Hi hello yes hello

Someone (who is not my mother) recently reminded me that I have not written anything in a long time. And it’s true, I haven’t. It’s not for lack of having things to write about, but more that I am overwhelmed by the changes happening in my life. I have found it difficult to form a cohesive narrative to bring to you, dear reader. But I will try, and I will hate every minute of it because it’s not perfect.

First, just to get this out of the way, let me talk a bit about health updates. I decided to move forward with radiation. I had been back and forth and, really, had thought I was 100% decided on foregoing it. I was tired. I was not sure it mattered. I was certain I would get cancer again. Blah blah blah. But then one of my coworkers said something to me that really hit me hard. We had recently learned that we were both a part of a 12 step program (more about this in a minute), and she said “it’s like trying to convince an addict to seek help- they won’t do it until they know it’s the right thing to do for themselves”. And it clicked. I knew that I needed to seek that help because it was right for me. I want to do the most that I can do to be healthy for me. And so I asked my supervisor about scheduling it, fully expecting to be fired, but she agreed! This was my first lesson in learning to be assertive with my needs and wants- and it worked out! So, I’m doing the radiation dance. I drive 20 minutes to a stupid hospital and lay on a stupid table and kill myself to make myself better. It’s a real mind-fuck of a situation.

Let’s see…what else? My hair is growing back. My eyebrows are making a valiant effort. My eyelashes fell out a few weeks ago, but they also seem like they’re growing back. I had my port removed, which was a fabulous early birthday present. I got to watch the surgery! If you’ve never watched surgery performed on your own body…are you even living? This. Thing. Came. Out. Of. My. Body.

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And I got to keep it!

So, aside from the gross body crap, what has been happening? It’s hard to explain, I think. The last time I wrote, I wrote to you from my lowest low. I literally hit my lowest low, grabbed a shovel, and started digging even deeper. Who does that?

Me!

I do!

I do, because codependency is a motherfucker, and those of us that suffer from that unfortunate personality trait will kill themselves and anything around them before they realize that they are insane. I feel like I should change the title of my blog to Obesity and Malaise (and Codependency!) because that’s the real issue here. It’s amusing to me because I could never see it. I always thought ‘that word describes my mom and sister’s relationship’, not realizing that I’ve displayed that trait in every single serious relationship I’ve ever been in. Who am I to criticize?!

So I found Al-Anon. Actually, my ex found Al-Anon for me and then snuck a Big Book into the things he packed for me. When we were together, I had wanted to go to a meeting. I wanted to go so that I could “understand him better” or know “more ways to support him”. When I walked into my first meeting, I sobbed. I spent the majority of a month sobbing, but this was different. I felt this feeling (eww, gross) that I was doing something for myself. That I was there for myself. That I deserved to be there and to be happy, and it seemed like this program, and these people, had a pretty good idea of how to achieve that. Part of what I’ve learned is that this is taking care of yourself, not other people.

And so here I am. I’m working my twelve steps. I am being honest. I am being open. And guess what? It feels fucking horrendous. That forth step- the one where you lay out all your faults and all your transgressions? It’s awful. Seeing my part in why I’m so perpetually unhappy and so unfulfilled is AWFUL.

But it’s also liberating.

Because I have the option to be different. I can choose to be a better person. I can learn from my mistakes, now that I see them as such. I have that freedom.

And really, that’s what this is all about. I’m finding freedom in being myself. I’m finally being myself. It’s a real ‘take me or leave me this is who I am la la la la’ situation.

So take me or leave me.

You know, I had this realization in the car this morning. My mom and I were sitting in rush hour traffic where 394 turns into 94 (I say this as if any of you know what I’m talking about- it’s a bad habit). We were at a complete stop for nearly five minutes which would normally make me drop a couple of F-bombs and drive my anxiety through the roof, but I was able to just sit there calmly and wait. And in this Twilight Zone-like state, I realized that there is no point in being angry at a situation that I can’t change or have no control over. And then I realized that I’d heard that somewhere before…

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

It’s been made so very clear to me recently that the only thing I can change in my life is myself; I can’t change other people, I can’t change situations, and I can’t change for someone. Really, all I can do is take some time for self-reflection and make changes based on that.

During our final conversation, the ex told me that I needed examine myself and my behavior. Of course, he said this out of anger and to hurt me (congrats buddy, it worked), but he’s not necessarily wrong. I do need to take a hard look at myself and process some of the things that have happened in my life that have shaped who I am today. I’ve been working on it in therapy and thought I was making some progress. Part of me wants to laugh and say “obviously, it wasn’t enough lol”, but I know that’s wrong because again, we can only change (for) ourselves. I hope my insurance pays my therapist really well because boy does she have her work cut out for her this Saturday.

I think one of my biggest flaws is my insistence on putting others before myself. I don’t mean in that martyr/St. Theresa sense, because I’m definitely not the nicest person in the world, but I do often go out of my way to put other people first and care for their needs before my own. I think we’ve talked about this before…but I see now how that’s really just a coping mechanism to help me avoid dealing with my own shit. It’s much easier to throw myself into a person, to get completely lost in them, than it is to address how I might be feeling, or what my wants and needs are. I also have a strong inability to identify my own wants and needs. My guess is that I’m incapable of it because I don’t feel validated. This was a new one for me- my therapist brought it up in the context of my relationship with my mother. She asked something (I don’t remember what), but I said something and then back-pedaled because I felt guilty. She then asked me the same question, but about myself- if I felt validated by myself. I burst into tears because, no, I can’t give myself validation. It was such an odd response for my body, but I guess that’s like…having feelings or some shit. Gross.

Along with that comes my poor communication skills:

  • I can’t communicate my wants and needs.
  • I can only communicate via writing.
  • I will sometimes lie to avoid a reaction that I (my brain) perceive to be a threat to my safety.

Allow me to explain with an example. Early on in our relationship, when we were dealing with some friends who treated my partner poorly, I lied about seeing them. I said I was going to the gym, and I did, but it was also to see this friend and spend time with her. I understand now that I should have been up front about that and not worry about the reaction, but I was afraid. I knew it would cause an argument. The funny thing about that is my behavior caused an argument anyway. Silly Elspeth. When we talked about it in therapy, I realized that it stems directly from the abuse I experienced growing up. I mean, it was so bad that I had to hide food, have my friends bring me clothing to change into at school, etc. I grew up thinking that it was okay to hide these things because that’s how I protected myself. Does it make it okay now? No, but at least I can see that.

Another silly behavior I exhibit is the inability to be alone. I think I’m scared of the idea because, you know, I hate myself. Before this gigantic shitshow happened, I really thought it was easier to be partnered with someone, and it was a source of joy for me- I was happy watching them be happy. I am now very excited to be alone af because a) let’s be honest, there’s no way I’m trusting anyone with my heart ever again (lol) and b) because I clearly have a lot of work to do. Also, I can already hear you saying “not all men”, but let’s not. I have a vibrator. So here’s to focusing on me. All the time. All. The. Time.

Okay, that’s all the self-reflection I can handle for now. I need to go cry in the bathroom.

 

PS: If you know where I can buy some courage, let me know. Is there a courage black market?