Tag Archives: validation

I Am A Catch

This is going to sound like some kind of cover letter that would be attached to a resume (if a bit lengthy) but I’m writing this both as a foundation of what is to come and as a reminder to myself of a few things.

 

I am a catch.

I am a thirty year old woman.  I have a good job.  I drive a nice car.  I have some debt, but I make enough to manage that and have it all disappear within a couple of years.  I have been married once, but it didn’t last very long, and I have no children.  I am educated.  I have a Bachelors degree and half a Masters degree.  I write, a LOT.  And I’m ambitious.  I want a lot for myself, I expect a lot out of myself, and that motivates me to keep pushing for bigger and better things.

I have morals.  I do not go to church and do not define myself by any sort of “faith”, but I live by a personal code.  I do not hurt the innocent.  I do not steal.  I do not lie.  When in relationships, I have not and will never cheat.  When one of my friends needs me, they know I am there for them – even if the best I can do for the time being is a phone call because of the distance.  I work hard, I play harder.  I do not take even one second for granted.  I believe that I should treat others the way that I myself would want to be treated.

I have a good family.  I grew up with parents who are still together and who are still madly in love with each other – and have been for forty-one years.  I have a sister who I don’t talk to often, but who is usually there if I need a chat.  I have an extended family that I am also exceptionally close to.  My support system is huge, as it encompasses not only my family but my best and closest friends.  There is no shortage of people to turn to if I need something.

I believe that what energy we put out into the world is the energy we get back.  I believe what we put into our bodies and how we use our bodies will determine how they treat us later.  That said, I try hard not to hurt people.  I try to eat healthily.  And my bedroom does not have a revolving door.  My number is relatively low – single digits – and I keep it that way.  I treat my body as a temple and I keep my stress at a minimum so that it does not wreak havoc on my overall wellbeing.  I do not have any diseases and other than being perpetually nearsighted (that only gets worse because I read a lot), I am perfectly healthy.

I am a doer.  If I see something wrong with my life, I do everything I can to fix it.  My only fault, in this regard, is that sometimes I try too hard.  Sometimes I have problems letting go.  I am a control freak, but I try to harness that need for control into something productive.  It becomes problematic because sometimes I have problems recognizing that there are simply some things I cannot control.  I do not like to fail, and so I have problems letting go.  But I am working on this… both on recognizing that I cannot control everything and in learning to let go of the things that I have no control over – to let them take their course.

When I am in a relationship, I am a giver.  I give everything that I can, both of myself, and of what I have, to make sure that the other person has what he needs.  I bend over backward, sometimes a little too far, and often find myself being used and walked on.  But I keep trying, because while I am sarcastic and while I do have a dark sense of humor, I am also an optimist.  I believe in love.  I believe that true love can transcend even the biggest difficulties, and I believe that if two people want something badly enough, then they can make it work if they work together.

I am ambitious.  I work forty hours a week, but also extend myself into other avenues.  I write.  I model.  I create art.  I dedicate my spare time to those venues and I have been successful at them.  I set goals for myself in my personal life and I do everything in my power to see those things through.  Because I work hard, because I am contemplative, and because I believe in myself and in my own abilities, I see those goals come to fruition sooner or later.

I have everything going for me.  And as I prepare for re-release in the upcoming weeks, it would serve me well to remember this.  Despite what has happened, despite the things that have made me doubt these things over the last few days, I write this not only to affirm what I already know, but to remind myself that what happened was not my fault and that it had nothing to do with me.

I am not perfect.  Far from it.  I have my faults.  I am sometimes insecure, I am sometimes too hard on myself.  I have trouble letting things go sometimes and I can be argumentative.  But even still, despite all of those things, I know who I am and I know what I want.  And I am a catch.

Crazy

There are voices in my head that tell me things.  They tell me what to do, they tell me what is, what was, and sometimes what is coming.  I’ll begin this entry with that, and also the affirmation that I am not crazy.  Not entirely.  Most of the time I trust the voices.  When they are at their peak, they have never steered me wrong.  They fuel my perceptions.  Together we are spot on.

There is one week out of the month, however, that I do not trust the voices.  I call it PMS week.  And during this week, they will say anything, ANYTHING, it seems to make me sabotage anything good that I may have going for me.  They will do ANYTHING to keep me on edge so that I lash out and yell at someone who is laughing a little too loudly.  During this week I am a mess of nerves, panic, anxiety, depression.  The conversations going on in my head are so ridiculous that I’m ashamed even to verbalize them and yet, what we make true in our minds becomes true whether we want it to or not.  And so it is a monthly battle to keep those demons at bay.  I certainly do not want to bring them out into the open.

I can’t really tell if it’s demons that take up residence in there for a week or if the voices just go on some kind of monthly hiatus and come back all amped up from their vacation, ready to wreak havoc on their usual digs.  I used to lose my temper a lot during PMS week.  My previous marriage, if it taught me anything, taught me to control my temper – at least better than I used to.  That’s not to say I do not get on edge.  When people laugh a little too loudly or when noises filter into my training office while I am working (and while it seems no one else is), I have to remind myself to stay calm and resist the urge to go out onto the floor and start screaming at the offender.  I keep my temper because I don’t like feeling guilty about things I would say or do at the height of it all.  That is enough motivation not to lose it.  My coworker’s laughter isn’t the only thing that gets me on edge, but it’s minor.  It’s a good example of how very extreme it can get.

But it manifests itself in different ways, too.  I am generally not an insecure person.  I’m not arrogant.  At least not most of the time.  But I am confident.  I model.  I write.  I do calligraphy fairly well.  I’m smart.  And I have a startup business.  I’m proud of all of these things, and I have every reason to be.  PMS week comes, though, and it doesn’t matter – none of these things, no matter how well I do them, are done well enough.  Last week I shelved the book I’d been writing for the last five years.  I did it because ultimately I had decided that going back and reliving the past, even fictionally, was more of a detriment to the person I was trying to become than I’d wanted to admit.  Like I said before, you can’t move forward if you have one foot stuck in the past.  I picked up the pen again and took up a completely different project – one based on fantasy, totally fiction, no basis in reality whatsoever.  (Because magical dwarves, demons, gargoyles, and gods/goddesses, and dragons don’t actually exist  – and people don’t travel on wooden ships either.)  I started writing it, the first few paragraphs… and then the voices started up.  They didn’t criticize the story.  They never criticize my writing (unless it’s warranted and in those cases, no matter what week it is, they are usually right). 

They got critical of other things.  Things I really can’t even be critical about because I do not know the whole story or have a full picture of the circumstances.  Logically I can’t make a judgment, but try telling them to be logical.  If they could jump around and laugh maniacally, they would do it.  Because for awhile, they were winning.  I got moody, depressed, insecure, anxious.  I panicked.  I stressed.  I hate the way that feels.

Worst of all, though, it fucks with my perceptions.  I felt distant this weekend.  Moreso than I have in months.  I don’t know if it’s perception or if it’s real.  The voices say it’s real.  If it were any other time of the month I would trust the voices.  And since I habitually trust the voices most of the time, it is difficult to tell them to shut up right this second.  I’m used to having perception.  I am used to being spot on about shit.  When I can’t be, I grasp for it because I can’t stand for it not to be there.  Without it, it’s almost like being naked in public (though probably worse for me, since I sort of enjoy being naked).

That’s why this weekend, particularly, was a struggle.  When less than favorable news came on Saturday, the voices went mad.  I tried to compensate for their madness.  I over-reached, and between their incessant screaming and my overcompensation for the fact that my instincts were way off, I did some damage.  I don’t know how much damage.  I’m not even sure if the damage I did was perceptible.  I hope it was not… damage that is imperceptible is much easier to fix than damage that is evident.  Irreversibly, though, things are different and once again, I’m in the dark.  I do not know if the difference is in my perception or if the difference is in the actual circumstance.  Logic and reason and the small tiny voices that are still in there that still have any kind of sense tell me to give it time, be patient, wait it out.  The ones in the forefront that seem to have taken speed or something over the last week want it NOW, NOW, NOW!!!  And when they don’t get it NOW they start pulling similarities between what is and what was – and what was is not a factor here.  I cannot, and I will not, apply the past to the present, even though they tell me that this is exactly what this is.  I think they lie.

It’s a waiting game.  I’m sitting here, because I called in to work today – I needed a mental health day, a day to get my shit together, a day to figure out what is and what is not.  I am taking steps to get this under control, once and for all.  I made some calls, things are getting done, but that will also take time.  Everything takes time and it is never my own time.  I sit, I wait, I observe.  I trust that sense will eventually be made – things will become clearer, because they always have before.  And whatever it is I blew out of proportion is probably not even remotely as bad as what I made it out to be. 

Patience is not one of my virtues.  It never has been.  I want what I want, when I want it.  My supply of patience has been anorexically thin most of my life – though it’s been gaining some weight lately out of necessity.  It becomes critically thin during this week of the month.  I’ve been doing better with it lately.  I slipped a little this weekend, but I am attempting to get a handle on it.  And praying that I didn’t fuck things up to irreparably.

Someone who read my blog once said that the reason they liked it was because it was honest, I take what is wrong with me, I identify it, and then I fix it.  Life is a learning experience, there is a learning curve here, though many times I have broken that learning curve, lost everything, had to start over.  I wonder sometimes how many second chances I’m going to be given.  And how many times I will take those second chances, do really well with them for awhile, then tear them to shreds and laugh at them while I watch them burn, only to look regretfully at their ashes once they are gone.  And then I realize that the only person who has any control over that is me.  And I laugh… not maniacally, but I laugh.  Because I am a doer.  I may not be able to have what I want right this second… the time for that may not be right now, though I cannot fathom why.  I can’t control the circumstances, but I can control how I react to them.  I may need some help this time, but even that is up to me.  So I’m making my calls, I’m getting this under control, and like everything else, I’m making it mine.

And, of course, praying that the voices will win this stupid mental battle sooner than later because I miss my Tarot cards.

Comparison

Life is made up of comparisons.  Whether we like it or not, sometimes the larger part of our likes and dislikes come with experience – we like the steak at this restaurant better than that restaurant.  We like red better than purple.  We like the heel on that shoe better than the heel on that other shoe over there.  If life is a game of experience-gaining, then we take our likes and dislikes, apply them to the here and now, and move forward based on the collective sum of our experiences.  Whether we want to freely admit it or not, it is human nature to take the yardstick of past experience and us it to measure our current situation– gauging whether what we have now is better or equal to what we had before.  Because if it isn’t better, then what we have derived from what we have learned helps us to determine that it isn’t going to work.  If we go to the other restaurant, we won’t like the steak as much.  We’ll end up with a purple shirt even though we HATE purple.  Our feet will be uncomfortable because that heel we didn’t particularly love is pushing our foot up at an odd angle and causing our toes to pinch.  Comparisons are how we function.

And whether we like it or not, we do tend to compare everything – not just the mundane stuff like food, shoes, and colors.  We compare our satisfaction in our workplaces, we compare our weekends to that of our friends.  We compare years – “this year is better than last year but it isn’t as awesome as five years ago.”  We compare weeks, days, everything.  Yes, comparison is a way of life.  It’s how we evaluate our experiences – where we’re at, where we’re going, where we want to be.  And perhaps most of all, no matter how hard we try not to, no matter how adamantly we say we are not going to, because this is what we know how to do, we compare our relationships as well.

And I’m as guilty of it as anyone else.  Take 1.0 for example.  That relationship was a long distance relationship.  My first in college, and while not my first long distance relationship, certainly the one with the most distance.  He was a good guy, but so very far away.  New York City seemed like the end of the world and the limited time that we got to spend together, while fantastic, was simply not enough.  Compile that with the fact that he was shorter than I was, he could not keep it up, and his Jewish family would never see me as anything more than a Shiksa and I knew, after a couple of months, that we were doomed.  It ended – I was determined that no, no matter what I did, I was not going to make comparisons between this one and the next one.  Whenever the next one came along.

Then I met the Professor.  I’ll tell you, I tried.  I tried REALLY hard not to draw comparisons.   I’d love to say I didn’t.  I really would.  Maybe consciously I didn’t.  But subconsciously?  The Professor was everything 1.0 hadn’t been – tall (VERY tall), blond, closer in distance (though still not local – I’d had local at this point, local hadn’t worked out very well, I couldn’t deal with the clinginess (more comparions?)) and definitely had no problems in the bedroom.  Granted we never did much outside of the bedroom.  But it was, truthfully, the extension of the proverbial honeymoon phase.  He was close enough so that we could see each other a few times a week and far enough away so that we didn’t see each other all the time and the newness factor didn’t wear off.  And the sex was good.  I didn’t go to bed frustrated.  And yet, at the time, the emotion didn’t seem to be there.  I found out years later, actually a decade later, that it had been – he’d just had trouble expressing it.  But while all of the physicality was good, I wasn’t getting (or at least I thought I wasn’t getting) the emotion that I needed – that I’d gotten from 1.0.

WASN’T THERE MIDDLE GROUND SOMEWHERE?!

Then I met Mr. Ex.  He was local, he wasn’t clingy.  He had a job.  He was, after awhile, financially stable.  There were some bedroom issues – actually “some” would be an understatement.  But, I was in it for the long haul.  And you know, you’re supposed to deal with those things – it was my job to be sympathetic, right?  We worked on the bedroom issues.  We never fixed the bedroom issues.  And by saying never fixed, I mean it got to the point that I was giving hour long hand jobs because he could not get off any other way.  Even after those valiant efforts, even then he couldn’t get off, and would end up crying about it and blaming me which did not do a bloody THING for my self-confidence, let alone my libido.  Then there was his temper.  Which I won’t detail here.  There’s an earlier blog about that if you’re reading this and you’re curious.

And I gotta say – by about year four, it was becoming very, very difficult NOT to make a comparison to someone.  ANYONE.  I’d visit my friends, they seemed to have a better relationship than I did.  They actually LIKED each other.  The ones that talked about it were definitely having sex more frequently than I was – BETTER sex, sex where their partners weren’t placing blame, shattering self-confidence, crying late at night.  They weren’t dodging flying soda cans or trying to patch holes in the walls or attempting to put doors back on hinges from where they’d been torn off.  God I tried everything not to compare – I cut ties with these happy people, I stopped talking to other people I saw myself dangerously beginning to want to BE with, I threw myself into school and put a façade up that said I was satisfied while on the inside I was seething that my first wedding anniversary present had been a vibrator.  I’d like to say the efforts toward fixing things, not comparing, not giving myself the opportunity to compare, worked – but as we all know, since I am now divorced, it didn’t.  I compared.  When I compared I realized that what I had, in comparison to the way things really probably should be, wasn’t working.  I got out.  Comparison saved my sanity – and the last half of my twenties.

I spent the next year and a half recuperating.  I was in Ohio, as I’ve written.  I was regaining myself, I was rebuilding self-confidence, I was using someone else to help me do that.  I’m not saying it was perfect, I got emotionally involved and I shouldn’t have.  But I did what I needed to do.  By the time I was really ready to get my ass back out there, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the impotence of my ex -husband was absolutely NOT my fault.    I got out there, I dated, I had my mental checklist.  Where did I get that, you ask?  Comparisons, of course.  Yes, it’s ridiculous.  But after what I’d been through, I wasn’t settling for less.

I found someone else.  On paper, he looked good.  He had a good job, made very excellent money.  He was ready to settle down, he had no bedroom issues.  He had a condo in the nicest area of town – in a gated community, with a security guard.  That checklist?  Yeah…he’d have fit every last one of them.  The kicker?  He didn’t have a threshold for emotion.  He could not love.  He could not get sold.  And looking back now at the stuff I’d write occasionally then, I was blind.  I was unhappy, and I knew I was unhappy, but I was so blinded by all the pretty stuff he had that I forgot to look at the stuff that he didn’t.  I tried to tell myself that I could live without the emotion.  I tried to tell myself that the fact that I wouldn’t have to work anymore, that I could live in that pretty little condo in that nice area of town, would be enough.  I lied to myself.  But it was a good reminder.  It kicked my ass back into gear – it reconfirmed what I knew a decade ago – I need emotion.  I don’t need someone to tell me they adore me every second of every day – but I need to know there is SOMETHING there.  He measured up in every way but that one – and it was a big shortcoming.  And, after it had all ended and the dust had settled, I told my friend Mary that I’d decided that I’d rather be with a man who had nothing and yet actually loved me than with a man who had everything but was incapable of loving.  That conclusion came from a comparison, too.

I know this sounds like a big rant.  It’s not intended to be.  The point here is that if I had not been through all of these relationships – some of them worse than others – then I’d still have absolutely no idea of where I want to end up.  Knowing where I want to end up requires comparison.

As dirty as it is, as horrible as it sounds, without comparison, there is no direction.  Without comparison, we’d enter every situation as virgins, our eyes wide open, running into the same brick walls, tripping over the same hurdles, getting caught up in the same impossible situations.  Without comparison we’d never learn.  We’d never know that an 8.5 boot fits us better than an 8 or a 9.  We’d never understand that we like pork bacon better than we like turkey bacon – and even more importantly, why we prefer one to the other.  And as far as relationships are concerned, we’d never quite figure out what we need – we’d be either lucky enough to stumble into something perfect without any effort or we’d end up flailing about, never learning from past mistakes.  Learning takes comparison.

Some of us are lucky enough to figure it out the first time – some of us figure it out after two or three tries.  Others, I’d say the majority of us, really, are not so lucky.  We’re not flailing about – we’re experimenting.  We’re trying things on.  We’re seeing what works.  We’re figuring out from all of these failed, horrible experiences what we can live with in a relationship, and more importantly, what we really need from a relationship to be ridiculously happy.  And if that means we have to take a well-earmarked yardstick and hold it carefully, though discreetly, up to the object of our affections to make absolutely sure that person measures up, then so be it.  Once we find what we are looking for, and as a result of the trial and effort, perhaps the comparison can result in appreciation.