Sometimes I wonder what I’m doing and how I got here.
I followed a link from knitterplease’s Twitter account (I don’t know why I had/have Twitter in the first place; it’s not as though I’m particularly funny or anything), and having had a blog in different forms, on different sites since the late 90s, I decided that I would start my own Tumblr, never once thinking that I would end up dating a man I met on it and having some of my closest friends come from it. It sort of snowballed, frankly.
There’s a lot of different takes on how involved a person can be here, and it’s all very subjective. I have taken to Tumblr like a fish does to water - I’ve found my people here. I am, and always have been, an open book. Whether online or off, I am willing to share my triumphs, sorrows, struggles, and successes with those that I love, and I do love you all. I think some of you are ridiculous, I think some of you are mean, and I think some of you are lovely…but I think that about people in my real life as well. The only difference is that I will likely never meet some of you, and some of you will be in my life until we get old and die.
Some of you I have met, some of you I have grown incredibly close with, some of you I have grown apart from, and some of you I have fallen in love with. I think that I find myself very entwined in a community of people that I would miss very terribly if I one day decided to leave it. I also believe that it is one thing to make a community like this a focal point in your life if you never make it anything more than communication over an ethernet cord or a wifi signal, and it is another thing to take the communication off of the computer screen and develop tactile, personal connections with that community.
I know that I have met plenty of people without the aid of a social media site over the course of my life, and that some of those people have treated me so poorly that it hurts to dwell on it for too long. I have also met (without the aid of social media) some of the most wonderful, kind, and giving people. I don’t think I would ever want to give up what I’ve found here, because it is a special group of people. Life is about balance, and I think I’ve found it.
Where did you come from? Wherever it was, whatever the motivation, I won’t question it. I believe that things happen for a reason, and so I know now that all the bad things, the hurt and the inconveniences I’ve experienced to date were to bring me to your door.
Your warmth, your kind spirit reminds me that there ARE good souls out there in the world. Your friends are lucky to have you. I know I’m lucky. You want all of my pieces - the impatient ones, the out of shape ones, the smiling pieces, and the no makeup pieces. You see the same girl no matter what. That’s akin to a miracle for me; now I’ve started to believe in them.
I know it’s okay to fall, because you’ll be there to catch me. I don’t have to be afraid anymore. I can breathe, and you’ll exhale with me.
Thanks for being my radiator. I love you.
We walked into the store. I was out of creamer for coffee, and we’d driven to every convenience and grocery store that I could think of to get some. We both probably could have drunk the coffee black, but I had insisted. It being Thanksgiving, finding an open store was proving difficult, and we were about to give up when I saw the full parking lot of the 7/11.
When we finally found half and half, we walked up to the register to pay. We walked in front of a tall, blonde woman, who politely told us to go ahead of her. I looked at her to say ‘thank you’, and my heart stuck in my throat. I choked out the gratitude as I recognized my ex-boyfriend’s aunt. The boyfriend who liked to hold me up against the wall by the throat as he swore at me, the one who threw me across the room and into a wall so hard that I lost consciousness. The one who cheated on me constantly, but threatened to kill me if I broke up with him. That one.
I initially tried to catch my boyfriend’s attention without attracting hers, which I discovered was not going to work, so I whispered that I would tell him in the car once he responded to my request for his attention. He looked at me, paid without any further questions, and we walked out the door.
My heart was beating a million miles a minute, but I don’t think I let it show. I hope I didn’t, because I know she recognized me too. She couldn’t quite place from where, but I could see out of the corner of my eye her continued glances in my direction.
Once we were in the car, I explained to the boyfriend who the blonde woman was, and pointed out her truck as we drove past it. The way I deal with fear is to throw myself into it, so as we drove past his house, I looked in the windows. I could see him. I could see the inside of the house that I spent 2 years in, the couch, the stairs that led up to his room. My breath caught in my throat again. I felt like I was going to throw up, but instead I took boyfriend’s hand, took a deep breath, and tried to concentrate on the road.
Boyfriend held my hand as I drove us back home, and he poured us cups of coffee when we walked into the kitchen, bringing mine to me as I sat quietly on the couch. I don’t know if he knew exactly how much seeing ex-boyfriend’s aunt upset me. I tried not to let it show, and I’m not sure if I could explain it to him…but I want to try.
I do a lot of things on my own. I am able to, and I will continue to, because I have to for now. I don’t want to go it alone forever, though. It’s hard for me to ask for help, or to let someone know just how scared or overwhelmed I am. Having someone who instinctively knows to take my hand and wait…I can feel the raging terror and chaos begins to subside, and I think that’s a good place to start.
I had a nervous breakdown and quit at the beginning of my senior year of college. I was embarrassed but eventually went back to school without anyone knowing, working and going to school full-time because it was the only way I could make it work. Now it’s done, and while I’m still somewhat bashful about explaining how I earned it, I’m glad I finished. I didn’t want to go back; I’ve always hated school, but I did because I felt I had to.
I do that a lot - force myself to be a part of certain things because I feel that they’re fundamentally required of me. It’s not really a great way to live my life. I’m not saying you should buck the system just because - that is to say, earning your high school diploma or GED is required of you if you want to do pretty much anything. There are some things, though, that afford you a say in the matter of your happiness.
I’ve been majorly depressed, suicidial, and in relationships that took almost everything I had from me, leaving me a shell of my former self. I used to write a lot about those feelings, those events…I’d worry that I would never be happy again. I vaguely remembered what happiness felt like, and I didn’t know how to get it back. I would lash out at people who would gently suggest that happiness would come to me when I was ready for it. Of course I was ready for it - why wouldn’t I be?
I’ve made a lot of internal changes over the past few months - probably more like years, really - I’ve learned that it’s okay to say ‘no’, to feel like I can ask for things, to maybe choose the path bumpier and less traveled if that path makes me happier in the end. Allowing myself things that many would consider normal, all the while occasionally remembering that deviation from what is considered ‘typical’ is also acceptable, has finally given me the chance to be happy.
I now remember what happy feels like.
Something Tash said in a post months back has reverberated in my brain ever since I read it. She talked about how, for a stretch of many years, she struggled. She wasn’t entirely happy, her relationships didn’t work out like she wanted them to, etc.
Then, it was as though the universe said, ‘Well, you handled that with dignity and grace. Here’s some karmic rewards for you,’ and things started to align. Suddenly, she was in a good place. All the strife and anxiety was suddenly worth it.
I can relate. For the past several years, it’s felt as though I was always going to be fighting one battle or another. Money, relationships, jobs, family, friends…it was always something.
I was pleasantly surprised last night, when having dinner with my girlfriend, she said, ‘You sound like you’re in a really good place,’ and the truth is, I am. My personal relationships are exactly where I want them to be. My professional life is moving in a positive direction. Money is still money, but I don’t feel as though it’s insurmountable. I might still have mountains to climb, but I’ve got some amazing people to climb them with and the tools with which to scale them.
Sometimes I’m disappointed when my earnest and heartfelt actions are not reciprocated.
Sometimes I’m not a model employee, daughter, or friend.
Sometimes I get angry about stupid things.
Sometimes I do things to make myself happy even if it isn’t what’s best for anybody else.
Sometimes I’m incredibly tired of watching people take the blackness that coats their insides and spread it over the world as an excuse to make themselves feel better.
Sometimes I want to tell you what makes me so happy, what makes me so proud.
Sometimes I worry that what little piece of me is not jaded and cynical will get ruined if I share it, and so I keep it just for me.
I have some secrets.
I think secrets are healthy. I think that wearing your heart on your sleeve and broadcasting all your business to everyone only hurts you in the end.
I also believe in disclosure. I believe in being honest with my friends and family, and I believe in answering questions directly.
The key is to find a balance between the two. I like to share things, we all know I like to talk, and I consider you all my friends - but there’s also a part of me that wants to keep things just for me. Keep them in my own little vault, and keep them precious until the time comes that they should be revealed, if that ever comes.
I trust most people, because I like most people, but sometimes discretion is the better part of valor.
And that’s all she wrote.
My brain is always on. It’s on full tilt. I plan and I analyze. I chart out my next steps to the Nth degree. That’s who I am, and I embrace it - for better or worse.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what I want, about where I’m going, and how I’m going to get there.
The things that I want…they’re not easy and it’s going to take a fair amount of time to get there.
I want to move. I need money and a job to do that.
Right now, I work crazy-ass hours at a soul-sucking job. It’s no secret that I loathe the place in which I spend a good chunk of my day. I talk about it a lot.
I talk less about the plan to leave that job behind, the plan that I have that lives in my brain; constantly being revised as I get new pieces of information, new pieces to my ever-evolving puzzle.
The good thing about my brain being constantly on is that I can weigh the pros and the cons of any given situation in a fairly short amount of time. I know the cons of staying where I am right now appear to FAR outweigh the pros. I would love to quit my job today. I would love to take whatever money I could get and just run screaming from that place.
…but I can’t.
That’s not how it works.
One of the things that I learned at an early age was that sometimes you just have to do things because it’s how it ought to be done. You don’t always like what you’re doing, but for better or worse, it’s where you are. Sometimes, opportunities are presented to you and it’s easy to leave your unpleasant reality. Sometimes, you have to endure what is unpleasant until you can find a graceful exit.
Fireworks and an abrupt, dramatic exit rarely are the best way to sever a working relationship. If you can, a calm and surgically precise (ha, see what I did there?) extraction is best.
I am allowing myself the luxury of having a job while I look for a new one. I would rather not have a frenzied, anxious atmosphere in which I search for a way to support myself. Because in the end, I am supporting MYSELF. I have to pay rent, I have to make my car payments. There isn’t anyone else who can help me to do that, and that is the harsh reality of life.
You’re the only person you can rely on, so you’d better make sure you know what you’re doing.
I was 18. I’d lost 90ish pounds by eating only when I was about to faint. I was the thinnest I’d ever been. I was healing from the breakup with my abusive ex-boyfriend, and I’d just discovered binge-drinking. There were many a day where I went to bed drunk, woke up, and started drinking again.
I was home from my freshman year of college and, thanks to a family friend, freshly hired by a private student loan company. I nailed the interview, but knew I didn’t really have to, because there was no way HR wasn’t going to hire the SVP’s recommendation.
I was thinner than I’d ever been and walking around in clothes that were better left for the bars. Except, of course, I couldn’t go to the bars quite yet. I picked up on the nuances of my job descriptions “quicker than any other hire”, I was told. This gained me additional responsibilities, which in turn introduced me to HIM.
He was charming and so handsome. Sarcastic and brilliant. Shorter than the men I normally dated but a Napoleon complex to more than make up for it. I was enthralled. He was older than me, and I knew it. The drastic weight loss had garnered me a lot of attention and I was riding that confident high. He couldn’t stop staring, and I loved it. We talked daily for work, and then daily for personal reasons. He was a supervisor on the second shift - 12pm to 8pm - while I worked 8 to 4, so he would drive me to the train station and spend his lunch hour chatting with me in the car. I couldn’t believe he was paying attention to me. We shyly exchanged numbers one day, and well…that was it. I talked to nobody but him.
It was intense and passionate. I loved him more than anyone I’d ever loved to that point. I wanted to tell everyone, but he was concerned. He was concerned about what disclosing our relationship to others would do to our professional relationships. He was also 10 years my senior and he didn’t want anyone to take him as a cradle-robber. I look back now, and I see it was all about him. At the time, however, I nodded vigorously and agreed that “absolutely; our relationship should be secret.” I wanted him to be happy with me and I believed that giving him whatever he wanted would achieve that.
Slowly, he peeled me away from my family and friends. “We’ll get together this weekend; I just don’t know what day yet. I’ll let you know Friday or Saturday,” he said to me all too often. I would eschew offers from friends to get together for fear of not being able to see him. It was either that, or I would spend entire weekends at his loft in the city. I wouldn’t speak to anyone except the pizza delivery guy and HIM. I ignored my mother’s calls and my best friend’s texts until Sunday night, when I would leave to go home. Once home, I would shower and fall asleep, only to wake up to see him at work.
We both attended a work function and he pretended he didn’t know me, even though I was supposed to go home with him to his apartment afterwards. He left me in the middle of Boston in a parking garage, drunk and exhausted, and told me he’d be back to retrieve me after he’d finished schmoozing with his boss’ boss. I somehow managed to lose the parking ticket, and when he did finally come to take me home, 4 hours later, he screamed at me that I’d lost it on purpose.
I asked him once to meet my parents, and you would think I would have asked him to stab his feet with a red-hot poker. He was “terrifed they’d disapprove of the age difference…and what else would a 28-year-old man want with an 18-year-old girl but sex? They’ll know we’re fucking,” he’d confide in me oh-so-eloquently. I would nod, but this time with a pit of disappointment in my stomach.
I asked him to go out to dinner often. “What if we see someone we know? No…we can order pizza. I’ll buy us some beer, and this way we can just enjoy each others’ company in peace.” I stopped asking after being shot down for the 30th or so time. We went out to eat once - for my 20th birthday - and he pulled me in close as we walked to the restaurant, our faces practically touching. I remember thinking how romantic it was, but our faces were so obscured, I think now it was more to make sure that nobody saw us together.
We’d drink in his apartment and pass out until midday. We would sleep for most of the day, and then start drinking again. After about two years, I began to wonder where our relationship was going - if we even had the same relationship goals. When I would try to have the discussions, he would lash out at me for putting pressure on him. To smooth things over, I would buy him things. An autographed picture of Phil Rizzuto, an autographed A-Rod jersey (he was a Yankees fan), new wine glasses for the ones I drunkenly broke. In the 4 years that we were together, he remembered 1 birthday and 1 anniversary. That’s not to say that I expected gifts - I never have - but he never once acknowledged any significant points in our relationship.
I don’t have any idea what made me think that this was acceptable behavior. I don’t know why I tolerated it for 4 years. I do know that I always had a reason to allow him to treat me poorly, and I defended him to a lot of people because he had been hurt badly by a prior girlfriend. There was always a rationalization for his poor behavior.
Until one day, there wasn’t.
I was angry, but clear. We’d just fought, probably for the millionth time, but something was different. I was finally aware of how lopsided the relationship had been, for so very long. I was never without blame in the failure of the relationship - I made him feel guilty about a lot of things that I shouldn’t have - but he made feel like I didn’t deserve the most basic of kindnesses from him - that I didn’t deserve love and affection from him.
All relationships are growing processes. You take something from each one you’re in, hopefully. I learned that I can’t expect people to know what I want, and that if I’m not getting what I need from a relationship, it’s okay to vocalize that, and if necessary, leave. It’s harder when you love someone so intensely it consumes everything else - it makes you afraid of what will be left when that passionate love goes away.
The truth is, it never really goes away. There’s a little piece that stays a little bit raw, no matter the circumstances of the split. That in and of itself is scary, but what tempers the fear of the unknown is the freedom that comes with that unknown. Taking the reins of my own life back allows me to steer it in whatever direction I choose.
I have very strong intentions to be out of here (Boston) in the next 6-10 months. I’ve been saying this for some time now, but it has become more and more apparent to me (and to others) that I can not remain working at the hospital. At the very least, I can not remain in this department. I would prefer to leave entirely and start over. Clean slate. New job, new location, new life…but a large part of me is consumed with guilt for wanting this.
This past Friday, while I was in NYC enjoying myself, my mother called me and obviously wanted to talk, but I was in a cab and with other people, making it clear I couldn’t have a discussion with her. I felt guilty for not even trying to hold a conversation with her, but she has a knack for calling at the most inopportune times. I found out yesterday that her uncle died suddenly Friday afternoon.
This past Thursday, I spoke to my brother who asked me if I would be around this weekend. I explained that I was en route to NYC and wouldn’t be back until Monday. He sounded disappointed (as I think he wanted something to do/probably someone to pay for his meals), and I immediately felt guilty for not being around for him. This same brother was on his way home from a friend’s house Sunday night and was cut off by another car. My brother swerved to avoid hitting him and consequently drove into a pole - he was breathalyzed and passed, and he was not texting while driving. The car that caused the accident fled the scene - fortunately, my brother was ‘with it’ enough to note the make and model of the car, as well as some of the license plate. The ER admitted him and kept him overnight - rightfully so - he needed several stitches and a rather nasty black eye.
These things are bad timing - there’s really no way to say whether or not the events would still have happened if I had been around, but since I’ve played a support role for most of my young adult life - advice-giver and shoulder to lean on for my mother, mini-mom and confidante for my siblings - I feel guilty for not having been there when my role needed to be played. If I leave, if I move away and start anew…I won’t be available much at all.
This ‘fixer complex’ that I have, the guilt that I assume for no apparent reason is a part of the reason I didn’t leave this job when I could have. Not only was it safe and easy to stay in this position, but I felt obligated to help my manager. Instead of doing things that are best for me, I do what’s best for others.
I feel guilty for being selfish and wanting to do what is best for me. I worry that it will eventually turn into resentment and that is the last thing that I want.
I had a klepto phase in high school. It was around the same time that I decided to go “goth” and I shopped at Hot Topic. I was always afraid that I would be called out as a fraud, because hi, I fell out of The Gap.
I got a supervisor at my old job fired for sexual harrassment. I wasn’t going to report it, but my then-boyfriend reminded me that asking what kind of panties I was wearing on a daily basis wasn’t exactly appropriate workplace conversation. Turns out that supervisor had harrassed a bunch of other girls, but I was the only one “brave” enough to come forward.
I’ve never broken a bone or been hospitalized. I’m wildly allergic to poison ivy and nuts. I’ve been a C cup for as long as I’ve had breasts. My left foot is a half size bigger than my right. The only time my mother was happy about the way I looked was when I was barely eating 500 calories a day.
Things I can’t stand: tomatoes (except pureed sauce and ketchup), cottage cheese, snobbery, clogs, seaweed, people touching my stomach, wearing pants, tapioca pudding, wool sweaters, dreadlocks, gin, bills, stupidity, entitlement.
Things I like: thunderstorms, alliteration, avocados, my iPhone, getting dressed up, holding hands, watching movies in the dark, good beer, lists, country music, stilettos, exceeding expectations, cooking with someone, dancing, hot fudge sundaes from The IceCream Smith.
I expect people to be good and kind but I am often disappointed. I will never stop hoping that one day people as a whole will live up to that expectation. I love making people smile and I’ll kill you if you hurt my loved ones.
Being romanced doesn’t generally appeal to me. I generally look at men who are kind to me with an air of, “What is it that you’re trying to get from me?” I don’t do it on purpose, but I’m constantly on guard. It’s a defense mechanism; protection from being as hurt as I have been with other men who were supposed to love me.
Being broken in every intimate way possible allows you the opportunity - should you choose to take it - to rise from the ashes of your former self and become better; stronger. However, it also fosters an underlying sense of distrust and develops a quiet but persistent voice that whispers, “Watch out. It could happen again,” just when you were starting to feel good about things.
I think in some way that I also believe that by letting someone who cares about me do things for me, it translates into “I am less than capable,” which is patently untrue. Expecting someone else to take care of me is totally different from accepting help from someone, and my brain has yet to make that distinction.
One of the most important things I’ve learned thus far is how to communicate. I can’t expect anyone to understand what’s bothering me if I can’t convey it. It isn’t anybody else’s fault that prior life has experience has shaped my views in a certain way; it is up to me to make sure that the important people in my life understand exactly why I react the way I do.
It then becomes up to me to change it.
Every now and then, I see patients or patients’ family members from when I first started working here. They remember me and we talk and laugh and they catch me up on their lives.
It is after these interactions that I wonder exactly when it was that I stopped believing that people were good and became so jaded.
Full of potholes that only I seem to trip on.
It’s a stupid road.
I’m a big giant mess. At one point, I was a good writer. I have no direction and I kind of like it that way. I refuse to eat tomatoes and cucumbers that have too many seeds. I like to tie things up in a neat little bow. Knowledge is power. I used to competively sing throughout MA but my massive stage fright got the best of me.
I think my ex boyfriend broke me. I’m pretty sure I’m going to break the next relationship I’m in. Pay it forward, ya know? Most days I’d rather be overweight because constantly dieting is impossible. My brain likes to create scenarios that are completely impossible. I love hardboiled eggs with hot sauce. I like the smell of gasoline. I am really good at reading situational changes. You were right and you’re not presumptuous and now I’m mad at myself.
I bought flip flops for the first time ever two months ago. I’ve never seen The Usual Suspects. Sometimes I avoid doing what I’m supposed to simply because I’m lazy. I know what you’re doing, so stop it. I can’t accept compliments properly but I’m working on it. I like writing like this. I hate my job but I like the connections I’ve formed. I can honestly say that I am happy. I want to move but my budgeting abilities have become non-existent.
Please don’t tell me that I’ll change my mind about children. I can’t wait for my next tattoo. I’m not conventional and you will probably underestimate me. I would like to be a hermit, but a rich one. It’s okay if you think you’re being slick; I’m too laid-back to care if you’re playing games with me. I like checking out girls with my male friends. I have no tolerance for stupidity. I love chocolate and mint.
My phone is my safety blanket. I’ve developed a newfound love for yoga. Someone keyed my car this weekend, but I don’t care because it’s just a thing. Mexican food is my favorite. I’ll probably be buried in my stilettos. After seeing all these elderly people undergoing traumatic surgeries, I hope I die young. I have a secret that I wish I could tell you and you. I have lofty ideals but no way to support them.