Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Previous Thoughts

For me, this started on a Wednesday morning almost 3 weeks ago. If I would have known ahead of time how that day was going to turn out, I would have just stayed in bed.

I shared the commute to work with my wife, and on the drive, she dropped a bomb. She told me she was starting to feel like she married too young. We discussed things, and she explained she was unhappy. It was upsetting for me, and embarassingly, I stopped and puked in a garbage can in the parking garage on my way to the office.

Continuing my bad luck, later that afternoon I was summoned by the CEO. The bottom line: much like my wife, he was unhappy too. His recourse: you're fired. (Termination is always painful, but when you're a Director in the company and making $125K, it's even more so.) What a day!

Although there are many more details, I can only write so much at a time. My hope is that the whole picture will eventually be painted, and I can fill in more detail later.

When things started getting bad, I wrote an open email to my wife. That later became more of a journel. In either case, this seems like a more appropriate venue, so I'll share it with you.

December 11th

Supposedly, writing about your feelings is supposed to help. I don't know that I'll ever work up the nerve to send this to you, but I thought that perhaps it might be beneficial for me to share my feelings with you.

I expect this may be a process of discovery for me as much as you. Sometimes when I used to write blog posts, I'd find that it helped me focus my opinions, and indeed learn a little about myself in the process.

If I do manage to send this, I'll update it as I have new things to write about. With that, I'll begin this first installment.

You may have noticed over the course of our relationship that I've been reluctant to put my feelings in writing. Admittedly, doing so now makes me a bit uncomfortable. The invariable question I expect people to have is wondering why I would be uncomfortable. It's a little difficult to answer. I think it's about the risk. In putting things in writing, I risk being ridiculed (strange though it may seem), or having my very words used against me later. I don't think you would ever hurt me with my words - at least not consciously - but the nervousness remains. I now endeaver to trust you (and perhaps myself) by attempting to verbalize the way I feel.

I know I say it frequently, but but I mean every word when I say that I love you. In fact, it's more than that. Sadly, the English language has but one word for love. They say the Eskimos have something like 30 different words for snow, yet we have only one very broad, very general term for something that can be so profound. With that in mind, it certainly appears that the challenge is articulating exactly how I feel about you with any degree of accuracy.

I am a realist. Realistically, I know that if you left me, my life would continue. It simply has to. There is no alternative -- at least not one I'd like to entertain. Emotionally, however, I cannot imagine having a life without you in it. The very thought of it makes me physically ill. I don't know if I've ever felt quite as empty and lonely as I have since we started having problems.

I want you to know that I consider you my best friend. You're someone who knows me perhaps even better than I know myself.The issues I didn't get to yet, that I still would like to write about are:
  • Taking things for granted / courting
  • Insecurity
  • Controlling nature
Maybe after I take the kids bowling tonight, I'll write some more...

(Note: my wife was out of town over night on a business trip when I wrote the next entries)

Entry 2
12/12/20062:35 AM
This was a bad night for me. One of the worst I can remember. Oddly enough, I think it was rough on me in part because of some of my undiscussed items from last time.

Right now I feel:
  • helpless
  • out of control
  • afraid
  • worried

As I contemplate these things, I'm coming to the realization that I'm probably not in the right frame of mind right now, so it would probably be better if I waited until tomorrow. It's amazing how different things can look with the benefit of a nights sleep.

I expect I'll struggle with sleep (too much on my mind), but if I set my mind to it, I'll grab some Z's and be able to talk to you in 4 and a half hours.

I love you now and forever...

2:42 AM
Here's another quick thought: Yesterday was a good day. When you called me (without prompting) and sent me email, it really made me feel loved.

2:46 AM
Another update:After getting in bed and cuddling up to your shirt, I realize you do love me. You left a small part of yourself here with me. Sure, it's only a dirty shirt, but you chose to do it, and the symbolism is striking. It means more than you could know. Thank you, honey.

Now I know why people equate passion to love. My god, I love you so much...

12/12/2006 1:40 PM
Mood: uncertain
Blood Pressure: a bit high
I've decided to turn this into more of a journal than an open letter. Maybe one day I'll look back on it and wonder what the hell I was thinking, or maybe I'll be able to look back and know exactly what I was thinking because I documented it. In either case, I'm climbing the walls, so I need to do something to get it out.

I can't seem to focus. It worries me, because I'm starting that new job tomorrow, and I know I'll have to focus. I sure hope I can.

In struggling with this, I'm realizing that I'm a fixer. Looking back, it's been a habitual problem for me. I always want to fix things. This is evident from the fact that I keep letting [my brother] borrow money, to the way I've dealt with [my first wife]. Even when my own parents divorced, I held out hope that I, the oldest son, would somehow be able to fix things and get them back the way they were. What it means to me today is that I feel like there's something that needs fixing, but I just don't know what I can do.

I feel like my life is slipping away, and that my sense of reality is a little distorted right now. Mentally, I've been replaying our marriage. The problem is that it's hard not to create a scorecard -- a checklist, as it were, for everything that is wonderful about my wife that I'm lucky to have, and I feel like I'm losing.

Individual items on my mental list aren't entirely uncommon. The sum of them in one person, however, is exceedingly rare. For example, I really want to be with someone who is smart. Now, there are a lot of smart people in the world, but is there someone who is smart, does not want children but is good with kids, is an Atheist, loves to travel, doesn't mind my corny sense of humor, has an appreciation for books, can approach life's problems seriously but still have a sense of humor, and perhaps most importantly, will love me? This far in life, I've only met one: [wife's name].

That thought terrifies me. I find myself struggling with the classic depression symptom: feeling like I'll never be happy again. Intellectually, I know this isn't true. I've had hard spots in life before, and the sun always rose the next day. Emotionally is quite another story, though. Emotionally, I feel like I just can't go on. Then I'm reminded that I don't have a choice. I have to perservere for the kids. I can't crack up (or worse) because they need me. Frankly, although I love them very much, the thought is exhausting.

The Zoloft doesn't seem to be doing its job anymore. I've been in a perpetual anxiety attack all day, even though I've taken my pill meticulously, so my levels of the medication should be what was prescribed. I may have to go see the doctor to get a higher dosage, or something else to help me through the valleys. That in itself makes me feel weak.

On that subject, I feel like I've [explitive deleted] up royally, to use the vernacular. I feel like only if I had done this, or maybe if I would have known that, everything would be okay now instead of where it is. Again, logically I tell myself that some things are beyond the realm of a man's control. Once again, logic is trumped by emotion and pain.

Sometimes, I think about giving [my wife] little hints to reassure me that she loves me and she wants to work things out. Often, I stop short because I'm so afraid of what the reality might be. I'm afraid if I press the issue, she might just say "you know what, I don't really love you anymore". Even as I write this, that thought makes me cry. But I have to be strong. I HAVE to be, because I feel like if I show too much weakness, it will be an extra burden on [wife's name] and provide yet more incentive for her to seek peace elsewhere.

I'm still holding out hope that if I can gut out the next few months, things will get better. In a sense, that helps get me through. I've often said I can take just about anything for a finite period of time. The problem here is that nothing is defined. In Philadelphia, I had a sense of when it would end. Here, I have no idea. I can only speculate and hope.

[My wife] is going back to [her home state] to visit this weekend. It's childish, but part of me hopes that it will remind her of where we came from, and make her feel like she needs/wants me. Then I'm also reminded that I get along pretty well with a lot of her family, and I wonder what will become of those relationships if she decides to leave. That makes me think about the kids again, and what this might do to them. I go back to [my 14-year-old daughter's] comment about not being able to imagine me without [wife's name], about the two of us being like Peanut Butter and Jelly. Right now, I feel more like liver and onions. (2:15 PM)

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