Saturday, June 28, 2014

Social Anxiety

    Social anxiety is a strange beast. It is not one that it always by my side, but it does make frequent appearances. Tonight I should be at a party, an epic party, and it's just over my back fence. I was all primped, dressed up and ready to go and just could not make myself hop the fence to join the laughter. Instead I threw the ball for my young dog for a bit, then came inside, took off the epic boots, slipped into sandals, and spent the evening working on my bicycle. I have gotten considerably better with my anxiety over the last few years. I know racing has helped immeasurably, forcing me to travel alone to strange places, surrounding myself with strangers, and attempting something I know will be difficult. That is part of the allure of triathlons and trail runs, as well as part of the challenge.
    On the one hand, I really did need to work on my bike. I have had the sexy, new Vittorio Rubino tires for almost two weeks and needed to get them put on before my long ride tomorrow. I also needed to clean and oil the chain and derailleur. It was calming, Zen-like work. On the other hand, I can hear the live music and laughter drifting through the cool night air and wish I had been able to join the crowd. When I am in the mood I can jump into the chaos of a party and enjoy myself immensely. When I am in reclusive, anxiety mood I know I would feel the outcast, and have to force any interactions. I made the right choice for the evening, even if it makes me just a little sad to wonder at the might-have-beens.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Pleasant Diversion

    It has been a strange week, a difficult week. I keep finding myself skirting the rim of melancholy, and diving into my bag of tricks to try and maintain my equilibrium. So far it is working, barely. Triggers keep getting bumped, and I have to struggle to keep from falling.
    It is not often that I talk specifics, but let me indulge myself just a bit. Lately I have been surrounded by people getting married. I kid you not, they are everywhere. This is making my subconscious launch an attack on my psyche, sending me a barrage of happily-ever-after dreams, which dredge up middle of the night woe-is-me loneliness. Between my subconscious, and in your face Facebook posts it has been thought provoking, and a bit dismal. This week I came to the conclusion that where relationships go, especially the last 15 years or so, I think that I am just a pleasant diversion. I seem to attract people who are hung up on their past relationship, to the point of near obsession. Is it because I am a good listener, and willing to openly discuss their marital woes? Or do I just seem to stumble upon people who can't seem to let go of destructive, toxic relationships? I am not sure. But as I listen to tales of damaged histories, epic battles, raging bitches, and current interactions, I do my best to keep an open mind, analyzing and arbitrating as is my nature. Eventually I reach that point of critical mass when I realize that once again I am just a pleasant diversion, a safe haven for a brief respite from the battle. It is a curious position I find myself in. Oddly, I can look far back in time to my very first boyfriend and see that even then I was in the same role, as I heard him on the phone to his ex, Anita, on his 17th birthday, he was crying. He did admit that Anita was his best friend's wife. Four years later, yes, it took me four years to extricate myself from that particularly toxic relationship, and I hook up with my older brother's best friend, who, not surprisingly, is still hung up on his ex who he just called The Girl. Yes, I got to overhear phone conversations in that relationship too. And so it goes. My marriage was the one exception to the rule. My most recent breakup, well, it was 6 months ago, was no different. He is back with his "Psychobitch" ex-wife, no surprise there, though I had pissed him off when I told him I knew he was still hung up on her.
    So, here is the question, or questions: Are damaged, broken men, still hung up on their ex-wives attracted to me for some unknown reason? Or, am I attracted to that type of broken person, hoping that the power of my love will heal them? Or, are most men hung up on raving, psychobitch exes? I am beginning to think that men are attracted to women who mistreat them, and that they get a perverse enjoyment out of the abuse. I am also convinced that one of my fatal flaws is that I am too nice, too nurturing, too easy to live with. Maybe I just don't present enough of a challenge? But, the point is moot. I am in as much of a relationship as I care to be in. We see each other rarely, have a great time when we do, part ways on good terms, there is no guilt over conflicting schedules or cancelled dates. It is almost as if we have a verbal contract to enjoy as much as the other has to offer, and expect no more than can be freely and easily given. And, I don't have to compromise my easy, giving nature.
    So, there it is, one of this week's trigger points, the sore spot that is like a fresh bruise waiting to be bumped. Now I will move on, I don't have the time or energy for prolonged pity parties, preferring to analyze, criticize, and move on. And once in a while it is nice to vent, air my dirty laundry, and then get back to the business of living a chaotic, active life that leaves me so very little time for such petty nonsense.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Full Speed Ahead

    I have had so little time to sit and catch my breath, much less jot down a few scrambled sentences> Life is propelling me at a breakneck pace, and even as it wears me down, I love every minute. Not long ago I was asked, "What do you do for fun?" I was stymied. There really isn't anything specific that I do "for fun." I don't play games, I don't go to movies, I don't dine out, I don't go to concerts, or dancing, or sightseeing, or, or or... For a moment I felt a bit tragic, and then I realized, I don't do anything "for fun" because my life is so entertaining and fun that I have no need to seek it out in another form. I enjoy my life so thoroughly that there is no need for outside stimulation. And my days are filled with pleasure whether I am washing my fire engine, drilling with my station, on a 60 mile training ride or a 2-1/2 mile swim, painting my house, planting my garden, visiting my grandson, or playing fetch with my dogs. Simple pleasures abound and fill my life.
    Case in point, today was a training day with the fire district, a Burn to Learn. Yes, we burned down a house. Room by room, we set fires, made entry in full gear, played with water, let the fire build and then knocked it down, watched as the fire crept up the wall and sent demonic fingers across the ceiling. Watching the smoke build into a black mass so dense it seemed as if I should have been able to grab a handful, like cotton candy. I did reach into it with my gloved hand, feeling the heat, and watching the vapors eddy around my hand. Feeling the heat, almost painful even through our gear, and knowing that if we let the fire get out of control that we were totally surrounded by easily combustible materials. We controlled the fire, kept it in check, managed, almost tame, but it wanted to escape and run wild. It was essential training. And it was more fun than anyone should be able to have and still call it "training." After we had lit and extinguished fires all through the house, and the structure was becoming dangerous, it was time to let it go. The speed at which the house became fully engulfed was astonishing. The heat radiating from the inferno was nearly unbearable even 100 feet away. I was glad of my protective gear, even outside watching the blaze consume the old house. Returning to the station we washed down the Engine and Tender, and even that is fun for me.
    What do I do for fun? I live my life. Full speed ahead.