I don’t know when it started. I feel like I always create problems for myself and everyone around me. I hate myself when I am down and that’s all that is expressed. Hate for my universe, the universe that is me. And so I hide. Not good enough child. Typical pathology. Neurosis. I listen to self-help books as I drive to Canon City wondering what the fuck I’m doing and how I’ve ended up in rural southwestern Colorado. When I ask my best friend when I became so miserable he says at my last job. I knew the community college was taxing on me—working each day and teaching adjunct every night. It felt like grad school and grad school drove me bonkers.
Before I started my graduate program I had issues but I had made so many leaps and strides. I had a relationship lasting longer than a year, a job with insurance, I had paid off all my bills, I had the trust of the drug court system. In my relationship, the positive effects on my partner were called the “Jen effect” because we became so supportive of one another. And our ultimate demise helped me to love myself in new ways. But, by the end of my masters program I had relapsed, gone into debt once again, my eating disorders more aggravated than ever, and my arms covered in bruises from hitting the walls, steering wheel, closet doors, anything to help feel the pressure release.
I try to track what got me to this point right now, sitting in a hotel room with the heat at 90 so thankful that I can have the heat however I need but remembering my last conference in a hotel in Indianapolis and I become regretful I’ve left higher education. I remember in May scheduling an interview at Adams State University in Alamosa, Colorado. On the way down, my grandmother died. I’ve written about her, but I’ve not unpacked that loss. It was such an emotionally corrective death that I leave it be. I don’t want to touch loss just yet. I feel it in my warm tears and hunched shoulders. Grandma died, I interviewed. I got the job and I moved. Then, my dog died. The whole summer was loss of meaning and I watched my twenties flash in front of my eyes as I joined dating websites just to make friends. Just to find folks to take me on hikes and tell me the secrets of the San Juan mountains and valleys.
I’ve deleted the past few blogs that mention the short-lived romance or what caused me to pluck apart my life once again. I was in a job that was showing all my weaknesses in a place where I felt I had become stuck in the mud. And so I dated a man who listened to me. Who showed me the mountains. He, too, had lost some things in his life and so we found meaning in each other. We found meaning in connecting physically way too fast. We found meaning by talking all day and unpacking our beliefs. I still want to know so much more about him. I want to call him right now and ask about faith. I want to scream that please, please, stop loving your ex wife because what we have might not be found again in the desert, mountains, rivers. But that time is gone. And what we had will fold back into the landscape and inspire other lovers. He is gone. And I want to do anything to help feel the pressure release.
I’ve lost my meaning. I’ve lost my meaning in so many different ways and I feel myself dark and critical. I cry because I don’t know what else to do in my corner of the world. The self help tapes only tell me what I already know of the change process. There is nothing wrong with me. Never was. I am loveable. Always will be. I used some old coping skills in the summer as I went away to college for a second time and over a mountain pass I found a new little town that I will make my home. Of course I’m still frustrated as fuck I gave up so much for love. But, I gave up so much for love. That’s the thing—I let myself go into the deep dark jungle where I hate going on black waters that stirred my tummy. I felt panic in intimacy, I let my studies go. What I found is people and people are what I want. Talk to me, love me, let’s build something together. Because I know now I am not alone. Even in rural southwestern Colorado.
“One makes mistakes; that is life. But it is never a mistake to have loved.” – Romain Rolland