Turn and Face the Strange

Life improves slowly and goes wrong fast, and only catastrophe is clearly visible.
— Edward Teller

The reason lightning doesn't strike twice in the same place is that the same place isn't there the second time.
— Willie Tyler

It's an awful thing to come face to face with the fact that your worst fears about yourself just might be true. That things you've tried to outrun and fight against turn out to be a lot faster and a lot stronger than you were prepared for. I've said before that, other than in college, I have never felt like I fit in much of anywhere. I've mostly felt like an outsider in any situation and that hurts because it just reinforces my pre-existing low self-esteem. I know that's partly my own fault because I'm not good at getting to know people. I don't relate to them well and I have always had the ability to sidestep to avoid that hurt. I've known this about myself for years, but it never really affected anyone other than myself. Until now.

In a shocking turn of events that nobody could ever have foreseen [end sarcasm] I managed to push away the one woman who ever really loved me and totally screw up one of the best things to ever happen to me. Erica and I have broken up. The short version is that despite all my best intentions, sincere hopes, and deepest desires to the contrary, I allowed my inner demons to take over and run – er, ruin – the show. That's overly simplified, of course, and there's a lot of inner and outer turmoil that sits behind that but that's the nutshell version.

Since my divorce, I've often wondered whether I could ever really love and be loved by someone. Whether I really knew how to let myself be happy. If I'd be able to get out of my own way and not mess it up yet again. It appears the answer to all of those is a resounding "no".

Throughout this all-too-brief relationship, I've come to see myself and the cognitive fortress that my brain erects in clearer focus. That's a deep maze of twisty passages and I know that I need to address it – them – sometime or this will never get better. I need professional help to really tackle it, though. There's a lot of details that I'm not ready to go into here yet for various reasons. Maybe in time I'll be able to tell you more about them but not right now.

As for Erica, I just want her to be happy and I couldn't see any path forward where I would be able to be the one to give her that. Where I wouldn't be a source of pain rather than joy. She has said she disagrees with that assessment but that doesn't make my feelings about it go away. I know she's hurt and angry and probably a lot of other things too and I can't blame her for any of that. But she deserves someone who is able to really give her the love she wants and needs, and I feel totally incapable of being that person. I'm thankful for the time we had together but I can't help feeling that I wasted a year of her life. Maybe we both at least learned something from it. I pray for her. I pray for myself. And I pray that this deep hurt will heal soon for both of us.

Because it sucks.

A lot.