The Thinking Other Woman

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Living What's Left, Part 2

Posted by The Thinking Other Woman on May 1, 2022 at 2:30 PM

Therapist Samantha Rodman Whiten, writing to a reader about treatment-resistant depression, writes:

"In a sense, if you know that every day will be gray and stifling, but you are still strong enough to exercise, parent, and write to me, then you may be very well suited to try and find a new and transformative purpose in your life. You have some energy, albeit not much, and you sound intelligent and insightful. Is there some cause or purpose that you can devote yourself to? Many people find solace in spirituality, whether it is the religion they grew up with or another type of community (or solo) spiritual experience. Others can find respite in their careers, particularly careers where they help others or give back to society. Still other people can volunteer and know that they are making a difference in their community.


Finding meaning in your life is essential. There are many people whose neurotransmitters work differently than yours that are happy. Happy is a temperament, mostly, from what I see (and from what personality research suggests). But many of those happy people feel that they are still missing a deeper purpose in their lives. You may not be happy, but you can find a deeper purpose, one you are proud of and proud to tell your kids about. Then, you will most assuredly have a meaningful life, even if every day still feels like a slog."

Well, here's the thing:


When I thought I HAD a transformative purpose in my life, I WAS happy.


Now I see that I don't have one, and that I never really did.


La-la-la! O, young and optimistic me! Once upon a time, I believed I would write enlightening novels about BPD. That is, until my husband passed away and I realized just how horribly and impossibly difficult it was going to be to do without him.


Then, young and optimistic me believed I would write symbolic novels about third party relationships. Until my second writer's group informed me in no uncertain terms that I just didn't have a good story, and Wattpad confirmed that.


Then, young and optimistic me believed I would write nonfiction about third party relationships. Which I am. However, there are plenty of people with the right letters behind their name who are doing a much better job of it than I am, and are much more highly visible.


I used to worry about what might happen if my book sold even modestly. Would the people I write about be upset, if they knew it was them? Now, I see that I don't have to worry, because I can't even get arrested, much less draw any attention to my writing.


In a way, that's a relief. I don't ever have to worry that someone will be upset that I wrote whatever, because that person can rest assured ... no one will ever buy the book, so no one will ever give a rat's ass.


At the same time, however, it's hard to think of oneself as having a transformative life purpose, when ...


I can see right now that I ain't never transforming nuthin'.


It's just a narcissistic daydream, being a writer, one I gave myself back when I was trying to make myself big enough to make my parents proud of me. (Which is all sick parents can do in place of actually loving their children.)


And yet, I find this stuff fascinating. I find myself scrolling through post after post of Whiten's, because I think it's just absorbing and interesting. (Including the stuff I sometimes talk back to: https://medium.com/p/392c4ac4a3b0)


And also sad, because I know all this stuff, and I know I'd make someone a wonderful partner (if they could look past the physical appearance of a fat old woman, which most men can't, sad to say. What's the Most Important Thing? Size, shape, weight, sexiness, and LOOKS!).


Only ... I'm never going to have a partner again. Sad to say, I've been sort of spoiled, and fuck knows, I do NOT want to enter the competitive and shitty world of online dating, where you have to put up with uncomfortable meeting after uncomfortable meeting with endless strangers you will never resonate with ... IF they will even pick you after seeing your photo, which is, again, the first, last, and most important thing. (Maybe I should put an ugly picture of my loose, fat, ripply, saggy cottage-cheese THIGHS up there. That would weed out a lot of chaff!)


So what do I want to read about all this and know about it for? I will never use it again. I will have no partner it can benefit, and I can write about it to my heart's content, feel brilliant (for moments at a time) ...


... then post it and come back to the real world.


All I am really doing is entertaining myself.


I guess it's good that I know how, since apparently this is all I will be able to expect from old age. That, and being debilitated, and the doctor's office. If I'm not too poor, that is, once I'm too old to work anymore.


I mean, really. From the point of view of someone who didn't know better, what I did this weekend would look like depression. I've barely gotten off the couch. (Which was somewhat distasteful, since my female kitten got a bladder infection and ruined it, but oh, well. Have to pay for this furniture before I order a new couch!)



In reality, however, I've ordered delicious food I like, recovered from some stomach bug going around at work, and used the last couple of days I was off to clean the house so I could just sit here and update this blog, share the last few articles I've gotten accepted on YourTango on Facebook and Twitter, add more to my new book's website, and put more up on Medium. Now I'm sitting out on the porch, which is pleasant since I've fixed it up, and it's all been good.


And I will say that it's been SO FUCKING NICE to sit around and DO NOTHING. All my life, it's been rushrushrushworkworkworkstudystudystudycleancleancleanexerciseexerciseexercise ... and for what?


My husband was right about one thing: You just have to clean the damn house again tomorrow. It doesn't stay done. I've worked my ass off all my life, and I'm still thousands and thousands of dollars in debt. I studied my ass off, and it's gotten me a career I have to do, rather than one I want to do, and prepared me for a relationship I will never again have. I've battled my weight my whole life and I'm bigger than ever.


What was the damn point???


It's SO NICE to throw that shit over and just SIT. And WRITE.


I just wish it mattered. I wish I mattered. I wish that who I seem to really be, and what I always wanted to do, mattered in this world, such that when I reach out with something, the world out there would reach back to me. It's been this way ever since I was that little kid growing up, who had to be Mom instead of me.


It's never gonna end, is it? Seems like all this universe can say is no.


(Well, I did make $8000 on Medium. It's MY fault I got banned. Of course, if I hadn't gotten banned, I would never have turned my essays into a book. Which no one sees, and no one will read.)


Who knows? I'm doing all I can do, and that's all I know how to do. Imagine all those people who have books out who CAN'T write something that gets 10,000 hits on YourTango. I have nothing else now that I want to do, so I guess I'll just keep on doing it.


And just QUIT making myself miserable by expecting things and wanting things. When you do and you do and you do and you do and you try and you try and you try and you try and the answer is still no, the only way to have even the tiniest little peek at happiness is to QUIT THINKING ABOUT WHATEVER IT IS YOU THOUGHT YOU WANTED. QUIT WANTING IT. JUST UNDERSTAND THAT IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN, AND WHAT YOU HAVE NOW IS AS GOOD AS IT GETS.


So, I guess that's what I'm really doing this weekend, sitting here on this cute porch on the 1st of May typing. Fuck knows no one is going to read this. Maybe two people. My job is to be happy with that, because it's the only shot I have at happiness ever again.


Which just goes to show that I really WAS supposed to have a transformative purpose in this life: I was supposed to transform MYSELF.


I was supposed to transform myself from a person who thought she couldn't take care of herself alone into someone who could. From a person who thought she HAD to become a Big Success at something or else it meant she was no good, to a person who understands that once you're gone it's all gone with you anyway, and that Success doesn't prove you were a good person anyhow.


From a person who was pathologically fixated on "saving" someone hopelessly, hideously codependent into a person who realizes that everyone's job is to fix themselves, and if they can't you have no business with them.


From a person who thought happiness was all this crap American culture shoves at you: Reknown. Homes. Cars. Clothes. Money. People looking up to you and envying you. Proving you are "better" than other people. To a person who realizes that most of life is just, Meh. Chop wood, carry water. That's the human condition. Sure, it's a Big Buzzy High to picture oneself atop the bestseller list for fifteen minutes ... but it isn't real life.


Real life is just sitting here on the porch, waiting for the laundry to finish. And cooking myself a vegetable omelet for dinner. And if it feels sort of, Meh, well, that's the human condition. If A Certain Person had seen his way clear to be here, too, things could have felt happier, at least for a while.


But this is the baseline of life. And it would always go back to this, either after I got widowed again, or we both ended up in different nursing homes and never saw each other again. (Because Adult Kids.)


I wish I could have had a happier life. I missed out on so much that other people get to have. Now, it's aaaaaaaalmost too late.


I could just scrap everything and go out looking for some other thing. But I don't think that would be ME. I know what ME is. The problem is this universe just doesn't seem to care.


According to horoscope transits I have coming up, this was supposed to be the last really bad year and something was supposed to have some hope of working out soon. So, I guess I want to just idle here for a while, keep doing articles, and give those one last chance. (I've given up on the guy.)


I really don't have any other ideas for anything else to write. This is pretty much it. And, at almost 54, when the fuck was something supposed to work??? 74 is going to be a little old.


Well, there's always those Neptune transits in a couple of years. For the longest time I thought those would be him, but they're not going to be. He's staying home.


They could be someone else. But I still need to understand that a relationship is supposed to be PART of our life, it isn't supposed to BE our life, and that even if you have one, it's fleeting. It won't be like being 25 again, anyway ... not in THIS body, it won't.


And when it's all over, you come right back here again. Sitting on the porch, doing the laundry.


At least the nursing home where I live does have a few nice porches.             

Categories: Post-Mortem, Now That It's All Over, Current Happenings