As a warning, this blog post is going to be filled with a lot of bile and vitriol. So if you are not interested in reading my attempt at processing a bunch of stuff, I can give you a quick update of the good news- which is that I have a new job and that I start on Tuesday....oh and I finally passed that dreaded macroeconomics class that was driving me nuts.
If you are still with me after this point you do so at your own risk.
The past 6 months have just felt like a roller-coaster of these amazing highs and horrible lows. I constantly feel like I am stuck within the stages of grief over one thing or another. So to narrow this down thematically I've got three things I want to talk about: my health, my career path, and my relationships (which is the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back in having me write again on this blog).
Well the health stuff has been going on for a solid year at this point. The stress and anxiety of my job was just weighing on me and I've been slowly spiraling down to burnout and taking way too many people with me. Last April I was a wreck and had more than one embarrassing emotional outburst at my coworkers which I later apologized for. The month of May I basically worked from home and used up as much vacation/sick time as I could in an effort to get my head on straight. A temporary fix, but a fix just the same. It was at this time that I went to the doctor to talk about my anxiety. I was put on zoloft and given pills to take during panic attacks. It helped, a little. A few months later I am back at the doctor for a continuation of the anxiety stuff....and since my blood pressure wasn't going down with the anxiety, I got put on medication for that. And then....I started developing these weird little spots on my left leg that looked a lot like the psoriasis that my Dad has. After a whole slew of appointments and biopsy tests it is determined that I don't have psoriasis but folliculitus. Treatable (thank goodness) but gross looking- I've spent several months trying to cover as much of myself up as possible. And I am really hoping that I am not going to be permanently scarred. The treatment for this was SIX WEEKS of antibiotics; heavy antibiotics at that. I couldn't have dairy two hours before or after the pills, so I had to adopt this incredibly strange routine. Antibiotics wipe me out in general so these were several times worse. The first week I was on them I had headaches and fatigue until my body got used to them; now that I am hitting my first week of being off of them I am having fatigue and headaches again.
My Career Path-
As mentioned above, the job stress was getting to me, but I really REALLY loved the work that I was doing. I wanted to be doing sexual assault outreach for the rest of my life. I was giving my heart (literally apparently) and soul to the work. In October my Executive Director was going to step down and a hiring process was set-up for her replacement. There were a lot of issues with the hiring process and two highly qualified female candidates (myself and a coworker) were passed over for an incredibly under-qualified male candidate who was buddy-buddy with the board chair. As my position was more secure grant-wise, I wrote a very detailed letter describing the issues at hand that went to the entire board. Even though I had grounds for a lawsuit, my concerns were dismissed. I do not regret writing that letter, it was the right thing to do, even if it put a target on my back. Now with what happens next there is an "official" story and the unofficial one of what I believed happened. Three weeks after this new person started, I was told that my position was the easiest to eliminate and since the agency was going to be facing a crunch from not getting a grant (that I was NOT funded under) that I was being let go as a reduction in force. This was the Monday before Thanksgiving (Happy Holidays!) and I was promised that I would be paid through the end of the month (for transition purposes) and that my health insurance would continue to the end of the year. The health insurance did not continue through to the end of the year, the new person cancelled it, and when I contacted them about it (multiple times) I was told that it was an error and that it would be handled. It was never handled, and I needed to use my insurance for the second round of antibiotics mid-December. Paying full price for those medications was a big blow.
I've never been fired, oh, sorry "laid-off", from a job before. So I had to deal with the emotional toll of that and having to apply for work. Apparently I am the Queen of getting job interviews but not job offers. I actually calculated my call-back rate for interviews and I had a 40% interview request rate for all of the applications that I put in. Now while 12+ interviews sounds pretty great, that is 12+ rejections where you spent the time trying to get to know the agencies and people you were applying for. On the sidelines, I have also had to watch the new ED systematically erase all of the work that I had done at my former job. It sickens me and I've been trying to have less and less contact with this person, but we run in the same circles and they keep popping up. Some may ask why I haven't filed a lawsuit for labor discrimination? I have a case. However, my former place of employment is so small that they are not required by federal law to honor all of the anti-discrimination labor laws. I therefore cannot go through the Labor Commission or the Office of Equal Opportunity to file a complaint. I would have to hire a lawyer (with what money?) and go through it that way. Yeah, I could do that....but I just want to be done with the pain of it all.
As a backup to me possibility never getting an employment offer again, I did start a business at the beginning of the year. It was long overdue for some of the bookkeeping work that I have been doing anyway. Getting all of that paperwork done and finalized was re-energizing, and I am happy to say that I was given a job offer and will be starting a new job on Tuesday. It is more pay and less responsibility than my last job and that has to be a good thing for me right now.... please let it be a good thing.
As mentioned in my last blog post, I broke things off with the Gent in October. And that entire situation still just stings. He cheated and I was later told what happened by the woman he cheated with in an attempt (I guess) for her to bully her way into our polycule. At first my anger was focused all on the Gent, now it is split between this other woman and him. The Gent is still with his other two partners, who had the benefit of learning about the cheating from him directly rather than through a 3rd party like I was. His focus on repairing the relationships was on this other partners and not me....and I couldn't take it anymore. We text a little back and forth now, but things will never be the same. It wasn't just him that I lost, but the friendship of my metas. I still contact my metas now and then, but it seems that I have to be the one to initiate that contact. So I am dealing.... some days better than others.
Meanwhile, for the last six months I had been dating a wonderful man, who I haven't given a nickname to on this blog. Soo....let's call him Tom Jones, or TJ for short. I originally met TJ through the Gent over a year ago. He was married to a dear friend of the Gent's. During the course of the year she was dating someone new, emotionally replaced TJ with this new person, and TJ not being able to take it anymore asked for a divorce. Now him asking for this divorce happens a couple of months BEFORE I officially came into the picture. I chatted and hung out with TJ at the Gent's birthday party and asked him out later. Our first date was over breakfast the day before my birthday. It was lovely and fun. He later came to a party held the next day at the Gent's. I kissed him that night and we cuddled on the couch. So we started dating. I wasn't sure how I felt about him until we were dating for a couple of weeks and on the drive home he randomly put in a Tom Jones cd. I had never mentioned my love for Tom Jones, and I have never sung along loudly to him with anyone in the car before. I was smitten. There was no turning back for me at that point.
I knew that there was going to be issues dating a man who was going through a divorce. TJ has been with his ex for more years than he hasn't been....28 years. They have children and a grandchild together. Even though she has hurt him deeply, I was very careful not to be pushy about things, or criticize her....he does have 28 years of the habit of defending her. I didn't want to mess things up. I didn't want to make myself the bad guy no matter how much I see her as a manipulative selfish cunt (told you there would be bile and vitriol). I've been very careful not to tell him the depth of my feelings because I didn't want to overwhelm him. When I broke up the Gent, TJ was worried that he wasn't going to be able to give me everything I needed emotionally. So I practiced patience. I'm not stupid, I knew that my feelings for him were stronger than his for me. I was willing to wait. I was willing to be monogamous despite the several other offers that I had (oh the trials and tribulations of being polyamorous). I was willing to give up a lot more that I never told him about including ideas of being a mother at some point and even my own home.
Towards the end of December I thought that things were looking up. I met him, his daughter, and his grandson for a late lunch before the two of us were to go to an movie together. He was so happy to see me, he kissed me in front of his grandson, openly....not even trying to hide it like we had before. It was a quiet but emotionally loud moment for our relationship. New Year's Eve was oddly homey in not doing anything in particular, but doing nothing together. It all changed the first week of the year....and I completely and totally blame his ex for all of this right now. She had been delaying filing the divorce paperwork for several months. I'm sure that she was hoping that he would change his mind and invite her back home. I can't fault her for that. She had a wonderful life with a wonderful husband....but it was also a life that she threw away. TJ and I had a set date night, Thursdays. We are driving to his place on our date night and she calls. I think he thought it was going to be a quick call, but it wasn't. I overheard at least a half hour of this call where all I heard was her making a huge issue over something that wasn't an issue about the paperwork. I am familiar with the paperwork she was talking about, and she was lying to him about it. When we got to the house, he went into the bedroom and talked to her for at least another half hour....this same conversation where she was making an issue out of something that wasn't an issue. She had to have known that it was our date night or that I was there....yet she monopolized his time. She felt entitled to it, and he let her exercise that entitlement. He tried several times to end the call and she wouldn't let it end. Now I understand that some habits die hard, but she has had DECADES with him.....taking over an hour of the limited time that I have with him is not acceptable. The paperwork did finally get filed later that week, even though there was quite a bit of emotional fallout (which I see as natural and normal for the situation), at least now there was a timeline for the marriage to finally be over.
Then....the facebook debacle happens. In early December, I wrote on facebook complaining about how tired I was in taking these antibiotics for my leg. This comment hadn't been an issue until five weeks later. I get told by TJ that someone had pointed out the post to him and was worried that I might have given him some horrible disease. Whoever saw this post is not a friend of mine and I have since changed my privacy settings. He wouldn't tell me who it was that brought the issue up, but when he denied that it was his ex, I figured it was one of his daughters. Seeing that I talked to one of them about my leg in the beginning I thought that this was odd, but ok. Then TJ lets slip that someone told this one person about it and was raising concerns. My speculation is that the ex told the daughter....of course embellishing it as much as possible....who then freaks out and tells her Dad. The result? I get a condescending talking to about keeping private. It was my leg. My facebook....and there is nothing on social media linking the two of us....except now, with this blog post. (And I am totally not sorry for talking about his or my private life right now) I felt him pulling away. Desperately trying to do something, anything, to bring him out of the funk I sign us up for a paint night. Now I can't tell if going to a paint night just before an anniversary is a jinx (I did that with the Gent a few days before our year anniversary and subsequent breakup, and with TJ a few days before our 6 month anniversary AND subsequent breakup)....or if going to a paint night is a make-it or break-it activity in relationships. Either way.... I need to not do those near anniversaries with partners anymore.
At the paint night I called him out on being distant. There were a couple family events that were highly emotional that had happened the week before and in my head I justified that distance as part of the emotional stuff that was going on with him. The next week I comment on him being distant again and I get the "well about that..." text. We talked and he announced that he just wants to quit everything, including me. And even though I have been "the only and only bright spot" in his life the last couple of months....I'm ultimately expendable (my words, not his). I cried a little on the phone but didn't say much to contain my dignity. What I wanted to do was to yell and scream, cry and beat his chest with my fists, I wanted to collapse on the floor wailing and ask him why am I not good enough? Why am I not worthy of fighting for? Why am I the one who it is so easy to leave? I wanted to do this with the Gent too.....much more so with TJ. I didn't because even if I had a huge emotional reaction like I want to have, that is coercive and manipulative behavior. I want someone to be with me, because they want to be with me. I want their opinion of me to be the one that matters, and not to be swayed by an asshole ex with an agenda. I feel like I am the one being constantly punished for trying to be a decent human being. And not only am I tired of it....but my heart aches. Because even through all of this anger and hurt, I really do love TJ. I want to spend my life with him. I want to grow old with him. I want to have good days, bad days, boring days and exciting days with him. Instead I have to contend that I will never be enough for anyone else.
So yeah.....that's been the past six months: full of bile and vitirol and an overwhelming helping of pity-poor-Debbie.
From here, where to go? Onwards I guess. I'm gonna putter around the house, annoy my turtle, and try to stop the waves of crying. I'll try to be productive and bitterly tell myself to just keep swimming.....And avoid reading the news today, cause if Trump does one more asshat thing today.....that might push me over the edge...