I have an intense fear of free time.
Before you decide I’m completely crazy, hear me out. I’m very used to being on the go. Some people are just happier when they’re busy. I’m one of those types of people. I need things to do, tasks to take on, a list for the day so that I have a plan. I’m not sure why, exactly, but the thought of not being busy quite frankly scares the crap out of me. After working full time since June, the last 4 or 5 days before the Christmas break were riddled with anxiety and all of the effects anxiety has on my body. Yes, holidays are stressful, but this is a lot more than that. I was genuinely afraid of the several days where James would be working and I would be left here in this apartment alone.
I’ve come a long way with my anxiety. I haven’t had a full-blown panic attack in about a year and a half. Things that used to cause panic for weeks before the event occurred now hardly cross my mind. The anxiety is still there, but we seem to have reached an agreement that the anxiety won’t take over as long as I acknowledge it instead of pushing it away and pretending it isn’t there. And yet I’m still afraid to spend too much time alone in my head because my anxiety problems started when I moved into an apartment alone and felt extremely isolated and afraid all the time. Yes, things are different now. And yes, I know that my anxiety isn’t something to be afraid of. But anxiety isn’t always realistic, and you don’t get to decide what you’re going to be anxious about. I guess all I can do now is try to stay in the moment and not worry about the future, which is a struggle for anxious people. And when the mind isn’t busy, it’s easier to be mentally somewhere else…
I’m facing a dilemma.
On the one hand, I’m thinking of doing a master’s degree. The program I want I could do in one year. But I would have to do it in another city a few hours away.
Or, I could do a different program here that would only take 8 months. And it could probably get me a good job too, just not as specialized as I want to be.
But I’ve only been living in this city for just over two years now. I’m just starting to plant roots, to build a life here with my boyfriend who I’m now living with.
So the question becomes… when do you put the thing you want for the long term ahead of your short term needs and the needs of those you care about? With all of the anxiety issues I had after moving the first time, part of me is afraid to move again. And sure, it’s only about 4-5 hours drive away, and we could easily see each other on weekends if we wanted to. But I know us, and I know we’re both busy and lazy, and I know we won’t see each other as much as we say we will. And I really don’t want to feel like I’m being selfish by focusing so much on myself, even though I know he would support me either way.
I’m just worried that if I don’t do it I’ll always regret not putting my career first…
As some of you may have already noticed, I took a bit of a break from my blog since June and am only now getting back into it. I left for a few reasons. First, I got a full time job and simply didn’t have enough time or interesting things to talk about to keep it going. Second, my anxiety improved significantly, and I didn’t feel like I needed my blog the way I did when I first started writing. I’ve always used my blog as a way to say all the things I don’t know how to say. It provides me with kind thoughts and support when I feel lost and alone. And for that, I’m very grateful to my readers.
The third and probably most important reason I left blogging was that too many people in my life knew about it, and I felt like I had lost control of it. I started censoring what I could talk about because I knew that my boyfriend, my good friend who now lives in my city, and my sister were all reading it. Maybe only occasionally, but I had no way of knowing what they’ve seen, what they knew, and what they thought about it. And I don’t want to have conversations with them about the things I post on my blog. Writing is very personal for me, and things I share on here are often things I would never share in real life. It’s like my last post where I admitted that I look at other men and have thought about cheating. As you can probably understand, I couldn’t write that if I thought my boyfriend was going to read it. He may be in the same position as I am, or he may not, but either way it’s not a conversation I want to have.
The few months away from blogging were my way of hoping all the people in my life forgot about my blog, or thought that I forgot about it. From here, I’m hoping to get back into blogging because I really miss it. And I like spilling my deepest, darkest secrets with strangers who will never meet me. This blog is a source of freedom for me, and it’s going to continue to be that way.
It’s good to be home.
Sometimes I think about other men. Men I work with, go to school with, see out on the street. I wonder what it would be like to flirt with them. To get a little bit too close. Maybe even a kiss. I wonder what it would be like to recklessly and unashamedly throw myself at them. And I’ve even thought about how the men I see would be as a one night stand if I could take myself out of reality for one night and just be the kind of girl who can have a fling and leave it at that. It’s been years since I’ve been with anyone besides James, and part of me feels like I might be missing out on something. That maybe I didn’t take advantage of the single life while I had it because at the time I was craving a relationship. That for some reason I’ll never be happy with how things are because I always want more.
The problem is I know that I’m completely happy with James. We are happy together, and there’s nothing missing in our relationship. I just know that now that we’re living together, this is how things are going to be for a long time, potentially forever. And I’m okay with that. Honest, I am. And I would never ever cheat on him.
But still… a part of me wonders…
I guess I always assumed that even when I’m gone away there will be a home to return to one day. You know, the home I grew up in. A meeting place for my family. That even when we have all gone our separate ways, we will be able to come together for the holidays. You know, to remember that we’re all out there on our own trying to make it as adults. A support network that doesn’t give up on you just because you need space from it.
I haven’t seen my family since last Christmas. This is now the longest I’ve been away from home without seeing my parents. And sure, I’m okay living on my own, going to school far away, working, keeping busy. But always in the back of my mind was the comfort of knowing that at Christmas I’ll be able to go home for a break.
Well, looks like that isn’t happening this year. My parents only plan on being back in the city for a couple of weeks. Two of my siblings have moved to a different country and can’t afford to go back for a visit, my brother will be on call from work if he’s around at all. And here I am, the youngest child, broken because I won’t get to see my parents for at least another few months, if then.
The home I knew isn’t much to me anymore, but at least I could still pretend it existed even though I’m never there.
I don’t even know what home is anymore…
Working 9-5. In my mind it used to be a vision of hell. A fantasy world where your soul gets sucked out of your body as you drudge through hour after hour of the monotonous world that is now your eternity. A permanent state of fatigue and resentment towards your boss, your coworkers, the money-hoarding company that controls you because without them you have no money, no means of survival. So you wake up the next day and slave through it again just waiting for the moment you can go home to an empty house, a family that resents you for being so devoted to your job, a partner that doesn’t understand, and having to face the fact that you’re not happy, but too afraid to do anything about it.
But now that I’m doing this whole 9-5 thing for the summer working for a car manufacturer in an office job… this isn’t so bad. I’m slowly getting used to getting up in the mornings. I like that when I leave work my work stays there and doesn’t demand my attention for 4 hours at night to get it done like schoolwork does. I like that people don’t treat me like I’m retarded like the customer service job I was doing before this did. Instead of instructing me daily on how to work a scanning gun at a cash register, I’m given tasks and goals, and not instructed every moment on how I’m doing it wrong. And more importantly, I’m starting to believe that the work we do means something. Cars are important. People get attached to a car, a brand, a name. The people making the cars care about quality. And we all come out of it with a paycheque that allows us to enjoy the rest of our time when the job isn’t on our minds.
Maybe this 9-5 thing is an idea I can get behind after all.
There’s something I need to get off my chest. Most of the time life is good. I’m happy, I go out and enjoy activities, I spend time with people I like, I feel satisfaction from my job and physical activity. At the same time, I find myself looking for distractions all the time. I’m afraid to be alone with my thoughts. I need to be doing something, playing a game, working on something, watching a TV show, all the time. My goal is to spend every moment I’m awake distracted from the underlying feelings that bother me. The feelings are worst in that moment when I decide it’s now time to go to sleep. As I go to press the shutdown button on my computer and the buzz of the battery silences, the wave comes. A wave of emptiness and intense loneliness, with feelings that no matter what I’m doing, it’s not enough. It doesn’t happen all the time, and I find it’s definitely linked to my cycle. Feelings that only get worse as I turn off the light, leaving only me and the darkness that fills me up and surrounds me. This is no ordinary PMS. It breaks me down until I feel like there’s nothing left of myself. And I will never tell James this, but I love the nights when he sleeps over because I get to avoid the shutdown moment and just settle into his body and coast off to sleep. With him around, the loneliness doesn’t come. But at the same time, why can’t I just feel whole on my own?