six months

An ex-boyfriend used to tell me that in his opinion, I was capable of more than I thought I was. He would say it whenever there was something I thought I couldn’t do because of my depression or anxiety or endometriosis or whatever else. “You can handle more than you think you can.”

I understood where he was coming from, and I knew he meant well, but I never liked hearing him say it. It made me feel guilty for not doing more. It made me question my carefully-implemented self care regimen. It made me feel like he thought I was acting weak. Sometimes I wondered if he thought I was weak.

The only way for me to know what I can handle is to think of a thing and decide whether or not I can handle it based on what I assume are my limitations. Or I can look at things I’ve done before that I couldn’t handle and not do them again.

Both methods are faulty. How do I know for sure what my limitations are if I don’t test them? And how do I know that not being able to handle something in the past means I couldn’t handle it now? Most of the time I just have to guess. Or sometimes I do a thing I think I can’t handle, and try to prepare myself in advance for the ramifications of the not handling.

Other things happen to me whether I can handle them or not.

Moving to a different state may be the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my adult life. Here is a list of the things about it I’m not handling very well.

  1. I work from home, so I’m at home alone all day, but in the evenings I don’t have any plans, so I stay at home then too. I go to sleep, wake up and work from home alone all day, and the cycle continues.
  2. There isn’t really anyone in St. Louis around whom I’m comfortable being needy. In Austin I had friends and a sister I could text and say, “Can I come over?” or “I know we’re supposed to go out, but I’m feeling down so can we just sit around and watch TV instead?” or “I need help with something, can you help me?” My parents are here, but they have their hands full with my dad’s care, so I try not to bother them unless it’s an emergency.
  3. I don’t feel very needed. My parents need me for logistical reasons, but I don’t have friends here who text me and say things like, “Can I come over?” or “I need help with something, can you help me?” It’s hard feeling like I’m not part of anyone’s emotional support system like I was in Austin.
  4. When I first moved here, I tried online dating. It was by turns a strange, hilarious, frightening, humiliating and very hurtful experience. Some things that happened still hurt and will probably hurt for awhile. Online dating has made me question my trusting nature, my appearance, my self worth and my value to others in ways I haven’t done in a very long time.

How was I supposed to know I couldn’t handle moving to another state? I’ve never done it before.

I’m not going to undo it, though. I don’t want to move back to Texas, and I don’t want to admit defeat and move somewhere else just yet. It’s only been six months. It’ll get better, probably. Maybe.

10 thoughts on “six months

  1. I feel for you. Moving to a new, strange city totally sucks. For what it’s worth, 6 weeks into Louisville, and I’m feeling p lonely too.

  2. You’re both very good and very brave for doing this. You don’t always have to be very strong or very capable, too. You made a big decision and it’s okay to struggle with it sometimes. You are testing your limits all the time and mostly winning. I feel you on the dating stuff. It seems the more that’s at stake, the more terrifying it gets. Bravery is not something you can just turn on full blast. It’s okay to retreat a bit. Hang in there, you’ve got people rooting for you all over the world!

  3. I’ll add to James’s remarks only that there is no defeat. You will not be defeated or a loser should you reach a point where you say this place, at this time, just hasn’t worked out well for you. You’ll just have experience, maybe a better idea of some of your strengths and weaknesses, and more reason to try elsewhere.

  4. I relate to your checklist so much and I’ve been living in NOLA for a decade. I feel like I’ve lost something as I’ve gotten older and I can’t get it back.

    I’m sending tons of empathy and hope your way.

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