I Just Realized I’m Scared

Oh, I’ve just had a moment full of tears.

My tears don’t come easily these days. I know it’s the meds. I know those meds keep me pretty clamped down emotionally. I hate it but know it’s critical right now to keep me from any more Trixie antics.

At least I know when the tears come, they are very deeply seated emotions rising to the surface.

For the first time in a long, long time I cried for myself and not for Tony.

I had a date yesterday, which was lovely, and I will write about him, but we hit on two subjects (thankfully very briefly) that struck me so hard that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about them.

The first was my own statement that I’m beginning to realize I am most likely undateable to the caliber of man I’m attracted to. That’s because I’ve been out of work for 7 months with no job opportunities in sight. I realize that’s very scary to a divorced man who may have had a family and wife who already took most of his livelihood

The second was his statement, that I come across as disinterested. He is right. I’m not only disinterest but detached. I’m sick of the dating game and all its nuance.

I had the gut feeling when we touched on these two subjects that I should be exploring this a bit more. That’s when I came to the realization that, at the core of these feelings is a feeling I am not accustomed to having: I’m scared to death.

I’m scared of so many things that the tears don’t stop as I write this.

I’m afraid I won’t find a job.

I’m afraid I won’t be able to find another “Tony”.

I’m afraid I will fail again at work and in relationship.

I’m afraid to leave home now that I’ve established routine for the boys.

I’m afraid my body is so ugly now that I can’t have sex.

I’m afraid of the continuous persistent feeling of being demotivated and absent.

I’m afraid of losing the material things I have gained.

I’m afraid I don’t want sex because maybe I’m in menopause. Im terrified of losing my sex drive but it’s gone for certain at the moment.

I’m afraid I’m going to give up the one healthy routine I have created because every day is still a battle of will to get moving. Even after 54 consecutive days.

I’m afraid of not being good enough – the core belief I have struggled with my entire life. I have failed at all my relationships and my recent job. I’m not what anyone wants because I am so broken.

Am I bitter and mean? Have my insides curdled? Have I dried up?

Exercise helps, but now I exercise to chase the boredom demons away and don’t do ANYTHING else. Sure it’s good for me, but it’s all I accomplish now. I joined all sorts of Peloton activity groups and cheer people on – a false attempt of motivation – are people really able to use these groups as springboards for motivators in lieu of having a real support community (physical people around you, not a virtual community) ? I try to immerse myself in their positivity, I put on the virtual game-face and join the challenges and activities, but I don’t FEEL anything.

I feel unhinged from everything. Floating.

I am still an empty, demotivated, decommissioned human.

I have been trying to move away from that place. Trying so very hard. But when I took a good look at myself from the outside, I realized that – even though I don’t spend all day on a couch – I am no different than I was back in November after coming home from the hospital.

All I’ve done is dress up an empty vessel – put on a game face – trying to fake it and hoping I make it.

The couch has now become replaced by exercise (ok thats positive ) but there is nothing else driving me. The deep abscess within me feels like an endless black hole of nothingness. I thought I found the edge and was pulling myself back over it, onto solid ground. But I’ve realized I haven’t. I don’t know that I’ve ever been truly scared before. Scared to move, scared to feel, scared to believe in anything ever again – myself included.

Author: Madeline Harper

My journey through divorce and an emotional and sexual reawakening. Love, laughter, friendships, family and heartbreak included. And there is sex, lots of it, so close your eyes and turn the page if that's not for you! While I started this blog as an endeavor to journal my thoughts and feelings in an attempt to better understand myself, it has become an amazing platform from which I have met some of the most interesting and wonderful people in my life. My path is often crooked, but I hope you will share in the journey with me.

6 thoughts on “I Just Realized I’m Scared”

  1. Your fears are understandable but here’s the thing I’m gonna challenge you with: Are you gonna let your fears paralyze and defeat you… or are you gonna use your fear to motivate you into working the issues and doing the best you can with them?

    Failure is a given in many things and I’m not a fan of failing but I accept that I have failed, can fail, will fail again – but if I don’t fail, I don’t learn how not to fail at a given thing unless that thing is something beyond my ability to do anything about – then I don’t worry about it since I’ve probably got some fixable things to worry about.

    Our biggest fear is that of loss and the more dear it is to us, the greater the fear of losing it. Some things are irreplaceable; some things aren’t easy to replace should we lose them but something like our self-confidence? That can be regained again… if you’re willing to put for the effort to, excuse me, get your head out of your ass, get off your ass, and be the woman you want and need to be. Yup… menopause is the bitch to end all bitches and, medically, there are few safe things a woman can do to get her sexual mojo back… except to do whatever the hell she can to not let it slip away. Yup… a lot of it is physical – hormone depletion and all that but having been with quite a few women who’ve gone through this, it seems to me that a lot of it is in their head: “I don’t feel like doing it anymore” and they go with that instead of listening to that part of them that says, “I wanna get laid!”

    Finding another Tony? He’s out there somewhere… are you game for going on the hunt for him? You willing to do whatever’s necessary in that regard? Dating sucks – it always has and no one in their right mind wants to do it since the failure rate is pretty high… but it’s not like the Dating Faerie is gonna drop a Mr. Right in your lap without you putting in some effort so, with a bit of tough love, if you don’t get your head out of your ass and play the game, you wind up with nothing.

    Your body. I get that and we talked about that a little while ago. Sometimes, it’s not always the condition of a woman’s body that turns us off – it’s her attitude about her body and, yes, at the risk of having my man card pulled, some of us don’t give a fuck what you look like naked… as long as we can get you naked and have our way with you which, um, I’m guessing you wouldn’t really object to that right about now. If you can fix your body, fix it; if not, then perhaps a change of focus is in order to find someone who is truly not as superficial as a lot of men tend to be; some of us, dear Madeline, are more interested in the personality that drives everything and some of us are even smart enough to know that if you’ve not done anything about your body, it’s because you probably can’t afford to right now – and that’s fine.

    Our biggest fear is being alone and it never fails to amaze me how so many women hit bumps in the road and decide that being by themselves is the answer, that because they’ve not really succeeded in the way they’ve imagined, there’s no point in going any further. Once your head goes there, nothing you can do will get this nonsense out of your head and having it there will, as you are discovering, take you right out of the whole game and in a hurry – but only if you let it and I’m telling you to do not let it do this to you and more so when it’s clear that you would prefer this not to happen.

    The job thing… what a clusterfuck. You’re of an age where a lot of employers are of a mind that due to your age and level of experience/education, eh, it’s cheaper for them to hire some wet behind the ears kid. It’s not impossible to get back to working – just really hard at this point but just like everything else, if you don’t keep after this important goal, you’re screwed… and not in a good way. Guys, well, we’re kinda funny in that it might be easier on us financially if a woman has some means of her own she can bring to the table but we also know that it’s our job and even our duty to pick up her slack even though it might put a hurting on our own pocket. Not saying you need a “sugar daddy” or anything like that but you do need a guy who understands this and one who isn’t going to let his own fears about this override his chivalry, as it were. If a guy isn’t willing to get and stay with you because you’re unemployed, you don’t need this kind of guy for anything beyond maybe getting laid because, um, that’s kinda important, too.

    In past discussions, we’ve talked about your focus and approach to selecting men and I’ve pointed out how that tends to work against you more than it works for you and at the risk of pissing you off, perhaps it’s time to rethink, reexamine, and even revise those things you want and need from a man and with a focus toward the kind of guy who’s gonna have your back no matter what, not because of what you can bring to the table or can’t but because you’re the kind of woman a man will give his all for – because you’re you: Confident. Driven to keep your head above water. Very damned sexy no matter what your body looks like and, unwilling to let setbacks keep you from moving forward.

    So, to steal a line from wrestler Hulk Hogan, “Whatcha gonna do, Madeline, when the dumb shit runs wild over you?” Hopefully, you’re gonna fight back, that you’re not gonna give up, and perhaps be determined to get that which you need and by any means necessary because the alternative – just giving up and wallowing in despair and self-pity – is more unattractive than anything I can think of.

    We fear. We lose. And despite knowing this, we keep moving forward until that becomes impossible because to do anything less than that just does not ever make any good sense at all.

    At times, I ask myself, “Would I date Madeline?” Sometimes I say I wouldn’t, most of the time I say I would because you present a challenge and a challenge that, admittedly, a lot of men wouldn’t undertake because we’re idiots. But since that’s not possible, you get me kicking your ass a little to get you back in the game so stop kicking your own ass, woman, and get back in the game.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey KD – I’m sorry I didn’t reply to your message until now. Especially when you spend so much time with your thoughts for me, I do appreciate you!

      I agree that wallowing is an ugly thing. I’ve done enough of it. I had a very long period of stasis and recovery and I definitely DO NOT want to go back there. Some days my ability to paralyze myself is better than others. Trying to force out those thoughts isn’t always easy, but I am more determined than ever to continue to do so and remain positive and healthy.

      Can’t someone talk to the dating faerie for me? This shits exhausting! 🤣

      I’m not sure I entirely agree with you about the body part. I think there are men who are just very superficial. I also know there are men who won’t care. Even if they like my personality, I am terrified the physical will turn them off. I don’t say it lightly, it’s very unattractive.

      I haven’t found a way around my “requirements” for partner selection. It generally always starts with some sort of physical attraction (which has certainly changed for me since Tony, in a good way) and then on to the emotional and intellectual piece. I am more flexible than I used to be in some ways, and then utterly intolerant in other ways (strange how things reversed so much).

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      1. Of course it’s not easy – you just have to do it. I did leave a message for the dating faerie on your behalf, whose recorded message said they’d get back to me ASAP.

        I get that your body is unattractive since I know one of the side effects of the surgery you underwent and we “talked” about that and what you might have to do if all the exercising doesn’t make things better. I maintain that there are guys who are superficial to the point that seeing you naked will send them running for the hills like the Flash and some guys who are, let’s say, smarter than that, and won’t give a fuck and because they understand, as I do, that maddening side effect of your surgery and that there’s not a whole lot you can do without more intervention.

        If you come across as sexy and sensual – but not as a “hater” of your own body – some guys are smart enough to see this and, yeah, some of us are even smart enough to know that to get you away from being terrified, we should take you to bed and do our best to wear your ass out because it still works the way it was designed to work in this.

        If we – the really smart guys – can convince you that you’re still very desirable despite the issue you have, it goes a long way toward you not being terrified. It’s still and always will be a crap-shoot… but if you don’t try, you’ll never succeed.

        If, my dear, you make it difficult for men to date you, it’s never going to be easy and the funny thing I’ve learned is that women understand this but, more often than not, refuse to make it easier to be dated; I mention this to some women and they say, “Yeah, but…”

        Not a good sign but, still, you gotta handle your bizness the way you gotta handle it; it’s always going to be a work in progress so keep working on it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Definitely no “yeah, butts” here. I took everyone’s advice to heart and did a scan of myself. I also believe that feeling attractive and sexy is helping me feel worthy so I want to work on that outward appearance. And I absolutely put action behind those words this weekend (which didn’t ultimately work out and I’m unsure why)

        I also totally agree that any man who can see past the scars is going to get great rewards (said as a little joke) because I will be content, confident and uninhibited. I think he’s out there somewhere. And I think my better self is in there somewhere – wanting to improve my own dating game!

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  2. I got to your Pity Party late. I read this post yesterday but had too much going on to put together the thoughtful response that you deserve. OMG, this may be the longest comment of all time….

    First and foremost, fear in your current situation is a perfectly normal feeling to be having. You have been through so much in the past year. If you weren’t having moments of self-doubt, I would be even more concerned.

    Let’s go one by one on your specific fears:

    The Job: I am sure your outplacement folks have told you that it takes time for an executive of your level to find work. It also takes work to find work. You need to build some small daily habits on the job search front. Think about 1-2 that take about 15 minutes each and build from there.

    Another “Tony”: I think it’s too soon for another Tony or another romantic relationship. You can only handle so much stress in your life right now. I know it’s cliched and not everyone agrees, but you need to love you first. I think you are looking for external love and validation because you aren’t feeling it internally. Plus you are bored, so dating fills that void.

    Failure: Fear of failure lurks in all of us. Failure is part of life and that is how we grow and learn. How did we learn how to walk? By falling a lot, but as a baby, we haven’t learned too much about fear, so we keep on getting right back up. Now we are older and allegedly wiser and realize that falling can hurt, so we become afraid of falling which makes learning to walk that much harder. But our baby-self was perhaps the wiser one because it knows that even though failure can hurt, failure leads to growth and learning.
    Embrace your story, learn the lessons behind your failures and GROW from all of this.

    Fear of Loss: “I’m afraid of the continuous persistent feeling of being demotivated and absent”. I think that is the strong, smart inner Madeline trying to get your attention. It’s the good aspect of FOMO. I have this too sometimes. The way to fix that is to take action. This could be one of your small job steps – check in with former colleagues to see what’s up. Read industry publications/news and start attending any events/networking that your world offers. That’s one part of your fear of loss.

    The other part of your fear of loss – losing material things you have gained. That’s just stuff you have accumulated. You know what – it’s just stuff and if it’s lost, it can always be replaced in the future. I have downsized dramatically over the years and you know what, for the most part, I don’t miss having lots of stuff or a fancy car. Also, surprisingly nobody cares or notices. Yes, I have envy on occasion, but I remind myself that it’s all just stuff.

    The routine for the boys: I know they have enjoyed it, but they also know that you need to keep busy. They will adapt. Besides, who knows? You could end up with a job that allows for a more flexible schedule so perhaps you can spend a couple of days working from home. Don’t fret about something that hasn’t happened. Same thing with the healthy routine.

    Your core belief that you are not good enough: I struggle with that one too. It goes back to learning to love yourself and not look towards a possible romantic relationship to gain the validation and love you want. You are not bitter, mean or dried up. You are hurting. You didn’t fail at your job. You reacted to an asshole boss who was also at risk of losing his job because the ship was sinking under his watch. He lashed out the most vulnerable, the one that was trying to help him right the boat. He asked more and more of you until you buckled under the impossible stress. That’s bad leadership, not you being a bad employee.

    Sex and menopause – it’s gone right now because of your stress. My sex life rebounded tremendously during menopause. I was one horny woman when I first divorced. Now it’s settled back down. Don’t fret about your sex drive, it’s only on a brief hiatus.

    You will be OK. You will be better than OK, you will get out of this and be a stronger, better person. We all have our moments of darkness and self-doubt. I think that when we make it to the other side is when we do our biggest growth leaps. Keep doing the positive steps you are doing like exercise, being in the Peleton activity groups because sometimes we have to fake it until we make it.

    Just know that so many people love you and care for you. More than you possibly know. You have mentored and helped so many people over the years. They are out there waiting to pay it forward. They are out there waiting to tell you how you have helped them. You are strong and this is a really tough test of your strength. I am so sorry you are going through such a dark time, but you will get to the other side. Just keep rowing…. With much love and respect, Maggie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry it’s taken me so long t reply back to you. Especially when you take the time to give me such well thought out points. You know I love you and my reply just slipped through the cracks.

      The Job: yes, I’ve been told a year is common in my role. I’ve also been told by my doctors they actually don’t think I’m ready (until recently) because my head isn’t screwed on straight. I worry more than I’m not worrying enough or being aggressive enough. It’s foreign to me to have no job. I don’t want to get used to it. I had built a few little habits that I disregard. I need to force myself to restart those actions.

      Tony: I don’t mean I need another Tony as much as I like having a partner. And I’m more lonely than ever now so that compounds this feeling. I’m working on the self-love but I am always going to be a person who prefers not to be alone.

      Failure: this is a hurdle I haven’t gotten over yet.

      Loss: same as above. Less worried about material stuff and more just me noticing that it took so long to accumulate/earn or reward myself with it that it agonizes me to potentially lose it.

      Thank you for reframing my belief that I’m not good enough. I am hurting and I did deal with a douchebag boss but I really, really have a bear impossible time not blaming myself.

      I really do appreciate your positive talk. It ALWAYS helps me. I wish I could get a handle on doing it for myself. You’re so good at it (please become a women’s life coach).

      Liked by 1 person

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