My name is Danna and I'm a social animal. And that's ok.

Photo taken by Marcin Szczepanski of the Courier-Post to accompany the article in Sunday's paper about the blog.


So, I really should just go to bed, but here I am. Needing to make some room in my head...

I had a great appointment with David (the beloved therapist) this morning. The past week has been a little tricky. The guy who got me thinking more seriously of a new life to come than anyone else I have dated thus far checked out early last week. I think the reality of my situation started to freak him out. He kept voicing his fears of my "not being ready"... but I fear that he was projecting his own apprehension onto me.

When I visited David last week (pre - "checking out") and expressed my frustration with bachelor #4's continuing references to his "caution" in response to my "not being ready," David laughed... "You're really pissed!" he said.

"I guess I am! Yes, I'm totally annoyed! Why am I finding this so annoying?"

He looked at me wide-eyed. "Umm.. because I think you're resenting being told you're not ready when in reality... you probably are ready."

By the way, "ready" does not mean "over it." "Ready" does not mean "don't think about Mike Young." "Ready" simply means that I have dealth with my grief and the trauma of the past year enough to embrace the energy and love of someone new - and to, in return, share my energy and love with them.

So, I have found myself engaged in a lot of negative self-talk over my fixation on finding someone new. But I have always wanted the romantic company of another person. It's true. I have always had a crush on someone. I'm not joking:

1st grade: Josh Watkins. I learned he loved the Redskins, so bought football cards til i got redskin cards and hid them in his desk

2nd grade: Bryan Claytor. I gave him hershey bars.

3rd grade: Aaron Luce. My first boyfriend. When he gave me love notes and pictures of us holding hands sliding down a rainbow, I pretended I was Marsha Brady in the "Davey Jones" episode, lying on my bed, looking out the window with my head propped up on my hands, tears streaming down my cheeks from sheer joy.

And the list goes on...

So, I was sitting in David's office this morning, going on and on about all the things I have to be happy about (goddammit!)- all the things I'm going to sink my energies into INSTEAD of this stupid obsession with finding someone to love. I'm going to work on my research, being a great mom to Baxter, gardening, spending time with my amazing friends...

Suddenly David raises his hand like an eager student in the first row. I laugh.

"Ummm. Yes?" I call on him.

"We are social animals. You are a social animal. All of those things you're listing so diligently may bring you joy and will help keep you entertained, but they aren't going to bring that feeling of contentedness you're talking about. It's O. K. to want to share your life with someone. It's O.K. to have this thought hovering in the back of your mind all the time."

Imagine that. I'm ok? Interesting. I really had gotten to the point where I feared that my desire to be with someone was just another stage of grief that I was stuck in - some abnormal fucked up land of neediness. But I'm not needy. When Bachelor #4 "opted out" so-to-speak, I was disappointed that evening... and then started thinking about other dating options. It's not that I need someone... I just really want someone.

As I reflected on these feelings a bit more with David this morning, I began to sob ... harder than I have in a while. When I caught my breath I explained to him that just the other day, sitting on my back deck stairs in the sunshine, I had a vision of Smoosher Mike coming up behind me and hugging me hard. It's such a simple gesture, but it's one that filled my days. We were so affectionate. Always holding hands, hugging, touching, and expressing our love for one another in words. "I love you so much, smoosher." "No. I love YOU so much." "No. no no... you don't understand. I love YOU SO MUCH."

To have these kinds of touches and exchanges as a part of your everyday life ... for years...and then to be without them... is heartbreaking. Even in the hospital Mike was so smooshy... feeling around for my hand, wanting to touch my face. I crave that. And crave is the only word that I can put on it, really.

What I got from my time with David today is that this craving is normal and I shouldn't fight it or try to fool myself into thinking that academic research, parenting and gardening are going to be the trifecta of happiness for me. Not so much. He talked about a Freudian notion of pain-avoidance... that in human beings' efforts to minimize their pain, they actually make it worse. Drinking, avoidance, distraction... all those things really make you feel shittier in the long run.

"So, if anything that I want to do to AVOID the pain actually makes the pain feel WORSE.. then what the fuck am I supposed to do?"

"Experience the pain. Be in it... work through it. Don't try to distract yourself and fool yourself into thinking you can can find happiness in that distraction. If you crave a partnership and that's what feels right to you, then that's where your happiness is. And that doesn't make you needy. That makes you human."

So, today, I spent a little time feeling shitty... and now? I feel stronger. Funny that.


csm said...

however far "in it" you find yourself, you can be sure we will all be "in it" with you. that's what we're here for.


Anonymous said...

I just happened upon your blog. Thanks for your honesty. I identify with so many of your grief statements because I'm there too. Though our vehicles are different the ride is very similar. After 19yrs of marriage my husband WANTS out. We still live in the same house, but I have to dream of what it felt like to have him hold me. I wonder if I'll ever have a meaningful kiss again in my life. I'm working through the pain and not in a hurry to jump in again, but I do wonder. I'm sorry for your great loss but so happy for you that you have fond, loving memories. Every step gets you closer.


Anonymous said...

LOVE the picture, Loved the article, nice surprise on an early Sunday morning to see a picture of you looking relaxed and Bax just as handsome as ever. Hang in there, Danna, before you know it you will get a bite in the arse from the "love bug" and it will be right. By the way, Tom Whelan,6th grade tall dark and handsome, wanted to show me the cucumbers growing in his backyard at 9 at night but I told him I was allergic and never heard from him again. I guess he thought all us SJ born and bred were farmers girls at heart!!



Anonymous said...

Cucumbers?!! What a line! But I like your come back even better, Judy! Gotta love it.

Loving you always Danna,

Sister Jae

Tuesday Girl said...

I have come to your blog through the article I caught in the paper.

I have lost my Father rather early (he was 52) and although it is NOT the same, the grief is. The waves of sadness is. The something missing is.

I think you are a very strong woman.