In Which I Have a Lot of Regrets and Complaints

I was supposed to have a work event this past weekend, meaning my ex would definitely be there and possibly his GF, though possibly not since her name got scratched off the sign-up sheet. Since I wanted to know what exactly I’d be in for after four months of not seeing either of them, I had my best friend check to see if they’re still together and yep, they are. They are still in each other’s profile pictures.

And then I just plummeted. (And by the way, I didn’t go. Figured I’d be happier if I just stayed home and studied.)

I guess I’d gotten my hopes up, even though part of me thought them breaking up would be too good to be true. And part of me just wants them broken up just so that means I have some space without them always flirting in front of me. But the other part of me still really misses him and wishes I had just one more chance with him to do things right because I have a lot of regrets and things I would’ve done differently if I’d known better at the time.

When him and I were together, I was under an enormous amount of stress.

First I was in summer school taking a Psych Stats course that requires a C+ or higher in order for me to apply for my major, plus I was still new at my job and learning things and worried that I would screw up and get fired.

Then I was seeing different psychologists to try and get a diagnosis for whether I had a mental disorder, submitting paperwork to my school to apply as a student with a disability, then having to drop out of school to take care of all these appointments and paperwork, which then resulted in StudentAid BC telling me that since I’d dropped out too many times, they would no longer loan me any money. Which is devastating for me because I was still living in poverty and didn’t know how I would pay for school and my receiving BC Housing and child support depends on me being a full-time student, and at the time BC Housing and child support were paying for the roof over my head. Plus this means that I’d sunk about $20, 000 into a degree I now might not get to finish.

Then I had to do more paperwork concerning student loans, which they wanted me to start paying back despite the fact that I am still in school, full-time according to my university since I now have a documented disability, but they won’t acknowledge my disability because I can’t prove that it will last for the rest of my natural life, so therefore I am a “part-time” student and should pay my student loans back. Because eight years of crippling anxiety and depression is not solid enough evidence for them.

I was helping my mom job hunt and rebuilding my relationships with my siblings, which was also stressful, and living in a dump of an apartment that needed constant maintenance because that’s all we could afford.

This all resulted in me being tired all the time. So we didn’t actually go out for dates all that often, but usually stayed in at my place or his. Each time, the plan was to watch a movie, but it got to the point where I felt so tired I didn’t even feel like watching a movie but would rather just cuddle on the couch… which usually ended up with us making out on the couch. I’m not sure where the energy for that came from, but somehow it was there.

I don’t regret going as far as I did with him sexually, but I do wish I’d spent less time making out with him and more time actually talking with him. I wish we’d went out for walks or went out swimming or ice skating or played board games or video games or sat around listening to music or reading books together or even just studying together.

And I just had so much of my own baggage. I never suggested going out to restaurants or movies because I knew he would insist on paying for me as well as him and I hated being a drain on his bank account. He’d made it clear on the first date that he didn’t have a problem paying for me (in fact, I think it makes him feel rather manly), and after date number four, during which I had my “I hate being poor” breakdown, he insisted on paying for my things. He was just trying to take care of me.

But thing is, I like being independent. When someone is always paying for me, I feel like a burden. And he was younger than me and I wanted him to enjoy that. I wanted him to save that money for school or for a trip to his dad’s in Alberta or for that video game he’s had his eye on or on a new book. I didn’t want him spending it all on me.

And during the summer when we’d dated, he was working two jobs, both of them very extraverted while he is rather introverted, then once his summer job was over he was in his first semester of university, taking full-time courses while working close to thirty hours a week. I figured he was tired and he had mentioned being really exhausted so I didn’t suggest actually going out to do something either because I wanted to make sure he was getting the rest he needed.

Now I realize how stupid it was. He was the one who suggested us going for a walk on our Thanksgiving date and he had a great time. He had a great time! He was talkative and energetic and fun. So why did I think he wouldn’t want to go out to actually do stuff? And I’m so mad at myself for not even thinking of just asking him about it.

I wish I’d been more assertive. I wish I’d confronted him on things like him not telling people about us, particularly not telling his mom, and I wish I’d insisted on him telling me at least something about his past relationships. But I never did because I was trying to be respectful of his boundaries and because I didn’t want to be seen as a “nagging”, “clingy” girlfriend (which is an idea our society put into my head, not him).

I wish I’d been more affectionate with him in public. I would hold his hand and put my arm around him in public, but I’d never kissed him in public, not once. Since I didn’t really have any relationship experience, I wasn’t sure what “appropriate” PDA was and didn’t want to offend people, so I didn’t give him a kiss even when I wanted to. And I worried about people walking in on us kissing too. I wonder if that put a damper on things as well.

I wish I wasn’t so scared. Sometimes I wonder if it was my own fear that ended the relationship.

My mom says that she understands my thoughts, but that it takes two to make a relationship work and he wasn’t trying. Which is true. I know the break-up isn’t my fault. He was the one refusing to talk to me that last month of our relationship. But I guess sometimes you just go over it all in your head because if you’re the one who wrecked it maybe you’re the one who can fix it.

I wish I could have another chance, to tell him what I’ve learned and what we could do different. Maybe things would be different with me on antidepressants and taking a lower course load and having less paperwork and appointments and not being so scared of what others think of me and with my mom having a full-time job and us living in a nice place.

And I’m just so confused because I feel like I’ve been dealing with two totally different people in my memories of him. One of those people loves me and thinks I’m just the most wonderful person and is excited to see me and be around me. The other doesn’t care about me at all and is cold and rude. I don’t know how to reconcile them with each other. My world doesn’t even make sense to me. Dating him now, after all that’s happened, doesn’t make sense. But being apart from him doesn’t make sense either.

So I had several breakdowns over the course of this weekend, after which my mother lectured me. I hate being lectured. I’m either being told what I should’ve done differently, which frankly isn’t helpful to me now, or told that life’s not fair and to just get over it.

(I feel like I’m painting a rather negative picture of my mom. She’s actually really great with me most of the time and I’m glad she’s my mom. It’s just that when I’m super close to someone and they get on my nerves, it affects me more than if it’s someone I’m not close to getting on my nerves, so I complain about them more even if they’re great the rest of the time.)

I also overestimated how much medication I had left and ran out, so we wound up having to grab that on the way to my brother’s place so I had it for exam time. So we wound up being an hour late, which my brother was fine with, but my mom lectured me in the car about how I need to plan ahead or write things down and how now this is affecting my brother and his family. And I just said “‘Kay” and kept my mouth shut. Sometimes I want to say “Can’t you see I’m already doing the best I can? Can’t you accept that sometimes things just slip my mind? Can’t you see I already hate myself for being a burden on my loved ones?” But I don’t because it would worry her and she worries about me enough already.

It’s been tight financially. Obviously, having to come up with like, $2000-$3000 out of nowhere to get moved took its toll, but we had to shell out even more money because now that my mom finally has a medical plan, she had to catch up on all the medical appointments that have had to be neglected for the past, mmm… seven years or so. Which was another $1000. And then there’s gas money to get to and from work from us both. Plus Christmas shopping. Plus I needed a new sports bra and new pajamas.

In short, we didn’t have much money for groceries so I haven’t eaten much this week. As I’ve already referenced, when I don’t eat enough, my thoughts wander to places they shouldn’t and my muscles get sore and it’s harder to sleep so I just feel like crap.

And then of course, there are final exams. Yesterday felt like the longest day ever. Sunday was spent getting my medication then visiting with my brother and his family then studying super late then having that breakdown and then more studying and then yesterday morning I had one of my finals then work, so I wound up being up for over thirty hours with only a nap for sleep.

I’m also taking on more hours at work next semester, which means I’ll have to go to staff meetings, which means my ex will be there and his GF too unless I get lucky and she has a class at that time. I’m really dreading it because being around them all summer really messed me up and I never want to go through that again. Honestly, I’m petrified.

Again, my moods have been all over the place. There are some days where I’m passionate and opinionated and alive and am interested in all these things and love learning and am a genius and will one day do great things and feel like I can handle anything that comes my way. Then other days, like these days, nothing that used to make me happy makes me happy, I feel like I have no personal interests or hobbies, and just feel like this boring, empty shell of a human being that never gets anything done.

I’ve been trying really hard to be positive but lately it’s been falling short. If you believe in prayer, I would really appreciate you praying for me.

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The Saga of How I’m Taking the Summer Off (Part Two)

Reason Two: Because I Can

When my mom separated from my abusive father, it was just her and me and our cat. She had a part-time job and though she searched for a full-time job, she couldn’t find one. As for me, I was fifteen and didn’t work because I was so involved with school and took a whole bunch of extra classes and piano lessons. Not to mention the stress in having to be involved in my parents’ divorce as a mature minor and having to provide evidence for the court to help my mom get things like a restraining order, sole occupancy of the family home, and sole custody of me.

Sometimes I was embarrassed that I didn’t have a “real job” like some of the other kids in my class, but my mom always told me “Focusing on school is your job.” She always stressed that my education was important, and that I was smart, and that I would do wonderful things. And that just because I wasn’t being paid for it didn’t mean it wasn’t hard work.

But obviously, we can’t just live off of her one part-time job, so we relied on things like BC Housing and my father’s child support to get by, which provided for me while I was in high school. And that was enough to get us by, until the end of the eleventh grade, when my mom got a hand injury at work and her boss fired her while she was on her medical leave, then she pulled out her RRSPs for us to live off of.

By the time I graduated high school, we were living off her RRSPs and her credit cards and that BC Housing and child support became exponentially more important. I did want to go to post-secondary–I’d wanted to become a psychologist since I was fifteen– but my original plan was to take a year off school to work and save up money for school like my friends were doing, as I didn’t want to get into debt and let’s face it, I wanted a break from school, but when I graduated and became a legal adult, we were no longer eligible to receive BC Housing or child support. Unless I enrolled in full-time studies at a university, in which case I would still be considered a dependent and therefore be eligible.

So come September, I was enrolled in full-time courses, even though I didn’t feel ready after a rough grad year involving a stalker and friends who took his side or “stayed neutral” instead of supporting me, because my mom told me, “If you don’t go to school, we will be homeless.” And she was right.

And that is what has gone through my head every semester since: “I must do this, or else we will be homeless. I must take care of my family.” My student loans didn’t just pay for school; I often used them to help make ends meet. And that’s how I wound up $18, 000 in debt with student loans and considering declaring bankruptcy at twenty-two, because I was forced into being breadwinner of my family even though I didn’t have the means to be that.

And sometimes I think that is why I have an anxiety disorder: not directly from my father’s abuse, but from living in poverty for so long, and having to “do this, or else”. And then the “prove this, prove that” nature of the paperwork involved in student loans and such. And these regulations about how many credits I must take and what grades I must get and the fear of whether I will be denied funding if I have an “unsuccessful semester”.

(An “unsuccessful semester” is termed as a semester in which you fail one or more of your classes. It’s a catch-22 situation for me, because I risk being denied funding if I have an unsuccessful semester, but if I try to minimize the chances of me having an unsuccessful semester and failing classes by taking a lower course load [one class less], I also risk being denied funding for taking too low a course load.)

Technically, I was allowed to have summers off, but I was required to be in full-time studies for the other two semesters, which meant if a course had a reputation for being really tough, I would slot that in for summer because that’s the only time of year I can take just one course. So I didn’t consider the summer as a semester I could take off, making me a year-round student who only got a couple weeks between semesters off of school. (And that’s what last summer was: Psych Stats, unfortunately required for my degree to progress.)

And this summer, I was going to take another course that is needed to progress in my degree, Research Methods. I’ve heard it’s a very heavy course load and have been advised by others who’ve taken it “Don’t take any other classes with it.” Despite the lecture hours being double that of a regular course (which results in double the studying), it still only counts for the credits of a regular course, meaning that I can’t do it on its own during the fall or winter semesters, meaning that I would risk an “unsuccessful semester”.

And when I found out the only class times available were during my work hours, I literally screamed, I was so frustrated and scared of how I was going to get my degree done when I can’t take third year courses until I take this one stupid course that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with these other courses, and scared of whether we’d have enough money to live on because I can’t have an unsuccessful semester but I can’t have a part-time course load either.

Well, I took that as a sign that I should take the summer off because clearly I am not well and decided I’ll find a way to deal with the consequences later or maybe rework my course planning for my degree.

Anyway, after that long tangent, I can explain to you why I am able to take time off of school: my mom has finally gotten a full-time job. For the first time in seven years, we are not totally at the mercy of BC Housing and my father. We still need it, as living is far more expensive now than it was decades ago and I can’t work a second job while in school, if my anxiety will even let me work a second job at all, but it’s not the kind of desperate situation it once was. I can actually see an end in sight and that’s why for the first time since I started post-secondary that I’ve actually seen summers off as an option.

When Mom started her new job, I looked in the bathroom mirror with tears in my eyes, thinking, “You did it. You kept a roof over your head and food on the table. You’ve provided for your family. And now, finally, you can rest. You are no longer responsible. You can take a break now.” There are no words to describe the relief of having that burden lifted off my shoulders. I did it.

This blog post was really hard for me to write. It’s so heavy and dense. My face felt like it was on fire the whole time I wrote that because I was so stressed out. Sometimes I got all shaky and my heart would just pound. Why? Because:

a) My mom taught me not to talk about finances, not because she considered it crass, but because she thought if my words got back to the wrong people, we would somehow be punished and be refused money from organizations like BC Housing and then we wouldn’t have anywhere to live.

b) All the legalities behind things like BC Housing, FMEP, and other organizations are so bloody convoluted I’m not sure if I really did them or the stress of being dependent on them justice. I often feel like this system is set up in a way that makes it so people like me can’t do anything right (which probably warrants its own post).

But that is the best explanation I can give at present, so I’ll have to be content with that.

So, after that, talking about my obsessive, Type-A, be-the-best-of-the-best perfectionism demons feels like… well, really light and upbeat. So stay tuned for Part Three!