Last Day

Today’s the last day at my job. So far no one has spoken to me today. That’s okay. I prefer it this way.

I wish I could say my mood is good, instead all I focus on are my personal failings. My failure to correct the tailspin this current contract I am working caused. My failure to connect or relate to anyone here. It’s all right. It’s okay.

All I seem to be able to think about is failure, and hiding failure. Running away from failure. I am good at hiding, running away. It is not good that now I feel there is no one who I don’t have to hide from. When I go home, I have to maintain the mask of normality for my husband. It’s part of why I married him- he is steady, constant, and doesn’t have to pretend. But this also means he doesn’t understand the need to pretend.

Just keep it up. Just a little while longer. Soon the day will be over, and I can go home and nap. And given my mood swings, maybe by the time I leave I’ll be in a better mood. I tend to turn to this blog when I am at my lowest.

During the time off, I need to focus on doing. On acting. Not sitting in a distant state of introspective rumination. Chasing those thoughts that lead me further down and down the spiral. That’s why I couldn’t succeed at this horrible contract; my lack of successes lead to a slippery slope of perceiving I couldn’t succeed. Sitting at my desk and needing to work, to do something, but feeling paralyzed. My unemployment needs to be a time of recovery; feeling like I can accomplish something. To regain a love of programming, my career choice. To make my body stronger and leaner. To learn how to not give any f*cks. Without the pressure of being in a professional environment, expected to perform, maybe I can do so. That’s what’s left of my optimism, part of me is deathly afraid my mental health might continue to deteriorate if left to my own devices. I can’t allow it to.

Something I haven’t mentioned is that I’m growing my hair back out. Mainly because the last time I got it cut, the stylist asked if I was growing it out. That might seem like an innocent comment to a normal person, but to me it was an implication that short hair was bad. And so I haven’t been able to go back to get it cut, even though it looks worse growing out, shaggy and strange looking. I haven’t been back because I don’t know who will cut my hair, and what other types of comments I might get. I look back at every interaction I have with others and judge myself and the interaction extremely, extremely harshly.

I had a random thought today- if I was speaking to the woman I considered a good, close friend, like a blood sister, and who I ended up completely ghosting, I would say: “I always felt like I could be myself around you. And that was the problem, wasn’t it?” Being myself is the problem. All because I can’t play the part I was handed at birth.

Yet I don’t want to hide anymore. Not hiding means I can be hurt by others. Oh, and I will be. But hiding also means I hurt myself. If I am going to be hurt either way, what do I do?
My skin used to be thicker. No, it wasn’t. I was just blinded by my own social inadequacies that also made me a disastrously open person to others. I can’t return to that. I am currently in a state of change, and they say it gets worse before it gets better. I have to believe it.

I’ve razed much of my opinions of myself to the ground. I feel like the foundations for someone better have been laid.. All the time complaining on this blog has helped me work through some things, to some degree. I simply need to start building.

Huh. I feel better. Funny how that works.

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Surrender (Stages of Grief)

More and more I feel.. a sense of zen. I understand that to others, everything I do and say is weird. That I am fundamentally bizarre, and it doesn’t matter how much I reach out. No one wants to reach back out to someone like me. It doesn’t matter that I have zero desire or capacity to harm others. Being different makes you immediately suspect.

The years I have blogged here, I have gone through the stages of grief.

Denial: I’m not weird, I’m not different, I’m just misunderstood. I can be understood if I just try!

Anger: Railing at a world that does not accept me. A lot of anger and rants in my previous posts, mostly made private by this point.

Bargaining: If I just wear makeup and have perfect hair, maybe I will be forgiven. Spoiler alert: that doesn’t work.

Depression: Many days, weeks, months, years lost to this. Sitting inert, trying to distract myself. Feeling no motivation or spark of happiness. Sleeping just to get away from existence.

And finally, acceptance.

I have failed at being normal. I am a failure at gaining acceptance, connection, friendship, you name it. I have failed at my job. I have failed at being likeable, feminine, socially savvy, everything that I am supposed to be as a female.

So now, without a 9-5, I will just fail quietly and privately in the comfort of my home. I can quit performing emotional labor that isn’t ever returned. I do not have to be a target for mockery and gossip if there isn’t an audience. The great thing about becoming a shut-in is that no one can see you fail. No one can judge or laugh at you. If you’re simply not around other people, your past failures will be gradually forgotten.

My last day of work is very soon. At this moment, I feel peaceful. This try-hard stage is over, and I’m ready to work within my limitations. Or to at least learn how to manage them. I can now expend my energy on things that matter in the long run; personal satisfaction (writing and drawing) and my physical health (lifting, running, eating well). I do intend to return to working, but on my terms: something remote or at the least part time, in an environment more forgiving. Full time, at the right place, is still possible.

Here I am. Finally accepting that there is a rift between myself and others, likely forever.

I surrender.

Far Away in a Safe Place

The last week has kind of sucked, I’ve been sick. I took three days off work and have been in late for two other days.

It’s weird that this illness struck me right before I turn in my res1gnation. I started feeling sick last week, on Tuesday. The cold has run its course, but a respiratory infection took its place. No telling when that will end.

This Tuesday, I came back to work from sick leave and found my manager’s manager has scheduled a weekly meeting where he and an HR rep review my weekly activity report. Note, the weekly activity report (WAR) was a consequence of my “needs improvement” performance review from last year. It’s telling, that this manager wants HR to be present when he goes over the WAR with me. My three signed resignation letters are on my desk, ready to go, and I itch to simply drop them off. One for my manager, one for manager’s manager, and one for HR. Only a day left until I can do so. I wonder if they’ll still want to do the WAR review with HR if I’m resigning.

Not much longer that I have to come in here. I have to remind myself. Though I can’t wait to be out of here, I feel heavy-hearted. Mainly, at the loss of this place. It’s not a bad place to work. The company does and has done a lot for me. I’m just not suited to 9-5 work anymore.

What a entitled, ridiculous thing to say: not suited to 9-5 work. It’s deceptive, too. There’s a lot I’m not saying when I say I’m “not suited” to full time employment. I’m not talking about the huge increase in my social anxiety that’s happened over the last two years. The anxiety that makes me more and more reclusive, more and more unwilling to talk to others. The anxiety that poisons every interaction, that leads to oversharing when I do want to talk to others, leading to feelings of humiliation, leading to more anxiety. In a fatalistic way, I’m glad I’m going to be spending much of my time at home. It’s for the best. Fewer people to exist around. Fewer opportunities to feel inadequate.

I’m also not talking about the growing apathy towards my career field. The only feelings of accomplishment I get anymore come from doing housework or playing video games. Everything I do at work is frustrating and far from straight-forward. There is no sense of satisfaction anymore, doing the work that I do. Maybe that feeling will return one day, during my time off from working. I can start slow, learning more about Python and Django, which I worked with during my greatest period of success at the company. I’d love to feel some passion towards a programming project again.

When I think about not working, I feel immediate relief. Like I don’t have to pretend anymore. That I’m some high-power high-earning female. Deep down, I know I’m just a little woman with delusions of grandeur. Delusions of intellect and self-sufficiency. Other people have always been trying to show me my place. Subtly and outright. And the pressure has finally gotten to me, worn me down over years like wind and water does to stone. Look, world, you win. I’m not going to be more than what I seem. I’ll just be what you think I should be. Then maybe I’ll be accepted.

Yes. To stay home, safe and sound, away from the judgemental eyes of others. Safe from the bland, mediocre cruelty of everyday people. Away from dismissive, derisive, unconsciously and consciously over-competitive interactions. Everybody thinks everybody else wants to topple them from their tier in the hierarchy. I want to be treated like there are no levels. Just flat ground, where everyone makes an attempt to see eye-to-eye. I don’t want to bow, but I don’t want to loom over anyone either. I don’t feel suited to this world at times.

Better to focus on what I’ll be doing at home. I’ll decompress. I’ll work on building some sort of daily routine, rather than the haphazard “I’ll do it if I feel like it” thing I have now. I’ll lose my sense of alienation and despair in drawing and writing; my graphic novel will have time to be born now. I’ll be house-proud, fixing up the outside and keeping the inside tidy. I’ll take time to rekindle a love of programming. I’ll do what I want, when I want, but responsibly. A little bit of spontaneity and impulsiveness, to add spice to life. That’s my hope at least.

Finding a Middle Way

Maybe it’s because it’s Friday. But I’m having a good day.

I often feel a lot of insecurity and frustration at the social roles I am expected to take on, because of what body parts I was born with.

That side of me, seeking approval that will never come, says,”If you’re just more peppy, cheery, smiley with a painted face.. If you just accept your place.. If you just give in..” That is painful. To think that I could be accepted finally if I play the part that others want. That side of me is the crying little girl I was, still begging to be loved and wanted.

I have days where that side begins to win again. Today’s not that day.

I know that being predictable and nice to look at is what people want. The other side of me, the one that says,”People have value, and looks don’t factor into it” feels utter resentment. When that resentful part of me rules, I sometimes think that I could be trans. That since I don’t fit the mold, that I prefer everything about the other side, that if I could pass I could get approval while being happier, being myself without being constantly socially punished for the mismatch.

Yet either side can’t win. I’m not going to transition to male. But I’m not going to be a method actor as a woman, either. I can’t force people to reexamine their innate ideas of what a woman is. I can’t change human nature and social conditioning. People don’t try to understand their unconscious reactions to others, and often deny those reactions exist, because they don’t notice it happening. And I also know that even if I tried really hard to cater to what I’m supposed to be, I’d still be chasing that bump of approval. Even harder, I suspect, than before.

So it’s finding a middle ground, that I have been striving for.

The middle ground is: stop giving a f*ck.

Perhaps a more polite term is “radical acceptance.” This is the way the world is. This is the way you are. It’s going to be harder for you, and there’s nothing you can do. It is out of your control. Be careful spending emotional energy on other people. They will probably not return it. Choose wisely who you invest in. In the event I ever find platonic friends who genuinely don’t care that I’m not too feminine, cherish them.

Don’t compromise. I’ve already decided that I’m not wearing dresses or skirts, ever again. That’s going to be tricky if I attend a wedding or any sort of traditional, highly gendered event. But I can make it work; I can wear a flow-y tunic and long cardigan, to mimic the clothing that people associate with these events. Well, except my Indian skirt. It’s long and black and flowing. It seems immune from my inner immediate “NOPE” reaction.

Don’t apologize. This is a hard one. I’ve been so socialized to avoid conflict of any kind.

Don’t act like there is something wrong with the way I look and dress. There are always going to be people who comment on that. It’s the nature of being female in an entitled world. Don’t apologize for existing the way you are. These people, they don’t care about you, just the missing makeup on your face.

Be firm. Always be your own advocate, because you can’t be sure if anyone else will. Be kind, be respectful, but don’t allow anyone to tear you down.

Be cautious and more reserved. I’ve always had problems with being too open to new people. Because I have a delusion that if people just understand me, they will treat me well, they will believe me, they will like me. This is due to relentless approval seeking. “Everyone could be my friend if I just try hard enough”, the little girl within whispers. I always feel disappointment and self-loathing when my effort is not returned. This continues to damage me, and it’s of my own doing. I need to build a small wall within, and be more careful who I allow to pass it. Not all walls are terrible. I always threw my energy into building bridges to others that they didn’t want to cross, or even notice. It’s okay if people don’t know you. It’s okay if they don’t like you. You are still okay. Still alive, still breathing.

I also need to understand the people I need to approve of me never will. My father won’t. My stepmother won’t. My mother, increasingly, won’t. I can’t continue to seek it from randoms. It doesn’t work. It will never work. That is how I know it must change.

It’s absolutely funny, when I look at it, that I pride myself on being self-sufficient and independent, when inside I am an utter mess of need for approval. Blogging has been helping me, slowly through the years, to dissect what went wrong and what toxic coping mechanisms need to be pruned away. I still have a long way to go. But it feels closer every day.

Family Dinnerganza

Tonight I’m having dinner with my paternal aunt and cousin. I haven’t seen them since May of last year, at my sister’s wedding. My husband met them for the first time at said wedding. They came over to sit at his table and were chatting happily with Hubby when dear old sperm-donor came and made them go sit with him.

Well, Pops won’t be here tonight to interfere. I’d like for my husband to get to know some of the few people in my life who’ve done right by me. I haven’t seen them one-on-one in so long, and it’ll be nice. Catch up on each other’s life, and maybe get some advice to deal with my father. Who, in tune with his narcissistic personality, insists my childhood was perfect and he never did anything to me. Of course he didn’t do anything, he let my step-mother do it.

Also, pro-tip to all parents: Constantly complaining about your children needing food and a roof over their head doesn’t make them more appreciative of you. It just makes them feel like a burden.

Husband wants me to send my father a no-contact letter via certified mail. I’m afraid of consequences from that. But my preferred method of letting them send fruitless Facebook messages to my “Other Messages” inbox that I can’t see, or sending messages to my mother, will only work for so long as well. As long as they think they can contact me somehow, they won’t resort to showing up randomly at my house or doing anything drastic. But like I said, the “let them futilely send messages I might see” tactic won’t work for much longer. No contact or stringing them along, they might both end up with the whole “show up at Queen Legbeard’s place” tactic.

Daddy dearest was told to stay off our property, though. So, maybe he’ll just hang out on my sidewalk and wait for me to get home. Or go to my work. Or something.

I wish they’d go away and stay away. My stepmother, my father. My life without them has been so much better. There is no way in hell I’m going to have some sort of tender bullshit “reunion” thing. Everything is always on their terms. They don’t listen to me, I’m not a person to them, just some sort of disobedient extension of themselves.

I wish I could get ferociously angry the way they do. Just scream and holler and say whatever, the way they do. If I detect even the slightest hint of conflict, I freeze up. My heart starts pounding. I feel like I’m 10 again, being screamed into the ground by an unstable beauty queen.

Man. I wish my therapy appointment wouldn’t have been canceled last week. I really could have used talking to a third party about this. I really just don’t know what to do.

If I choose not to send the no-contact letter, I’m going to probably have to deal with Daddy Dearest in some way. I’m going to have to stand up to him, even with my heart pounding and my soul melting inside of me. Part of me wants to. Part of me wants to be a firm adult against his childish pettiness and tired bleating about how he bought me Christmas presents when I was three. Stand my ground. But I don’t know if I can.

I hope Aunt and Cousin can help, even a little.

God, I wish I was an orphan.

Return to Keto-La (Diet and life update)

So, as of this morning I’m back down to 204. Finally.

That 5 day stretch of non-keto eating back at the end of January really messed me up.

I didn’t help myself much by returning to old habits after going back to keto post-break. You won’t lose weight, even on keto, if you spend three hours snacking continuously on meat and nuts while your ass is on the couch watching Planet Earth II.

I really felt my motivation slacken to the point of considering, what the hell. Just eat carbs again, you’re not losing anything.

In the last couple of days, the wind returned to the weight loss sails. I’ve been making an effort to try to conquer my end-of-the-night binging tendencies. Last night I almost did it again, but managed to overcome it by talking it out with my husband. I settled on a single sugar-free butterscotch candy and water.

Oh man. Last night I also made the discovery that I need to find some sort of weight loss buddy. My husband is a man of appetite, and he likes women with appetite. He let me talk out my desire to binge, but looked noticeably uncomfortable. I pried a bit, and he told me that he likes it when I talk about wanting to eat food. But I was talking about it in a negative way, and that messed with his head.

It’s not really his fault, he’s just wired that way. Something about how his parents tried restricting his food when he was entering puberty, and wires got crossed in his head. Food is very much related to sexuality for him.

Soo… Talking to him to try to get through an urge to binge isn’t going to be a good long-term strategy. I mean, he’ll listen, it just clashes horribly with his hardwired pro-binging attitude. It causes him cognitive dissonance, but overall he’s a self-aware person, not one of those sociopath feeder creeps that don’t care about women.

As for me, it’s so innocent when I complain about wanting to eat. I’m not wired that way at all, and his proclivities are a bit alien. I have a perfectly healthy/unhealthy shame about overeating. Doesn’t mean the urge goes away. Learning how to distract myself during these crave periods is the best way to deal with it.

A boost to my return to weight loss is that I’ve found a better calorie tracker. I’ve become fed-up (lol) with MyPlate and MyFitnessPal. I’m tired of incorrect product listings that I can’t change, and difficulty in seeing net carbs. So I did some research and found a site/app called Carb Manager which is pretty fantastic, does everything I want. I’ll shill for that site for free because I like it. 😀

Otherwise.. It’s starting to warm up where I live. That means endless rain and grey days, where the ground turns to sodden muddy gunk. There’s a flipping flood watch for my county and many others. So, I’ve been doing a lot of housework, working a campaign to de-clutter my office and free up floor space. I was able to place the gigantic cat litter box under my office desk after I moved what was under there to a space I freed up in my cube organizer. I cleaned up and removed some of what was in the office closet as well. The giant stack of crappy old writings has been halved; I still have more to scan but that stack has been sitting on my desk for more than a year, and I’m feeling good about what I’ve got done. Once everything is scanned I’ll burn my childhood/teen/early adulthood scribblings in a glorious cringey bonfire.

So, mental health is more or less better. I think I’m at the halfway point of accepting that I may always be an outsider to people. There are many many people that will never get me, or relate to me, or think of me as a person with feelings, and though it hurts I’m finding my way. I’m getting better at being unapologetically weird, in my own particular way that harms no one.

Onward to Onederland.