Friday, February 29, 2008

Lacking Strength

I am stealing a quote from Robin's blog:

"From experience comes knowledge, from knowledge comes strength, and strength helps you move on" - E-Town Concrete

I have so much to write about, yet no strength to write.

Maybe in a few days...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Today, my therapist encouraged me to write about how I'm feeling, including all the ranges of emotions I may be experiencing. It's funny to write "my therapist." It sounds very Sex and the City, and I don't even like that show.

People underestimate the healing power that can be found in a therapist's office. I had my second appointment today during my lunch hour, and it was much more productive than last week's visit... mainly because I wasn't sobbing uncontrollably and was actually able to articulate my thoughts today. My therapist (let's call her Vera, because I have always liked that name) wants to get to the root of who I am as a person, so that we can analyze why I act the way I do in certain situations (namely, relationships).

She started asking me questions about my past relationships and family history, which made me initially uncomfortable. I could talk a close friend's ear off regarding my teenage years, but I have a difficult time opening up to a professional, probably because I know I'm being analyzed. I know these visits will ultimately strengthen me, but I can't help feeling like a science project.... like something being sliced open and put on display. I'm not going to go into detail regarding what we discussed today, but I recalled some pretty traumatic memories... Vera says that my current pain and grieving is triggering some repressed memories and emotions from my past. It's unnerving, really. There are certain experiences that I don't want to revisit, but it sounds like it's going to become a crucial part of my "healing." Psychoanalysis has always fascinated me... but now that I'm the subject matter, I'm terrified.

I haven't decided if I want to pour my feelings and thoughts into this blog, or use my handwritten journal. Either way, I'll be writing about the "four healing emotions," which are:
1) Anger
2) Sadness
3) Fear
4) Sorrow

In order to release my attachment to Luke, and essentially move on or "start over", I have to fully allow myself to experience the four healing emotions. Anger allows me to emotionally explore what has happened that I didn't want to happen, since it's the emotional recognition that I'm not getting what I want. Sadness allows me to emotionally explore what didn't happen that I wanted to happen. Fear allows me to explore what could happen that I don't want to happen. Sorrow allows me to explore what can't happen that I want to happen.

This is all going to take some serious thought... and I just don't have the energy tonight.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Staying Happy Forever?

I saw the movie Juno last night. I absolutely loved it. I hadn't heard much about it, only that it's nominated for Best Picture, with a bunch of other films I haven't seen.

(Sidenote: I'm very disappointed in myself for not seeing more movies lately. Even if it means going by myself, I really need to start watching movies again. I recall a point in my past--6 years ago to be exact-- in which I wanted to be a screenwriter...)

Anyway. The film touches upon a love theme, one of which I'm currently contemplating. The following dialogue (courtesy of pretty much sums of the film's essence:

Juno MacGuff: I'm losing my faith in humanity.
Mac MacGuff: Think you can narrow it down for me?
Juno MacGuff: I guess I wonder sometimes if people ever stay together for good.
Mac MacGuff: You mean like couples?
Juno MacGuff: Yeah, like people in love.
Mac MacGuff: Are you having boy troubles? I gotta be honest; I don't much approve of dating in your condition, 'cause well... that's kind of messed up.
Juno MacGuff: Dad, no!
Mac MacGuff: Well, it's kind of skanky. Isn't that what you girls call it? Skanky? Skeevy?
Juno MacGuff: Please stop now.
Mac MacGuff: [persisting] Tore up from the floor up?
Juno MacGuff: Dad, it's not about that. I just need to know if it's possible for two people to stay happy together forever, or at least for a few years.
Mac MacGuff: It's not easy, that's for sure. Now, I may not have the best track record in the world, but I have been with your stepmother for 10 years now and I'm proud to say that we're very happy.
[Juno nods]
Mac MacGuff: In my opinion, the best thing you can do is find a person who loves you for exactly what you are. Good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome, what have you, the right person will still think the sun shines out your ass. That's the kind of person that's worth sticking with.
Juno MacGuff: I sort of already have.
Mac MacGuff: Well, of course! You're old D-A-D! You know I'll always be there to love and support you no matter what kind of pickle you're in... Obviously [nods to her belly]
Juno MacGuff: I need to go out somewhere just for a little while. I don't have any homework and I swear I'll be back by ten.
Mac MacGuff: You were talking about me right?

I loved the way this film was put together. The writing was brilliant, especially the way in which the witty and sarcastic one-liners provide a perfect balance for the film's emotional undertone. It's a serious comedy, one of the most difficult genres to master.

In other news, I changed it up a bit and went out to play some volleyball tonight (typically, I only join in for scrimmages on Wednesday nights). I played with some different people and was able to bring my skill level up a notch. I broke a sweat tonight, which doesn't usually happen, particularly because it has been so cold at night lately. I have a feeling I'm going to be sore tomorrow, too.

I hadn't cried all day today... until a few hours ago... at the realization that Luke's mom just arrived in Orlando, and he'll be staying with her at one of the Disney resorts for the remainder of the week. I love his mother and I'm really upset that she will no longer be a part of my life. Then I started thinking about the rest of his family... his brother, his sister, his stepfather, his aunts, uncles, and cousins... all such wonderful and loving people who welcomed me into their life like I was going to be part of their family forever. I'm going to miss his grandparents the most. His grandfather would always take my face in his hands and kiss my forehead, smiling the entire time. It's sad, in a way, that I am probably going to miss Luke's family more than I will miss Luke.

For anyone who is going through a breakup or a divorce, I highly suggest you read Mars and Venus: Starting Over. It's a fantastic book that helps readers cope after losing a loved one, in which they're facing the scary concept of "starting over." The book explores the vast scale of emotions experienced after a break-up and how to deal with such emotions so that the pain can be fully healed and a lasting love can be found later on in life.

I have always been skeptical of self-help books, believing that the "experts" simply tell you want you want/need to hear so they can make a buck. While that may be true, I am finding comfort and strength from reading this book. They wrote a book about how to grieve the loss of love, forgive your ex, and move on... and writing a book about something means there's a market for it.... which inevitably means that I am not alone. I cannot express how much comfort this brings me.... because in my current state, when I am alone with my thoughts, I feel like I am the only person in the universe who is in this much pain.

As lonely and as miserable as I'm feeling, I know I'm not the first person to feel this way, and I won't be the last. Heck, I may find someone someday and date, get serious, and break up... and find myself in this same scenario all over again.

But at least next time I will be prepared.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Considering everything, the weekend was surprisingly awesome.

Katy hosted a "Half Off Candy Day" Party at her apartment on Friday night, in which she invited some fabulous single ladies (myself and Robin included) to indulge in discounted Valentine's Day candy, bagle bites, and non-mushy chick flicks. This type of activity was exactly what I needed.

Megan shared some tidbits of her last relationship, in which the end result was almost a mirror image of my own, except for the fact that she had a ring and their whole wedding planned before he dropped the "I Don't Love You Anymore" bomb. But, the bottom line was that she is ok. She survived. Sure, the aftermath wasn't easy, but it sounds like I am taking the same steps she did, so I guess I am on the right track to getting my life back under control.

Robin and I spent the night at Katy's (we are both still getting used to sleeping in our apartments alone), and we went to breakfast Saturday morning at Jess' cute garage apartment. I have always loved the town of Celebration, but after seeing Jess' garage apartment, it's possible that I am now obsessed. While I know my budget won't allow for such a nice place (I really should have been an engineer...), it's fun to dream... especially since I'm no longer making decisions for two people.

Robin and I relaxed at the pool on Saturday afternoon, and her friend, Carla, joined us. I continued reading one of the self-help books I picked up at the bookstore last week-- "Mars and Venus: Starting Over." It has some really helpful information regarding the healing process after a divorce or a painful breakup. The author suggests doing a lot of writing about your feelings, allowing yourself to fully experience the four "healing emotions": Anger, Sadness, Fear, Sorrow.

On Saturday night, Robin and I cooked dinner for Jolyon... our way of thanking him for being our (and I'll steal Katy's phrase) "token male".... aka, helping us rearrange furniture and just generally being a good friend to two women whose lives were dramatically different overnight. We went to see the film 'Definitely Maybe', which was also pleasantly well done. I have a feeling I'll be watching a lot of movies over the next few months... it's a safe escape from reality.

Robin and I went to Church this morning at St. Luke's United Methodist Church in Dr. Phillips (a very nice town about 25 minutes away). It's Katy and Megan's church (it's actually where they met). Jess and Jolyon joined us as well. We went to the 9:30am Contemporary Worhship, which was fantastic. I had never been to a contemporary service before, and I was pretty much blown away. They had a drummer and a guitarist and some singers, who rocked out to popular Christian Rock music. There was a large screen (powerpoint, perhaps?) that depicted nature scenes as well as the song lyrics. And the preacher-- wow. At times, it felt like she was speaking directly to me... asking questions like, "why are we here?" and "what is our purpose?" At one point in the service, they played a mellow song, and people could walk up to the "prayer" benches and kneel. I opted to simply close my eyes and take in the music and the lyrics. I was a little overwhelmed with my emotions by this point, and tears started rolling down my face. I'm not sure what sparked that, but afterwards I felt very content. Going to Church was a very important part of my childhood, though Luke never shared that interest. I'll be going back to the Contemporary Worship every Sunday from now on.

We spent the afternoon in downtown Celebration, having a picnic and tossing a frisbee and a softball around. Katy and Jess' friend, Alan, joined us. He seems like a very nice boy, as well. Plus, we all play softball together, so this is just the beginning of some important team bonding.

Alan invited us over to his apartment (also in Celebration) to snag some sunscreen before going to softball practice. I just about died when I saw his apartment. It's huge. 2 bathrooms, one of which has a spa-type of bathtub. Katy, Jess, and Alan all have their own beautiful apartments in Celebration. Perhaps someday for me.... Celebration never appealed to Luke, which makes me want to live there even more now.

I'm truly blessed to have these people in my life. I feel like I have met them for a reason, whether it's to make me stronger while I cope with my new life, or perhaps they have something to teach me. Regardless, I hope to be hanging out with them quite a bit.

As I type this, I'm realizing that this is the longest amount of time (4 hours) I have spent in the apartment, alone, since Luke broke up with me. Granted, I'm holed away in my rearranged bedroom haven, but I'm by myself. I feel ok when I'm in the bedroom, but as soon as I walk out to the living room, my chest tightens and I want to cry. My dad says that will pass. I hope so. Ideally, I would like to be able to continue my life in this apartment, though it means finding a roommate down the road. I'm not ready to share this apartment with anyone else right now, especially since Luke and I are on the lease until August. Part of me wants my own place, so that it's just mine... I don't have to rely on anyone to give me a check for rent, and I can decorate and come and go as I please. But then there is another part of me who is terrified to be alone and needs a roommate for financial and emotional security.

This makes me frustrated, though. I used to thrive on my alone time, since I'm typically running from one activity to another during the work week. Relaxing on the couch with the cats and some candles, while watching some TV, was sometimes the highlight of my weekend. But now.... being alone for extended periods of time is terrifying. And I know this is purely a psychological thing that will fade as time passes and I heal. I'm trying so hard to detach myself from Luke... but I don't think I will truly be able to do that until a) I move out of the apartment, b) He moves out of the apartment.

It truly is the worst when you are scared to be alone with your thoughts. While I was hanging out with people this weekend, Luke only crossed my mind a few times. But now that I am alone, I'm thinking about him. But not in a "I miss you, I want you back" kind of way.... more of a "I wonder what he's doing, I hope he's safe" type of way.

This is all very surreal. I still keep thinking that I'm going to wake up and roll over one morning, and he's going to be there, just like he was for the past 6 years. It's so hard sleeping in the middle of the bed. It's strange to open the closet to find only my clothes. And the toothbrush holder with only one toothbrush in it....

I don't miss Luke, the person. He's not right for me; we have changed too much to have a future together.... I miss the relationship aspect. I miss the emotional attachment. I miss knowing that someone is there at the end of the day to hear my thoughts and share in my successes and failures. I miss the companionship. I miss the cuddling.

I don't miss his attitude towards my friends. I don't miss his lack of ambition. I don't miss his unkept promises. I made a list of all the ways that we are not right for each other (my therapist's suggestion)... and the list was too long for comfort. I wonder how many of those "red flags" I could have foreseen?

I know this experience will make me stronger, and when I'm ready to enter into another relationship someday, I will be more prepared. At least, this is what people keep telling me.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


It has been almost a week since it happened. In a brief, clearly scripted, ten-minute conversation with Luke, I lost a boyfriend, a best friend, and a second family. He did this on my lunch hour, in which I met him at Downtown Disney, on a small bench, overlooking the water.

Luke broke up with me three days before our five and a half year anniversary and a week before Valentine's Day. His reasons, however, are valid-- we have grown into two different people who want different things from life. We have always been different, but living in Florida the past three years has allowed me to fully transform into the person I was meant to me. And Luke simply cannot keep up with me, and he admitted this. He told me, "You deserve someone who can make you happy... you deserve better than me."

Being different people was never an issue for us, really. At least, it wasn't until recently. Living together really does put a lot in perspective.

He wants to live in a climate that has four seasons; I am happy in my Floridian paradise. His future career choices (if he ever decides on one) could take him anywhere, at a moment's notice; I need more stability than that. He enjoys spending his days off on the couch, winding down in front of the TV; I rejuvenate by hanging out with groups of friends. He is a spender; I am a saver. He is messy; I am a neat-freak. He is satisfied with a lazy lifestyle; I am constantly pursuing new hobbies and I enjoy meeting new people. He is 28 years old, still trying to finish his Bachelor's Degree; I'm 25 years old, looking to pursue a Master's Degree. He likes to hunt and fish for sport; I am a vegetarian.

But I knew a lot of that going into the relationship, back in 2002. I was 19 when I met Luke; we had our first date on my 20th birthday. We had an amazing five and a half years together, and I wouldn't change any of that. Our current state of "co-existing" as roommates is very difficult, and I imagine it won't last more than a few months, if even that long. I'm just not ready to let go. How do you simply stop loving someone over night? You can't.

These are just the facts, though. I'm not ready to write about how I'm truly feeling, though. But I am allowing myself to fully experience each emotion that washes over me... whether it means breaking down in tears in a coworker's cubicle, throwing picture frames against my bedroom wall, or sitting in the parking lot of my work, staring at the steering wheel, unable to get out of the car.

I will write more, when I am ready. Just be patient with me.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Parties & Poetry

Just walked in from the first softball practice of the season. Hard to believe it's already starting back up-- round two with the Swingers, though there are only a handful of returning players, so it's basically a new team. I'm a little apprehensive about a few of our new players' attitudes, though. They might be a bit more competitive than the rest of us. Don't get me wrong, I can be a very competitive athlete.... when I'm playing a sport I'm good at. Nonetheless, it was the first practice, and only an hour long, since we can only reserve the field for a set length of time. We've got a few weeks to go before our first game, too.

Overall, the weekend was decent, despite a slow start on Friday evening, in which I pretty much crashed on the couch. I made my stepmom a birthday present and continued setting up my new laptop... and by setting up, I mean surfing the internet at rapid speed and giggling uncontrollably because I now have a backspace key. (I haven't had a backspace key in four years, so you can imagine the pleasure I get from this. I sent IMs to myself, deleting, typing, and re-deleting the text. This was fun, though wore off after about 10 minutes.)

I actually wrote a bit on Saturday while I was at the pool. My friend, Jeff, had emailed me a poem for my review (just like old times), and I guess his inspiration inspired me. I pictured him sitting at his desk at work, sipping on some coffee while reading the morning news online. He sees the hidden beauty in one of the seemingly morbid news stories, and works it into poetry. From the image of my friend's sudden inspiration, I came up with this (it's not much, but it felt good to write something other than the Pre-Opening Procedures for Monorail Operations):

I wait for the thirsty crowd to disperse
before approaching the counter.
Soon I am ordering an overpriced latte
thinking about further splurging,
on a muffin or that blueberry scone.
I feel the caffeine pulling me together.
Today I will tell the truth.
But for now I think about
what it must have been like
before coffee shops like this existed.

Like I said, it's not much, but I get satisfaction from the simplicity of the words... and the ease that these verses came to me. I haven't experienced that in a long time. When you live in a cubicle, writing technical documents 8+ hours a day... coming home and sitting in front of Microsoft Word just doesn't appeal to me. It was funny, though. Taking my notebook and pen with me to the pool, removing myself from technology, even just for a few hours... I felt that old creative flow within me. I know it's still there; I might just have to put in some extra effort to dig it out.

Saturday night I tagged along with Jolyon to two different parties. Two very different parties.
The first party was Mardi-Gras themed. And the homeowner, James, had some very creative decor. I admired the blacklights. I have a thing for blacklights. I did some of my best writing by blacklight... as well as some other activities in high school.

(We had blacklights at the Halloween party that I co-hosted this past year. Clearly, James decided that the three for $1.00 Walmart Special wasn't classy enough for his party. I'm betting his blacklights didn't start smoking after five minutes, either...)

I didn't know anyone at the Mardi Gras party... and the crowd was slightly older than I would typically feel comfortable hanging around. It was a good time, though. I met the president of the Toastmaster's Club. Provided I didn't say anything overly incriminating, I might go to the next meeting as a guest, where I can sit back and watch others squirm during public speaking, but not actually having to do it myself.

The second party was a little more my speed. Jackie, a very sweet aquaintance from an opposing volleyball team, had a surprise party for one of her roommates. (I love her apartment. I think her roommate's bathroom is larger than my living room.) While I didn't participate, I enjoyed watching a bunch of them play Flip Cup and Beirut. Reminded me of college, which reminded me of my Creative Writing degree and how I'm not using it. That's when I asked Jackie what she had for drinks.

"There's some stuff in that cooler," she yelled from across the room. "I don't know what it is, but it's really good!"

In college, I learned that you should always ask for specifics before pouring yourself a mixed drink from a water cooler.

I didn't ask.

After just one cup, I was feeling friendly enough to socialize with everyone at the party. And, if I remember correctly, I did.

I met a high school soccer coach, who needs someone to train his goalkeepers. He said something about paying me to taking a coaching clinic, despite my soccer background. And something about a professional soccer team-- the Orlando Falcons, perhaps? I started drinking a little slower just then, figuring I should attempt to network in a semi-sober state. Jolyon and I recruited our fourth player for a 4v4 volleyball team, too. Because with softball, my 6v6 volleyball team, kickboxing, and work... I clearly needed yet another sports team.

The night ended around 115am, with a board game that I found under the coffee table. Some sort of card game based off of Truth or Dare. In retrospect, not the best game to play amongst perfect strangers.

Last night, Luke and I hosted a Superbowl Party. Despite the upsetting final score, I think everyone had a decent time... and about 7 lbs of chicken wings total. The scent of cooked chicken still lingers in my living room, which is pretty gross, especially since I don't eat that stuff anymore. I managed to accommodate 17 people in my apartment. No major spillage, either. Brian brought some special catnip for Callie and Socks... and they were buzzing all night. I had never seen Socks' eyes so wide before. That was probably the highlight of the night for me, since I hate football.

Just stopped to scribble down some thoughts in my other journal:
Sitting in silence
studying, but not each other.
Too scared to speak
in syllables.
Sliding in different directions
staring at
an unchanging map,
in a skimmed-over textbook
without purpose
without meaning
with no shared compass
to lead us
Until next time.....