Category Archives: Deep Thoughts

Follow up

Thank you.

No really, thank you. It wasn’t easy for me to put all of that out there so I finally settled for just typing whatever came to mind as fast as I could and then I hit publish without even giving it a second read. I think I really needed to do that. And your comments really made me feel better about the whole thing – like hell yeah, it’s not me. This isn’t my fault. Sometimes I need a little reminder of that.

I’d like to say that deleting the e-mail (yes, I did – it’s gone) made it all better. I think what I am realizing is… willing something doesn’t always make it so. Wanting desperately to put things behind you doesn’t always just instantly make it happen. I guess this shouldn’t be a surprise, because if pure will could make things happen, then my ass would be smaller, my bank account bigger, and potato chips would have no calories.

As far as what to do next – I don’t know yet. Several of you suggested that talking to someone (and by someone I mean a professional) might help. I don’t necessarily disagree, but I’m not sure that’s a step that I’m willing to take yet. I’ll continue to think about it though. I know that there’s no shame in asking for help if you need it – I just don’t know about my own comfort level in dragging up all the details right now. So we’ll see.

What I do know is that I will continue to talk about it with Matt, have long phone calls and send long e-mails to Liz, and probably write about things right here as well. It’s a far cry from flying Fed Ex men and cooking woes, but I have a feeling that you’ll be there to read anyway. I can’t do something ridiculous every day, after all.

Hope you have a great weekend everyone! We’ll be getting some torrential rains as a result of the remnants of Hurricane Hanna moving up the east coast. I’ll take the torrential rains any day over the actual hurricane. Plus, it gives me a good excuse to hunker down with some Netflix and some books and show my abilities in the art of sloth.

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Letting it out, letting it go.

This is something that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, but I’ve been hesitant to write about it here. I know that I could be all, my blog, my thoughts, no soup for you about it, but the truth is that I’m not sure of my ability to put what I want to say into words. Also, I think that you’re used to coming here to read about the times I’ve made a complete ass of myself, and I live for nothing if not creating blog posts out of mortal embarrassment.

Anyway, I guess the easiest way to begin is to tell you that I’ve been to three weddings this summer. The first was my best friend Liz’s, the second was Matt’s sister’s, and the third was a close work-friend this weekend. It’s not so much the actual weddings that bring up these thoughts that I want to write about, but the fact that weddings are typically a time when families come together.

This summer, I have watched Liz’s dad beam with pride and give a warm, heart-felt toast. I watched Matt’s dad join his daughter and her husband in marriage as he struggled to hold back tears. I watched my work-friend’s dad squeeze her tight during the father-daughter dance. And as much as I was involved in watching these things, as happy as I was for all of these families in these touching moments, I couldn’t help but (selfishly, perhaps) feel a profound sense of loss.

I will never have these things. My father will never walk me down the aisle, we will not dance, and if someday I decide to have children, they will not know their maternal grandfather.

You can say that this is the choice that I made – that it was my choice to cut my father out of my life almost two years ago. That if I so chose, I could have those things that I felt so heartbroken over. I’d argue that you were wrong – but you could say those things to me.

I used to think that the best thing that could happen would be for my father to have a sudden, shocking realization of what a terrible person he’s been. I imagined him coming to his senses, turning his life around, and trying, desperately to make up for things. I’ve wanted so badly for him to just recognize his actions – to feel remorse and yes, hurt. It is not nice of me to admit just how much I have wanted him to hurt, but it is the truth.

When I made the decision and finally took the action to stop having any interaction with my father, I felt immediately like a giant weight had been lifted. You see, even though I’d always hoped that my father would hurt for the things he had done, I think somewhere, deep down, I always hoped that if he just hurt enough , just felt enough remorse, maybe I could end up with the father I’d always wanted. And that’s why finally severing the ties felt like such a weight had been lifted – because I could finally admit to myself that he will never be the person I want, or need, or hope for him to be. He will never change, never truly regret, never be able to erase the indelible marks he has left on me.

It was such a relief to stop hoping. Hope is uplifting, it is empoweing, and it what keeps us going – until it is so futile that it is simply a drain on our mental resources. The only problem is that in giving up this fervent hope, I didn’t get to give up the guilt, or the longing associated with it. Sure, I might not have hope of my father ever being a person that I would want to have a relationship, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t long to have a father who I could talk to, be a daughter to, and yes, walk down the aisle with.

I have been so lucky in so many ways. I think of the way that Liz’s family has treated me as one of their own – of the example they set for me of what a family could be, should  be. The kindness that they continue to show me to this day… and there truly are no words to say what that has meant, and what kind of influence I know  it has had on my life.

I think of how lucky I am that Matt’s family has been so wonderful to me. Even when they drive me nuts, they do it in the way only your family can. I knew the first time that they made fun of me that I was in for life.

I know that there are people out there who are so much worse off than me – people who have lost loved ones or who have never known their parents or whose parents have done things to them much worse than anything I have ever experienced. Maybe that is what makes it hard to write about these things – it’s easy to complain about the little things; but take a hard look at the big stuff and your brain can’t stop trying to convince you that it’s not that bad, you can survive it, look at how much worse it could be.

***

I started this post over a week ago, but I never published it because – well, I’m not really sure why. But, I came back to it today because this morning I opened up my e-mail to find a message from him. The subject line of the e-mail is ‘Olive Branch’ and the text is basically him asking me to let things go and to tell him what he has done that has made me so angry as to stop speaking to him.

There are so many things that I could write in response. I could tell him to stop this charade of being the bigger person in extending an olive branch. I could tell him, simply, to never contact me again – ever. I could tell him that using the anniversary of his own father’s death as a reason that I should speak to him, lest I regret it someday, is a cheap trick. I could list the things he’s done that make him a horrible person in my mind. I would start with the times (plural!) that I was the one who had to call the police on him – as a child of less than 10 years old. I could recount the time that I heard my mother actually tell someone that she had walked into a doorknob to explain her black eye. I could tell him that of all the emotions that he has made me feel, it is not love or affection that top the list, but fear and hate.

I don’t know what I will do or say. I really don’t. I know that this is eating me up inside. It seems that the ability I had to cope with all of this as a kid is somehow failing me as an adult. It is coloring every aspect of my life, from my relationship with Matt to my ability to talk to my mother and brother, to my own thoughts about having children someday.

I thought I was stronger than this. I thought I could make it go away, and in fact I thought I had done just that by stopping all contact. I guess it’s not working…

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Good Enough

I’ve been feeling kind of mopey this week, just kind of crabby and maybe even a little bit sad. Nothing specific has happened, but, I don’t know, did you ever get the feeling that no matter what you do, nothing will ever be good enough?

I’ve lost weight in the past year, and yet, when I go shopping to find some work-appropriate attire that actually fits instead of falling off my body, all I can think is I still don’t look good. Instead of feeling proud that I literally NEED to buy some new pants, lest I want my co-workers to get an unexpected glimpse of my pink polka-dot underwear, I berate myself for not looking perfect in whatever I am trying on. And don’t even get me started about my ill-fated bathing suit shopping experience a few weeks back. Four words: Dressing. Room. Melt. Down.

I’ve cracked down on my budget, too – planning better for expenses, actually saving a decent amount each and every month, paying off debt. I’ve had some unexpected income and have made significant progress in changing my attitude about spending. And yet – I feel defeated. I think ‘if only’. If only I had planned better when I was in college. If only I hadn’t had to pay for this or that. If only, if only…

I’m making a lot of progress toward a healthier lifestyle. In the past, I’ve been a fan of the ‘all junk food and no exercise, please’ way of life. Now, I eat fruits and vegetables every day. I don’t crave junk food. I am shocked when I think about what I used to eat on a regular basis. I exercise somewhat regularly, and I’ve found things that I actually enjoy instead of dread, like pilates and dancing. But I still don’t feel like it’s enough.

I’m well-respected at work and I’m damn good at my job. I’ve been promoted, and I’ve received awards. And yet, when I sit in a meeting and don’t know the answer to something, all I can think is, “You idiot.”

I don’t know why I can’t be happy with myself and content with where I am and what I’ve done. Is this the curse of being a self-motivated person? I’ve never needed anyone to put pressure on me to do anything, because I put enough of it on myself. But is it too much? Will I spend the rest of my life constantly feeling like I need to be better and smarter? I don’t want to do that. What’s the use of working this hard if I can’t enjoy it?

Blah. Being all sullen and moody really isn’t my thing. So here’s a little funny story to end an otherwise grouchy post:

Many of you may not know that in New Jersey, it is illegal to pump your own gas. Every gas station is full service. Being from NJ, I did not pump my own gas until after college (as I didn’t have a car when I was in college). I really don’t enjoy it – I hate when the pump is broken, or the machine doesn’t read my card, and of course it’s always freezing as you are standing trying to get some juice for your car. But, whatever, it’s just one of life’s small annoyances and I deal with it.

Well, on Easter Sunday, Matt and I were going to his parent’s house. I was driving and as usual, I had no gas, so we had to stop on the way. I go to this gas station all the time, because it’s really convenient. So I pull up to the pump, and go to get my gas. The thing pumps about 2 gallons worth and then – gas starts spewing out of the side of the nozzle thingie! Yikes! So, I don’t know about you, but MY immediate reaction was to scream at the top of my lungs and make the thing stop as fast as I could. (It’s pretty embarassing that I would scream in this situation, but, you know what? I’m a girl and I’m allowed to act like one sometimes.)

After the scream, Matt got out of the car to see what was going on, and I told him, and he went inside to tell the gas station man while I went wiped gas off the side of my car (I don’t really know why I did that, but it seemed like the right thing to do). Then, I went to the gross gas station bathroom to wash my hands. (Now we’re getting to the good part.) When I came out of the bathroom, Matt was talking to a police officer! I came over to find out what was going on, and the man told me that he was parked next to the gas station and he heard me scream and got concerned!

How embarassing. Now, not only am I a stupid Jersey Girl who can’t pump gas properly, but I scream about it and now have to explain to a cop that no, Matt wasn’t beating me, I am just an idiot. Sometimes I even amaze myself.

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Please excuse me while I attend my own personal pity party.

Usually this blog is a good outlet for me. I can whine, complain, or blather endlessly and no one seems to mind. I love getting comments, and love that I have some new bloggy friends to follow and read about. (I can call you friends, right?)

Sometimes, though, I kind of… freeze up. There are so many things going on and so many thoughts swirling around that the effort to put hands to keyboard is just too much. I guess this is just the way I tend to be. When something is overwhelming, I need some time to mull things over before I can decide on a plan of action or talk about them. It’s like all of this thinking overloads the part of my brain that gives me the ability to speak (or write). I’m not sure what this says about the capacity of my brain, but we’ll just ignore that, OK?

Anyway, on Wednesday I went to see the doctor to ask about additional treatments for migraines. I’ve had migraines for a while, and they’ve always been an annoying, but manageable condition. For the last 6 months though, they’ve been steadily getting worse. I’ve been getting them MUCH more frequently, and they last longer and have more severe symptoms. I’ve been sick and unhappy, and I really needed to do something about it.

So, I’ll be starting a new daily preventative medication tonight. I’m not quite sure how I feel about this – according to the doctor and the pharmacist, this medication takes some time to get used to. For the first few weeks I’m likely to be groggy, and as the pharmacist put it, “this medication has the potential to affect your mood negatively.” I think this is code for, “You’re going to be cranky.” When I mentioned this to Matt, he gave me a deer in headlights look and said, “Umm… did she say exactly HOW cranky? AND FOR HOW LONG?” Poor guy.

One of the other side effects (although a rare one) is listed as ‘excessive weight gain’. You have got to be kidding me. If this happens, I will personally guarantee that you have never SEEN cranky like you will see if I experience excessive weight gain. Because first of all, I just worked my ass off to lose twenty pounds, and that is just not fair. And second of all, if I AM going to have excessive weight gain, I would much rather that it be due to excessive doughnut consumption instead of some stupid medication. (Of course, this is a rare side effect, and I’m sure if it happened the doctor would switch the medication to something different, but STILL.)

I also got a stronger anti-nausea drug, and I swear when the doctor looked at me sympathetically when I told him about the never-ending nausea I almost hopped off the exam table and hugged him. I think he might have been freaked out by that, so I didn’t do it, but I was pretty happy that he understood the feeling of ‘please please make it stop’ that comes with nausea.

I’m going for an MRI today (ack they are going to put me in a little enclosed space ack ack ack) “just to make sure nothing is seriously wrong”. (Code for: we want to make sure you don’t have giant brain tumors.) I’ve had them before, and I’ve never had any giant brain tumors, but I do understand the need to double-check since I’ve been getting worse. I also have to see a neurologist in a few weeks, to see if the preventative is working and to see if there is anything else that they can do.

Sorry for the detailed medical information, but I guess that all of this is to say that I feel pretty good about this treatment plan. I’m glad to be actually DOING something to control this condition, and I’m happy that the doctor listened to me and really worked with me, and I’m hopeful that this will all work and I will stop being this miserable person who lays in dark, silent rooms all the time. I’ll be able to go out, and have fun, and I don’t think it’s too strong a statement to say that I really, really want my life back. And I think that I am going to get it.

Why, then, do I feel like throwing a giant pity party? I don’t WANT to be on a medication every day from now until the foreseeable future. I don’t WANT to have an MRI (where they are going to put me a little tiny space ack ack ack). I don’t WANT to deal with any of this. Honestly, I feel like a petulant teenager who is refusing to clean her room. I don’t quite understand it, but I can’t help it. In theory, I should feel great! In reality, I’m kind of… meh.

Last night I kept dreaming that I went to have the MRI and every time they would try start they would ask me if I had any metal on my body, and I would double-check and find something I had forgotten about. I would tell them to wait while I took off the earrings/watch etc and they would sigh very impatiently. In the dream, I finally burst into tears and yelled, “I don’t want to do this! I want to know what is going to happen!”

I usually think that reading into your dreams is a bunch of crock, because usually I dream about having superpowers or fighting crime, and yet I have NEVER been able to fly or read minds in real life, no matter how hard I’ve tried. But I think in this case my subconscious was right. I’m nervous because I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know if this is going to work or if I’m going to keep having to switch medications and dealing with the side effects in the meantime. I’m nervous that I’m going to keep getting migraines and they’re just going to get worse and worse until I won’t have a life and everyone will hate me because I’m not the same person that I used to be. I’m nervous that even though the chances are incredibly slim, the MRI WILL show that I have giant brain tumors.

I’m trying to give myself a little pep talk, telling myself that at least I am DOING SOMETHING. Everything might go perfectly, and that would be great, but even if it doesn’t, even if it takes me some time to figure out the right treatment plan, that’s OK. At least I will be actively working to find a solution. That’s all I can do right now.

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Honestly

I’ve tried to start this post about a million times. It’s just not working. I don’t know how to start, or what to say, or how much to say. But here goes:

My father sent me an e-mail on Monday, telling me that he had finally gotten around to using the gift card that we got him last Christmas. This sounds pretty normal, like the type of thing a father might send to his daughter, right? Except it’s not. Because I haven’t spoken to my father since March. And as far as a ‘normal’ father/daughter relationship, well we haven’t ever had that.

I made my decision in March not to speak to him anymore, but I didn’t say anything to anyone about it. Mostly because drama is not high up on the list of things that I want in my life. It was my decision, because I am an adult and I have a choice. Because I needed to do this. And the funny thing is, that he didn’t even notice that I wasn’t speaking to him (it’s not like we were in constant communication before this anyway) until recently. The only reason he noticed is because it was pointed out to him by my mother, who figured it out and asked me point-blank, and I told her. And then she choose to tell him, and use it to manipulate a situation to her advantage, and make a big deal, which was exactly what I did not want.

Yes, I realize that it sounds like the type of thing one parent might do to another when they are bitterly divorced, but no – my parents are still married. It is a freakish, love-less, hate-filled marriage, but they are Mr. and Mrs. nonetheless.

This is the second e-mail that he has sent since he figured out that I was avoiding contact. The first one was along the lines of “I’m not sure what I’ve done wrong, blah blah blah”. I would love to tell him. I would love to give him lists, and examples, and oh, I would love to hurt him in exactly the ways that he has hurt me, hurt his family, hurt everyone around him. But I can’t. Something is stopping me from responding.

I look at these two e-mails and I am frozen – caught in knowing that this is an all or nothing situation. Either I respond with the truth and cut him out of my life forever. Or I don’t respond at all and cut him out of my life forever. Or I respond and pretend that everything is OK and that I am over it. What kind of options are those? Not good ones.

The most obvious choice is that if my feelings are that strong, I should cut him out. Gone. Forever. And that really sounds fine to me. Except that he is still married to my mother. Except that my brother still lives with them. And how would that work, logistically speaking? Do I send Christmas gifts to my mother and brother but not to him? What happens when Matt and I get married someday? Do I not invite him? These might seem like minute questions to answer in the grand scheme of things, but these are the things that I wonder about. Because I don’t want to deal with this. I am angry that I am in this situation. I am angry that he is a bad person and yet I am the one feels like I am doing everything wrong.

It’s hard to write about this. Write too matter-of-factly and it will come across like you’re a cold hearted bitch who is taking this lightly. Write too emotionally and it will sound like you’re a drama queen who’s blowing things out of proportion. Add to that the fact that I can’t, and won’t go into more detail about exactly the reasons why I feel this way about my family, and you end up with a very bad blog post. I guess I should feel bad about that, but I don’t. I needed to vent. I needed to be able to write: THIS ISN’T FAIR. I needed to say that I’m hurt, and confused, and very very angry.

You may think that I left out an option when I said that I had three. Another option might be to explain why I feel this way and to work it out. To ask him to change and to apologize and to accept that apology. But let me say – this is not an option. It is not. It is NOT. Some things are unforgivable. If that makes me a bad person, so be it. It is how I feel and it is what I know to be true.

Ignoring this second e-mail as I did the first feels cowardly – but the simple fact is that I don’t know what else to do. In this case, it seems that the only action I can manage is inaction. So I guess that is what I will do.

If you’ve made it this far into the world’s most awful blog post, thank you. I promise to return to our regularly scheduled writing about shoes and reality TV tomorrow.

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Daily Affirmation

I’ve never been someone who can be perfectly content with the here and now. My whole life I’ve been wanting to be older, smarter, thinner, richer, and I always feel like (excuse the cliche) I’m never quite good enough, never quite there yet. Life has always been a competition and a race, both of which I’m never winning.

I think that Liz will agree with me when I say that we both have this same philosophy about life. Both of us are worriers, both of us are overachievers. Despite our inherent differences (she is getting her PhD in chemistry; I work in marketing and routinely use phrases like ‘the creative just doesn’t quite flow‘) we share the same basic ideas, hopes, and concerns about life. We were lucky enough to find each other and build an undying friendship on this, because hey, if you can’t build a friendship on neuroses, what can you build it on?

I’ve always associated my time growing up in New Jersey with even further magnified worry and failure… partly because of some of the family problems I’ve experienced and mostly, I’m sure, because of general teenage angst and awkwardness. But on Saturday afternoon, I found myself back at my old high school with Liz,  a place we haven’t visited since the day we received our diplomas in June of 2000.

My brother is a senior at that high school, and he wanted me to come to his performance in the marching band. And before you start ragging on the marching band, you should know that I was on the drill team and Liz played the flute, and if you make fun of us I will cut you.

As Liz and I sat in the stands watching the rather pathetic football game and waiting for the half-time band performance, I suddenly felt incredibly proud of how far we’ve come. Sure, high school wasn’t the best time in our lives, but we did have some good times. Besides, I believe rather vehemently that if high school IS the best time of your life? Well, that’s just sad.

For once, instead of thinking ‘if only’ – if only I could get a promotion, lose 10 pounds, remodel the bathroom, and stop killing my houseplants – I was proud and happy of who I was in that moment. Actually, I was proud of both of us. Liz will be embarrassed to read this, but I really do think she’s just an incredible person. She worries so much over her research and time in lab without remembering how hard we struggled just to get through Biology in our freshman year of high school. She has completely shed her shyness and now gets up in front of a room of people to teach exercise classes. She knows who she is and she isn’t afraid to do what she loves. She is a rich in a way that has nothing to do with money, although I don’t doubt that she’ll have plenty of that someday, too (the better to buy fine wine with, I think).

And as for me, well, I think I turned out pretty well, too. I am pretty lucky to have found a career that I not only love, but that I am pretty damn good at. I live in a place that is not just my house, but also a warm and cozy home, and I live there with the guy that is the love of my life. I have hobbies like reading and dancing, and I know that life will only go up from here. But even if it doesn’t – even if it takes me a while to get that promotion, or if my bathroom stays hideous and my houseplants stay dead – I’ve still come a long way from that gawky girl in high school who was horribly self-conscious and felt bad about herself all the time.

It’s a nice feeling, being content with who you are. I hope that from now on when I get overwhelmed by all of life’s little failures, I can remember to take a moment to step back and marvel at the successes I’ve made for myself.

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To MBA or not to MBA – that is the question.

Lately at work I’ve been a little peeved (read: HUGELY FUCKING PISSED OFF) that my position is waaaaaaay under-leveled. While I fight the fight that is seemingly inherent to the corporate world, I’ve also been looking into ways to advance my career. (Because, obviously, being really good at my job and working really hard are not enough.) (Bitter, party of one? Yes, that’s me.)

Anyway, the point is that I’ve been toying with the idea of going back to school for my MBA for a while now. (This is the part where Liz shrieks in horror and tells me that grad school equals HELL, but I bet she’ll think differently when she has a lot of letters after her name.) There are so many schools of thought (Get it? Schools?) that it’s hard to know what to believe.

Some people say to go back as soon as you can, because the longer you wait, the harder it gets. Others say to get as much work experience as you can first.

Some say to go to the best school you can since the thousands and thousands of student loan debt will re-coup itself in your salary. Others say that it is enough to just HAVE an MBA and it’s not worth putting yourself into spectacular amounts of debt.

The bottom line is that this is all very overwhelming and, quite honestly, the kind of thing that makes me want to crawl under my bed and not come out. First of all, the thought of having classes and homework and all that again kind of makes me gag. I know that I can do it – I worked full time throughout 4 years of undergrad, after all – I just also know that it will be probably fairly unpleasant. Also, the thought of putting myself another 50 grand (at least) in debt is horrifying. I know, I know – it’s GOOD debt, if there is such a thing, and I should theoretically recoup the cost and then some through my salary. BUT THAT IS A LOT OF ZEROES. On top of the already large number of zeroes that make up the house, existing student loans, and car. Argh.

At the same time, I guess it would be kind of cool. I mean, while I might complain about it sometimes, I do really love what I do and believe that I’m in the right field for me (marketing, in case you forgot). So something that can help me learn more and be better at what I do is really a good thing. Also, it would make me insane if I got to a point in my life where I looked back and realized how dumb I was for not going back when I had the chance.

The bottom line is that I need to do some thinking. I also need to talk to Matt about all of this, because it will affect him too… He’ll need to pick up the slack when I’m spending all my time studying and working on group projects, etc. And of course it affects him if I have to take out a ton of loans. I guess in the short term, I’m going to start studying for the GMAT and plan to take it some time in the next 6 months or so. I’m not in a rush and I want to make sure that I think everything through – this is a really big commitment and if I do go back I want to make sure that I don’t do it halfheartedly.

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