Monday, August 14, 2006

Light up, light up...

Any normal person would be focused on her thesis right now, what with it being due in 11 days and all.

No one ever said I was normal.

I'm facing some very difficult decisions right now about what comes next, and they are hard to deal with when I'm essentially on my own in a still-strange place. I have friends here, but I haven't developed the level of intimacy with most of them that you need in order to have those "deep" talks. Of the two with whom I can, one has left already and one is leaving soon. This leaves me with one outlet here (because of time zone and long distance issues), and I'm sure you can all relate to how wearing it can be if you're on the receiving end of someone's never-ending stream of stress and worry. I never, EVER realized how much I would miss and need my friends, or how I would come to realize that I would do anything to be back with them again someday. Even if we aren't all in the same city or state, being close enough to be a real phone call away, or even a half day's drive, is enough.

Part of me feels guilty writing about these things because they necessarily involve people who are integral to my life, but I think it's imperative to record not only the "good" moments, but also the "bad," those dark, lonely periods where you aren't sure how you got here, let alone how to get somewhere else. I've been in a pretty dark place for some time now, but I've been hesitant to relate it because of the public nature of this forum. Even though I try to protect the identities of people I know, I'm almost afraid that I'm crossing some sort of line by talking about situations that involve them when those situations aren't just light-hearted and funny. I almost wish that I hadn't told everyone this page exists -- I spent a long time wondering if I should tell anyone at all, but it's too late to reverse that.

I should say from the start that NONE of this has anything to do with my amazing, supportive, incredible husband, whose very presence is probably the reason that I'm still sane here, who has done everything another person possibly could do, who I love and cherish and thank God every day for finding.

The problems are all mine, but they are big and they are getting difficult to confront. I'm in a better spot than I was a month ago, but still, these anxieties creep up on me from out of nowhere and leave me curled up on the bed, hugging my knees and wondering why I can't get a grip. Resolving the thyroid meds helped (oh lord, I never even wrote about that), but I'm still feeling out of whack.

The truth is that I think I have to go home soon to find the job I want, to find the life I need to pursue in order to feel like there's still a "Me" here, because I've lost sight of who that is under the endless papers, the academic hell, the being away from home in a place that hasn't been healthy for me. The problem with that is the tremendous, unending guilt I feel about leaving. I'm not just me anymore. I'm a wife, you know? A wife who is supposed to stand by for better or worse, etc, and who now finds herself incapable of sticking it out for a couple more years because she can't handle a fucking dead-end job.

.The problem is that here, I feel like I become someone I don't want to be. I am depressed, snippy, frustrated, anxious and mercurial. Even though I'm the only one who thinks so, I feel like these problems are slowly, incrementally chipping away at the one relationship I'd do anything to protect. It terrifies me, not because I think the relationship would ever end, but because I think it could become something neither of us wants, something with more tension and less communication, something where the balance has shifted and where one person is always having to pick the other up.

So what do you do when you feel like you actually have to go somewhere else to protect what you don't want to leave?

And how do you ever explain to the person it involves that even though your soul is irrevocably intertwined with theirs, that you still have to do what's right for you now in order to build the best future for both of you in the long run? How can you explain that you're afraid you're losing pieces of yourself that you need to find again? How do you explain any of this and still make them believe (because it is true it is true it is so unquestionably true) that NONE of this is their fault, that there's nothing about you and them which you would ever change, and that you're just afraid of making you both miserable if you don't do something to alter your outlook? God, even the one thing I've realized this year, which is that I really was right when I thought I couldn't leave Seattle for good, is potentially problematic. How do I say that I'm sorry? I'm so, so sorry I can't be different: I spend most of my waking life trying to, but I just can't figure out the answers. How do I reassure him that nothing in the world can ever, EVER change the way I feel about him, but that the way I feel about me and my/our future lives needs to improve so we can both be happier?

Even when I write it, I don't know how to say it.

I finish in two months, and I'm hoping beyond hope that somehow I miraculously find an amazing path in the UK that can keep me here for awhile. Who knows? Maybe everything will get better as soon as we're under the same roof again. In fact, I know that in some ways it will. But I'm afraid that my own personal dissatisfaction with my life will continue to create fissures unless I find a way to remedy it. I'm afraid I can't last much beyond December without that.

I'm afraid of hurting the person I'd die for; I'm further terrified that I'll do that no matter what choice we make.

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