Content note: lots of depressed rambling ahead, if you don’t feel like being pulled down by said rambling might want to skip.

So, how am I feeling? Pretty defeated. Like I don’t want that much from life, regular stuff that regular people get all the time, but for me it’s unobtainable.

I’d pictured rejection playing out a little differently. Maybe I’d have to blink away tears, maybe I’d start crying as soon as I got in my car. It would be bad, obviously, but the catharsis would begin.

Instead, I was numb, and that was really bad. Numb meant that my brain and body were delaying the impact and that it was going to hit like a Mack truck later.

My brain struggled. Tried to problem solve, tried to suggest things that might provide me comfort, but it came up empty. I felt confused. I wanted to let myself feel whatever I was going to feel, but it was like my body and brain didn’t know how.

I did feel a little proud of myself for being courageous and not chickening out at the last second. I did something challenging and risky.

That’s not really a feeling that can outweigh the bleak acknowledgement that yes, I want an intimate relationship, one built on mutual love and attraction, and that a chance for that failed to materialize and there’s nothing but random chance at “some point” in the future to look forward to now.

A’s suggestion was Tinder. For A, getting rejected translates to a hit to the ego, and getting likes or matches on a dating app would help alleviate rejection. As it happened, I’d downloaded Tinder, Bumble and OkCupid, thinking maybe I could assure myself there were other people out there I’d find interesting – but when I thought about actually using any of those apps, I just felt sad.

My ego doesn’t need soothing in that manner. I’m not insecure about who I am or what I look like. I’m positive if I get active on dating apps there will be people willing to contact me, and people willing to go out on dates with me. What I’ll have trouble finding are people -I- want to go on dates with.

I know it probably sounds terrible, but most people bore me. I don’t want to go to sporting events, or the gym, get drunk, or engage in small talk. I don’t want casual sex. I had sex without attraction for 18 years. Most of the time, it was devoid of emotional connection, too. Just a thing that sometimes felt good physically but more often was depressing, emotionally. The idea of settling for physical attraction without emotional connection just doesn’t hold appeal – the thought of it makes me sad.

A and I were both insomniacing and so we talked, and talked – I finally heard the story of how things played out between A and H years ago, when he rejected her, too.

They had lived in different states at the time, so she hadn’t been able to observe his in person reaction. I had, and it made me sad. It wasn’t normal. H was very quick to assure me we’d still be friends and could still hang out. Nothing had changed as far as he was concerned, as long as nothing had changed for me? The latter carried a whiff of anxiety with it. Overall, I got the impression by his face and eyes that he was actually disassociating and on the verge of panic.

I’ve been reading The Body Keeps The Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D. Some of what he was describing in there had already made me think of H and the way he talks about himself and his emotions and his experiences.

In the book, Van Der Kolk talks about people that lose the ability to feel their emotions. They’re still experiencing their emotions, and their body and facial expressions will still show what they’re feeling, but if you asked them what they’re feeling, they would say ‘nothing’ and believe they were being honest. They can’t feel what they’re feeling.

I have a hunch if I asked H what he was feeling when I asked him out, he’d probably say ‘nothing.’

There have also been many instances where it’s obvious he has an interest in something (like relationships, because he’s gone to the trouble to try dating apps and will talk about them with frustration when given the chance) but at the same time claim he’s fine being single. Like he’s not able to recognize what he needs and wants on an emotional level, even though those emotions are still there and still spurring him to action on an unconscious level.

Anyway, none of that is to say he feels anything more than friendship for me or that I still have a chance. It’s just observations on my part due to my interest in mental health.

It does rather explain why H has stayed single, though. If he’s having a reaction that looks like disassociated panic over having someone ask him out, I’d imagine attempting to be the one to do the asking goes poorly, too.

Anyway, I got barely any sleep. I woke up an hour after the first time I fell asleep because I needed to pee, and apparently my brain had been working on processing emotions because I could definitely feel the blows incoming. My chest and my gut hurt. I wasn’t numb anymore, I was devastated.

Now instead of feeling numb, blank and confused I felt lots of pain while still feeling rather blank. Emotional trauma is a time when we need comfort, and there was no one to receive comfort from. Just me, muddling along, doing things for myself because others can’t or won’t.

I’d asked my friend J about fashion advice and told her I was planning on asking someone out. So after getting home, I’d messaged her and let her know it hadn’t gone well. She was sympathetic, but said she was sure it would happen for me someday.

That kind of statement tends to be the opposite of comforting for me. It just leaves me feeling like I’m twisting in the wind. I’d like something good to happen now, not years from now. It feels like I just keep having to settle, over and over, for something that gets me by while I exist as the place my dreams come to die.

An intimate relationship based on mutual love and attraction. An education. A job I don’t hate. Travel. They all seem like such basic things – any average person wants these, and any average person can generally obtain something out of that list.

I turn 39 in May. I’ve never even kissed someone I’m attracted to and now I’m gonna be divorced with 4 kids. I didn’t even make it to a 2 year degree. I did travel, once, just enough to let me know how wonderful it could be and feel sad about losing the opportunity to do any more. I’m starting work in a field I hate.

I’m pouring so much into my existence, trying to make things better, and it feels like all I’m managing is to continue running on fumes.

I tried to frame things positively early on. Hey, I got my 2nd best result. H and I are still friends, I didn’t destroy a friendship that means a ton to me. The fact that he wanted assurance that I’d still want to be his friend even though he’d rejected me indicates he does have a genuine attachment to me even if it’s not romantic in nature. Unfortunately that doesn’t change how bleak I feel right now.

I went ahead and logged into Tinder and browsed yesterday and today. That was a mistake and I’m now convinced I’ll die alone. πŸ˜› It didn’t help that I didn’t really understand what Tinder was like – that it would just be a bunch of random faces and names and MAYBE a bio here and there. I hadn’t even been planning on initiating contact with anyone. I had just wanted to assure myself that there were people available as potential partners that would catch my eye / interest.

So yeah, now I’m wallowing. I’ve cried a lot, my head has been hurting, my chest has been hurting. I’m tired of being told to wait for a future that will be better. That’s my whole life so far – waiting for a future that’s going to be better, and then it’s not better, it’s shit. Trying to take action to make a present that doesn’t suck doesn’t seem to be going so hot, either.

And to top it all off, there’s a goddamn global pandemic trapping me in an apartment with my ex, 4 kids. I probably won’t even be able to meet my D&D group in person anymore – we’ll have to try and play via discord.

A couple of friends in one of my FB groups are trying to assure me, by means of their own success, that surely someone is out there for me. Maybe at my new place of employment. I know they mean well, and I’d just sound like I was whining if I pointed out I have a very specific type and I’m not likely to find that where I’m working – or the fact that both of them were single, childless and young when they met their husbands.

Well, I guess that’s enough painful wallowing pulling the mood down around here.

2 thoughts on “Fumes

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