Fool me once....

Sometimes I don't know what to do with myself. I cannot allow myself to break, so I keep moving. If I am still, my mind begins reaching, reaching, for...I don't know. Even when I am still, I am doing something: planning tomorrow's to-do list in my head, praying "Please be with my girl today while she is away from me, God", wishing, trying to work out a solution to the never-ending problem of...ME. And when my brain grows tired of trying to sort out all of that shit, I sleep.

I annoy the shit out of myself. I don't want to be alone. I don't want to care that I am alone. I don't want to feel like I am a wasted asset, a "catch". I don't want to care that I feel I am wasted. I wish I didn't feel loneliness anymore. I know, cognitively, that I don't need another person to be happy. But emotionally, I want to share my life with someone else. I don't want to be happy alone. 

I don't want to care about wasted time. I don't want to feel like I wasted any time with the love I had for someone the past 15 months. I want to be able to walk away, head high, knowing I gave my all, did my best, and learned "valuable lessons".


I did.

But I walked away feeling like a fool.

A fool.

And now I must lie in this bed alone, feeling full of foolishness, and empty at the same time.

Yet, still full of love that I must smother, every morning when I wake up.
It must be snuffed out, so that it doesn't annihilate me when it isn't returned ("do unto others", right?) or is used, or is abused, or is ignored, or is taken advantage of......

So I smother it--I attempt to compartmentalize it: "Here-I loved this part of him at this time." or "There-I will remember my love for him at that time". I sort, stack, label, and store all these memories of him, of us, and I smother the shit out of all of it, so that when my girl asks me where he is, I don't sink in a heap of tears on the floor. I stand tall, with a fake smile plastered on my face (it's beginning to feel real...ish) and I pull the index card out of the box labeled "White Lies To Tell About The Man That Wasn't Man Enough To Be Who He Said He Would Be Or Who You Deserved" and I say "He has a lot going on in his life right now, so we can't expect him to be here for us".

What kind of bullshit is that?

I am still working on compartmentalizing the anger. Right now, it seems to be mixed in with memories, post it notes, dried flowers, fading photographs.

Who knows a fool better than a fellow fool?


Heavy and full of nothing

I am heavy with something besides sadness.
I am heavy with the internal battle of having no hope, but wishing for hope.
I am heavy with the words you never said to me, the answers you never gave me, almost as much as all the shit you did say.
I am heavy with pain, with tears, with frustration, with anger, with weary disgust with myself, with you, with the last year of my life, with the word and feeling of HOPE.

Now I am just heavy.

I feel the depression. If I'm honest (and fuck if I am, to a fault), I felt it creeping in months ago. I tried to hope it, grin & bear it, pray it away.
But it didn't work. I knew it wouldn't.
My mind knew that none of that shit was enough to stop this storm, this dark brooding cloud coming to hang out, hang over me, until...who knows?
My mind knew that I would need to do more than smile, pray, step away from the situation that was weighing down on me.
My mind knew I couldn't handle all the shit drama that I felt was filled with lies, after one lie.

You say.)

My mind knew I would need to learn how to cope, how to take care of myself in the midst of something I could neither control nor accept.

I failed at all of it. And I felt that cloud.

It's here.

I am in a fog at all times, a dull ache behind my eyes and in my jaw, an almost-ringing in my ears when the silence of 3am wakes me from a deep sleep. My eyes burn and water. My neck is tight, waiting for the next punch, the next day filled with your inaction and overflowing with your words that I USED to believe. The cold yet hot hole in the pit of my stomach, causing me to forget to eat or pay bills or seek the peace I so desperately needed for so long.

I forget to take my makeup off at night. Why bother?
I forget to write, to read, to care, to laugh, to have energy.

Yet, somewhere within me, beneath the layers of fear and fog and sad and angry and numb and raw, I wish to have all of those things back, to do all of those things--

I want to get up and feel the joy of the sunrise. I want to walk my dog or work out to exhaustion, and feel the ache in my muscles, in my bones. I want to leave my house, my couch, my bed. I want to try on new clothes, buy something that feels sexy, and flirt with someone.

I want to have the strength to push through this fog, and move on.


But I can't. Not yet.
(Why? Why? Why?)

So I allow the fog, this storm cloud to stay. I grow comfortable in the shade of it's darkness. I spend far too much time arguing with myself about whether I am being too hard or not hard enough on myself right now. I spend too much time inside, isolated, away from friends and strangers alike, sad, heavy.

I cry at ridiculously sweet things. Things that force me to remember the brevity of life. I cry when my daughter hugs me at night, a familiar worry creeping into and out of her eyes, reaching my center. I cry when I think of wasted time, of how much I miss HIM, of how much anger I have for him and that one lie that ruined what I thought we had.
I cry when I think about this being never-ending. And then I think "What if it does end? What if it does get better? Then what? Will it last?"
I cry because I am lonely. And alone. But I isolate myself as well. I don't know how to lift this fog, clear away this storm within me.
 I don't feel normal around others. Yet I know I need to be around people who really love me and care for me.
I am slow around others. I feel my face growing used to my lips set in a stance of sadness.
I feel like a fake, a fraud, so opposite from my usual, more relaxed and peaceful state of being.

These non-smiles are heavy.
These thoughts are heavy.

When won't it be heavy?



"Why do you always seem inevitable to me?"-Orange is the New Black

I re-read my old journals. From college, after college, pre- and post-divorce, pre-love, post-love. I scour the soft pages, worn from reading and writing, looking for the point in my heart where I began to realize that being alone might be my "inevitable". 

I don't see it.

Am I a fool? Am I missing something? I know they say hindsight is 20/20, but as I re-read my heart on these pages, I feel like I was always on this crash course towards something mind-blowing, awe-inspiring, nothing-short-of-amazing. 

But maybe I am still a tad naive. Maybe that hasn't been torn out of me yet. Maybe I am living in a fantasy world.... too demented and bleached by a childhood of fairy tales, a youth of angst-filled music & happy-ending romantic comedies.....

I want to believe these things, sugar-coated and sweet to the taste. That honesty is alive and well. That loyalty is a foundation to grow a relationship on. That trust is something to carry carefully in the palm of your hand, and once earned, won't be shoved in the pocket of your pants or to the back of your closet somewhere. 
That all these things are strong enough, on both ends, to last a lifetime. 

I want to reject the seed of doubt, the bitter pill growing in my stomach, that tells me in a quiet whisper (especially at 3am) that I was meant to be alone. That there is no one out there that will deal with my independent, intelligent, kind-hearted self. That I deserve to be broken down. That I am expecting too much. That I am ridiculously naive to have longing for my uncompromise-ables: honesty, loyalty, compassion, affection. That I should just wake up,
             grow up,
                          give up. 

And here's where my "I have hope" attitude would pipe up: "There's always hope" or "Of course you deserve the best and it's out there" or "Don't ever give up". 

And then the sad, broken, tattered, almost-bitter me says: "Shut the fuck up. Give it a rest. Just move on. You have an amazing child, an amazing career, your health, your own home. What the hell makes you think you deserve more? Just shut the hell up."

I am exhausted by this. 

When is enough enough? When do I call it quits?


Less than

It took me one single day to find inspiration in others' writing, and now I have a page full of drafts on this lonely little blog. 

Kris at Pretty All True always writes things that get my mind racing and my heart beating heavy and hard. One of her posts last week just made me ache, more so than I already was. It was so spot on! I felt anguish, frustration, fear, doubt, disappointment as I was reading it...all the things I have been feeling lately anyway. 

Reading it made me feel less alone. 

And then, this comment she left in response to someone's comment: 

" Some of us are less, because we believe ourselves to be less. 
Subjective trumps objective, every time.
Every time."

Silly fear of mine. I've struggled with this for YEARS. This less than

I can't really put my finger on when it began, the origin of my less than. Was it when I didn't get a part in the play freshman year of high school? Was it when I began to be talked about at school, made fun of, ridiculed? Was it when my then-boyfriend slept with someone else on my prom night? Was it when a friend chose drugs over me? 
Or was it later, when my now-ex-husband discussed our pending divorce long before we ever thought of divorce? Or was it when he chose work over time with myself and our daughter, for years? Or was it after the divorce?

I think maybe all those things laid the groundwork for this less than. I think this less than has followed me well into adulthood, gaining strength with other things like lack of self-confidence and fear. 

So here I am. 
Less than. 

Objectively, cognitively, I know I am not less than. I know that I am valuable and priceless and full of worth and power and strength. 

But subjectively? Emotionally? Ah. Such bullshit.

I am less than at work in terms of priorities for my boss. 
I am less than at home in terms of everyone else's drama.
I am less than in my relationship....less important than everything else, everyone else. 
No matter the objective, the words said....I still feel it. I still see it. 
It is a terrible weakness to feel less than....to actually feel and say "I wish I was someone's first choice." 

I don't know why I feel this way. I don't know how it started. But damn if it isn't painful. Because this less than teams up with that doubt and that fear and it's a hell of a weight to carry alone, a hell of a storm to fight alone. 



"I would attempt to capture
…what it feels like to be loved unconditionally...
…what it is to know true contentment."
~Nichole @ In These Small Moments

As a child, unconditional love was my father's smile when he hugged and kissed me good night; the smell of my mother's perfume in the morning; my grandmother's vegatable garden in her backyard; waking up to find my little brother's thin warm body next to mine in bed, surrounded by all of his stuffed animals. 

As a teen, unconditional love was sneaking out of my house to soothe my boyfriend after his father abused him; Friday night football games in the stands, cheering for my best friend; the smell of my secret crush's cologne and the twinkle in his eye as he called me "Dan"; lying on my driveway staring up at the stars, wishing for my future; a single kiss on a playground; a hand on the small of my back as I cried. 

As a wife, unconditional love was home-cooked meals and lying on the couch all day Sunday watching TV under a blanket; compromises; forgiving despite the dread in the pit of my stomach; giving me courage when I didn't want it. 

As a mother, unconditional love is "You are the best mom ever"; waking to her hand reaching for one of mine in her sleep; kisses on the forehead; sweet concern behind her frown as she asks if I am okay when she sees tears in my eyes; full-on belly laughs to the point of losing our breath. 

As a social worker, unconditional love is a guiding hand, comforting words, and helping even though it hurts yourself to the point of tears and fatigue.

Unconditional love is ever-changing, growing and evolving, gaining strength and stature as the years go on. I am overwhelmed by the amount of love I have for my daughter, for the love I feel from a handful of friends that seem to know the exact time to reach out to me, for the surprise of true love in my boyfriend's eyes. 

After the debacle of my separation and divorce, I was unsure of the definition of unconditional love. I had been trained by my ex husband to believe that all love had conditions, that surely I didn't deserve it unless I earned it, by his rules & standards. That it had an expiration date. I watched that love grow hard and then brittle and eventually disappear. And I let others tell me what unconditional love was. Their take on it, their twisted and sad way of justifying the lack of it in their lives. 

I would be lying if I said that unconditional love was pain free. It sucks that this isn't the truth. Oh damn, how it hurts sometimes. Enough to bring me to my knees. It can be sharp and blunt, fierce and timid, brutal and lenient, comforting and lonely. And bad love doesn't always ruin good love, later. Not unless you let it. But then: it lifts me back up, comforts me, and carries me on. 

I am still learning, still experiencing. I feel the ebb and flow of it in my life, rocking me through both the good times and the bad. I still have fear, but I still have faith. I still play it safe, but I continue to take risks. I am fluid and solid, with the love I find, and the love that finds me. 

*This post was inspired by this post by Nichole over at In these Small Moments. The quote at the top is directly from her post. I've had these words locked up inside, not knowing they existed until that sentence unlocked something.*


The Worry List

"I'm tired and twisted, barely breathing, buried in the dark...
A could've been.
Don't be concerned, that's just the power of a breaking heart....
How good am I at hiding it?..
Take me off your worry list, it'll be better that way."
~Blue October

My worries are a mile wide, 
Ten feet long, 
As tall as the weeping willow in my neighbor's yard.
They drag me down, they slow me up,
But I never break; I always bend.
I got this. 

These worries were do-able, bearable, 
Before you.
It was stifling, I was worn,
But I carried them and filed them neatly 
in stacks on my dresser, 
being sure to triage them when time was on my back as well. 

There was a comfortable misery in my known unknowns. 
I was the person others would marvel at:
"How do you do it?"
Smile. Grin. Bear it. Add another worry to the list. 

Since you-
powerful, mind-blowing, earth-shattering peace, 
smooth skin and strong hands-
my worries are heavier, 
weighted down with tear-stained hopes,
mingled with weeks of weary disgust at my weakness,
wrapped in your hoodie I sleep with now that you are gone. 

Who knew fear and loneliness were so powerful together?, 
Adding decades to the sadness under my eyes and drowning out the sound of your voice in my ear.  


Hope floats

how she had grown to hate the word. It was an insidious seed planted inside a person's soul, surviving covertly on little tending, then flowering so spectacularly that none could help but cherish it."
~Kate Morton, The Forgotten Garden

That word resonates behind my eyeballs, bouncing around among all these damn words in my head: faith, love, strength, peace, perseverance, forgiveness, pain, ache, fear...

I found other things in that word-peace, comfort, strength- was able to carefully balance myself on the edge of it, and push forward. Or at least teeter slowly as I waited for my life to begin again. Even in the most painful of storms, it was my buoy, a bright light in many a dark nights. 


("If today I lose my hope, please remind me that your plans are better than my dream.")

I can't single out the word, or feel it's power. It has very little pull right now. It's just another word, one I want to push away so I can curl up in a bulletproof ball in my bed.

But it's like the weed growing wildly in the flowerbed in my backyard: insistent, obnoxious, overpowering, and disgustingly beautiful in all it's glory. 

I want to turn my back on it.
I cannot.