Where the %^&* have you been?

I just got off the telephone with my dear friend, O. If you have been following me, you might recall that I love O. Truly, truly love O. Yet, I had not spoken to or seen O in weeks. She lives less than a mile from me! Miles become nations in urban areas. We treat crossing one street as if we were venturing across an international border. What the fuck happened?

I was not living my life with intention. For three weeks. I checked boxes: activity (all days); meditation (50/50): ETOH and sugar (if we’re counting consuming it); and sleep hygiene (if we’re counting sleeping in a bed). [Eye roll.] This is exactly the shit that I was trying NOT to do.

I have really, really good excuses: water in our apartment twice in one week; three acute patients for as many weeks; and some community activism. I also have really lame ones: summer; “I earned it”; “It-was-a-once-in-a-lifetime-concert-so-why-deprive-myself-of-beer”.

It doesn’t matter now though. I had not spoken to O in weeks. I have had sex with my husband less than I would have liked. Everyone who matters to me the fucking most received tasteless dregs while people who do matter got coffee – piping hot, steaming, designs-in-the-foam latté. “I’m that asshole,” I think. However, it is not that simple.

Here’s THE TRUTH:

I started this blog deeply ambivalent.
I was not ambivalent about the goals, but about professional, ethical challenges too numerous to list here. My first goal as a health professional is “first do no harm”.
In a recent NY Times article, the author and numerous commenters debated the ethical conundrums and inherent narcissism of psychotherapists writing about their work. I will not delve into that detail here; however, I would never, ever want a patient to happen upon this blog, recognize my voice, correlate a date and then be harmed in some way. My heart would break. That is not why I do the work that I do.

How honest do I be?
If this were a diary per se, I would write honestly and opening about my emotions. Yet, my husband reads this. Some of my struggles are change and developing within the context of a committed, long-term relationship. Are there parts of a day that should not be made public? If a patient asked me this question, my anxiety would rise due to the answer that I would want to scream: YES.

How the fuck am I going to do this?
Change is a bitch, and I am saying that as a woman who takes no offense to being called a “bitch”. So, let me trip over my feminism and say it again: Change is a motherfucking bitch. I really had no plan other than intentions. I see you eyerolleing, Q [the hub]. Yes, I am the girl who signs up for a marathon in Limerick, Ireland, and am having consistent pain in my leg. That be me!

I have spent the last few weeks, pondering these matters and finding solutions. Honestly, I had none as I sat down to type this. I truly don’t want to abandon this project. Two paragraphs ago, I came to the conclusion that this blog as I constructed it was impossible. And, then, BOOM! I had an idea.

This blog is going to happen. I intend it. I am called to it. However, the current format has to change. For everyone – me, the hub, O, W and my patients. So, here are the new boundaries:

  1. In the next 60 days, this blog will relaunch with “Day 1”.
  2. Posts will occur on a daily basis; however, they will be a delay only known to me of how many days. No actual dates will appear in the titles of posts; one should not associate the actual day of the post with the day on which it was written. Well, you can, but that would be erroneous.

Between now and the “Day 1” post, I will provide additional context on my goals as I previously did.

Finally, I am sorry that I ghosted. Truly not my intention. I do really give a shit. I hope that you know that too, O.

Demographics and Usage

As much as I try, I cannot write in gender-neutral language for two reasons:

  1. It is confusing to me and, likely, to you the reader. For example:

    “The peace is broken. ‘Can we just leave the driver back there – two blocks ago?’, I ask. In the moment, I know that I am a hypocrite, that I did the same thing at the restaurant earlier: let the intrusions of the City poke at me until I was lashing out, dividing people into us/them. They know it too but say nothing.”

    Who is “they”? The people in the restaurant? My partner? If it’s unclear to me as I edit posts, it likely is unclear to others.

  2. My experience of the world – now more than ever – is rooted in my being a cisgender, heterosexual woman. Yep, that’s what I am. My “partner” – husband (or “the hub”) of decades – is a cisgender, heterosexual man. At some point during the next year, I imagine that I will have an experience tied to being a woman in the world. It seems silly to keep this going only to clarify at some undetermined point in the future.

I will continue to use gender-neutral pronouns (i.e, they, their and them) when speaking generally about my patients and work stress.

G’d, I feel much better now. It was too fucking complicated and wasn’t true to who I am – she, her, hers.

Thank you as I grow and learn.

Expectations

I did not think the “posting” aspect of this blog through fully. My apologies to my readers. I wanted to capture my emotions and reactions “in real time” throughout the day without the psychological defenses built through time and rationalization. In doing so, the posting process – one post with numerous updates throughout the day – confused me. Not technically – but how would readers know when a day was completed? So, I will write throughout the day, hopefully posting one completed diary entry before my sleep hygiene screen black-out time. If not by 22:00 on the same day, I will have the day’s diary online early the following day.

Thank you.