can guess which it did.) In general, all of the above behaviors are ones that I also engage in with other people who I am friends with and don't want to push for any kind of long-term situation with, so it seems counter-intuitive to me that I should stop doing any of them with my bestfriend. During therapy today, my therapist called me on how limiting the definition in my head of "just friends" was. I brought up that these were things that we would probably stop doing if/when my friend gets into a LTRMR (long-term romantic monogamous relationship.) For all her vanilla-ness, she said that things like one person paying for things if they make more money and feel comfortable with it as well as the touching in everyday situations are not outside of the boundaries for most "just friends." She said that she does that kind of stuff with her husband's best friend, holding hands to get through crowds and the like. It's about intention and how everyone feels. 

The next reason I felt resistant to stopping the above behavior is because those physical things are such tangible, immediate ways to feel cared for. Despite all of my friend's reassurances, I still feel very unsure of this relationship and how they feel for me. Though I don't feel this with everyone, when we are sexual or physical in any way, I do feel cared for. I also hope that my friend realizes that I don't sleep in the same bed with very many people, so that is something special for me, a way to show how much I care and how much I do trust (or try to.) Also, though I know everyone else things I'm deluding myself and using this as a way to justify continuing the physical relationship, I don't think that it was the physical that pushed my feelings from "we're friends with benefits right now while we're single" to "we should be in a LTRR." I think that it was the way that our attempts to rebuild the trust in the relationship triggered my long-time prejudices about friendships and romantic relationships. 

Let me try to explain. Growing up, I didn't have very good close friendships with other girls. It took me a long time to develop any friendships after I moved from the suburbs of the mid-sized Midwestern city to just outside of the large Midwestern city. It took years for me to make more than one female friend at any one time. Even when I did, whenever I would have an argument with a female friend, she'd use something that I told her in confidence against me. To be honest, I'm sure I did the same thing too. My friendships with guys, while complicated by possible romantic feelings, were more solid, more loyal, simpler. As I became a teenager, with one exception, all my close friends were male, and, with one exception to that, all my close male friends were my boyfriends. I always felt like your romantic relationships were supposed to be deep and trusting, more so than I felt most of my "just friend"ships could be. 

So when my friend and I, who are already each other's closest relationship, started to do all these things to deepen the trust, which eliminated things that had always bugged me, from the time we were dating on, all my previous attempts to "get over" my friend seemed to evaporate. We'll never be "just friends" even if we're monogamous with other people for decades. But making the relationship more trusting and deeper and closer and then getting along for two weekends in a row... well, it was to much for the 18 year old in me who had planned our wedding. She still believes that things will work out if you just love someone enough and do whatever you think they need to be happy with you. She is stupid. 

When my meltdown happened, weekend before last, my friend asked me how what we had been doing was different from what TyRoy and I do, thinking that we'd just change that, since I don't have these problems with my feeling for TyRoy. At this time what's different is being sexual and sleeping together, but it hasn't always been that way and I don't ..... I'm writing I realized something... Ok. So that weekend, I said that there wasn't much difference. As I was about to write, at this time, because of what TyRoy feels comfortable with while he's with the lady he loves, we aren't sexual, cuddly, or sleepy, but that hasn't always been the case. There was a period of time before he fell for his lady love where we did all that and more but it wasn't a big issue. I didn't feel like we should be working towards a LTRR, while I will always be open to that if things change for him. What I realized while writing this is that the difference is in the people. I already knew that it probably had a great deal to do with how our relationships started and the person that I was when the relationship started. But what hadn't hit me until I was typing this was something very different about them. Way back, when my friend and I were dating, his feelings on things would change and he wouldn't tell me, he'd just start acting weird. We were together for years after he knew he wasn't going to take the relationship further. He'd changed his mind, but he never told me. On the other hand, I remember during an argument with TyRoy where I was questioning if he still felt the same way about something. "Did I tell you that it had changed? Well if I didn't, then it hasn't." I feel really comfortable in the knowledge that, unless he's single and he has expressed that he'd like to give it a chance again because the previous impediments are no longer there, that TyRoy still doesn't want to pursue a LTRR with me. Things are the same, status quo. In a good way. Though my friend has recently said, "I'm a guy. We can go a week, a month, a year, and then pick things back up like it was yesterday," I have a hard time believing that. Can I be sure he hasn't changed his mind? If there isn't something physical to show me that he cares, how do I know he still does? If we don't talk for several days, maybe he doesn't want to be friends anymore and he's gone again? On the other hand, if we're getting along and things have been going well, how do I know that he hasn't changed his mind and wants to give it another go? That maybe he's just waiting for me to express my feeling, say that I'll take that leap with him first. (Yes, I know it seems ridiculous, but I'm sure that inside of your head would seem ridiculous to me. Let's try not to judge.)

So where does this leave me and those pesky boundaries?

Yesterday, it occurred to me that it would be easier if I assumed the same things about my relationship with my friend as I do about my relationship with TyRoy: It's ok if it's romantic or date-like when we are together. Whether anything physical or sexual happens will be gauged by our respective primary romantic relationship, if we have one, and what that partner is ok with. Nothing happens that we couldn't bluntly tell that primary partner about, kinda like a secondary or tertiary romantic relationship for open or poly couples. I will assume that my friend does not want to pursue a LTRR with me for the reasons previously stated and that those haven't changed as it hasn't been stated. I will work on radically accepting that we won't pursue a LTRR. But I also need to radically accept that I'm not going to put those boundaries up, at least not right, especially as we aren't seeing other people. Trying to force myself to do something that my heart isn't in won't work. I'll just end up breaking the resolutions that I've made and feeling bad about it. This is who we are. This is how we interact, especially when we don't have someone else who will get hurt by our actions. It might not fit into the "just friends" box that I envision other people have with their friends, but, as my therapist pointed out and my own friendships attest to, that box probably doesn't exist anyway. The more important boundaries I need to work on are internal. Between the girl I was who thought that a relationship would work if I just loved someone enough and the woman I am who knows that I love several people who it won't work with, not now, probably not ever. Between the failed romance we had and the deep, increasing-in-trust, not "just friend"ship but friendship we have now.  

I'm reminded of a scene on the tv show Bones. 

Dr. Temperance "Bones" Brennan: I'm... quite strong.
Special Agent Seeley Booth: Yeah, well, you've always been strong.
Bones: You know the difference between stength and imperviousness, right? 
Booth: Well, not if you're going to get all scientific on me.
Bones: Well, a substance that is impervious to damage doesn't need to be strong. 
Booth: Hmm.
Bones: When you and I met. I was an impervious substance. Now I'm a strong substance. 
Booth: I think I know what you mean.
Bones: A time could come when you aren't angry any more and I'm strong enough to risk losing the last of my imperviosness. Maybe then we could try to be together.

Though I have never been impervious, I'm not sure I've ever been very strong, at least not in this respect. But I'm trying. Not so we can be together romantically. Not really for the sole purpose of me being with anyone. But as a side effect, me being strong might make it possible to stick with this friendship, help make us strong as well. I just need to reframe the question and make a new box to fit what we already have. 

Rest Your Head One More Time In My Bed

Tap your chest and my head will be there.

Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye-Luke Bryant
All we do right is make love
And we both know now that ain't enough
Ain't gonna beg you to stay
Ain't gonna ask you what's wrong
Ain't no reason running after something already gone
Take off your leaving dress
Let's do what we do best
I guess everybody's got their way of moving on
Girl rest your head, one more time in my bed
Love me like you loved me when you loved me and you didn't have to try
Let's lay down tonight
And kiss tomorrow goodbye

Baby who we are just didn't work
But maybe we can leave with something out of all this hurt

(Chorus x2)
Ain't gonna beg you to stay
Ain't gonna ask you what's wrong
Ain't no reason running after something already gone
Take off your leaving dress
Let's do what we do best
I guess everybody's got their way of moving on
Girl rest your head, one more time in my bed
Love me like you loved me when you loved me and you didn't have to try
Let's lay down tonight
And kiss tomorrow goodbye

Kiss tomorrow goodbye

Some Kind of Madness, Vol 2

I wanted to include this clip in the original post, but the show had just come on and nothing was up online yet. But all the emo-ness that I felt after watching this pushed me to get some of it out with the previous post.

So, on this new show Nashville, fading country superstar Rayna (Connie Britton), think Reba, is fighting against the tidal wave of the next big pop-ified country hotshot Julliette (Hayden Panettiere.) Julliette wants to steal Rayna's guitar player and songwriting partner, Deacon, who was also her boyfriend for over a decade. Though Rayna's been married for a decade or so, she's still very close to her ex. At the end of the last episode, in an attempt to get back to her roots, Rayna sang with Deacon during one of his acoustic bar sets. 

Here is the song that they sang. It's very pretty. I recommend listening to it. 

The Lyrics: (Her:) Don't you try to tell me someone's waiting. They're not waiting for you. And don't you try to tell me that you're wanted, that you're needed, 'cause it's not true. I know why you're lonely. It's time you knew it too. No one will ever love you, like I do. (Him:) Why are you always looking for the limelight? Ain't you satisified with me? For once why don't you get down off your high heels. You're no big deal. Can't you see? (Both:) I know why you're lonely. It's time you knew it too. No one will ever love you, like I do. (Her:) I'm all you got. (Him:) I'm all you'll ever need. (Both:) I'm all you'll ever have. No one will ever love you, like I do.

Then here is the shortened clip of them singing together:

Yeah, so that's how I feel. It's nice to share. Or, ok, maybe it isn't.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Some Kind of Madness

I don't want this. I don't want to be less close. I don't want to not be sexual with you. I don't want to not sleep with you. I don't want to not be held by you. I don't want to not be able to touch you. I don't want to set up barriers that I don't have with other friends. Thinking about it makes me crumble. Just thinking about it already seems to be putting distance between us, distance I don't want. I don't know how to be close to you without these things. I don't even want to know at this point. I'm not sure I can will myself to want to know right now. You say that nothing has to be decided right now, that nothing between us needs to change right now, but it's all I can think about. And as I sit here alone, all I can think is that I'm never going to be held again and how I'm losing my closest relationship.

I want to not want you the way that I do, when it's not reciprocated. I want to be able to do the same things I do with my other friends, from which I don't catch feelings. I want to just be able to enjoy it. I want things to be non-confrontational for more than just one weekend. I want to not be the problem that needs to be solved.

And I want someone else. I want a lover and partner who loves me back, who has my back, and who isn't just the runner-up to you. I want to feel like I'm not alone. I want someone I don't have to feel like I'm "on" all the time with, but who can challenge me when I want it or need it. I want a dynamo in the sack and in conversation. I want someone I don't feel judged by and who I don't have to feel only wants a "better" me. I want to find someone who wants me that I think is worth wanting.

I wish I felt less like this:

The XX-Chained: I watched you breathe in and I wished you'd stop, only for long enough, long enough. It's hard to say, separate or combine. I ask you one last time, Did I hold you too tight? Did I not let enough light in? If a feeling appears, If your mind should sway, It's not a secret you should keep. I won't let you slip away. We used to be closer than this. We used to be closer than this. We used to get closer than this. Is it something you missed? Winged or chained, I ask you would you have stayed? Did I hold you too tight? Did I not let enough light in?

And more like this:

Muse-Madness: I can't get these memories out of my mind and some kind of madness has started to evolve. I tried so hard to let you go, but some kind of madness is swallowing me whole. I have finally seen the light, and I have finally realized what you mean. And now, I need to know is this real love or is it just madness keeping us afloat? And when I look back at all the crazy fights we had, like some kind of madness was taking control. And now I have finally seen the light, and I have finally realized what you need. And now I have finally seen the end and I'm not expecting you to care, but I have finally seen the light. I have finally realized I need to love. Come to me. Trust in your dream. Come on and rescue me. Yes I know, I can be wrong. Maybe I'm too headstrong. Our love is madness.

Oh, wait, no that guy wants a reconciliation too. I thought that what he realized what that ze would be better off without him and their fucked up relationship, but obviously not. What the fuck is it with all this music? Can I not find a song where people are just happily broken up? I really didn't think I'd still feel like I was in a perpetual state of trying to get over you after...what? 6? 7 years? Gods, this shit is getting so fucking old. Even I hate how what a whiny emo bitch I'm being at this point. And if getting under someone else really got you over someone, well, then I should be long over you. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

The "don't let me leave you" Mixtape

Lady Antebellum "All We'd Ever Need" -
(Her:) Boy it's been all this time and I can't get you off my mind and nobody knows it but me.I stare at your photograph, still sleep in the shirt you left, and nobody knows it but me. Everyday I wipe my tears away. So many nights I've prayed for you to say, I should've been chasing you. I should've been trying to prove that you were all that mattered to me. I should've said all the things that I kept inside of me and maybe I could've made you believe that what we had was all we'd ever need. (Him:) My friends think I'm moving on, but the truth is I'm not that strong and nobody knows it but me. And I've kept all the words you said in a box underneath my bed and nobody knows it but me. But if you're happy I'll get through somehow, but the truth is that I've been screaming out, I should've been chasing you (Her:) You should've been trying to prove that (Him:) you were all that mattered to me. (Her:) Oh you should've said all the things (Him:) That I kept inside of me. (Her:) And maybe you could've made me believe (Him:) That what we had girl (Both:) Oh that what we had, what we had it was all we'd ever need. 

I'm not sure I can do it anymore. I've spent the last 12 years of my life trying to make him love me in the same way and as much as I love him. There were maybe 2 months in which he did and those were a decade ago.

He might be the person I'm closest to now, that I feel the strongest connection with, but not my best friend because he'll never really be my friend. He'll always be the one that got away.
Julie Roberts "Unlove Me" 
Unloose this hold you've got on me. Unlock this heart that can't get free...Unlove me. Unmake all the memories I can't forget. Unlove me. Let me go back to the way I was before we met...Unlove me. Untie all the strings between your heart and mine. Unlove me, but do it real slow, so I don't have to lose you all at one time.

My head knows we'll never be together, knows his reasons and that they won't change, even knows the reasons he probably isn't what I need, but my heart doesn't care.

Everything between us feels colored by my love for him, by our past relationship. It's hard when it feels like we play at a relationship over weekend holidays, but I'll never be his "real" girlfriend/partner/wife. Even if we didn't have sex or sleep together in same bed, just how close we are, how well we know each other, our conversations, still feel like a romantic love relationship.

Even after all the times this has played out, he still seems surprised. But, as we talked in the dark, some of the things that I said surprised me as well. Like how much trying to get over him, trying not to want to be with him, influenced my own 'summer of love' and even marrying BT.

Ani DiFranco "Napoleon"  
Now you think, 'So that's the way it's gonna be. That's what this is all about.' I think that 'that's the way it always was. You chose not to notice until now.'

Every time this happens, my heart breaks all over again, as if it was the first time, but his doesn't, because it's him who gets what he wants. And, though it's not fair, every time it happens, I hate him and resent him. I probably hate myself more though. But I still stay. He manages to forgive what I assume he sees as crazy emotional fluctuation and clingy ex shit. I decide that I'd rather have him like this than not at all. Deana Carter "What Makes You Stay"
Don't have the strength to fight anymore or a reason not to leave. What makes you stay, when your world falls apart? What makes you try one more time, when it's not in your heart? At the end of your rope, when you can't find any hope, but you still look at him and say, "I just can't walk away." Tell me what makes you stay?

Two months ago, when his bad behavior was revealed and bit all of us in the ass, as he broke down, he was the weak one, the one begging, the one who had something to lose. I know that I got some satisfaction in that because it is usually me in that position and it felt good to have the upper hand for once. Now it's business as usual.

I left the shirt he was gonna let me take home, so i'd have one showing off our home team, on the bed, and the necklace he'd given me for our first Christmas and my ring on his nightstand, by his phone. After going in circles all last night, our faces shrouded in shadow, buy the stark light of day I saw that he felt powerless. Not weak, just unable to come up with anything to do to change it. "I'm supposed to be at work already.... We have to leave, but I'm not letting you go. ...I love you." Just not enough to try again, I thought.

Coheed and Cambria- "The Suffering" 
If it was up to me, I would have never walked out. So, until the sun burns out, I hope you're waiting.

Driving as fast as I can away from the place I fear will always feel more like home than anywhere else in the world, no matter how long I'm gone, old habits bubble back to the surface. I want to push this car as fast as she'll go. Typing a draft of this blog post as I drive. All I've eaten today is this Mt. Dew beside me and it might be a liquid diet day. I want to hurt on the outside so I don't feel this hurt on the inside. I want to pay off my debt and disappear, take a new name and "I want a place to call my own where you have never been. I want to look around and know you won't be coming back again."

Ani Difranco- "Dilate" 
When I say you sucked my brain out, the English translation is "I am in love with you, but it ain't no fun'. But I don't use words like love, 'cause words like that don't matter. ...The world is my oyster. You know, the road is my home. And I know that I'm better off alone.

But how can I really go when, in less than six hours time, I have already had to stop myself from contacting you so many times? And not about this, but about good things going on in my life. That I'm finally starting to feel this work as a grounding force, as something I want to grab onto to keep from going under, rather than a nuisance stopping me from handling my business. That my assistant manager isn't as upset with me as I thought she was and is going to try to get me more hours this week while my client is on vacation. That some of the office work that the bosses want to talk to me about doing is HR work, which I've never done but they seem to think I might be good at. Hell, even that I got one mile per gallon more than my mom's best record on her car coming home. I can't stop looking for ways I can make staying work.

Pink "Just Give Me a Reason"
 (Her:) Oh tear ducts and rust. (Him:) I'll fix it for us. (Her:) We're collecting dust, but our love's enough. (Him:) You're holding it in. (Her:) You're pouring a drink. (Him:) No nothing is as bad as it seems. (Her:) We'll come clean! (Both:) Just give me a reason. Just a little bit's enough. Just a second, we're not broken just bent and we can learn to love again. It's in the stars. It's been written in the scars of our hearts that we're not broken just bent and we can learn to love again.
Sara Bareilles "Love on the Rocks"
Here's a simplification of everything we're going though: You plus me is bad news. But you're a lovely creation and I like to think that I am too, but my friend said I look better without you. Tongue tied and twisted, go on baby and go to my head. Babe, baby believe me, if I stay, it ain't gonna be easy. Okay, we'll do it your way, but this is the last time you'll hear the beautiful sound of love coming down. Love on the rocks.

(Yes, I can't even find songs that aren't about a romantic love relationship to illustrate my points. It's probably not a good sign.)

Having issues with blogger and can't embed at the moment. I will try to go back and fix things later.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

You May Ask Yourself, Well, How Did I Get Here?

You may ask yourself, how do I work this? 
You may ask yourself, where is that large automobile? 
You may tell yourself, this is not my beautiful house 
You may tell yourself, this is not my beautiful wife 

Last night, I was leaving a sports bar, at a modest 10:30pm, on a night when I didn't have to work the next day, after Marci (pseudonym) bought me a drink and appetizer to commiserate on what would have been my five-year wedding anniversary, when I thought, "How did I get here?" And not in the negative way I'm used to. I've had a job for a couple of months. Things are going smoothly between me and my family. I spent a full weekend with Moneypenny without any arguments or anything too dramatic. And I'd just had a relatively new friend go out of her way on what was for her a school night to hang out with me on what could have been a really shitty day. It was like something out of Sex and the City. Well, the thought behind it, not the Midwestern sports bar setting. I don't currently have any out of control relationships. This is not my life. This is the life of a normal person. And it's freaking me out that it is also my life right now.

I tried to text with Moneypenny after this line of thinking started, but it only seemed to make things worse. His responses were "I guess that's the point, this CAN by your life" and "I'm very happy for you. Keep it up! :)" I'm sure that it seems like I'm ungrateful for his support, which isn't the case. It's just that... I don't want to have a normal life. One of my biggest worries in ever getting help for my psychiatric issues was that I was afraid that it would take away everything that made me me, that I'd be some shiny happy people Stepford wives chick. But every step of the way, when I've made improvements, I've found that I still wasn't that. But now I look up and all this work I've been doing to have a better life landed me in a normal life and all the things I've been thinking about doing down the road just make it more normal, when I do not think that normal = better. (Yes, I'm aware that my life isn't normal at this point, but it is as close to normal as I've had in a very long time, maybe even ever if you include having a lack of chaotic relationships.)

I guess what I was really looking for when I texted Moneypenny was some assurance that this "normal" life I was currently living didn't make me normal. That I could live a weird or un-ordinary life without it having to be out of control.