Monday, February 24, 2014

Week #60: Does This Gorilla Look Tired Yet?

Last Thursday, I got up, put in my normal day of work, then left straight for State College from the office. Nine hours and waaaay too much sugar later (trying to keep energy up without caffeine so late in the day), I arrived at Frank's house a little before 1:00 a.m. As happy as I was to get a bonus weekend with my favorite person just a few days after spending a whole week with him, the real purpose of the trip was that I had two job interviews on Friday. To up the nerve-wracking stakes, they were back-to-back at 1:00 and 2:00 p.m., because those were the only times available for either party. At least they were in the same building just one floor apart.

I feel like both interviews went well, with one being a seemingly perfect fit from my perspective (I hope the feeling was mutual), and another at which I also would probably do quite well, although I have a feeling that they may have other candidates with more specific experience. After that, I slept a whole bunch, finally got a sunny but windy outdoor ride in with Frank on his new #yoloroadbike, and got to have one day of pleasure mixed into a mostly stressful trip. Then I had to drive home and get ready to drag my exhausted, sugar-poisoned butt back to work on Monday like everything was normal.

The last part is the hardest. I want to shut down, sit on the couch, and self-medicate with junk food until I hear something. If by the end of the week I have a new position secured, the few days of lapse will almost seem justifiable. It will seem that I did what I had to do to survive an incredibly stressful period, and having the new job offer, the self-inflicted damage will look minor in comparison to what has been gained. Unfortunately, we never know when our fortunes will finally turn. Although I certainly feel like I'm due for some good luck and signs that it will all work out look promising, experience has taught me that the world owes you nothing and it will only give you a break when it damn well pleases. Therefore, I'm also mentally preparing to not be devastated if I'm not offered one of the jobs this week.

The past year, I've really started to understand that saying about how success is like wrestling with a gorilla, and that you don't stop when you're tired but when the gorilla is tired. I'm tired as hell, but I'm not sure where the gorilla stands, so I have to do what I can to maintain my strength. That means keeping up with my training, nutrition, and sleep, as well as not taking any unnecessary time off from my current job and doing my best to focus while I'm here. All of that will leave me in the best position to succeed when I finally do catch a break, but that doesn't mean that it's not super hard to do.

I'm also struggling once again with the feeling of bearing the burden of these circumstances alone, like the future of Lindsay and Frank is resting on my feeble shoulders (this stuff is certainly distracting from my pull-up goal so they're still feeble). He is also working hard right now, and I am very appreciative and proud of him for that, but it's work that won't pay off for another year or two. There's not a lot that he can do for our immediate circumstances except shower me with appreciation and encouragement for the work I'm putting in to secure our short-term future, and then maybe help me move when the time comes.

And there in that expectation, I've realized, lies my problem. All I can think about is how hard this is for me and how much effort I'm putting in, and I want to be praised for that. However, I've come to realize that I'm expecting praise for something that I'm mostly doing for myself.

My own recent desperation for appreciation takes me back to days of dealing with Adam getting mad at me for not showing enough appreciation for him. I'm not so prideful as to say that there weren't many times when I should have shown more appreciation than I did, and thus I always make it a point now to thank Frank for everything he does for me, big and small. However, when I was dealing with depression and had to endure pouty fits over Adam always being the one to do the dishes, all that did was build resentment because: a) if I cared that much about the dishes I would have done them myself, but dishes are usually pretty low on depressed-people priority lists b) being told that I was selfish only made me feel more depressed and hopeless. In remembering this, I came to clearly see the futility in expecting to be lavished with appreciation from people who merely benefit from things that you do primarily to fulfill your own needs. Literally or figuratively yelling, "Hey, look how selfless I am!" is lame and pretty much defeats the purpose.

Of course, my situation now is very different, except for that core truth. Frank is certainly not uncaring or selfish in this situation; in fact he probably one of the more genuinely unselfish people that I know. He does tell me that he appreciates my willingness to move for him and the efforts that I'm making towards making that a reality. I just sometimes wish for some special level of gushing when I'm feeling extra scared or insecure. You know, maybe a parade or something would do.

Then it hits me: Frank would have been okay no matter what. It's good for him that I'm taking charge and trying to get a job so that he can stay in a place that's better for him, and I'm sure being spared the inconvenience of having to look for a job and move is nice, too, but if he'd had to move to Bloomington and take some crappy job so that we could be together, it just wouldn't be as big of a deal for him as it would be for me. I just didn't want to be the person to make him go through that. (Hey! Look how selfless I am!)

Really, I'm mostly doing all of this to satisfy my own need for security, so his response is proportional to benefit that he's actually getting. He doesn't *need* the plan/stability/security the way I do; he just benefits from my obtaining them, so it's unfair to expect gushing thanks for a gift that's nice but not what he needs most. I'm still working on figuring out what that is.

So that's the difference between us. He's more or less okay no matter what, while I still find dealing with everyday struggles and disappointments to be like wrestling with a gorilla. If I'm not offered either of the jobs, he will be disappointed but not too worried, while I will have to gather all the strength that I have just to get through the next couple of weeks of my normal daily life while I formulate Plan D and start hoping that it comes through. I guess that it is just another manifestation of the hole of which I've spoken before. Maybe wrestling the gorilla is part of the healing process, as I am certainly able to feel okay in a greater variety of situations than I was a year ago and I'm also more resilient in the face of disappointment than I used to be. I obviously still have a long way to go, but I can't help but hope that maybe the gorilla will at least give me a time out sometime soon.

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