I Just Feel… Sad

May 22, 2018

Nothing major is wrong. I just feel sad.

I don’t know what happened. It’s not an anniversary of anything and nothing happened today. I’m just sad.

I’m lonely. I have a lot of friends but I’m lonely. I still miss the ex of two years ago. I’m not sure if I miss him more or miss the role he played in my life, but there’s a hole.

I’m trying to be grateful, as I have a lot to be grateful for, but I’m sad. I can think of the “buts” for everything I’m grateful for. I’m grateful for my dog, but she’s 8 and dogs don’t live that long. I’m grateful for my new apartment but I don’t know how long I can afford it. Etc.

I’m just sad. And I have to be sad alone.

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I Don’t Have “A Person”

May 15, 2018

A friend of mine was listening to a podcast recently that ended with self-care advice, something like, “Take your meds, call your person, go to bed.” I’m paraphrasing and probably getting it wrong, but the “your person” part has stuck with me.

You see, I don’t have “a person.” I have a lot of friends and am very very fortunate that way. But I don’t have one person and I miss that.

I have very very good friends, including the person who told me about this podcast signoff. But she has a boyfriend. And another has a husband. Etc. I’m in a lot of people’s close group, but I’m not the first for anyone.

I used to. I loved that about my ex; I could call him when something was exciting, wonderful, awful, sad, or funny. I could process life with him and I loved it.

I miss that. I’ve had some great successes with the book I wrote and I’m itching to call him. But we’ve been broken up for two years.

Today there was an earthquake. It was a small earthquake, just 3.8, and it was very short, but it was centered close to here and shook my house pretty hard. I was working with a student and I instinctively grabbed her by the arm, hard, and pushed her under the table. (teacher instincts) . She was surprised (and so was her mom) but I think they understood why.

My dog was no help. She slept through it, woke up when it was over and said WOOF, and went back to sleep.

The whole thing was so strange and frightening and funny that I found myself reaching for my phone to call him and process it. But of course I can’t.


Settled In

May 4, 2018

I moved! And I’m done.

It took two weeks solid, bringing over one carload at a time and then scrambling to find friends with trucks or SUVs because U-Haul cancelled my reservation. My body is sore because I did the vast majority of it myself. (But I think my arms are stronger!)

This is the first time I’ve lived by myself… ever. I lived with my family until I was 18 and then had roommates throughout college and grad school. Then I moved and started teaching and… well, in California you really can’t afford to live alone as a teacher.

Thankfully I make a little more than a teacher now and I can afford it, but barely.

For years I have been afraid of living alone. I was too depressed and loneliness or simply being alone really triggered that in me. But now… I think I’m going to love it!

It feels a little like a vacation. Part of it is that it’s still new. But also, it’s all mine. I mean, I’m still a renter and have all the concerns that come with that. Rent can be raised, landlords can sell houses, etc. And it’s not big – it’s a one-bedroom apartment. But it feels big and it feels like home. And I’m doing great being alone in it.

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Living in Limbo

April 11, 2018

I know moving isn’t a huge event – everyone does it. But I hate it. I haven’t moved in 15 years so I’ve forgotten how to do it! That sounds funny but I really have. And I have way too much stuff because I haven’t moved in 15 years.

Funny how I keep giving stuff away, over and over and over, and it doesn’t look like anything has left the apartment. It’s still totally full.

I’m excited about a new start but I am not at all excited about actually moving the stuff. I am feeling sorry for myself for having to move it without a partner, all alone. I have friends who will help! But they’ll help around other stuff they can do. It just sucks to not be first priority to anyone. That is always the hardest thing for me about being single.

So, I’m kind of living in chaos right now, not feeling like I have a home here anymore or that I have a home there yet. It’s not a major problem, but it’s not my favorite.


Good Friday

March 31, 2018

I had to write a reflection on the verse about “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do,” one of Jesus’ statements during the crucifixion.

This is what I wrote:

——

1pieta1If you know me, you probably know that forgiveness is not my strong suit. Resentment is. I’m very good at resentment, and I’m VERY good at righteous anger. If I’m being wronged, or much more, if vulnerable people I’m worried about are being wronged, I can carry on my righteous anger for years.

I have spent most of my career working with, caring for, and advocating for marginalized children. I have known children who are trafficked, abused, neglected, and ignored. I have worked with children who are the victims of violence and no one cares because “that’s what happens when you live in the ghetto.”

My own personal resentments I can often forgive. Eventually and painfully but I can often do it. The righteous anger that comes from watching these children, children of God, live in such appalling conditions and understanding that it is just accepted; that they are just considered not worthy of more intervention. Well, that is a lot harder for me to let go of.

This is why I’m astounded at Jesus’ words. These people are not only executing him, they are trying to end his entire mission. He came for us, he suffered being human for us. He came because he loved us, and people were now executing him for this. He’s not the only one being wronged and hurt. All of his children are too.

I really can’t think of a better time for righteous anger. I really can’t think of a worse time for forgiveness.

And yet, Jesus’ words to God – and to us – are clear. Forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing.

That doesn’t usually matter to me. If they don’t know what they’re doing, well, they should figure it out. It’s not that hard to see the consequences of your actions (or inactions). That’s what goes through my mind when I’m asked to forgive. They’re hurting people. Why should I forgive that?

And yet Jesus brings his infinite love and mercy even as he is being executed. Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.

If someone were to ask me what the hardest part of the Bible was for me, I wouldn’t point to complicated doctrines or problems in translation. I would instead tell them that two statements, both from Jesus, are the reasons I struggle with the Bible. “Love your enemies,” and “Father, forgive them.”

This is why being a Christian is hard for me.

Jesus came to save us, because he loves us. He doesn’t want us to hurt, which somehow is why we are asked to forgive. He doesn’t want our hearts to be hard and cold. Jesus knew, even as he was dying, that forgiveness is what opens people up, both the forgivers and the forgiven.

With forgiveness, we have to face the pain that has been caused. But we also have a chance to heal from it, and to offer the grace that we’ve received to others. Not because they deserve it. But because none of us deserve us and Jesus brought us unimaginable grace instead.

 


Uncertainty and Panic

March 18, 2018

1239517_10151842548105700_1262399502_nI put in an offer on a condo today. It’s small, because that’s what I can afford – around 700 square feet. But it would be mine. It’s light and sunny and centrally located. It’s not perfect of course, but it’s good.

So now I wait. And wait, and wait. I don’t know when I’ll hear or if I’ll hear yes or no. If I get it, I don’t know if I’ll like the neighbors, if they’ll be upset that Ruby (the dog) barks sometimes at the doorbell, or that I sometimes have tutoring students come to my house. I might really miss having a yard.

If I don’t get it, I don’t know if I keep trying to buy or if I should look at rentals.

I just don’t know the right thing to do. I don’t know if there IS a right thing to do. I don’t know why I’m so worried. I’m not going to be homeless. But I’m panicking. I think I had an actual panic attack today. Couldn’t get out of bed, breathing shallowly, finally took my anti-anxiety pills for the first time in months.

I HAVE TO believe that God is in control. I have to. But how do you force yourself to believe something? And when you have a history of anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts, then how do you do it? I know for some people, it’s not God, it’s karma, or the universe, or good thoughts. For me, it’s God. And if I say I believe that God loves me and takes care of me, how do I live like that?

I know that how I am living is unsustainable. I cannot literally panic every time there is a big change in my life. I can’t make myself sick with tension headaches out of worry. Or, I can, because I have been. But I don’t want to any more.

Maybe this St. Patrick’s Day will be the day I learn to worry like a normal person, and not in a way that feels like it’s destroying my life. Any tips?


Loneliness

February 14, 2018

The UK has appointed a Minister of Loneliness. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/17/world/europe/uk-britain-loneliness.html It made me think. It sounds like they’ve done it because of really severe cases: people who hadn’t spoken to a loved one or friend in months.

But some of us are lonely even surrounded by great people! I have so many friends and a very strong community. And I stil feel lonely so very much of the time.

Part of it is just being “un-partnered.” There’s something very powerful about having someone in your life for whom you always come first. I miss that a lot. I am no one’s first call in case of a disaster. I would be many people’s second, third, fourth, or fifth call! But everyone has someone before me. And it’s really easy to be very sad about that.

Then, people are busy. I get that. I’m busy too and I don’t even have children. It’s super valid. But I just want friends to make time for me.

I’m genetically predisposed for loneliness, I think. Many people would not be this lonely in my situation, if at all. But it’s real.