Just here at home, alone

I get pretty jealous of lovers, friends, and even relatives when I hear about their plans and activites.  They go to dinners, parties, out on the town, day trips, and vacations.  It seems like I am always home alone.

I was lucky to have 3 friends overseas that spent actual time in the same physical space as me.  They had other friends and went to lots of dinners and parties, but they still made time for me.  Friendless and unlikeable me, the woman always sad and complaining.

The first party I was invited to was after I was 30.  Before that, I didn’t have any social interactions except with nerds, geeks, future-librarians and expats. 

Being socially awkward, I have always struggled with small talk, superficial conversation, mean-spirited remarks, and the natural flow of conversation.  If I recount an event, I always have witty or insightful replies observations and replies. But I only thought them rather than saying them.  Sometimes the perfect response comes to me later, after ruminating on the event.  That of course is perfectly useless.

That social ineptitude doesn’t actually get better in closer relationships that have grown over time.  It’s really that I can communicate only with a minority of accommodating human beings.

Additionally, I have a problem being present in the moment.  Life is on the other side of a glass window. I see life. I study life.  I do not experience life.  I overanalyze everything as it’s happening, trying to draw lessons from the past while anticipating other people’s reactions.  So mostly, I am completely lost in the worry and confusion in my head all the time.  It’s a wonder I have noticed the sky is blue, right?

Actually in aloneness, I can notice my physical surroundings.  But that is because I am a simple observer.  There is still the indirectness of all experience of reality being perceived through our limited senses.  But at least complicated human interaction isn’t in my way.

My conclusion is that my inability to act in coordination with the people and immediate environment in front of me makes it impossible to relish the fun times I believe other people to be having.  If even I had the same social opportunities other people seem to enjoy so easily, I can’t connect with truly being a part of it. I feel self-conscious and out of place, barely managing my unabated anxiety. There’s simply a component in me lacking.  And I am very jealous of normal people who have it.

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“I really like you,” he said.

He really likes me. That’s what he said.

He said I was beautiful.

He said I was smart and interesting.

He said he wanted to get to know me better.

He said he wanted to see me again.

And I told him I wanted to live in Asia.  And he told me he didn’t want to live in Asia.

So, that’s it.

Great listener, sweet, accommodating, chivalrous, interesting and passionate guy that I don’t want to see anymore.  He was also tall.

But I have dreams to ride the subways and bullet trains, eat food from stalls and food carts, visit the beach, sing karaoke, walk the little alley ways, shop at the street fairs, visit the temples, drink fancy teas and lattes in the eclectic coffee shops, and feel the strangeness of a world apart from ordinary.

It’s like out a movie: drying clothes on the balcony or roof on a line, walking everywhere on paved roads and sidewalks, quietness on the mountainside, clean and clear taste of green tea, the furniture and design of the homes, seeing a rural house of wood in the old design, and a crane on the river.

I miss my adventure.  I miss the excitement of the first six months in an utterly foreign environment that has the same blue sky.

So, do I want to give up the one goal I could accomplish?  Do I let my dream die to not be alone?

Or am I willing to be alone now to not give up on my dream?

I used to want to be with someone no matter how I had to change. I believed in compromise and adjustments.  But I was alone anyway.  Romantic relationships didn’t last.  The person I truly am was not loved.  I wasn’t even considered seriously.

But now, I want to hold onto myself.  I want to value my feelings, hopes, successes, failures, beliefs, and self-respect.  Joan Didion wrote, “However long we post- pone it, we eventually lie down alone in that notoriously un-comfortable bed, the one we make ourselves. Whether or not we sleep in it depends, of course, on whether or not we respect ourselves.”

And so, in the end, we are all alone in ourselves.  I have to sleep by myself at night.

“I don’t want to screw it up”

What is it about the words, “I don’t want to screw it up”?

To the fatalist, it’s nonsensical. Nothing can stop nor change what will come to pass.

But in a very human way, conscious, earnest, self-doubting, it’s at the heart of any strongly yearned for but precipitous result. A result not entirely one’s own to influence.

I see in it my younger self: dramatic, wishful, solicitous, and reliant.  As though my sheer determination should make an endeavor not mine alone to succeed in my own design.  There’s a certain youthful self-centeredness in the belief that the responsibility success or failure of the venture rests solely one’s self.  Sheer ego as though all that mattered was I.

Now older, it’s a phrase that slightly stings. Something the young child I was had said so many frivolous times.  

But now, I can’t help but to think that I can only show up as I am where I am.  The result is never mine alone to truly determine.  The emotion behind yearning to “not screw it up” has faded. It’s a relinquishment to the outside world, to other wills, forces, powers, goals.
I still think about “how” I screwed it up.  Unforgiving hindsight at where the past might have diverged towards a different present if I had acted elsewise.  And again, to a fatalist, a nonsense.  But in calmer, more rational moments that emotional yearning fades as well.  Perhaps there were mistakes, flaws, failings but never was my responsibility isolated in an empty space.

There’s freedom in acceptance.

Are These Essential Human Relationships?

Today, I was surprised to hear talk that held out to its logical conclusion as presented meant poor people should not procreate. Should not is different from have not, but even in America there has been cases of women undergoing forced sterilizations. The systematic control of reproduction is called eugenics.

So they say poor people shouldn’t have the experience of having children. In some countries, people are so poor they can’t afford marriage: the ceremonies, legal registration, bridal price or family gifts, much less separate housing and again, the children.

Are these essential relationships? Humans are made to connect. Perhaps we don’t need to be mothers or father or spouses or partners.  But nevertheless we need connection.  For my part, it grieves me to tears to think of poverty keeping families from forming.  It’s perhaps not essential but often the most meaningful aspect of living.  It’s certain there is a biological imperative to procreate.

Understanding that so much of our life is the circumstances we were born into and luck or chance, is it right that “the least of these” are absolutely judged or possibly prevented from having the love that forming a family creates?

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Should I regret my choices? Is it even okay?

I question my choices a lot. What to do now? About what I did in the past. I feel heaviness, failure.  Other people post happy photos. Other people tell happy stories. I complain. I cry.

I sometimes regret becoming a mother. I know I am a bad mother or at least not as good as I’d like to be.  No one compliments mothers, or at least no one compliments me. 

I loathe my body.  I gained 40 pounds plus 20 pounds of baby while pregnant. I am still obese 16 months later. I weigh 190 pounds. I got stretch marks in the last few weeks. I felt ruined-irreplaceable damaged. I look at my body now and I cry.  I cover up and single moms of a small child don’t have many opportunities or reasons to undress.

So, I have regrets. I say, why couldn’t I have made different choices in 2014 or 2015? Because everyone loves their child, right?  But is loving someone that will never be truly grateful actually enough. So, I am a horrible mother.
I miss talking to adults.  I wish I could go on dates, or even just visit friends. But I had to move 2040 miles away from my pre-pregnancy life.

Sometimes I wonder if I should have given my son away in adoption.  After all, I am a failure and a terrible mother. And also I’m lonely in this isolated life.  I start to miss a guy that only dated me when I was thinner, when I weighed less-60 pounds less.  A guy that stopped loving me in 2013.  Before I made the poor choices that led me to being an awful single mother.

The worst part is I thought I wanted to be a mom. But in rare moments of silence and quiet, I question that belief.  I wonder if I was right? I wonder if other mothers regret their transformed (destroyed) bodies. I wonder if other mothers regret their child because of difficulty accepting their new lifestyle.  I wonder if my family will always only consist of two until I am completely alone again. Do I even have a right to regret?  

Should I regret my choices? Is it even okay?

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I read the last comment on my blog. Then I  read the post. Then I copied paragraphs of the post and searched them online. My post was the first result. 

Crap. 

I wrote it. It’s tone is so unlike my own.

Well, it’s unlike my own now.  It’s from my days before mood stabilizers and anti-depressants. 

Did I write it for E, who less than a year  later would break up with me?  But we weren’t even officially a couple. Did I write it for the Korean boy that broke my heart, married some other woman, and I have never seen since? More likely.

But perhaps not. The other love letters were to myself. My unloved self, aching for affection.  As through the mouth of the dramatic, romantic lover I wanted and as of yet have never found.

And it is powerfully intense. The writing of one not yet under the stupor of the artificial deadening produced by drugs.  Bipolar is the clinic diagnosis.

The drugs have lessen the roller-coaster, but never prevented it’s descent.  Depression still comes. Joy does not.  And obviously creativity has died. I didn’t even recognize the piece as my own.

My fear in 2006 was that psychiatric treatment would change me. I resisted for 6 years until a suicidal depression that stole my waking hours, extra pounds, and all possibility of happiness.  Then I crawled towards anything that could save me, including therapy and medicine.

Now 5 years later, the evidence is in. I have been changed so thoroughly I can’t recognize myself.  It’s a bit troubling as I have traded that intensity and creativity for periods of low energy, neutrality, and mediocrity.  Only lapses in the reoccurring suicidal depression that causes tears and confines me to bed.  So, I have lost heights to prevent valleys that yet I still travel.  I quit writing.  Maybe I have made a horrible mistake.

Really Stupid Feelings.

I might be an incurable idiot. The first guy I fell in love with awful. For almost a year after he married someone else, I still missed him. I was severely depressed, lost a lot weight (so I looked great), and still cried almost daily. I hardly could get out of bed and couldn’t work.  I was miserable and couldn’t control my feelings and thoughts at night when I tried to sleep.So, being an incurable idiot, I finally decided to start dating. It was something to do. I got out of the house, hung out with someone I knew was interested in me, and usually got a free meal so I didn’t need to buy groceries at all.  I had plenty of time because I had no friends nor a job.  Finally I met someone I felt comfortable with.  He wasn’t serious about me and as an incurable idiot, I thought it was a good idea to try to change his mind.  I barely considered that it might be a bad idea to chase a guy I barely knew. But with him, I forgot the first guy. With him, I was sometimes euphoric and sometimes miserable. I couldn’t imagine being with anyone else.  Within a year, we broke up. He was willing to be friends but I couldn’t accept that. After all, I couldn’t imagine dating anyone else. I was awful and he had to quit communicating with me entirely. Again, I was severely depressed. Again I lost weight. Again, I cried almost daily. The crying in which you lose your breath and periodically can’t make a sound.  And again for almost a year, I didn’t get over this feeling.  I dated for a while, eventually I didn’t think about him everyday or cry all the time. I spent time with friends and was cheerful again.  But periodically, depression would hit me all over again. I still missed him. I couldn’t help but compare other guys to him. It’s idiotic and unfair. I remember him selective, everyone is an unique person, and I can’t rely on my momentary feelings as a rational judge of an relationship. But I never felt as happy with anyone else. I try to accept that. It’s been four years. When we broke up, he said maybe we could get back together. A friend admitted she once said that to get a clingy, emotionally unstable boyfriend so he’d let go of the relationship at the time. She knew she never would want to date him again.  As an incurable idiot I still held out hope he’d come back or talk to me. Today, I miss him. At times, for months, I don’t even think about him. However, I’ve realized with big changes in my life, I miss him all over again. It hurts not to be able to talk with him. I wonder what his life has brought him. I still compare the happiness I felt just being next to him to all the guys I never feel that way about.  As an incurable idiot, I still, after all these years, want to be a couple again.  Even though we broke up for reasons that haven’t changed. And I was miserable at times. And no one around us thought we were a lasting match.  And he never felt the way I did about him. Or so I believed.  Rationally I know we will never talk or see each other again.  It is the reality and it is for the best. But today I miss him overwhelmingly and I am crying.  Again. And I wonder, “Will I ever stop having this horrible feeling about him”

Maybe

Changing years of negative feelings and thoughts into positive ones is difficult.

Maybe if I wrote what I was grateful for each day.

Maybe if I wrote what I enjoyed each day.

Maybe if I thanked someone each day.

Maybe if I looked at pictures to remind myself of happier times.

But I struggle to find genuine gratitude. I struggle to feel contentment instead of pain or worry.  I struggle to remember the past that wasn’t hurtful.  I struggle not to cry when I remember all the people who used to be in my life now that I feel so isolated and lonely.

Maybe I just don’t want to try because I can’t believe it can be done.  Maybe depression is all there can be.