Big Girls Don’t Cry

My heart hurts so much lately.

 

Sometimes I feel selfish because amidst watching my brother battle cancer, I’m wallowing in my own self-pity. It’s a never-ending battle for me to remember I am lucky not to have to face the things he’s facing right now versus feeling sorry for myself for so many reasons. Nevertheless, I’ve never been very strong, and I’ve often viewed myself as selfish, so here we are.

I hate having to face all this stuff alone.

Loneliness is the best depressant I know. Now, I know that most of you are going to respond by saying “You’re not alone! I’m always here! Just call me!” and I know and appreciate that fact. But the loneliness I’m referring to is not having a partner to share my life and subsequent sorrow with. Having to come home and cry silently to myself on the couch or in my bedroom because there’s no one there to talk to or just hold me until I fall asleep from exhaustion. The loneliness that haunts and breaks my heart day after day, never ceasing.

I have this innate need to care for other people and my whole life I’ve clung to those who needed me in some capacity to fill a void. I enjoy being the rock that others can stand on for support. I have never needed to be cared for myself, so much as I do right now. I just wish I had someone who wanted to be there for me. Someone who loved and cared for and chose me. It utterly breaks my heart not having someone, now more than ever. I worry so much that because of my weight, because of my depression, because of my inner impulse towards self-destruction, and attraction to men who will never want me, that I will end up alone, forever.

I’ll pause here briefly to say – I know. “No one can love you before you love yourself” or “It will happen when it’s meant to happen”. These are nice sentiments, and they may be true, but that doesn’t take the ache away. That does nothing to help me get through the next night that I cry myself to sleep or the next time I attend a friend’s wedding alone, watching everyone I know find their forever partners.

I think some of my fear stems from the fact that my aunt has been my biggest role model my entire life. I’ve never met someone I admired so much as her. I am an asshole and I find fault with everyone relatively easily and it was always hard to find with her. Most of the faults I found in her were selfishly driven — things like, she didn’t spend enough time with me or prioritize my graduations over her church functions. They were never about her character. She was such a strong, confident, genuine, LOVING, and truly special woman. Like me, she had been overweight her entire life, but I had never known anyone more beautiful than her. I used to love watching her get ready, curling her hair, doing her nails and makeup. I was captivated by her and everything she did.

She was not alone in the world and she had a husband who she loved with every part of her soul. I remember times that I would cry over boys who didn’t love me, and she’d tell me that God would give me someone, just like he gave her husband to her. She’d comfort me telling me how similar we were and that she knew what it was like to be overweight, but she knew how much her husband loved her. I think even though I’ve pretty much disliked her husband my entire life, I wanted to believe that could be true for me too because she was the person I wanted to become when I was older. I watched their marriage for years as an example of someone who looked like me finding “true love” and happiness.

To sit here now, a mere 7 months after she has died, and see that her husband has totally rid himself of her memory, their marriage, her belongings, their home – I’m left feeling so hollow. She passed away in January and I got a phone call in April that my uncle had feelings for another woman. He spent 45 minutes trying to convince me this was ordained by God and asked me to still love him, and I said maybe 4 words on the phone before he hung up. He hasn’t spoken to me since that day. A few days later, he left his wedding albums and my aunts wedding dress on my uncles’ doorstep without a word to anyone. He’s since become “Facebook official” with his new girlfriend, a woman who was not only married, but knew my aunt and called her a friend, and has plans to marry her from what I’m told.

What makes this all worse is to hear him speak about my aunt now. He has told her best friends that this all stems from the fact that he’s a man and he has sexual urges and because of the issues my aunt had (her cancer was originally some type of cervical/pelvic/ovarian cancer, though thanks to his manipulation and censorship I still don’t truly know which one) it had been a while since they had sex and so he needed to move on to fulfill that need. He would later go on to tell her friends that he only slept with my aunt of “duty as her husband”, not attraction.

To hear these things come from the man I watched my aunt devote her entire life and heart to is so painful I don’t know that I can even describe it with words. The love I have for this perfect woman knows no end and I am breaking apart to think of how she would feel if she heard him say these things. It’s sickening and beyond appalling. This is a man who claimed to be devoted to her, called her precious, and had the world convinced he found her to be beautiful and loved her. Here he is now, speaking the truth of his ugly, manipulative ways and showing the deceit that these words were.

Aside from the anger and pure heartbreak this gives me, it leaves me with fear and sadness for myself. If my aunt, someone so perfect, kind and beautiful, inside and out, could be fooled and discarded this way, what does that leave for me? People have told me to look up to her as an example, including herself, because of the love she shared with her husband, so what am I supposed to do now? Is this what overweight women deserve? Someone settling for us because of where we can take them in the world. To be discarded when we’re through providing service to a man who never really loved us but used us for what we gave?

When I think of everything that’s happened since her death, I am just left so defeated. I have never liked my uncle, and he wouldn’t be shocked to hear that. I’ve always found him to be arrogant and self-serving, and his views about people and the world have always gone against what I know to be true in my heart. But I loved my aunt, greatly, and I saw him as a father figure because she has and always will be the mother I didn’t deserve. It’s hard to explain how it’s possible to hate someone and love them at the same time, but I did, and his behavior hurts me as the daughter he referred to me as when he spoke about me in public. I’m not sure I ever believed that he thought of me that way – I think so much of what he said was a lie – but even as a niece, to watch your uncle discard your family so quickly is painful. Maybe it’s selfish or dramatic to extrapolate this situation into my own self-pity or sorrow, but I can’t pretend that it doesn’t have an impact on me and my view of the world. It’s a crushing blow and I’m running on empty lately,.

So, I’m sitting here tonight. Sad and angry and alone. I’m making plans to visit friends in October for their wedding and though I’m so excited for them, I teeter on the edge of trying to run away from going because I don’t want to have to go alone, again, to another wedding, and watch everyone with their partners and pretend like I’m happy. I’m not happy. I’m terrified that if I don’t lose weight, I will spend the rest of my life alone or left with someone who settles for me and chooses me out of duty, not love. I am scared that I will always be second choice for someone. I have feelings for someone who isn’t married, or my best friend, or horrible for me for the first time in what feels like a lifetime and they weren’t interested in me and found someone else. I sit and wonder how much of that is because of my outward appearance? It seems like I always have such great personal chemistry with people but I’m never the girl they choose. I wish I knew why  – why am I never the one people want to love? Why am I always the one people want to talk to or laugh with, but never, ever, love.

When I think about this, I’m just so overwhelmed with emotion and everything else going on. I am scared for my brother’s future and wish I could hug my aunt and ask her how to get through it all. I am tired and broken and so incredibly alone for all of it.

And I know, I have the best friends in the world, who support and love me despite all my depressing posts and words. I have parents who’ve helped me move and take care of my brother and co-workers who’ve done so much for me.

 

But despite it all, I cannot escape the loneliness.

can’t sleep.

I can’t sleep.

Not surprising given my mind is running a mile a minute with thoughts and yet a bit surprising given the fact that I went to bed at 6:30 pm yesterday and slept through the night until work this morning.

I’m exhausted but I think my body is on its own schedule right now, so I suppose I’ll use the time I have wisely and try to process through some of this mile a minute thoughts (if only thinking burned calories, amirite?)

My last post had the highest views my blog has ever had. People seem to have a lot of thoughts about it and a lot have reached out to me in various ways to offer support, encouragement, advice, etc. and I appreciate all of the effort on everyone’s part. It means a lot to me. One of the biggest pieces of advice I continue to get is to go talk to someone so I suppose I will use this space here to address that in a broader context so that I don’t have to continue saying the same thing over and over again. So, here we go!

Honestly – I don’t want to.

I know that sounds like I’m being a brat but it’s true. Counseling is an intimate thing for me and I had the same counselor for 7 years while I was at Brockport and it took probably 4 years of me seeing her for me to actually trust her enough to show up consistently to work through my shit. Even after that, I would say 90% of our time together was me complaining. I’m a firm believer in counseling, I think it’s a beautiful thing, I encourage everyone to try it, and I know that it can be incredibly helpful. I literally became a counselor because I believed in it so much.

The problem is that in order for counseling to work you have to be willing to do that work, and I’m just not right now. I’m fucking exhausted. And honestly I’m sick of always having to go to counseling. I have gone for so much of my life because bad shit happens over and over and over and honestly I’m at the point where I’m just sick.of.it.

It seems like these two mindsets are conflicting, and they probably are, because HEY! I’m a gemini, that’s what we do – but in all seriousness, I don’t want to pay money to go talk to a counselor who is going to tell me things I already know and help me put together the puzzle behind why I’m feeling the way I am right now.

Let me break it down for you –

I have an incredibly deep rooted negative self-image, the product of childhood friendships that were toxic, an unhealthy and at times emotionally abusive relationship with my father, sexual assault, toxic relationships, medical issues, family trauma, medical trauma of my own and various other life events all wrapped up in a nice genetic predisposition for lack of serotonin production.

I have always felt this way about myself/my life/my achievements/my worth. I’m just usually a lot better at covering it up so that none of you worry about me and I don’t have to explain myself.

The problem is that I am utterly drained by grief right now, to the point where I am exhausting all of my energy just to get out of bed and go to work each day since losing my aunt. Thanks to a shitty guy, I was so wrapped up in bullshit when she died that I literally didn’t even mentally process her death and now I am slowly losing my mind at the thought of life without her. Because of this, I quite literally CANNOT keep up appearances and pretend that I love myself/have positive aspirations/believe I have a good future etc. I just can’t. I have no energy left to give to devote to that and so what the world is seeing is the full force of the inner thoughts I have had time and time and again for as long as I can remember.

I am not kidding when I tell you I do not remember a time when I loved myself. I do not remember a time when I believed myself to be worthy of love. I do not remember a time when I thought myself worth anything.

What I remember are times when it didn’t consume me. Thanks to medication, I’m able to go about my life and not have this become something that runs my day to day in a full force way.

Right now, is not one of those times.

And I’m not saying I’ll never go back to counseling or that I don’t think it will work for me – I’m sure that I will at some point when I’m able to. But I’m saying right now I am fucking exhausted and sick and tired of feeling like this day in and day out and I don’t want to have to go to another doctor and pay another medical bill to hear all the ways in which my thinking is distorted. I know it is. I know it’s me. I know that ‘only I can change how I respond to situations’ or whatever but my god can’t I just get a break from it every now and again?

I feel like there’s more anger coming through than anything else when in reality I’m just tired. I’m fucking angry too, but I’m just exhausted and I can barely get up in the morning let alone “look for the positives”. It’s a lot easier to say to people than it actually is to do sometimes.

Maybe it seems dramatic to some of you. Maybe it feels like I just want attention (to those who think that I say a big fuck you) but the only reason I’m even talking about it online is because this is the only thing I have the energy to do right now. I know that if I started talking about it in person I would actually lose it and scare everyone even more and I don’t want that so this is my solution. I am not physically capable of crying and breaking down in front of people in person because the shame of that feeling may actually destroy me. It’s hard enough facing people in person who’ve read this. No one has to read this. No one has to say anything but at least I can get things out of my head and put somewhere for a time. This is my temporary fix.

While I’m being honest, I just want to say that I know – I know I need help. I know I could make small changes. I know that being depressing and negative gets me no where and attracts no one – I know. But it’s all the more frustrating when the rational side of who you are knows those things and the irrational side has taken over and you can’t stop yourself from feeling or thinking a certain way. I know that the way to catch a boyfriend isn’t by telling the world how crazy I am but at the same time, do I even want someone who doesn’t know who I really I am? cuz this is it. 
And it sucks even more when you know you’re letting everyone down while it happens, too.

I’m even questioning my faith which I know is upsetting like half the people in my life and would completely upset my aunt, but again – I can’t help it. How am I supposed to believe in an all powerful, healing God when I watched her faith remain strong and unyielding in every dark moment of suffering, just to watch her die in the end and not get the healing she’s promised? She spent her whole live devoted to God and what hope do I have if someone like her wasn’t able to beat cancer (or even got it in the first place).

On top of that – I just sit and think about how I have wasted SO . MUCH. TIME. Going to school for a career that literally threw me away when she was diagnosed. Spending years romanticizing a toxic relationship into something I believe resembled love when it was actually the complete opposite. Sacrificing my time and energy into all these things that just blew up in my face leaving me with nothing but time spent – all time I could have spent with my aunt.

Time I could have spent finding the right career that would have let me have balance or the right relationship that would have let me get married and have her officiate my wedding and see me walk down the aisle. Things that would let me get healthy enough to actually have a baby and have her with me in the delivery room to hold her the way she held me when I was born.

But I can’t go back. I can’t get any of that time back. And now she’s gone, and I am still alone. Still lost. Still depressed and still trying to make sense of what the hell it’s all supposed to mean. And I know that feeling this way and being this negative won’t further me to anything in the future – but I don’t even care right now. I can’t care. I have no energy left to care because it’s all spent. All of it.

I want to be the person everyone says they know I can be. But I honestly don’t know how.
I appreciate everyone saying that I matter, or that I’ve left an impact on them somehow. It’s nice to hear. I think we don’t do enough of that until people are gone or hurting. We don’t tell them what they mean until it’s too late and I appreciate everyone who’s done that. I love you all so much and so deeply and I’m sorry that I’m not able to put that into words right now.

But I can’t pretend to not feel this way. I can’t pretend like I’m okay because I’m not. I can’t pretend like I want to go to a counselor because I don’t.

What I want, is to know what it feels like to be happy and not have to utilize medicine and therapy to get there for a change. What I want is to stop letting people down by feeling the way I do all the time. What I want is to sleep and wake up not feeling tired. What I want is to come home and have someone to share my life with. What I want is to have someone hug me and let me cry until I fall asleep and have that be okay.

Thanks for reading – Even when I don’t respond, I’m paying attention to what you say.

I think too much and now I need to write about it….

Okay before we begin what will likely be a short novel filled with random ideas and thoughts, I need to tell you all, dear readers, that I have typed, deleted and re-typed what was going to be my beginning sentence 4 times now because every variation I read had some grammatical error that I was self-editing and tried to fix to please my graduate professors who would likely throw up at the ridiculously long run-on sentence I have now typed out. So, with that being said – please be warned, this will be riddled with grammatical inaccuracies and likely contain an exuberant amount of split infinitives and dangling participles designed to take you on an emotional journey rather than please your concise, well thought out, hearts.

I turn 30 this year.

I’d like to point out that while I might physically turn 30, I don’t know that I’ll mentally turn 30. The idea is a bit too complex for me to fully comprehend as there are some days it feels like I’m still 22, bumbling around like Taylor Swift thinking everything will be alright if I just keep dancing around like an idiot.

I’ve done a lot of self-reflection over the last couple of months and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not very happy with my life. Now, I know what you’re thinking – GASP – Kayla, say it isn’t true! You’re so positive! I can’t fathom you’d ever speak negatively about yourself, your looks, your life, your status, your direction, etc. etc.  – I know. I’m as shocked as you. But all kidding aside, I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember and the unhappiness I’m describing goes deeper than anything I think I’ve experienced before and its left me with this emptiness that I am struggling to move past. In the past year, I left my job and totally switched career paths, thus leaving behind the very thing I spent the better part of 9 years working towards as an adult, went from living alone, away from my friends and family to living with a roommate and mere minutes away from friends and family, and lost the best parental figure I’ve ever known to a brutal battle with cancer.

And while there have been wonderful things that have happened throughout my life and this past year, I feel like I am starting over with absolutely no direction. I’ve given a lot of thought lately about what I want to be remembered for, what I want my legacy to say when I’m gone, and usually I become so confused and overwhelmed I take out my phone and ignore the question by playing a game.

I think what’s tripped me up the most is wondering how many people in my life know my true, authentic self (and subsequently – what IS my true authentic self). I know how I WISH to be portrayed to others, but I’m not always aware of how others perceive me to be and I think that information is important when questioning the type of impact you have. I have a nagging suspicion my love of literature has led me to romanticize ideas and build up expectations for others that aren’t always realistic to how people interact with one another. As a result, I’m left disappointed in the relationships I have, always feeling like I don’t get back what I give to people. But the more I think about it, the more I wonder, what DO I give to others? Do I have an impact at all? Do I offer anything besides surface level friendship and self-deprecating and often distracting humor?

 A while ago, I asked a close friend of mine to tell me what they think matters most to me and their answers honestly stunned me. They weren’t necessarily wrong ( I think they said something like, friends and family, music, helping people – which are all true things) but it surprised me that it differed so much from how I would describe myself as a person and what I value most ( for example, the thing I value most is my work ethic and being viewed as someone who contributes and betters whatever it is I work on; I value passion and drive and gravitate towards other who are similar, I appreciate creativity and creative outlets of all kinds and prefer simple things like dinner with friends, movie nights in and reading to outlandish adventures or outings at bars because I like the intimacy they give; I’m emotional to a fault and sometimes have to backtrack because I let emotions cloud my judgement in important situations— that’s how I would describe myself). While it’s unfair of me to assume someone should just KNOW all of that, it still bothered me that the answer I was given wasn’t anywhere close to my own perception of who I am.

I think I’ve thought a lot about this more recently because my Aunt passed away and I saw what an incredible legacy and lasting impact she’s left on not only me, but every person she ever knew. She was without a doubt the most confident and unapologetically authentic woman I’ve ever known and there was no question that everyone who knew her saw her for who she was, through and through.

I think one reason I worry that people don’t have a real sense of who I am is because I choose which parts of me to let people see. I’m a social chameleon, capable of adapting to the crowd that I’m in order to fit in, so it’s sometimes hard for me to even decipher who I truly want to be versus who I think I need to be in order to gain acceptance. I am someone who doesn’t shy away from explaining past traumatic experiences or how I’m feeling (hello, facebook, my old frienddddd) but I also don’t typically elaborate on the true depth of those emotions for the sake of others.

For example, if someone asks me how I’m doing, I don’t typically give them the full truth of the answer because I know that the truth would likely make them uncomfortable and they’d be unsure of what to do. Additionally, most people who ask how you are don’t really want you to be honest, they just want you to know they made an attempt to connect and then move on with their day. Now, that may sound harsh, but it’s inherently true. We don’t ask “how ya doing” to have someone respond with “actually, I’m horrible and let me tell you why” – we ask because it’s socially expected for us to ask, and we hope the person reciprocates with the same and we move on to a short, surface level empty conversation before diving back into our phones/work/kids/etc.

So, in an effort to be more transparent and to get some things off my chest and into the universe somewhere, I thought it might help if I wrote out some of the complexities of my unhappiness to try and start figuring out where to move forward to change that. I think the transparency will help people learn a little more about the person I actually am, rather than just who I choose to show people. Maybe that will change opinions about me, maybe it won’t. I’ve decided to start using my blog for this because well… it’s a blog. More than that, I find writing out my thoughts and feelings therapeutic, but I think it’s important that I share that with others too in order to take it a step further. Maybe my thoughts can help inspire/encourage/motivate others, or maybe they can just help shed light on why I’m the specific brand of weird that I am.

Most importantly, I think we always wait to reflect on our relationships until a person is gone and I don’t want to do that. I want people to know how I feel about them, how their friendship/mentorship/love has changed me, for better or worse, before it’s too late to tell them. I also want to be able to change the depth of my relationships before it gets to be too late for me. And, in some aspect, I truly do believe in the idea that feelings are truly felt until they’re expressed to someone else and I think a lot of the reason I feel so unhappy with the trajectory of my life is that I’ve bottled a lot of this up and haven’t shared it with anyone in it’s entirety. Enter the internet….

With that being said, I’m long winded so I certainly can’t post it all in one sitting (well… I could…but the likelihood of anyone reading through it all is slim to none…. Unless you’re a past co-worker who wants to turn me in – HEYYYOOOO – bad joke…long story…maybe you’ll learn the tale late). So for now, I’ll leave you with the idea that sparked this whole project of mine.

As I mentioned hours ago, I turn 30 this year.

With that, I’d like to do 30 things in my 30th year. I think this will help give me focus and direction as I explore why it is I’m so miserable, and hopefully will help me, as they say, “find myself”. So here is my list:

  • 1.       Do something that scares me (posting this nonsense might count as this – TBD)
  • 2.       Volunteer somewhere
  • 3.       Spend more time with my nieces/nephews
  • 4.       Make a concerted effort to be more financially responsible
  • 5.       Make an even more concerted effort to eat healthier and avoid early death from organ failure.
  • 6.       Actually use the gym membership I pay for.
  • 7.       Travel outside the country (or plan a trip to do that – see  number 4)
  • 8.       Make an honest effort to go on a date with someone I don’t actually know.
  • 9.       Try a little harder at my appearance (i.e. style my hair, maybe wear makeup)
  • 10.   Get a dog
  • 11.   Visit my friends who live out of state
  • 12.   Go to NYC and see another broadway show
  • 13.   Sing in some type of performance-based thing (musical/choir etc.)
  • 14.   Explore my spirituality and faith and grow closer to God.
  • 15.   Read my Bible more
  • 16.   Say no more often and find balance in my work and life
  • 17.   Plan and organize things ahead of time rather than flying by the seat of my pants
  • 18.   Help someone with something even if I don’t want to
  • 19.   Forgive people for things I’m holding on too
  • 20.   Call or text my friends more to see how they’re doing rather than just to complain about things
  • 21.   Be more attentive during conversations and live in the moment
  • 22.   Spend less time on my phone
  • 23.   Read ALL THE BOOKS (or at least 50)
  • 24.   Write more often – feelings, fiction, prose, doesn’t matter – just do it
  • 25.   Pay off a student loan
  • 26.   Learn how to do something new
  • 27.   Be nicer to my family even if it’s super hard
  • 28.   Buy less things and invest in more experiences
  • 29.   Take more pictures with people
  • 30. Be more positive and talk about myself with less negativity.

So there you go folks, that’s my list. I’m also open to suggestions if there are other things people think I should add. I’m all for ideas!

So this is the start of my journey. If you’ve read this, thanks, friend – I appreciate that you care enough! I don’t know what will come next, but I’m hoping it will be interesting enough that you’ll stick around.

As I think about what comes next, I need to say this – I am fully aware that I am a very privileged person in many avenues and as a result I think I sometimes down play the impact that certain things have had on my life. As a counselor I’ve been trained to connect to the emotions rooted in a persons experience and can often find the deeper meaning buried in something seemingly small to others, but I struggle immensely with connecting to my own. At any rate, I’m going to attempt to do so by being brutally honest about the things that plague me most in my never ending thought parade in my head. There is a large chance that while I will not name names of people who are involved, there is a strong likelihood that you may know who I’m referring to, or be the person I’m referring to. It’s not my intent to degrade, demean or demonize (alliteration for the wiiiiin) anyone with these posts. This is about ME. No one else. Also, let’s remember there are two perspectives to every situation and I am likely just as much at fault as anyone.

I just want that disclaimer out there for anyone who may read things later on and become frustrated. If you find yourself frustrated, please just talk to me. Connecting is more or less what this whole thing is about.

With that, I leave you all until next time (whenever I decide that will be).