Anonyst Man

Bold Honesty



The First Long Call: A Big Step Toward Closure (01/06/17)

This is my best attempt to capture (maybe not in the exact flow) the first lengthy, significant contact I’ve had with Carly since I started this blog. I mentioned not long ago we texted a little about what we’re learning and she said she would be ready to start having real conversation with each other again when I was ready.

I discussed the possibility with my therapist, and my fear was I would find out I’m no longer important or special to her in any way, or the contact would bring back strong feelings for one of us and not the other. The very last thing I needed right now was for either of us to get hurt, and hurting her would have hurt me.

My therapist challenged me to have the conversation sooner than later because the risk would never go away regardless of how long I waited, and it could be a relief to find out we felt the same about each other either way. I thought it would be a relief to know although she’s moved on that I’m still a very important and special person to her.

I tried not to think of it too much until I felt some level of comfort with risking the conversation, but a few nights later I was grocery shopping and something had gotten in my head to get me feeling very sharply anxious, insecure and inadequate wondering if the guy she dated after me was better than me in every way and everything I’m not.

Shortly after I got home from the grocery store I decided I couldn’t dwell in these feelings, doubts, and questions which felt like they were eating away and corroding me from the inside like a chemical burn. I texted her I’d be open to talking soon and she asked right away if now worked. Forgetting her time zone is three hours behind, I was a little surprised and instantly froze in panic for a second but took a breath and thought I didn’t have a good enough reason not to so I agreed and she called.

We started with a bit of light conversation hearing about each other’s holidays. There wasn’t much interesting or out of the ordinary I don’t think.

Somehow the conversation transitioned to me asking her more about who she is now, and what she’s done and seen. Not with any judgement whatsoever, but it was crazy for me to hear her talk about drugs she’s seen regularly at Hollywood parties, and ones she’s tried or now does regularly herself for primarily pain management purposes. It was hard to wrap my head around how casual and informed she was on the topic as someone who I’d known as a solidly conservative seeming, traditional seeming, almost Stepford Wife like person through much of our relationship.

She had texted me earlier how she was learning about her own pattern of trying to live up to some expectation and suppress her true self in relationships without any wrongdoing or pressure from her partner, and at some point I had to ask if I probably didn’t fully know her at all. She said probably not, and hearing more about how different her life, and perspective and opinions are surprised me how little I may have known the real her at all.

Although it could be nice to be taken care of by someone behaving that way, a recurring fear I had about our relationship was that it was, and would only get more like the boring, cookie-cutter life I was afraid to get stuck in.

Eventually I just out and asked her some of the questions which had been eating away at me. When I told her she was still important to me and I was afraid I was no one to her now. I also told her I had been feeling insecure and inadequate at the thought of New Guy being everything I’m not and that now she looks back and thinks less of me than she did when we were together because she didn’t know any better.

She said none of that was true and let out a breath which also said it was a silly question. After all she had done and gone through since our breakup, and how much she seemed to have changed, I felt the need to ask. I did elaborate on some areas of comparison and was somewhat relieved to hear some of the specific ways that New Guy hadn’t been a good partner in ways I knew I had.

The strangest area to discuss my newly developed doubts and insecurities was around my performance and contribution to the physical portion of our relationship. Our unique position of being each other’s first and only before we broke up is part of what enabled those feelings. I’m much more reluctant and skeptical to accept any good about myself, but I fully accept the bad in an instant. Hearing about a few areas of strength in my ability to perform physically was a weight off my shoulders, and I immediately agreed with her only stated weakness about having room for more confidence. The area she said I was probably average I have a hard time feeling ok with because I’m tough on myself and don’t consider average to be good enough.

What made even the positive opinions difficult to hear was knowing that they were based on her experiences with other men (which was kind of the point, I know). The hardest part might have been hearing how her opinions have changed, and her encouragement for me to also have a more casual encounter myself. I don’t judge or think any differently of her, but part of me naturally found it painful to hear that something we had once treated as somewhat sacred with each other, she was no longer treating as such, and could possibly have been giving what I thought of as a precious gift to people who might not be kind enough to deserve it.

She apologized if dating someone else so fast contributed and made my feelings of insecurity and inadequacy worse. I told her the apology was unnecessary. We were broken up and she didn’t owe me anything so she didn’t do anything wrong.

In fact she had been so good to me in our relationship that I told her, since I better understood and appreciated how well she loved me, she has become a role model for how I want to give in any form of relationship: taking any chance to care for my loved ones unconditionally. Her reaction was to tell me I shouldn’t want to be like her because she gave too much of herself. I don’t think the problem is being too giving and loving, but doing so from a false sense of roles and expectations instead of out of your own sense of self. Although her willingness to give and love was unconditional, I guess her own happiness and self worth has been directly conditional on others.

As we talked about how we were doing, it was strange I was working on moving on from her while she was already moved on and trying to get over New Guy. I asked her why I was taking so long to move on. She said she had started the process of moving on long before we broke up and had been working up the courage to break up with me while also not wanting to make things harder for me while I was in the middle of grad school application stress. Apparently having New Guy really helped her get over me too. She did say she had a short while where she was mad at me or trying to be mad at me after she broke the silence and I got to tell and text her a ton of apologies.

I wished I had reasons to be angry at her to make moving on a little easier, but told her I couldn’t really think of any since she had always been so good to me. She reminded me the fact she’d been hiding and holding back her real self from me was fair reason. I guess I had already started to feel angry about that the more I understand how much she had kept from me and essentially felt lied to in many ways for a long time.

She kept insisting I hadn’t done anything to influence it but she did it herself because of her expectations for any romantic relationship. She mentioned how in hindsight she was so much more fun with other friends and guy friends than she had been with me. That makes me feel lied to, and cheated, and in a sense she had given herself to other men in a way she wasn’t giving herself to me. Ironically, more fun side of her is what I fell in love with and maybe would have softened my fears about a Stepford life if she hadn’t gone away.

The other thing she said it would be fair for me to get mad about was New Guy again. I told her again that we were broken up so she didn’t do anything wrong and I didn’t blame him at all for scooping her up asap. They had been friends from work and she said I could be mad they kept in touch so frequently. I said that wasn’t a big deal and she hadn’t really talked to him that much. When she told me she had been texting him every day for months before we broke up I was surprised and had not know it had been that much. I think she maybe made a half-hearted attempt to be transparent that they were in touch, but probably just enough to somewhat satisfy her conscience without really being enough for me to think twice about it. Even if I had know the true frequency, it probably never would have crossed my mind to question it because I trusted her without question.

Something clicked in my head and I asked her if she was telling me she had cultivated feelings for him and had an emotional affair with him before we broke up. She said yes, but it wasn’t based on much because their conversation was very surface level. I didn’t feel much consolation from the style since the substance was still her choosing to continue indulging and developing feelings for him daily.

That rocked my world. Whenever I had told friends or family how quickly she moved on I said I trusted her and I didn’t think anything inappropriate happened. I was wrong. I was wrong to trust her for that period when she had been allowing and developing feelings for someone she chose to contact every day while I was with her.

I can’t say I had never felt the spark of feelings for old friends or new people during our relationship, and even shared residual feelings to an old friend who I thought deserved to know, which even today I can’t say whether a part of me had any ulterior motives. However, part of what was going on under my nose felt somewhat different because of the daily effort in maintaining and initiating contact.

Looping back around to how it was taking me so long to get over her while she was already moving on from someone else, we discussed a bit about how she doesn’t have interest in maintaining any kind of friendship with him because he wasn’t really capable of connecting with her on a meaningful level. I asked her how she was having a harder time moving on from someone she felt that way about than me. Her response was, in addition to simply choosing him and not being chosen back (again), she felt she gave our relationship everything she could, but wasn’t able to have that chance with him because he walked away so easily.

Before I would have agreed whole-heartedly that she had done absolutely everything she could have in our relationship. It was definitely true in the sense she gave all her time and energy into doing what she thought she was supposed to do, which was giving, caring and supporting. However, ironically, realizing more and more how she had kept herself and her needs from me, I could no longer agree she had done absolutely everything she could in our relationship.

Shortly after the conversation, I remembered that while we had been discussing our future, I had asked her if she would be interested in going to therapy together. Her sentiment was therapy is what premarital counseling is for after I make the choice to commit or not. At the time she also felt the issue was isolated to me and not her. I probably would have agreed before knowing what I now know and I can’t help but wonder what couples therapy could have done if it had been able to surface the issues we’re now dealing with apart. Such thinking is futile so I try no to dwell on how we could have done more, but carry what I’m learning forward.

More and more I’ve been learning how critical it is in any relationship that each individual be a healthy and whole person first before they can have the proper intentions and balance the give-and-take of a relationship.

That, I think, prompted me to tell her how I was learning just how unhealthy I had been and how terribly I had been treating myself internally. This gave me another opportunity, which I took again, to apologize for how my poor treatment of myself was in large part what overflowed into not being present or able to see her in order to treat her as well as she deserved.

Since she knew I wanted brutal (somewhat self-punishing) honesty to be shown fully my errors so that I could better appreciate and thoroughly learn to never do them again, she told me how I hadn’t been there for her enough and at times left her alone to do my own work when she was frustrated about being turned down for several jobs she worked very hard for and when her grandfather passed away. In no way do I excuse myself for those things. I remorsefully apologized and am working on forgiving myself for it. I also acknowledged for myself that she had been putting on a brave face, a mask that wasn’t true, which I hadn’t asked her to, and made it harder for me to see through while I was already blinded by my own agenda.

When she told me how she saw my depression building over time by isolating and not being interested in things I used to, she implied, if not explicitly said, she could tell for a long time I was on course for an imminent, massive breakdown.

Part of me was triggered and wanted to say “well then why the fuck didn’t you say anything to me or my family to encourage me to get any help?!” After asking in more civil terms, since I knew it was possible she had tried to warn me but I had been dismissive and blind, all she was able to say was she did express towards the end of our relationship that she wanted to get out more. She was absolutely right and I should have taken her out more and I regret not. I also try not to dwell on wondering what could have happened if she’d helped me get the help I couldn’t see I needed when she could see it.

All this talk about what we had been learning about how we both tried be who we thought we were supposed to be instead of ourselves got me thinking. I asked, since the more we lost ourselves the worse we were for each other, if now finding ourselves brought us closer together again, whether she was categorically closed off to considering getting back together. I tried to be abundantly clear I wasn’t trying or in any state of mind to even think about getting back together, but I thought it would be a tragic shame if we somehow became right together yet ended up missing each other.

Something reminded me I still hadn’t told her my side of the story leading up to our breakup. I was relieved it was important and helpful to her that she got to be the one to actually initiate the breakup since I decided not to do it myself before her trip to visit with a friend.

By this point it was almost 4am and we’d brought up but failed to end the conversation a couple times. We failed again by getting on the topic of our blogs. She’s been using her’s more as a platform to demonstrate, encourage and attract authenticity in people around her and it seems like she’s gotten really good response. Thinking more about her intentions after our conversation really inspired me to set the same example by being more fully vulnerable and exposed by not hiding behind any anonymity and being as forthcoming as possible in any blog post or conversation without reservation or embarrassment but fully owning everything past and present. She said I could follow her but I passed for now and I gave her my blog name but I think asked she hold off on looking until I felt more comfortable with it.

We said our goodbyes and I told her the conversation had been mostly good but a lot to take in so I might not be ready for another one like it for a while. She understood and said she’d put the ball in my court regarding when to talk again.

In the end it was a relief to be able to ask the questions that had gnawing and eating away at me. There were also some very difficult things to hear and find out about which would take several of days to come to terms with. I see it all as good truth to hear as knowing is a required step to accept things as they really are so I can put them behind me and move forward.


Journal: 01/17/17

I spent the entire day getting almost fully caught up on my journaling. It took forever because the last 5 days were pretty eventful so I ended up writing about 10,000 words which I’m not sure if that’s a lot for a whole day, but not really considering myself a writer it felt like a ton and some of the strain to remember and sort through the emotional impact of things was pretty exhausting. I just hope I remembered the most important stuff and got it accurately.

I quite literally did almost nothing else except for eat, and take breaks between posts to rest my brain which was feeling burnt out. By the end of the night I was working very slowly while the TV was on to a criminal investigation show.

At about 10:30 I got a text from Carly that New Guy who she was trying to get over had gotten a new girlfriend. She didn’t really say anything else but I assumed that was a pretty big deal to her to I texted back and when she didn’t respond I gave her a call.

She was pretty upset about it. Much of the conversation was similar to another recent one where she felt manipulated and used my him to go out there and now she felt disposable and replaceable. I told her that the more I heard about this guy the worse I thought of him and that he didn’t really deserve for her to care about him. She agreed, but feelings don’t listen to reason. To try to make her feel better, I reminded her how irreplaceable she’s been to me for the last almost… 9 months now (holy crap) since I haven’t really been able to fully move on and I think that seemed to help her a little.

I tried to tell her not to be too hard on herself for not really knowing him because even with un-manipulative people it’s possible to know someone for a long time and not really know them at all. She asked if that was a dig at her and it could have been, but I meant it in a lot of ways. In many ways I still held on to fear of problems that we had early in our relationship that she had done a very good job of growing from. I also know that relationships in my close family often times feel like they can’t fully see who I am today because of who they’ve known me as in the past.

There was an understandable amount of venting which was a little reminiscent and strange for me to be in this emotional support position in this situation, but as always, it feels good to get whatever small feeling of redemption I can for helping her after being such a blind jerk to her at the end.

As she reflected on how terrible he is/was, at one point she apologized to me that he was the guy she ran to so quickly after me that it encouraged my insecurity and inadequacy. She also apologized that I found out about them when she called in the deepest depth of my depression. I appreciated the apologies, but she didn’t do anything wrong and I was going to find those things out eventually so I’m glad they happened sooner than later. The other good thing was that now, in hindsight and hearing about how much of a selfish manipulative jerk that guy was helps me to feel less insecure and inadequate than if he actually had been an amazing guy (although I did tell her she deserved an amazing guy).

Although it may be a bit of an exaggeration by her fresh and heightened emotions, it was a relief to hear her say that he’s not even in the same league of human being that I’m in. Even though it was difficult for her to talk about how her last two relationships (including me) were with emotionally unavailable guys, I was relieved to hear her say that she knew that I at least “tried so hard” to be available even though I was just blind and unable to see in order to do anything at the time. We talked about how she knew what I was feeling when I didn’t and how almost all of the things I’ve learned are things she knew and tried to tell be but I just couldn’t see.

We briefly acknowledged again how badly we screwed up in our relationship, which was strange and again made me wonder if there could ever be a day where we’ve learned and become the right kind of person for each other at the right time some day in the future, but I didn’t let myself entertain that much at all since it wouldn’t be soon and definitely wasn’t now.

She talked a little bit about how the thought of being emotionally shut down herself is appealing, and would be an ironic reversal of our positions, but I told her all that is a lie and it eventually finds a painful way out that you pay for later. I told her that she’s her own person, but that I hoped she wouldn’t do anything desperate or reckless to try to numb or run from the pain of acknowledging that she has feelings. She thought I meant suicide but I tried to explain that I was talking about anything that would be treating herself poorly or like less than she is. I’m not sure if she fully understood but I hope she did.

There was more to the convo that I can’t remember or wasn’t significant, but that’s pretty much the note we left on after talking for an hour and a half and I went straight to sleep.

Journal: 12/31/16 – 01/03/17

First post in the new year and unlike every year I can remember, this one actually feels like it means something. I know that this year will only hold better things than the past year has, and if somehow it sucks even more, I’ll be better prepared to cope with it.

Dec 31st –  New Year’s Eve. I still hadn’t landed on plans for the night. Everyone I had spoken to either had a wedding, was doing something small with family or friends I didn’t know, or watching football and calling it an early night. I was wondering if I would end up going to Village Tavern on my own for NYE which would have been ok, but a little lonely.

Luckily, Doreen was having a family dinner and Rach invited me to come out with her, Matt and Brit afterwards. Dinner was good, but my family was gossiping and I was pretty annoyed by it so I was happy when it was time to leave. The boys still keep calling me Hotdog Mark, which I’m actually kind of fond of, and on my way out Eve have me a good hug and kiss and asked if she would see me again soon, like tomorrow soon.

After some communication issues, I found Rach and Matt at a cocktail bar and had a nice highball with some spicy liquor called Ancho Reyes I think. I’m going to have to pick some of that up. Brit and Tommy joined up and we went to a couple other places until Brit was in a grumpy mood and they left before midnight.

Midnight struck at Mr. Pitiful’s. I’m pretty sure Rachel hated the place but I was happy to meet up with some old random friends from highschool after bumping into Jimmy Huff at an earlier bar. I had 4-5 drinks there alone since Carrie knew the bartender AND Matt and Rach bought me drinks simultaneously. That was why the very end of the night is gone.

I do remember on the drive home talking to Matt (with Rachel there) about how good of a position I’m in, even though I’m in a weird place right now, having paid off all debt quickly, saving up, and getting a grad-school education that would give me relative security and hire-ability so to speak for life. He also shared that a big part of the fear that he has about marrying my sister and starting a family is that he feels without a formal college education that his entire fate rests with AK. I tried to talk to him about what I learned about a successful family from watching Andrew’s family, and about the talents I see in him and he’s proven that could get him respectable work at other places. He has an excessive relationship with never feeling like he’s made sufficient gains and positioned himself financially to move on. Like me, he perpetually feels like he can’t afford to do what he wants because he feels that he can’t afford it yet. I wish I could help him, but I don’t know exactly how to.

Jan 1st –  New Year’s Day. A slow morning with a tolerable hangover. After some lovin’ on the pups I spent a solid 45 minutes instead of the max recommended 30 in the infrared sauna. That little thing is amazing and I’d like to have one someday. After being in there so long I might have made my hangover even worse because I thought I might throw up shortly after getting out. After taking a breath and drinking some water I spent a little time in the tanning bed too. Once I showered and ate some mac and cheese, we went to go pick up my car from OTR.

That day/evening might have been going through all my old stuff that was still in the house and deciding what I wanted to keep with me, leave to stay here, or could just be donated or trashed. A couple items were cameras which I thought to pull the SD card out of and import the photos I wanted to keep onto my computer. This got me thinking about getting my personal photo library in order and consolidating the  photos on my phone and computer. Eventually I caved to paying a measly $.99 a month to jump from 2 to 50 gb on icloud. I still haven’t completed the process of consolidating.

Jan 2nd –  In the morning, Mom had noticed that our neighbor’s ~70y/o parents were moving their furniture out all alone. By the time I got out there, I only helped them with the very last thing and didn’t realize that they’d also need help at the dumpster. Later when I took some garbage out, I noticed that they actually left a nice huge mirror and some solid end tables out so I grabbed them.

In order to make room for them in the basement, Mom asked me to help clear out some room in the basement. Once I got started and realized how much stuff that needed throwing out I just didn’t stop. We went through all the drawers of furniture, saved different memories and threw out really old junk. Every once in a while we’d find a little treasure or cache of photos and I’d put them aside to go through all of them later. From Grandma and Grandpa I found and will be taking Grandpa’s awesome flask, some very retro pieces of china, a cocktail dish, and a big ceramic virgin Mary. When she’d complain about how another area or box needed to be cleaned up “sometime,” I just went through each item and asked her if she ever used it anymore or thought she would. eventually we went through the entire basement except for her home improvement supply shelf, and her laundry area.

Once we finished with her stuff in the basement, I gathered up all the disparate boxes of photographs and went through every. single. photo. One box was literally completely full of photos with about maybe 70 sleeves containing a roll of film worth of photos. I spent a couple hours pulling out any photo that I was in from birth through highscool. It wasn’t that I didn’t like or care about the ones that didn’t include me, I just thought that if I was going to try to digitize these somehow, that was one way to try to make the volume more manageable, I wasn’t sure how much data they all represented for storage, and additionally thought it would be a nice personal project to see a larger perspective on my life, how much I’ve done, and where there is evidence that I have been. I now have 6 bags of anywhere from 50-100 photos in them to figure out what to do with next.

It was a bit much to see so much of my life in such a short period of time, to see how I was acting in photos at different ages, how I changed. I think I could really see the insecurity hit me in the photos from Chicago after how happy I was as a kid in Indianapolis and before. I think the reason there were also not a lot of photos from the first couple years in Fairfield was partially that I wasn’t very happy or getting out very much with the few friends I was slow to make. I need to own my past that I struggled to make friends and was self-conscious of it, and be secure that’s not who I am or will be now.

Something else made me feel anxious in a way that I wasn’t really sure what it was for a while. I now think it might have been two things happening at once. Maybe seeing some of the times in life when I knew I was struggling, unhappy, and insecure made me entertain the idea that’s who I really am and always will be. The other thing was that I think seeing my father in photos at my age and recognizing some things that I’ve inherited from him made me afraid that I am everything that I dislike about him, and that everyone else sees me the way I see him.

That night, I tried to unwind from the surprisingly taxing day by working on my Spotify playlists.

Jan 3rd –  Finally caught up to today. Woo. Got another slow start today, but I started thinking about how to set myself up to really use the tools at my disposal to get the ball rolling on practical tasks and feel good about it instead of feeling disorganized and tricking myself into feeling good but in truth completely misspending my time.

After some more fiddling and fussing with Trello and some other apps, I think I made some progress on starting to form a system that will work for me. In the past I think I’ve been so caught up in working a certain way, the right way, the standard way, the way ‘everyone else’ does. That made everything harder than working to understand, appreciate, and use the way that I uniquely work best to my own advantage. Something I should have learned from Lepsch long ago but only minimally recognized in him instead of me.

Today alone, the changes I made to my method helped me to identify and coordinate completing 6 errands this evening I would have forgot about on my own in one trip. It’s even helped me to capture and find a useful place to note things I’ve been thinking about but keep forgetting, and completely new ideas right away I was conscious enough to immediately put into a system that I feel is promising enough to put some trust in.

I downloaded a few apps again that I hadn’t yet to keep me in touch with people better which did restart several good conversations.

I’ve also tried to challenge myself to trust and honor my calendar more by taking a new philosophy that if I miss something, I don’t put everything else off to complete it unless it’s critical and urgent. If I miss something, I will still do what my calendar has planned now and use my next availability to complete what I missed. These intentions are also part of why I committed to getting caught back up on journaling tonight, although it’s taking longer than scheduled.

Journal: 12/17/16

YESTERDAY – After debating and deciding not to make a weekend trip to Columbus, I decided to take a rest day from working out, and was going to take it easy and use the weekend to take care of final Christmas loose ends and maybe see that movie with Leah (not my therapist, my long time friend).

When the movie didn’t pan out and I had some heavy messages back and forth with Leah about her marriage and ways to help her husband with his emotional opportunities, I joined up with Rach, Matt, and Brit partially through the comedy show which was better than I expected. (Note to self – HavartiParty on Tumblr)

After the show I went solo to Village Tavern which was a great time. I made friends without managing to get a single person’s name, talked to people, bought shots for birthday people, even met some girls I liked but had no clue what I was doing. I danced my face off with dudes and chicks, went for some cool-downs outside, and slid around on the ice and sleet. I didn’t get home until after 2am and had zero interest in journaling then so this is a double post.

Although I didn’t have or know anyone, I think I managed to feel a very small and manageable amount of social anxiety and insecurity at a new place, making my own way. I am kinda proud of that.

TODAY – I slept until about noon from a combination of being up late, strenuous dance marathoning, and having drinks in me. After I got up I went through the full morning routine and felt pretty good by the end except so tired I just laid on the carpet feeling how nice and soft it is and drifting in and out of sleep.

Received some packages, went through my pile of therapy worksheets to see if/which I want to go back and take a fresh look at, set up the Christmas tree, ate some dinner, read some Power of Now, and watched a movie.

I have a surplus of resources to pull from with all the worksheets, the book, the meditation, and journaling. There’s a good amount of overlap and connection between them all, but it’s hard to hold my attention fully in the present while also trying to process the multiple sources of guidance that I’m trying to follow and listen to.

The book is very repetitive, but I need that because my mind so quickly and frequently takes me for a ride without me even noticing. We are getting to discussion of how not having my identity connected to outcomes or situations in the future is both a cause and effect of being in the only place I can be whole and complete, which is now and can never be in the past or the future. There is some strange language and I do feel like a weirdo using it, but it does make sense in it’s own way.

I can’t say I was overcome by any powerful emotions today. Some regret and living in the past of last night and how I should have gotten more peoples’ information, some guilt in the moment for drinking a little more than I should have which I didn’t overcome and wake up when I planned, some insecurity about the future as I’m able to see the momentary growth and I’m getting nervous about the ever-nearing prospect of going back to school or taking some other big step.

I think that last one is also why I’ve been resisting the present and not looking into what volunteering travel opportunity I could try out in January. I was imagining and living in a fantasy future where that was all I wanted to do, but now that I might be ready to try something like that, I’m dragging my feet like I don’t want to anymore. Am I scared of the time cost and the risk and the challenge to my new routine? Probably. Is there a part of me that wonders if I don’t really need or want that experience in reality anymore? I don’t know, maybe.


Why I’m starting this journal (warning: long post)

I’m sure there are more reasons to count why blogs are started nowadays. I was brought to this point by a string of events and am starting this journal with clear intentions listed out in my about page, which you can read there. This post is to share and get caught up to today, the day I’m taking my new journaling practice digital and public for anyone who may find comfort in not being alone.

Like many others seem to feel, 2016 has been terrible, and although I didn’t know it at the time, my story started taking it’s turn on New Year’s Day, January 1st, 2016 at the stroke of midnight.

I took a trip with my girlfriend of almost 9 (yes 9) years to celebrate NYE with friends in Time Square for the first time. We actually had incredibly lucky arrangements to avoid all the bad and only get the good of the night, but that’s another story.

After the trip I got back to being engrossed in my business grad school applications and work for a while until my girlfriend expressed that she had gotten her hopes up that I would propose to her on NYE even though I had always clearly maintained that marriage didn’t feel right for me yet but that I was happy and wanted to stay with her. However, the prospect of moving for grad school without a the commitment to forever weighed on her nerves and on my conscience.

We began conversations about whether we had a future or not and I went to counseling to help me work through the big decision looming in front of me: propose or breakup. My introspection had me questioning whether my aversion was a flaw with me that needed to be overcome, or if taking such a big next step without the level of confidence I wanted would be foolish and hurt us both even more in the end.

This went on over several months as I agonized over something that would profoundly affect myself and the most important person in my life for many years, and hurting her was the last thing I ever wanted to do.

I received acceptance to a couple really great business schools and we celebrated amid the tension of the uncertainty of our future. Now I also felt the weight of the additional decision between my two favorite schools.

About a month later, I was off to attend one school’s weekend for admitted applicants to help get a better sense in comparing the two programs. While I was there evaluating whether it was the right place for me, something else happened. I started to see myself in school, I met others who had accomplished so much, traveled and seen so much more than I, had lived independently and had a secure sense of who they were on their own.

One of those nights I returned to my air bnb, trying to imagine Carly joining me on this adventure, and again, something just didn’t feel right enough. I still couldn’t say what was missing. Did I need to overcome my own fear and doubt and just take the leap hoping for the best? Was there something needing work or really missing in our relationship? Had I never really gotten to know myself on my own to make such a big decision? After months of trying to fix and solve the problem, I broke down under the weight of the inevitable conclusion.

It didn’t matter.

It didn’t matter which of those things alone or in combination was holding me back. The truth was, that although she was my world and I was happy with her and no one had done anything wrong, it also wasn’t right enough for us to continue on together. I would have to say goodbye. I spent the rest of the night unconsolable and the next day quietly trying to hold it together through the end of the school visit.

She had scheduled the week in between my two school visits to visit a friend out of town. When I returned from the first trip and my terrible revelation, I was not ready to say goodbye and didn’t want to put a cloud over her time with her friend. Instead, I tried to appreciate what I knew was some of our last time together and had a very tender night.

The week she was out of town, I was able to reflect alone, observe whether the decision held up back home with some time, and try to build up some courage to have the most excruciating conversation of my life. I set my intention for the night I would pick her up from the airport.

When I picked her up, I had a strange feeling of missing her from her trip, and another feeling of anticipatory missing her after our relationship was about to end. I could feel some distance from her during the car ride home, I wondered if it was because she was feeling the uncertainty of our relationship or if she had come to the same conclusion I had. I found out as soon as we set her bags down in her place.

“Babe, I don’t feel so good about us,” she said.

I didn’t explain what I had been thinking over the last week. It didn’t really matter at the moment. We got to the same destination. Instead I hugged her, sobbing, apologizing that I knew I hadn’t always given her my best which she deserved, and sorry that it was over. She hugged me back, reassuring me that I hadn’t done anything wrong, and that she didn’t regret our relationship.

The rest is a bit of a blur. I know we each continued to apologize that it was over, thank each other for the care and support we had given each other over the years, and say that we only wanted nothing but the best for the other.

I told her I guessed I should give her my key to her place and she hadn’t thought of that but agreed. I also told her I guess I should gather any of my things. As I started to get my things, she asked me if she was making a mistake. I told her no, but didn’t tell her that I was planning on doing the same thing that night.

After things were gathered, we said our final goodbyes. Telling each other that they deserve the best. She hoped I would find someone who would make me so happy, but that she wouldn’t have to see it. I told her I hoped she found someone who she would be so happy with, as long as he wasn’t taller than me. She laughed a genuine laugh that was muffled through grief and said she couldn’t promise anything. I told her I knew that, considering almost everyone is taller than me. Another little chuckle from her and I made my way towards the door for the last time, thanking and apologizing to her again.

As the door closed, we both said goodnight in a way that didn’t feel natural or right. I listened to the door close and lock for the last time and try to let it sink in that I’d never be inside her place again, that I’d never walk that hallway, that it was really over now and that I was no longer hers and she was no longer mine. That I was single, that I was alone for the first time in my adult life at the age of 29.

I tried to keep myself occupied for the next month by reconnecting with old friends still in town, continuing to work on school applications, and finding out what all the dating apps that people had been talking about were like. I felt that there was no point in stopping to grieve the loss, that in order for me to move forward or even become the different type of person required for Carly and me to be right in the future, I needed to be out there doing new things and meeting new people. In addition to that, the truth was that being alone was incredibly painful and I was constantly desperate to have someone else around.

Berkeley & choosing

I got back in tough with a handful of friends in Columbus and ended up using dating apps mostly to make friends. I went on a few very casual dates and not wanting to mislead, I shared the truth of my recent relationship openly when the subject came up.

Kels, Randy, Kels and Erica, Katelyn, Julia


Quitting VS, getting ready for the move and the letter to Carly

the move and waiting

summer session and making tons of very impressive and down to earth friends who I fell in love with

Great around others, but as classes began and I spent more time working alone I couldn’t focus on the work but only realizing ways that I took Carly for granted and didn’t appreciate her enough. Floodgates of tears, guilt, sadness, writing first song, isolating began. At this point I was crying most days and most nights.

learning how to be a student for really the first time. Being given assignments on subject before they were taught. New teaching methods. Also having unhealthy expectations and punishment of myself. Expecting to work hard and feel on top of things but not and progressively feeling that I would be lucky with all Bs, then all Cs and just to pass and get to stay. Feeling like I couldn’t afford to to anything but stress out even though it wasn’t productive.

Lost in class and on my own. Not the only one, but I still felt like I was the most lost and helpless. Others accomplishments and composure. Feeling that I didn’t belong to be there and I wasn’t capable of even passing the program. That every past success or accomplishment on my resume was only accomplished by the people around me that I worked with and that I actually was completely incompetent on my own. The type of feeling that was reenforced at home without Carly and seeing ways that I had been a kind of parasite to all the love and support that she gave me and I felt like I didn’t equally return out of weakness.

Constantly feeling behind and barely managing to catch up at the last second for every quiz or assignment. Unable to manage my time. Feeling like I couldn’t afford to buy the books I needed. Feeling like I couldn’t use my new computer and phone as well as others to get things done quickly and easily. Not as fast at writing or creating presentations as group partners.

talking to Rach and mom for hours a week and starting therapy – trying to use support instead of meds

new place, stress, living alone and why

visit from Kels

crippling anxiety of failing, calling for hours a day

actually feeling ok after completing each final that I did well enough to pass


CIM, other friends arriving, furniture visit, bringing mom out to meet friends.

packed building, clubs, recruiting, social grouping really picking up, PreTerm MORS I didn’t seem to be able to get into and enjoy the material and interactive exercises as muh as everyone. I felt that I might just not be cut out for the business world. only relief was being around others in any capacity, socially or to work or study together.certain that I completely bombed my MORS final.

almost aceing the quant courses finals

Fall quarter classes starting, feeling lost again immediately

more therapy

hopelessly lost, waking up in sweaty panic

Rach bringing car, mom to bring her back.

Already too late, I couldn’t do coursework, I was talking to Joe and could see the fear in his eyes from how empty I was as I described how pointless trying felt anymore. Spoke with Prof who also said that there was no light in my eyes. Her and Dean Fran said that medical leave was always an option. While my family was there all I could do was cry and shake and tell them that I didn’t know it was possible to feel this way. That I didn’t want to kill myself, but I didn’t want to keep living either. Much like my breakup with Carly, I kept telling my mom and sister that I was sorry for needing their help, thanking them for their help, telling them I loved them.

Finally getting to meet with the psychiatrist to talk about medication. Was hoping so bad for a quick fix. After I’d taken the intake survey about how I was feeling and met her in her office I was expecting her to talk about the options of plans to keep me at school.

Instead she showed me a image of a depressed brain next to a normally functioning brain. The normal one was lit up with yellow and orange activity while the depressed one was black and blue. She explained how the deficit of chemicals in the depressed brain inhibit a wide range of cognitive function and why I shouldn’t be so hard on myself for feeling like everything was so difficult because I had essentially been trying to run a marathon with a shattered femur.

Then she pulled out what turned out to be the results from the intake survey I had taken outside her office. She explained that the results were scales for depression and anxiety ranging from something like 1-30 each, with 1-10 being mild, 11-20 being moderate, and 21-30 being severe. For anxiety, she told me I scored a 27, securely on the high end of severe almost high as the scale accounted for. Then for depression, I might be remembering this wrong because my brain wasn’t working very well, but I think she said that I somehow inexplicably managed to score above the upper-bound of 30.

Her recommendation was not to stay and start medication, but to enroll in a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) and then an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP).

I was a failure, I  was weak, I couldn’t do it, I was giving up, I was lazy, all my fears and worst thoughts about myself were confirmed. I didn’t deserve to be among the people I’d met and fell in love with, and now they would know it.

I got some pretty strong anti-anxiety pills to hold me over for the next few days while my family researched and decided on the health clinic options, necessities were packed up, we drove the car that was just brought up for me to use to Ohio, and I waited to begin PHP/IOP back in the house I lived in in high school.

I had taken a bigger step backwards than I ever in my wildest dreams could have imagined.



Featured post

Reflection: 12.13.16

After some difficulty getting to sleep last night for no good reason, I was exceptionally slow getting up this morning. Yoga was core-heavy which was needed but rough. I danced extra hard and extra long in the shower today because it felt really good. I’m liking my new Spotify account and playlists, I’m way late on this boat, but better than never I guess.

I started this digital journal today which took up more time than I intended, but I think it will be worth it and move faster once I’m all set up and get into a groove. It snowed today out the window while I was working on it. It was pretty.

My very first post is loooong but somewhat therapeutic to have a concise draft of the story (I could go on forever if I tried) now living outside of me instead of just inside or as temporary and different retellings to close friends. Although, the deeper I got into the story and remembering our relationship, it did bring about a fresh sense of sadness from missing her deeply again, which has been hopefully losing its hold on me but sometimes it’s hard to tell. I had to leave a lot of the story for me to go back and finish over the next couple days because it’s more emotionally taxing for me to produce and review a thoughtful representation of my grief and hardship than to spit it out how ever it comes out for someone.

Visited Mamaw & Papaw today earlier in December than expected since Papaw went into some kind of health decline. He recovered but who knows how long he’s got so we went to see him just in case. He’s a near empty shell of himself, not knowing anything about himself or his family, but his observing eyes remind me of the near human apes at the zoo. You can see some kind of thinking going on behind the eyes that almost stare through you, but no ability to communicate or know just how simple or complex. I was able to just be there with them. There wasn’t much to concentrate on, but my mind wasn’t jumping to the past or the future much either. I feel like I should be more sad and affected to watch them wither away. I’m not sure how much is because I’ve accepted that’s just the nature of where they are after a full life, or how much is because we have not been particularly close for a many number of year, if ever.

Late visit to the gym, in and out just before closing, but I made it happen and tried my first workout B which went much faster than yesterday’s first workout A which I’m already sore from. As long as I go alone, I don’t care what weight strangers see me lifting, but I would probably be insecure around people I know. Not that I think the number has anything to do with the effectiveness of the workout, I just should be more accepting and secure being where I am and know that I’m doing what’s best for me no matter who is around or what they might think.

I have a decent list of things I’m looking forward to completing tomorrow. I’m ready to get back to an early wake-up schedule to get through my morning routine with plenty of time to get a timely start on the day.

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