Losing Control or Taking Control

Normally, I’d keep doing posts in chronological order, but when something epic happens to prompt a significant change in my life, I have to break the order.

I went to Paul’s last weekend. I’usually unplug there–I take my computer but only really use it if he’s doing homework or taking a shower or I’m for some other reason left alone. Same goes for using my phone for something other than messages. Saturday night, I ended up on Facebook and I saw that Nolan was having a graduation party at Nemacolin, much like the party we’d had for his 20th birthday.

Basically, it became pretty clear pretty fast that I was intentionally left out. Deep down, before speaking to anyone, I just knew something was wrong. I was directed to Nolan, since it was his party, and I was told that he didn’t want any drama, because apparently, I’ve hurt a few Craigs through things I’ve said. I had no idea, no one said anything to me about it, and instead, Nolan decided not inviting me was best. On a basic level, I understand. Except all my other interactions had been drama-free, so I doubt this would have been very different.

I don’t understand how things got to this point, how my conflicts are his responsibility and business, and how this was the best and most mature solution.

I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about this.

On the surface, I’m hurt that I was so deliberately excluded, but the pain does deeper. I was led to believe for weeks, possibly months, that things were not just okay but improving. I’m hurt that this was all done intentionally, unlike anything I’ve said and done. How can things be held against me if I don’t even know there’s a problem? My feelings were either not considered or not important, which reinforces everything I’ve been feeling for months–things, again, I ironically thought were improving. Everyone’s been nicer to me to my face since they’ve been upset with me. I’m sure horrible things have been said about me behind my back. I’m sure I’d be devastated to hear them.

I feel betrayed. I feel attacked, ganged up on, and villainized. I feel singled out for being vocal about certain issues when I wasn’t the only Craig being vocal about those issues. I feel like I don’t matter. I feel like I can’t win. If I make amends, it’s because I was upset and was told to. If I don’t, I’m an even bigger bitch. If I say, “Hey, I’ve been hurt, too,” then I’m blaming other people and making this all about me. If I don’t and I allow things to go back to the way they were, I’m setting myself for the same hurt.

I was told I need to own up to my mistakes (mistakes I wasn’t aware of). I was told no one approached me because I’d just deny it (I haven’t actually denied wrongdoing. There’s a difference between denying a problem and not understanding why something’s a problem, or not remembering). I was told no one approached me because I’d just blame other people (I have never done this, and I don’t know how someone can blame someone else for actual words. What am I gonna do, say someone else made me say them? That doesn’t even make sense).

No matter what, I deserve better.

I don’t believe I would’ve been told a thing if I wouldn’t have asked. I believe someone was relieved when I said I was going to State College for the weekend. I believe this is really about one specific issue with one person who’s being sympathized with, and all of the other offenses cited to me were just to build a defense and then my reaction to that offense was generalized to form a defense as to why no one wanted to talk to me.

This also puts everyone else in a really awkward position, because I know that not everyone thought this was a good idea or a mature way of handling things. I appreciate that, and I understand why they didn’t do anything. How could they? It wasn’t their party and these problems aren’t their responsibility. I only blame the ones who didn’t see things that way.

I need to act in my best  interests. It’s a huge deal. I may lose some people, but at this point, I’d rather lose friends than repeatedly be made to feel terrible about myself. I may have said some questionable things, but everyone else is guilty of that, too. Things have been said to me with such attitude and frequency that I’ve realized my self-esteem, self-worth, and general self-view have been damaged.

So, if I’ve been hurt, betrayed, led on, damaged, and talked about, do I really want to return to that? No, I don’t. No one would. No one should.

So I’m quitting the Craigs. At least temporarily. Otherwise, I’ll be going back to at least some that have a negative and damaging impact on me. Why should I do that? Just because that’s the way it’s been for years? I need good, positive people, and at this point, there are too many words and actions I disagree with. Horrible things are said about Craigs by Craigs. Some are made fun of relentlessly, both to their face and not. Entertainment now includes making fun of people, bigotry, immaturity, and materialism. This isn’t just about me being hurt. I’ve realized my priorities and values are different. Sometimes that’s okay. But I’ve thought too much for too long to keep ignoring what my gut’s telling me–the status quo isn’t working. It may have stopped working a long time ago. It may have never worked. I’m not sure.

Most telling of all, when I watched movies or read books depicting close friends, thought, “I wish I had that.” I used to think that about men. I knew I was in love with Paul when I stopped having emotional fantasies about the men Nicholas Sparks wrote. I knew something was off when I started fantasizing about a nice, supportive group of friends where I could turn to all of them, not just a few.

I have letters and statements prepared for the relevant parties, but I don’t know if I’ll use them. I might just approach who I need to and then just leave otherwise and come back if and when I’m ready. But just in case someone knows about this or finds it, consider this my leave-of-absence announcement.

Obviously, this is a big deal. So I’m using it as a fresh start. I’ve always thought I could benefit from seeing a therapist, and I figure I’ve never had a better reason. I am deciding to at least redefine relationships I’ve had for many years. Plus the damage news fixed, and I can’t do it myself.

In July, after I finish my Saturday rotations at work, I’m going to look into something to do on the weekends like a yoga class or writing group. While I’m checking all that out, I’ll take care of myself physically. I’m already due for gynecologist and eye doctor’s appointments, but I’m going to do another thing I’ve always wanted–see a dermatologist.

Is this my quarter-life crisis come early? Or is this the opposite? Because I kind of feel like I’m having a quarter-life epiphany.

To go with the reinvention, I think I’ll rename the blog.

Dating

Paul and I actually went on two dates, three if you count lounging, last week, which is a pretty big deal for us.

For the second one, we went to the new hibachi place in Uniontown Brandon’s been raving about. He’s got a point, because it is really good. The chefs are really entertaining, not to mention skilled, and the food is excellent. A little pricey, though, especially when the waitress messes up and brings you $55 sushi and you don’t figure it out until you get the check and it’s all been eaten. Even then, it was really only a problem because I paid that night and I had also just paid my rent. I wasn’t broke but I wasn’t as worry-free as usual. I’m especially not worry-free now, after having bought gas and groceries and paid a bill since then. I should have no problem with not spending any money until payday Friday, but I will be thrilled to see that paycheck and nice, big number in my bank account.

I digress.

Cost aside, it was an excellent date restaurant, and we took my mom a few days later for Mother’s Day, so I’d clearly be up for going again.

Homecoming

Paul came home last weekend without much warning so I wouldn’t get my hopes up if he couldn’t get off work after all. So I got a nice surprise, especially since he’s incredibly vague and I thought he was talking about this weekend. Men.

I was supposed to go hang out Sunday night, but his family took three hours just to leave State College. So my very frustrated self said, “Fuck this” and left my parents’ house, where I stay when I go back to Fayette County, and went home. Paul felt bad and was even more cranky than me, because that’s just how he gets. I correctly guessed he spent the drive home moping.

We did get together the next day, though. I drove home to grab an overnight bag then went to his house. We ate dinner at Potter’s, a bar in Uniontown. Pretty simple–just sandwiches, plus some spinach dip and zucchini fries. Cheap and good.

We spent the rest of the night hanging out and enjoying the rare opportunity of each other’s company. It never lasts long.

Grand March

I went to Geibel’s Grand March on Saturday night to see Julianne–and all the other pretty dresses, of course. I might be biased, but Julianne’s was one of the best. The color, style, and fit were great. I would’ve worn it. That said, there were only one or two dresses in the whole bunch that I didn’t really like, and that’s mostly because they were tacky. Sarah and Nicole were there to see Nicole’s sister, and at one point Sarah said, “I’d be afraid my cooch would be hanging out.” Indeed. I’m all for showing skin and wearing what you want and all that business, but ladies, keeping your cooch off display is not a bad thing.

My mom went with me and I hadn’t had a proper lunch or dinner, partly due to running out to get my oil changed right before Grand March, so we stopped for dinner at Italian Oven. A few hours later, we went down to Vinny’s for peanut butter fudge brownie avalanches, and those were amazing.

Self-Esteem

I’m tired of hearing how pretty other people are.

It’s strange how that can take a toll on a person. I don’t consider my self-esteem to be particularly poor (usually), but lately it’s been taking a nosedive.

It’s all about context, it seems. For example, Paul tells me I’m beautiful quite frequently and I believe him, or I at least believe that he thinks I’m beautiful. I mean, he was interested in me on first glance. As nice as that is to hear, though, it’s minuscule when out with friends, all I hear about is how pretty those other friends are.

It’s interesting how everything comes together. For example, I probably wouldn’t notice a few comments here and there, but when nearly every single outing involves a reference to how pretty someone is, it gets old and starts to make me feel not pretty. It’s damaging, really, even if I agree that those people are really, really, ridiculously good looking. The compliment ratio is probably unbelievable, and I’ve noticed I tend to hope for and then latch onto them when I get them.

It also manifests itself in Facebook posts and tweets about what those pretty people should buy and wear, what they should do with their hair, or how they should do their make-up. And what about me? Do I just get no input, or am I not attractive enough for your recommendations? Sure, that might be completely illogical, but what else is a girl’s brain to do when she’s surrounded by this these days?

The focus on beauty is interesting. For one, others’ focus on it speaks volumes about their priorities and values, not that that makes me feel any better. Really, though, what does it say about a person who’s constantly talking about appearance and material items and not accomplishments, life events, interests, or even relationships? And then it takes someone like me, who mostly does her own thing and doesn’t harp on appearance but is usually pretty confident and turns all of that around. Not that it changes who I am or how I present myself or what I value, but suddenly it create this shift where beauty does become a little more important than it was before. It’s weird, really, and I don’t like it, but is there a way to change that? Maybe just fighting really hard internally.

The ironic flip side of this is super creepy dudes who obviously think I’m attractive but more obviously don’t know how to express that appropriately.

I think I just feel overshadowed, which, combined with everything else that’s been bothering me, is just a whole lot of bad news. I need to find a balance of being me and standing out but not feeling like, or letting people make me feel like, I’m lesser than anyone else.

I need to feel fabulous tomorrow.

Minor Slipups

Now that Paul is done with finals, I  noticed a trend in his texting patterns–he texts me more when he has class than when he doesn’t. As in, he texts me more when he has something to stress and complain about, but his contact completely plummets in terms of messages otherwise. Kind of makes a girl feel like you only want her around or need her around during the happy times, right? The funny thing is, I know this isn’t the case with him. It’s just weird when semesters end and I hear from him much less.

And then, of course, he felt bad and was mad at himself. He did a good job–and so did I, for that matter–of not being cranky about it longer than was necessary.

I have to give us credit for that in the communication department. If one of us brings something troublesome to the other’s attention, we deal with it and move on. Now,  when he fucks up major, I am noticeably cranky, but I typically just need time to move on. Either that or he needs to make amends better.

Sometimes, I wonder how other couples do it. People rarely talk about their relationship troubles, at least not the minor ones. I hear more of it from Terra and I know what she does, and I know that wouldn’t be effective for me and Paul, nor would it make sense with either of our personalities.

Basically, we tend to be super calm and rational, and I don’t think that’s the norm. But I think it’s probably healthiest.

Lincoln High School in Walla Walla, WA, tries new approach to school discipline — suspensions drop 85%

Fayette County should really look into this.

ACEs Too High

THE FIRST TIME THAT principal Jim Sporleder tried the New Approach to Student Discipline at Lincoln High School in Walla Walla, WA, he was blown away. Because it worked.

In fact, it worked so well that he never went back to the Old Approach to Student Discipline.

This is how it went down: A student blows up at a teacher, drops the F-bomb. The usual approach at Lincoln – and, safe to say, at most high schools in this country – is automatic suspension.

Instead, Sporleder sits the kid down and says quietly: “Wow. Are you OK? This doesn’t sound like you. What’s going on?” He gets even more specific: “You really looked stressed. On a scale of 1-10, where are you with your anger?”

The kid was ready. Ready, man! For an anger blast to his face….”How could you do that?” “What’s wrong with you?”…and for the big boot…

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