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Thursday, June 9, 2016

Letting things be exactly what they are

I promised myself that when Darrin got a job I would take some time to regroup. About a month ago, he began a temporary job. It will end in July, I believe. So it's something. And I did as I promised, and I have taken some time off.

One of my contract jobs was unhappy with me. Even though I explained the situation, they put me on probation for lack of productivity and let me know that if I wished to continue contracting with them, I would have to let them know, and then I would be required to do the entrance testing again. I've worked with them for four years. It was a little aggravating. Regardless, I sent in my letter of interest because the job pays well, and I don't hate it. They answered that they would let me know when testing would be available, but I would need to be patient because they currently have a large number of applicants. I rolled my eyes.

What that translated into was two months of not working one of my contracts. I'm pretty sure my company thinks they punished me adequately for taking a month off for personal time. They have no idea how good this was for me.

I used that extra time to work on therapy assignments and de-stress. That was a very good choice. I'm feeling like myself again. The depression is waning. I'm not as exhausted as I've been for the past year.

My situation is no less stressful. In fact, I had some unexpected physical problems pop up this week. I was concerned, but I've dealt with it. Last weekend, I left for a few days to take care of some business out of town. I returned to find my house looking like it hadn't been cleaned in months and the rooms were filled with Tabitha's "stuff"-- things she can't bring herself to move, but also can't throw away yet. I spent Tuesday cleaning up after her and trying to put my house in some semblance of order. Normally, I would ask her to do it. In this case, it seemed a better idea to keep her away so I could actually get rid of, or pack up, most of the items. That was stressful. I handled it just fine.

There are a number of interpersonal things cropping up. My friend, Lydia, has been needier than usual and in a way that makes me nervous. Time to be supportive while reinforcing boundaries. I'm learning that I'm really not the most helpful nor supportive person in the world, and that's okay. For a long time, I thought that was who I was. It was illusory, at best. I'm a decent listener. And I'll lend a hand to help if I believe that's the best thing to do in a given situation. But the truth is that I don't want to be the one people come to all the time. I have very little to give other than a temporary ear and some sympathy. That does not go far.

I'm learning that what I believe I need is not always what I need. And working to achieve filling that need or maintain a status quo that is artificial is a mistake. No one benefits in the long run.

For awhile, it was satisfying and a little delightful when I was told I was loved or a good friend or very helpful...words along those lines. Now I find myself feeling confused when I hear those things. Much of the time they're offered when I'm not trying to be helpful or friendly or loving. And when I actually might need to hear the words, they're usually not said. I don't know why this is. Hence, the confusion.

Also, while I believe I deserve love and friendship, and I'm happy to help on many levels, the words, "I love you," or "I'm so glad we're friends," or "You knew just what I needed help with today" (I'm using those three examples because those are all things that have been said to me in the past week), seem to be substitutions for a simple thank you. Given that, it rings hollow when I'm told those things. They don't feel appropriate or sincere.

There was a time recently when I would ask those closest to me to remind me that they loved me. And they did. It was a good thing because I was failing at life, and I needed to hear it even if it was not true. That is no longer the case. I'm not hanging by a thread anymore. I won't be asking again. I will say it, however, when I feel I can safely express it. I'm noticing I don't have a lot of safe places/people right now. Three months ago, that realization would have sent me into a panic, scrambling to reinforce relationships and reassure myself that everything was okay. Today, even if everything's not okay, even if safety is waning within situations and relationships, it's all right. I'm all right.

In essence, I'm becoming myself again. And in this process, there are some loose ends I need to secure. I owe some people a follow-up email. So I believe I will take care of that tonight and tomorrow. It's time to close some chapters of my life and move forward.

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