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Rated: XGC · Book · Experience · #1034564
A new journal for a new beginning
I'm strangely hopeful. I guess that's nice for a change.
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July 18, 2010 at 12:37am
July 18, 2010 at 12:37am
Okay, I'll admit it. I've got a fantasy addiction. I peruse the People magazine site daily and torture myself with images of beauty, wealth, and perfection. It doesn't feel good and I can't for the life of me explain why I do it. These images used to provide me with pleasant visages for the characters in my stories, which were, in turn an outlet for my own fantasies. A prettier, thinner version of myself wins the heart of someone who looks like an elf from LOTR before the backdrop of a story of my own creation. Anything to distract from the fact that I'm an overweight, socially awkward 32-year-old woman with no romantic prospects. It has been a long time since I've written though, and I'm starting to wonder what function fantasty is serving in my life. I might broach the question in group therapy but the last couple of times one of my issues took center stage, left feeling ashamed and picked apart.

I will say that my current field work is a fantasy come true. Since I was a child I wanted to be a warrior, Artemis incarnate. Now I'm winded and scorched most days. Sometimes the physical discomfort leaves me downtrodden, but I'm doing things that require strength I never knew I had. I face the searing heat I used to avoid to see bald eagles fledging their chicks as I drift in a canoe on the same river that bore my fondest childhood memories. On land, I plow through briars, chigger infested grasses, and swarms of biting flies to collect the samples I need to unlock a mystery. I guess this is a metaphor for life. Pain is an integral part of fulfillment and hiding from pain only robs you of the joy you are most entitled to. Even the handsome characters in my stories face constant adversity. It's what makes the fantasy exciting. As this summer fieldwork comes to an end, I hope I can continue to find wonder in reality.

Maybe I'll even take up archery...
June 5, 2010 at 11:33pm
June 5, 2010 at 11:33pm
It was my second week in the group but this girl had been gone my first week so it was my first meeting with her. She said she was working on expressing emotions; I said I had trouble making and maintaining connections.

No sooner had we completed introductions, then she dropped a bomb. "I slept with my best (male) friend. I haven't told my husband." It is so hard not to pass judgement. Maybe I shouldn't have weighed in at all. I've never had a serious relationship, never had sex, and have certainly never been married. I was instantly angry that someone would once again validate my fears that love, even married love, is fickle. I ruminated on her story and my ability to handle betrayal if I were in this woman's husband's position.

She said it wasn't planned, and that she loved her husband (or rather said, "we have a lovely life together"). She teared up when she thought about how hurt he would be if he ever found out, but believed he would not leave her. She said she was more guilty about the intimacy, rather than the sex. She said sex was not a big deal for her, but it was for her husband. If the tables were turned she would not fall to pieces, but rather try to get to the root of the problem. She believed her husband would be crushed, she even claimed he was weaker because he felt things so deeply.

I couldn't help but call her on the carpet on that. "Is that weakness?" I asked as calmly as I could. "You're the one that cheated sweet-cheeks," I thought, but didn't say.

"Maybe weakness isn't the right word," she replied. I suggested "sensitive" might be better, and she seemed to agree.

I said I didn't understand how people could claim to be in a committed relationship even after cheating. Committment should create some sort of a "block" against this sort of thing. She replied that my ideal was not based in reality and that she understood how frustrating it must be for someone who has never been in a serious relationship to comprehend her situation. She seemed sincere enough, but that comment still pissed me off. As of now, the group only knows that I've never been in a serious relationship. They probably think I lost my virginity in the back seat of a car with a drunken frat boy, or maybe that I was raped. The fact that sex has never been a part of my life is something that they, most people in fact, could not comprehend. I don't know if I'll ever tell them.

A longer standing group member, a gay man about my age, had been asking her more specific questions, but was no less reactive than me. He had been in a 4 1/2 year relationship with a real hound and this girls story hit a sore spot. He brought up the point that he did not have the right to marry and that he was tired on seeing straight people "shit all over their wedding vows." He also said that the he had looked up to this girl for her strength and felt almost personally betrayed that she would fall from grace this way.

Another group member, another man my age confessed that he was dating a married woman, though he didn't know it when they first met. He would also be missing group next week to take a trip to Florida with her. I asked him if his lover was separated from her husband. He said she wasn't, but that they were "talking about divorce."

"Does her husband know about you?" I asked.

"Yes, he does," he replied.

I said it was good that at least this three-way relationship was an honest one.

"You can't help who you're drawn to," he replied.

I had nothing to say to that. I had already explained how all this betrayal had reaffirmed my fear to connect. I guess the group leader felt it was time for me to be on the hot seat.

"You are afraid of betrayal and abandonment, Anna," she said, "Have you ever been abandoned?"

"Many times,"I replied, "mostly by parental figures."

I sensed the frustration from the group. They just knew I had a tragic romantic story, but I don't. I guess I'm still a child in that respect, a 32-year-old child. I told them how easy it was for me to cut people loose at the first sign of betrayal. I told them I had broken contact with everyone I knew in high school and that only one college friend was still in my life. In the 10-years since I graduated from college, I have acquired a small group of friends. There is nobody I talk to regularly. Sometimes I go into reclusive funks and don't return phone calls and emails. I know I have true friends because they don't let me get away with it. The level of trust I have for the select few is hard to come by.

"That sounds like a very lonely life," said the cheating woman.

"It is," I replied, "It always has been."

"What is it about these stories you've heard today that upsets you," asked the group leader.

"It makes me lose hope," I replied, "There are no boundaries that are unacceptable to cross. How can anyone's heart be safe."

"What do you mean by boundaries," asked the leader.

"Rules," I replied.

"Give us an example," said the leader.

Having no romantic history, I pulled from what I could.

"If there wear no rules about child abuse, it would have been acceptable for my mother to break into the bathroom while her 13 year old daughter was soaking in the tub and dispatch open handed smacks to her wet skin."

I continued.

"If there were no rules about child neglect, it would have been acceptable for my perpetually unemployed father to leave the house such a mess that there were maggots under the dirty dishes and silverfish under the piles of unopened bills."

"It is not okay for people to mistreat each other, but it happens. Even with rules you are helpless," I said.

The leader turned the quiet girl seated next to her, the youngest of us at about 20-years-old, who hadn't said much this meeting. "What do you think of that, G?"

G teared up and explained that the apartment she had grown up in that the house was kept clean, or as clean as possible with 2 adults and 6 children. Then her parents stopped paying the rent and, after several months, the family was evicted. During those months G remembered her mother hoarding her kids school papers, boxes of papers, loose papers strewn all over the apartment. It was a 3 month period in the 9 years they had lived there. Now G finds she cannot remember what it was like before that time, no matter how hard she tries "home" is gone.

The leader sat between us. "The sadness here is palpable," she said.

With that the session ended and the group members were given the option to stay for post-processing, when the leaders discuss the session without interruption from the group members.

The cheating woman was praised for her courage in sharing her infidelity and weathering what could have been perceived as attacks from the other group members. The issue was then discussed in terms of the two sides "the hurters and those who have been hurt". There seemed to be a very strong sense of right and wrong, though not everyone tended to agree on the definitions.

Though draining, it was said to be good to have a civil discussion where both sides were represented. The cheating woman was encouraged to look into the reasons why she strayed. She had lost 6 people who were close to her within a two-year period. She and her husband had been discussing having children but she had be diagnosed as having the Tay-sachs gene. This could mean her child could potentially be born terminally ill. She had also had an abortion at 16 that could be having a residual effect. I had not known her history when I weighed in on her cheating, and my feelings are still conflicted now that I do.

There was a discussion of the sadness between G. and me. How losing a sense of home requires time to grieve.


The group meets Tuesday evenings and I'm mildly grateful that I will have to miss to train for my new job. I'll be back the following week as long as it isn't this exhausting all of the time.

June 5, 2010 at 4:27pm
June 5, 2010 at 4:27pm
I've been attending group therapy since a month before the end of the semester. Just as I was getting used to the people in my first group, I was told it group would disband for the Summer. If I wanted to continue treatment, I would have to start over.

My new group is decidedly more diverse than the first. On average, the members are older and come from different walks of life. It is also a longer standing group where the newest member besides myself joined nearly 2-years ago. There are all these rules about subgrouping (forming alliances) and outside contact. The members of the group are not supposed to even acknowledge each other on the street. These were the rules with my old group, but I find it frustrating this time because I feel so uninformed.
March 13, 2010 at 11:25pm
March 13, 2010 at 11:25pm
It won't be entirely a break, but it will be much more relaxing than my day to day...
November 17, 2009 at 11:17pm
November 17, 2009 at 11:17pm
Have I really been deleting "Update your blog" emails for two and a half months? Crazy!

Things are insane with work and school, and somehow I've managed to push through without throwing myself off the roof. I have to find two new roommates, write oodles of papers and projects, and work through the holiday rush at work. Heaven help me. I don't know if I care if I get A's or B's anymore I just want to survive this.
August 29, 2009 at 5:31pm
August 29, 2009 at 5:31pm

I really should agree with this article, but I think I've had enough of my big boss' big mouth. I don't know exactly what he is trying to accomplish by pissing off sizable percentage of our client base. He'll never miss a meal if the boycott does any damage to the company. His thousands of employees will. He is the embodiment of arrogance and self rightousness. I wish he'd move to an ashram on the moon and be done with it. Looks like they'll be cutting hours again...
May 31, 2009 at 10:46am
May 31, 2009 at 10:46am
Well, it's official. After today I will no longer work in Charlottesville as a closer and in two days I'll start my new job as a opener (6am-2pm, five days a week *ack*) for the same company's Richmond location. Tomorrow my lease starts in Richmond starts and in mid-August the main a event begins, grad school. The next two months are all about procuring my student loans getting acclimated to Richmond and my new work schedule and getting into shape, both physically and mentally. Anybody want to help me move? Someone with a truck, perhaps? There's gas money and lunch/dinner in it for you! *wiggles eyebrows*
April 16, 2009 at 1:34am
April 16, 2009 at 1:34am
Well, I've made some decisions that I think will make this time of transition easier. I have decided to apply for lab tech positions at VCU. There are several recently posted positions and I am plenty qualified for all of them. I'll make a pretty decent salary, have the awesome state health benefits, and best of all...tuition is WAIVED for two classes a semester. VCU is much more generous with their tuition waiver program than the other Virginia university I worked for. They do not require you to work for a year before being eligible for the waiver and they cover two classes rather than one, even graduate classes. WOOT! Factor in summer classes and I could potentially earn my masters degree for FREE in less than 3 years, all while making payments to deferred (meaning no interest while I'm in school) student loans and knocking the principal way down.

I'm so nervous. I hope I can work this out.
February 25, 2009 at 1:31pm
February 25, 2009 at 1:31pm
Well, I went to my campus visit at VCU and found the Graduate school faculty to be very pleasant and supportive. They practically had my class schedule planned for the entire program before I even darkened their door! That's already more guidance than I received during all four years as an undergraduate and I haven't even moved to Richmond yet. The dark cloud to all these silver linings is that the school won't be able to fund me to the degree that will cover all my expenses. I will need to work my way through school again, a depressing realization. It was suggested by the faculty to look into jobs at the medical school because of previous experience in research labs. Unfortunately, there wasn't much available on the employment website so it looks like a transfer to the new Whole Foods might the safest option, if not the most attractive. I'm thinking a position as an overnight stocker for produce or grocery will be the best in terms scheduling with classes. I can work 30 hrs a week and keep my health benefits and discount card.

Ugh, fulltime school with fulltime job and I'll STILL need to take out loans to cover my tuition. This economy BLOWS!!
February 16, 2009 at 9:28pm
February 16, 2009 at 9:28pm
Two days of sugar-free living and I'm still here. Woot!
February 15, 2009 at 11:54am
February 15, 2009 at 11:54am
Yeah, I know, but something's got to give. I'm tired of feeling puffy and fat. At 175lbs I'm the heaviest I've ever been and I can ony expect it to get worse as I get older. The first two weeks of the diet will be the hardest, no sugar or starches, not even fruit or carrots. Makes me wish I could be in a coma until March 1st.
January 30, 2009 at 1:18pm
January 30, 2009 at 1:18pm
Life's still boring for me. I continue to work and the mind-numbing/breakdown-inducing jobs to get by (the latter not so much anymore, but enough to leave a mark). I'm still waiting on my damn W2s so I can file my financial aid paperwork for grad school. I'm in the process of arranging a campus visit on the Feb. 23rd. They seem excited to meet me, which is promising. Everyone cross your fingers that I get a lucrative research assistantship. Once all that's ironed out I'll know how much I can budget for living expenses.

Now I get to spend the day doing my statistics homework. What a thrill! At least I get to see my peeps tonight.*Smile*
December 21, 2008 at 7:51pm
December 21, 2008 at 7:51pm
Thought I was gathering with friends tonight to exchange gifts and I'd been looking forward to it all week. Too bad they met for brunch instead when they knew I was still at work. They all forgot we'd made plans last Friday night (as 9 days ago, not 2 days ago). Of course the only one who didn't get to go was me. Story of my life. Don't know why I pretend to have anything in common with these people anymore. They certainly aren't giving me much thought, or at least they don't remember what I say. I will now channel all my self-destructive urges into the large extra cheese/pepperoni pizza I just received, both fiscally and nutritionally irresponsible. And why the fuck not!
December 16, 2008 at 1:31am
December 16, 2008 at 1:31am
Got a perfect score on my exam, about 12 percentage points above the class average. All that's left is my project which is 10% of my grade, but I think I score an "A" in the class!
December 15, 2008 at 5:52pm
December 15, 2008 at 5:52pm
Hooray for technology! I'm taking my final exam for my GIS class on a laptop, in my bed, in my pjs. I think it's harder to make up for the fact it's open book with no time limit, but at least I'm comfy.
December 2, 2008 at 12:05am
December 2, 2008 at 12:05am
Seems I will owe several hundred dollars in taxes this year because my second jobs didn't take out enough for federal withholding. SHIT!!! Will it ever end?
December 1, 2008 at 10:16pm
December 1, 2008 at 10:16pm
Well, my Dad in an unprecedented display of fatherly support has allowed me to borrow his laptop so I can finish out my GIS class without having to spend any long hours in the frigid computer labs on campus. Turns out there's an non-encrypted wireless signal near my house too! I'm not counting on it to be reliable but it has been nice to do things on the net that I would normally have to do in person or over the phone. I've REALLY missed having internet access. I also signed up to take most of my credits online next semester which will make for less scheduling issues with the jobs. I might have to pony up the dough for a laptop of my own by then, but I'm holding out hope that my dad will let me keep this laptop until the summer (and that the signal I'm currently poaching holds up*Pthb*). I'm really not any less broke than I was two weeks ago. I'm selling one of my textbooks from last semester on half.com in the hopes it will provide enough cash for NEXT semester's books. I'm cancelling my gym membership and I'll be asking for Whole Foods gift cards and cash for Christmas and my birthday.

Beyond money, I'm just trying to stay sane. I've been pushy and neurotic with my coworkers a lot lately, probably because I feel resentful that I only see people I work with rather than my friends. The restaurant has asked me to work both Christmas and New Years Eves, but they'll likely be denied because the grocery store will want me for one or both of those days. I'm thinking about asking off from the grocery store but telling the restaurant I'm there anyway. The restaurant manager will be pissed but I need a break, almost as much as I need the money. Or maybe I'll just say "Fuck It" and work doubles both days. I'll get time-and-a-half from the grocery store and the restaurant is sure to be slammed with tips to match. I'll still be off in time to crack open champagne with my friends on New Years and I can always ask for Dec. 26th and Jan. 2nd off. Crap, I don't know. What I DO know is that I'm $2000 in credit card debt because of my school expenses and will need some savings before I go to grad school.

I think I'll take my sisters advice and JUST be a full time student when the time comes and float on student loans. I only agree partly with this philosophy, because I think debt is debt regardless of it's form. Student loans are a kinder debt with a lower interest, though, so taking a semester to get my bearings will do me good. I've got no issue with waitress part-time to pay my living expenses. If anything, this year and a half has been good practice for living like a student again. Student loans seem to be the only guarantee as government funding for grants continues shoot down the tubes. It's against my principles, but I hope to God that there is another stimulus package. Sure, it will fuck us but at least not until I'm out of grad school. *shrugs*
November 13, 2008 at 8:01pm
November 13, 2008 at 8:01pm
So hard to come by these days. I'm tired of being broke. I've had it with customer service. I'm a stone cold introvert and I spend 6-7 days a week 7-8 hours a day being the public's bitch. Even better, the criticism from my bosses is constant. It's usually given at staff meetings to the staff as a whole, but it's tiring to hear that, even when I killing myself, the standards aren't being met. I don't know my schedule from one week to the next. Apathy reigns supreme.

I've also been denied financial aid from the community college where I take classes part time because I already have a bachelors degree. Their financial aid (including student loans) is "reserved for students pursuing their first two year degree". Especially frustrating since I need to upgrade my computer to do the work in a software class in addition to comming up with about $500 for tuition and $150-200 in books and course materials. I really don't want to take out private loans for this. Well now there's a meeting at work. Gotta go.
September 19, 2008 at 4:51pm
September 19, 2008 at 4:51pm
Hello All,

I was shocked to discover that it has been nearly THREE months since I last blogged. Yes, there were the daily reminders to "Update" my blog, but it was just too easy to delete those and put my nose back to the grindstone. Now, with two days left of my vacation there is now hurry to think about work/school. So now we blog...

I have to say this is the first year that I've felt my vacation wind down without being gripped with a sense of dread or neurosis. Even though my current job is relatively mindless this is the first time in years that I will be returning to a job that I know I can do well. It's a little sad that I feel more secure at a job in a supermarket bakery than the ones where I got to use my college degree more than most of the folks I graduated with.
June 21, 2008 at 3:39pm
June 21, 2008 at 3:39pm
Americans enjoy so much freedom. We have the freedom to speak our minds, the freedom to pursue happiness, and, apparently, the freedom to wallow in misery and take our loved ones for granted regardless of how happy they make us.

It's amazing how easy it is to become bogged down in the drudgeries of daily life, to become so self-focused that you don't see how lonely your nearest and dearest have become without your joy, your affection, your touch. How easy it is to forget how that loneliness might cloud one's judgement sending you both into dangerous territory that could make that sense of loss a more permanent state.

I hope I never fall into that trap. I just wish I could protect the ones I love from falling into it as well.

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