January 15

Good (with moments of overstimulation). I’m proud of myself. I find myself drifting into “neutral” thoughts – not about G or other relationships. I missed Tyrel – the sweet, good man. I feel such a fondness for him. I guess that will never leave. Worked with C a little today for the first time. 

Learning new things can be so annoying sometimes, like the kind of recipe that requires an immersion blender or food processor. Maybe you have all the right ingredients and tools, but you’ve never actually used them and there’s an entire cookbook full of recipes you’ve avoided/ignored simply because they require you to actually learn how to use your tools to create a new culinary masterpiece. And week after month after year that you ignore those recipes and tools… well, they just become all the more annoying and burdensome in the back of your mind, looming over you, lurking in the unknown with all that unmet potential. This same idea could be applied to new workouts at the gym, pursuing further education, implementing new techniques at work, and of course, RELATIONSHIPS!

This is me cleaning up my mind. I’ve always asked other people to clean it up for me. For the first time, I actually WANT to do it myself. It’s strange and foreign to not be asking G to assist me or look out for me during this breakup. I (keep reminding myself) don’t need him to make any concessions or gestures to make me feel secure. I’ve already mapped my plan according to what is best for my mind and heart and his choices don’t affect that. IT’S SO FREEING! It’s empowering to (keep reminding myself) know that I am worth more – time, affection, tenderness, etc. Also, writing in these journals has helped me not feel the compulsion to TALK so much… to anyone who will listen. I usually say more than I’d really like and now I am able to temper that almost effortlessly. Magic!

We all just want to belong and fit in – maybe not with everyone but with someone. Think of the last time you walked into a party or a function where you weren’t familiar with the location or you didn’t know anyone there. Finding ONE soul you can connect with (aka cling to) means so much!

January 16

Another very good mental day:) I felt overstimulated several times throughout the day, but realized it and turned music off or took deep breaths. Worked with C some and got a leg workout in at the gym. I enjoy life on my own – today at least. So I’ll take that! 

I’m so happy when I have glimpses of how this healing of my mind is going to help change my future. I get excited to think how I will behave differently in a relationship than I have previously. But then right after the feeling of excitement, I panic. “I’m not ready yet. I need at least two, six, eight more months!” I just don’t feel like I’ve nailed “this” down yet or practiced it enough. But really, I just need more time to get to know ME! I’m almost jealous for this time. Now THAT’s a full one-eighty! I wish I could have gone through this transformation in my 20’s, but I guess better late than never.

I think it was there all along, just waiting for me to make space for it and want it enough to let it come take over.

Today, “Thank You, Next” by Ariana Grande came on and the kids said, “G told us what this song means!” And I thought, “How ironic… because this is the song L sent me when he broke up with me.” But I solidified his explanation by giving them the example of he and I then quickly clarifying with, “But I didn’t say that to him and I like that Ariana talks about how she is spending time with herself…” THEN I went to text G but didn’t really feel like talking to him today (he slept over last night and was just so quiet and distant. I wonder sometimes if we’re even friends who know about each other’s lives anymore. Or maybe he just has NOTHING to report and doesn’t care to ask about my life. Whatever. IDC). So, I decided instead to put the little story in a note on my phone to send another day and after I wrote it all out, I thought, “Wow. That sounds awful. And mean. Almost cruel. Which is not my intention. Why did I seriously think sending that would be funny? OMG.” The note saved me! I deleted it and threw out the whole idea. 

Wow, putting myself through a quick filter (a note in my phone) might be a game-changing tip for me! I still can’t believe how awesome I thought that would be to text, when really, at best, it would be like, “why the fuck did I spend ANY amount of time typing that?!” Yikes… learning a lot about myself.

January 17

Watched a stupid Netflix show about people trying to give it another shot with their exes and I had a pit in my stomach the whole time thinking that’s how me and G will feel in three, 10, 20 years. Or maybe we won’t. I feel wonky and uncertain. Can’t shake the sinking feeling in my gut. Started bleeding today. Took the morning to rest and write and allow my body to relax. First half of the day was great, then I sat down to work and I watched that show. Dammit.

Cleaning up my head… 

I don’t know my natural hair color. Not only do I not know my true natural hair color, it turns out, there’s a lot more I don’t know about myself. This is very off-putting to me. Almost insulting. Because I take pride in how observant I am of “my people”. I know my friends inside out–their idiosyncrasies, bents, insecurities, deepest fears, tendencies, and patterns (even when THEY don’t). I know and love that I channel my way through their unintentional fronts or walls and I love them deeper and closer to their true selves.

But for myself? Well, I was under the impression that I instinctually ran the same tabs on myself, but I have become aware that this is sadly not the case. I have masqueraded behind some artfully picturesque versions of myself for most, if not all, of my adult life. Not to say I wasn’t really ME, it was just a less-of-a-mess, more “acceptable” version of me. I call this living with or through a Representative.

I had many Reps over the years, the strongest being my Dating Rep. This Rep stole the show, got many marriage proposals (but only accepted one), and caused me to live only a piece of my full true self for I guess it’s been 20 years now.

So, here I am, 35 years old and I’ve cleared out all the Representatives and I’ve committed to spending the rest of my life as an “observer”. I’ve decided to make space to spend time alone. Now I invite myself to learn more about ME, to pay attention and even take notes on my patterns, hangups and habits. I have promised not to judge, criticize or even ask “why” anymore. (As a natural self-critic, “why” can be categorically disastrous on the mind). I’ve got my sight set on ME this time for literally the first time in my life.

In order to be true to this process, I have eliminated and reduced the things I now understand I have used as crutches (my phone, alcohol, socializing, and… dating). The point is not to have a bunch of restrictions, but whatever I’m doing, I want it to be supportive of me observing myself and truly creating space for me to be the MOST authentic version of myself as I possibly can be.

I am so freaking excited, I can hardly stand it! I already sleep WAY better. I’m less stressed. I have more energy during the day, and most of all… I have peace. Peace in my home. Peace with my family. Peace in my relationships. AND PEACE OF MIND! My mind has been a battlefield for as long as I can remember, so to be able to live in a habitual place of mental peace would be one of my greatest wins. I’m on my way!

As my hair begins to grow out and my natural hair color is revealed to me and the world, so it will be with my true self. This is not a box to check, a New Year’s resolution, or a conquest. This is the beginning of the next 35 years for me.

Wooooowieeee!

That stupid Netflix show… It’s so difficult today. I miss my friend and companion–that feeling of closeness and being touched. But I still want more for myself than what he G’s able to give.

I’m feeling the withdrawals hard today. I am not allowing myself to invite him over tonight and it’s like I’m refusing to call my dealer. It’s taking everything in me to remember why I decided to get clear: I want more for myself and my kids. I want security in knowing how my partner feels about me. I want intimacy. I’m worth fighting for, making compromises with, and the work it takes to create a fulfilling relationship, damnit!

But I just miss talking with him and cozying up to him and relaxing in his arms. I miss showing him how much I love him and letting him use my body as his expression of love. All that I’m holding out for (and he is holding out for) is hypothetical… but HE is real. How does one continue to resist what is in front of them in hopes of a successful search for more?

I sure as hell don’t know, and today I’m fumbling through it. I hope I make it to tomorrow without trying to get a fix. I know if I did reach out to try to get him to covertly answer a question for me – Am I still important to you? Do you miss me too? Do you want me? Do you love me? – I would only have to start the process from square one (where I was on December 30th), and I DO NOT want to go back there. Those are dark feelings and horrible lows. At least now I’m nearly 3 weeks clean.

I think I’m actually getting nervous about next Friday (January 25th) because we’re going to Bass Hall for the Book of Mormon Show, dinner before and maybe coffee after? What will we talk about? Does he even want to know me anymore? Is he going to share anything about his actual life with me? Or will it be clear he’s locking me out of his heart – keeping me from getting too personal or too close? Which would only confirm that he is mostly here (still engaging with me) to remain in the kids’ lives. Aggh! It’s maddening today!

It’s only 5:00pm and I’m ready for bed. I’m stuck in my head. I think I’ll try to write a short story tonight to escape myself.

January 18

I need AA. I’m a fixer.

I went mental today with Jimmy today. He looked the same as Tyrel did the last day I saw him, and my head started storming. I felt like I alone needed to fight/plead/beg for him to keep living. I was so overly emotional–it was weird in hindsight. What snapped me out of my egocentric power trip (as if I have the ability to keep someone I hardly even know from continuing to use drugs or from killing himself), was a phone call to an AA lady to inquire about Al Anon for me (and Jimmy’s mom). She said, “Ok, you don’t need to get dragged into this. You need to just stay focused on your own journey and bring his mom to meetings with you.”

It was a reality check. First, that I go mental when I feel like I’m about to lose someone (Mitchell) or something (my relationship, boyfriend, whatever). I throw all my cards down in an attempt to save something/someone. It’s a dramatic and unnecessary display. I am beginning to suspect there are more sound, mature ways to approach these things. Second, I need to go to Al Anon. I need to address, feel, and heal from a 15 year life alongside an alcoholic/addict. Today triggered me BIG time. And I now see how I’ve never actually healed or acknowledged the world of addiction he (yrel) dragged me into. I’m ready. I go to my first meeting on Monday.

Wow. Unexpected day. Ended with a movie and wine with Mercy at my house. Thankful for the path unfolding before me as I commit to cleaning up my mind. Very grateful.

January 19

I’m trying to focus on allowing different kinds of love into my life – like allowing G to be what he is to my family and who he is and appreciate it for all that it is instead of wishing it was more or something different.

Also, I’m concentrating on being present in today – my moments of rest or play or time with the kids. Instead of fearing the future or regretting the past.

Today I’ve felt very stressed about everything and nothing. I’m just tossing my mind back and forth from the past and the future which makes me anxious.

Breathe. Recognize the moment. Be in it. 

Better headspace today. I do feel that I’ve allowed G to become a stalker in my mind though. He’s not always on the forefront, but he seems to almost always be lurking just around the breakfast we just ate or the plans we’re making for the day – ”What if he came with us? What would be different? How much more fun would it be?” But I simply cannot get past the sinking feeling that could – and would most likely – occur if he didn’t come upon my invitation (utter disappointment). So, I swat that thought bubble away and move along my day.

I long for the day when he’s no longer lingering in my mind. And I am so very thankful I rarely have thoughts or images of him with other women. I try to just pretend he already IS fucking someone else or in a relationship with someone else and treat him/approach him that way.

Did I mention how I moved ¾ of the way for a snuggle last week when he came over? He froze and a few minutes later moved further away from me. Now I understand that when he jokes and pretends he doesn’t like me invading his space, that means he actually really doesn’t want me in his space and his silence means, “No.”

We haven’t seen each other since and have hardly talked. If I allowed it, the curiosity would consume me – is it me? Is it him? Someone else? Does he love me too much or not anymore? It could be anything! And that questioning could easily go both ways too–I’ve never behaved the way I have the last month.

Who the fuck even knows what’s happening? 

Upward and onward!

M: Me

Tyrel: My first love, husband and my abuser 2005-2015, father of my children, died by suicide September 2016

Children: Jane and Peter

G: Ex-boyfriend and best friend

S: G’s ex- girlfriend

A: Widow and close friend (one of the “hos”)

L: Younger sister (12 years younger) and close friend. Technically, my half-sister (her father is my stepdad, R)

R: Stepdad, father figure from age 11 on, and Opa to my kids

Z: Widow and close friend (one of the “hos”)

H: Older sister (two years older) and close friend

W: kindred spirit, beloved friend, licensed therapist

I began my self-study by documenting myself in my everyday life in hopes that after a few months, I could see patterns and understand some of my own rhythms. I kept 3 journals (the — symbol represents distinction between journals 1 and 3): 

  1. An emotional/mental well-being journal where I daily jotted 1-3 sentences about my overall internal stability.
  2. My mind-body-spirit (aka moon phase) journal, which was a calendar where I noted my hormones, diet, activity, and overall feelings about myself each day.
  3. The mamma-jamma journal (the main chunk of this memoir) where I pain-stakingly detailed out my experiences and my every thought about those experiences.
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