Monday, August 27, 2007


Tandaina is someone I really need to listen to right now.

Ya think?

I've got to listen to Tim and Ray, just listen, not try to fix. I can't fix. I know that. But I can listen.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

I Got Better

Half of the problem, apparently, was being at work.

I called Tim at their new place on my way home. Turns out they were about to head out to dinner with the folks who're renting them the place, so I wasn't going to have a chance to pick up the St. John's Wort before then. I suffered a bout of Left Out but just headed home and made myself get on with things.

I've had chicken stock going on the stove for a couple days now (skin, bones et cetera of a grocery store rotisserie chicken, two small onions, some garlic, and a bunch of carrots that had been sitting in Tim's fridge a little long). It's smelling really good by now, I tell you what. I skimmed out most of the debris and transferrred the broth into a smaller pot to let it simmer down further; I like to wait until it's pretty concentrated to freeze it.

That gave me somewhat of a feeling of accomplishment, so I continued in that vein and actually made supper instead of eating cookies and popcorn. Okay, it was pizza out of the freezer (and alas not very good), but it was something. While that was underway I did a bunch of straightening up which helped my mood as well.

The boys stopped over after dinner to drop off the St. John's Wort and pick up a couple things from their old place. They weren't here long but it was good to see them. Tim's exhausted and sick, and Ray is, well, twenty-two and could probably have spent another eight hours helping someone else move. I remember those days...

I sent them home with a jar of my Long Day Working bath salts, and I just hope Tim didn't fall asleep in the bath and drown.

Currently my computer runs Windows. I hate Windows with a great searing passion. Well, I got an Ubuntu Linux disc from Tim a week or so ago and finally sat down to mess with installing it. It's not installed yet -- there were partitioning issues and I need to mess with it more -- but just being able to use Linux for a bit was awfully, awfully nice. Comforting. Familiar. Also not claustrophobic like Windows is.

In the times while I was waiting for various install things to happen I did two things: 1) worked on a braided rug I've had in progress for roughly forever and want to get done done done, and, 2) realized that I haven't the faintest idea what to name my computer. The ex and I had a computer naming scheme that gave me plenty of choices and worked very well for the two of us but I don't want to stick with any of those.

This realization expanded into the further realization that I've been out here for nearly a year and still have very little idea who I am. All of the old certainties are gone and I have only a few new ones to take their place. After some thought I settled on 'shewolf' for the computer but the rest is gonna take a while.

I think I need to take some time away from my dearest beloveds (and not just because I've been wanting to kill them both a little too often recently). I'm still defining myself by them instead of my me and that's no better than defining myself by the ex. Okay, it's not as bad because they're actually decent human beings but it still ain't good. I need to figure out who I am.

Now how do you do that again? I've heard keeping a journal is a good way to start...

*wanders off into sarcasm*


Apparently having a day job makes me get up in the morning. No, not just when I have to work, but every morning. This is not a bad thing though Chocolate seems to be grumpy about it. He hollered at me for a while this morning -- get back in bed and pet me, you! I'm all alone here -- but now he's curled up smack in the middle of the bed, asleep.

Normally on a Sunday I get up barely in time to make it to church. Which is at eleven-thirty. Me? Not a morning person.

Today I could have gotten up at seven and been sufficiently rested. I stayed in bed until nine, mostly because of Chocolate, but it wasn't because I needed more sleep. Since then I've been messing with the computer, getting it ready to (with luck and help from friends) install Linux. And tending the stock, and braiding things, and straightening up...I've gotten a lot done already, and normally I'd barely be awake by now.

Heading over to Tim and Ray's in a couple hours. I've decided that this morning instead of church I'm going to get things done, do some thinking, and probably go for a walk. I need processing time. And I need to see my loves...but later.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


The short short version:

No, I didn't kill my mom. It was an okay visit; there were revelations and discussions and a few annoyed moments and I discovered that I still need _my_ space to be _mine_ very very much. But it went fairly well and it was good to be with her.

But her being _here_, instead of _there_ in Pennsylvania with the life I left, was very triggering for me and I spent a lot of the weekend in an odd sort of dream-state in which half of me was back there, still in the bad old life. I'm still sorting that out.

Monday I got laid off. It wasn't a great job; it was boring and lonely and frustrating and barely enough to pay the rent but I depended on it. Immediate plunge into despair.

Tuesday I got the letter from the university about my test results. I know I've always been good at standardized tests but it surprised me even so: a 96 percent, and the top rank of everyone who took the test that day (about forty people) and everyone else who already had a score and applied for the same job (about another forty). I was smug. (Still am.) Ridiculously smug. This means I'm one of three people who'll get interviewed for the position in question, which is, by the way, not only an admin assistant position, but assistant to the _Dean_ of the business school.

I'm not sure I own clothing nice enough, but I have gay friends, this can be solved.

Also, I scored higher than Tim did when he took the same test a year or so ago, which makes me even more smug.

Still didn't solve the immediate finding issues, but then I got a call from a temp agency I'd given up on something like six months ago. I'm working doing data entry, for ten dollars an hour, at Crocs (yes, the cool rubbery shoes). Temp to perm, they're expanding like mad and desperate for people with a clue, and I've already 'shown initiative' in corporate-speak. If naught else happens I'm sure I'll get hired on eventually. Not the most exciting job so far but they keep giving me different things to do, since I learn them quickly, and the people I work with are nice.

Still helping Tim and Ray move. Ray has got his head semi-out of his ass and has been doing a lot. Still needs someone to ride herd on him, but he's getting things done. The new place is very nice and in a good neighborhood and no more than five minutes away and I already feel like they're twelve hours distant again and I'll get to see them twice a year. Doesn't help that my brain looks at their new place and plotting where I'd want to put my stuff.

Nor that I decided over the weekend (with my mother) that I'm not ready to live with anyone else _anyway_. Not a romance thing, just a space thing; roommates wouldn't be any better. I need _my_ space.

But it was so very nice having them so close...

Had horrible awful dreams last night, in which I'd left everything behind in Pennsylvania (which I did), including family and a lot of friends and a whole life (which I did) but...didn't get anything out here. On this end there was just emptiness, nothing, a sterile apartment and a sterile existence and I remember thinking why did I do this again?

It's stuck with me all day, even though Ray showed up shortly after I woke up to bring over some of my stuff that I'd left at their place ages ago. He's been having bad weird dreams too, and they're making him think about his relationship with me, and he's feeling bad about it. We didn't talk about it much but I'm wondering how I'll address it when we do...he doesn't want to disappoint me, I know, and he _is_, and how can I tell him? All I can say for 'how do I fix it' is 'fix yourself' and that's what I've been saying for months anyway. And he can't or won't, I'm not sure which...

My antidepressant ran out a few days ago and what with the new job and all I kept forgetting to refill it. Usually isn't a problem for a week or so anyway; it takes a while to wear out of my system. But two days in and I'm wretched. Called the pharmacy today and whups! No refills. They called my doctor a few days ago to fix that (which they'll do automatically, bless em) and haven't heard back. Well, that's because it's my old doctor, back in PA, who won't do refills for me if I don't stop in for an appointment. Kinda difficult right now...

They have my new doctor's number. He knows I'm on the stuff (gave me more than a months' worth of free samples, in fact) so even though he's never actually written that prescription for me I'm sure he'll authorize the refills without wanting to see me again. But that'll be Monday at the absolute earliest and I'm terrified at the thought of surviving until then without my meds. And probably a couple more days until they're properly back in my system.

It's going to be rough. Knowing what it is helps but only a little (if it helped enough I wouldn't need the meds at all, now would I?). And with all the other stuff going on...even the good things are very, very stressful to me right now. Just too much change, too much up in the air.

Ray has about five bottles of St. John's Wort and I'm going to grab one later; I hope it's enough. I can't, cannot miss a day of work right now. And they'll be calling me early next week for the interview at CU...I'll have to see if I can push it back a day or two if I have to. if I can't, and I have to do the interview without my meds, I don't know if I'll make it _to_ it, much less _through_ it.

Feeling distant from God. Trying to pray, and the connection I felt earlier this summer is gone, gone, gone. The new book about Mother Teresa's decades-long crisis of faith probably ought to make me feel better about it but it just makes me want to cry.

On top of which, I'm spending the day at the job I got laid off from (she can't really afford to pay people, but she's in Michigan for the week visiting family and now that I have a job, I don't mind getting paid in 'stuff' instead...). Which is fine, I'm spending the day catching up on blogs I haven't touched in more than a week, but the new Muzak system is giving me a screaming headache and I just want to plug my ears and curl up in a little ball behind the counter. I'm reading y'all, as much as I can comprehend through the headache, but I'm not going to comment a lot until I can focus on the screen clearly.

Thinking about taking my pay in a sarong to give to Tim. He does love the things and he's horribly cute wearing them. I'd bring something home for Ray as well but ... I don't think there's anything here he'd like. Must think on't.

Three more hours here. Gonna keep breathing and see how long I can survive. More tomorrow I hope. Still got a lot to write about, just can't focus well enough to do it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Think I've Lost a Pinky Toe or Two

Mom's coming in tomorrow around 11:30. Of course I likely won't be out of testing until 3:30. We figure, though, with getting off the airplane and waiting for luggage, renting a car and driving up to where my aunt and uncle are staying in Longmont, they probably won't have to wait long until I'm done. Given the way I take tests, I doubt it'll be 3:30 anyway; probably closer to 2:30.

Of course I haven't even started cleaning my place, and it's an extra-special mess since they've been painting the buildings and most of my balcony stuff is occupying the living room...

Because last night Tim and I started getting his stuff packed up. Ray, in the meantime, grumpy that neither Tim nor I were particularly enamoured of his D&D character idea, sat on the couch until he fell asleep. Tim thought it was cute; I was hard put not to slug him.

Am I enabling Tim to enable Ray? Or am I helping out a friend who needs it? I'd be helping him pack regardless of the romantic relationship, of course; helping people move has been one of my specialties for years.

We packed two boxes before dinner, while Ray was walking the dog. When he came back and commented on the fact, Tim pointed out that once you actually start doing it, you can get a lot of packing done in not very much time. Ray thanked me for helping Tim; I didn't answer. I don't think I'd have been able to keep from saying something like 'someone's got to do it, and you're clearly not'.

Lord, please, please, if nothing else help me not to say anything dumb. It's hard, it's so frustrating and I don't know how to make it better. Ray's slipping further away every day and Tim has less and less left over after working and cleaning and cooking and trying to haul Ray bodily out of his depression and I can't help, I can't, I'll just get mad and say something dumb and I'm having a hard enough time keeping me out of my depression. Please, I have nothing left to help them with; help them.

Help Ray to learn that he has to
do something, that depression doesn't just go away on its own. Help him to know that he can do something, that it's not hopeless. Help him to know what to do.

Help Tim to know that he can't fix Ray, no matter how much he wants to. Help him to know that self-care isn't self-ish. Help him to have the energy to keep going, and help him to know if it becomes time to stop and let someone else do the work for a while.

Help me to know what to say that may help, and to not say the things that I know won't. Help me to remember that, like Tim, I can't fix Ray; I can't fix either of them. I can only fix myself.




It's not a Tandaina prayer but it'll have to do.


My mom's coming tomorrow. She doesn't know how bad the money situation is; she doesn't know about the three of us (if there is still a three of us). She doesn't know I'm now Christian, or that I'm thinking about going back to school. I plan to tell her the latter two, and I'm terrified. I hope she'll be willing to come to church with me on Sunday.

She was raised RC, and took my sister and I to a Lutheran church. She still goes a few times a year, I think. I don't think she'll be upset, but she'll certainly be shocked. I don't know if I'll tell her about the calling. It might be a bit much for her, and frankly right now I'm so unsure of it that I doubt I'll be able to convince her of anything.

I'm going to take her up into the park, assuming that she doesn't get carsick on the ride up. We're going to hike a bit and drive a lot and look at things and hang out. It's going to be a lot of fun.

I do miss my mother. We've become a lot closer since I left the ex. We ... understand each other more. We have an easier time talking about the things that are hard to talk about.

The years of not telling her so much about my life still weigh on me, though. It's a long habit and a hard one to break. I tell myself that I don't want to worry her but is that fair?

I don't know. I don't know what I'm doing. I'm hanging on. I'm going to make my place look nice. I'm going to have a good time with my mother and maybe take her to church. I'm going to hang out with my aunt and uncle. I'm going to help my dear friends move. I'm going to introduce my mother to Shanti and to Colorado. I'm going to take a test for a job and hopefully do well. I'm going to keep hanging on, keep praying, keep going. Somehow.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

All Teeth and Toenails, Part Deux

This is what I meant to post when I got all ranty, instead. Your pardon; it's awful and I wouldn't blame you if you skipped it. I thought about not posting it but sometimes I need to shout into the aether.

Crawling my way out of the depression to post. I've been horrendous about posting, commenting, replying to comments; I'm getting through comments now and I swear I'll respond.

What with the job thing and the Kerfluffle (not to mention missing church for three weeks in a row due to a variety of things) I've also found that I'm drifting away from God -- some days managing no more than a muttered 'Our Father' before drifting off into sleep. And I'd stopped even thinking about the vocation -- if I cause this level of dissension just being, how much worse would it be with the ordination to boot? How is it serving God to go around provoking people to yell at each other?

I hear, by the way, that people are being nasty about the whole thing. Please don't. It doesn't help either (any?) side of the discussion. No scolds of sermons or anything, just: Please don't.

Going back to church this Sunday has helped, somewhat. It was welcoming and familiar and exactly what I needed. Nothing huge and powerful, just home. Familiar ritual, familiar songs, the sermon and the Eucharist, greetings from the people there who have already become dear to me. I want to get more involved, but again I hold back: what if they found out? What if they rejected me, too?

Monday I'd planned to run some errands, get some things done around the house, and then go to an SCA picnic with Tim and Ray. Instead, round about noon I got into the car and just drove west. Up into the mountains, from which comes my help; my help comes from the Lord. I drove up Trail Ridge Road into the park, not stopping until I was nearly at the top; but along the way I passed a car accident. It was well under control, with sufficient EMTs to handle the medical end and plenty of people to direct traffic and such. I thought back to a post I read recently -- can't for the life of me remember where -- in which the lady blogger, a nurse and priest both, pulled over to offer to help. And while I'm not a nurse, I could always offer prayers -- but as a layman, I'd only be in their way, just another 'civilian' to worry about and trip over.

In this case, it seems the priesthood is merely a tool to reassure others, a badge of 'it's okay, I'm with God'. I could still pray for the hurt person, for those caring for him -- and I did -- but without that badge, I didn't feel that I could stop and offer my help. Is that all it is?

I don't think so, but it did get me thinking about the whole concept again. And I'm glad. I needed to be reminded, because with everything else I've got going on, I'd forgotten.

I kept driving, and didn't stop until I was above eleven thousand feet. I pulled into a space at a stop I hadn't been to before, and visited with the chipmunks for a while before setting off on a little windy half-mile path through the tundra. Even on a weekday the place was packed and I had little hope of solitude, but I struck up a conversation with a guy with a camera and an eye for the small things. Pointed out some maroon flowers he'd missed; he promised to send me copies once he'd downloaded them. I enjoyed it, especially since that's exactly the sort of pictures Tim likes to take.

Once he'd gone I spent a while climbing around on the rocks. Now that I've remembered how -- trust your feet, trust the rocks, as I learned once, and forgot -- I find it immensely calming. Everything centers down to move one hand, then one foot; lift your head just enough to see the next handhold. Gritty sandstone and smooth chunky granite, reds and blacks and gleaming white. Lichens in improbably bright colours and tiny threads of plants growing out of places where no life should be able to survive. I found a little niche in the rock and sat there, gazing out across the mountains from what felt like the roof of the world, to meditate a while. To my surprise what came to my mind was a chant to Ganesh that I'd learned a while ago and hadn't used in months. So that's what I chanted -- is it wrong to ask Ganesh to intercede with God, as if he were one of the Christian saints? I'm not sure myself, but it felt right in that moment. And walking back down the path, even surrounded by people, I felt the lightening of heart that I always get from walking in nature.

Of course, not only did I miss the picnic, I didn't even have cell reception to call Tim and let him know I wasn't going to make it. Fortunately, I'm not now involved with someone who'll blow up at me and call me names for that sort of thing (though I wouldn't have been surprised if he was a little upset at not knowing where I was). I had just about enough energy to drive home and eat popcorn for dinner before passing right out for the night.

I'm trying to get back on track with my faith; I don't want to risk forgetting about God again. Of course, I'm also trying to get a job, trying to go back to school, trying to keep my relationships together while trying to figure out if that's even wise...but that was another post, wasn't it?

I just heard back about an application I put in for an admin job at Colorado University. They want me to show up next Thursday for testing related to the job -- an arithmetic test and an 'administrative support basic' test. I should kick ass on both of those, so I've a good feeling about it. And working at the university should get me a goodly discount on tuition, yes?

Course, Thursday is also the day my mom arrives from Pennsylvania for her visit. Nothing simple, huh? Hope she gets in in the evening. If no, I'll give her directions to Pearl Street and she can shop until I'm done. Or maybe just leave a key with Ray and let her get settled in at my place...

Hanging in there.

All Teeth and Toenails (Warning: Long and Ranty) a dear friend of mine says when things get tough. Hang on with what you've got left, even if all you've got to hang on with is teeth and toenails.

That's about where I've been. I've wanted to post, but haven't had the energy. I feel myself turning inwards, wanting more time alone, in my own head, and I'm not sure if it's that I need a time of contemplation, or if I'm just depressed and don't have the energy to deal with people.

Financially I'm not bad off. All of August's bills are paid already and I have some money left, and the guys who owed me a thousand bucks gave me (finally!) a check for it Monday. It hasn't cleared yet and I don't know if I'll believe it's really there until it does, but it's a sign of hope, enough money to keep me going for another couple months if I don't get a job, the beginnings of an emergency fund if I do.

And it's a good thing, because Tim's only got fifty dollars to last him through until he gets paid again on Monday. They're moving, you see, into a townhouse on the other side of Longmont. They're renting it from friends of ours and it's a good thing, because they got to spread their security deposit out over a couple of months; without that, they wouldn't have been able to afford to move. Even so I'm going to have to bail them out, because Ray refuses to look for a goddamn job.

Yes, I'm bitter about this, and upset, and angry, and trying really, really hard not to take it out on anyone. Yelling at Ray won't help either of us a bit, especially since that's how Lewis tried to 'fix' my depression. All it'll do is make Ray feel even worse about himself than he does already, and make me feel like a shit.

Because yes, I've been there. Never as bad as Ray is, but far enough down that I should be able to understand where he is and why he has been unable to do anything about it. But at the same time I know what helps for me, and I know what's worked for many, many others who've fought depression, and when I try to hand him the tools I know work, he either refuses them, or thanks me politely and puts them down.

I can't make him use them. I can't make him go to a psychiatrist or psychologist. I can't make him get up in the morning, get dressed, eat breakfast right away, get out of the house for a while. I can't make him do the little exercise I taught him for learning how to focus on things outside yourself, or make him find the best way to remind him of what he's said he'd do today.

It's frustrating. And that's the understatement of the month, I tell you what. Watching, just watching, as he spirals further down; watching as Tim slowly burns himself up doing all the work for both of them -- he's the one with the job, he cooks dinner, does the housework; he found a place for them to live and did the work to get that done. Ray didn't even have an opinion on the place: 'It's okay, I guess.' They start moving in a week. Tim has asked Ray, again and again, to work on cleaning the house, organizing stuff to pack, figuring out what they'll keep and what can go, getting stuff into boxes. None of that has happened.

And I know what'll happen. It's happening already. When Tim's exhausted from working along day and making dinner and doing the laundry, and Sarah needs to go for a walk and Ray is upstairs on his computer or has already gone to bed or is staring at the TV, I walk the dog. When dinner is done, I clean up the kitchen. I chop onions and zucchini and occasionally even make dinner myself, and feel guilty because I don't have the energy to take more of the burden off of Tim -- and Ray does nothing.

I'll help Tim pack, I'll help Tim move. Ray will help some, mind you; in fits and starts, easily distracted, and only with someone standing over him to make sure he stays on task. I'll help Tim figure out what furniture goes where in this house I won't live in. I'll help Tim figure out where to put the litterbox so the cats can get to it and the dog can't. Tim and I will stand in the kitchen and discuss where the glasses go, and the pots, and the knife block, and at the end of the day I'll go home, and Tim will take up, once again, the task of taking care of Ray.

Yeah, I'm bitter.

I put most of what energy I have left, after work and trying to keep Tim afloat and just keeping myself together, into looking for a job. I apply for every job that I think I can do, regardless of whether I'm qualified on paper, or whether it's something I think I'll enjoy. I apply for jobs an hours' commute away. I apply for jobs I'm sure I'll hate, but will pay enough to live on. And for my efforts I get the occasional interview, and barely enough money to pay my rent and utilities. My credit card debt piles up, slow but steady. Last week, for the first time in something like three months, I spent money on something which wasn't strictly a necessity: I spent two dollars on an ice cream cone. And felt guilty about it for hours.

Ray gets several hundred dollars from his parents every month. He gets a place to live, dinner cooked for him every night, his laundry done, his internet access and his PS2. Most days he does nothing before Tim gets home: nothing. I will often arrive there after work to discover that he hasn't eaten anything yet and is thus cranky, that he hasn't so much as gotten dressed, that he's apologizing to Tim for whatever it was he said he'd do and hasn't. He's forgotten to get meat out to thaw and so it'll be awhile before Tim or I can even cook dinner.

He hasn't looked for a job because, frankly, he has no reason to. Other than apologizing to Tim, there are no consequences for his failure to look. He has money, a place to live, food to eat, the diversions he enjoys. Why should he bother?

...and truly, this is unfair. He knows he needs to get a job; he knows that he's being unfair to Tim. He knows that he should be doing more and he knows that he needs to do something about the depression. It's not so simple as to say he doesn't bother. He feels that he cannot, and that's a hard feeling to overcome. I know. I've been there.

...but when I see an evening like last night, it's hard to remember that.

Tim's got a lot going on. It's the busy season where he works, so he comes home exhausted. Last night, he came home and immediately set about working on a couple of projects he's working on, things he's promised to various people. Things with deadlines coming up. I sat in his room with him while he did some research on the one project and we talked about the things he found -- the transition between paper and parchment in medieval Europe, the arrest of the Knights Templar, the Holy Roman Empire's repeated disposal of popes in the fourteenth century. Fascinating stuff; stuff we both enjoy learning and talking about. Also, stuff that'll help him with the things he needs to get done.

Ray, in the meantime, had rented Carnivale in order to do research for a live action roleplaying game he's going to be in, and sat in the living room watching it. I've heard it's a good show; it's something I'd be very interested to see, when I have the spare time and energy. I didn't want to pick it up partway through, though, so I figured I'd leave it for later.

At one point Ray came in and asked Tim to come out and watch the show with him. Tim demurred: he's got more things to do than he has time to do them, and if the show is as good as I've heard it is, he doesn't have the time to watch it as it deserves. He has better things to do with his time, right now.

Ray took it personally, to the point of slamming pots as he made dinner. (Okay, he does occasionally make dinner; see what I mean when I say I'm overstating the problem? Though somehow Tim or I wind up spending as much time and energy 'helping' as Ray does cooking...but I digress.) I guess he heard 'I'm too busy right now' as 'I'd rather do these things than spend time with you', which I can see, I guess, butit doesn't seem to occur to Ray that he could a) offer to help; b) take up some of the other chores so that Tim has more time; and/or c) sit in there with Tim and I and talk about the same stuff we talk about, thus spending time with him.

I heard him mutter, later, that Tim doesn't have any time to spend with him, and I...was, frankly, appalled. They live together. Ray has nothing taking him out of the house, and away from Tim. Tim is nearly always accessible; he's not the type to lock himself into his room and tell people to go away. Heck, I get plenty of time with Tim, and I don't even live there! So what's holding Ray apart from going and spending time with Tim?

Fundamentally, they have very few interests in common. Tim is a history geek, a student of politics, agriculture, and the economy; he'll talk religion, philosophy, cooking, the arts; he's a fan of old movies and older portraiture. He's written on the optimal mixture of feed to help your cows give more milk, on usury in Italy in the 1320s, on the origins of heraldry, the methods and patterns of Roman naming practices. Pretty broad, right? He and I can always find something to talk about. He can find something to talk about with just about anyone.

Ray talks And movies. And TV shows. And stuff he found on the Internet.

Many's the time that Tim and I are talking about some sweeping topic and all Ray can find to contribute is 'did you see the movie where...'. And most of the time neither of us have; neither Tim nor I are particularly a patron of pop culture. I haven't watched TV on any kind of regular basis since the early 90s, and Tim gave it up probably ten years ago. We're both gaming geeks, sure, but it's a hobby: we live in the real world, and so we spend more time talking about the real world. Ray's conversational contributions rarely involve the real world.

I guess it's a lack of experience as much as anything else. Ray's never been through so much as a recession; he's never held down a job that he needed, so never had to worry about losing it due to the vagaries of the market; never been the victim of discrimination, so never worried about who was getting elected where. He hasn't got a lot of life experience to talk about.

But I remember when I was twenty-two. Yeah, I was self-absorbed and self-referential and frankly just plain dumb in a lot of ways. But never to the point that I had nothing to talk about other than what anime the topic at hand reminds me of.


And at the same time, I still love him. How the hell do I deal with this?

I find myself praying a lot. Quick little prayers -- 'God, please don't let me say the dumb thing I'm about to say'. 'God, please help me not blow up over this'. 'God, please help me not see this as badly as I am'. 'God, please help me not to advise Tim to dump Ray and be done with it'. As Tim said to me about his silence on the matter when I first considered leaving my ex, there wasn't a lot he could say; he had a dog in the fight. And I certainly have a dog in this fight.

If I keep thinking the way I have been, it's only going to get worse. Things that shouldn't annoy me already do. I'm getting close to the point that, even if Ray does get meds or a counsellor or whatever it is he needs to be a sane and useful human being (at least as much as any of us are, anyway) it'll be too late for he and I to make it work. There'll be too much anger and hurt on my side for me to ever be able to make it through. And I don't know what to do about it. Stay away? I don't want to leave Tim to deal with this alone, and I simply need to be with Tim sometimes. I've already tried patently putting up with it, sweeping along behind Ray and picking up the dropped things and undone jobs he's left behind but it only makes me feel like I'm his mother, and 1) I'm not anyone's mother and 2) that's really not a good way to feel about someone you're supposed to be trying to be in a relationship with.

Even Tim fears that Ray will suck him dry, and only then realize that he needs o grow up now that Tim h nothing left to take care of him with -- and then leave, to go on with his life. And I'll be left with a broken, bereft, drained-dry Tim -- again -- because that's how his ex-wife left him.

I can only conclude that Ray isn't good for Tim, not a true partner; and that Tim's taking care of Ray is not giving Ray the impetus he needs to grow up an start taking care of himself. I can also conclude that I have a dog in the fight, that I'm too close and too biased to have a prayer of holding an opinion that's anything but rot. And so I try to encourage Ray to grow up, hand him tools which he'll not use; I try to support Tim, help him with dinner, give him a shoulder to cry on (would that he could!) or an ear to vent into, help him pick up the house and shop for the groceries, even as I barely have the energy to hold myself together, even as my money drains away and so does the energy I need for myself.

I'll happily advise others about self-care. I don't know when I'm supposed to do that for myself, though.