Haven’t been posting much on this blog lately, and that’s primarily because I have been, for the most part, doing pretty well. Usually when I post something, it’s because something happened and I had to explain the way I was feeling at the moment or what I needed from someone involved.
Things have changed over the last few weeks.
I broke up with the man I mentioned in previous posts. He was a kind and decent man who did help me in a lot of ways, primarily by proving that there are people who will stick by me before, during and after I go through one of my little meltdowns. But he tended to cause a lot of my meltdowns and I can only take so much of that. In his defense, he wasn’t causing them on purpose, but I think they happened more because of lack of understanding. He was from a completely different culture and language (he spoke Urdu and his comprehension of and communication in English was not the best), and I’m certain that that had a lot to do with it. There were other reasons I broke it off, but they aren’t important here.
Another thing that has changed is that I have made some friends. And friends was something I have been in desperate need of. I met a woman a couple of weeks ago whose life is similar to mine in many respects. We’re the same age, have the same number of kids who are also similar in age, and we both live within extremely meager means. Our personalities are very different, but we seem to share the same moral values. We’ve been spending time together and been talking on the phone. Talking on the phone with a friend on a regular basis is something I haven’t done in years. I almost forgot what it was like.
I also met a man. A vastly different yet similar man to the one I just broke up with. He’s kind and decent as well, but from Canada and also a “visible minority” – he’s black as my ex-boyfriend was from India. But thing that is quite different is how mature and intelligent he is. He’s four years younger than me with vast life experience, experience that happened in Canada and when he was overseas serving in the military. I’m not saying that my ex-boyfriend wasn’t mature or intelligent, but he is a man with issues that he ran away to the other side of the world to get away from, whereas this man I’m with now, faced them and dealt with them.
When I met my new friend I wasn’t looking for a relationship of any sort other than friendship. One of the reasons I broke it off with my Indian man was because I thought a romantic relationship was hindering me in moving forward with getting control of this disorder of mine. And I believe my relationship with him was.
But this new friend, well….I couldn’t help myself. He was so attractive, intelligent and interesting to talk to.
So now I’m in a romantic relationship that I wasn’t looking for. But, perhaps, it will be different this time. This new friend suffered from PTSD after serving in the military in Bosnia, and he worked through it with counselling. He can probably understand the issues of mental illness better than most of the men I’ve known who have never suffered from any such thing. So perhaps this relationship won’t hinder me.
But, I guess, I should get on with the point of this post.
It was during one of the long phone conversations with my new man that I realized what the area is that I really need to work on.
I’m talking primarily of fear of interacting with the outside world. I still drag myself out to karaoke on Friday nights whenever I can, but sometimes it’s really a struggle. But Friday nights surrounded by drunk people is really not much of outside interaction. That’s why I’m so grateful I made these two new friends. Perhaps they can show me what’s out there. This may sound weird but I really can’t remember what’s out there anymore.
I met my new man friend on a dating website that I was using just to meet new friends – I didn’t know how else to do it. And I did meet a few men who seemed like they could be friends (although I’m pretty sure most of them were thinking of more than that). The reason I was looking for friends was exactly for the reason I mentioned – I need to interact with the outside world again. And I don’t know how to do it or where to go. It was always an uncomfortable question when, every time a man messaged me on the dating site, he would ask what I like to do for fun. I really have no answer to that. I enjoy karaoke, but I entertain myself at home by playing video games and reading. And I know there were other things that I enjoyed, but I just don’t remember what they were. I was hoping that having new friends would lead to some new things – that they would take me along to go do things that they enjoyed doing. Maybe I could learn what I like, because I really don’t know.
The one problem there is is my fear. My new lady friend invited me to go to a city park with her, and I balked. I told her I couldn’t because I was out of allergy meds, and it wasn’t a total lie, I was out of meds. But the real reason I said I couldn’t was because I was afraid to go. And I can’t even say what I was afraid of. (I did tell her the truth and she was wonderfully understanding.)
So it’s this fear. This fear of doing things that aren’t something normal for me, like sitting at home or in a pub singing. What makes it more frustrating is the inability to even explain the fear. I don’t know what I’m afraid of. I just know that when my girlfriend invited me to the park, I felt panicky. And I know there was no reason to feel panicky, but I did.
So, what to do about this.
Perhaps, what I need to is to do things outside of my very narrow comfort zone with someone I feel safe with. Perhaps, my new friends, once I get to know them better and to trust them (as well as I’m able to trust), will be people I feel safe with. Perhaps, I will come to be able to venture out a little.
But this is a tough one. Fear has been, probably, the greatest adversary and obstacle of my life. Fear of failure, fear of rejection. How do you get rid of a monkey you’ve carried on your back for 40 years?
Hmm…I wish I had an answer.