Today started out nicely Ė beautiful weather , sun shining, and making love (twice!) after waking up. Itís evening now and dreary, unfortunately. Itís supposed to be rainy the rest of the weekend, which is too bad with Sís brother coming into town tomorrow. Iíve spent the day cleaning and putsing. I went shopping and got a pretty blue chenille throw for the blue room bed. I did about 800 loads of laundry to get the cat hair off everything. I hope D isnít allergic to cats.
Speaking of, I took Fatty to the vet on Wednesday to get his rabies and diphtheria shot. The vet said he could probably stand to lose about a pound and half. Poor Fatty. The lump on his neck didnít bother the vet, so I hope its nothing. Fatty did very well, though Ė minimal meowing and very cooperative with the vet, although I think it was more out of fear than actual on-purpose compliance.
I didnít lose any weight this week. I didnít really expect to since I cheated some all week. I can just tell that Iím in the same place I was a few years ago when I lost 30 pounds on weight watchers and right as AJ and I separated Ė ďthe placeĒ being close to my goal and tired of months of hard work. Iím not the same person as I was then, so I guess it really isnít the same place. I wonít lose sight of what needs to be done to keep the weight off this time. Ideally, Iíd like to be at 125 by MSís wedding, which is what, exactly 4 weeks away. Definitely doable. I just need to focus. Usually I let myself have a little extra of something on Saturdays since itís the furthest day from my next weight in. I may give myself something extra tonight. Weíll see. I did work out every morning this week, and bought some new weights which Iíll start next week. It is so worth it Ė the whole process and the effort. I feel great, physically, now, which may be why I struggle so much at times emotionally.
I included the email I sent to Tess (this is Tess from the CK website, not Tessa from college), because it was a good snap shot of parts of this week. Nothing, though, is quite like what A wrote back to me, and the response that Iím trying to think through. Here is her message:
Thank you so much for the birthday email and card. It was good of you to remember! Please excuse my delay in responding. I wanted to write when I had the time to give the message the focus it deserves.
I do not think the below message was self-centered, rather brave and honest. It sounds like you are going through a range of emotions and rediscovery that must be at the same time very rewarding and uncomfortable. I too would like to share with you some of my feelings from the past few years. You are important to me and I think that airing these hard-to-discuss topics will be healthy for both of us. Perhaps writing is the best medium.
I feel that I haven't truly known you for quite some time. Our friendship in college and after was geniune - I did and still do respect and love and admire you. In many ways I feel that I have failed you. I am sorry that you have had pains in your life and that I was not a good enough friend to help you through them.
With hindsight and the benefit of your below disclosures, I can start to see how what you were going through materialized in our interactions. As you were starting to use alcohol to make life more comfortable, I was less and less comfortable in your presence. Ironic how you sought to numb the pain and then you were bothered by ending up numb - needing external sadness to connect with your own. I hope this doesn't sound too harsh, but it was just too hard to be your friend. I felt uncomfortable with our efforts to connect and how for a while we pretended everything was the same. I wanted you to shake yourself loose and was in some ways mad and disappointed that you were not strong enough or did not want to fight to regain your grace and serenity. I know that is not the right reaction and I'm sorry for it.
While we have opened this door of communication, I'm going to step further out onto a limb. Here goes... Sometime around when you were working at Allied, it seemed that you started to increasingly look for external measures of value. Like accomplishments at work validated you. Of course, I can't say this is true but it is how it appeared to me. It seems like when things didn't work out at Allied, it had a big impact on you, making you less risk averse and less confident. Like you started looking around to make sure you were still worthy, instead of being comfortable in you. Lynn, you. You. You. You. Just you. You are a wonderful, brilliant, firey person. That would be true even if you sat on a park bench all day wearing a garbage bag. It seems as if in your decision making, you have made some safe choices over riskier ones. Why? I'll go even further (in case I haven't stuck my foot in my mouth enough yet) to say that I think you are not challenging yourself professionally. NOT that job equals worth, but it gives you a vehicle to exercise your capabilities and challenge yourself and engage your passions. I know you know you are wonderful. And I know you've talked about starting a family and wanting job flexibility to do so. I just want to say that I hope you make decisions explicitly according to your preferences ("I choose to sit on the park bench wearing a garbage bag because I like the outdoors, but also, it could rain"
and not for other reasons.
I'm sorry if through this message I've wholeheartedly insulted or offended or otherwise hurt you. I want to be really honest about what I have been feeling in the hopes we can better understand each other. I have thought a lot about our friendship over the last few years and have seen it most recently as my failure. I am working to be more forgiving and generous and less self-centered. While doing yoga the other day, the instructer said, "Take a moment to think of all the good things you've done in your life" and I couldn't think of anything. I am coming to see that the most important thing in life is being with the ones you love. Joe acts this way and I love it about him.
That said and if you still choose to speak to me, I would really like to get to know you again. I'd like to be in more regular touch and to reform our friendship. I'll understand if you want to take a while to think it over. I'll be here.
I received and read the message on Wednesday evening. S was working late so I had the house to myself. I cried. And I thought. And I cried. Iíll include my drafted response to her message in a bit. It seems like things were not only as bad as I thought, they were worse. I am angry at A for being judgmental. I am glad she was honest Ė thereís no point in our communicating if we arenít honest, but I am disappointed that she was judgmental. Her email made me feel as if the past several years have been totally wasted. And I donít think Iíve ever been so embarrassed. No, thatís not accurate Ė whatís stronger than embarrassed Ė mortified? Ashamed? Humiliated? Does those words work when it was self-imposed? I went back and forth in my mind for a day or so Ė why is Aís experience with me different from Sís experience? There are people who have loved me through the past years without judging me Ė S for one. It makes me shudder to think of how often I may have been the topic of conversation between A, K, A, and maybe even M. With the passing of a few days, I donít feel the hurt or the despair as intensely as I did on Wednesday. I think actually knowing and admitting that my friendship with A is currently no where near what it once was is a kind of relief. Iím not sure how to explain that Ė perhaps I think its freeing, in some way? I really am an untethered to ďthemĒ as I feel? Here is the draft of my response Ė I havenít sent it yet.
Thank you for writing back, A. While somewhat uncomfortable, I appreciate your honesty and I think that we should go for broke and tell it like it is.
That said, what I heard from your message was not only was it/I as bad as I thought, it/I/we may have been worse. I have a horror of being judged, so knowing that I was being evaluated and found lacking is hard to hear. I keep wondering why - not why you were evaluating (judging?) me - but why I fell down the rabbit hole in the first place. Iíve had virtually all the tools to live a wonderful, full, self-loving life - great parents, great experiences, great education, great loves. At times I have speculated that there is just something fundamentally wrong with me. To a certain extent, I donít think I was able to internalize many of the values I held - I could have an opinion and a very strong, passionate one at that, and not be able to translate it into my own life and path. Its hard not to just let the waves of self contempt wash over and over me when I reflect on this. I know that isnít productive, but it is very real. I am profoundly ashamed of myself - ashamed of my actions, my failures with friends, my weight, my jobs. I know that I am secretly hoping for forgiveness or redemption from Something or Someone - I also know that it has to be from myself, and I since I canít yet imagine that happening, I feel very, very scared and hopeless.
What you wrote about external signs and validations of self worth is very accurate. I did seek that out - and I think that that is why I still have so much turmoil about careers in general. And especially after my experience at Allied. I do see jobs as self worth, for me anyway. And no, this job isnít challenging me. I go around and around in circles about what I want to do ďwhen I grow up.Ē I think about going back to school, and then I go over and over the same pros and cons for a variety of studies. I do not know what I want.
Your experience with me over the last few (more than a few, maybe) years is similar to what I think happened in my marriage to AJ. That has been one of the worst realizations - I was a very horrible person in my relationship with him. I was an ogre. Of course, it was a cry for help, and of course, AJ didnít do a single thing to change the situation, so the fault isnít entirely mine, but far more than I had thought. S tells me this isnít true - or not to the extent I think it is - but it is. For a long time I had gotten comfortable (if thatís possible) with the idea that for whatever reason, AJ just suddenly changed. Not true. Imagine the heartache that realization has caused - it leaves me gasping. I think twice about almost everything in my relationship with S - I watch myself like a hawk for bad behaviors. They come very naturally to me.
This is horrible. I have to believe it is worth it, though. I have to find something good in this process - it is hard to find good in the concept that Iíve spent, what, the past 5 years in a fog of evil. It feels evil. It makes me cry.
You are exacting of the people in your life, A. I suspect you have a lot of anger towards me - there is a feeling of it in your email. Its okay if you are angry - and maybe you want to tell me about it. If possible, I think it would be good Ė to tell me, that is. I am angry at you. But not for any specific reason - so I am fairly certain it is anger at you for showing me by example all things that I have not been or had. I think I did feel abandoned by you at times, but I cannot in any way fault you for not wanting to be more involved with me. Truly, I don't fault you for that.
A few days laterÖ
Spring here is so lovely Ė everything is green and fresh. My tulips are coming up after all, despite most of their friends being eaten by the squirrels. I still have such vivid memories of spring at Mac Ė thatís when I remember spring being so veryÖspring-like with the fevers and impatience and celebrations. I can hear the contractors working on the deck as I write this Ė and I canít wait to be able to take a book out there and just enjoy the birds and trees and our little bunny.
I donít want to turn this journal into just a summary of emails sent or received, but these are indicative of what Iíve been feeling and thinking.
I think Iím going to let the A subject sit and percolate a bit.
I got a roll of pictures developed from when I was cleaning out the bottom shelf of the bookshelf in the dining room with the picture albums. Would you believe that the roll had pictures of me and AJ in the old apartment Ė the really old one that was on top of the house with the horrible landlord. It also had pictures of S and I from way back. I was SO FAT. I had to throw the pictures away. So, seeing those pictures and reading Aís email truly made me feel as if I didnít deserve to have lived the past 4 or 5 years. Harsh, and melodramatic-sounding, but very seriously true. That is indeed how I felt.
I love when S and I make love. It feels so wonderful and sexy.
MS called on Thursday Ė it was nice to catch up with her Ė she is so much more grounded than when I last talked to her. She told me that planning her wedding this time feels like the first wedding sheís planned Ė she said that many people told her on the day of her wedding to C that she didnít have to go through with it. She said she didnít want, but that she was too cowardly and embarrassed to call it off. Iím really looking forward to seeing her. I think her wedding will be great fun. It doesnít look like M will be going. She said that Lucas did pretty badly on the airplane, and that she didnít want to put him through that again. I thought, but didnít ask, why Lucas couldnít stay with Chris for the weekend. Iím not a mom yet, I donít know how it feels to leave your baby, but I get the sense that she just doesnít trust Chris with the baby. I may be way off base.
Gosh, Iím restless. Maybe Iíll go for a drive. And find ice cream. Ah, ice cream.
Iím happy today. Despite Aís email and the way I felt afterwards. Iím happy. Iíd like to try to write more tomorrow Ė maybe using some of the journal prompt websites that Tess mentioned.
And I am going to register for the WomenVenture class.