Here is an except from some writing I did last night to try and exorcize myself of my emotions. I was in a bad place, you’ve been warned. “I feel powerless but I can’t articulate why. Maybe I am combining powerless and hopeless into one confusing mess of emotion. They are confusingly similar feelings, at least to me. They basically mean the same thing. I don’t know why I have been using the word “powerless” all day when really I might mean “hopeless.” I don’t know which one I mean, so I am just going to go with both. I want to feel more powerfulhopeful – or at least less powerlesshopeless.
Edward doesn’t seem to understand why I feel powerlesshopeless but how could I expect him to when I am doing such a shit job of explaining things. I think I am terrified of saying something emotionally or factually inaccurate or hurtful or something that will be misunderstood or damaging to our relationship or his love/respect for me so I just kind of clam up. His response has basically been, “You’re not trapped – you could leave me if you wanted to, you’d just need to make some new plans.”
What he’s missing is this, or something close to this: I don’t want to leave him. I don’t want to do that AT ALL. I want to be with him for the rest of my life, he’s my favorite fucking person in the world, but I want things to be different than they are. I want to find a new way of being together, a slightly different way of being myself and of being married, in which things feel a bit more equal (though I can’t quite exactly explain what feels unequal – which frustrates both of us) that makes me feel happier, more stable and more powerfulhopeful (which is to say at least a little more in control of my fate and less like I am just following someone else around while they are following their life path).
My happiness is my responsibility, I know that.
But I don’t even know where to start with making changes and becoming happier – more gratitude is probably the advice most people would give me. It’s kind of like Elizabeth Gilbert wrote (I’ll paraphrase because I can’t find the actual quote though I have searched and searched the internet), “I was an active participant in every choice that has built this life I have, so why can’t I live in it anymore?” sort of situation. I want some things to be different – which they will be, I know, because everything changes with time. People like to say change is the only constant. But I want them to change in good ways. I want things to get better, not worse. And I don’t have the emotional energy (maybe I will tomorrow but today I don’t) to handle the “things will get worse before they get better” mentality. It feels, in this moment, like it is going to be a long time until things get better, and even then it’s not guaranteed. I want a normal brain that is happy and sad at appropriate times when it makes sense to be happy or sad. A brain that only becomes riddled with anxiety when there is actually something to be anxious about. I want a guarantee that the future will be better than the present but there are no guarantees. I hate that I could wake up tomorrow and feel completely differently then than I do about everything right now. My being so “mercurial” is exhausting for everyone involved and it makes me hate myself and it makes me feel a lot of shame and guilt for how it effects Edward. I hate that I need as much care taking as I do at times.
I’m terrified of spending my life unhappy yet I know my brain is what’s making me unhappy – its abnormal and unstable chemistry. This pisses me off to no end. I don’t like who I am when I am unhappy. I don’t like who I am when I am powerlesshopeless, depressed, anxious, indecisive, resentful or angry. Both my brain chemistry and the situation need to be tweaked.
I want a lot of things that feel opposite, all at once. Here are just a few of them:
I want Edward to do what he is passionate about (medicine) and be fulfilled and excited by his career but I also hate that he’s chosen that path because it makes him incredibly busy and stressed out most of the time. I know it will bring us financial security but I’m afraid that won’t even begin to make up for how little time I will get to spend with him. I’d rather have a partner I can experience life with than money. I have no idea how busy he will be as a doctor someday but I know he has a lot he wants to do with regard to his career because he’s told me about some of it. This is all projecting into the future though, I have no idea how things will actually be. I’ve never been a doctor’s wife before.
I am afraid of feeling like I never reached (or even really reached for) my potential as a person or an artist. How to even try to reach for this “potential,” I have no idea. Ken would tell me to trust the universe.
I want to be busy because then I don’t feel my boredomloneliness (again, two emotions that are fairly interchangeable to me) but I also crave simpler days. I guess I want to be able to be happy with simpler days, without rushing from thing to thing to avoid my thoughts and emotions. I guess I want to stop having thoughts and emotions that I am so afraid of that I feel the need to numb them with buying things I don’t need or obsessing about my weight or endless to-do lists on my phone. I want my life to look more like the life in the A Wilder Life book I have.
I want to be a minimalist and I also want to surround myself with things. I want to buy things and nest and organize and curate and decorate and donate and collect – continuously.
I want attention and recognition for my work but I also want to not share any of my work with anyone ever again.
I want the apartment to be clean and I need to be the one to clean it, not Edward, but I also fucking hate cleaning the apartment because it is so tedious. It is so tedious because everything I do just has to be done over again almost everyday. The tedium makes me want to just give up and let the place go to filth, which sometimes I do. The dishes are washed then they are dirty again. The clothes are washed and put away, then they need to be washed and put away again. The bathroom needs to be cleaned again. The bedding needs to be washed again. There is garbage sitting around (old mail, nicotine patches and wrappings, used paper towels, empty toilet paper rolls, food packaging…) that needs to be put in the trash. Then the trash can is full again and the bag needs to be taken outside. A new bag needs to be put in. Sam is barking and I have a headache and it feels like someone is banging a hammer against my temples and I hate myself for wanting to hit him. Shit, everything is starting to get dusty. The air feels stale in here.
We are out of stevia or milk or coffee or food again and I need to go to the store again, which makes me anxious because spending money makes me anxious because I have never had much of it. The floor is covered in dirt and dog hair again even though I just swept all of the rooms yesterday. It’s a ridiculously tedious and soul-sucking system that I can’t quit because it’s basically my only responsibility in life. Edward says I should stop attaching morality to housework and just think of it as things that need to be done but I can’t – I feel like a shit wife and a shit partner and a shit person when the apartment isn’t in perfect working order.
And I am coming to hate this apartment. It doesn’t feel like home anymore for some reason. I don’t feel safe here. I don’t feel cozy or calm. I know the problem is that I want to feel those ways in my own head and I don’t so I am taking it out on the apartment but every room I walk into I see 5-10 more things to add to my to-do list so I can’t find peace anywhere. I cannot keep up with all of the things that need doing in this apartment, I cannot keep it up to my standards, so I constantly feel behind and like I am living in a filthy, crowded and disorganized space that doesn’t help to quiet the turbulent place that is my mind.
I feel lost, powerlesshopeless, overwhelmed, drained, exhausted, lonely, like I have no family because for all intents and purposes I don’t and that makes me feel really shitty about myself and even more lonely, disappointed in myself but I can’t even articulate exactly why, like a burden, like I need Edward more than he needs me (a vulnerable and scary feeling), afraid, devastated & angry (mostly with myself for not being happier or more grateful or just generally a better person/wife). Maybe some part of it is that I am getting frustrated with myself for being more mentally ill than usual right now.
What I want are some changes. But I need help figuring out what changes I need. What I want is to be less mentally ill (read: more stable), to be more grateful, to be less lonely, to be less anxious, to feel less overwhelmed by the apartment, to be kinder and softer with myself and with Edward, for there to be less drinking and healthier meals and more working out, to feel more like Edward & I are on the same team, to feel more independent, to feel more secure, to be less selfish, to feel more in control of things or to learn to accept that I don’t have any control.”
Then today happened: I woke up feeling okay. I drank coffee and checked social media (I’ve gotten off Facebook but still use Instagram) and emails. I edited photographs from a shoot yesterday, backed them up and sent them to the client. They were happy with the photos and that made me happy. I went to the grocery store and while I was there I bought a bunch of flowers. Then I came home, trimmed them and arranged them into three different vases. I photographed my arrangements. I put one in my witchy/artist alcove, one on Edward’s desk in the living room and one on the kitchen counter. I wrote this little post for you, even though a lot of people will tell me I shouldn’t write like this on the internet. But the internet can be so fake – that’s why I got off Facebook. I was tired of seeing people I sort of know but don’t really care about anymore wearing their social media or social justice warrior masks while not being genuine or owning up to their struggles or less photo-worthy moments. I was tired of constantly having bras advertised to me when, newsflash: I am not that interested in bras and avoid wearing one whenever I can. I want to be genuine on the internet. I want to be able to be myself on my own website’s “Diary.” It’s only 1:30pm right now and I have just had lunch. I’m in a much better place today, so far at least, than I was last night when I wrote what you just read above. I’m waiting on a call back from my psychiatrist so I can try another anti-anxiety/anti-depressant medication (the one we tried last week made me feel like I had the flu, apparently a first as far as side effects my doctor has seen when he’s put patients on that medication before go) and a call back from our landlord which probably will not come about fixing maintenance issues that have been going on for months and have yet to be solved no matter how many times I call or put in maintenance requests. I’m not sure how the rest of the day is going to go but I am going to try to make it a good one.
Oh, here are the photos of the flower arrangements I just told you about: