Work

I have been unemployed an entire year. More of you count the months post surgery in 18/19. The financial burden is beyond stressful but I had committed to myself I would get through to January before making drastic changes.

While the job market opened up again in my industry in late August, I have had virtually no luck. I have had a lot of interviews but they tend to stall. Some go so well I can’t believe I never hear back from the company. Recruiters are rude and don’t answer emails once you are off their radar. I always ask for feedback when I follow up and I never get it. Not once.

I interview very well. My resume and LinkedIn look great. I know how to search for jobs. I have an underlying suspicion that during my nervous breakdown in 2018 between Tony and the job – I also created a bad reputation for myself. I’m unsure about this but people talk and I was not myself or at my best in 2018. People who know me prior to that last role always recommend me into their companies – and I always get the interviews that go well – and then, they just stop. No follow up from the recruiter (internal recruiters) or the people I spent time interviewing with. Nothing. Silence. I have convinced myself there is something out there I don’t know about regarding my reputation. I just can’t fathom how this keeps happening over and over for roles I am more than qualified for.

In addition, I never thought my experience and title would work so hard against me. I keep bumping up “overqualified” which I also believe is code for ageism, particularly in my industry. When I apply for any role behind one level down from where I was, the companies insist I am overqualified and wouldn’t be happy with the job. They don’t understand why I would take such a low level job.

I have exhausted all opportunities and companies on the East Coast that would be in my wheelhouse. I have applied and interviewed for roles with salaries at a level I haven’t seen since my late 20s/ early 30s. I am willing to take any role that gets me working again in an effort to keep my home for another year so my youngest can graduate high school. I am not fussed about title or level but I do have a minimum salary, which frankly, is a steal. I am willing to relocate.

Nothing is coming up. So many people think it’s easy enough to find jobs at the salary level I could accept – they know me and think it’s impossible “someone” wouldn’t want to hire me. I become frustrated almost instantly when someone tries to talk to me about alternative careers and how to go about getting into them. I have found there seem to be two camps of people. The first is people who have never left their industry, have a career in a very flexible discipline (education for instance) or have never been an executive. The second are the entrepreneurs who have always been the kind of person to chase something and make it happen and have a talent for being able to be successful because of a good decision earlier in their life (for example someone with an engineering or financial degree who leaves their original corporate job to start their own business – again, a flexible discipline). My background is very specific. Sure I have tons of skills that can work in other industries, but you need to know someone to open those doors and have them take a chance on you when you have no direct career correlation.

In other words, it’s bullshit to switch careers at 53 without the right educational foundation or some SPECIFIC skill set that can cross disciplines. I have tried multiple times and failed – even within my own industry. The one shot I had was because a friend opened a door for me and her boss was very engaged with me and willing to take a leap of faith (and then, covid). My entire network (personal and professional) doesn’t seem to have any contacts to help me. I’ve even networked in my fitness community and, while I had offers of help, none amounted to more than suggestions on how to approach a job search.

I’m tired of hearing from people with advice on how to change careers at my age. Yes, I know it’s possible but you need time and money to train and educate yourself for a major career overhaul and I am out of both. I do not have enough specific transferable skills. I cannot seem to get in front of anyone to convince them I could do a job where I don’t have the specific career grooming. One of my greatest skills is my ability to speak and hold an audience – once I learn a product I can master the rest. I’m not talking sales, I would be a horrible sales person, think more along the lines of product development. I know how to build product from the ground up and I believe the product itself shouldn’t matter – but companies do. And so many people are unemployed that the talent pool is massive.

Late September into early October I engaged with 3 large companies on the West Coast. One disappeared and fell off the radar and I don’t know why. One wasn’t ready to move forward due to their own reorganization. And one offered me a job. The one that offered me a job was at the lowest level and salary of which I’ve interviewed for and is clear across the country. Nothing about this role is ideal. But I accepted it and sit on a plane to go visit a city I’ve never been to.

I had no choice. I needed income and I need to be working. Right now the role is virtual so it buys me time. The people are just so lovely and wonderful but I never see myself being satisfied with the company and location. Had this same role been in any other East coast or even Midwest city, I would be probably in a totally different frame of mind.

The stress of being unemployed and then in accepting this role has created the worst migraines. I don’t like to play games – these are good people. I’m sure I can do well with the role (for fucks sake I should be able to do with my eyes closed). I want to do a good job, that’s just my DNA.

I am also heavily influenced by what other people think of me. In my head “look how far she’s fallen” keeps repeating itself. I know none of that should matter, the people I love are just happy I found a job finally. I don’t want to move to this place across the country. If I leave my kids I may never see them unless I travel back and the salary they are paying me won’t allow for that more than once or twice a year. I am sick with grief over thinking about selling a home I’ve lived in my entire life and upending my kids. They don’t even have a full home to go to since their Dad lives in his mother’s basement and the upstairs home only has 2 bedrooms that won’t fit 3 adult kids.

I realize this is a rant but I get angry when I think about my entire career going to waste like this. I did what I had to do by taking this role. I will continue to do what I need to do to remain employed. I’m just miserable. And if I have to actually sell my home and move, I worry if I’m just heading myself right back into another break with reality.

Job Search Frustration

I’ve got about 10 posts in drafts and can’t seem to complete them. My mind is all over the map and my anxiety is through the roof. I’m currently sitting on my couch with coffee and writing this because I’m avoiding my long run today.

I signed up for the Chicago Half in 3 weeks. Lord help me. I couldn’t even run 1 minute, never mind 1 mile a year ago – yet here I am about to attempt a half. I signed up for it because I’ve been so stressed and aimless that focusing on intense training is good for me. Last week I did amazing. This week I’m being an idiot. And there’s so little time between now and October 11th I can’t afford to miss training days and long runs. I’m going to get it done today even if I take my damn psyche into it kicking and screaming.

Why did I need to overwhelm my central nervous system with such intense training? Because I am in a complete panic mode. It’s coming up on 1 year with no employment. I am feeling scared and sick almost every day. I wake up with a migraine. I’m having persistent hot flashes all night long and up every 2 hours. I’m eating too much and gaining weight again. I feel like I am at the end of my rope and I’m terrified of a relapse of a depression I won’t be able to climb out of this time.

The short version is this: the last 6 weeks many, many relevant roles have opened in my industry. More than I’ve ever seen in my life at one time. At first I was hopeful – with this many jobs I’m sure to secure one of them. Then the interviewing started and kept rolling and the same thing kept happening to me over and over. I continue to hear I am overqualified for many roles. If I’m not overqualified and it’s a good match, I don’t seem to hear back from the recruiters. I have only made it through 3 interviews that got me close. 1 was perfect and I was excited – but they chose another candidate and the recruiter never got back to me with feedback (despite the fact I was an internal recommendation). The second I am now on my 8th round of interviews with about 15 people for a role that is so far beneath me and across the country in a city I don’t want to live in. If I wasn’t so overqualified they would have offered me by now but I know they are worried I will accept and then leave when a better fit comes along. The last was a fabulous interview for a role I want but in a location I definitely do not want. This last company is going through a major reorg so I won’t formally interview further for a couple weeks.

There have been many others. Some at the right level, some not. I never really know why I move forward and why I don’t because recruiters do not communicate any form of feedback which really sucks in this market. Every role except one required significant relocation and salary cut. I have my story down to a science for why I would move and accept a lower paying role or a less significant title/role than I’ve held previously.

I interview well. I know this. I research and practice before every interview no matter what the role is – I never wing it. I approach any interview as if it’s the best role in the world.

Yet, nothing is happening. Anyone who knows me is incredulous. they don’t understand either.

And the kicker is, I don’t have a back up plan. I’m too old to pivot to something entirely different. I’ve tried multiple times to move into adjacent roles with compatible or transferable skills but because the market is so flooded, no one is interested in me. While it seems I should be able to use my skills in other roles, it’s clear no companies believe the same and my frustration level with anyone telling me “it’s possible to change careers this late in life” is through the roof. I’m sure it’s possible with a different skill set than mine, or even with the right connections and someone who believes in you so strongly they are willing to train and take a chance.

I have looked into real estate and insurance. I don’t want to do either but it seems that real estate will be more accessible for me. I don’t have the money to take classes and I can’t teach as I don’t have a bachelors degree. I don’t know where else to turn for alternative jobs. It would make more sense to take a lower paying role within my own industry if I could obtain one.

The roles that are well below my experience level have consistent feedback: you are overqualified. Every single time. I expect part of that is ageism, I am considered pretty old for my industry unless I am an executive.

I’m so stuck. I’m sick every day. I’m stressed beyond belief. I’m going through my life savings. I committed to myself that I have to sell my home by January just in order to survive without work. I do collect minimal unemployment and that will run out in November. I do have my reasons for staying on unemployment – I need healthcare and I will qualify for a lower rate with no income. I am also trying to negotiate forgiveness on all the medical bills from my surgery. Once I have the healthcare squared away I will find a customer service or retail job if possible. At least it will reduce the amount of $$ I’m drawing from from savings.

My retirement saving withdrawals currently come at no penalty thanks to covid. But I have to pay myself back in 2 years or I will be hit with the significant taxes for pulling my funds before retirement age.

It’s all a cluster fuck.

I am losing all hope that I am employable. The only way I have found to stave off utter hopelessness is running myself into the ground. But, sooner or later, that won’t work any longer either.

Tentative Maturity

My brain knows (most times) what’s right and when my brain isn’t paying attention my gut generally steps in. I don’t always listen but I have been making a very concerted effort since my breakdown to try my best. I show up for myself most days.

That probably sounds like I did something dumb. I actually didn’t. I’m just feeling a bit (well, maybe a lot more than a bit) melancholy. Dropped my first born off to college, I don’t have a partner and I’m still out of work. The sense of loss or failure is looming large and I’m working really hard to keep myself together.

I met a man online named Peter. He came to my home for drinks – it’s so hard to go out anywhere and I don’t really want to keep inviting men here, but there’s no option for a casual drink anymore. My back deck suits just fine but I hate that the kids know I have company. Going to a park feels really awkward to me and I won’t go to someone else’s home. I think I vet them well enough before they come here but I suppose one never knows.

Peter was a nice guy but I struggled with the laughter again. He looked like his photos but didn’t, hard to explain. He wasn’t unattractive but I found him less appealing in person. I am somewhat critical about how people dress because of my industry, but it’s no dealbreaker. He was just dressed too young for his age. He talked too much about himself and his business. He asked a question and before I could form a complete sentence was interjecting whatever he wanted to tell me about himself. He literally pulled his cock out of his pants as a joke that just wasn’t funny. I didn’t look. I looked him right in the eye and told him he was dumb. He felt chastised but that wasn’t my goal – what is it about me that makes EVERY man lead with sex? What vibe am I giving off and how the he’ll do I stop? The date wasn’t a complete loss, but I wasn’t really feeling great about it.

I should have cut it off immediately after the first date but I know I didn’t because I’m lonely and thought to myself I should give him a second chance. He was good about communicating every day but I began to get frustrated with the same questions. I think he must have asked me if I liked salmon no less than 6 times (I don’t). It felt like a boring Groundhog Day in most every conversation. He is a part time basketball coach so at one point during the last conversation I asked him if he liked basketball. 😂🙄. I was entertaining myself again – I knew it was time to just call it a day. We were due to have our second date this week and he was going to make me dinner (you can guess what he wanted to make).

I really am not sure if this guy was a space cadet or really disinterested. I don’t know, nor do I care. But he didn’t pay attention and he certainly didn’t ask much about me beyond “how are you” or “what are you doing” type of questions. I know this is how you gauge a mans intent. They always show you who they are at some point early on. When I sent the text today to politely decline dinner and moving forward, he replied that he was caught off guard. Probably because he was too focused on his attraction to me and not paying any attention to our actual interaction. Or maybe he just wanted to sleep with me. Doesn’t matter.

I still had a little trouble writing that text to let go in favor of having some company, any company. I knew I should have written it last week but getting my kid ready for college drop off consumed my time and thoughts. I still feel loss today. I suppose the loss is ambiguous- I am not mourning the loss of Peter – just the loss of my child to his adult life and the hope of relationship once again. The general loss of my life as it was pre 2018.

I still can’t help myself to think of each new match as future potential. I don’t know if this helps or harms the dates. I don’t believe I come across as needy, unhappy or depressed but I’m starting to feel the weight of frustration. My x has now been in a relationship for 2 years and the kids have dinner with them once in a while. I suppose this bothers me as well on some level and I think whenever a long term partner gets into another relationship there is some adjustment period. I did have a good laugh this weekend when my son told me that his grandmother no longer thinks of me as the devil and says she preferred me. More like the devil you know with my x-MIL.

The man I started to see before Covid, Scott, lives in the same state as my sons college. We have established a tentative friendship. I know he would like more, he knows I know, but he is willing to be friends.

Then there’s Mike. Why? He never fails to make my heart flutter and I don’t think he’s truly contrived, but I sort of don’t get why he does what he does. On the nights we spent together (a year ago now) one song seemed to be on repeat and he would sing it to me. It was one of the things I found so endearing. He must have been home alone and the video came on and he sent me a clip and said “every time I hear this I think of you”. Why? Why? Why can’t he just date me? Dumbass me responds with “lets have drinks on the deck”. No response. Of course. Delete yet again.

Tony is back stalking my IG. Any attempt at blocking him results in follows from made up names. It does cause “some” kind of feeling but the closest I can identify is sadness. I have no desire to reach out. If he wants to stalk, or if it’s his wife, then so be it. I’m really done now. I know it took 2 years and nearly killing myself but I can say that I am no longer in love with Tony.

I do feel I am making good choices – part of that is the choices are sincerely limited – there are not any good matches coming up for any of my friends. Part of that is the realization that I would rather be alone than with someone I am not ultimately compatible with.

But depression is seeping in much faster than I feel I can control. And this worries me….will I be able to manage the depression without becoming reckless again?

Signs of Life

Wow it’s been a minute, right? Hoping everyone in my blogosphere has been safe and healthy. We have been very lucky.

I didn’t want to write during quarantine for a few reasons. The weight of what was happening in our world felt too heavy for the comic relief that is generally my life and I stayed so low key during quarantine that there was little to write about. The kids were quiet, no dating, no job – days passed uneventfully for the most part. I didn’t even leave my home until early June.

I had a health crisis (does this even surprise anyone anymore?) in late April/early May that lead to the decision I needed my final surgery sooner rather than later. My insides never recovered from Mexico (needless to say my outside was still hideous looking) and I began spiking very, very high fevers that became concerning to my surgeon. He decided I needed the surgery sooner than later and, to my surprise and delight, suggested a plastic surgeon to do the second part of the surgery. Long story short, I had a very major and intensive surgery June 2, spent a long while in hospital while my body tried to remember how to work, and then a longer recovery at home.

10 weeks later I’m happy to report that my heath is excellent, I am able to eat mostly normally and do most active things again. Since the hospital, I’ve been much less frightened about covid and started living (albeit very carefully) again.

Everyone has a different opinion about covid and I’m not here to debate anyone’s opinion. I spent a long, long time in the hospital around multiple doctors and nurses to form my own opinion of how I wanted to live once I was recovered and, so far, I’m glad I’ve been less anxious and uptight about living a mostly careful life. My choices may not be your choices and that’s fine, but I hope we don’t debate or politicize my decision to live the way I have chosen.

Once I decided I was ready to live more normally again I began to expand my germ circle. I visited my sister and spent time with her and her friends. I began to see more friends and welcomed them with hugs and kisses. I had allowed my children out of the home long before I ever left, but was no longer pouncing on them with Lysol spray the moment they walked in the door. I fired up the dating apps. I got my nails and hair done. Life was still too quiet, I’m still unemployed and single, but I began to feel like I could have a bit of normalcy again.

I debated what I wanted to write about. We are in such a horrible state of affairs in the USA that it still feels somewhat banal to write about dating but then I figured that’s pretty much what my blog was designed for so why not?

So, I’m back, I think. I have to see how it feels to write again. I admit I’m quite selfish with my blog and don’t read many other blogs because I’m happy to interact with whomever is here reading and I write to empty my mind.

If you’re here reading, welcome back. I’m always happy to have you. ❤️

Politics

Has this become the most taboo subject of our generation?

Dating sites are filled with political affiliations now. If you’re this or that, swipe the other way! If your opinion is different than mine, you must be dumb or inept or perhaps both!

Being mostly a conservative in a liberal city isn’t easy. There’s a reverse form of discrimination that happens. Basically it means you may not have any conservative opinions without being looked down upon. I generally stay away from any discussion about politics because I am a minority where I live. Which is also fine, I don’t really care to discuss it anyway.

What I don’t like is someone judging me because my beliefs may be different than theirs. I have a lot of beliefs and they don’t all fall into one “name tag” of political affiliation. I am not definitively right or left as a whole. This causes a lot of judgement on both sides of the political fence. I also believe, I can have different beliefs that do not affect personal relationships – or at least that’s my opinion. I think it’s sad to watch how polarized people become when they find out you are not firmly planted on “their side”.

My tactic, therefore, is avoidance. But it doesn’t always work that way.

I was at lunch the other day with friends I’ve know for some time. There was one new friend at the table. Politics came up about the recent debates and We had some general(and amicable) discussions which we all agreed upon. Soon after I walked away and later found out one friend turned to the new friend and said “you know Madeline is a xx (not their affiliation)”. She was delivering a very negative message in an unkind way, trying generate some kind of negativity towards me. The new friend basically said “all are welcome and I love M”.

I was upset when the other friend confided this to me. Why would one friend feel the need to tell the new friend my political beliefs with a negative connotation? To make matters worse, she was wrong. But now I question if I can trust this friend of mine. I know she is pigeon-holeing me as a conservative but she’s wrong. I’ve corrected her on more than one occasion but she’s stubborn in her view. To note, this friend and I get along REALLY well other than this one discussion – so I avoid it at all costs around her. But this little dig caught me off guard.

I think there’s so much wrong with American Politics right now, but my opinion on what should or can be done is probably different than someone else’s. The thing is, it doesn’t matter much to me what your affiliation is as long as you don’t judge mine. But I see this isn’t the case for everyone and I hope it doesn’t cost me a friendship.

I questioned the friend with the comment and she told an different story. She said she was trying to steer the conversations away from negativity. This doesn’t make sense in the context of the group and I don’t believe her. But I let it drop by reminding her what she said was incorrect. She agreed she misunderstood my stance.

I like my friend so much I have considered just agreeing with her. Nodding my head to her rhetoric and telling her I feel the same, just to keep the peace. But is it really a true friendship if you have to do so?

I’m not posting to press my agenda or hear another. I’m simply sad about what my friend did because it feels like it came from a place of ill intent.

Losing Hope

It’s very hard to stay positive and motivated. I often feel anxious, sad and desperate.

I’ve been out of work and out of relationship too long. While I do some activity to stay healthy, I’ve started eating poorly again and can feel how that’s affecting my body. I’ve started craving carbs again. I got on the scale and have hit a heavy weight I didn’t think I would see again. I promised my self after all I’ve been through that I wasn’t going to let more than 10 pounds go – so that means I’m shutting down any bad eating habits this week. I had to gain weight after the fistula but I should have stopped and watched what I was doing. I mistakenly assumed with all the exercise I wouldn’t gain but that’s not the case.

I’m in one of two places: busy or desolate. On the busy days, I can’t even handle too many things at once. When my day gets too full I feel pressure. I don’t know if this is simply a side effect of being out of work so long or an actual change in ability to perform. Busy days now don’t even compare to what my traditional busy days were like. I get tired so much faster. If I go out with friends at night I need a full day to recuperate.

I’m afraid to do my bills and look at my debt. I’ve been unable to get a handle on it. I am actively avoiding trying to do something about it.

The thought of a backup plan is a reality now and I don’t have one. I just assumed I would be able to get a job like I always have. Any job. But there are none. No adjacencies, no lower paying roles, just nothing available to me. I should try harder but I’m blocked here as well. I’m letting my life slip away from me.

The rejection from dating combined with being out of work can be debilitating but my internal pressure to find a partner, even short term, is as desperate a feeling as finding a job. I keep thinking if I can at least have one stable thing to look forward to each day a partner would be a welcome change. But that’s not happening either.

I don’t speak to people about how I feel. How can they help me anyway? I feel like a burden again and I don’t want to be that. So many people just don’t understand depression and I can’t manage hearing “you’ll get through this” or “you will find a job, you always do” anymore. I just can’t. I know the only way through this is to help myself but I’m genuinely stuck trying to figure out how to move forward. The feeling of being disconnected from everyone and everything is very strong. My sister barely communicates with me and I attribute that to the comment I made to her last September that was unkind. Some days I want to ask her what’s up but most days I don’t really want to hear what she might have to say. If she really cared she wouldn’t be holding one comment against me for going on 6 months. And she would reach out more often. I am always the one asking to see her and reaching out and I’m tired of it. My best friend is the same thing. I am always reaching out and asking to see her and she is always preoccupied. I can’t help but wonder if I’ve alienated them or it’s actually just that they are genuinely busy with life. I remember how everyone told me how important I was after Mexico was over and how I should never do that again – that people love me and care for me. If they do, if those words were true – wouldn’t they be trying harder after realizing how I felt back then? That I was struggling with being alone and being a failure? I know you can’t force people into relationship but I’m getting to a point where I’m feeling like I am the problem. There’s something with me or about me that makes people not want to be in relationship with me. It’s very hard not to feel this way and I acknowledge I’m having pity for myself which is unhealthy, but it’s very hard to escape. I am back to feeling like I am not anyone’s #1 and it’s horrible. My entire life I’ve spent just wanting to be “that one” to someone, anyone. I didn’t get it from my parents or my x. I don’t get it from my children. For me this is a very deep-seated emotional need. While I have found many ways to feed my own self-love, I haven’t found any way to fill the bucket enough to feel fulfilled.

Therapy would be great but I don’t have the money. I think working would actually be better therapy for me than anything. Exercise this past 2 weeks is tough because I have some hip problem which I’m hoping isn’t arthritis. We ruled our nerve damage but now probably need more X-rays or MRI’s on the hip. I’m still exercising but I need more to work out some of this cray.

Back to Nothing

I thought the little getaway would perk me up. 4 days of sex, fun and sun and then stopping to see a friend in a new city on the way home for a night.

Did I have fun? Sure.

But now the fun is over and I’m back to nothingness. I’m so bored I can’t motivate myself.

I’m also in a financial panic. I’ve been waking up with night sweats and a sense of complete panic because of the debt I’ve put myself into. I have NEVEE been worried about money and clearly part of the reason I’m in so much debt is because I don’t even know how to worry about money. There’s always been a good job and more money. But now there’s not. The thought that I’m about to topple all the years of hard work for being thoughtless about money is sickening to me. This is the quality in me that my x railed against daily. Oh how he hated this part of me. Of course, I couldn’t see it this way when I was working and earning. Nor should he have treated me that way when I was working and earning – I just needed to learn moderation and temperance and not be extremely limited the way he managed me. My ability to ignore my true circumstance has now led me into a debt I’m no longer sure I can handle and I’m scared to death.

I am beginning to become immobilized.

I cannot find a job. Any job. Even one that pays 1/3 of my past salaries – which would take me back to earning what I earned in my 30’s ! There is nothing out there I can get my hands wrapped around. I’m still on unemployment at the moment so taking “any” job isn’t an option if it won’t net more than the unemployment.

I have to start looking at alternative careers and I don’t even know where to start. The thought of having to sell real estate is sickening me. And if I feel that way, I won’t even be good at it. I don’t mean to diminish anyone’s role in life but I don’t want to sell real estate. I want to do the job I have worked for my entire life, the role I’m trained for. I just want to work in my career field. Writing this is making me ill.

Compound this with my inability to be actually do anything at home. I could clean cabinets and closets and get shit done but, instead, I’m back on the couch binge watching. I’m sure no one knows my life is falling apart, I never give that outward appearance. But I’m spiraling.

I haven’t even heard a peep from Dan since I left Florida. How crappy is that? I didn’t really expect to, I guess. Maybe I did. But something after 4 days and nights together? Something? It makes me feel used. But didn’t I use him, too? These feelings are so conflicted. I want more from him but I don’t really want him. I didn’t feel any pull toward wanting more from him and I suspect that’s because he makes it abundantly clear he doesn’t want more from me in his own actions. I don’t know if that’s intentional or not. I don’t know if I will hear from him again or not either. I don’t see any reason I wouldn’t, when he has business in my city again, but who knows. I’m not dwelling on him or the situation, but I am beginning to wonder what is so wrong with me that no one wants me. No one.

I haven’t stopped exercising. It’s my one thing I hold on to to keep my sanity. Somehow I have also be invited to the “inner sanctum” of the Peloton group I’m in. I suspected there were cliques behind the scene and I had pretty much identified the “cool kids”. I was always in their peripheral sites because I’m engaged in the social media and the live studio. One of the girls was coming to NYC and asked if I could do a studio class with her and I spent the day with her (I do this for anyone in the group who asks which is becoming more common as I become more “well-known” in my group). The friend I met on the way home from Florida was also in this side group and I hadn’t met her IRL either. We connected in person immediately as I was drawn to her. After meeting these two, I was pleasantly surprised when I was invited “in” to the inner group and their daily communication. I’ve never been in group chats with “friends” who talk about anything. Like there’s no filter. It’s interesting. I don’t necessarily think I’m going to dive head first into suddenly having a new close friend group, but this group chat and engagement is a nice thing to be a part of – even if it’s just one more virtual connection. I’ve been invited to a gathering as well, if I can get to the other side of the country. Would I enjoy it? How would I “really” in? When someone has nothing to do and nothing on their mind, this at least adds some distraction for me.

I just don’t know what I’m going to do. I’m quickly losing all or any motivation I may have had and starting to become depressed. Not like the summer of 18 depressed, but sinking into an apathy I can’t shake.

And, an interesting note, I mentioned I had blocked Tony and his multiple alter egos from my IG when he was stalking. I also sent him a text calling him out on it. I unblocked him last week (which I clean out all my blocks every couple months so he was part of this). He’s back. When I saw him this time I just thought “oh well, if you really want to look, go ahead”. It’s not a show. My IG is real life and my life isn’t all that exciting at the moment so he’s not seeing much except my Peloton activity. I have given thought to him – what if I bumped into him, how would I feel? My heart made no jumps. I miss what we had. I miss how he made me feel. I miss him. And I realize how over it is and how damaged it always was. It makes me sad that I haven’t had any functional and healthy relationships in my life and the one that I consider the most perfect was probably one of the most flawed.

I feel like I don’t add any value to life. This is the same question I was facing when I went to Mexico. The difference then was I didn’t have the emotional capacity to deal with such a big challenge. I’m not sure how well I will deal with it now, but I know I’m not throwing my life away because of it this time. I just need to find a way to regain control. I need a new path. At the moment I’m so covered in weeds I’m having trouble seeing and breathing.

Frame of Mind

It’s been a minute since I’ve written.

To be honest, I don’t have much going on.

Not much is going on. My sister got married and I’m glad the wedding is over and the relationship tips back to normal. I realized I didn’t feel very good through most of this prep. In some ways, I feel like an imitation sister. I’ve been adopted my whole life and never really felt quite like I did during the wedding. I felt like a throw-away, someone she had there because she had to, not because she really wanted to. I felt the strength of her connections with her friends and felt like an outsider. It’s not me she relies upon or me she calls for advice. I’m not even sure how to cultivate a better relationship with her exactly. I don’t get the sense it’s something she really wants – or wants more of. I’m unsure what I want from relationship with her. I suppose it’s just one more person I don’t feel important to and this seems to be a theme in my life.

I was asked to do a podcast, two actually. One was about life struggles and how individuals overcome them and the other is about strong, accomplished women. I finished the first one and found the process super interesting. In the first pass, I understood the interviewer wanted to focus on the Mexico story and travel weight-loss surgery. I was able to tell the sorry quite easily with no emotion and plenty of humor. In the actual interview, there was a significant change to my story because all my emotions were stirred up (made for a very good interview). The emotions caught me by surprise. I have pretty much buried Mexico and what happened to me. The horror of that experience is not something I want to revisit. I acknowledge I carry a great deal of shame for choosing weight loss surgery, wanting to die and subsequently what happened to me post surgery. In particular, I purposely try not to dig too deeply because of the one fact that continues to haunt me: no one came for me. Even when I begged, no one cared enough to come for me. I was dying at one point, I was terrified, and those closest to me couldn’t come.

Logically, I understand why. Emotionally, I can’t address it because I don’t see any other choice but to forgive them and accept what’s happened. They made a choice the same way I made a choice. I don’t think they didn’t come to penalize me, I just think they had other priorities. I don’t even know what I would have done had the tables been turned. Which leads me to a feeling I’ve buried most of my life and pushes me to the outskirts of my depression – I am not anyone’s priority.

We spoke about this in the interview and I definitely had a hard time working through this part of the story. In the end, we edited it out because I don’t want to upset the people who were there for me. And they WERE there. Just, perhaps, not physically. I am worried if I were to ever express the truth of how I felt that I would be considered ungrateful. After all, Mexico was my bad choice and I should live with its consequences.

Since the interview I’ve been struggling with these thoughts because, like I mentioned, I’ve buried them pretty deeply and they simply only cause emotional distress for me. I also don’t see a way to resolve these feelings other than learning to accept what’s passed and move on.

But then there are days, and unfortunately there are many of them recently, where the thought of not being anyone’s priority eats me alive.

My long time closest friend, the Spanish speaker who translated Spanish for me while I was in Mexico, changed all my bandages when I was home, my maid of honor and godmother to my son, is always too busy for me. I never see her or speak to her and I’ve grown tired of constantly asking to see her. She finds time for what’s important to her and I’m not it. Now, if I really needed “help” she would be the first one here. That’s because she finds her own value in helping others. It’s great to have a friend like that, but I love her dearly and would like to connect with her more frequently than once a month. Mind you, I’m not working and I’m very flexible so it’s twice as upsetting when I have the time to spend with her and she basically can’t find the time for me.

My closest cousin, the one who was very busy working to get me out of Mexico and who probably invested the most time in figuring shit out while I was there, comes from a massive tight knit family. Her family will include me in many functions and I love to participate. I’m so happy when I’m with them and I always enjoy myself but I go through some sort of let down once I leave them. I find myself wishing that was my primary family. Once again I feel like I’m on the outskirts looking in.

My kids have really been much better than last year and I am VERY thankful for this change. I try not to push them too far forward too fast because, again, I don’t want to appear ungrateful for the strides they have made. Logically I know kids are kids and boys are boys, but I often feel that I hold no importance. I know this isn’t true and this is just my neediness. I want more demonstrative love and this is just not their way. They really have been good kids lately and I am trying not to put them down in any way because of my own neediness.

I still don’t have a job and there has been NOTHING to be found. I am so over my head in debt for the first time in my life that I am beginning to feel panic rising at the back of my throat. I keep telling myself I just need to get through the end of this year and things will change. I will find a job and be able to pay down my debt. It’s the first time EVER that I am truly scared about the debt I’ve created. People keep asking “what will you do?” And this is becoming frustrating. I don’t know. I don’t know what I will do. Am I wasting time not “doing something else?” I don’t even know what that can be. If I have to become a realtor I would rather die. I am good at my job and want to stay in my industry and would even consider relocation. There are just no jobs out there. Not even consulting ones. I am officially out of money by Feb 1st and have to take from long term savings to survive. This is creating an angst in me that I’ve never experienced. All of this makes me feel like I’m not worthy of being hired. I’m too old. I’m too expensive. (Even though I would take half my last salary). I’m over-qualified. I’m so disappointed in myself that it’s becoming very hard to remain positive.

Then there’s the dating, or better yet, the lack of it. Before I shut down the apps I knew I had hit a low point with my last sex date with Chris. I knew I had to stop what I was as doing because it wasn’t how I wanted to feel. There were two men, both from out of town, that I felt would make good on/off dates when they were here because I could keep them (or keep myself is a better way to say that) at arms length and not invest in the emotional chase. Sex with Dan is pretty good and we have a blast when I see him, but his communication is so horribly inconsistent I still end up aggravated. The other guy, Tom (don’t even think I wrote about him) started off well, we had two fabulous dates, and then his communication and attention plummeted. This is so fucking frustrating to me and puts me right back into the thought pattern of “why can’t I be anyone’s fucking priority?” Not even a small priority. I don’t even think priority is the space I’m looking for as much as just being someone they think about and WANT to reach out to sometimes.

I’ve gained some weight – which isn’t a bad thing but it’s fucking with my head. I had dropped so low, most would say too low for me, that I needed to regain some weight. But I haven’t stopped gaining because I haven’t curbed my eating. Even with all my cardio I’m not losing because I’m eating all the time. I don’t eat much at once but I eat all day. As you can imagine, this screws with my head after weight loss surgery. There was the sick part of me that liked being so thin. That liked seeing that low number on the scale. My goal was always 150 but I loved seeing 130. Sitting around 140-145 isn’t unhealthy but I don’t like it. I want to stay sub 140. That space felt good in my head for the first time in my life. I’m so sick of struggling with the numbers on the scale that I just want them to stay put. Weight loss surgery doesn’t cut out the demons. They are all still there and the effort it takes to quiet them is immense. The only time they recede is under that 140 mark. It doesn’t seem to matter that I’m actually in the best physical shape of my life, my arms look beautiful, my legs feel amazing and I love being stronger than ever and rarely out of breath anymore. The numbers on the scale fuck with my head worse than ever. Especially since I saw what I needed to see for the first time in 20+ years. That number on scale “helps” me forgive myself for the damage done to my body and how badly my stomach looks with its wounds and loose, hanging flesh.

Speaking of wounds, here was a little bright spot. When having sex with Dan, he gently kissed my wound. I knew it was intentional. He also made sure to tell me post sex that he loved my body and the wounds don’t bother him at all, he doesn’t even see them. I appreciated that immensely. I believe him also. It doesn’t change how I think about my tummy, but it does help to calm me down a bit, as long as I can get my weight back down.

So that gets to me to my current frame of mind: not good. Not good at all.

Not working, not dating, not having enough good, consistent sex, not having any money are all very bad places for me to be. My ability to not be depressed is quickly eroding.

I am doing what I can. I actively look for jobs and network. I continue to exercise – although I should be stepping up my game considering I’m unemployed. I bought a studio 10 pack so that I get myself into the Peloton studio and interact in person. I continue to support others in my accountability groups though recently I feel like I am being false. It’s an effort to Log into social media to be positive and emote positivity and gratefulness when I don’t feel it. I do logically understand I have much to be grateful for but I am horrible at making this a practice I believe in. It’s also why I push myself into my accountability groups the same way I pushed myself to get dressed In Workout clothes at the beginning – I will fake it til I make it. This is taking way longer than the 100 days I committed to making fitness a priority. Wayyyy longer.

This time of year warms me and depresses me all at once. I want a boyfriend. I want my person. I want the person who is going to make me a priority. I haven’t had that since pre marriage, since a childhood boyfriend. When I think about it I only feel more damaged and broken. There too many things keeping me down, and too many things making me feel like I’m not important to anyone. I know all about self love and it’s not working for me. Sure, I haves plenty of moments where I am doing a decent job taking care of myself and my family, but I don’t feel any reward in it. It’s. A horrible place to be as I think about this being the 5th Christmas and New Years that I will once again be alone.

When I Don’t Care Enough – Part 1

Sometimes, not often, I don’t really care about how I am going to present on a date.

There are some men who I get the sexual tension from quickly, and I want to impress those men with sexy heels and a hot outfit.  Other men don’t seem to give off the same vibe and I don’t get as excited about the first meeting and what I am wearing, and perhaps a little, how I look.  Frankly, I tend to prefer the men with whom I get the tension with – even if the date doesn’t get legs, the initial date and flirting is just more fun.  I love the sexual tension and I love to look sexy.  Especially now….sexy now is an entirely different thing than it was before.  My body requires little to no effort to appear sexy to a man who likes a lean, fit woman.  This is a major head trip, for me.  I love the fact that nothing is uncomfortable when I wear it any longer.  Most articles of clothing are going to look good on me no matter what.  I can wear heels all night long.  I’ve always had the feeling of “being” sexy, but now its much more prevalent since I am proud of my body  (well, the exterior, the wounds and loose skin get compartmentalized when I am getting dressed because they are under wraps).  I don’t think my behavior is any different, but removing the physical self doubt is a massive relief.

I did choose weight loss surgery after all.

And then I chose to take care of the gift of life I was given post all the trauma.  I’m super fit and lean now.  I feel better physically and find that the working out helps me redirect a lot of negative energy.  I never thought I would be the one to say it but I love how the fitness makes me feel now.  It has changed my life.

This is a bit long-winded story about how I didn’t care how I looked on a first date. I had matched with someone who wanted to meet this particular night.

I had planned to do something quite out of character for me – I decided to go into the Peloton studios and do 3 classes in a row, in costume, for Halloween.  Alone.  Why?  No reason at all.  More like, why not?  I could. I love my Peloton classes and getting in studio is always awesome.  Plus, not that I admit this to any of my friends or family, but there is probably some attention factor in here.  Going to the studio gets me noticed by my instructors and creates a more personal bond when you interact with them on social media.  When I’m not working, the Peloton social community is my primary source of accountability.  If I make a post that I will do something, I do it.  I don’t know how the logic of that works for me, but it does.  So when I feel like I need a little push to step out of a comfort zone, I post before I think about it too much.  Then I’m committed.

The classes started at 6:30pm and would end by 10:30pm.  It was a pretty big fitness commitment and when I am in studio, it also means a push effort – I don’t want to “take it easy” on myself in studio.   All classes have a “spotlight” bike, tread or mat.  In the past, I have chosen this spot knowing I would be on camera for the studio taping of the on-demand classes.   Unexpectedly, I ended up in this spot in 2 classes -in full costume – doing classes that were so far out of my comfort zone that I questioned the sanity of these spontaneous choices.  I did a 45 minute run (I have never run that long) and a 30 minute yoga class (I never did a studio yoga class and I can’t do half the poses).  Of course, in the end, it worked out amazingly well and I had a blast and did just fine.   I loved being on camera (sort of, off to the side and in the dark, but still! Lol)

I did trip on the treadmill towards the end! Whoops! No one saw, right?

It reminded me that I like the spotlight and the competition.  My personality feeds off these things, but I forget that it does.  I should really consider how to tap into more of this part of myself – because I am good at putting myself out there.  My confidence takes a huge leap and I become like a different person.  I recall times in my life where the spotlight was on me that it brings out my type A competitive nature and I want to crush whatever it is I am doing.  I can’t create this feeling, or even call it up – but when it happens I love it.  I know athletes are able to tap into this ability to focus themselves and hype themselves up for competition, but when I try to do that, it doesn’t work the same as when it happens organically. I hadn’t actually thought of this before and maybe I should do a little research on why this happens with me.

This night, it was all organic.  Sort of.  I had set myself up for the potential something could happen, by being in costume, being present and interactive, and I was going to be equally as ok if nothing happened.  But, it did – I was noticed, ended up on camera, and made new friends.  I loved every minute.  No one was there who knew me or could judge, and the side of my personality that I normally don’t let loose too often – you can call it my cocky side -comes out.  My confidence and happiness overflow and I can affect those around me.  It’s such a natural high.

It was several hours of high intensity interaction and exercise. I loved every minute. If I could somehow tap into that energy more frequently, it would be amazing – I don’t know where it would take me because it feels boundless. However, times like this – where the energy is flowing so heavily from within – exhaust me for days. Add into it my chronic anemia, which happens to be keeping me down because it’s time for an iron infusion, and one event like this could knock me out for a week.

The bottom line was – after these classes I was going to be a mess. My hair was a birds nest of hairspray and curls, my makeup soaked through, and I would be a soppy sweaty mess. I would be able to take a shower post the last ride, but there was nothing I could do about makeup or the fact I had worn yoga pants going into the studio. Hardly the ideal condition to meet someone for the first time…..

Big Sister

I’m struggling being a big sister to an adult woman. Since I was adopted, and raised apart from my half sister, our relationship is non-traditional. We are closer than ever as she approaches her wedding day in 2 months, but this closeness also brings frustration learning about one another.

We have the built in family connection. She’s my sister and I adore her. I prioritize her in my life. I realized after my breakdown last year how much she adores me back and I was taking her love for me for granted. I have tried to be much closer to her this past year. My timing may suck since she’s about to be married, but you work with what you have.

The wedding, of course, is anxiety fueled and she’s an emotional creature – maybe even more so than I am. We are quite similar in our ability to be so direct it often comes out unkind and we’ve definitely been having our share of crossed wires.

Lately I just feel like ALL the wires are crossing and we can’t have any communication without a misunderstanding.

I have to admit sometimes I find it all too much. I am still struggling to find myself and I know the people around me are frustrated that I am still depressed so I’ve mostly stopped talking about it with them. I call if I feel I hit a bottom and need support, but otherwise I’m back to remaining silent about my own feelings. In particular, I don’t want to cloud my sisters special time. I already have terrible shame that I chose to go to Mexico for the surgery the day she got engaged. Even though the subsequent terrors were not of my doing, they impacted her in a significant way as she tried to support me…during what should have been the happiest time in her life. I will never forgive myself for that and the shame and guilt I feel is overpowering.

But every time I try to do what I believe would please get, I seem to get it wrong. Maybe it’s because I don’t actually know her well enough. Maybe it’s because I see her through a different lens. Maybe I’m trying too hard. Maybe I just don’t know how to have an adult female relationship that’s as close as ours is. I don’t know.

I do know it’s bumpy and I want to fix it, but that can’t come until we can have a serious conversation/ maybe early next year. I just don’t want to add any anxiety. But, I fear it’s all I seem to be doing lately.

Planning her bachelorette has been horrible. What I wanted to be a classy and fun weekend isn’t the experience her friends, or her, were expecting. They would have been happy with a pizza and beer weekend – and getting a bit sloppy drunk. I shouldn’t have taken the responsibility on my shoulders when I don’t know her friends well enough. I should have asked more questions and spent less money. But I planned what I believed she would love, and it turns out it’s all too much. For her, for them, for me. I’m just over it all.

Without getting into the entire story, I just wanted the long weekend to pass with her being happy and no one else complaining. I wanted it over before it even started. I am too old to be doing this for the first time. What started out as excitement and anticipation has turned into a bit of dread.

I also found it highly unusual that every friend of hers was invited with a plus one and I wasn’t, when I asked to bring one before the invites were sent.  I replied with a +1 even though I didn’t actually have someone to bring.  Her mother doesn’t think I should have the distraction because I will be “working.”  Working until the party, then mostly alone as the ones I love are in the spotlight and its not “my” family exactly.   I do want to bring a date, but I don’t have someone who can easily fit in, so I am going to let them know, but I don’t actually liked being told I shouldn’t have a date.  They seem to be worried I would be distracted with a date – who wouldn’t show up until the party in any case.  I am already going to be distracted with 3 teen boys trying to get dressed in Tuxedos when I am not there to help them.

I just want her happy and I seem to be failing at giving her this happiness. Now I just feel like I will also fail her the day of her wedding as the Maid of Honor. It’s overwhelming me and making me want to pull away and get away from being in such a close relationship. It makes me realize I’m not very good at relationships like this, and makes me think it’s why I attract men who aren’t ready for relationships. I don’t know if that’s true or not, I don’t think I put negative energy into the universe but lately I feel so judged.

Judged that I went to Mexico. Judged that I’m now too skinny. Judged that I like fancy things. Judged that I speak my mind and it doesn’t always come out so nicely. Just always judged and found lacking. I don’t know when I’ve felt this defeated (consciously felt at least) for such a long stretch of time.

The only single place I feel at ease, confident and comfortable is within my Peloton community.

Granted, much of that community is social media and not “real” relationship, and maybe that’s why I feel safe. I do have real life Peloton friends as well and I feel like their entire approach to life is just different than what I’ve experienced ever before. It’s a community of support. A community of accountability. There are challenges we all get to meet together. We work together towards a common goal. It makes me want to help others who are just starting out with changes in their lifestyle.

Some days I seriously consider becoming some type of coach. I think I have a lot to offer if I could find the right niche. (I believe even Morava picked up n this in a comment!)

And, if the saying is true that you attract what you put out there, then it’s super interesting the man I’m currently seeing is in all sorts of transcendence. Maybe a bit too much for me, but I’m sure I could have a lot to learn from him.

I’m unsure how to manage my sister. I’m turning inward which is also making her upset because I’m withdrawn but I don’t know what else to do.

I read a few of her text and her Mom’s text to a friend of mine and she felt the same way -that somehow I was being penalized, or perhaps “managed” is a better word.  “we’ve got to make sure Maddy doesn’t jump off the deep end again” or “we don’t want any drama at the wedding.”  I may be wrong, but my instincts with these types of things are not usually off.

The wedding is now 3.5 weeks away and what was very exciting for me to be a part of feels like a drag now.  I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, yet I feel like something is wrong at every turn.  I am truly happy for her and I am touched to the core she asked me to be the MOH, but I am starting to feel like I was put in this position so I can be managed, rather than because I was her first choice.  It just sucks, feeling this way before the wedding when it should be such an exciting time for both of us.