Sunday, January 30, 2011

Rethinking friendship

So I have this friend. He and I briefly dated, until he decided that I was "too intense" and that he "wasn't ready" for a relationship. He had (has?) a variety of issues, related to not trusting women because his ex-wife cheated on him, and generally being insecure. Whatever, aren't we all, yadda yadda.

He and I chat online occasionally, him trying to play the therapist to me, which I think he thinks he's entitled to do because he has a Bachelor's degree in psychology.

Inevitably, the conversation comes back around to me obviously being miserable in my marriage. Today I got the added bonus of being told not to "buy too far into the American Dream," so that I'm not disappointed when it doesn't happen the way I expected.

Excuse me? I understand that your marriage fell apart because she cheated on you with another woman. I understand that things aren't going for YOU quite the way you wanted or imagined, or whatever. And yes, I'm unhappy sometimes, because life isn't always peaches and rainbows, but I'm not miserable spending a weekend by myself while Jeff's out of town. I kind of like sitting around, not having to listen to his talk radio, or the comedy shows he watches on Netflix, or whatever - but I love him, and I love our shitty little house, and you don't get to tell me I don't, because it isn't true.

Why do "friends" always end up so disappointing? What am I doing wrong?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Love...and not just the mushy feeling

It's easier to love oneself and to love others after one has accepted one's own desires and interests.

Okay, when I said love, I really meant sex. Hrm.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hope and nerves, simultaneously

Jeff applied for a job in his field. It's a long shot, but it would be a great opportunity if he gets it. He would be a "custodian" of forensic evidence, includes room/board, and promises "generous" compensation.

Oh, right, because it would involve him going to Iraq for six months.

The worst thing they can say is yes, right?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Question 4

4. What is your biggest strength? How did you develop it?

I guess my intelligence, my "smarts." How'd I develop it? How can you not, when some of your mother's favorite phrases are things like that "Why wasn't that an A?" It didn't hurt that my beloved grandfather gave me $20 for every report card, and I knew that wouldn't continue unless I kept getting good grades.

My mother once told me that she and my father were given the option of having me skip third grade, but chose not to because they didn't want me to end up socially isolated, or awkward or anything like that. Hindsight being what it is, it certainly couldn't have hurt anymore than the awkward way that I went through school anyway. I was enrolled in the gifted education program, which was mostly worthless; all it got me was out of regular classes once a week and we studied things like ancient civilizations. We also played a lot of Oregon Trail and the Lemonade Stand game or something. Not exactly the height of intellectual stimulation for developing minds. I'm reassured that the gifted ed program at the Muhlenberg school district is much better now than it was for me and my cohorts.


There are things I've been struggling with that I'm not even sure I have the words for. Questions of why I did or didn't do things. The sorts of things that I know, intellectually, other people must struggle with, but which I don't have the courage or the appropriately-close-friends to ask or even the words with which to discuss it.

Science is vaguely helpful, things like Kinsey's scale and his outdated studies. So I'm a...2? Trouble arises even there - how to define "incedentally," for example. That doesn't seem to measure thoughts, desires, that go unacted on.

And why are they not acted on - I was single, between Old-Jeff and Husband-Jeff. I've known about this since high school. Old Jeff didn't exactly disapprove, but said he was uncomfortable with further commitment if I didn't explore this first (among other reasons for not committing). Husband-Jeff doesn't care that it (they... women aren't "its") interest me. I was single for a while between them, and had no problem with randomly hooking up with men I barely knew, or who I knew weren't long-term possibilities. How did I manage to forget about this during the only time it was really an option?

I don't know.

How terrible that I'm so vague even with/around my closest friends.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Jeff and I may not have time or money for them...ever.

Basically, in order for him to have any kind of career in his field, he has to go to grad school. Which, at Chico State, will cost between $15,000 and $20,000 dollars. He's supposed to start getting more hours at work soon... and if he does, pretty much all of his money will have to be saved in order to afford his Master's degree. He likely wouldn't be able to start until next spring, and wouldn't graduate until at least 2013.

There's no way I can continue paying to fix up our house, have him save for school, AND buy a vehicle you can actually put a kid in. Assuming he CAN pay for school all by himself, that still leaves me to pay for everything related to fixing up the house - including two full bathroom remodels, two more bedrooms, the kitchen floor, and anything we do to the outside of it.

Our long-term savings, at this point, amounts to $200.

Oh, and none of this includes his student loans, which, while they would go back to being deferred if/when he goes back to school, would still cost us probably $200/month between this coming July and whenever he goes back.

All this makes me feel like everything I want has to be put off. Because I have no career aspirations; having a kid is about the only thing I had to look forward to, and, if that's even doable, wouldn't be able to happen for at least another three years.

By that point, I'll have been working at a place I hate for 10 years.... A place, I suspect, where if I were to even take the six weeks that most women tend to take after having a baby, I probably wouldn't have a job to go back to.

I guess I'll just give up on the only thing I thought I wanted, and put all my effort into getting Jeff what he wants.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A side note on anxiety

Sometime since graduating high school, I've developed near-crippling anxiety. It isn't constant, or anything - it's not like I can't leave the house without Valium - but it's there, and it does have a negative impact on me.

Most recent example? Tonight, my silly husband was (is?) supposed to speak in front of the City Council in his (likely far-fetched) bid to be chosen to fill an empty seat on said council.

I spent the first hour of the meeting shaking so badly, I couldn't hold his hand or anything; I had to leave before he even spoke because I was so nervous that he would embarrass himself in front of the people there because he didn't really have a prepared speech or anything to say.

I'm such a terrible wife.

Question 3

Question 3. What do you think is your biggest flaw? What have you done about it?

I'm painfully insecure. I know that. I question people's motives when it comes to "me" constantly - why do they want to talk to me? What do they want from me? Why would they want to be my friend? Right now, it's "They're not my friends, they're YOUR friends," when it comes to pretty much everyone my husband met at school.

A lot of this comes from my mother. Many parents (most?) would be happy if their kid got A-'s in school; not mine. "Why wasn't that an A?" she'd ask, every time report cards came out. I probably could have gotten straight A's - I didn't put in much effort to get the grades I did get, so what did it matter? They're still A's on the paper, just with hyphens for...decoration? I don't know. It didn't make sense, why that was the only thing she cared about.

Other comments that didn't help were things like "I love you, I just don't like you very much right now." I'm pretty sure that's on the list of things-not-to-say-to-your-child.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Question 2

What would make you feel embarrassed in public?

It took me a while to think of something that would really, truly embarrass me, but I'd have to say something like having my credit card declined. Even if it was no fault of mine, like their system was malfunctioning or something, I'd be very ashamed of that. I take pride on my ability to juggle our money - I mean, we bought a house, for crissake, with barely enough money to put up for the meager 3.5% down payment on our crack house. To have someone, even just one person, think that I'd lost control of something as important to one's daily life as our finances.

I have a coworker who says that if you're not willing to have all of your money pooled together with your spouse, you don't trust them enough to be married. Jeff and I have a joint account, because you apparently have to in order to get a married-filing-jointly tax return direct deposited. Other than that, though, we don't pool our money.

Between my parents, my dad earns about 75% of their income, my mother 25%, but I spent my childhood watching my mother spend money. And spend money. And spend money. I'm not saying that they shouldn't have pooled assets or anything, but when you spend and spend into credit-card-debt-oblivion, and leave the primary earner to figure out how to pay down $100,000 in debt... that stayed with me. Thankfully this agreement works for Jeff.

Somehow I think I deviated from the prompt a bit, but I have a feeling that's the point.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Question 1 is problematic

1. What is that thing that no one, not even your partner, your mother or your best friend, knows about you?

Well. If no one knows, then I'd probably like them to continue NOT knowing, which doesn't lend itself particularly well to a blog post, now does it? I'll guess I'll have to adapt it for this purpose.

I find it incredibly difficult to share anything. Growing up, the "best friends" I had weren't those lasting ones of Lifetime made-for-TV movies where you meet in the sandbox and go to graduate school together. They were of a "Oh, we're in the same class this year, let's be friends for the year!" variety. I remember having a "best friend" in third grade, and a different one for fifth grade, but not really one after that for a long time. When I was 13 I went to nerd summer camp at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and fell in love for the first time.

He and I stayed in touch, having been lucky enough to meet at the very beginning of the era of cell phones and instant messenging. He looked out for me, in ways I never reciprocated. I was depressed, to the point of suicidal ideation, and told him about it; he had his father call my high school so my guidance counselor could check up on me. (Maybe no one at all knew that? Hm.)

Anyway... that all ended. He met a girl, dragged her around the country with him as he moved from one high paying job to the next. She found out about my friendship with him, and grew Jealous-with-a-capital-J. She decided it was inappropriate for he and I talk to talk about sex... nevermind the fact that my conversations with him were me trying to steer him away from looking for prostitutes on Craigslist.

When your best friend turns your back on you with not even a good-bye, it makes it hard to share...

So most friends don't know much about me. And that's probably for the best.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

One of these things is not like the others...

I use the StumbleUpon toolbar (which I highly recommend if you have a lame desk job with lots of time to kill) and I "stumbled upon" this website:

Basically it's a list of questions to answer to "get back in touch with yourself," whatever that means. Since my health insurance isn't worth its weight in anything, I can't afford therapy... so I'll give myself the self help version. Stay tuned.