It is so easy to convince yourself how happy you are when you think you're on the path that you're "supposed" to take. I remember how easy it was to write off all of the issues in my relationship with X because I just had to stay with him, I had put so much time in already, I couldn't just give up! And when he proposed, I just had to be excited about it, and so in love, because that's the natural path of things. But as anyone who knew me then can tell you, it was obvious that I was miserable.
First off, living in Cincinnati was miserable for me. And while I have been known to suffer from bouts of depression, it is usually not long term, maybe a couple of days. Which is why I've never bothered to make a huge deal of it or see anyone. It's manageable, it doesn't prevent me from functioning, so no big. But in Cincinnati, it would go on for weeks or even months at a time. I was cut off from the friends I had grown to value so much. I was having a very hard time making new friends as my behaviors were still in patterns from being treated like a little kid before I moved to Cincinnati. X continued this treatment, so I was struggling between being who I knew I was and who I was "expected" to be. I gained a ton of weight due to inactivity. I was miserable and the only link I had to the friends I missed was spending copious amounts of hours on the internet. And then I made NEW friends.... the Enforcers. But alas, they too were accessible only (except for one lone Enforcer who happened to be in Cinci as well, total chance!) online. So I spent my 3 years in Cinci mostly on facebook (or myspace LULZ), IRC, Enforcer forums, and even Gaia online. Just trying to have some connection to people. I made friends in Cincinnati, but not to the extent that I so desperately needed. I did become very close to our roommate Mike, but one good friendship, unfortunately, cannot substitute the life a socialite like myself craves. So I turned inward more and more, and as the only constant companionship I had was X, I rationalized that he was the only one who really loved me.
So I made myself miserable, but I didn't even know it. The weight gain was the first sign. I had been rail thin most of my life, and while I had started to grow some curves, after moving to Cinci, I just flat out fattened up. My midsection was no longer flat and attractive, but getting pudgy. Once aware of the problem, I became more & more self conscious. I had never in my life had to worry about my weight and now it was out of control. While at first, X attempted to belay my fears, eventually it became apparent that he was not equipped to handle the emotional damage this was creating and began to add to it rather that relieve it.
Insomnia was next. I couldn't seem to regulate my sleep schedule to save my life, even when I got a "real" job. I still suffer from this today. As you can tell I am posting this blog at almost 3 am. Even when I am tired, trying to sleep before 2 am becomes a challenge for me, no matter what time I have to get up. I am too restless and have always had a difficult time forming a regular sleep schedule.
Eating. All the time. This was a leftover habit from my teenage years, but unfortunately with my metabolism crashed, the effects were visible now. Again, another thing I struggle with. I feel like almost any activity I do at home must involve a snack. Ugh.
Overshopping. So miserable, I had to constantly go to Target or Meijer just to buy something small that would provide me with some joy. It's likely where my huge Target addiction started. And why I have so much stuff, lol.
Vegetarianism. Ha ha that sounds like a strange thing to list here. Let me explain. I do believe the meat industry is pretty fucking foul, and I wish that I could afford to eat ONLY free range meat that I KNOW is treated well (don't get me started on the crap requirements for free range labels), but at the time I chose to be a vegetarian, I'm pretty sure it was just to rebel against what X liked, in my own way. It was a way to fight back and control something. He couldn't force me to eat things I didn't want, and now I had a rule set he'd have to follow. Spite is the best reason to do anything. That was the motto I believe.
Here is where the real rub comes in. I made mention in my first entry about marrying X because of how some friends treated me. It's really only one. A conversation stands out in my mind every time I wander back to the decision I made to marry X. I asked this friend if he/she thought the marriage was a good idea. As I indicated in my first entry, I was a spaz, an emotional firecracker before (and to some extent while) I moved to Cinci. This friend said to me, "Well, he seems to be able to put up with you, and I think that's what you need." No mention of the two of us being in love, no mention of him caring about me. This reassured my fear that I could never do better. But the worst part now, is that after speaking with yet another friend from that period of my life, I have come to see my behavior back then in a totally different light.
This other friend expressed his frustration with myself and with the first friend. This friend said he knew I was smart and interesting, but that he/she couldn't seem to reconcile how I acted when we were alone and how I acted when I was around other people, specifically the first friend. Alone, I was smart, funny, excitable but not spastic. But with other people, they would treat me like a 5-year-old, and so I would act like one.
Move forward into my relationship with X, he treated me like someone else. I wouldn't say he treated me like a 5-year-old, in fact that's not the case even at all. He simply wanted to believe so badly that I was some other woman, and then treated me as if I was that woman. He acted as if I was the crazy one when I didn't perform in the way he believed this woman to perform and he was disappointed in me. The huge schism this created in my mind was completely crippling. I wanted so badly to be the woman he wanted, but I also wanted to be myself, because I know that's I'm pretty freaking awesome. But these two women couldn't be reconciled with each other. So his constant disappointment in me was completely killing my self esteem. But I had convinced myself I must be this woman, otherwise why would he think so? And the depression got worse and worse. Until he broke me. He completely yoked and tamed me, and I was so lost and confused I just gave up. He would scream at me on the phone while I lived in Seattle. I was there for only 3 weeks before he left me over the phone, but the entire time I was there he was accusing me of being lazy, not finding a job or a place for us to live when he was supposedly going to follow. I tried so hard to understand where he was coming from. It took me 3 months to find a job when I moved to Cincinnati, and Seattle is a whole new ball game. I tried talking to my friends out there about it, to see if I was missing something, but when he found out I was talking to anyone else about our problems, he blew yet another gasket. Driving me further and further away from making any connections with anyone else. The misery just piled up and piled up. Until I finally saw him for what he was when I returned to Ohio. I shook off all the dust and debris and trash he had been throwing on me and just decided I'd had enough.
But it's so easy to rationalize away your doubts and fears. It's so easy to let other people's expectations of you rule the way you act.
I'm here to tell you to knock it off. Stop letting everyone else dictate how you should feel about it. Stop making excuses for your unhappiness and be honest with yourself. Because the second you do that is the second you can actually live your life.
Alan doesn't dictate the way I act, perhaps to his chagrin sometimes. He recognizes that I may never improve in the areas that make him kind of crazy. But he's willing to accept that fact for all the awesome I bring into his life. Change is good, but forcing something to change into something they are not, isn't.