I had an interesting therapy session today. I had come to the realization a few months back that I have a pretty screwed up way of managing relationships. I have a pretty intense fear that I’m going to be abandoned. I’m incredibly insecure and constantly want reinforcement that things are going ok. Any uncertainty just feeds into my tendency toward anxiety and I make myself and the other person a little nuts.

It dawned on me that I have dealt with this by (subconsciously) picking the safe person. There are people that I’ve connected with and I’m attracted to but there is a level of uncertainty there because I might end up liking them more than they like me. Then they have hand, I get anxious, I get left and the cycle gets reinforced. I’m so afraid that it will happen that I can only end up making it happen. So I pick a person that I know likes me more than I like them. When I was d.ating Tom, he made it clear from the start that he was totally crazy about me. Although he wasn’t my type, I liked not having my usual doubts and anxiety. We’d been together for about a month or so when we went to a coworker’s party. My coworker introduced me to her brother and we got along really well, had a lot in common. A couple of days later, my coworker told me that her brother wanted to ask me out. Just in that one night of meeting him, I knew that I had more of a connection with him than I had with Tom. But I also knew that that kind of connection brought out nonsensical levels of fear in me. So, I said no, stuck with safe and tried to convince myself it was the right thing to do. All the while I was trying to convince myself, I was becoming increasingly angry at myself for settling and at him for not being what I really wanted although I don’t know that I ever identified it that way.

I swore that I wouldn’t do that again but I did. Once again, there was Dan and then there was someone that I had an intense connection with. Once again, I got scared of what was possible and of being left, and I chose safety. I chose the same thing and I have the same outcome. I’m left with the same anger about it.

After talking about this, Sherry lent this book about attachment types. The book describes a secure kind of attachment but I didn’t have to wonder if that was me. The other two types were me: anxious and avoidant, although primarily anxious. Really either way it doesn’t sound good. So, I’m reading the book and hoping that I’m going to get some insight. I don’t actually know what I’m going to do with that insight though.

Later Sherry asked me how I was feeling about something and I didn’t know. My initial response wasn’t to identify a feeling but instead to come up with a smart ass reply. Even when I suppressed the smart ass, I was still at a loss to express how I felt. She proposed that I have a hard time connecting with my feelings and she’s right. It is true that I don’t like to feel, especially painful or uncomfortable things. That’s probably a pretty safe generalization for most people but I feel like I take it a little farther. It seems like a lot of my life decisions are based on avoiding any kind of discomfort or pain rather than what would really be best for me. While I certainly don’t want to be some overly emotional mess, I would like to actually be able to identify how I’m feeling and have a little faith in my ability to handle difficult situations.

Since I don’t really know how to feel about this, we’ll just add these things to the therapy list and keep plugging along.




One of the things Sherry had mentioned was that doing things I enjoyed that required my concentration would take me out of being in my brain so much. I found that to be true with knitting. I don’t think about anything other than knitting and my brain stops workin.g overtime.

In case I needed any further proof that this is true, this weekend I refinished the floors and I didn’t think about anything other than that. I forgot how much I love doing that kind of stuff. When I was in Bellingham with Tom, I was always doing stuff: refinishing the floors, drywalling the bathroom, painting. I was always tearing stuff up and putting it back together. I probably had the best tool collection of any straight chick in town. I don’t really have a lot of options for thins like that living in an apartmen.t but now I’m realizing how much I wish I did.

On a totally unrelated note, my two coworkers and I recreated a client intake p.hone call using finger puppets and I laughed harder than I’ve laughed in months. Then we revisited our debate about whether sex with conjoined twins was a threesome. I felt like I’d accomplished something today.

Today at the office I was talking to two of my coworkers about personality types. Coworker A said, “Some people are just naturally more quiet and reserved, like you” and pointed to me. Coworker B said quite vehemently, “Are you serious?! She is neither of those things.”

Aside from the fact that it was somewhat entertaining to hear people argue about me as though I wasn’t there, it was also interesting to know that I come across so differently to different people. I’ve heard it before, though. If I don’t know people very well, I am typically quiet and don’t go out of my way to draw attention to myself. I never speak at meetings even though I usually have an opinion on what’s being said. If I’m called on to say something on the spot, I can’t always organize my thoughts really well. I’m a much better w.riter than speaker. But if I’m with people I know, trust and feel comfortable with, then I will have a lot to say and not a lot of filters. I’m much more relaxed and easy-going. That side of me comes out in spades when I’ve been drinking. I don’t know which is the more accurate representation of me. It’s probably some combination of both. I do know that people have to earn their way in to see the non-quiet, unreserved side of me and not very many people do.

When I was in my twenties, I dated two people in succession whose moms had left. I remember feeling indignant when they told me about their moms. I wasn’t sure about a lot of things at that time but I did know for certain that I would never leave my kids. Granted I didn’t want kids, but that didn’t stop me from having such a strong opinion. Leaving your kids just wasn’t something a mom was allowed to do, under any circumstance.

Now that I have children I see how it could happen. I feel like a horrible mother for even saying that, since it’s so far outside the realm of what a mother is supposed to think. But they exhaust me. The responsibility of them feels like so much. I look forward to the time when they’re asleep. I keep thinking that I’m supposed to be getting some great fulfillment from them, and that I’m supposed to appreciate the little moments with them. Neither happens a good portion of the time.

When I was in Cincinnati, I was fairly content. I liked only being responsible for myself. I didn’t miss anyone in my family. I felt like I was more comfortable in my skin there. I enjoyed the anonymity. It’s what I’ve always loved about traveling, especially by myself. No one knows who I am or how I really act. There is the potential to recreate yourself, or simply to be unknown.

This is has always been my thought process. If something bad happens, I want to run away. I have this idea that things would be better if I was somewhere else. I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t think that way.

In grad s.chool I had a friend tell me that I was the walk-away type so I probably shouldn’t get married or have kids. Again, I remember being quite indignant at the accusation that I would walk away from my fictitious family. In reality, I probably am the walk-away type. There are moments when I think that if I didn’t know what it would do to them, I might leave. I just keep that tucked away, along with its associated guilt.

Perhaps the biggest tragedy in our lives is that freedom is possible, yet we can pass our years trapped in the same old patterns…We may want to love other people without holding back, to feel authentic, to breathe in the beauty around us, to dance and sing. Yet each day we listen to our inner voices that keep our life small.  -Tara Barch

This, exactly. It makes me feel incredibly sad and yet hopeful. I really don’t want to spend more time in my life being trapped by crappiness of my own creation. I’m old enough to know better but still not sure enough of myself to completely believe it.

I just took an epic road trip through the south, straight through hillbilly and into Georgia. What I realized as a result of this trip is:

*I need a real camera. The iphone camera just really doesn’t cut it for the kind of landscape and architecture pictures I like to take.

*I should really listen to my music more. I have a pretty amazing collection of music that I don’t spend enough time listening to.

*I need to clone myself so I have ability to drive and take pictures at the same time.

*I would like to spend more time in Western Pennsylvania with my real camera.

*I would like to live in a small town.

*I like places that have a distinct architectural style like the sandstone and Victorians in PA, the side porches and entrances in Charleston, and the Italianate rowhouses in Cincy.

*People east of the Mississippi love American cars.

*There are way more black people and way fewer Asian people. Also more confederate flags.

*If you take a plantation tour, the white guide will try to convince you that freedom wasn’t all it was cracked up to be for the slaves. On the question and answer section of said tour, someone will ask if the slaves and their masters were friends. She will be serious and my mind will be blown.

*A West Virginia accent really doesn’t convey intelligence.

*People in Whitesville don’t take to kindly to folks peeping around their town which looks exactly as I had imagined it.

*July is not really the time to visit the south.

I got my Sun magazine in the mail today. This month’s theme was p.sychology, which was right up my alley. As usual, I went right to the Sunbeams section.

Some gems:

Is there no way out of the mind? -Sylvia Plath

The mind thinks thoughts that we don’t plan. It’s not as if we say, “At 9:10 pm I’m going to be filled with self-hatred.” -Sharon Salzberg

I love that the Sun goes from poet who sticks her head in the oven to insight meditation author. I should probably stay away from Sylvia Plath as a role model, given that whole suicide thing. At the same time, I can relate to that feeling sometimes. There’s a sense of desperation implicit in making it a question and I have certainly felt myself being there. Like life would be so much simpler if I could just turn my brain off but I feel powerless to actually do it.

Lest I get too morose, there is insight meditation. While there are times when I’m actively thinking about things, life, and whatnot, there are other times when I’m just going about my day and something pops into my head that I don’t really want to think about. Self-hatred at 9:10 sounds about right. The thought comes in without permission but I give it permission to stay. I’m controlled by what I think rather than being in control of it. That’s the thing I can’t quite seem to get a handle on: thought in, thought out. I don’t need to spend any more time contemplating or assigning any feelings or judgments to whatever thought it is that comes up. It’s one of the things we talk about in therapy and it’s something to aspire to but I can’t say that I am anywhere close yet.