Monday, April 13, 2009


So today I spent the day chilling with the kitties and reading and then I watched In Treatment. I also wrote in my journal for the first time in months. So far so good, right? But now it's about that time when normally I'd be on the phone. And yeah, that feels a bit lonesome.

But why does it feel lonesome? Is it because I really want to be talking to that person? When I ask myself that question for real, the answer to that is no. At least, not if it would be another Wednesday-night-style conversation. And also not if it would be a conversation that pretended Wednesday night didn't happen. I feel lonesome because my routine for two years was to be talking on the phone right now. And you know, that's just not a good enough reason to be talking on the phone.

I'm a creature of routines. In order to be a successful academic, I think one has to be. The thing is, we don't have a lot of outside pressure to order our time. If one is going to get done all the things that one must, one has to have some sort of internal organization system, a penchant toward making routines for oneself so that one doesn't just transform into a sloth. But breaking routines is much harder for me than making them. Breaking a routine takes a lot more effort than sticking with one.

I feel a lot of anger that breaking this particular routine was on me to do. I'm really resentful of the fact that I had to make the change - a change I didn't really want to make - because I wasn't getting what I needed. This doesn't feel empowering to me - it feels irritating. This is not what I wanted, ultimately. I wanted to be able to do anything else but this. But here I am.

I'm also angry and resentful because I know that the lonesomeness I'm experiencing is less than the lonesomeness he's experiencing - because another of my routines is writing on this blog. My situation, ultimately, is one of total radio silence. He doesn't have a blog at all, let alone one on which he'd ever spill his guts. I'm cut off - totally. He, well, isn't. He can check in with me via this here blog. He gets to know what I'm thinking, what I'm feeling, what I'm doing. Now, I could shut down the blog, but seriously? Fuck off to that idea. Or I could choose not to write about how I'm actually feeling or what I'm actually thinking about. I could do a series of posts about teaching or research or something. I could cut him off from what's "really" happening. But how satisfying would that really be for me? How honest? Um, not very. And I'll admit, I hope he's reading and I want him to be reading because I think that he should have to deal with me. That's weird and lame. But it's how I'm feeling.

I think one of the reasons that I'm feeling that is because he'd mentioned a while ago that he was convinced if things ended with us that I'd just get over it in a snap. That he'd be bereft and wallowing while I'd be moving on. Because, of course, he's this total fucking victim of circumstance. As if just because I'd be the one to end it I'd be cool. And then he'd be able to feel sorry for himself ("Woe is me! She is moving on! I'm a loser!") while also being able to congratulate himself ("I'm very selfless and awesome! I have let her go and now she shall be happy!") Sure, that's convenient for him to think, but it's not true. And beyond not being true, it's a totally shitty way to think.

Here's a tip, fellows of the world who are too cowardly to end something that is lame: just because the girl ends it, it doesn't mean that she's "happy" now or that she's "fine" with the decision. In fact, she may be very distraught over the whole thing, while at the same time she feels regret and guilt and a general sense of unease about her decision. Even if she has no intention of changing her mind, she still might feel those things.

The bottom line is that he's neither a hero or a victim here. He's just an asshole, really. A coward. A fool. That's not why I ended it, but it's how I feel about his response to me ending it. And I don't feel "good" in feeling that. I feel horrible. But I'm not calling him. Because there's really nothing left for me to say. I'm not willing to pretend that what we've been is enough, nor am I willing to have another fight. The only thing, really, would be for him to apologize and to step up to give me what I need. And he's not going to. I get it. I really and truly do get it.

But god, that so sucks right now. Because I didn't want for this to be how things turned out. It's just - man, I'm an adult. And as an adult person? Yeah, I saw the writing on the wall. Once you acknowledge that there's nothing that you can do to change a thing? No matter what you try? The only thing for it is to stop that thing. Even if all you'd really want would be something else.

I spent 22 years of my life in a routine with my father, wherein I would be disappointed when he didn't give me what I needed, and then I would try harder - harder! - and still it wasn't enough, and then I'd decide to stop trying but would feel like a shitty daughter for it. I refuse to keep trying in that same way, and feeling the same bullshit guilt, now that he's gone. Crumbs are just not enough. What is convenient for the other person, in spite of my needs, just isn't enough. I couldn't say no to my father, not really, even though I tried. I can say no to just about anybody else. It's not on me to make this ok. It's not on me to fix it. It's not on me to make things comfortable.

I just can't believe that people who claim to love another person can act this way. I can't believe that if you love somebody you hurt them the way that he hurts me, and that it's in any way possible to justify that. It's really unforgivable. Unforgivable.

So. It's time to start making some new routines, right? To fill up the hole of this one with something else. But all I feel right now is empty. I don't feel like I know how to fill the hole.


The Sassy Orange said...

You know, I don't know the whole story obviously. What I do know, having lost my father myself and on less than great terms, is how easy it is to feel like any relationship that seems to resemble that paternal relationship - well, it makes it seem as though a decision must be made right now and that the decision is all black and white.

I don't know the whole story, again, but I would hate for you to make any more decisions based on your relationship with your dad - because it's unfair for anyone else to be judged by that.

I wish you the best in your journey. This is not an easy time. It's taken me 3 years to deal with the death of my father - and so many things were left unsaid and undone. Give yourself time abd space to deal with it all.

Dr. Crazy said...

I totally hear what you're saying here, LG, and I postponed this for a long while thinking that I shouldn't make any big decisions, both because of the stuff with my dad as well as because of the big transition of the whole going up for tenure thing, and of the big deal of the book coming to publication. I really thought long and hard. The thing is, it's been two years. Two years in which I've consistently communicated what I need, and two years in which we didn't really move toward that. That started long before my father's illness, and even my father's death didn't really change things.

Do I wish things were different? Yes. Can I make them different? No. And the bottom line is that unless things are different, I've got to get out. Because there are things that I want, and apparently those things aren't things he wants. That sucks SO MUCH. But it would suck more if I waited hoping he'd change.

But thanks for your comment. I agree that I need to give myself time to deal with the fallout from the stuff with my dad, and I do intend to do that. But staying with somebody who's not really in it with me? Yeah, I kind of feel like that would be an obstacle to dealing, as opposed to a help.

The Sassy Orange said...

I will be thinking of you - and of course, supporting any decision you make. I know you're a smart chick - but man, this emotional rollercoaster can throw you for a loop. I thought my father's death would set me free - but it complicated things for awhile. I hope that you'll continue to share on here and know that you're not alone.

jennyfields said...


I was with someone for two years. I was starting undergrad and he was a perpetual grad student/adjunct. I played this adolescent charade of plane trips and holidays for the first year because I was an actual adolescent. I started to grow up some and realized I would never have a stable life with him, what I needed to grow, or later would need in a partner. But he would NEVER leave me, because he didn't want the responsibility of abandoning me.

It took me a year and I did it. I still miss him, and our routines. I resented him so much for making me do that to myself and refusing to be mutual about it.

It's probably just my jaded post adolescence talking, but love feels like something that can do terrible things to you, make you something you don't want to be...eventually.

I hope you feel better. I know it's always said, but it does get better with time. All my hurts do get better each day I continue to be alive. I think you know. It just doesn't help in the moment.

I'm so proud of you crazy.

I'm thinking about not dating in grad school. I take my heart too seriously, and I don't trust it. I've seen too many good students derailed by these kind of losses. You're doing great now. You're an adult and you don't have to wallow in it. You can feel you pain and mourn, but you're going to keep existing.

Crazy is cool.

life_of_a_fool said...

I, unfortunately, can relate to so much of this. Except that I often don't break those routines -- I know I should, I fully believe I should, and yet I just can't quite do it (and often with someone even more cowardly than I am). That is most definitely not empowering either. For that, I admire you.

And I hate hate hate it when someone paints oneself as a passive victim in such situations. I get that it often feels like that, but it doesn't take much thinking to realize that this isn't as true as it may feel.

I'm sorry things aren't working out better and that you're not getting what you need. Here's to finding that.

human said...

He sounds like such a... dolt. We all deserve better than that. If I knew you in RL, I'd totally drag you out for drinks. So, consider it done, virtually speaking.

Kate said...

I'll echo what others have said... this reads as very familiar to me as well. Sounds to me like smart, capable, strong women always have to be the ones to make the important decisions. Makes me kind of angry, actually.

Allow your anger to propel you if that has helped in the past, or cook up a storm of fantastic food, or just enjoy the kitties, but yes, you will find a new routine, and there will be a day when you will be surprised that you ever relied on the previous one. You're kickass.

helenesch said...

I hope you're feeling better soon--this sounds really hard...

I really admire the way that you handled things with your dad--from what I understand based on your posts, you were able to recognize that you can't change him, and that we are all responsible for our own reactions to things--we can't control other people or make them give us what we need (even when those needs are totally normal and healthy ones). Many people never realize this.

In any case, I hope your strength in dealing with that situation is able to help you here, too (It sounds to me like you've already taken a very brave step in the right direction!). By the way, have you read *Eat, Pray, Love*? For some reason thinking about this--and about accepting that other people can't be changed--brings that book to mind.

AcadeMama said...

Know that others *are* with you in the hole! Thinking about you and wishing you strength in knowing that, someday, you'll replace the emptiness with hope for new possibilities :)

phd me said...

Just to say, I can so appreciate this post. I understand that empty feeling and I know how hard it is to break routines. Funny thing is, when I'm faced with my own holes, I end up creating new routines, things that will get me through the day with some distraction from the emptiness.

He is a coward and a fool. You deserve neither. But you do deserve to be happy, and it's a shame that he couldn't step up and provide that happiness. Wish it wasn't so, Crazy, I really do.

Robert said...

I noticed that you wrote that you are watching "In Treatment". I am half-way through Season 1 of that show. It is very addictive, absorbing and I'm finding that the emotional coloration of various episodes easily rubs off on me to the extent of affecting my mood. Since catching on to this effect, it is less so.
So if you haven't noticed this already, check your mood after an episode. Too bad your feline companions can't just tell you that you may be under the influence...

-- arkaye