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This morning I went back and read the post before my last post, the one about surviving quiet normalcy. I didn’t remember that one containing a male character and I didn’t remember so much fear of self-sabotage. This to me is good and not so good. On the one hand my memory is faulty when it comes to self-induced pain, forgetting what I have moved through seems to perpetuate a dysfunctional life. On the other hand, it feels nice to have completely forgotten my horror over my ACOA pal’s request for us to get busy. What really stands out for me though, is that between that post and now, I have grown a mile, almost imperceptibly. In 2010 I asked God to send the tests. With my whole heart I wanted to pass the tests.  I want to someday be a normal, healthy person with a normal healthy life and normal healthy relationships. I think I just did it! I passed a test.

My date never called. The quintessential reason most women hate dating. In this case, I pushed it, so it is not a surprise. The surprise is that beyond what I consider the normal pain of being left hanging, I am not that upset. This deserves monumental congratulations to myself. This deserves conversation as to how I have built in protections and comforts to survive, and survive well, the trials that life will continue to throw at me. And not just any trials, but trials of the heart, especially for me as an individual with a specific history of early parental neglect, continued abandonment, and abuse when it came to emotional needs. You see, romantic relationships are my Kryptonite.

My worst addiction is attention. It is critical that I never ever, for the rest of my life, even for a moment, forget this. It is critical that I remember that other people can be the same way and they may or may not know it. A twelve-step saying is, “Keep your side of the street clean.” To me, this can mean, “Own your own crap, take responsibility for your part of the relationship, and consider your own behaviors.” In this co-worker/date situation I enjoyed the attention, got impatient, and ignored my gut. This gets me into trouble 100% of the time. Giving up man-bashing, victimhood, the shame/blame game, and drama requires full concentration on myself. I am hopeful that this attention to myself, provided by myself, for only myself if it turns out that way, drives my addiction to attention from others right outta me. The expulsion of this life destroying addiction should not be confused with normal needed human interactions.

I think I am okay because have a quiet normalcy. I have a small solid life painstakingly built over two and a half years. For the first time in my life I am safe. Or I am as safe as I can be. I have a good job with enough income, benefits, and peeps. Yes, peeps. I have people who care about me, who I can verbalize my dating angst to, who verbalize theirs back, who get pissed off for or with me, who text me into the night and plan nights out with me out of solidarity against individual assaults or our common group hits. No drama, just professionals acting like professionals. I am hopeful that most of the time we are also acting like adults.

I am okay because I was paying attention. When I want to, when I stay in current reality, when I follow my internal signals at the very beginning, most of the time I can avoid unnecessary pain. This time I did a little of both. The bells were ringing, the red flags were at full mast, my better judgement was screaming, yet I pursued mostly out of curiosity. I was fully aware that I was also curious about this person and what they might be like outside of work. Another wrinkle is that having been exercising for three months has me sexually charged up. I love the energy, weight loss, and the lift from deep depression that comes with exercise; but the ramping up of my sex drive gets to be problematic. From my side of the street, my push to get a date was the biological search for a mate. This time it was me thinking about getting busy with someone. Fortunately for me, I am not impulsive in this area. A man can shower me with attention, and or take me on a great date, or on paper be the yin to my yang, but it is exceedingly rare that I will sleep with him even if I want to. This is because I pay attention to every detail of an interaction with a man. Nothing lined up with this guy.

Emotional sobriety is my quest. As a human being my need for love, companionship, and sex is just like anyone else’s. Unfortunately the very thing that is supposed to sustain me, bring me safety, peace, love, and joy; often causes me crippling pain, steals most of my power, and leaves me an open wound for a long time. Navigating my emotions as I insist on remaining in current reality with no fantasizing, excuse generating, acting out, or running my mouth, is a daily challenge with routine things. Remaining emotionally sober under the pressure of professionalism in a volital work environment with a toad, is gonna take Superman strength.