There's an episode of Red Dwarf wherein the crew discover a research lab that had created "positive viruses", like regular viruses but with beneficial effects (yeah yeah not all viruses are negative-- bear with me, it's just an intro). Lister finds that the notion explains a lot, and remarks upon how there have been times when, just as one sometimes gets sick out of the blue, he would just get happy out of the blue, even when nothing is going right in his life.

Things are not going badly for me, but I'm kind of having one of those times. I'm exhausted, overwhelmed, overscheduled, and underslept. Normally this is a recipe for a bout of depression, but every now and then I roll some sort of critical success on my fatigue-check, and instead get slightly loopy and just sort of feel in love with the world. I don't really have a frame of reference for comparison, but I suspect it's similar to the "I love you, man" phenomenon in drunkenness, because I really do kinda want to just say that to random people/everyone right now (the main difference between this and drunkenness being that I still retain my inhibitions... mostly).

Anyway, it's an odd but pleasant state, and it happens often enough that I figured I should mention it, since I whine about the "sleepyemo" phenomenon often enough, and I'm curious whether others experience anything similar.

Opening night of EDTM went well. The audience was amazing. This show is made for nerds, and it brought glee to my little geekheart hearing people not just laugh, but cheer at every campy, self-aware reference or stupidly gratuitous effect. Thanks a TON to everyone who showed up. I was bragging all night to the rest of the cast that I recognized at least a third of the splatter zone. Apologies to those within the zone on whom I failed to bleed sufficiently, and to those outside of the zone on whom I succeeded to. ;) Btw, if you've seen the show and liked it, please do us a favor and spread the word! The link for showtimes reservations, etc is here.

Some fantastic pics from the final dress performance of the first act, plus some rehearsal shots are now available here. Apparently they never put second-act pics up until after the run, due to spoiler-concerns. For this show, the current pics are as spolery as anything from the second act could be, but really, your experience is not likely to be negatively affected in any case.

And so, onward to the next performance! Second night is always the toughest, because the "holy crap, we're going up!" adrenalin rush of opening is gone and people are usually tired after celebrating a successful first performance. Despite going to two parties after the show, I was still asleep before 2, and am taking it relatively easy today. But it turns out that after a week of nightly runs-through, performing a part wherein I bust out the rock-belt in the first act, then yell and scream for pretty much all of the second act, and then do a solo at the end, takes a cumulative toll on one's voice. Who knew? So, spending the day locked in my room catching up on day-job work, which pretty much owns me whenever I'm not on stage this weekend, ODing on tea with lemon and honey, and talking to as few people as possible in the hope of making it through this weekend's remaining performances intact. Wish me luck! :)

Gotta say, though, I am pretty damn impressed with this production. Some things were a bit touch-and-go right up until opening night, as is often the case, but we've taken a show that is a lot harder to run than it looks and, IMO, run it very well, with a solid cast, great sound, lighting, sets and props, and two awesome blood-techs (that's right, we have "blood techs"). I am very thankful to not only be in one of my favorite shows but to have it be a production of which I'm genuinely proud, and in which I'm having a great time. The chemistry among the cast has come together enough that even during the opening night performance, there were all these little ad-libs we kept throwing in, just improvising off of one another in the background. I love that feeling.

Thanks again to everyone who showed up, and to everyone else who plans to. I really appreciate the support!
Things to record/remember:

- Just because I was hurt doesn't mean Juldea did anything "wrong". I go back and forth sometimes as to whether she "should" have done some things differently, but sometimes I can also see myself doing the same thing in her position. I think it comes down to a very different approach to relationships, "the one", etc, and having spent a decade trying to make things work with someone who, for all her other qualities, was just not right for me, I can hardly pull rank there.

- ...but I can still be angry, because anger is a natural reaction to being hurt. Feelings are never wrong; only what you do with them can be judged. I've been trying not to feel my anger for a long time and it's done me no good. The way out of this emotion is through it, as long as I keep perspective.

- Regarding the sadness, not the anger, there is something bigger and deeper at work here than just the breakup. The weight and duration of the emotion far outweighs the stimulus. Something has been using it as a channel or trigger to get out and eat my brain. Maybe it's plain-old-depression, maybe I just deal really badly with rejection, maybe it's something else or, more likely, all of the above. I guess figuring that out is the next Big Project.

- I'm adding a "progress" tag because I'm sick of every post I make about this sort of thing being tagged as though I'm just treading water, which I don't think I am.

Thanks to everyone who's commented in support. No need for it here, I just really wanted to get this stuff out.
It's been a while since I've done a substantive post, so here goes. Most of this was written Saturday morning, but I wasn't able to post until now. Bits of it may sound angsty, but while some of the subject matter is, fwiw I'm feeling pretty good as I write it.

Short version: this week has been rough, but I'm doing much better.

The weekend, and even moreso the first half of the week, involved some of the worst depression I've dealt with in a long time. Since then I've been being extra-careful about food, sleep, exercise and (lack of) stimulants, which has made a big difference. And yet, sometimes my body still refuses to make sense. Yesterday, for example, I did everything perfectly: I kicked ass at work, was still done by 5p, ate well, exercised (trainer bike + podcasts = win!), got my creativity on in multiple ways (I think my doumbek technique is finally coming together, and the Jason Webley forum now has new tomato-themed smilies!), cleaned my room, socialized and was in bed by midnightish.

...so why was I up at 2am all twitchy? *sigh*.

Needless to say, sleep/hyperactivity issues and their attendant exhaustion/depression problems continue to be something I'm working on. Truth be told, I'd actually started to slack on this, but had a pretty serious reality check mid-week. I mentioned in a previous post anticipation of a "performance meeting" call with my boss to discuss my tardiness to Monday's class. As it turned out, that part of the call was brief, and basically just went "Is there anything I need to tell you about that?", "No.", "OK. These things happen, but don't let it happen again". The rest of the call was actually my boss "checking in" on me and asking whether everything was ok at home, because he'd picked up on me sounding fatigued and distressed over the last couple of weeks. He has a background as a therapist, and we actually ended up talking some about ADHD, depression, medication and so forth (yeah, that wasn't awkward at all...). The call ended with him telling me to take some time next week to make a doc's appt, and at least get my adderall prescription, which I'd been going without for a couple of weeks, refilled and/or ask about other options. I've been having a hard time putting this in perspective. I'm a functional person, not nearly as fucked up most of the time as this post on its own probably makes me sound, and yet, when one's boss, with whom he only interacts only by telephone, clues into something being up and tells you to get help? That's kind of a kick in the pants.

Regarding this most recent trough, in addition to only just having recovered from the sleepdep-and-illness-fest that was Arisia'10, I think last weekend and the beginning of this week was just a perfect storm of things that wreck me. A lot of it (though by no means all of it) sprang from a difficult conversation with [livejournal.com profile] juldea on Friday. It's hard not to feel kind of pathetic when you've been broken up with someone longer than you were together and still find yourself mired in the past. And yet, events leading up to and subsequent to that conversation have included some realizations that, while complicating in their way, have also provided me some hopefully-helpful perspective. See, there's a subtle but essential difference I've clued into lately between wanting a relationship back and wanting things back the way they were, or wanting an event undone. A big part of the recent funk was due to me really acknowledging to myself that I have legitimate gripes with the way our relationship ended, what I could have been/done if I'd been given the chance, etc... and the fact that none of that really matters now, because unlike reinstating a relationship, changing the past isn't possible. Therein lies the afore-mentioned perfect storm of things that bog me down: first, the disparity between how I saw that relationship and what actually happened, as well as the abruptness of its dissolution, seriously damaged my self-confidence and security. In large part what I want back isn't the relationship per se (I've even passed on opportunities to re-kindle it when the circumstances didn't feel right), but the sense of security and being able to tell where I was in the world that I lost. Things are futher complicated by the fact that there really was a lot of great stuff about the relationship that I genuinely miss, but the former is still basically true. I also can't help but feel like in a lot of ways I was could have been a victim of circumstance. There was a lot of other stuff going on then, and I find myself wondering whether if circumstances had been different, maybe the rest would have been too. But in both of those cases I'm powerless to do anything about it, or even to know exactly what "it" is that I'd be doing something about, and nothing ties up my brain like a problem I care about but am unable fix. It makes me feel frustrated, powerless, and therefore without value (Go Team Male-Conditioning!).

Over the weekend I found myself at once finally allowing myself to be upset with Juldea about her role in my loss (edit: though, as I should have admitted when I first posted this, sometimes I think I might have done the same thing in her position-- it just still would have sucked for my partner), aware of my own role in same, resolved to finally change the way we interact so as to break this connection my mind has made that prevents me from fully accepting things as they are, and afraid that I'm going to lose one of my closest friends in the process. She commented later in the week that over the weekend she was picking up vibes that made her uncomfortable even doing group social activities with me. During the time she was referring to, while I was far from cloud nine, I at least wasn't intentionally radiating hostility or anything... so I don't know what to do with that. But it is true that I've been allowing myself to feel my frustration more freely, and using that to fuel the emotional distancing I need to maintain. Things feel uncomfortably precarious in this regard. I miss my friend a lot, but have to temper that so as not to latch on again. Nobody should have to be another person's human security-blanket. I suspect that maybe Juldea picked up on this phenomenon long before I did, and that it had a lot to do with the breakup, but that's just a guess on my part. In any case, it needs to stop.

I think/hope that this is me starting the last bit of a long, slow process of moving on. I at least know what I need to do now: I need to find my security, my anchor, elsewhere. Where, I'm not so sure about. "Within myself" is the obvious answer, but also frustratingly vague. It's gotta be in here somewhere, though, probably behind my brain-couch or something (ooh, there's a whole undiscovered cache of living-room-related brain metaphors-- "finding the bus fare of salvation beneath the cushions of adversity", etc, but I digress...).

Over the last month or so I've started dating again. It took a while before I felt like I could date with any confidence that I wouldn't just be looking for a replacement anchor, but in the end I made a profile on OK Cupid (the only site I've ever been to where 'usernamenumber' was taken. Grr.), which I'm rather proud of, and have been enjoying the site a fair bit. If nothing else, it's at least netted me two new lj friends (*waves*). My recent romantic history has certainly changed the way that I approach dating (inasmuch as I've ever dated, having been in one relationship or another for about the last 10 years). While not a committed polyamorist, and in fact still wanting to find the mythical "One" in the end, it's going to be hard to put all my eggs in one basket again until and unless lightning strikes and/or something seriously and consistently clicks and I just don't want to date anyone else. But isn't there some protocol, outside of poly circles at least, describing a point after which a pair either becomes exclusive or decides they're not meant to be? Seriously, and I don't mean this as a rhetorical question, how do the "rules" for this, inasmuch as such exist, work? I know it sounds naive, but I'm as terrified of losing an opportunity, or just inadvertently acting like a douche, as I am of allowing myself to feel obligated to move faster than I'm comfortable. Where's the line between dating, given that the expectation of exclusivity isn't immediate (right??), and polyamory? Unexpected confusion abounds.

...but for all this, I want to end on a positive note, and am glad to say that there are positive notes to be had. I had some fun times over the weekend and the week, am still ego-tripping on my rockstar turnaround on things at work (including adding a major-ish feature to one of the apps I maintain despite being told of the need for it at the last minute and juggling that with the lectures for my class, for which I got straight 5/5 ratings from the students on-- yee-ah!), and have been exercising regularly, for which my body thanks me profusely. I'm looking forward to the Tripod show and possible MassMOCA visit today (update: both were great fun-- particularly the tripod show which was fantastic. Thanks so much to [livejournal.com profile] rubicantoto for turning me on to them), and have more fun social stuff lined up for the rest of the weekend and subsequent week. I just hate being tired all the time. I have a lot to look forward to, I just have to keep my energy levels up enough to appreciate that. It's weird feeling like it takes a certain amount of energy to be happy, and that I spend more time than I'd like to at or below that line, but ultimately I think that has to be a solvable problem, I just need to try some new approaches to dealing with it.
Was having a kind of crappy day (restful weekend, slept ok, but woke up depressed anyway). Then one of my sandals, of the pair I bought not six months ago, broke. There's something about losing a shoe, or worse, having it flop worse-than-uselessly on your foot due to a broken strap, that really springs a leak in one's gas tank of motivation. =:\
Today would have been Sequoia and I's ninth anniversary, which means it's been just over a year since the divorce.

I've been awash in thoughts and feelings today. I am happier separate, and would not want things to be different than they are... and yet there's this mixture of loss and shame that I also feel.

I feel the loss not only of the stability and permanence that our marriage had purported to be, but of the things I fell in love with about her. I think of her smile and the memories of a hundred little moments from when we were in college and I was first being struck by that force that is her personality come flooding in, and then I start to cry, filtering out for a while the troubles, even back then, and the baggage that eventually made our relationship untenable.

The shame I feel is about the naivete and presumption of claiming a life partner at age 21 after six months of dating. Yes, yes, I know that shame does no good and that it's silly to be ashamed, etc etc, and I'm not letting it get to me too much, but imagine looking back on your version of what so many say is the happiest, most momentous event of their lives and thinking, "what a fool I was", knowing that you'll both probably bear scars for a long time because of it.

I want to say that, for all that, I still believe I'm better for the experience, including its end (and even some of the scars), but then again, who knows? It's not like I have the slightest clue where paths-not-taken would have led, so I suppose the only question of any merit is "am I happy with who and where I am?", and for the most part, the answer to that is "yes".

It was a bumpy, bruisy trip, but here we are. I'm happy where I am and excited to see where she's going. Sometimes, though, I wish I wasn't watching from quite so far away. It's awkward, the hedgehog's dilemma. There are so many old wounds, and the people we helped each other become are too different for us to be close the way we were, but attempts so far to even reach somewhere in the middle have tended to open up the floodgates of pent-up feelings and un-resolved issues. Too many land-mines. And yet... I really miss the parts of her I don't hate, for lack of a less cynical way of putting it. I miss my friend.

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