The Literary Jersey Girl

Not all Jersey Girls are about hair, nails, and "WTF"

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This one is different

This post, this piece of writing is different because I am writing this now and publishing immediately, instead of editing and rewriting.

Why?

Because…well, I’m angry at myself for even hesitating a microsecond to speak up about my abuse in the name of hopefully helping others. And I just now did that. That hesitation happens sometimes, and I don’t always know why. Sometimes I’m emotionally tired, and I simply can’t. Sometimes I’m still embarrassed and ashamed…actually that’s frequently and I fucking hate that I feel that way!!! If I truly believed I did nothing wrong, and that none of it was my fault, then why the fuck am I still ashamed?!

I wonder if that’s what people see when they look at me-a victim, someone who wasn’t smart enough to get it together and get out. Or if they think I’m pathetic and fragile and mental because of it.

The truth is sometimes I AM fragile; more fragile than I used to be and too fragile for my tastes. I take extra care those times not to react, to put a wall between myself and everyone else so no one can get to me while I’m so vulnerable. And sometimes…yeah, I’ll say it, I’m mental. I go down into the abyss…I freak out when I shouldn’t…and my bad days are bad. Really bad sometimes.

Sometimes telling my story brings all that up.  So sometimes I hesitate, out of self preservation.

and I feel like the world’s biggest asshole when I do…

MY imposter syndrome takes steriods…

I’m not good enough. That pervasive, not-specific-to-any-event feeling of inadequacy appears, for me, at the most inopportune times. Does this happen to anyone else? Sometimes for me, it hides behind a case of imposter syndrome. But I’m more plainspoken and this was more than imposter syndrome. This time it was a force that spun me to the past and said, authoritatively, “Look! You aren’t GOOD enough!! You aren’t ENOUGH! Not good enough THEN (provides proof via flashbacks, spins me to the present) and NOT enough NOW! Fool,” it scoffed.

The voice is right in a visceral, tangible way. The voice is also wrong, but the problem is the wrongness is not as apparent as the rightness. I have proof of the rightness. I don’t have proof of the wrongness. I feel like I ‘have to’ say that the voice is wrong because that’s what you’re SUPPOSED to say when someone (or some voice) talks smack. But sometimes…I don’t really feel that way. I agree with that voice because I am a realist. And what I see is the tangible proof of rightness, and lack of proof of wrongness. And I don’t know how to let that go.

The tangible proof of the voice’s right-ness hurts; an actual physical pain right near where my heart is anatomically located.

This is a really hard thing to write about. I’ve never talked about it with anyone. I can’t. I’m afraid it will sound too much like I am fishing for compliments or assurance or something. I’m not. At least I don’t think I am. I want organic admiration; not because someone thinks I want to hear it, or need it, or to make me feel better.

I just want a damn hug. No words. Maybe someone who understands how this feels and can tell me that. There really is some assurance in simple physical contact.

Sometimes I wonder if I would feel better if I found out whether I was, in fact, “good enough” or “enough” or maybe, just maybe, “too much.” How do you even ask such a question, or begin that conversation? There is no way that I can come up with that feels comfortable for me. It’s an exquisite agony, this ‘need-to-know-wait-don’t-tell-me’ feeling.

I will never have an answer. Never know for sure. Therefore this ugly feeling will return. And I will once again drown in this whirlpool of not-good-enough-ness….

12/28/17

When I can’t think of a title, I always use the date. Always have. Probably goes back to those notebooks; I dated every entry.

I have stuff on my mind. I’m sure writing would help ease the burden…but I hesitate. I’m mindful of the public forum here. I have a hard time really talking to anyone, too. So it’s all inside, and I think it’s behind how shitty I’ve felt recently.

I’m not even sure how to start…which is obvious from the procrastinative meandering I’m doing. Is procrastinative even a word??

Things are strange at home. And I don’t know if it’s just me. My partner and I don’t have any mutual friends anymore, so there’s no one else to see any of this stuff. That’s another weird thing, maybe, but that’s probably another piece of writing.

My partner comes home a different person after he spends a couple hours with his work friends. Like with a completely different personality. And I suspect he’s doing more than drinking with them. He has a history of dabbling with, well, substances. Medicines. Stuff that is stronger than booze or weed. He comes home completely wasted, and mean.

It’s not just that. He’s not really even a partner. I mean, I don’t feel that way. I didn’t always feel this way though. Things used to be different.

We had our problems; everyone does. My turning point was the summer of 2012. It’s kind of a long story. The husband of a couple we were friends with thought it was ok to grope me and proposition me. I told my partner how uncomfortable it made me, and he blew me off. I was afraid of this guy. I mean, one night I actually slapped him, and my partner called me out for it.

One day the husband cornered me at their house, asserting his right to “feel those double Ds mashed up against me,’ and my partner happened to see it. We ended up leaving the party, to a chorus of name calling. My partner said nothing. Not a word. My partner then expected me to return to the house for another party a few weeks later.  After I explained how it all made me feel-again. How afraid of this guy I was. My partner couldn’t or wouldn’t see it. I tried playing sick, but my partner more or less forced me to go back there. I told  the wife what had been going on and how it made me feel. I actually downplayed the things he did and said to me. She stuck up for her husband, which ended our friendship. No one stuck up for me.

Now, five years later, now that all of this assault and harassment shit is coming out, NOW my partner apologizes to me. That apology felt hollow though…like an afterthought.

My partner continues to maintain a friendship with this couple. Betrayed doesn’t cover how I feel. I feel violated all over again. I never gave this man permission to touch me-I hit him, pushed him, said NO every single way I knew how, and he still felt that my body was his property. Other women, I later learned, suffered worse; like the friend he climbed into bed with, naked, when she was too drunk to realize what was going on.

Part and parcel of a life partnership is to have your partner’s back. To defend and protect them if needed. He doesn’t have my back. He destroyed my trust that summer. And I really think that opened my eyes, and maybe even changed my attitude. It had to have. I put up a wall to protect myself. And now I sit in my little fortress, inside a gilded cage of sorts. I’m Rapunzel.

I’m also very alone. And sometimes, like today, it is really REALLY hard. A partner is supposed to share the burden, at least that’s what I thought. Or help row the boat.

I’m rowing the damn boat alone and my fucking arms are tired.

Feeling a bit like Carrie Bradshaw…

It occurred to me I seldom think about my preferences. Say what now?? Doesn’t make sense…of COURSE everyone thinks about their preferences.
Not so. Not me, anyway. Allow me to illustrate…
Consider a multiple choice question. Especially for a subjective test. You read the question, then review the choices. At least one is glaringly wrong. Two or more are mostly wrong. Then there’s usually at least two that are more right…maybe not the exact choice you’d make…but they’re the only choices left. So you pick one.
My life is exactly like this. Is everyone else’s, too?
A recent encounter boiled down to three options: don’t do it at all, choose what’s presented, or provide a suitable alternative. Not doing it was glaringly wrong. That left me with two other options…honestly neither was my preference. So I picked the one that was least wrong. Is that what life is? Living with what’s the least wrong? Is life really a giant multiple choice quiz??

On being mostly estranged from your family during the holidays

I find some irony in the fact I almost religiously kept a journal from about age 13 until I was about 21 or 22. Nothing fancy, a series of spiral-bound notebooks. I would write down dreams I had, things that went on during the day, my thoughts, any feelings I had…anything was fodder for my writing. I wrote so much that I developed a knot or a callus on the top knuckle of my right middle finger (I’m a righty). I don’t write by hand much anymore, but that knuckle still has a small knot.

The irony comes in when I sit down at the keyboard now to write. Sometimes nothing comes. Was I simply overflowing with more thoughts when I was younger? I doubt that. Maybe I made writing more of a priority. I can remember so many nights in college-after classes and partying and probably a shower, I’d still sit up and write about something that happened that day or night. Maybe that is the 1990s equivalent of drunken Facebooking. Except, THAT writing wasn’t public. Probably a good thing…

It’s almost Christmas. I can take it or leave it. I am mostly estranged from my family of origin, so any ‘traditions’ are long gone.  My partner’s family has made so many (in my opinion) unreasonable demands of us, both financial and otherwise, that any remaining warm thoughts I had about this season were pretty much kicked in the nuts.  I started working on a piece of writing about all of this, but I have not been back to it in a couple weeks. It’s a weird situation, and hard to explain. I deal with my family of origin if and when I want to.  They have caused me so much pain since my youth that I keep them at arm’s length now. Truthfully, I don’t trust them either. Not my parents, not my sibling-none of them.

What can one objectively say about their family, anyway? Everything you say is heavily colored by your own experience with them, and there is no objectivity there. I had an interesting conversation with an old friend recently that reinforced what I always thought about my mother.  She is a cold woman. A cold person. I don’t think she wanted to have children, but felt like she had to or was ‘supposed’ to. I think by the time I was 10 or 12, she was over the whole ‘motherhood’ thing. Anyway, my old friend mentioned to her own mother that she and I met for dinner. Her mother naturally asked about my parents, and my friend responded that I was estranged from them by my choice. My friend’s mother then told her daughter-my friend-that she always felt my mother was cold. That my mother had never taken any real interest in her own children, nor her children’s friends. She felt badly for my situation, but that she could understand how I felt. My friend showed me the text exchange between she and her mother, and I was, among other things, relieved.

This is exactly how I felt about my mother. EXACTLY. And I gained another bit of relief about my decision. Because it is not always easy. There is still a part of me that wants their approval or something. I have to remind myself that it isn’t going to happen. I am 46 and I do not need their approval.

Still…

I see friends and aquaintances talking about family parties and such, and I do feel a little wistful. And strange…I can’t put a finger on this strange feeling. Maybe because I don’t understand the experience of looking forward to seeing family-or I don’t remember it. There was a time when I looked forward to seeing cousins and aunts and uncles…but no more. It is all too awkward anymore, for me anyway.

Although I feel like I am on the outside looking in, I do not need or want sympathy. I generally do not talk about this part of my life, and usually deflect questions about what I’m doing for the holidays. My experience is that people think they should offer condolences. They shouldn’t. I’m not sorry. I’m doing what I need to stay emotionally healthy.

My partner is also not close to his family of origin. Instead of spending the holidays with me, he works. I have the type of job that is closed for holidays. He works, he says, so that people with families can be with their families.

Um…dude, *I* am your family. What about me?

And there’s the kick in the nuts…I spend the holidays alone. My partner works, and I stay home. Sometimes it’s ok, and sometimes it sucks major ass. There isn’t a damn thing I can do about it. The few times I went to a friend’s; I got flack because my partner didn’t get a holiday meal. Dude…really. Take a day off then and stop making me feel guilty.

I chose feeling lonely over feeling guilty…and now I wonder how the other choice would feel…

 

This is how it is

I’ve neglected my writing, and that might be part of the problem.

I’ve tried to work on odds and ends, but nothing is coming together. Pieces that started strong and felt right to me fizzled out. I’ve got a collection of half-written thoughts that I can’t fully flesh out.

I feel that parts of me are scattered, too…not coming together. Namely my heart. At times I feel I’m torn in two. At times I feel like my insides are a yawing abyss; that I will be empty forever. I’m empty inside and I ache.

I wonder how much of my soul I lose each day I’m determined to sleep in the bed I made. Because goddammit I’m afraid to do anything different. I hate my fear, but i know it keeps me safe. I’m safe here. I may not be loved,  but I am safe.

I love someone who doesn’t love me back, and I don’t know how to stop. God I don’t know how many times I’ve wished for a pill or a shot to erase the feelings and the memory of the feelings…and the memories of him. He permeated every part of me.

I wrote him a letter and told him how I felt. That he was the benchmark for any relationship I considered after I met him. And everything in him spoke to everything in me. I told him what an incredible person I thought he was.

I still have that letter.

I can’t give it to him.

He loves someone else.

I’m back!

It’s been too long since I’ve published….fear not! The Literary Jersey Girl has not forsaken you!

Frustration level: DEFCON something-or-other

I need to take a deep breath and calm down. I’m so frustrated at the moment, and I can’t believe it’s not showing on my face. I’m not sure if I should get specific…I mean, this IS the internet and my blog is public…nah, I think I can narrate around it all.

You can’t expect people to depend on you if you are incapable of dependability. Period. And you can’t get angry if people stop depending on you BECAUSE you are unreliable. It’s frustrating when someone’s unreliablity keeps you off-balance, too. Since they’re unreliable, you can’t predict with any accuracy if they can or will assist you, or keep dates…or really anything.

Oh bloody hell. This isn’t helping. The source of my frustration is that I feel like I’m taking care of a three-bedroom house all by myself. I purchased the house with my partner 11 years ago, and I feel like I am the only one who cares about the upkeep. Not just the day-to-day chores, but like repairs and shit I have no idea how to do. Mind you, when said house was purchased, my partner mentioned that they enjoy “doing things around the house, fixing stuff and everything.” I’m not finding this to be accurrate, and I’m having a difficult time getting my partner to understand that I need help.  Paradoxically, my partner is bothered by the fact that I do not tend to rely on them. Well…in my mind they’ve proven unreliable. Logically, it therefore does not make sense that I depend on them, correct?

As far as the house is concerned, I’m overwhelmed by the things that have needed to be done for years. I’m not kidding or exaggerating…YEARS. There are bigger/more expensive things, like a new front door; but there’s minor stuff, like holes in walls, door repairs, replacing ceiling tiles. Small stuff, inexpensive DIY things that might take time, but that are feasibly doable. They’ve gone un-done for a very long time.

Before you ask why I haven’t undertaken such things myself, I offer the following: I do most of the day-to-day care of the house, including the shopping and cooking. I work full time, and I do hit the gym three times a week. I honestly do as much as I can. It’s just that right now I am overwhelmed with it all. If I had known I’d be carrying the weight of the house myself, I would have opted for a smaller house!

Trying to get past the block 12/10/16

I feel like this is the first chance I’ve had to sit and think and breathe in a long time. I’m off tomorrow, and my partner crashed in bed asleep about an hour ago.  I’ve been non-stop running since the end of October. That’s probably good; at the end of October I was close to the end of my rope. I’ve learned if I stay busy enough, I don’t have time to think. Because when I have too much time to think, I tend to brood. Brooding leads to wishing for things that cannot be. Some call them daydreams, but I’m too old for that shit. Maybe.

I try so hard to be a realist…but those daydreams sneak in. Sometimes I worry that those daydreams aren’t normal. Or that the act itself, of daydreaming, isn’t normal. I mean, I have a million things I could and SHOULD do…and yet…sometimes…there goes my brain. Always to the same topic. Always the same daydream. Always what might have been. What could still be. What’s funny to me is that I usually DREAM dream when something is on my mind. It permeates my subconscious and becomes reality when I close my eyes at night. This subject, this dream has never come to me in sleep. I wonder what that means, if it means anything at all or just a quirk of my brain.

So here I am, on my Friday night, in my pajamas, drinking wine, and writing in my blog.  The truth is, I’m struggling with the final part of  “Breaking The Silence.” I mean,  I want it to be the final part anyway. I went through so much gaslighting and other psychological abuse that I can’t necessarily write about my first marriage in a linear fashion. I tried so hard to forget about what happened, too. I guess in some ways it’s easier to speak about that marriage in flashbacks and glimpses.

So I guess that I hope that making this brief blog post will help me gear up for the final chapter. Although…there might be an epilogue.

 

A change in perspective, if only for like five seconds… (10/23/16 6:20 pm)

I had an extra day off this weekend, and the “big plans” I had ended up being canceled, which really bummed me out. An extra day off with no place to go, no one to see, and nothing to do. I am restless. I need things to do, and I’m overwhelmed with the things that need to be done around my house. My partner isn’t as helpful as he thinks he is. It’s a lot for one person, to put it mildly.

I forced myself to rearrange the room my partner keeps calling “your room.” As in, the room belongs to me. Number one, that feels weird and condescending coming from him for some reason. And number two; it’s the worst fucking room in the house. It was never painted, so for eleven fucking years, it’s been bright blue and yellow, with mirrored switch plates and such. The cat box is in here. It gets dusty easily, and it’s really just full of junk.  But this is “my” room? Okaaaayyyy. Fine. I decide I’m going to make it my room. Literally put my stamp on it. Not sure how just yet, but it’s going to involve paint, and patching the walls. I ripped out the sideboard heat unit from the wall, which left a gaping hole. That’s patched, so I began rearranging the furniture. All I did was switch my vanity and my makeshift dresser.

The new perspective has already made a difference, and I haven’t even moved my shoes to their new spot. No, I’m not kidding; they’re still shoved against the wall as I type right now….but I digress. My vanity is actually an antique desk that belonged to my great grandmother. And the item I’m using as a desk is my grandmother’s old Singer sewing machine cabinet. It’s closed up, but I can always move my computer and open it up to sew…which I fully intend to do.  I feel better sitting here. The shift is subtle but I can feel a change in the energy. If I can just harness it…and mingle it with the fleeting feeling I had this morning….

I woke earlier than I have been on my days off, actually ate breakfast, and then decided to go for a walk. It wasn’t chilly, but there was a breeze. A perfect sunny fall day. As I walked, the sun hit my face and I smiled. I had the most fleeting thought…it reminded me of a time when I felt on top of the world, that I could honestly do anything. It was just a few years ago I felt that way, and I’ve kind of missed it. Today, for a minute or two, about five percent of me believed I could do anything.  I grabbed my favorite visual…Ryan Howard slamming one out of the park…and tried to hang on to it…

Can I pull myself from this black hole; free myself from the so-called gilded cage? I don’t know.

I do know I have at least one more story to tell, and for me it’s an important one. Now my writing space is ready. I can speak. Stay tuned…

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