All In


I spend most of my life on the proverbial fence. So when I actually (try to) go all in I am always clunky and awkward. I over explain. I definitely lack finesse. I get so nervous that I lose my train of thought. It is true. I am so not cool. Consequently, when I decide to speak up or stand up, my words and actions often result in an unfortunate mess of hurt feelings, tears and confusion (yours and mine).

Today I would like to thank Dave.  After I tried to go “all in,” he suggested I go back to bed. When I suggested that my string of words were my attempt to hold my ground, he cynically responded,

“As if you ever having a problem speaking up for yourself.”

I have not spoken since.  I have sent him three emails. He has not responded. He is sitting maybe ten feet away. We still haven’t spoken. Maybe that is where I will remain.

I hate fighting. And today, Dave and I fought.  Our fight was dumb — really. And in my attempt to resolve misunderstanding, I made it worse (of course). And of course I take all responsibility for things going sideways. I always do. I think that stems from my abandonment issues. Thank you dad!

I am alone. I feel all alone. I do not want to be alone. And because I do not want to be alone, I accommodate. I want you to like me.  I do not think that is so bad. See, I hate being mad. I hate when people hate me. And because I hate being hated, I safely remain fence-bound.

Running and thinking I look like a zombie. Maybe I am.
Running and thinking I look like a zombie. Maybe I am.


Truth is I think this whole accommodating-sitting-on-the-fence thing is killing me. In all aspects of my life (religion, family, friends, you name it), I firmly sit on the fence. I give people way too much power. And years of giving you my power has left me with nothing. I am vacant.

As a result, my bottom is bruised (from the fence posts) and I have been depressed. I am usually not depressed. In fact, most of the time, the fence actually works. Yet, for the past month the fence has only caused me discomfort. Like I said, I have been depressed. In my attempt to swim to the surface, I keep writing. I keep trying to post what I write, and then I feel foolish for ever thinking my words should see the light of day. It is so weird.  And because I wonder if a public forum is the right place for these words, I have done the more sane and practical thing: I have spoken to Dave and a few close friends about being depressed.  Additionally (and because this is not my first dark rodeo), each day I walk and run. In some ways exercising away the sad has worked.  In fact, yesterday I did yard work. I even forced Dave and Eli to join me. We worked for hours and ended our work with laughter.

But after fighting with Dave I feel blue (again). Sure, I realize that I could medicate my sorrow. I have medicated my sorrow before.  Antidepressants do work. That being said, no antidepressant or therapist will ameliorate my compelling need to please, or better, my compelling need to not disappoint. Oddly, through all of it, I somehow think, I, myself, have the power to resolve all conflicts, make all people love me, and to make it all better. If I serve and help away the sad, I will be ok, right? Wrong.

Bottom line is this: until I force myself off of the fence, I will not (consistently) feel good about me. Until I force myself to stand up for Beth (not just talk loud and say a lot of words), my feelings will keep getting hurt. Better, I will let things that should not be such a big deal be a big deal.  I get it. My self-esteem should be tethered to my heart and not a fence post.

I only have me.  Dave will be mad or not mad. I cannot change Dave. I can love Dave.  In fact, 99% of the time Dave is my greatest champion.

Dave usually bikes along while I run. I really enjoy doing this together.
Dave usually bikes along while I run. I really enjoy doing this together.


Ultimately I believe the way out of my pain is actually to go all in and feel a shitload of pain. I need to realize that I will make you mad. I will be clunky. I will lose my train of thought. I will embarrass you. I will ask you questions you do not want to answer.  I will force you to look up and listen.  Nevertheless, I need to let myself be ok with your frustration. And then I need to align myself with people who are ok with me. Come on, am I really that bad? Wait. Don’t answer that [wink wink].