Future Conversations with my Dad

I saw my counselor this morning.

We talked about a few things, but my relationship with my dad came up a lot. I am currently in a transitional period with regards to my views on my dad. I spent almost twenty-three years living under the assumption he was trying his best to be a good father, and that his best simply wasn’t good enough. I assumed he cared, but had trouble expressing this fact through his actions.

I recently came to the conclusion that my dad was not trying his best. I believe that he never did care, and he never will. I have reached this conclusion in response to a recent event wherein my dad essentially abandoned my sister. I am extremely sad and angry and hurt, but I haven’t told my dad any of this. In the past, he has reacted with a lot of anger when criticized in any way. I am scared of what would happen if I told him everything I’m thinking.

I have also recently been questioning my dad’s level of comfort with my sexual orientation. He was raised in Northern Ireland in a conservative, Protestant family, so I have always suspected that having a gay daughter isn’t his favourite. When I initially came out to my dad, all he said was, “I just want you to be happy,” which I assumed was positive. But I have never understood whether my dad just tolerates my sexual orientation , or is truly indifferent about it.

This train of thought was set off when my dad asked me when he will get to meet my “new friend,” in reference to my girlfriend. Maybe he would have said the same thing if I was dating a man, but I can’t help but think he purposely avoided validating my same sex relationship.

Anyways, in response to both of these issues, my counselor has suggested that I tell my dad how I am feeling. I initially dismissed this idea, but part of me wants to do it so badly. I want to be clear about what my dad thinks of me. I want to tell me dad how much he has hurt my sister and myself. I want to stop smiling through coffee meetups and lunches as if nothing is wrong.

I haven’t decided whether these conversations will happen. But this will on be on my mind for the foreseeable future.

Anyways, I am getting very tired. I hope everyone is well, and I will hopefully post again soon.

Sarah

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So. Many. Updates.

Hello friends.

My body is currently processing half a milligram of Ativan and a can of Guiness, a combination which doesn’t like it would affect someone much, but it does. Just a heads up.

I think it’s been a little bit since I last posted, and many things in my life are changing, so it feels important to bring the internet up to speed.

First of all, I have a girlfriend! I won’t share their name or any identifying characteristics, but they will henceforth be referred to as S. They are amazing and wonderful and I like them very much and I am very happy.

Mentalhealthwise, things are changing. I was incredibly anxious for the first couple weeks of school, but this largely appears to be over. The anxiety is being somewhat replaced by depression, which sucks, but I might just be drinking too much. I lost some weight involuntarily and it’s hard trying to put it back on. I don’t want to regain this small amount of weight. If anything, I want to lose more. But I know that isn’t where happiness lies. Or is it? No. No it isn’t, Olivia. Stop.

School is a lot, but I’m staying above water. I’m also looking at grad schools for next year. I was originally planning to exclusively apply overseas, but I’m started to chicken out of that plan, and will at least be applying to many Canadian schools. So there’s that. I am also trying to get involved on campus, so I can feel like slightly less of a useless person? That is the goal, anyways. a;lkj dsff./

Oh, my dad is dead to me, but I think I already mentioned this.

My attention span is not sufficient to continue this post, but I hit all the main points, and in summary, things are pretty good. Hurray!

Sarah

Panicking

I have consumed a milligram of Ativan, so to be honest, I’m not entirely sure I can get through this post. Adjust your expectations of my writing accordingly.

On my first day of classes, I had a bit of a meltdown. But the next day was okay, so I thought it was the adjustment, and that I would be fine. But since classes started last week, I have been getting extremely anxious about every other day. I feel anxious always, but it spirals out of control in the evenings. And right now, most of my anxiety is about my anxiety, which is fucking peachy.

There are too many feelings and I don’t think I can handle them and I don’t want to handle them and I am scared. I’m scared I can’t take a full course load this year, and that I will have to further delay my graduation. I am scared that I wouldn’t be able to cope with the self-loathing this would cause. I am scared that grad schools and even people won’t take me seriously, because I have so little experience in the field I wish to pursue. I am scared because I don’t know who I am, or what I have to offer as a person. I am scared of these feelings I have for S (a person I’ve been seeing). I am terrified that I would be unable to cope if I fuck this up. Or if life fucks it up. I feel like I’m carrying around a little ceramic figurine trying not to break it, and I just want to put it away so it’s safe and I can stop worrying about it, but I can’t do that for a while. The things I’m feeling are just too much and I do not think I can cope with them. Even the Ativan isn’t working like it normally does. I have taken one milligram and my heart is still racing and my limbs keep feeling numb.

I’m scared that I’m going to die one day, even though I sometimes wish that day would be today. I’m scared that there is no meaning to this short life. I’m scared that S is going to die, because that would make me very sad, and that’s how my brain works. I need to be acutely aware of all the horrible things that could happen, so I can worry about them. Even the unlikely things.

I want somebody to fix it. But also I just want to lie in S’s lap while they pet my hair. I want to be comforted. But I also need practical solutions. But there are no practical solutions to existential dread. Although that’s only part of it. There are just a lot of things.

That’s about all my brain can do. Nobody needs to worry; I’ll be fine soonish. I just have a lot of feelings.

Sarah

Falling Behind

I recently started dating someone (by which I mean we went on one date and have a second one planned, but they’re perfect and I’m feeling really hopeful).  They’ve written a few articles for various publications, and the other day I thought it would be fun to google their name and read them. Now, you might be assuming that I found out something terrible about this person. That is not the case. Essentially, I found out that they’re even more impressive than I thought, and now I feel like shit about myself.

This person (let’s call them S) shares my passions for politics and social justice. But unlike myself, S has been acting on these passions for years. They have been volunteering and writing and contributing in other tangible ways.

I yell at politicians through my computer screen.

I plan to earn a Masters in Public Policy after I graduate this year. But you wouldn’t know it by reading my CV. I’m in Honours Math and Stats, and have held zero volunteer or employment positions in the field of public policy. I will be taking one or two political science courses this year, but that’s the extent of my formal education in this area. I have friends who have written articles about social issues and who have drafted policies for the university and who have volunteered with political campaigns for years. Who the fuck am I?

I was a very different person in first year. I was a Christian who planned to major in Religious Studies. I had very unsavoury opinions on many social issues. I was not remotely interested in politics. In second year I was no longer a Christian, but a depressed Bulimic. I had no direction for my life and didn’t care enough to figure it out. Then I took a year off school for eating disorder treatment, and had no energy or drive for anything that wasn’t losing weight. Around this time, I decided I wanted to become a Public Policy Analyst, but I did nothing about it. I figured I would change my mind soon enough, so there was no use in forging that path for myself. The year I returned to school, I was still recovering mentally from my eating disorder, and I had my first relationship with a woman. I had a lot going on, so it didn’t even occur to me to get involved. This past year was marked by heartbreak and severe depression, and while volunteering would have probably been good for me, I had no desire to do it.

But this year, I am choosing my final courses, and narrowing down the list of grad schools where I intend to apply. I am surrounded by people with years of experience related to politics, policy, and social justice. And I am just me. The current plan is to do as much as I can this year, but I’ll never catch up to my peers.  I spent my undergrad being sick and disabled, instead of preparing for my future and living my values. But I now know multiple people who did both. So what’s my excuse?

I guess preparing to apply to grad schools and dating someone new has made me consider how others might view me. And I don’t like what I see. I wish I could end this post with an optimistic conclusion (when have I don’t that ever?), but I can’t, and partially because I don’t think my thoughts are wrong. So there’s that.

Sarah