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Anonyst Man

Bold Honesty

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Daily Mindfulness

Moments become Patterns

Of the three goals I set yesterday, I accomplished two of them today: stay on top of medication, and journal…

Refilling medication was both easier and harder than I thought. I was able to leave a voicemail for a refill relatively quickly, but also wanting to check that my new school insurance still covered my existing provider was harder than expected.

After everything was figured out, I told my girl how it reminded me how overwhelming and exhausting the simple task of checking coverage can be when you’re depressed.

We talked about how I felt like everything took me longer than it would take my more organized friends, and how upset taking so long would make me get at myself. She reassured me that it would take anyone that long, that I hadn’t wasted any time, and that I was being too hard on myself again. Like many other things, I guess I don’t have the same amount of patience for myself that I do for others.

I don’t know the percentages, but she was confident that it’s much more normal for people to get angry at things for being too difficult than for them to blame themselves and get sad like I do. We both know I got this from my mom either by nature or nurture. My father and sister definitely do not have the same reaction.

If not for her, I would probably not have even thought to question my reaction. It makes me wonder how unconscious am I when it comes to how I’m interpreting and believing what situations say about me?

On our way to a store, I asked whether we should have checked to make sure it was open. She was confident enough that it wasn’t even worth checking, and somehow the store was closed in the middle of a Tuesday. It’s not about me being right this time, but we talked about optimism and pessimism about the little things in life and whether it says anything that even though we’ve both experienced these little difficulties in life, I’ve come to expect things to be more difficult than they often are, and she expects things to be easier than they often are.

Optimism is usually associated with happiness or positivity or something, and pessimism is usually associated with negativity or bitterness or something. I don’t think I was more upset or negatively affected as her, in fact, perhaps the opposite. I’d already prepared myself for the possibility and was less surprised and less disappointed. Why though?

I think it might have something to do with the reaction I described earlier. Since my instantaneous, instinctual reaction is to get disappointed and upset with myself when I feel like I’m not managing my life as well as others, this pessimistic outlook kind of serves as mechanism for me to look ahead at things that could possibly go wrong. If I can see further ahead what could go wrong then 1) I can better prepare, manage it, and feel like I’m doing things right, and 2) I’ve labeled problems in advance that would be someone else’s fault, so when they happen, I recognize them as such and have less room to get upset with myself.

I have read some articles lately about how there is a healthy amount of pessimism that helps people be resilient through hard times, while optimists “die of broken hearts,” but I’m not going to get into that.

I do think it’s worth examining more of when my forethought is practically helpful or emotionally negative. It’s not good to live in and think about the future too much. It’s good to be resilient and roll with the punches. It’s also good to be ready for them, and  dodge them completely if you can.

I have a lot more work to do when it comes to recognizing how I’m treating myself in these quick little moments that add up to become the patterns of my life.

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October 16, 2017

I stopped writing because I have been feeling well and have had so many fun activities around to keep me occupied.

Now I am feeling like I need to start making a concerted effort again to take care of myself and continue to grow past functionally apathetic, to a life that is more balanced to point all different points of life in the direction that I’m passionate about.

It’s always so much easier to create a list of goals than it is to have the discipline to see them through, so I am going to try to make this a intentionally slow-play. Today I’m only going to set my mental health goals:

  1. Stay on top of medication
  2. Re-establish regular therapy
  3. Journaling ~15 minutes a day

That’s really it. It sounds simple, and it is simple. But why is it still so hard?

Edit (10/17): I realized I wasn’t completely forthcoming about this post. The reason I wrote it was because I’d had a difficult conversation with my girlfriend, and, although we were nowhere near breaking up, it did get me thinking about how I would cope with a breakup. I instantly became afraid that I would feel like nothing and no one without her, which might be a normal impulse to a degree, but with my depression I don’t want to take chances that I might surpass those normal feelings to something dangerous.

I realized that we have been so happy with each other for so long, that in some ways it has distracted me from some seeing the importance of other ways I need to always be taking care of myself. She’s a great support system, and there’s nothing wrong with that. She got nervous when I said I didn’t want to need her, but I think I clarified things well when I said I wanted to need her in only a healthy way, and not an unhealthy way. I want to be a fully independent person chooses to be an equal support and contributor to her.

I know the words I’m using are a little harsh and paint me as some kind of emotional parasite, which isn’t really fair or accurate because I do support her equally in a ton of ways, and even more in some. However, I want to be strong enough to always be ready and willing to support her if she needs, and to accept support when I need, but not let her be a permanent crutch for recurring problems or issues that I need to make progress on and resolve to grow as a person.

Journal: 02/14/17 – 02/21/17

Tues, 14th – For my date with Rori I made eggplant. I forgot to poke holes in it before putting it in the oven so it exploded. I was able to salvage most of it thougt. We made the rest of the ingredients together so that we weren’t rushed for time. It was really good and I am going to hold on to that recipe. We went rollerskating and I was wrong about how late adult skate started. The crowd was a lot more boring than other rinks I’ve gone to so I was a little disappointed but we still had a decent amount of fun.

At one point I saw people doing choreographed dancing on skates and tried to attempt following along from a reasonable distance but Rori is very sensitive about proximity and intrusion so she thought I shouldn’t have, but I couldn’t imagine any harm done.

Wed, 15th – I slept in at Rori’s and left after she’d gone to work. I got a facetime from the kiddos in Columbus and ended up driving up earlier than planned only to have them gone somewhere and having to wait for them to get back after a while.

Thurs, 16th – I got my favorite morning snuggles, We swung on the swing and jumped on the trampoline. That night I caught up with Grant and got to hear good news about potential jobs he was interviewing for. I also let him and then Brittney in on the unfortunate news about what my Ex had done. Brittney was not quite as supportive or empathetic I guess. Then I headed back up to the Helmlingers.

Fri, 17th – More morning playing with the kids. I went to Frank’s to grab some hotdogs and meet up with Marchese. We talked about some of his past traumas and abuse and how MDMA PTSD treatment has been incredibly helpful for him. I met Amanda, and then was joined by  Jacob, and made some new friends. Apparently there was a hoard of kids back at the Helmlingers because word had spread around that I was fun. I wasn’t able to drive and was bought a couple drinks so I couldn’t head back right away. After a while I ended up getting left, by Amanda, and then other new friends because I was too dead-set on playing wingman instead of just making friends.

Sat, 18th – Feeling pretty tired in the morning and starting earlier than I would have liked, I picked up Berridge and we met the other guys at top golf. We had fun and did some catching up. We stopped back at Karl’s for a while before dinner and then pregame at Julie’s for our joint birthday. We went out to Standard, and I didn’t find or see Whit, even though she was there. Again, I feel like that was a missed opportunity to just be present with the people I was there with but instead was determined to find an adventure. We moved to Bakersfield where I talked to some girls and ended up falling asleep on some girl’s couch. She was nice, but I didn’t feel any chemistry.

Sun, 19th – Karl and Berridge picked me up from her place in the morning and we ate at  Tasi and ate back at his place. I joined Whit at Church, met RJ’s baby and had lunch and conversation about my weakened faith. I met back up with Berridge and Karl for dinner at Zauber where Rachel, Kristen, and Alli, all girls I’d met and felt chemistry with all happened to be at separately. I went to Oddfellows with Kristen and Alli, met Katie, new friends, Rob, Ellie & Becca. Kristen and everyone eventually left and I was again on my own. My new friends invited me to bodega where Becca was also left by her friends, on her birthday, and in conversation found out that she grew up without a mother, and also had terrible things happen to her in childhood. All this softened me up real good, and, wanting to take care of her and keep her safe, I offered to get a hotel room for us to stay. She agreed, but almost immediately after getting to the room, she changed her mind, and struggled in her very drunken state to uber home. After I saw her safely off I went to bed, and worried about her for about a week before hearing that she made it home safe.

Monday, 20th – Waking up at the hotel was really nice compared to the usual couch-surfing. After my continental breakfast and borrowing a charger for my dead phone, I headed back to Karl’s and told them the story of the night then dropped Berridge off back home. On the drive home I started feeling sick, but after texting Rori, met up and got ice cream, walked around, and went on a bit of a goose chase because she lost her credit card. Once we headed back I started feeling sicker, and we talked about about us and what it would  be like after I moved. I woke up in the night a few times from a combination of sickness and bad dreams about the Ex.

Tues, 21st – I still felt really crappy in the morning so I slept in, drove home, and spent the rest of the day catching up on journaling but not getting all the way done.

Journal: 02/10/17-02/12/17

Fri, 10th – Totally slacking on my time logging, I don’t have anything to remind me what I did during the day except for starting to completely wipe all connection to her from social media and my photos. Plenty happened that evening to remember though. I tried a highly rated Indian place for dinner and was joined by Mom & Scott, Rach & Matt, Brit, Leah & Steven, Gramma, Heather & Jeff, Doreen & Andrew, Rob & Anne. I got to sit between Leah and Gramma and had fun catching up with them. Gramma was very interested in my upcoming travel to Columbus, Chicago, NY, Barcelona, and Morocco. The more I think of it, the crazier it is, and the more I’m a little nervous able being prepared and having the energy for all of it. Gramma’s birthday card and her note (my featured image) is so awesome that I’m 100% sure that I’m going to get it as a tattoo, probably on my front ribs under the outside corner of my chest. After dinner, we all headed over to Village Tavern where Mike & Pon were ready for us. We started dancing and I noticed Gramma showed up and looked uncomfortable so I made sure she got a seat, that she knew where everyone was, and that someone was getting her her glass of wine. After a while she started to feel comfortable and I convinced Rob & Anne to join me on the floor by reminding them that Rob’s dancing was what first got Anne’s attention before they started dating. That worked and they were the wildest of the family on the floor while most of the others kept Gramma company and tended the bar. Leah, Pon, and I tore it up  and got all sweaty for the next few hours while I also made friends and danced with some new friends there. One was a girl named Hilary who when I first saw her she had her ams crossed so I went over, reached out for her hands, and she uncrossed them and gave them to me, and we danced a little. She started smiling and softened up and I thought she had a cuteness in her dimples and soft looking skin, but since I was there with friends and family, and there was something that just didn’t feel right enough, I didn’t really try to go anywhere with her. I’m not really sure when family left, the very end of the night started to get a little fuzzy. On the way home, Pon was apparently emotionally drunk and either saw Mike flirting or completely overreacted,  but was looking to me for some comfort and affection. I think because she was feeling the insecurity that comes with the turf and I was a man who she knew wouldn’t do anything inappropriate. I vaguely remember getting home and out of the car but that’s where the night ends for me.

Sat, 11th – First order of business was to find my phone which I knew was in the house thanks to the find my phone app. It turned out to be hiding under the pillows in my bed. For breakfast I whipped up some eggs and guac for me and the Momma. She was asking about my new cooking and my fresh salsa she really liked so I showed her by making it with her. I know I worked on some random stuff before my date with Rori, but nothing memorable enough I guess. After showering and getting ready, I was with her around 5:30 I think so we had a good amount of time before we were planning on skating. We ended up walking down to a park where people were ice skating, and then down to the river where we sat and swung on a swing. She helped me remember or realize that this is the last weekend living in Cincinnati and will only be back when visiting. On the walk back to start heading to our plans for the night, we took a detour to swing by a Hustler Hollywood store because she lived right by it and we had texted about any more interesting or adventurous things we’d tried and that it could be fun to look at together. We spent probably an hour and a half in there. To me it was a legitimate educational experience on the level of visiting a museum and examining artifacts from a large, and foreign world that was both ancient in it’s origins and raw needs, but futuristic in its technology and design. Every conceivable shape and tool for uses in different purposes and combinations. There were at least 10 times where I had to stare at something for an honest minute before it clicked to me how the product was intended to be used. The level of creativity and innovation was honestly mind-boggling. Once we’d seen everything, Rori made it real to me that she was willing to try anything I was curious to learn about first-hand and that this might be a rare opportunity. After probably another half-hour reconsidering everything I’d seen and the decision fatigue that comes with shopping for a wide variety of unfamiliar things as someone naturally very frugal, I had my little basket full and was ready to checkout. My little haul included drip candles that are made of a wax that peels off easily, handcuffs, little rubber cups that you can squeeze to suction anywhere on each other, some black rope for learning to tie each other up, and some rope accessories like a book that teaches basics and a little tickle tool to make sure make sure there isn’t any loss of circulation. Since that took longer than expected we had to head straight to our plans for the night, which was roller skating, immediately. The place was very interesting in that it looked like a castle, but on the inside it was like any rink I’d ever been to. It took a little time to adjust to the skates but we eventually both got comfortable and had a pretty good time. On the way home at around 10pm, I found out she hadn’t eaten since 10am. We tried to think of places open on the way home but ended up deciding that making spaghetti at her place was the fastest option that wouldn’t make her sensitive and already upset stomach even worse. After we’d eaten and she was feeling better we hung out on her couch drinking wine and talking and then started getting close. We decided to move to the bedroom where I nervously tried to think ahead about how and when to use the things I’d bought. Among the conventional things, we tried the candles first which was kinda scary but exciting, and the actual drips didn’t feel enjoyable but basically just burned me. We decided maybe I’d enjoy dripping on someone else more, but naturally being very afraid of hurting others, I didn’t really steer us there. Next we tried the little suction tubes. They didn’t really do much but they were fun to just play with and try different places on each other. Those were actually much more innocent and cute to play with than I expected and would easily use them again. I think the cute fun had us just enjoying each other so much that we didn’t get to the handcuffs or the work of ‘learning the ropes.’ I’m glad we stepped out of what was easy to try some new things and I’m looking forward to see how things go when we see each other again on Valentine’s Day.

Sun, 12th – Waking up with someone else is always so much better than alone. Rolling around, snuggling, being against each other, and helping each  other wake up probably lasted a half-hour. When she said she was hungry but didn’t want to ruin her brunch appetite so I suggested we dip the strawberries we bought at the grocery in chocolate like we’d planned on doing the night before. She introduced me to an amazingly easy microwavable little cup with chocolate which makes dipping anything in chocolate super easy. After a while of snacking and talking and holding onto each other in the kitchen, we ended up on her floor briefly since she had to be leaving for brunch. I kept my promise not to make her late and we headed out, said goodbye, and that we’d see each other in a couple days for Valentine’s and that I’d try to get my rope skills ready enough for some trial by then. I took a four hour nap shortly after getting home. Even after I woke up it took a while to get up, get some food and get a couple little things done. It was difficult, but I got myself to the gym for a short workout before they closed. Once back home, I worked on very slowly trying to get caught up on my journaling while being distracted by the Grammys and texting Dan about music.

 

Journal: 02/06/17-02/09/17

Mon, 6th – Groggy in the morning from the long weekend, the day of sleep, and the sleeping pill, I worked on music for a while and made some progress I felt good about. I am feeling like I’m not quite as close to done as I’ve been thinking. As I get further and further the progress gets smaller and more detailed. There are also a few songs that I’m a little stuck on because they are about events from long ago and I’m trying to make them more energetic than is my natural strength. In the evening I got Dan on the phone to talk through my schedule to go out and record, and we also agreed to working on pre-production beforehand remotely so I’ve already sent him my word doc with the songs and I’m going to try to record and send him garageband demo tracks to get a feel and play around also. Got to speak with Lepsch after that convo and unfortunately he won’t be in NY at all while I’m there but it was still good to catch up a bit. Made tea and got back to reading The Power of Now which feels like the time is right to get back to after all the progress I at least feel like I’ve made with coming closer to terms with the reality of the past and current situation with Carly (spoke too soon?).

Tues, 7th – My therapy session with Leah was late enough in the morning that I was able to do some journaling (starting this very post I think). In session, I basically got her caught up on the last few weekends consisting of my date weekend with Rori where we did an escape room, the past weekend when I visited school, and in between where I went crazy and organized the house top-t0-bottom for over ten hours. After our session while I was sitting in my car with some coffee in the gym parking lot I did some research on the influence and affects that drugs can have on mental illness. I know overall drugs do more to accelerate mental illness than reduce it, but from my last experience on the Feb 3rd above, it felt like an exercise where I was able to learn better than previously to separate what was in my head and what was reality. Once home and washed up, I tried to record music for Dan but ended up just fighting with and updating my old iPad’s setup. I finally ordered some socks and undies I wanted to try and maybe stock up on later if I liked them. There was also a pretty feeble attempt to plan flights for the next few months, but I couldn’t really pull the trigger with some gaps in my plan that could screw things up.

Wed, 8th – Most of my day is covered HERE. In addition to that, I also spoke with Dean Fran in the morning and Alex Neumann about returning to school and about participating in some form of speaking program about mental health in school. The rest of my day consisted of reaching out to friends for support about the back-stabbing I’d found out about, taking a bath, drinking, and taking a cocktail of pills to make sure I would be completely unconscious through the night. Almost everyone I spoke with were incredibly supportive and sensitive to my situation, but Rachel and maybe a couple others (who have cheated) tried to explain how it happens or come up with ways that it could have been worse. That didn’t really feel like genuine support to me.

Thurs, 9th – The drugs and alcohol really did the trick. I was completely unconscious through night without even a shred of dreams to remember I don’t think. I was not in much of a hurry to do anything, and I was planning on getting back to the gym sometime but kept letting myself get distracted and was fine with that. Eventually I made it to the gym and booked my flights to Barcelona, Morocco, and back. Still have to lock  down travel for my flight to NY for recording though. I’ll be leaving from that trip straight out of NY to Morocco so March is going t be a complete whirlwind. I am nervous and really hope we get all the recording done on my trip so I’ll be trying to work on music during the next couple weeks.

Journal: 02/02/17-02/05/17

Thurs, 2nd – Anticipating the visit to Chicago for the weekend, I was able to get to the gym knowing it would probably be at least till the next week before I’d go again. I also got a well needed haircut knowing that it might nag at me while I was visiting to know how much I needed one. Before the actual driving, I did most of my packing, and went to pick up Henry since he’d be joining us. I lingered at Rachel’s a little longer than I needed to so I could get some quality time with Merle, and kinda Tux too. Henry’s ride to my place was pitiful because I wouldn’t let that spoiled brat climb all over me while I was driving like my sister does. He managed to bounce around, climbing on top of everything else and whining like a baby. I quickly finished up the rest of my packing and headed out with Rachel. I did all the driving, and listened to podcasts for maybe the first half before Rachel got restless and was desperate for conversation. She didn’t really have much obviously new or interesting stuff going on, so she made me do most of the talking. For the life of me, though, I can’t remember what I talked about. We got in without incident and in the end the drive was surprisingly easy.

As I got settled and informed groups of friends that I’d arrived, I got a call from Myah but it was Philana on the phone and she was jealous that I hadn’t told her right away. They were both at Myah’s so they came up and we hung out much longer than any of us expected as they asked and I told them about how I got myself into the condition and position to leave. I didn’t really get to give them all the updates since leaving, but they asked how I’m planning on maintaining my progress so we also just talked about self-care and therapy for a while. I also told them that I was hoping and planning to be back in spring and they were excited but trying not to get their hopes up since it wasn’t final. They had to get to bed so we said goodbye and I told them I’d keep them in the loop about where I am that weekend and updates about coming back.

Fri, 3rd – Something woke me up pretty early, around 7am. It might have been Sydney texting me about what time before 1pm would be best for me to catch up with her and talk about my idea for some kind of story event where I can get everything out there for everyone at once. She was very supportive and helpful, and was also very insightful and understanding about my experience even though she hadn’t had one quite the same but had other kinds of self-discovery.

After we’d caught up and talked organizing, back home seeing several things that I’d wanted to get in order last time I lived there whipped me into a frenzy of organizing like I had been doing back at the family house. I organized the book shelf, and sorted mail, straightened up a handful of things in the living room, moved the AC unit down into storage, threw out unnecessary stuff, and more. I got more done in almost two hours than I had been able to in two months last time I lived there. It was satisfying on it’s own to get done, but I also wondered how much of a sign to take it that I was in such bad shape before and am good enough now that things will be different and I am ready to come back.

Timing worked out that right after I’d cleaned and showered it was time to meet up with Liz for lunch. It was really good to see her. I don’t remember the finer points of our conversation, possibly because she didn’t ask about why I left. I did brush over it I think, but she didn’t really ask for any more details so I don’t think I really explained. We talked about my coming back, how she’s been, and how school and recruiting is going for her, and other light conversation like how she handles dating and single life. She headed off to a working meeting and I headed home where I ended up taking a solid 2-3 hour nap from only sleeping 4 hours.

It was hard to rip myself up and by the time I did, I only caught the last hour of the KWEST Trip Fair happy hour that was happening at school. Bundled up from the cold, I decided to keep my scarf up until I noticed Zack, Spencer, and Johnny in the corner. At first I just kinda meandered up by them and kinda lingered. Zack noticed me and he was the only one of them who knew I’d be in town, so I winked at him even though I wasn’t sure if he could tell it was me. When the others noticed me I slowly lowered the scarf and got to see the surprise on their face once they recognized me. Johnny gave me a hug and I gave one to Zack too. I can’t remember if I hugged spencer since he was wearing a grape costume that had him covered in little ballon-filled grapes. I told them that I was in for the weekend but that I was also planning to come back for spring, which excited them. Quasie walked by and I got to surprise him too. I decided to get myself a beer and see who else was around to surprise, so I raised my scarf and wandered into the crowd. On the way to the drink table, I bumped into Arjun, and on the way back saw Peter, Jane, Sonia, and Andrew. I made my way upstairs to find a few others that I knew were there and got to say hi to and hang out with Aalok, Lindsey, Nick, Jillian, Kyndrea, Inge, and Joe.

I’d already planned to have dinner with Aalok, so we headed out for that after the happy hour was over and were joined by Inge, Ajay who I got to meet, and then Nick and Jillian. Conversation was fun and light and crossed a variety of topics from introversion and extroversion to holistic medicine to recreational drugs and more.

We knew many people from happy hour had moved to Whiskey Thief, so most of us headed there to join up. One of the first people I saw there and got to sneak up on was Milan. He looked so stunned, and confused, and in utter disbelief to see me I couldn’t help but laugh as he gave me a big hug. I also saw and got to catch up with Griffin and Andrew some more. Everyone I saw was pretty consistent in letting me know that everyone was thinking of me and missed while I’ve been gone. I did a little walk-around and got to sort of catch up with Paige, Connor, and Jeff, then got to sneak up on and say hi to Diganto and John which was great to see them and catch up a bit and talk to the potential incoming students they were hosting. I also bumped into Sri and got to chat a bit about how things were. On my lap back around I found Aalok and the gang in a booth and we played with the candles on the table. When I turned I noticed Liz on the dance floor so I went to say hi, and Milan, who was getting pretty drunk by this point, grabbed my face and said that I was what home was. He also asked about my filling out from working out since he had an upcoming wedding that he’s preparing for. He gave me a nice feel and encouraged Liz to do the same so I let them have a few good squeezes of me and said that I’d had the luxury of time to get to gym almost every day for a couple months. Back at the booth, I rejoined and laid down on both Lindsey and Aalok and snuggled them for a while until we decided to join everyone who was heading to the next bar.

Aalok decided not to join us at Prairie Moon. I’m not sure if it was due to class work, or if he was tired from the social exhaustion as an introvert. At Prairie Moon I headed to the back and was further assaulted with love by Milan which I didn’t mind at all, but his lovely fiancé Cherie started to get him under control. By the bar I spotted G and got to talk to him for a while about banking recruiting and he told me about how he got an internship and introduced me to his closest recruiting buddy Nathalie. Eric Palmer joined for a while and then I started heading back towards the front to find Lindsey and the others I came with. On the way I got to surprise Megan who looked like she might cry a little bit when she saw me. It was like the face people in YouTube videos make when they’re surprised with a puppy. She’d evidently been very worried for me and was happy to hear that I’d be back soon. When I got to the front and found Lindsey she was with Elaine and Stephen who were dancing so I joined them. The lights came on and the bar started clearing out and we headed to Burger King for the only food available that late.

Nothing really happened at BK except eating and some of the usual silliness. That was probably my drunkest of the night so it’s a little fuzzy whether we had any real conversation mixed in there. After walking the others home to E2 and turning toward my place, G called and invited me over to Brandon’s apartment where I headed. I got to catch up with Jesse who jumped up and was excited to see me and had missed me even though she hadn’t known that I was on a full leave of absence. I gave her the short version of things and she didn’t have too many questions, but was encouraging about coming back. G had some serious talk with me in the kitchen, I think about how much he thinks I need to come back which I told him I was pretty confident in.

Hanging out on the couch put me pretty close to what was being passed around. I passed on the hard stuff but decided to give the soft stuff a try and see how I could handle myself. It took a while to kick in, but then I realized how long everything seemed to be taking, that my brain and my thoughts were moving at light speed but my body and my words weren’t able to keep up. I tried my best to simply observe how I felt and thought and was being affected. I focused on trying to focus on being able to describe what was happening. One of the first hurdles to get over was paranoia, which I wouldn’t have thought to use in previous experiences. How that felt was as if they were completely faking what they were doing, and that the night was all a setup for them to mock me because I wasn’t in on it while they pretended not to show that they were laughing at me. Trying to observe the slowing of time, I pulled out my phone and tried typing notes as fast as I could, but it took what seemed like a lifetime to even capture a handful of my lost thoughts. I felt lost. I felt I could only move so slow and everyone was so far away that I would never be able to reach them and they would not be able to go slow enough to understand me. Focusing back on the observation, I started noticing that it seemed my senses felt heightened. As I looked at the room, it was as if my entire field of vision was in complete focus at the same time. Objects in my peripheral were just as clear and I could give them the same amount of attention as what was right in front of me. I could sense and feel, and almost see the air in the room that is easy to forget. It was clear how everything is different kinds of matter swirling around each other, there are no empty spaces. I assume things wrapped up and I was herded towards home. I had to continually concentrate and remind myself what I was doing and where I was going and to remind my future self so that I wouldn’t get lost. Walking home felt like an epic journey. On the way, I hypothesized that perhaps some of my cognitive functions slowing down were caused by the disproportionate capacity being used up in my sensory processing. I felt like I could smell everything around me. I could taste the last 3 things I ate. I could hear how each sound was made up of the sum of many tiny sounds, vibrations, scratches. I could feel pressure changes in the air and could almost understand how it was a result of other bigger atmospheric changes.

I made it home by about 5am, exhausted from the journey. In the bathroom I took a picture of my red eyes, then I passed out, relieved to have survived, and wondering how I’d feel the next day.

Sat, 4th – I think I slept in till around 11. I probably did some little things around the house and to get ready for the day. Early in the afternoon, Zack and Andy came over and I showed them my place and hung out for a while until we decided to head out for brunch. I got to hear a little about how Andy’s wedding planning was coming, and Brooke even made a brief appearance. Afterwards, instead of doing anything too interesting, the three of us headed back to Andy’s apartment to kick back, drink beers, and watch a few hours of planet earth.

At some point, G invited me to go and pregame with the Pride group before they went down to boy’s town. I left Zack and Andy planning to join back up with them after the pregame and not go downtown. Rob was hosting so I got to see him and Oliver and meet a handful of new people who’s names I’m not 100% confident in at this point. I met Adam, who’s a second year MMM and we got on the topic of my leaving and his connection to a small group of students meeting to discuss their own issues with depression and anxiety. I also me Travis, but can’t remember what we discussed at Rob’s, although we did ride together downtown and got in a debate about how and when you can know and trust someone. So yes, I caved and decided to join the boy’s town adventure planning to move over to the DAK event where more people were. That never happened. Instead I spent my whole night out in boy’s town and had a lot of fun playing a very serious wingman for Allie, and getting apologized to by Travis for some reason. After Allie found someone on her own, which I was pretty disappointed about, I met some nice girls and was talking to one who I kinda locked onto. I’m pretty sure it was hearing that she just got out of a long term relationship and knowing we could relate to each other in a way that not everyone could. Things didn’t really go anywhere by the time everyone was leaving so we exchanged numbers I think because we’ve been texting. Next I knew we were back at Brandon’s again. This time my curiosity had already been satisfied, so I passed on everything I was offered. I got to hear a little bit about the downsides of being from a famous or recognized family. I got home again somehow and think it might have been around 5am again.

Sun, 5th – Rachel wanted to get home by early evening so I only slept 3 hours. As soon as we’d gotten ready with everything in the car I went straight into a four hour nap.I finished the final two hours of the drive, and again, almost as soon as I got home, I fell into a six hour nap. I woke up pretty disoriented and was afraid of throwing off my sleep cycle, so I did my best to make sure I could sleep through the night by making tea, reading, and taking a sleeping pill. It worked surprisingly well.

Journal: 01/29/17-02/01/17

Wow. REALLY let the last month get away from me. Not for no reason, but I’ll have to figure out how to stay on top of journaling when I’m back in the craziness of school.

Sun, 29th – I left her place relatively early for us. It took some resolve not to initiate anything physical again that would end up keeping me there for longer than she needed. Getting home early in the afternoon I did some stretching, listen to podcasts, and spent several hours that evening and night writing my posts about the weekend and completing a longer 1-off post about a big conversation that had happened weeks ago but I hadn’t been emotionally ready to relive until then.

At home, Carly also sent me a song on Spotify that was about the singer asking if there was another man. As I listened to it, it said a lot of things that I had been feeling and actually included lines that were almost identical to the ones I’d written in songs. She told me she would only listen to it in her car for a week or two feeling sad and guilty because she wouldn’t listen around New Guy. Although I do care about her and want to remain, there is a small voice that pops up and asks why I am choosing to stay in touch with someone who made a plan and left me for someone else, even though she says she didn’t leave me for him because she didn’t think he’d follow through.

Knowing that I would be visiting Chicago over the coming weekend, I was curious and asked Rori how she is expecting me to operate on the occasion that I meet someone that I am attracted to and want to get close to. Her response was that we aren’t in a relationship and to do whatever I was comfortable with as long as I wouldn’t feel any need to lie to her about it. That confused me since I’ve always been in a relationship where the line of what is appropriate is always clear ahead of time. I started thinking out loud about how we aren’t nothing, and realized maybe the best way to put it was that I am dating and that she is someone I’ve gone on dates with and that’s really all the expectation there is. In that moment my mind kind of exploded and expanded to understanding a whole new bigger world of reality that everyone else had known, but I’d manage to avoid really understanding.

It was like learning Santa isn’t real: beforehand, you kind of know but aren’t sure what the alternative means, then the whole world looks different and makes more sense with this new information, and there is simultaneously a kind of loss of innocence that tends to come with the steps of growing up.

Mon, 30th – I spent the majority of the day around the house, communicating and thinking about plans for my birthday celebrations in Cincinnati and Columbus.

Tues, 31st  – Mostly I continued to confirm people and plans for my Cincinnati birthday and my upcoming visit to Chicago. In the evening I had accidentally started preheating the oven with the pans that end up getting stored there still inside. I decided that I’d find a new place for them soon, which I knew could mean rearranging other storage areas to make room for them.

Wed, Feb 1st – In the morning I decided to move some of the items I decided to bring back to Chicago that I’d left in the living room down to the basement. Doing that reminded me that I’d meant to rearrange the pots in the kitchen. As I suspected, in order to make useful room for the pans and cooking skeets in the oven, I ended up going through all of the cabinets that held other kitchen ware, pots, tupperware, and appliances. I guessed what could be thrown out and re-organized things along with other items they’d likely be used with. As I was going through the kitchen, I found seasonal serving bowls and other items that made more sense in the basement with other seldom-used items. After bringing those things down and putting them in the best place I could think, I kept finding other areas to straighten up. The laundry area had a heap or two of trash rags and items that needed to be thrown out. Since I was there, I also re-arranged and organized the shelving and other laundry items. Next to the laundry is the “utility closet” kind of area that contained a heap of paint cans and home improvement and car supplies. I moved and organized all the paint cans out of the way and organized the separate car, home improvement, and yard care items. I headed back to the kitchen where I’d left a bunch of plastic travel cups to find a place for. I realized the closet where the reusable/lunch bags are would be a good place for them. As I went through the closet to make room I started finding stashes of candles that I started gathering on the table to bring into the basement later. As I had worked my way through the basement and closet, I also kept finding stashes of papers that had indiscriminately held onto in case they ended up being necessary. As I collected these, I realized the spare room closet might be the best and biggest place to keep all theses things together and close enough to sort through easily. Making room for all those papers meant clearing room out of the spare closet and it seemed the upstairs hall closet would be a better place for a lot of the clothing. By the time I had fully done all the reorganizing and straightening-up, I checked the time and realized that I had been working for over ten hours nonstop. The sense of accomplishment felt really satisfying, but part of me wondered if this was a symptom of a pattern where I feel compelled immersed in completing a task I’m focused on to the best and fullest of my ability. I decided I would bring this up with my therapist to see if this should raise any flags about bipolar or something not diagnosed yet.

At the end of the day, I got to help my technologically challenged Momma set up her own bitmoji that she’d been wanting for a while.

 

Journal: 01/28/17

Reiterating her need to get things done today, but not seeming to really want to do much about it, Rori and I got up and moving around 10ish. She had her leftover Gomez for breakfast and I made myself a kind of breakfast burrito from fried eggs, salsa, black beans, and a tortilla.

After we’d eaten she finally got to show me the poem she wanted to the night before but couldn’t because we had to leave for our date. The poem was very powerful and covered a lot of what is really important and meaningful in a human life. I highly recommend anyone reading give it a look. It’s called The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer.

We talked about which lines of the poem we felt like apply to us more than others right now, listened to music, and sat in her big sunny windows while she kept asking herself what she really needed to get done today and how.

This went on for probably a couple hours while she went in circles rehashing the same handful of to-dos in her mental list of things to get done but then conceded that some of it just couldn’t be scheduled and done during the weekend but would have to wait till the week. During this time we also did some rolling around on her living room floor and she challenged me to benchpress her so I did a handful of times and then tried to hold her up like an airplane with my legs. I was able to do it, but not with much control or any grace.

We kept getting side tracked by fun little distractions with each other and would keep coming around to what she was going to decide to get done. At one point I was going to drive her to get her car worked on and then we’d go to a place nearby to play laser tag but it wasn’t in walking distance. Eventually she gave up on almost everything and we had gotten hungry so we went to grab lunch.

When we got to my car we saw that I had a parking ticket from misinterpreting the street sign. Since I had to move my car anyways I drove and she directed me to a lunch place that didn’t exist anymore so we turned around and went somewhere close to where we started.

After a big lunch that filled me up I think I was feeling a food coma coming on and said I needed some coffee. She guided me to a nice unique coffee shop she liked and we almost got in a couple accidents on the way. Once we had my drink and her cookie we sat on a couch and discussed our feelings about the different love languages. I accidentally crossed the line and pulled back a couple times from being too affectionate with her in public since she was concerned about being a distraction to people working.

went somewhere else before getting her grocery shopping done together. She was fast, didn’t get much, and bought some stuff for her kids that she didn’t have to which I admired.

This time when we got to her place I parked at the cheap 24 hour library lot a couple blocks away.

We put the groceries away, then almost immediately took some back out when we decided what to make for dinner. Some kind of burrito bowl thing I think. Good though.

Rori decided to send her friend Michelle a photo of both of our bowls to see if she put together that she was on a date. Rori makes it seem like she’s very reluctant to let almost anyone know when she is seeing anyone, and I’ve heard her say more times than I can remember that “I don’t date.” She seemed to me making some kind of exception for me, but I don’t know what that means or really what to think of it.

We moved to the couch and watched a pretty good movie after dinner. I’m sure we were talking about other things now and then throughout the movie but I don’t remember what exactly. She kept checking her phone waiting for her friend Michelle’s reaction and eventually decided to take another photo where just my hand wrapping around her arm was visible. Michelle finally put it together and I think sent a few messages and then called. Rori gave me the phone to answer and I said hi to Michelle and there was just a confused and maybe stunned silence on the other end. Rori snatched the phone back, told Michelle she’d talk to her later, and hung up. It all felt reminiscent of the kind of ‘reveal’ moment that I haven’t had for a very, very long time.

I forget exactly how we got to this topic exactly, but shortly after the movie was over she mentioned her crazier college days. I wasn’t really able to share similar stories, but could only talk about how I was able to retain so much of my innocence through undergrad and how I actually like my innocence but how I think it can cause confusion with women specifically. Though I’m very honest and straightforward about my interest in them, I think they assume that comes with more expectations than I actually have. When they might think that I’m trying to stick it in, in reality I am trying to just cuddle and kiss them all night.

She’s very smart and insightful so she asked some good questions and I ended up telling her about my current feelings about sex and partner selection. How the only person I’d been with since was someone who I met at a  philanthropic event, who I found out volunteered and I could tell was a good person, but, kinda like Rori, had some walls up. We laughed about that a little. I talked about how thoroughly I tried to explain my situation to this girl out of fear of hurting her and she told me to shush, that she knew my situation, and to let it be. That was a gift. I also had a lot of meaning and personal conversations with her that I later found out meant enough for her to write me a letter thanking me for showing her it’s ok for her to be herself and how grateful she was for having met me. That has kind of set the standard for how meaningful, if temporary, I would want any future sexual relationships to be.

We headed to bed right after that conversation because she was wanting to go to church in the morning. I really couldn’t say exactly what I picked up on, whether her body language or verbal responses were distant or short, but once we got into bed I had to ask her why she felt distant.

It took some encouraging and questioning, and for a while her responses were too vague and evasive that I couldn’t understand what was happening. It became clear that our conversation about my innocence and commitment to holding onto it had brought something up. At first I thought maybe she was remembering and feeling the loss of innocence for mistakes she felt she’s made. I tried to tell her that I thought as long as mistakes were learned from that she didn’t have to lose anything, but could gain it back. Her response was that the mistakes she’s thinking of were someone else’s, not hers, and that she had any choice in the matter taken away from her.

I told her I was sorry and that I understood now. Knowing that there was really nothing I could say to her, the only thing I could think that made any sense to say was to tell her about the ways I had been taken advantage of as a kid and how it has been a source of guilt and confusion for me.

Her response was pretty funny and typical of her, giving her professional social worker opinion on how textbook my case was and that any guilt or shame on myself was misplaced. Regarding her own traumas, she shared a little more of how they happened. I didn’t show any reaction but let her know it made me want to kill someone and cry at the same time. She told me that she doesn’t like telling people because then they feel a need to protect her, even from themselves, and she doesn’t need to be treated differently like that.

Not long after that, in part to prove to both of us that I wasn’t going to treat her any differently, and mostly because I just wanted to, I climbed on top of her and started thoroughly kissing her. She weakly tried pushing me off her with a smile on her face so I didn’t let her move me. She’d previously told me that I do a good job of knowing when she’s wanting to play-fight, and when she really wants me to stop something. She does a good job of flatly using her words if I’m accidentally doing something she doesn’t like.

I kept kissing her and let my hands roam all over her. Again, I knew that I wanted, and was ready, for something, and that she could easily stop me if she wanted to. I led my hands around her hips and steadily between her legs, paying close attention for any indication to stop. She gave me none that I could tell, and instead gave signals of acceptance and encouragement, so I kept going. As much as I’ve fantasized about meaningless sex, I don’t know if, in reality, I could enjoy it very much or in the same way. To me, the trust, gentleness, and acceptance that is required for physical intimacy makes it just as much, if not more, emotional than anything else I can think of. Being let into knowledge of someone’s body is an incredibly personal and irreversible thing. That is even still the case in “meaningless” sex.

Once it seemed she was satisfied, I stopped and she almost went right to sleep, but she fought it and started kissing my chest. Working her way down my stomach, she had a lot of fun playing with how I would involuntarily twitch if she kissed me in the right places. She kissed her way down my stomach and kept kissing as she passed it. The knowledge that someone is choosing to take care of you in a way that doesn’t give back to them except for the knowledge that you are putting your trust in them is pretty emotional and beautiful too when you think about it.

Maybe I’m putting too much into all this, but when you’ve been in one relationship for the entire nine years of your adult life, it’s easy to take those things for granted unless they are violated, until they become fresh again, or both.

After a while, she said she was ready and would rather have me somewhere else. I told her I’d been thinking the same thing. This wasn’t the first time I’d been with someone since my relationship ended. There had been one person before, but this was the first time since I had made major steps in  grieving and fully moving on from it. It felt a little different; more real, since I’d gotten to know Rori better in a way that I have a great amount of respect for her personal values, honesty, integrity, toughness, and kindness.

I did my best to pay attention and do right by her, and from her non-verbal cues, I think I did an acceptable job, but her inability to verbally express anything positive that insinuates someone else has any power over her keeps me from really knowing for sure.

I went to sleep happy and content.

Journal: 02/13/17

Switching back over to individual day posts while getting caught up because this is getting out of hand.

Whipped myself up some fried egg with guac and fresh salsa for brekky after waking up at a reasonable hour and not spending a completely excessive amount of time in bed listening to music and coaxing myself up.

I spent basically all of the morning starting what will be the last song on my album in light of the true nature of the end of my relationship. There is a lot to it and a lot to remember but I think I got all, and if not I’m sure the rest will come to me. I am glad that I took some time away just because it would have been too exhausting to try to grind it out while it was still fresh. I don’t think any of my feelings have changed at all though, and I can’t see them changing any time soon.

It’s a lot. I’m not sure how I’m going to get everything that I have to say in its fullest yet densest, without creating a 10 minute song but if that’s what it takes to do it right I guess I shouldn’t worry about how long the average song is. This one isn’t the average song. Working on it made me realize that in order to continue my intention not to look back or give any more thought or attention to her at all anymore, I’ll never be able to play any of these songs again once they are completed and laid to rest. I think I’m still perfectly ok with that, and if anything, would rather just work on a forward-looking album instead. It might get awkward to have to turn any close friends or family down who may ask to hear me play live though.

While I would have preferred to make progress on my other existing songs, I couldn’t help but organize a little more and add to my notes for songs that would be in a second album. I’m trying not to think about that any further than taking down any thoughts or ideas as they come to me naturally. I still haven’t gotten a response from Dan about landing time, and also had the idea of having someone filming a little bit in the studio while we’re working. I’m thinking either Sean or maybe someone Dan knows.

My writing breaks consisted of finally sorting through (but not paying or calling about) my last batch of bills from the apartment in Chicago, eating, just playing some songs on my guitar, practicing a little rope work for tomorrow, reviewing email, and trying to register for Spring classes, and more eating. Although I wasn’t able to get registration completed for reasons beyond my control, I should be able to get it all done in R2 without any issue.

By the time I knew I couldn’t do any more about registration for the day, it was a little later than I felt comfortable with about going to the gym and getting my energy up since I wanted to go to sleep earlier and wake up earlier.

I texted my closest friends up at school and they were excited. I’m very excited, but nervous to the extent that is probably normal and that I should feel, but not much more or less.

We’re having a boy! His name is Lepsch Junior. They showed me his penis.

Throughout the day and evening, along with school friends, I also had conversation with Rori planning our date tomorrow, got to know Harper a little better, and messaged with Nathalie and Lisa. That is a lot of talking with different girls. I don’t think I feel weird about it thought for multiple reasons. First there wouldn’t be anything wrong with dating around even if I was. Second, I’m not even sure what my intentions are with half of them. Third, I’m only actually seeing one of them and we have established we are not in a relationship. It is kind of nice to feel ok and ready to start to get back out there as just another step towards putting things behind me and moving forward.

My brain is too tired to try to remember any more stuff. Night night.

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