jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I spent all my energy and then some today, but it was really worth it. I'm home in bed now, not especially sleepy, just wiped out, and I have nothing on my schedule tomorrow until the evening, so I can take my time rejuvenating.

I've been in my depression drug trial for over six months now. It forces me to think about and talk about my depression at each appointment in very clinical ways, whereas my therapy appointments are all about my emotions. The clinic stuff has taught me a lot about myself. Mainly that the way I've been affected by my depression is very, very different than it used to be. For a long time, I thought my depression made my marriage worse, made it ultimately fail. But I'm coming around to the idea that it was actually my marriage that made my depression worse. And the more I move on from that, the less my depression affects me. I'm not naive enough to think I'll get over either thing entirely, ever. I'll always have ~feelings~ about Z and my relationship with him, and I'll always have depression. I'll continue to treat both as needed, but this new perspective I have is really empowering for me.

One thing that SUCKS about the drug trial, and is really hard for me right now, is that a major side effect of the drug I'm on now is a voracious appetite. I've gained back most of the weight I lost earlier this summer, and I'm pretty upset about that. I mentioned that to my clinic doctor last week, and he dialed back my dosage to hopefully alleviate that effect. I have noticed that it's helping. Hopefully soon the scales will start to move back the other direction again. I am disappointed, but not in a super dark place with my body image right now, which I guess is good. But I certainly don't want the trend to continue the wrong direction. And I feel this constant need to explain myself to people -- like hey, I see you noticing that I've gained weight, here's why...but that's not a conversation I actually ever have. I just...erg. It's uncomfortable. I don't have to be a twig, I just want to look healthy. And right now I don't. Shrug. I continue to work at it, though. 
jianantonic: (Seahorse)

So many things going on. This'll be a long one.

Falcon Ridge

Our flight landed in Newark at 5am on Wednesday. We hadn't slept much, and desperately needed to catch up on snoozes before the drive up to Hillsdale, so we picked up our rental car and came into Brooklyn to nap in my brother's apartment. We got up and got on the move around noon, showered, reorganized our suitcases so that we could leave some non-essentials back in Brooklyn, got some foods and set out on the 3-hour drive to Dodd's Farm. We got there around 4:30 and I giddily ran around giving hugs and introducing Toby to my Shantyfam. Then we went to set up our tent...

Toby opened up my small suitcase to look for it and I said "oh, no, it's in the other suitcase." "The other suitcase?" "Yeah..." "Oh..."
See, when we set out, I went to get the car from where I'd parked it, and asked Toby to bring all our stuff down to load. I stayed in the car while he and the doorman loaded everything, and never really took inventory of what went it. Turns out he'd thought when I reorganized my suitcases, I'd put everything I needed in the little one and was leaving the big one here with stuff I wouldn't need for camping. HA HA WHOOPS.

So we turned around and went back to Brooklyn to get it. It wasn't just the tent, or we'd have borrowed one from someone else -- it also had my meds and ALL my clothes. So going back was necessary. Since we had six extra hours to spend in each other's company, I launched into a relationship talk -- that'll teach him to forget shit! Seriously though it wasn't anything bombshelly or difficult. Just like "hey so we basically live together now, can we get a little more organized about how we handle planning and budgeting for the house and the future and stuff?" and we talked about that. It was nice. We've always been on pretty much the same page, but it's good to talk about it rather than just assume shit.

On the way back, Toby read to me from my new Scientology book. We were back on the farm by 11ish, set up our tent by the light of our headlamps, and got down to the socializing right away.

The festival was great, as it always is. The stars were out in full force each night, and we could see the arm of the Milky Way clearly overhead with our naked eyes. It was hot during the days and cool at night, and only rained overnight, when it was no inconvenience to any of us. We did some contra dancing this year, and like every year, I always come away from that wishing I did more of it at home. So that's on the list of things to try in Portland. We also went to a few more stage acts -- our friend Eric Lee had a solo set on the Lounge Stage, so we checked that out (he's great! so happy for him to be moving on up as a singer/songwriter), saw Mike & Ruthy (of the Mammals), Brother Sun, Eric Schwartz, and The Grand Slambovians. That's like five more acts than I usually see :)

Back at camp, we played our instruments with friends -- I still feel nervous about jamming, but I'm getting better at it, and when it's a song I know, I can really nail it. Eric gave us some pointers that helped a lot, and we learned some new tunes that I really enjoyed. We also did a lot of yarncrafting. Toby had his knitting, and I'd brought a crochet hook and a skein of yarn -- I knew someone there would be willing to give me a refresher course, and after a quick lesson, I was working on a nice rectangle :) The idea is baby blanket, but this may just be a practice one. I'm not sure I have enough yarn to make a very big one, but it's something to do with myself for now and I'll be ready to pick up a few skeins and do a real project when I get home. There was lots of singing and drinking and merriment.

Friday afternoon/evening was our annual camp party. This year it was a steak and martini luau. Luau because that's what we'd planned all along, and steak & martini because Stuart used to always host a steak & martini night for whoever wanted to participate. Janice (Stuart's widow) was there just for that one day and overnight, and we started the festivities with a big circle and chatka for Stu with his favorite Scotch. We passed the bottle around and took turns sharing memories and love, and everyone cried a lot, but it was one of my favorite moments from the fest this year. Of course it was devastatingly sad, but to lay bare our emotions and be there for each other was really special. We hugged and held each other and raised our glasses and our voices to our friend, and it was really beautiful.

Brooklyn

Toby and I got back to Brooklyn on Sunday afternoon, and promptly fell asleep for five hours. We still had to return the rental car to Newark, but going later in the evening meant a fairly smooth journey. My cousin Ben and his wife Lorraine were staying here at WT's place as well, so we hung out and caught up with them for a while. Ben is the oldest in my generation (57), and I'm the youngest (33), so we've never really done much hanging out, and I hadn't seen him more than 3 or 4 times since Marma died in 1998. But it was great to hang out and chat, and they seemed to like Toby, too. Good to get the seal of approval, even though I don't require it.

Monday morning we went for a walk in Brooklyn Bridge Park, and decided we'd try to do a theater thing later. Toby's never been to the city before, so I wanted to give him a good NYC experience without being overly touristy about it. (No Statue of Liberty, no Times Square bullshit, etc.) My little cousin Byron from the other side of my family is living here now, so we made plans to meet up with him for a show. I found a ticket app that has discount tickets for same-day shows, and after browsing the list of available options, we were most interested in something called Drunk Shakespeare. The blurb wasn't really clear on what it was, but the title was enough of a draw anyway. Here's what I wrote in an email to Emily about it:

Drunk Shakespeare was amazing. It's set up as this like Shakespeare club meeting thing, and I'm not sure if they rotate different plays each time (from their social media, it's clear that the one we saw has been done before, but it also sounds like they do some others), and one actor does five shots before we start. Also the whole audience gets shots as we're being seated. They constantly call points of order, and this part seemed totally improvised, where one cast member will make a suggestion to change something. Usually it's to make another cast member do their next lines as someone else (elmo, donald trump, liza minelli, in german, while doing the macarena, whatever). The "drunk" cast member is definitely not the only one who's intoxicated, they're just the most so. My favorite part was when the drunk cast member decided she didn't like one of the character's names, and she took suggestions from the audience to change it. The five-year-old boy who becomes Macbeth's main challenger was known from Act IV on as "Big Dick Kitty Cat." They didn't do the entirety of Macbeth, but they hit all the main points, so that the whole story was done in the time of the show. It was a great mix of Shakespeare's original dialogue and some hilarious modernizations and improv. Anyway I think you'd really love it if you ever get a chance to see something like this.

Yesterday we had plans with our friend Craig to do a trivia night in Bushwick, but plenty of time before then to check out some other things. We started the day by walking across the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan, and browsed around Chinatown and Little Italy (with a gelato stop in Little Italy, natch!) before heading uptown to check out the Museum of Sex.

The Museum of Sex is great and I definitely recommend it. But there was one major flaw. The first several exhibits were, as one might expect, very sexy. It's hard not to get a little hot and bothered in there. And of course I was there with my very sexy boyfriend, so I was feeling a little worked up...but then the last exhibit is about animal sex and sexuality. It was very interesting and totally relevant, but I guess I just didn't really enjoy going into that feeling horny. It was awkward. Great museum, though!

We walked around that neighborhood for a bit afterward, and stopped in the Museum of Math for the gift shop -- we didn't have time to check out the museum, and I'd been there before, but the gift shop had awesome stuff and we got a new game to play and he picked up some gifts for his niece and nephew in Scotland.

Today we're going to check out the NYC Transit Museum, then I'll take Toby to the airport and he'll fly off to Scotland for two weeks. I'll miss him, most of all during the next four days when I'm just sort of hanging around Brooklyn by myself, but then I'll be in Cancun with my family so the second half won't be so bad.

McKenzie Feels

Before this trip began, Z and I had been communicating a lot more frequently, and it had been really nice. Very friendly, not just mere logistics. We were getting along great and being kind and supportive. Still keeping a safe distance, but communicating. Then I found out from Katy that his parents have their house listed for sale. That was a real punch in the gut. I know they have a Realtor friend they've worked with for years, so I'm not outraged that they didn't hire me, but I was surprised they didn't talk to me about it first anyway. It hurt to find out after the fact. So I sent McKenzie an email just saying I didn't really know what to do with my feelings about it and asking him if he knew why they had chosen not to talk to me. He didn't reply. I figured he was busy with the NABC so whatever, I let it go. Then he sent me a short email on Sunday with some quick business about our property transfers (STILL not done). I wrote back, answered his questions, and asked him to please address my previous email. He wrote back but only responded to the condo part of my message, and again ignored the part about his parents. I wrote back again and called him out for ignoring me, saying it's okay if he doesn't want to talk to me about it, but he needs to at least SAY that. So he wrote back and said he wouldn't talk about it with me. There was a little more back and forth and the content is unimportant, but the point is that I could feel that his attitude had shifted in a bad way. I could tell he was upset with me. I have no idea why and he won't tell me, which sucks. I've had so little interaction with him that it's impossible that it's something recent that I've done. He's either mad about something from the past that he only just now learned about or is starting to process, or he heard something from someone else that's not true and is mad about that. In either case, I'd like the opportunity to defend myself, or at least do damage control. Even though we're not together, I hate that he's upset with me, and I hate that we have another backslide now when our communications were at a place where talking to him was leaving me feeling GOOD. So to lose that sucks.

I asked some mutual friends if anything had happened that they knew of that would have caused such a stark change in his attitude toward me. No one could offer me anything more than theories -- he had a bad time at the NABC, or maybe it's the stress of moving. So I found out he's moving to Alabama to be with his girlfriend.

Hearing that was hard. Obviously I'm with Toby and I'm very happy and we're serious about each other, so it's not like it's out of the question that McKenzie could've found the same thing with someone else, too. But it's still hard. I think it would be easier for me to wish him well if he'd told me himself, or if he were still being kind and friendly. But since I'm hurting from the way he's spoken to me lately, my first reaction is not wishing him well but rather smugly enjoying the fact that I know he will hate living in Alabama. I don't like that I feel this way, but...okay. And maybe whatever made him change his tone to me is more about him than me. Maybe he's sad to be moving away and he's having triggery feelings about when he left Portland to move to Virginia with me and I'm sure that's hard for him. I don't know if that's what's making him change his tone the way he has, but until he can talk to me about it thoughtfully the way we had been talking, my feelings are not charitable.

There are several silver linings, though. The FOMO will be so much less -- while he's been in Seattle, he's been in social groups with lots of people I used to be social with and have really missed since leaving bridge. It's so hard to know that he's been up there having fun with the people I really miss. Since I don't know anyone in his Alabama circle, I will be a lot less jealous about his life there. And it makes room for me to get back in better contact with the Seattle folks, since now I could go to Seattle and not feel weird. It also means he won't be working local bridge events, so I'll feel free to actually participate in them again. I really do look forward to that. Toby is learning and I want to play with him in real events. And now I will be able to, so that's good.

I talked to Katy yesterday and told her about some of my concerns, particularly regarding whether my in-laws still want me in their life, since they didn't tell me about the house. She assured me that they love me very much and I'm still family, so that made me feel a lot better. The McKenzie stuff is hard and probably always will be, but I'm in a good place, really. Toby is wonderful and I'm happy in Portland and in the relationships I've got. Things are good. If I'm not scoring 10's across the board, I'm still okay.

Off to the transit museum now!

jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I've been processing some of the Really Bad Shit that happened in my marriage lately. Something triggered a memory of one of the most awful things that McKenzie ever did to me, and I've been having a hugely emotional reaction for the last couple of days. I think the main issue is that when I learned about it first two years ago, we were just drowning in marital strife, and trying so fucking hard to keep our relationship together. This was one issue among many that we were trying to put behind us, and I just never gave it much attention at the time. I didn't let myself be angry because I wanted to save the marriage. And being angry wasn't going to get us there. My reaction now, though, is weird. What McKenzie did was absolutely awful, and if it was the only thing I ever knew about him, I would think he was the scum of the earth. And thinking about it now, I'm hurt and sad and humiliated and can't stop sobbing. Yet...I'm not mad at McKenzie. It's so weird. Maybe I should be? But it is what it is.

In the fight to save our marriage, and then in the divorce proceedings, and apparently even now, I've sacrificed so much of what I want/need/deserve in order to preserve the best possible relationship I can have with him. It hasn't exactly worked well for me. We barely have any relationship now. We communicate some and it's nice, but it's only through email and only in brief, infrequent exchanges. My therapist asked me what I needed from him in order to feel better about this hurt I'm feeling now. I don't even know. I need to know he's sorry -- more sorry than he expressed at the time. I need him to know it haunts me still and admit that it was the shittiest thing he's ever done. I did send him a message about it, and he did say he felt terrible about it, but I don't think it's something he's ever reflected on, really. I guess what I really want most of all is for him to take some ownership of our divorce. At the time, he pinned it 100% on me. My impression from recent conversation with him is that he understands that it wasn't ALL me, but I suspect he believes he's somewhere in the 10-15% responsible range.

What does it matter, though? We're divorced, we're not getting back together, and I'm pretty well established in the new version of my life. Dunno. But it matters.

I tell all this to Toby. I tell him what McKenzie did that has me so upset. He doesn't judge -- he doesn't ask me why I'm not mad at him, or why it's bothering me now of all times. He just listens, holds my hand, lets me finish talking through tears, then hugs me. And I know he will never hurt me on purpose. I know he'll do all he can to never hurt me by accident, either. I think I'm a better partner now, too. Largely because I've done a lot of work on myself, but also because Toby is so good to me, I am motivated to be the kind of wonderful he believes I am.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Was it just last week I was celebrating being able to have an email exchange with McKenzie without crying? It's as if he read that and took it as a challenge. We've had some of the kindest, softest exchanges of the decade we've known each other in the last couple of weeks. That fucker.

Things that are true about me:
I love Toby and want to be with him. I'm fully committed to him and happy about it.
I love and miss McKenzie.
My life is better than it has (ever?) been.
There will always be voids that only McKenzie can fill. And sometimes I'll really wish they were filled. (Haha maybe that's a vagina joke! Except no it's not. Also not a butt sex joke, for the record.)
I may or may not want to date other people and have varying levels of romantic relationships with them over the years.
Right now I'm emotionally capped at casual dating, no sex. But I'm open to the possibility that this could change any time.

Anyway that's where my heart is now. Happy for what is, sad for what is not, excited for the future that is possible, devastated about the loss of the future I once may have had.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I've got a million things I really need to be working on today, but for the most part, that's just not going to happen. Maybe I'll be productive tomorrow.

Last night was Ross's birthday party. He always throws a huge shindig at his place, with live music, stand-up comedy, dancing, food, and lots of booze. I always meet awesome people there and have a great time -- I've known him a year and change, and he does the parties for his birthdays and also a winter version, so it was my third one. Last night, Toby and I decided after lots of fun times that it was probably time to go, and we gathered our things, thinking it must be about 1am. It was 3:30. Holy shit. So today's plans were already in jeopardy at that point. Then when we got in our Uber, I started feeling not so great. About halfway home, I asked the driver to pull over, so that I could gather myself in the fresh air and not puke in his car. Luckily, I didn't puke at all, but as soon as I was out of the car gathering myself, Toby came to my side, and the driver pulled away. Toby had told him to go on, but really I didn't think I needed that much time. Oops. So we ended up waiting in the cold for about 15 minutes while we waited for the next available driver. The rest of the ride home was no piece of cake, but we made it, and once I got to bed, I felt a lot better. Toby actually ended up barfing a bit before bed, but he said he felt much better for it and not to worry. Okay then.

Having been working hard all week to get up earlier and be active in the mornings, my body was well into that pattern, and was not interested in letting me get the sleep I so very much needed to fight off the massive hangover I had dealt myself. So I was awake and feeling fucking terrible at 7am. I drank a lot of water and shuffled around the bedroom rather aimlessly for a while, and after maybe an hour of just feeling like total ass, I remembered that aspirin is a thing! So I took some, and as soon as it started to take effect, I was able to drift off to a much more comfortable sleep. Toby and I both had different places to be at 3, so at 1:30, I decided it was time to work on getting up. Toby was out COLD. I had been awake for a bit and rubbing his back and while reading, and usually this sort of thing elicits a few satisfied mumbles from him, but he was almost entirely unresponsive. I finally had to just wake him up so we'd get to where we were going on time, but when he got up, he was sick again. Poor guy. We did finally get out the door, and he assured me he was doing better, but the car ride sorta got to him, too, so we pulled over for a bit for him to collect himself. I dropped him off soon after, and he says he's doing much better now. I'm glad. I haven't been feeling hungover since taking the aspirin, but I've been void of energy all day. I was only out for a couple of hours, and when I made it back home, the plan was to go for a run, but the reality was to go to sleep. Cleopatrick and I got some good cuddle time, and I really enjoyed those additional hours of rest. I came downstairs to have a sandwich for dinner, and have been toying with the idea of some sort of exercise still, but...no. Today is a write-off. So I've been doing some puzzles and online games and just listening to music and drinking water, letting myself recover. I have an open house tomorrow, and plans every day next week, so I'll be back in the swing of things shortly. A nothing day is fine.

I did talk to some family on Facebook, though. My cousin Laura and her husband are splitting up. I don't know any of the details and I'm not sure if I ever will, but I messaged both of them to let them know I'm thinking of them and love them. Of all the marriages in my family, I really had considered theirs one of the very strongest. I'm not around them much, but I've always been close with Laura, and just everything about their relationship that I'd witnessed was the kind of stuff that makes even happy people really jealous. So it's a real shock that they're splitting. Above all, I feel terrible for them, because I know the heartbreak first hand and I care about them both very much and it's so sad. But in the abstract, their split makes me feel kind of comforted? Like, relationship perfection isn't what it seems, and I can retroactively kind of ease the pull of the jealousy I used to feel. It's hard to explain. It's not schadenfraude, because again I am SAD for them. I guess it's just kind of enlightening? And now I'm no longer the only one in my entire goddamn family who's been divorced. The closest divorce in my family is my aunt on the other side, who has been separated, but not divorced, from her husband for twentysome years. No one else in my extended family on either side, going out as far as I actually know my relatives, has been divorced. Being a divorcee in this family has felt a lot like I imagine it would have felt like in the 50's. People just DON'T do it, and they don't know how to relate to those very few of us who have. So...in a way I feel like their split brings me closer to my family, or my family closer to me. These reflections make me feel like I'm kind of horrible, finding a selfish benefit in their sad circumstances. I mean...ugh. I'm not happy. But yeah, the situation has led me to find a silver lining that is only my own. Anyway.

And then, Toby. I am so happy with him. And I think we do have this crazy strong relationship. Others probably would be jealous of it except for the fact that we are non-monogamous, and most folks I know can't really wrap their heads around that. Like they assume we're happy about our relationship except for the poly part. And...no? There are times he's with his other partner when I wish he was here, but there are also times when he's at work and I wish he was here instead. And all of those times, if I say to him that I need him to put me first and be here, he will. So it's not something that bothers me. I like dating others, too, but I do find that I'm not really as interested in pursuing whole romantic relationships with others. I have formed a lot of new relationships over the last year, and most of them are just friends. Even some of the romantic-ish relationships I've had are really only a notch beyond completely platonic. Toby is the only serious partner I have right now, and I'm happy in this situation. But I don't want monogamy. I still like going on dates, I still like that it's okay to explore any feelings that develop, I still like first kisses, etc. Those things just aren't at all attached to the notion that the person I'm seeing could be "the one" or fill some major role in my life that's currently vacant. It's so liberating to date like that. The pressure is entirely off, and everything feels really authentic. And so far, that part of me just wants to cuddle a little and play board games and sometimes kiss :)
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I have a lot of dreams about McKenzie. The themes have shifted some over the months. At first, they were all about him abandoning me in different ways. Lately they've been more about us getting back together...sort of...only he pulls back when it starts to feel real. So I guess still abandonment-ish, but less mean than the first go-round.

Last night I dreamt that McKenzie presented me with our wedding rings again...asked me to be his wife again. And I was thrilled and I said yes.

And then I got to thinking about it and nearly went crazy with grief. (All in my dream, still.) I wanted to be with Toby. I wanted to talk to Emily about it, but all she wanted to do was go sledding. (Would it be a dream without some element of wtf?) But what it boiled down to was that I was going to end up telling McKenzie no, I can't be your wife again, I'm with Toby now.

Other relationships have never before factored into my dreams about McKenzie. They always take place in an imaginary space in time where we aren't yet divorced, but aren't together anymore. Last night was the first time my dream took place in the present (minus the snow on the ground). And I was decidedly in Camp Toby. The dream was stressful as hell, but I woke up and felt awesome. I'm with who I want to be with. There are no obstacles. I've got this.

I still miss McKenzie to pieces, and in a perfect world, we never would have divorced. Maybe in a perfect world, he and I could be happily polyamorous and Toby could be in that picture, too. But I don't know if there are enough hours in the day for me to share all I would want to share with the both of them.

Anyway. I want Toby. I'm with Toby. I'm really, really happy about that.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
It's been nice having my folks in town. Yesterday was my dad's 75th birthday, and we picked Adrian up at the airport and then all went out to dinner to celebrate. (A Chinese buffet, of course.) On Thursday, I took them to Spirit Mountain so they could get their penny slot fix. Toby tagged along both nights. I'm really pleased with how my parents have received him. I know my mom wishes I were still with McKenzie, and I worried that would translate to some hostility toward Toby, but she seems to get that he's a good guy. He wasn't with us today, and twice she commented that it was too bad he was busy and couldn't spend the day with us.

Today was a loooong day. We started by going to the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville. I've been a few times -- I love that place. But you know how when you've been somewhere a bunch of times and everyone you're with is seeing it for the first time, they want to stay way longer than you do? We were there for four hours. I had a good time, though, and I was glad they enjoyed it so thoroughly. Our next stop was Lincoln City, to see the Pacific Ocean and to get some Tillamook ice cream. On the way to Lincoln City, we passed Spirit Mountain, and I joked about going back there tonight. My brother said he'd be up for it, and of course my parents were happy to return, so that's where we spent the rest of the day. I played pai gow the whole time. That wasn't really my plan, but all the other tables were full and I was winning, so I stayed. Everyone else at my table was losing a lot, but I just kept getting lucky hands. I think in the 2+ hours that I played, I only lost 2 or 3 hands. Most hands in pai gow are pushes, though, so it's not like I was winning crazy money, either. When my family came to get me, I had a little more than doubled the $100 I'd started with. So, yay, a nice profit.

We got back to Beaverton around 9, and I've been unwinding at home since then. My brain keeps going to sad/frustrated/angry places, though. It's a combination of going to a lot of places that McKenzie took me when I first visited Oregon and bridge things. Nationals are going on and whenever I talk to another bridge player, they say "it's not the same without you here," but I know they're having a good time, and no one has reached out to me to say they wish I was there. The first few nationals I missed, I got dozens of inquiries from friends and acquaintances saying they'd hoped to see me...now I kind of feel forgotten. That sounds so melodramatic. But...ungh. I feel like an angsty teenager with this shit.

I have this huge conflict in my reality where I miss McKenzie and want desperately to have him in my life again, and the fact that I've missed out on so much of his experience now (and I know he's been traveling the world and doing amazing things) that I don't know if I could reunite with him in any way without feeling intense jealousy/sadness/I-should've-been-there-too feelings. I mean I have those anyway, but I guess I don't have to confront them quite on the level that I would if McKenzie and I had some kind of relationship again, you know?

I have so much regret about our marriage. I know that regret isn't a productive emotion, but people who say "no regrets" are people who have never experienced grief the way I do. They are people who probably don't have crushing mental illnesses that inhibit their ability to make good choices. They are people I want to punch in the face when they tell me I "can't" regret things. Yes I can and I do and the supportive thing would be to respect that it's hard for me, and be a friend. The tough get-over-it-and-move-on approach does not work here. It makes me feel worse. I wish people wouldn't tell me (or anyone) not to feel what I feel. Whether the feelings are good or bad, they're real, and I feel really invalidated when the people close to me don't recognize that. (This is more of a preemptive rant than a commentary on the way anyone is currently treating me. My support system is amazing.)

I'm in a place right now where I can appreciate and enjoy the many good things I've got going for me, but my sadness around my divorce is stronger than ever. I do believe it gets better, but I can't picture what that looks like right now. It feels a long way off, and right now I just need to honor my own sadness. 
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Most days this week, I've been in my pj's well into the afternoon. But even though I still have bedhead at 1:30pm, I am being productive today. I've gotten a lot more cleaning and organizing done in the house, but it's such an ongoing task...I'm proud of the progress I'm making, still overwhelmed by what's left, though.

One of the biggest challenges in this process is all the memories I uncover. So many little things I'd forgotten about, or just wasn't actively remembering...it's a kick in the gut. Because the memories are good and I don't want to throw the thing away, but it's a predictable amount of emotionally difficult, too. Right now I have a drawer dedicated to "painful memories I don't want to lose." It's got things like pictures, my wedding rings, notes we wrote each other, little gifts.

I'm also particularly emotional right now because the NABC's have just started. When I played regularly, it felt like eons between nationals, but now that I don't attend and they're such a huge emotional trigger for me (it's really hard seeing half the people I know all talking about it on Facebook and not being part of that group), it feels like there's ALWAYS an NABC going on. So I've had some crying jags today.

Despite the sometimes-crippling sadness, though, I'm not letting it completely derail me. I've been adulting hard this week. I've spent hours cleaning and purging my house of things I don't need. I've done work things. I've done personal financial things. I'm being healthy. I have to give myself big props for all that I've done, because I'm nailing it. I wish it were faster, easier, etc...but I think the work is good for me.

I want to another thing going on in my life but I think that deserves its own post. Coming right up.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Maybe I've written this before, or thought it before, but it feels like something I need to write down now as I process it.

I'm realizing more and more that what attracted me to Dan was how important he made me feel. He made me feel wanted and needed and desired. And maybe I didn't realize it at the time, but I wasn't getting that from McKenzie.

I always knew that McKenzie was attracted to me and wanted sex and touch, but I didn't (ever?) feel like he wanted ME. He was so ashamed of me in so many circumstances. He probably believes he did his best to make me feel important -- and I do give him credit for effort. The problem is that the effort was always so evident. It was obvious to me that it was WORK for him to lift me up. Because he didn't have respect for me. Some of that is my fault for blowing the respect, and some of it is unfair because after I made big changes, he still viewed me as the ticking time bomb I was before.

I've reached this conclusion a hundred different ways, but I think this is the most clearly I've seen it.

I wonder if McKenzie has realized this. I really hope he's able to see it from my perspective.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)



Dammit, Facebook. Every now and then one of these reminders pops up, and it's hard. It's not like I've forgotten these experiences, and I don't want to stop remembering them, either. But this photo. Man. This was 6 years ago today. McKenzie and I drove up to Mount St. Helen's and hiked and took pictures with my brand new DSLR camera. Some friendly strangers took this for us at an overlook.

This photo captures so much of what our marriage was. Beautiful experiences that we should be excited to share...but my smile is tentative because McKenzie hadn't been having a good time that day, and his face and posture make that clear. He didn't smile, didn't put his arm around me, even though I was so excited to be there...the mountains here are unlike any other place on earth, and I've always found them magical. McKenzie was proud to have introduced me to the Northwest, and I wanted him to come experience it with me. Honestly, we both wanted this a lot of the time, but getting on the same page almost never happened.

For whatever reason that day, he was distant. And I felt like I'd dragged him along unwillingly. And that dampened the experience for me. I know I did this to him on plenty of occasions, too -- where he was excited to share something with me and I just wasn't feeling it and it was a huge disappointment.

We were so good for each other and so bad at the same time. A healthy version of us would have enjoyed everything about this day. The joy should be radiating from that photo. But we had such a hard time nurturing our shared interests. This was the cancer of our marriage. Here is an example of a time I was trying for us, and he wasn't meeting me. There are lots of examples where the tables are turned. I'm so disappointed in us for not recognizing and working to fix this problem earlier. I think we both knew it was there for a long time. We just made each other so sad. And that is a tragedy.

jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Yesterday, McKenzie actually reached out a little bit. It was the anniversary of our split, and he sent me a little note that he imagined it was as hard a day for me as it was for him. And it opened up a conversation that was very thoughtful, caring, and still devastating. I miss him SO MUCH. I'd be so much better at us now. But I don't know if that chance will ever come again, and thinking about him just living a life without me is so hard.

But it was nice to talk. To say some of those things to him. To have him acknowledge my feelings and be compassionate.

I'm doing the best that I can. Some days that feels like I'm still sinking.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I've probably mentioned the recurring dreams I have about McKenzie -- not the exact same dream every night, but the situation is the same. We're together, kind of, but he's pulling away, or running away, or straight up deserting me. And it's devastating. It doesn't take a phsychologist to work out what these dreams mean. They suck and I hate them.

Then last night, I had a different one. McKenzie wasn't the protagonist -- Toby was. And he wasn't intentionally pulling away from me -- we just got separated in a crowd and the dream was about stressfully trying to reunite. Whenever I'm dreaming of a problem that could be easily fixed with cell phones (texting, calling, even dialing 911), in the dream, my fingers just don't work with the phone at all. I can never push the right buttons and it's just wasted effort. So that's what was going on in this dream. I was separated from Toby, and wanted to find him again, but couldn't because my hands wouldn't work.

It wasn't a good dream, but I feel good about the fact that it was about Toby this time. I still very much experience the feelings that haunt my McKenzie dreams, but maybe just maybe this is a twisted sign of some healing? Maybe?
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
For no particular reason, today has felt kind of crappy. I was going to let myself stay home and be lazy all day, but I got bored of even that, so I went to the gym for a cardio workout and also made dinner plans with Ben. But I'm still just feeling kind of bleh. I've been feeling this way a lot lately, and I decided a good antidote to the bleh would be to get another foster dog. I'm picking up at least one and possibly two dachshunds tomorrow afternoon. I don't know if I can handle more than one, but maybe two will entertain each other a little? Or they'll just be twice as demanding of my attention? Anyway I will have at least one new snugglebuddy tomorrow, and I predict this will lift my spirits.

I don't give any fucks about Valentine's Day, but this is the anniversary of the last time McKenzie and I were together. We split up for good on like the 15th. The following week was the Portland Regional, and I spent some time with him at the hotel there, but it was understood that this was not reunion time. And we haven't been together since. And I feel so conflicted and sad, and I don't know if the fact that it's Valentine's weekend is adding to those feelings at all, but it doesn't make it any easier.

As I dragged myself out the door to go to the gym, I got a text message from Toby. "You are awesome and I love you!" I don't know if he sensed I needed a pick-me-up, but his timing couldn't have been better. I'm really crazy about that dude. And I'm lucky to have him, and grateful that he understands what I'm going through with regards to my divorce blues. He's confident in us and knows I love him even when I'm crying about McKenzie, and he's supportive in everything. He never knew me pre-Prozac, and even though I've told him honestly about how I used to be, he says he only has evidence that I'm wonderful now. I guess I've done a good job turning my life around, even if the depression itself still rears its ugly head all too often. I mean, I think I've always been a good, kind-hearted person. I just wasn't very easy to be around in the past. I'm not totally shitting on my former self. Anyway. I do think Toby's right. I'm awesome! I'm fun and funny and helpful and kind and I give a lot of myself to those I love. And I surround myself with people who have these same qualities, and I'm so happy to have so many great people around me.

But all the great people and all the great love in the world do not fill the void where McKenzie is not. I miss him so much.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)

For the most part, things are good these days. I'm happy and comfortable most of the time. But there are so many triggers, every day, that make me think about McKenzie and make me sad. Really sad. Not just like bummed, but like uncontrollably weepy. Eventually it passes and I pull myself together and I'm able to enjoy the rest of my day, but still. This catches me off guard all the time. Usually the trigger is contact from McKenzie or discussing him with someone else. We were so in tune with each other, there's not much out there that doesn't remind me of him. I've got so many great stories about things he said or did, and I want to relive them. I want to tell about how one time this thing happened and he said this other thing and then I choked on my own laughter. So I guess a lot of the triggers are my own fault, but I don't want to bury these memories, either. They're important to me, and they're part of me.

The contact I do have with McKenzie is still very businesslike. We're finally finalizing the transfer of the condo in Virginia from me to him, and that's required a lot of back and forth. It's really hard, just to see his name in my inbox, and then to open it up and everything he says is just dry and emotionless. I got upset with him about something he was asking me to do last week -- he had access to the information he wanted from me, but he wanted me to dig it up. I replied to him that I know he doesn't want things to be emotional between us, but he needs to know that every time he contacts me, it's REALLY hard, and so contacting me unnecessarily is not okay. I told him it would be different if we were having a conversation, but talking to him and NOT conversing is incredibly hurtful. I just hate that he's out there living a life I have nothing to do with.

And he refuses to engage in any discussion about emotion. He did take care of the thing himself, but he never acknowledged that I said I was really hurting. I know he doesn't want to get into it. I know it's self-preservation for him to keep emotions out of our interactions. But I wish he could ACKNOWLEDGE my feelings, ever. It's really invalidating the way he just ignores it. But I do understand why. He's doing what he needs to do for him. But it's hard for me.

I have dreams about him all the time. We're usually in some stage of barely togetherness, and as the dream progresses, I lose him more and more. The thing is, this isn't how our relationship ended. Well, not exactly. I was much more at peace with the end when it happened than I am now. The distance has removed so much anger, added a lot of understanding and empathy, and without being angry at him, all that's left is the love I've always had. I don't want our marriage back, not like it was. It was crazy fucked up, and it was both of our faults. But I feel like I have the tools I need now that would make it a great relationship...but the past has already made that impossible. It's weird because I do long for him, but I don't know if he's changed (or if he wants to change) the things that made him a shitty partner. I know there's no fairy tale in here. There's a lot on his end that would need to change to make being together a reasonable thing, and I have no control over it, and if he doesn't want to change it or isn't working on it, then all it is that I ache for is just hypothetical anyway. But at the base of it all, we were two people who were incredibly well-matched. Various internal and external struggles drove us apart, but the best version of me and the best version of him could be the best pair the world has ever seen. And that ship has probably sailed, but I still ache for it, and mourn it every day.

People say it will take time. I know that...but it's been a year. People say that's not much time at all. Okay. Maybe. But I still feel like I don't think I'll ever not be sad about us. Maybe I'm wrong...but I also look at it this way -- if I do "heal" to a point where I'm not sad that McKenzie's not in my life anymore, does that mean I've shed all the parts of me that are so very much him? Because...I don't want that. I like who I am and he's a huge part of it. I know I'm my own person, but almost everything that makes me laugh has a connection with my marriage. I don't see myself separating these things...I don't know. It's hard. And I need to cry about it. But then I'm able to function and have fun, too, and I guess that's a win.

jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I still dream about McKenzie more nights than not, but whenever I'm in Charlottesville, those dreams are way more intensely painful. They usually exist in a fictional time-space where our marriage was failing but not over, and I'm trying desperately to save it while he is cold and mean. That's not how it went in reality, though the real experience was hard enough. And it'd be just fucking great if I could stop having these awful dreams now. Please.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Thanksgiving came and went in a hurry this year. It seems every year, the extended family packs up and heads out earlier -- this year everyone was gone by yesterday afternoon for the most part. I'm still feeling under the weather, so I spent a lot of the past week curled up in bed trying to get the sleep I could never manage at night. So I don't feel like I had a big family experience this year, which is a bummer. My brother was able to come down from NYC for the first time in five or six years, so it was great to have some of my nieces here. A lot of cousins were meeting Bess for the first time, and she's almost 4!

My favorite part of the whole holiday was when my brother's family arrived on Thursday, both girls stormed through the crowd of relatives to give me their first hugs. That made me feel great. Frankie is a cuddlebug as always, and Bess is becoming more and more chill, too. When we went to Jump! (the trampoline gym), Bess insisted that I stay with her the whole time. I love being the favorite.

I went to the UVA-VT game today with my parents. The game was actually pretty unexciting until the 4th quarter, and then it was a real nailbiter to the end. I think the Hoos played better football, but the Hokies managed to wrangle a win anyway, and I was so happy for Frank Beamer at the end of the game that I cried a bit. He's retiring this year, so this was his last regular season game -- and would've been his last game EVER if they hadn't won, because they needed the win to be bowl eligible. I haven't cared about football very much the last few years, but it was nice to be there for this sort of capstone victory. 12 in a row against UVA!

It's quiet in the Massie household now. I'm here until Tuesday, and I'm anxious to get home to Portland. Charlottesville is kind of a triggery place for me, it turns out. I love it here, but. So many memories make being here alone very sad. I cry a lot more when I'm here. Yesterday, Rachel was handing out school pictures of Bess -- which are ADORABLE, btw -- and my mom mentioned that McKenzie had asked for one. I was really touched -- I'm glad he still cares about the girls and considers them family. But I just couldn't stop the waterworks after that. I've been dreaming about McKenzie every night -- for months, actually, but especially more difficult dreams this week. I miss him. I miss what we had and what we could have had. It's still really hard.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Back when I had my abortion, I kept a closely guarded filter on my LJ when I talked about it. I've never been ashamed of it, and it's never even been a secret, but I knew my parents and my in-laws sometimes read this thing, and it wasn't an experience I was ready to share with them. It's nearly eight years in my past now, though, and if they find out about it, then, fine.

There was a story on NPR this morning about the whole #ShoutYourAbortion movement, and I was just thinking, what is there for me to shout about? What of that experience do I want people to know? Eh, the whole ordeal of it is actually a pretty riveting story, and I wouldn't mind going through it with you over dinner sometime if you want the whole thing, but one specific memory kept coming to me today as I reflected on that NPR piece.

I opted for a medical abortion -- that is, to take a pill that forces a miscarriage -- which I actually do not recommend if you find yourself faced with that choice. It was incredibly painful and drawn-out, and in the end, it didn't completely get everything and I still needed to have a D&C procedure anyway. Which was also incredibly painful, but was very quick, and I felt immediately better when it was over. (I was only 4 weeks along when I had the procedure...it's not like it was painful because I had a huge fetus in me or something.) But I digress.

I was instructed to take the pill and then sit on the toilet for the rest of the day, basically. It was just a long series of cramping and bleeding and passing things that were too much for any maxi pad to contend with. So I was on the toilet literally all day. And it was awful. I was in pain and I felt disgusting and it felt like it would never let up. McKenzie set up a chair and a table in the bathroom and played cards with me all day. And thinking back on that day, that whole experience, I'm just like, damn. What a great guy.

I mean, of course he should've been there for me. It was his stupid sperm. But it feels like playing cards all day in the bathroom is a real extra mile case. Our relationship was so fucked up in so many ways, but it was also really great. Going through abortion together was amazing, actually. We were in agreement on everything. We were both horrified when the pregnancy test was positive, and I think seeing the physical pain I went through to have the abortion gave him a lot of respect for me that he hadn't had before.

When I think about some of the best things about the bond I had with Z, the abortion experience is right up there. It was a terrible thing to go through, but it's also one of those memories that makes me feel really good about myself and about him and about the thing we had. So that's how I'm shouting my abortion.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I talked to Katy tonight for the first time in months. I miss the shit out of that girl. She's in the army reserves right now, living in California and working at a yogurt shop. I'm proud of her. She seems to be doing really well, and living like an adult. The cards have been so heavily stacked against her for her whole life...

I hadn't been in touch, because all things Myers family just give me ALL the feelings, and it's hard, and I'd been avoiding it. But I love Katy (and all my in-laws) and I knew it was past time to let her know I was thinking of her. Sure enough, talking to her started the waterworks. Everything I've been through this year has been an incredible challenge. I don't think there was any path from where I was to where I want to be that doesn't include a huge pile of struggle, so it's not like I feel like if I'd just done one thing differently, life would be easier...if we're playing that game, I'd have to go back to like elementary school, and no thanks.

Sure, if I knew then (whenever, pick a year) what I know now, things would be really, really different. But I had to learn this shit somehow. And I'm still learning. I regret all the collateral damage, but I guess that's the risk you take when you interact with humans -- that they might be human, too, and might not have their ducks perfectly in a row. Shanon said something really amazingly helpful the other day. She said if your friends have bad habits, and they like you, you're probably enabling them. She said this while cracking the whip on me to clean my house. Anyway it's not that I shut people out or stop liking them when they point out my destructive tendencies...I just have a large pool of people who won't call me on my bullshit, and they're my (un)safety net. For most of my life, I've relied on a chorus of acquaintances who barely give a shit to justify my really unjustifiable feelings/behaviors/etc. It's really nice to have so many healthy adults in my life these days. It's contagious. The people I hang with make me want to me better. Thanks, y'all.

Random not-even-a-tangent: I found a Railroad Posters of America coloring book at the grocery store (of all places!) last week. It's all these vintage rail posters...so that's what I'm doing this evening. Crazy how long it takes to color one page. I don't remember it being this intense when I was a kid. But it's good meditation. I wouldn't say I'm happy, but I'm not unhappy...so that's acceptable. I'll try to do better tomorrow.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I've been fostering a miniature dachshund for the last few weeks. His name is Ozzie and if you're Facebook friends with me, you've already seen scads of weiner pics. He's 18 months old, so he's full grown, but also still a puppy. He is as precious as can be. I love him. I don't want to give him up.

But also, I realize that dog parenthood isn't really for me, and I should give him up. Doxies need constant attention, and can't be left alone for long stretches. Living out in the burbs as I do, and with the crazy schedule I keep, it's just not realistic. Juggling Ozzie with the rest of my life has been a real struggle lately, and it's something I'm not likely to be able to keep up. I love this pup so much, but I just don't think I can make it work. But I keep trying to talk myself into it, too. I just don't know, y'all. Everyone on Facebook is SURE I'm going to adopt him because HOW COULD YOU NOT?! THOSE EYES!! But, yeah, easy for them to say. Every comment like that makes me feel more shitty about the fact that I think I need to give him up. If there's a doxie in the world that's right for me, it's this one. He's so much more mellow than most of them, and very cute and loving and just all good things! So it makes me sad to think that here's the best dog match there is in the world for me, but it just isn't right. Kind of parallels my marriage. Speaking of my marriage...I have been having feelings.

I am both much more okay than I was when Z and I initially split up and also much more sad. Back then I was angry, hurting, defensive, and scared. I'm not angry, defensive, or scared anymore. At least not scared in the same way. I know I can take care of myself and succeed professionally, etc. What scares me most now is that I walked away from the closest connection I ever had. I mean I didn't do it all on my own -- he chose for it to end as well, and ending it WAS the right thing to do. But the potential we wasted is just so heartbreaking. So I've been feeling more heartbroken lately than I did months ago. Heartbreak sucks.

And I'm afraid my mind is just not in the right place to make a big decision, and that if I let someone else adopt Ozzie, I'll regret it forever. :/

jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I've been really absent from here for a lot of reasons. One, I'm really busy all the time lately. I don't spend much leisure time on my computer anymore. Two, I've been depressed and one of the manifestations of that depression is neglecting this community that is really important to me. I'm sorry. I don't mean to do that. Thank you to Michelle for reaching out to check on me. I'm okay. This depression isn't crippling in the way that many past iterations have been. It's just taking me more offline. Which isn't the worst thing. But I do miss the fuck out of my little lj community.

I'm currently at the gate in Chicago waiting to fly to Burlington for my friend Helen's wedding. I've known Helen since sixth grade and will be reuniting with several old friends for this happy occasion, so I'm really excited. I'm also somewhat concerned about how being at a wedding will affect my emotions. It could be not at all. Or it could put me in that omg what have I done with my life kind of place that makes me cry and drunk dial McKenzie until I pass out in a pathetic heap of sorrow while my horrified childhood friends wonder what to do. I mean that probably won't happen, but it's not impossible. We'll see!

I miss Z like crazy. We haven't spoken in over a month. It's not hostile, I don't think. It's just what he has requested for his own healing. And it's probably good for me, too. But I miss him so thoroughly and intensely that I wonder if I'll ever not regret the path I've taken. Which is...a fucked up thing to feel. We were so unhappy in our marriage and we worked as hard as we both could to fix it. So I don't miss the marriage and I don't want it back...but I miss him. So fucking much. And maybe the real reason I haven't blogged in so long is that this is the only thing I want to write about...and at the same time, I really, really don't...I don't know. I'm sad. About this. But mostly things are good.

Work is going really well. I'm done at my claims job, full time Realtoring now, and doing really well. I have my second listing, and a third in the works. I've closed four deals and have a big one coming up. I still wonder a lot if it's really for real, but it sure seems like it. My colleagues tell me that my principal broker brags about me all the time.

And then there's my social life...the other reason I'm never online anymore. It's full. It's busy, it's fun, my friends are wonderful, I'm having a good time. But being that busy is stressful, too. I don't have enough down time these days and I need to work on finding balance. It's a process.

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