Tuesday, November 07, 2006

(In)Direct Address

It has come to my attention recently that there are a number of people out there who would like to see me just grow up, stop whining, and move on. Sometimes as harshly as that, sometimes more kindly stated, but the general sentiment remains that there are those who feel I’m acting immaturely, and they’re sick of it.

I’ve been considering for days how to deal with this, and I’m still not sure I’ve decided. I can say this – the moving on, for now, is not possible. Even if I put forth a sincere effort to do so, it would take time. So that’s not going to happen right away, no matter how much any of us might like it to.

That said, I could fake it. I could just pretend to move on, pretend to be over it, pretend to be okay. I could paste a plastic smile on my face and act like everything’s fine – like I’m enjoying this newfound adventure of life. I could laugh and smile and dance like a loon until everyone’s convinced that I’m fine. And in this way, abovementioned complainers would be placated by my happy-happy-joy-joy external appearance, and maybe enough faking would lead to real, honest-to-goodness feeling better.

But let’s be honest: I don’t want to pretend to feel better, and I really don’t want to actually feel better. And therein lies the crux of the problem. I’m not going to get any better until I want to get better, and right now, I just don’t. Oh, sure, I’m tempted to say that I can’t – that it’s impossible because the pain is so overwhelming. And you know what? To be totally honest, I’d be willing to bet almost none of you have any idea how much pain I’m actually enduring right now. You think you do, but you don’t. You think I’m exaggerating, but I’m not. You think this is just the overdramatic side of me, but it’s not. But even given the fact that I have never in my life hurt as badly as I have in the last three weeks or so, I know that I could move past it eventually if I tried.

So why don’t I want to? In part, because I feel very hopeless. I see no reason to believe my situation will improve anytime soon, and at times, I wonder if it ever will. Why should I believe I have anything worthwhile in my future? Why should I believe happiness is there whenever I’m willing to grab it? To have spent my entire life waiting to be a wife and mother, only to be faced with the paralyzing prospect that I might fail utterly to ever achieve that dream and live the rest of my life completely alone – well, it’s enough to freeze me in my tracks for a while at least.

There’s also the simple fact that getting better is, well, hard. It takes effort. And given how much I’m hurting, probably some serious effort. But staying here – wallowing in the self-pity and self-loathing – that’s easy. I’m already here, and if I don’t exert myself to make a change, I’ll just stay here. And that’s absolutely fine by me.

But most importantly, I’m here because I think this is where I deserve to be. Feeling better implies that I think I deserve to feel better, and I don’t think anything of the sort. Remember my post on happiness? Well, in my opinion, at this moment, I don’t deserve to be happy. I don’t deserve to smile, to laugh, to act like I’m okay. Hell – I don’t deserve to be okay. I’m atoning – punishing myself for my past mistakes. Pretending to move on with my life and strive towards a happy future seems… wrong. It screams an entitlement I have no right to claim, and it invites tons of people to look at me and (quite rightfully) wonder, “Where the hell does she get off feeling so good?” And that’s just if I were pretending to move on – God help me if I actually did it.

No, I’m staying here, thankyouverymuch. And yes, I acknowledge that this is my choice. It’s the easiest way for me deal with the pain right now, and how I deal with my pain is really between me and my therapist (who this afternoon threatened to have me “confined,” btw… did you know they actually use that word?). Actually, strike that. It’s really between me and myself. It’s really no one else’s business.

So if you’re finding me annoying and whiny and immature, I invite you to take a leave of absence from reading. In the state I’m in, I’d welcome a little abandonment (or, perhaps more accurately, a little more abandonment). Heap it on the pile – I really just don’t care anymore.


Anonymous said...

Anyone thinking you're being whiny or immature probably hasn't gone through a big breakup.

The rule of thumb I've heard for being 100% over a relationship is something like a year per year... though its a snake-like curve with what feels like no progress for a while, then a large amount of the progress in the middle times, and then last trickles coming in at the end.

(The above is my attempt to make blogger draw the snake shape I mean; ignore the .'s, they are just for spacing.)

I hope I speak for many in saying we want to do what we can to make things bearable until time and life makes things well again. Because they will; things will get better... but there's no magic wand. It will take time and living, and no matter how much any of us wish we could make it faster there is nothing we can do.

Anonymous said...

It's difficult to be on the periphery when someone else is hurting. Perhaps the easiest error to make is to let one's enthusiasm to help overwhelm the hapless recipient. So apologies if this anonymous poster has made that error.

In any case, I guess I'll risk making that mistake yet again:

(1) Unless there's more to this than the usual breakup, I don't see why atonement enters the fray. One should feel sorry only if one suddenly realizes one has been systematically emotionally abusive to one's former partner. I doubt you're capable of that.

(2) I think you're right: being happy requires a lot of effort, quite possibly more than you can give at the moment. Hopefully that will change.

(3) Which do you really want: to be a wife or to be a mother? One needn't be both.

I'm changing my name from "nona" to "mous" because I like mice.

Teacher Anonymous said...

Not related to your post, but more in reply to your comment. It is indeed quite hard to post the first post. Even here, I've got a shield of other commenters.

My sympathies on the break up, and (no sarcasm here) good luck in your wallowing sadness. Your words brought back memories of high school for me. The feeling of deserving the misery I was in... well, it was nice to make a clean break from the depression (and some of the causal factors) when I went off to college. Sometimes you just need to wallow for a while in order to make a clean break later on. Like a butterfly.

Anonymous said...

Just an idea that popped into my head...

Knowing your love of children, maybe volunteering at a children's hospital (pediatric cancer?) could help you a little bit. It would 1) help take up some time that would otherwise be spent crying in bed, 2) show you that people in really tough situations are fighting to have a happy future despite the overwhelming nature of their problems, and 3) make you smile every now and then, because kids just do that.

Yes, it would take effort. Yes, I understand that you don't care enough to put in effort. Maybe if you can force yourself into this (or some other) action, you will find a new perspective.

Just a big sister's $0.02

Anonymous said...

I talked about forgiveness before. I do think that will be your first step when you decide to take it. Without forgiving yourself you will not feel you deserve good in your life (and you do). In the meantime, we who love you will continue to support and will occassionally push to test your readiness for the next step. I love you.

Anonymous said...

So, I get this comment from a new person and decide I need to find out who this lovely lady in green is. So I follow the link and wind up here...and find you in pain.

Obviously, I don't know you honey, so it would be presumptuous of me to try to offer you advice. But I hate seeing someone in pain, so I will do what I always do when I want to help but don't know how - I'll talk about myself (I am a blogger after all, aren't we supposed to be self-absorbed?)

When I read about you not feeling like you deserve to be happy in this entry and the post addressed to your various body parts, I had to smile and say "YES!" - because I have sooooo been there. Actually I have been there more than once, unfortunately - both due to truly awful breakups (that have become legendary among my friends and family members) and to the deaths of members of my family (my dad's death being the best example). And I when I read about you saying that you could pretend to be happy just to get everyone off your back, I had to nod because I did that too, for way, way too long. I've been angry and bitter and felt guilty; I've blamed myself for every failed relationship I've ever had (and I always called them "failed" in my head, because if they'd been successful I wouldn't still be single, would I?); I've held myself responsible for every death; I rehashed every word spoken and unspoken and taken sole responsibility for them both; I've wallowed in my pain for years because after a while it felt comfortable - I knew where I stood with pain; and I've withdrawn from friends and family who, to my mind at least, were impatient for me to "just get over it" so that I could get back to being me. Didn't they know that that "me" they wanted back didn't exist? She was gone - poof! - and I didn't know where to find her or if I even wanted her back. After all, if she hadn't been so stupid, so wrong, so lacking in every way...I wouldn't be hurting this much right now.

But having been through those experiences, I can tell you that I've also learned:

-Deaths and break-ups have a lot in common and the grieving process for each is very similar. I actually wrote a whole post about that about this time last year when I was going through a bad break-up, but I won't subject you to reading all of that here.

-Just because a relationship ends does not mean it was failed (or that I failed).

-Getting better and moving on came whether I want it to or not. I could delay it for a while by firmly holding on to my grief, anger and pain, but sooner or later my grip would always slip. And then things would get easier, despite my best efforts. It would get easier to concentrate, the heartburn (or in my case, the ulcer) went away, I could eat again, and even eventually smile on occasion.

-When I'm grieving, what I deserve and what I think I deserve are often two different things. In short, I am my own worst enemy.

-Sometimes the friends and family who I thought were judging me so harshly, weren't - that was me projecting my own anger at myself on to them. Other times, they were judging me harshly and something they were right to do so and other times they just weren't (in my humble opinion). Which leads to a very confusing situation, of course. The only solution to that situation (that I've found at any rate) has been to ask folks what they mean and how they think...really...and then to try to trust that they're not just blowing smoke up my butt (if you'll forgive the phrase).

At the risk of sounding like the small print in a car commercial, your own experiences may vary from mine, Kari. But I offer them up for whatever they are worth.

Hang in there...I want to read more letters to body parts and see more shoes. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Wow! Sometimes those we don't know can reach the heart more quickly than those we know so dear. I loved caffienated librarian's description of her experiences. I hope it helps, baby.

Mom101 said...

I think people have to keep in mind that other people's blogs? NOT ALL ABOUT YOU. I sense that you're journaling, essentially, as a way to deal with the challenges in your life. That's your prerogative, just as it is for those to click "next blog" at the top of the page.

Keep on keepin' on, however you feel you need to. This is your space. Don't let anyone take that away from you.

Mom101 said...

Oh lord... I just realized that this was old. I guess it was in my cache?

Even so, my comment stands! Then, now and in the future. Take that, naysayers.