Saturday, November 08, 2014

Day 26

Apparently, November is NaBloPoMo, which stands for "National Blog Posting Month" or some such nonsense. The idea is that people who are participating are supposed to write a blog post every day in November.

Well, that's bad timing.

My final day of my thirty days of posting is slated to be over on the twelfth. Under different circumstances, I'd be tempted to keep going until the end of November in order to participate, but, honestly, this has been a truly frustrating journey. Yesterday's post is a prime example of what happens when you make yourself write when you have nothing to say and no desire to, which is fine if it's merely for the writerly practice of writing a little every day. But if I were going to buy into that "great writers write every day" garbage, I wouldn't do it publicly. I don't want people who wander onto this website to think I'm some insipid moron. Yesterday's post, and many others I've produced like it, are the blogging equivalent to instagramming pictures of your breakfast. And, I mean if your breakfast were really mundane.

And for the record, I don't think great writers (or anything else) necessarily do anything. I think different people achieve greatness different ways. And most people don't at all, I suspect.

As I write this, I am sick in bed and very much want to attempt sleep. I had just cozied myself and was shutting off the light when I realized that there was a considerable chance that my attempt at sleep would lead to actual sleep, given that I've spent the last 18 hours refraining from eating anything that might bother my stomach and running back and forth the bathroom, and then my streak would be ruined. So I forced my shaky, achy, hot-and-cold self to pick up the laptop.

The reality is, for me, forcing myself to do anything every day is doomed to eventual failure. I guess the question I need to ask myself is whether that's okay, something I can just accept about myself, or if it's a shortcoming stemming from my lack of self-discipline, that I should attempt to overcome for the good of, well, everything.

A question for another day, I suppose, when the threat of throwing up on my keyboard isn't quite so clear.

Day 26. On with it.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Uninspired Writing. I Wouldn't Bother, If I Were You.

I am not drunk. The Jolly Rancher infused vodka was not good.

There is some speculation that it would be improved by more Jolly Ranchers, since it seemed to suffer from insufficient sweetness.

Either way, I am once again suffering from insufficient sex.

Or, rather, not really tonight. This week has been such a clusterfuck that I am not really let down by the last of sex tonight. But, still, the pressure continues to build.

I've gained a couple pounds back of the weight I had lost when I was focusing more on exercise and less on everything else. I feel really badly about my body again, which I guess is good, since self-hatred seems to be the only motivation that really works for me.

Meditation has also gone, more or less, by the way side. I have been incorporating some of the mindfulness practices I've learned here or there, but I haven't really been sustained. I'm thinking more seriously now about combining the two goals and working with walking mediation. I guess the idea would be, 10 minutes of walking mediation, and then, after that, keep walking for another 45 minutes or so with an audiobook or something. The key is to let myself off the hook a little about the unsustainable exercise that I can't possibly do every single day. But I would like to start getting to the gym again, at least a few times a week.

My fear is that walking will only get me as far as maintaining my weight, and that I won't be able to lose anymore. What I want to do is lose five pounds at a time, then take lengthy maintaining breaks in between. I'd rather not deal too much with the frustration of plateauing.

This whole post feels useless. No one will want to read this, and, more importantly, future me will not find this interesting, either. I'm going to end this one short. Let it just be what it is: day 25.

On with it.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Sleep and Intimacy

There are a lot of reasons why Dan and I don't sleep together.

  • We're both large people, so a queen bed really doesn't cut it for us.
  • Our pre-sleep habits clash. He likes to watch videos on his cell phone while he's lying it bed. That either throws off my ability to sleep, or whatever it is I'm trying to do. Which sort of lends itself to...
  • I really need to be functionally alone as I'm falling asleep. When I was with Zack, this was accomplished by the fact that he fell asleep easily and was a very heavy sleeper. Lying in bed next to him was not significantly different, most of the time, from being alone. This is very different with Dan, who will be awake next to me for a very long time doing his own (usually loud) things, and then continue on to be a relatively light sleeper.  I do a lot of "processing" in bed at the end of the day, and I being around a waking person for this is extremely unsettling for me.
  • He talks in his sleep. It should be said that this has only been an actual problem fairly rarely. But where sleep is at a premium now, between the baby and the dog waking us up and both of us needing to wake up early, I imagine it would quit being cute very quickly if we still slept together.
  • At current, I just don't feel intimate enough with him to sleep next to him.
The biggest problem with this last thing is that it's a very vicious-cycle kind of thing. I feel like, it's clear to me, that sleeping in the same bed would be a big part of building intimacy. Negotiating every night about who is going to sleep on the couch, and then adapting my own habits that make me feel single...those do not build intimacy.

And it genuinely does make me feel single. The not really having sex thing, the fairly common fights and misery...those, I'm pretty used to in a long-term relationship. But sleeping alone, as far as I'm concerned, is the mark of not being in a relationship.

The most frustrating thing about this is that I don't particularly want to change it. If it were just the "no intimacy" problem, I might be able to force my way through it. But those other problems on that list? They're real problems. They're real problems that I don't think have a very good solution.

Yeah, okay, we could eventually buy a king bed. I've tried, before, to enforce a "No Cell Phones In Bed" policy, which he is not okay with, but a variation could be attempted. But I don't know how to get past the fact that I can't go work through my mental pre-sleep ritual with someone awake or sleeping very lightly beside me.

So I want us, in theory, to be closer. I don't want to feel single. I don't want to spend the last part of my day alone, because it makes me lonely, and sad, and it makes me wish I was with someone that I was actually with. But I don't actually want to sleep with someone who sleeps like him.

For Dan, I don't think this is a make-or-break issue. He's much more independent than me. I think he'd like for us to sleep together, but I don't think it actually changes his perception of our relationship that much that we don't.

It's become clear-- and a point of some significant resentment for me-- that what we have now is very close to Dan's ideal relationship in many ways. I feel like we barely spend time together. I feel like I'm learning how to be a single person for the first time in my life. But for him, this much interaction is what he wants. He sees no reason to spend more time together, or to check in more with each other.  He knows I'm unhappy, he knows my needs aren't being met, but for him, that's all that's wrong.

This angers me greatly, as does the realization that, if we ever have a functional relationship, it'll be because I've given up on the kind of relationship I want to have. I will adapt to being functionally single, and that will put him right where he wants to be. He's in a relationship when I'm not.

I don't know if the level of frustration is coming through, but it is literally making my head spin to think about it. 

For me, the more independent I am, the less I care about him or our relationship. And the better I get at spending time on my own, the less he realizes that I don't want to be doing it. And the less I don't want to do it, because I'd rather be lonely and watching Gilmore Girls than fighting with him.

Which, maybe the adaptation is complete. Maybe I've figured out how to thrive as a single person. But I don't want to be single. I want to be in love. I want to be intimate. I want to sleep next to someone.

Some days-- any day where I look at it carefully enough, really-- it just all feels so fucking hopeless.

Day 24. On with it.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Fight or Flight

Today was a particularly bad day. But not in the normal way.

My normal bad days consist of stress that builds up and wears me down until there's possibly an explosion, or until I wish for an explosion. Babies crying, dogs barking, work piling up, trying to get something in that matters to you but having to give up on it because there's just no time, energy, point. Fighting with Dan because that's what stress does to you, it literally puts your body in fight or flight mode, and flight isn't an option.

Those or my normal bad days. They are more days than not, at least on some level.

Today was a...helpless, sad bad day. Today, there was nothing I could do about the results of the election, all of which were sad and disappointing. There was nothing I could do about the funeral of the woman who died who I mentioned a few post's ago, or the man who loved her walking around all day in his black suit. There was nothing I could do for the coworker that I am close to will no longer be working with me. There was nothing I could do about the news that my parents are both experiencing medical concerns. And there was nothing I could do about the fact that Zack may no be flying out here for Christmas, due to budget and schedule constraints.

So I was just sad.

No barking dogs, no crying babies. No work that I cared enough to stop from piling up. No ambition to accomplish anything that I didn't end up being able to accomplish. I had no responsibilities, no duty to fight. I was just sad.

Tomorrow, things will likely go back to the normal kind of bad. At work, I will have to help with my coworker's responsibilities. Politically, the numbness will subside and I'll feel like it's time to start fighting again. The baby will cry. The dog will bark. I might feel so overcome by my sadness at Zack not being able to come for Christmas that I start scheming up ways to pay for his ticket.

It will all be stressful. It will all get my heart pumping and my adrenaline racing. I will be fighting for my life.

I guess, at the moment, the helplessness feels like respite. Nothing to do, but just be sad.

Day 23. One week left. On with it.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Election Day

It's Election Day.

I'm tired, like always, stressed, like always. A little bit sick, and I don't feel like going to bed. All surmountable, with regards to my writing an entry and getting one step closer to completing my thirty days.

But the fact that Paul Lepage is currently in the lead in the Governor's race...well that just makes one want to give up.

A few years ago, before the do-nothing congress and the culture wars, I considered myself independent. Liberal, of course, but someone who would be willing to hear out a politician of either side. Someone who believed that good ideas can come from anywhere.

Nowadays, it's just an all out war, and you're either one of us or you're one of them. Nowadays, I fill out my ballot by looking for the (D).

I like the idea of a political spectrum, with moderates on both sides and, you know, probably a few more political parties, to boot. I like the idea of being able to have a serious conversation with a fiscal Republican without wondering if they're secretly homophobic.

There are Republican ideas I can get behind: I think it's probably time to adjust the Social Security age. (That said, I would want the Medicare age lowered, or eliminated. I wish we all had access to Medicare.) I have a coworker who considers herself Republican who, though she hates Lepage, supports a law he enacted (proposed?) that mandates a food stamp recipient work at least a part-time job. She and I discussed it and I agreed that if they would accept volunteering in lieu of an actual job (as there may not actually be enough jobs), it's not an altogether bad idea. (I do acknowledge that it's more complicated than that, but I understand the point.)

Paul Lepage, though...I don't have the energy to talk about all the ways I hate him. All the ways...a lot of Mainers hate him. (I really want to say "most." But, at the moment, it looks like at least 48% of registered voters think he's just swell.)

The bitch of it is that his democratic opponent left a House seat to run, and that seat is now also looking like it will be lost. Which is a shame. I really liked the democrat running for it.

I'm going to go to bed now and hope the tables have turned in the morning.

Day 22. On with it.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Jolly Rancher Omens

Tonight's post, I think, shall be a list of thoughts without much fanfare.

-The baby, who normally breaks records for being the most pleasant and likable child, has been a terror today. Probably not by normal baby standard, but, spoiled as I am, I have had trouble controlling the urge to scream at him. It's probably related to teething or some such. I don't know. He's been waking up at night lately, a habit I had thought for a while was blissfully gone. It's not. Blargh.

-My stomach is not great right now. I've been taking this grass-based superfood stuff in a glass of orange juice every morning. It gives me a lot of energy and I crave it despite it's questionable taste, so that leads me to assume it is very healthy. It's also giving me very healthy amounts of excrement, along with stomach cramps to match. I think the problem is that the fiber and healthiness of the superfood clashes rather poorly with the rest of my diet, which, often, consists of Arby's and greasy chinese takeout-- probably at least one or the other four days out of five. I am on the toilet right now.

-Dan and I are in the midst of a conversation about what's going to happen to replace my phone, which has recently suffered from a mildly cracked screen. This one of about 6 ways that it's somewhat broken, including it's speakers that had melted deodorant spilled into them (It's a long story) and the data chip which stops working randomly, and is malfunctioning more often than not. This is coming at a frustrating time, because I was to be getting an iPhone 6 for Christmas. The details of this are too frustrating to list, but basically, we can't really afford it now, and we won't really be able to afford it at Christmas. But part of the reason that we can't afford it is that getting a new phone means getting off of my shared plan with Zack on T-Mobile, which doesn't work super well out here. This is one of the few remaining holdovers of my marriage to Zack, and the crux of the thing is that Zack has been paying my cell phone bill largely by himself for some time now. Switching carriers is both a practical and moral necessity, but it also comes with the high cost involved with paying for one's own things. This cost, incidentally, is the reason why Dan's parents currently still finance most of the things in his life.

-I am now off of the toiler.

-That last point, or rather, the one before that, brings up this frustrating problem: Dan is not currently financially independent from his parents in almost any way. They currently pay for his cell phone, his car insurance, his health insurance, and all of his clothes via a Kohl's charge card that he carries and they pay the bill for.  They also help pay for Ezra's daycare. The idea-- at least for me-- is that as we gain the ability to afford it, we slowly take over these costs to gain independence. The frustrating thing about this is that, for the foreseeable future, as our income goes up, our standard of living will not, if all goes as planned. We'll gain some modicum of independence, but little else. Which, I like the idea of independence. Really, I do. I just hope I like it as much as all the stuff I'll be missing out on.

-Dan and I started a batch of Jolly Ranchers-infused vodka tonight. The plan is to drink it this weekend. The secondary plan is to get drunk and finally manage to have sex. This depends largely on it tasting really good. I'm counting on you, Milton Hershey!

-I had to look that up just now before I could finish the sentence. I had no idea that Jolly Ranchers were made by Hershey's. Dan and I went to Hershey, PA, once on the way to or...from somewhere. I think on the way back from visiting his dying Grandmother in Maryland. That same trip, we went to DC and somehow decided that it would be fun to visit the Holocaust Museum! Woohoo! Hershey was sort of our little way of saying "Okay, seriously, we need some, like, singing cows and chocolate after all that Jewish sadness." It was a very pleasant little side trip from the days when we were still very happy together. Perhaps this is a good omen.

-My laptop is about to die. Day 21. On with it.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

History, Endings, and Pink Socks.

I'm reading a few posts on Emily's Wordpress blog. Emily's always been a good writer, but her entries lack any sense that they are about to end. It must be a really freeing way to write, actually: just talk about what you feel like talking about and then ending when you're no longer interested in saying it. But I would hate it: when I can't find a way to end my posts that feels at least slightly like closure from something earlier in the post, I find it utterly unsatisfying.

Emily is my best friend. When I started this blog, I defined my best friends as a group called "The Fab Five", which consisted of, I think, Emily, Jeremey, Jeff, Elorza and Andrew? Is that right?

Yes. That's right. I just confirmed by searching for posts that reference them, and found one where I introduced them by writing a no-holds-barred account of their flaws. This was one of the six posts I wrote on the first day of the blog (day meaning 24-hour-period, not the way I've been defining it for the purposes of my thirty-day-challenge.) The idea was that I had decided that "my new blog site MUST have Harriet-the-spy-like integrity!" and that anyone who was going to get offended should just "get out!"

What an interesting choice I made, so early on. To go after everything with this rapid integrity, despite all costs. It says a lot about me then, and it says a lot about me now. It also says a lot about why I stopped writing for so long: as an adult, it's not as easy to live your life hanging everything out in the open for anyone close to you to see. It got a little challenging when I heard that some of the staff of my high school was reading my blog, and a lot more challenging later, when my husband's mother started reading it.

I had a nightmare a few weeks ago wherein Dan had told his mother about the existence of my blog, and she started reading it the way Zelda had in the past. I remember feeling utterly betrayed, like I wasn't going to be able to talk about our relationship at all, or work through any of the things I wanted to work through.

Privacy has always been generational for me: I'm pretty open and honest with the people in my own generation, but not our parents, or people we perceive as authority figures. Of course, 13 years after the initial post, I am now an adult, and the generational lines are a lot more blurry.

If I had made the decision, that first day, to be a little more...political in my writing-- to use a pseudonym, as I do now, or not to go into the worst of the worst about my life and relationships, how different would everything have been? Certainly, my High School life would have been a great deal different, as certain run-ins with this blog created a great deal of upheaval in my life. My marriage might have been different had I not been airing mine and Zack's troubles for all the world to see. 

But different goes both ways. It's possible that being as honest and open as I was there, as I've always tried to maintain at least some semblance of, well, it's possible that, without it, I wouldn't have been able to cope with all of my feelings, or to process everything. To figure out as much about myself as I have.

Now that Dan and I have such a bad relationship-- something I say here, openly, because of the tradition of honesty in this blog-- I often wonder if he's actually in love with me now, or if he really only ever loved what it is he used to see in me, back when circumstances were very different. I often ask him exactly why he loves me, since he seems to be very insistent that he does. One thing he often lists are my metacognitive skills. Honestly, I didn't even know what that word meant before, but now I do: I understand myself, and the things I do, and the way I react, way better than most people. This is helpful, because even when I'm being freakishly awful, I can usually call myself on it.

That doesn't stop it, mind you, but I know what I'm doing. It comes in handier than you might think.

He's right to appreciate that about me, as it's something that I'm grateful for, in myself (I'm making an effort to use that word again. Making an effort, here and there, to practice the art of gratitude.) Would I have those skills if I hadn't made that choice, that first day? Would they have developed the way that they did?

As I've been writing this again, I've wondered when, along the way, I added my little closing phrase-- maybe it's the existence of that phrase that forces me to write differently than Emily, to wind things up neatly. I don't know.

Turns out, it was there from the very first post. I don't know if there were any along the way that didn't use it, but the first week of the blog, every post ends with "On with it." Initially-- and I had forgotten this-- the habit was to write something like "My name is Linda, and _______. On with it!"

Some examples from that first week:

"My name is Linda, and I am wearing pink socks. On with it."
"My name is Linda and I am a cosmo girl (when I'm not a Maxim Man!) On with it!"
"My fucking name is Linda, and I do not know, or believe in, anything. On with it."

As you can see, quite the range. I think I kept the "My name is Linda, and..." format for the first...six months to a year. But the "On with it", well...that's gone on for quite a while now.

My name is Linda, and I have no memory of those socks. Also, it's day 20. On with it.

Echo, echo, echo....

"I'm not being clear." He says, and he looks frustrated for a while before he turns to me and says that he's going to bed.

We were having one of our conversations that winds its way through a hundred topics but always lands on one of the places where we fundamentally disagree. And then we get stuck there. And there's no satisfying way to resolve it.

I'm sick of arguing with him, fighting with him, or even just talking with him, because it never ends in a way that's in any way satisfying. When we argue, we don't even learn from each other anymore-- it's the same tired steps to the same played out dance. When we fight, we can't find a middle ground that gives us respite. And if we're having a conversation that's neither one of those two things, then one of us is probably boring the shit out of the other. He's talking about football or Magic Cards or skiing, or I'm talking about work or Zack or how unhappy I am.

Neither one of us ever backs down from anything. Neither one of us ever really relents. I get angry about things he disagrees with me about, and he gets condescending and self-righteous.

Things have been tense lately because work has been tough, and, at home, our free time has been severely cut into by cleaning the house for an inspection from our landlord that happened today and lasted all of five minutes. So there's that. I've also had, I suspect, some hormonal surges related to my period, though they really haven't seemed as extreme as years past, owing, in part, to this horrible birth control implant in my arm which seems to have leveled off the back-and-forth of my hormones with flooding me with waaaay too much of just the one...but that's a rant for another day. So there's that. All of this has left me without the time/will/peace of mind to meditate (and yes, I get that that's exactly when you SHOULD be focusing on meditating), so that has thrown me out of the Zen I was slowly building for myself.

So, yes, I know that this weekend was a little atypical in the serenity department. Still, I think the basic problem is that there's not enough goodwill between us to create a buffer: I am not getting what I need from him in order to afford me any patience. He feels attacked to often to not be defensive.

I have these goals now that are supposed to be about working towards some sort of improvement...of my situation and of ours as a couple. But the list of priorities has gotten totally muddied: exercise, meditation, writing, intimacy. You can probably trace them through the process of going from clear to utterly incomprehensible. And by now, it's clear that the only thing I'm on track at all to do is to get to my thirty days of entries.

Which, you know, is a nice idea. But what does it really get me? Unless these entries start becoming heavily laden with life-altering epiphanies during the home stretch, I doubt this little exercise will have done any more than dust out a few cobwebs.

And yet, I guess I do it because I have to, because it's part of me. Otherwise, each of these entries would be the two paragraphs that I actually intend to force myself to write when I finally force myself to open the laptop before bed, and no more. And yet, see how they grow.

So, maybe the cobwebs are blocking something that needs to get unblocked? Or maybe the sound and the feel of my fingers on the keys is more meditative for me than mediation itself. Writing mindfully would, I think, be a bit hard for me-- the idea of mindfulness being that you focus on the here and the now and any thoughts that pass through your head have no judgements attached to them-- but, I don't know. Maybe what I'm doing is close enough?

I hear the words in my head as I write them. Maybe I am being mindful in focusing in on that sound.

Nope, on second thought, that is not is not it. If I try to actually listen to the voice as I write, it gets really off-putting really fast. Oh, hi me? How are you? Echo, echo, echo...

So. Writing every night is not a priority in 11 more days. But what is? Is meditating, to gain the ability to focus and quiet my mind more beneficial to my relationship, by giving me patience and calmness and, somehow, understanding? Or is it more important to exercise, so I can feel good about my body and get the endorphins flowing? There's this whole process I could start working on in order to develop intimacy-- which is probably not at all what you're thinking, but I'm not going to share. Should that take precedent, since the missed opportunity of having sex every weekend throws me off of my priorities? Or is the body confidence a better route to that? What about the quieted mind thing? Surely, intimacy would be easier if I could actually relax...

I don't know how to stop this carousel. I know that I'd probably be better off if I picked one and stayed with it for a while.

For the next 11 days, I can feel alright it I manage to get this done-- I mean, not good, not even better, I did one of the things I said I would, anyway. After that, we'll see if something else manages to fight it's way out of the crowd and distinguish itself as the next priority. Maybe that's a fight I'll be able to tolerate, unlike all the other ones around here.

Day 19. On with it.