Self-Indulgent Drivel

naked on the internet

Month: June, 2014

In the midst of all my crimes, I feel lost

(or have I lost enough?)

Went out to my local karaoke bar on Friday night. Someone I used to date (long, long ago) was there, and I ran into two other people I’d trysted with previously.

It’s a small town, for such a big city.

My tendency to rush headlong into things means I have a lot of “exes” in the greater Portland area, throughout California, and all over the world. I get around, or did once. Both geographically and in the bedroom.

Only a few of these people were ever in a position to break my heart, but several of them hurt me. Most of them? I rush headlong, I get hurt. It’s sort of my thing.

Carrie Fisher once said “Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” Princess Leia is wise.

I don’t know how to feel truly alive if I’m not wrapped up in someone. Whether I’m chasing after someone or trying to keep them around, other people have always been my favorite way to get high. Maybe the reason I never got addicted to anything more intoxicating than cigarettes is that there’s no drug that can get me as high or as low as infatuation can.

I have discarded people, rather coldly, because they didn’t match up to my idealized picture of them. Some people I didn’t cut off soon enough, hoping they’d change. Others, I walked away from and tried not to look back. But I look back, harshly or longingly. Wallowing is also sort of my thing.

Lately I’m having all these revelations and realizations and re-realizations, and it’s exhausting. What do I do with all this hard-won knowledge? I can try to apologize to the people I’ve hurt, forgive the ones who’ve hurt me, and do better in the future. But my life is sort of a mess, and I’m lonely.

I picked up two women from the grocery store tonight and drove them to a party at their friends’ house. Only when we arrived did I realize that I kind of knew the people there, fellow cabbies, and I was invited to stay. I hung out for three hours in the middle of my shift, practicing being social. But I’m really nervous around people, knowing how I can be. I say strange things. Tonight I was mostly quiet because I know that I have a tendency to act crazy just so I won’t be invisible. I think too much. That is definitely my thing.

I feel a great imperative to be a better person than I was. I’m trying to figure out how. Addicts make amends and stop using their substance of choice. But how do you give up being mentally ill? I don’t know how to put down that particular bottle. And how do you ease your addiction to other humans without becoming a recluse?

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from an email…

Alcoholics make amends when they try to get better. I am not an alcoholic, but I am trying to get better. I wanted to make things right, if I could. Or at least get this weight off my chest, which is maybe selfish.

All the bridges that you burn

come back one day to haunt you

One striking feature of borderline personality disorder– striking because it is so accurate for me– is described like this: “A pattern of intense and stormy relationships with family, friends, and loved ones, often veering from extreme closeness and love (idealization) to extreme dislike or anger (devaluation).”

I have cut people out of my life for slights that, looking back, may have been better responded to in a more measured way. When I got my diagnosis of BPD last year, it caused me to reexamine my harsh and unforgiving attitude about what I saw (at the time) as betrayal.

I managed to mitigate a lot of the disordered thinking that BPD lends itself to, even before my diagnosis, because I resolved some time ago not to be an asshole if I could avoid it. I knew that I could have monstrous mood swings and a lot of self-destructive behaviors. So I taught myself ways to be less of a jerk, and they worked, mostly.

But I know that I have that tendency to idealize people, to put my friends, family, and lovers on very high pedestals, and then feel betrayed and devastated when they fail to be everything I thought they were or could be to me. I have ruined friendships, pushed people away, and caused some very nice people to never want to be in a room with me again.

The struggle now is to separate rational, righteous indignation from… well, tantrums. To realize that my loved ones are, above all, human, and humans make mistakes. No one can be everything to anyone else, and my disorder makes me prone to try to suck the life and love out of people.

I am terrified of abandonment, terrified of being alone in the greater sense, but my disorder has made me act in ways that have caused people to get fed up and leave me. Over and over. It’s a vicious circle. Abandonment leads to greater fear. Fear leads to more abandonment.

I know that I am responsible for my own behavior. But last year I graduated, in my diagnoses, from “mild” to “serious.” Knowing that I have always been seriously mentally ill is both comforting and horrifying. Coupled with the bipolar II I was also diagnosed with (at least it’s the less severe form!) I know now that I have always been a fucking mess. And I think, considering everything, I’ve done a damned fine job of building myself into a decent, loving, caring person.

But reading through the list of the symptoms of my mental illness, I see my whole life, every relationship of every kind, all of it.

I wonder how I can change without losing myself. I wonder what the best version of myself actually is. I wonder when I’ll stop doubting my own feelings, because now I know that seeing life through the veil of my unstable emotions has warped almost every intense experience I’ve ever had.

And that’s a lot to process.

So many stories of where I’ve been

I am a writer. My experiences, almost when I’m experiencing them, become narratives. My life is a series of stories.

But I’m realizing that a lot of the stories I tell are needlessly tragic or dramatic, that every lost love either was the purest love or the greatest heartbreak or most damaging betrayal. I’ve been spinning and repeating these narratives about how I’ve never been seen, loved truly, or deeply desired and wanted for who I really am.

Part of healing will involve being more honest and less inclined to cast myself as the tragic heroine in all these stores of love gone wrong.

I want to know your feelings, I want to know your name

As I mentioned in my last post, a guy at work has caught my eye. More than that, it seems like he (or my idea of him, which might be horribly misinformed) has decided to occupy my mind, leaned back in a chair, put its feet up, and made itself very comfortable there. I would use the word “obsessed,” but that doesn’t really fit. There’s nothing scary about it, I’m not about to set fire to his car if he won’t get coffee with me. I won’t be leaving strange gifts on his doorstep or driving by his house repeatedly (especially because I don’t know what/if he drives or where he lives.) We have spoken twice or maybe three times ever. I have no real expectations– he’s not my prince charming, I don’t expect him to be the love of my life, he’s just a ridiculously attractive and compelling person whose image is stuck in my mental overhead projector, which coincidentally I seem to be unable to turn off. So, not obsessed. Occupied. He disappeared for a month and then he came back, and Holy Crap, I couldn’t breathe when he walked in the room. I couldn’t make eye contact. I couldn’t say hello.

The other day, I wound up alone with a woman I know to be one of his friends, and screwed up the courage to ask if he is married and/or gay. He is neither.

He is mountains cooler than I am. Loads, tons, lots cooler than I am. And this… ahem, THIS… is not about him.

This is about me.

But here’s the background: A little over a month ago, I was at Radio Cab waiting to get assigned a car for the night. This involves waiting in a room with every other lease driver who wants a cab. And lo, Alex (his name is not actually Alex) turned around from a distance of approximately six feet and smiled at me. Like, a 180 degree turn. Smiled. At. Me. While looking directly at me. And the rest of the world stopped and I mumbled something about not remembering his name, and he said “I’m Alex. You’re Kate, right?” And I died and said something incredibly stupid, because I am Kate and he knew that. And I’m sure that for the rest of our time together waiting for cabs I smiled like someone who has been pleasantly lobotomized while internally berating myself for completely losing my cool.

So then I went out and bought new pants and broke up with my boyfriend. One smile from Alex, and the fact that he knew my name when I’d forgotten his (he is so pretty that I almost forgot my own name, too, so I’m glad he knew it) made me want to be a better person. It made me want to become the best version of myself I can be. Not so that he’ll like/love me. But so that I won’t feel so damned unworthy of that potential love. Because this guy– whoa Nelly, this guy is out of my goddamned league. I have fucked-up teeth, I’m fat, and I’m somewhat unhinged. I’m clawing my way out of madness and suicidal depression. I can be selfish, I have a temper, and sometimes my feet smell really bad.

The mixture of elation and hope combined with such a crushing sense of unworthiness really did a number on me. So I’ve been thinking very hard about where that insecurity comes from and what I can do to fix it.

And part of trying to fix it is figuring out how in the fuck I’m supposed to date now that I know I have borderline personality disorder.

Because, let’s say Alex agrees to go to coffee with me. How do I avoid coming off like a complete freak? How do I avoid letting him know that I know more about him that I rightfully should? How do I hide the fact that I’ve been thinking about him far more than I’m comfortable with since the middle of April?

How would knowing those things not terrify him, even if he did initially think that I’m ridiculously attractive and compelling? Would it even be fair to enter into a friendship/makeoutship without letting him know that I’m a bit prone to fixations and also, y’know, clinically emotionally unstable? How the hell am I supposed to ask somebody out when I’m reasonably confident that the truth would cause any man with a decent sense of self-preservation to bolt?

Is the solution to be single for awhile? I can handle that, I think, except that Alex is already wedged there in my mind and I know I’ll kick myself if I don’t get up the nerve to ask him to hang out sometime.

Is the solution to seek out people who have some understanding of my sort of issues who might not be immediately deterred by my intensity? Because I really don’t want to get into another relationship based around mutual brokenness.

And how do you just stop thinking about someone? Especially when you are prone to fixations, when crushes are your version of heroin, when you know that you’d be a fool to not at least try.

Every day he doesn’t show up at work (he doesn’t show up very often) I feel both relieved and disappointed. When he’s there, I’m almost paralyzed. Some days I spend time trying to become brave so that if he’s there, I’ll be able to sidle over and talk to him. But he’s only there when I’ve finally accepted that he probably won’t be.

If he, for whatever reason, declined the opportunity to get to know me better, I know that I would be disappointed and feel like an idiot for awhile. But at least I would have asked. At least I’d know and I wouldn’t have to wonder anymore. It’s the uncertainty that bothers me. The knowledge that there are only a few reasons why someone would turn around, look right at me, and smiiiile, and most of those reasons are good.

But whatever the reasons, whatever the outcome, this isn’t about him. Not really.

It’s about trying to be less intimidated, less scared of failure. It’s about realizing that risks are necessary for rewards. I’ve spent too long doubting myself, and I am really making good progress and doing well, and… maybe this guy isn’t so far out of my league after all. I have limited myself so much because I haven’t taken the leaps of faith necessary to start writing a book, working on my dreams, recording my music. This feeling of not-good-enough is keeping me from singing in public, building my media empire, living my dreams, and… talking to this hot guy at work.

So regardless of whether anything comes of it or not, this crush has inspired me to confront some of the self-defeating thoughts and behaviors that have been holding me back, and that is an amazing accidental gift that this guy has given me. I really hope he’ll let me express my gratitude with hot, caffeinated beverages, and possibly smooches.