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Bold Honesty

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abusing yourself

Journal:01/13/17

Friday ended up being a bigger adventure than I expected.

I almost missed therapy again. I think I set my alarm early enough that the mom was still getting ready to go to work and I didn’t want to get in her way so I must have turned my alarm off or something.  I woke up a while later to the sound of another alarm outside my bedroom door. Pretty embarrassing to say but since she knew I missed therapy the day before, she set an extra alarm for me. Very nice and thoughtful, but it sounds pretty pathetic and is not the easiest to admit, but I’m really trying to work on not holding back even in the little ways that are really easy to just omit and own everything that is real.

Often times, since I am better at seeing the little things I’m ashamed of instead of the little things that I should be proud of, I know my honesty is probably giving myself and others a lopsided view of more of my bad than my good. I think I’m going to try to revive and change the format of my posts about what I love about myself to be a single running list that I timestamp any time I add to it.

Therapy itself was a lot of updating Leah on my conversations with Carly since we last met. I also told her that I was a little frustrated how much time and energy dealing with all the emotional stuff made me feel like I wasn’t making more progress on practical accomplishments and life-management.

We also talked about how I reacted to some of the conversation with Carly. How I have almost a need to coax her to admit all the worst and hardest thing about myself and our relationship so that I can take as much credit for the bad as possible to make sure that 1) I’m thoroughly beating the lesson into or out of me, I’m not sure which way and 2) I think I have this self punishment complex where it’s only right and just that if I found out I’ve done anyone wrong that I have to learn my lesson in a painful way as some form of payment or penance of fairness.

Leah said that wasn’t really healthy. I wasn’t surprised.

She went on to point that out as a very extreme type of oversimplified black-and-white thinking to always assume and put all the worst on myself and all the best on others. I get that, but I also see others often excusing themselves for things that they played a role in being responsible for and I don’t want to be a person who makes excuses and doesn’t learn from my mistakes and continues to hurt people. In that way I guess it does come back to my deep and powerful core value to “never hurt anyone”, which is impossible but I believe worth trying to minimize and I am very harsh and unforgiving of myself when I fail.

One counter to my assumption that I was the only one who had done anything wrong was talking with Leah about the strange little relief to know that Carly had been holding back a whole lot from me about who she really was and what she really needed. The more that sinks in the more it feels like being constantly lied to.  It isn’t about laying any blame, but was a relief to know I wasn’t the ONLY person who had done ANYTHING wrong  like I had been telling myself. In comparison to that, the fact that she was consciously in contact with someone else on a daily basis and developing feelings for them while we were still together doesn’t feel like nearly as big of a betrayal as the foundational lying it turns out she had been doing to both of us for so long. Don’t worry, I’m not using this as ANY kind of excuse for myself, I still take plenty of the blame for wrongdoing still, it has just been important for me to really see past some of my black-and-white thinking that EVERYTHING was ALWAYS ALL my fault.

I think the topic of being so harsh on myself is what reminded me and shifted us to talking about my realizations about how for a long time my extreme pressure, and expectations, and withholding, and harshness with myself was in a way abusing myself. She told me about someone she knew or heard about who put a childhood photo on their bathroom mirror and reminded to love themselves and and treat themselves and talk to themselves the way they would to the little little version of them self that was in the photo. That is something I might try doing since my realization was essentially that I was abusing that person inside me.

I told her about some of the frustration and impatience I was having, feeling like I was spending so much time and making most of my progress in this emotional space that I wasn’t getting to see as much practical improvement as I wanted (even thought there definitely has been a fair amount considering how low I was to begin with). She essentially told me that I was making good progress, that the last thing I needed was something else to beat myself up about, and to be patient with myself.

After therapy, I knew that I would be heading to Columbus for happy hour that afternoon so I got through my daily prep and gym time fast and early and was fussing to customize my computer set up customized when it was time to go.

I headed straight to the bar I was meeting the girls at and Mike D. also decided to come hang out even though he didn’t know anyone else. I got to catch up with Jim Christy who Julie now works with. Mike and everyone got introduced, and talked a little bit about work stuff, then also about dogs, I found out that someone I had worked with used to be a Hooters waitress which I was so happy to know, then a bowling lane opened up and I talked to Paige about what she’s thinking about her career. We all took a picture to share with Kaitlin and Stacy who didn’t end up making it out.

We moved on to Local Bar when it seemed the larger group was winding down pretty early. I got to practice talking with girls who I didn’t know at all without trying too hard. Luckily I actually had a genuine question to ask one of their group who they all were. When some of her group came back, I got to talk with them too. One of whom was a cute, single blonde who I had noticed earlier. They were very cool and the conversation was pretty fun for me at least, then someone turned it political and the dynamic started to get weird even though I didn’t think anyone said anything offensive. They said they were going to Union for the rest of the night after I told them I was going to meet other friends at Pint House and we went our separate ways. Maybe I should have been more direct and given special attention to the cute blonde instead of just being friendly. I don’t know, that’s just the stuff I wonder about after I meet cute girls that get my attention and try to be a genuinely friendly person and considerate of the friends they’re with.

Grant and Carson were there when I got to Pint House so I got to catch up and have both dumb and some bits of meaningful conversation with them. It’s crazy think about how I used to volunteer and mentor them in a christian organization and now I go out and party with them, but to be honest it’s not weird because at the heart we just have brotherly relationships and really care about each other and want to have fun together. We did have a lot of fun being stupid but we also talked a little bit about the status of things with Carly.

Carson was sad to hear about it because he knew her and we had been an example to him. He also told me that I was the only man that he ever cried in front of and how much that meant to him, how it changed his life, and I think he even said was one of if not THE best day of his life. I remembered the night he was talking about. He had a girlfriend who he cared about and she was upset about something bad that happened to her, and he was upset for her. He shed some tears and I had met his father who was a pretty hard man, and I knew that Carson put a lot of his identity in football and a lot of other things that often encourage the rejection or suppression of certain emotions that are considered weakness. I told him that I loved him. I told him that I didn’t care if he was great or terrible at football. I told him I didn’t think any less of him as a man for crying, but maybe even more. I told him that anything he succeeded at or failed at wouldn’t change the fact that I just loved him like a brother.

That night he thanked me and got out of the car since I was dropping him off at home, but since then there’s been a couple times he has told me a little bit about how much that conversation meant to him.

Then we got back to doing dumb stuff. I met their other friends there and one of them was a girl with a cute face and dark brown eyes named Rachel who I thought if she was nice that I would like to maybe kiss and cuddle with. We all went to Union next and the girls who said they would be there from Local Bar were nowhere to be found. Shame. At Union the only meaningful conversation we had was briefly about how I’ve never had a one night stand. Part of me now wonders if that conversation could have been misleading because I would still go home with, and kiss, and cuddle, and maybe fool around with someone if they were cute and nice enough.

Then we headed to The Standard for a while an on the way in I somehow was roped into a short conversation with some cute girls, but my innocent non-opportunistic mind didn’t think to try to extend the conversation to see if they or anyone they knew were nice, cute, and single. I was looking and hoping to find someone to kiss and cuddle with, but my own unique desires and standards are pretty abnormal which makes it hard to be understood and find what I’m looking for. I like my innocence in this way and I am too stubborn to change to operate how is normal, instead of doing things my way.

We didn’t stay at The Standard for too long before ubering to some other place that they young 22-year-old boys chose. Turns out it was a very clubby place in the middle of campus filled with 18-year-olds grinding on the dance floor. There were a rare couple nice girls in groups that seemed to have class and would be nice to get to know, but again the safe thing to assume about a guy in a place like that is that he just wants to have meaningless and selfish sex with anyone he finds attractive enough. I pretty felt very discouraged and lonely by the truth of that fact, and how much I didn’t really like the environment I was in. I think that’s when I opened my phone and typed this note as a draft in wordpress:

“Good damn I miss her so much”

I missed having someone who I didn’t have to wonder if they were a kind and caring human being, and if they understood or cared about who I was. I missed knowing there was someone like that who I could go to almost whenever I wanted and that they would also want to be with me. I also am so full of intimate memories with her that whenever I imaging getting close with someone in any capacity, my default is to see it with her.

I lost Grant and Carson while I was exploring the club, and it turned out they had already left so I headed out and crashed at Molly’s house to end a pretty eventful day.

 

 

Journal: 01/08/17

Ignoring my alarm at the Helmlingers after the late night for Scales’s birthday I’m not sure what time I actually got up. Arie had decided to sleep at her Grandma Marmi’s which I thought was pretty rude and inconsiderate since she’s the one who invited me over.

However, this was a rare chance for Cullen to get undivided quality time with me and I’d say he definitely took advantage of it. I think we played with trains first and built a decent sized though not really functional track. I think it was almost breakfast time by this point and Cullen walks in with a couple pairs of sunglasses and has me wear one of them in all kinds of different ways. We took a couple videos to see ourselves make faces.

Cullen just could not wait for me to be done so we could go play with the blocks next. He kept asking if I was done with my food yet then done with my tea yet again and again. I didn’t mind at all since he’s so cute and was a sign of how much he wanted to spend time with me since he could have played blocks with anyone else without waiting for me.

We build a pretty sweet castle if I do say so myself. We built it around a doll and Cullen wanted pictures with it. I think he wanted to reenforce the castle theme so before the pictures he ran into his sister’s room and came back with some kind of princess scepter thing and held it for the pictures. Once we captured the moment, he now wanted to switch to playing castle by dressing up. He kept bringing me different kinds of princess shoes from his sisters room which couldn’t reach past my big toe and felt like they’d break if I put my weight on them. He then decided that I was the King and he was the Queen and we did a little walk around the house before turning back into normal people again and he had me pull him around the house on a little plastic turtle.

All I can remember next is having a cup of tea while the family showered and got ready for the day. At one point little Cully was running around noodie holding his towel in the air and giggling. I tool my turn to shower and when I came out I decided that it was time for me to head home, but Arie had gotten back while I was showering.

I told her it was too bad that I didn’t get to see her this morning because she wasn’t home and both her and her brother latched onto my legs saying to stay just one more night. I was honored of course and tempted, but something in me was ready to get back home maybe to try to get closer to something resembling a normal week. I also knew I had a lot of cooking to do that would be thrown off if I didn’t get back in time to eat it that week. They took me to the ground and piled on top of me to keep me from leaving which made me feel so loved and happy, but I told them that I could come back soon. Arie pushed to know when and I told her maybe in a couple weekends from now.

The drive home started out just fine, but then fucking Bonnie Raitt had to go and ruin it with her song “I can’t make you love me.” Whenever I hear that god damn song all I can hear and see is Carly’s heart crying out to me over our years together and how she gave everything and would have done anything and I just couldn’t or wouldn’t do the same in return. I cried for the first time in a while thinking about how I wasn’t there for her and treated her so poorly.

I think the connection I made was that I also wasn’t there for or treating myself well at all because I was trying to be who I thought I should be and spending every ounce of myself towards an imaginary future. For years, and especially at school I was:

  1. Putting massive amounts of pressure on myself every day.
  2. Witholding and depriving and delaying so much of the rewards of my work that I developed fear and stress about spending any money on.
  3. Having an all-or-noting mindset. Not allowing or forgiving myself for any mistakes, and thinking and telling myself terrible things about myself if I did make any.
  4. Comparing myself to everyone around me, only seeing the strengths they had which I didn’t
  5. Probably more that I can’t think of right now

In short I was abusing myself terribly. One side of me was demanding, unreasonable, conditional, and abusive with what had once been the real me but had been beaten down into this overwhelmed, stressed, scared, lost, insecure, identity which eventually fully believed all the worst about itself that the abusive thoughts would tell it. I was killing myself, and eventually I broke myself, my spirit, my worth, my will to live,

If you saw a parent treating a child the way I was treating myself it would have been both heartbreaking and infuriating. I cried more thinking about it and wondering how many people I met in group therapy treat themselves similarly, and wondering if anyone else around me does also.

Something got me thinking of my trip back to school and if I’ll have some opportunity to tell my whole story. I immediately knew that there were parts of the story in my past that I would be ashamed of and want to avoid or minimize in sharing. Then I started thinking about how much our holding back from each other keeps us from really helping one another in times of need.

If we don’t own these problems and let them show, but keep them to ourselves, how are others and young ones going to recognize or feel safe enough to let their problems show to get the help they need? People like me don’t really get the help needed until after reaching the very end of our rope… otherwise the buildup of pain finds escalating outlets for relief through unhealthy attention seeking, isolation, substance abuse, workaholism, shopaholism, violence against themselves or others, reckless endangerment, suicide, homicide, mass killing, and probably even some if not many human atrocities. I don’t think anyone chooses to do these things for what they are. I think that there is so much repression from teaching and inability to find healthy outlets that pain builds up to the point of desperate and extreme behavior.

I know that is a relatively simplistic view, but after feeling the raw power of being completely under the control of my illness, how it possessed and enslaved me in another realm of consciousness, I believe there is enough power in these things to make it possible.

My conclusion was that if I ever get an opportunity to share my story with an audience of friends and loved ones at school I will not hold back, or hedge, but claim and own all the mistakes and weaknesses and flaws that I’ve recognized. I think that will be the most healthy for myself to not let those things influence me with shame, but also is the only way to really help others who may not recognize if they or anyone close to them is in a similar pattern.

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