Thursday, September 09, 2010
THE CINDERS HAVE MUCH MORE FUN
Claire: (crying) Mommy, I keep running in my glass slippers but I can't make one of them fall off!
Me: Oh well. Better spend the night instead.
Remember when you used to think that you could twirl around the floor with a dashing Ricky Ricardo look-alike, and all you'd have to do is leave him is one glass pump and maybe a business card or a little crumpled piece of paper with your email address on it, and true love would reign supreme?
That was before you realized that it was better to stick around and seal the deal with the gifts God gave you, even if your sparkly dress turned into rags just as things were starting to get really hot. Because what prince doesn't prefer a rag-wearing whore to an elusive, sparkly, sweet-smelling "Rules"-following babe?
Plus, spending the night is much more fun! And you know what happens in the morning? You wake up with terrible bedhead and catastrophic halitosis and the prince has already left for his tennis lesson, leaving you to march down several impressive hallways all by yourself, your one glass slipper stomping loudly, echoing through the chambers of the palace, announcing to all of the snooty staff members and butlers and dukes and handmaidens that another of the prince's foul one-night sea donkeys is exiting the premises to live out the balance of her days in shame and wretched, hearth-scrubbing obscurity.
But isn't that better than marrying a complete stranger who dresses like the dictator of a small South American country?
I think so.
The Moral: Sluts dreams really do come true, it just takes about 15 years longer than you think.
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
THE CHEAT GOES ON
So, long story short, this past summer my boyfriend was absolutely horrible to me. But I stood by him. And by stood by him I mean I put up with his shit and never stopped loving him. He was basically freaking out and he hated himself and he responded to it by pushing everyone away and tried pushing me away but I either wouldn't let him, or when I did give him space he would always come back missing me.
So truth was he was cheating on me for about a month and a half. With a stupid cunt. And deep down I knew it.
He claims that it was drug-induced, that he became confused. When it started we were in a long distance relationship but it happened right before I was going to come home for good. And I believe that he didn't mean any of it. That he was lonely and found something in this stupid cunt (What I don't know because she's an idiot and he is so very smart he's just a fool).
And well I got fed up and left a book of letters to him on his windshield. The last letter told him that I was ashamed of him and disgusted and it hit him pretty hard.
He told the cunt that he couldn't be with her because he didn't want to be with anyone, then came to my apartment and told me everything. And I took him back.
Afterwards this cunt and her friend were furious that I took him back, and her friend started harassing me about how I should feel sorry for said cunt because he played her. And it really just drove me mad.
And worst of all, said cunt gave my boyfriend herpes. And I probably got it before he even knew he had it.
Now. Most of that is all in the past. Said cunt's friend has realized that she was being stupid and has apologized. Said cunt kind of apologized but I still have no respect for her.
My boyfriend has done nothing but apologize. Saying that he's in love with me and can't believe that he got so lost. The day I took him back he deleted her number from his phone and has spent almost every second with me since.
Things were very rough at first but right now things are awesome.
However, I still wonder if I made a mistake. Do you think he will cheat again?
He knows if he ever fucks up again he will lose me forever, and he's constantly reminding me about how ashamed he is. Anhe'll talk in his sleep about how I'm the best girlfriend ever.
And I trust his words more and more everyday. And I'm doing pretty well in accepting that people make mistakes. But every once in a while, when I'm alone, she's all I can think about. I have such a disgust for her. Just because her reasoning for carrying on an affair with someone she knew had a girlfriend who he told her he was in love with, when her feelings for him were sparked though drugs use, was just total bullshit. That she hadn't felt for someone in a year and was lonely. I just think she's pathetic. And I hate having these thoughts. And we live in a small town. I'm so afraid if I see her I might lose it. I wouldn't do anything crazy. Unlike her I have self control. But I just don't want to even be aware of her existence. The sound of her name makes me furious. I went through so much hell because of her. And I know that my boyfriend is just as guilty, But he has spent everyday since to prove to me that he was sorry. And her apology was a bullshit facebook note, and public post of the entire ordeal which I and my boyfriend didn't want the rest of the world to question us about and afterwards she blocks both of us so we can't remove it but it can still be seen.
So how can I get over it easier? And did I do the right thing by taking him back?
I truly love him with all my heart. And he tells me the same, followed by apologies.
Confused And In Love
I have no verdict on your boyfriend. Will he cheat again? Probably, if he keeps doing drugs with other women. But he's equally likely to cheat again if he spends every second with you. He sounds a little all or nothing, a little out of sight, out of mind, a little prone to dramatic flourishes. He sounds to me – based on very little information, mind you – like the kind of guy who gets engaged a little too young, gets married, tells everyone that he's found the love of his life, and then cheats two years later. He sounds prone to dangerous extremes. He's probably no more trustworthy or untrustworthy than the average guy or girl – I wouldn't be too fixated on that. What I would want to know, though, has less to do with these big, dramatic questions you're asking, and has more to do with your day to day life. When the excitement fades, when drugs and random women are out of the picture, what's that like? How does he do with the mundane realities of a relationship? Can you talk to him, or do you only communicate your feelings in long letters when things get really crazy? More dangerous than a man who cheats (and anyone, man or woman, can cheat when there are drugs involved) is a man who pulls you into his fantastical escapist story about the world. Most of all, I would caution you against getting engaged to or married to him as a means of clearing up your worries – or his – about his fidelity. More than assurances from him or professions of love or input from outside sources like me, you need more experience with him as a partner. You need to see how you two get along over time, in the absence of drama. If he's easily bored, then he's not going to be a good boyfriend or husband. If he needs to be with you every second in order to either stay clean or stay out of other girls' pants, then he's going to be a serious drain on your energy.
But he's really a footnote to a bigger problem: You need to work on your self-confidence and your outside interests. You're not very engaged with your career, you don't have a lot of really honest, trusting relationships with girlfriends, you don't know how to spend your free time beyond hanging out with your boyfriend. Without him, you feel lost. With him, you obsess about the woman you refer to as a stupid cunt, who's actually just a woman, like you, who wants love in her life and who was willing to bend the rules to suit her needs. Whether she's a great person or not, calling her a stupid cunt isn't good for you. Every time you call her a stupid cunt, it chips away at your happiness and your sense of self. I know you don't believe that, but you should. Your rage isn't formed by her indiscretions, it's formed by your frustrations with your own life, with the one-dimensional nature of your world. You want him to be in love with you, no matter what. You want to own him completely. That's your top priority, your one goal in life.
Be careful what you wish for. Winning this man's love isn't everything. You could win him over and be married and miserable for the rest of your life, just worryng about whether he'll cheat or not. You need bigger, better goals. You need a job you enjoy and friends who you can talk to. You need ways to really be happy with yourself when you're alone. You need to be alone more often, whether you see a movie or listen to music or just relax. You're afraid of being alone, which is why you took your boyfriend back immediately, without even making him wait a few days or a week. You're haunted not by the likelihood that he'll cheating – anyone can cheat – but by your own unwillingness to be alone.
As long as you feel totally consumed by a need to possess him, to prove to everyone, especially the other woman, that he's yours and yours completely, you won't have any peace. Your identity can't be so completely linked to this victory or defeat. You have to forget what everyone else in town thinks – and I do recognize how much that can get under your skin in a small town.
But while you're worrying about how other people see you, let me say something: You use the word cunt, and it doesn't matter what happened or how badly you were screwed. You're the one who looks stupid, and angry, and sad.
As long as you're stuck on this, you're going to keep looking and feeling terrible. You're not going to let it go until you let the boyfriend go. I'm not saying you can't go out with him. But seeing him every second doesn't solve anything. Let him have a few days off. Tell him you need to spend some time getting stronger, on your own. There's no way to judge him or your own health and resilience if you're hiding in your cave together. You both need some breathing room.
And you need close girlfriends. Do you have a parent you could never trust? Do you and your mother have trouble talking things out? Can you talk to anyone with total honesty? Can you cry? Don't leave all of this to your boyfriend. If you're going to stop feeling terrible, you have to reach out to other people. You have to build some things on your own that feel worthwhile to you. I know that's no small feat when you're young and you're not sure what you should spend your time doing. But you need some focus in your life that's utterly removed from this guy or any other guy. If you explore your own goals, make some friends, spend some time away from him, and the relationship falls apart? That's a guy who shouldn't be trusted, who only wants someone who's going to disappear into him. That's the very definition of a cheater, in other words. On the other hand, if he's proud of you, if he's excited for you, if he's more dedicated to you than ever, when you're seeing friends and trying out new jobs and doing your own thing? Then maybe what you have with him could work over the long haul.
But you're not pursuing these other things just to keep your guy. You're pursuing them because you have your guy now, and you're still not happy. That's why you wrote to me. You're not happy. No "stupid cunt" is making you unhappy. YOU are unhappy. It's not your fault that you're unhappy, you just are. You have to figure out how to find happiness. It's a long search, it's not easy. But if you simply keep doing what you're doing, if you continue behaving as if your happiness is wrapped up in one question (trust him or don't trust him), if you continue spending every second with him, if you continue hating the other woman and not knowing what you'll do when you see her? You'll continue being unhappy.
You deserve to be happy. Your enemy is not your enemy: she's a lost, lonely woman, just like you. You are both searching. Try very hard to empathize – it will make you stronger and happier to try. Try very hard to forgive her. She feels ashamed of herself, trust me. If you see her, say nothing, do nothing. Don't try to work out your unhappiness with her. She can't help you. Don't picture seeing her, and saying something harsh. Don't picture kicking her ass. You don't need to prove anything.
You don't need to talk about her anymore. You don't need to think about her anymore. Let her go. The more you can wish the best for her, the more great, miraculous, incredible things will happen to you. I know you think I'm full of shit about this. I know it's fucking impossible to think you could do this. You think that your identity depends on hating her, that not hating her makes you soft and lame, makes you a pushover. You couldn't be more wrong about that. You have to dig deep. This is your moment. Dig deep, rise above the shitty mess you've had dumped in your lap, exceed everyone's expectations of you. Look inside and find your best self and crawl out of this fucking mire and start creating your own destiny. You are so much bigger than this.
Trust him or don't trust him, love him or don't love him – it hardly matters. What matters is for your to start trusting and loving yourself first. Show yourself some compassion. You didn't ask for this bullshit in your life. Feel how unfair it is, but then get up, and wash your face, and go outside. You have a sparkling future ahead of you. You don't have to let this define you. This is small, this is the worst possible path for you, this is not about you, this is a self-defeating distraction, this is a needless menace. Leave it behind, and face the future with courage. You are bigger than this.
But before you move on, turn back and wish this woman you hate all of the happiness in the world. Give that to her, genuinely, and eventually you'll find that all of the happiness in the world is yours.
Thursday, September 02, 2010
GOODBYE, POINTY LITTLE MAN
I stumbled across your blog while looking for rabbit-related websites. I have two rabbits myself- Pointy and Little Man. I came looking for cute bunny pictures, stayed for the well written and wise advice. Rabbit, how do I release myself from the grip of my anger? From my potent desire to mete out retribution? From my red-visioned rage and the panic attacks? How do I move on, happily? How do I get my groove back?
I moved to Montreal in 2004 when my partner was offered a teaching job at a University here. We had been together for almost two years prior to this. There had already been some issues between us, but this move made everything worse, and now we’re practically estranged, and I’m scared and lost. The sex was never great, but decent enough. He was very quiet and had little sense of humor or imagination in bed. He didn’t like me astride him, resisted blowjobs, and when he seemed bored we had to switch to webcam sex. Whatever, but the friendship we had was excellent, and the life and social scenario we were in was rich and fulfilling and for once in a long, long time I was happy. The sex had pretty much dried up even when we were living together still in the US. He blamed his lack of interest on not liking my scrubs and sweatsocks, didn’t like that I didn’t have an advanced degree, my depression was too much for him (my depression is deep, chronic and lifelong. I’ve had a round of ECT once, been hospitalized, I have meds & therapists but it never goes away. I cope, though).
We had had a non-monogamous relationship, originally at my behest, with a full disclosure and mutual veto power. Mainly he used this as an excuse to hunt down couples for playing with, and dating young girls. We used to go to sex parties where he’d spend his time with anyone but me. I was too busy trying to work and reconstruct a new professional and social life for myself to be bothered, beyond the parties. When we moved to Canada he had 110 new things he could blame for his lack of interest: stress, immigration, new job, house hunting, getting his book out, etc. Then it became tenure stress, my depression, my trouble finding work, my low income, my lack of self esteem, my life choices (having been in the arts I came with no savings or 401K, ya know?). Mind you, during this time I did all the housework, packing, cooking, laundry, entertaining, endless immigration paperwork, you name it, plus study and work.
When the tenure was achieved, he decided that he was through with honesty & flat out started cheating on me and lying to my face. Of course it was with “Ashley," some student he met at a conference (he’s a 41 year old professor and loves those early 20’s students), and it was a doozy of a mess. Eight months of lies, disinvitations, secret trips, a pregnancy, more lies, her chasing him overseas, just ugly. I was packed & ready to move out, but because of immigration and financial reasons I had to remain living with him for a year. I drank heavily and gained a lot of weight, feeling like utter crap that I could never fix what made him reject me. He kept trying to repair the friendship, which eventually happened, but the continual sexual rejection really got me down. Eventually I moved out and have been in my own place for three years now. Despite being separate, we eventually reverted to dinner together every night, and essentially had a perfect, if non-sexual relationship. He began to talk of a country place, getting a house together. He took over my grad school loan (he’s also a fanatical cheapskate, so any fiscal moves he makes are earth-shaking). He even for one millisecond entertained the idea of going to couples therapy together.
Then something shifted. I knew he was having random sex with some internet slut. He used to call her “Fuck Me Friday." He used to make fun of her. He used her as bait to find other couples who wanted to swap (hmm, sounds familiar?). Then soon he claims she’s unhappy because he won’t spend even more time with her, she wants a boyfriend, he doesn’t want that, he isn’t in love with her. Next thing you know she has moved into town, he has taken down his OK Cupid personal ad and she’s posting “in a relationship” on Facebook (He was chagrined by this & deleted his wall, but nonetheless) and he’s suddenly spouting her brainwash about how the “relationship” has so much potential, how she’s so understanding, how she’s so cool and low maintenance, how she understands his need to have me in his life. She likes to fuck all night and all morning and gives great blowjobs and is smart! Mind you, this girl is a 24 year old undergraduate at another college downtown. Her friends are still doing kegstands and finishing their BA’s. At her age I was writing grants, performing, touring, choreographing and managing a full time freelance dance career. It’s an insult, frankly. He began to lie to me about when he’d be with The Orifice, and because he’s a constant and inept liar I always catch him out. I’ve twice been at his place expecting him to be there, where he said he’d be, while in reality he was off stuffing The Orifice somewhere. I lost it. Suddenly all the old rage about “The Ashley Incident” and all the other transgressions came pouring forth, and I had blind rage freakouts over this, literally seeing red, screaming and throwing stuff and not exactly remembering what happened. My pulse races, my ears ring, I scream, I can’t sleep afterwards.
What has made this so tough is that otherwise we get along enormously. We always crack each other up, have a secret language, inside jokes, share a sense of humor, have excellent conversations & debates, and essentially can spend all our time together. Even the most banal tasks are hilarious together. We fight well, we have good problem solving skills. He tells me he can’t imagine his life without me, I’m the most important person in his life, he feels better with me than with anyone else, I’m the smartest woman he’s ever met, we’ve had the best experiences of his life together, blah blah blah. But then he says (or doesn’t say) “but I can’t sleep with you”. The truth is that he’s delusionally naive about real relationships and deathly afraid of intimacy. He’s recently told me that “sex is only exciting with people you don’t know”. Fascinating. Essentially once the bloom is off the rose, and real life kicks in he gets scared & runs off to have Craigslist & online dating trysts or retreats to his hard drives full of porn. Plus he’s stocked with an arsenal of whacked out self importance, unexpressed expectations of others, and a healthy heap of Midwestern denial. Oh- and he’s a pathological liar. Since even at this point he wouldn’t even commit to the “it’s her or me” ultimatum, I made the choice for him. He doesn’t understand why I don’t want to be friends with him and The Orifice as a “couple”. Why can’t I be happy for them? I’ve cut off any communication except for essential things like banking, paperwork, emergencies. It hurts like hell.
I was never attractive in a typical sense, though as a dancer I was in good shape and had buckets of confidence and a great mind. I worked “pretty on the inside” like no one’s business. I always had paramours, male, female. It was never a problem, and I enjoyed a frisky, freaky life. Now at 42 I’m still not typically attractive, serious injuries retired me from dance and much activity for quite a while so I’m about 50 lbs overweight (ugly “apple body” not curvy). Instead of a hot career I now have a semi interesting but way underpaid job I’m lucky as hell to have, given the language issues and the fact that my secondary training is in a field not active here. My self esteem is shot. So now I can’t even work the confidence angle. I can’t recall the last time I got laid. Has to have been six years now. My social circle is almost nonexistent now, as most of my friends are on sabbaticals, are married, have kids, have moved for other jobs. I have to continually try to make new friends. I do yoga, but it’s not exactly social. I’ve cut down my elaborate cooking (my “hobby” to replace dance) & eating & drinking. I’m slowly losing weight. I’m so angry and so hurt. I want to just be happy and do my own thing. It’s hard to keep starting over, especially as a woman at age 42. I love the city, the Canadian healthcare is great, I finally have a steady job, I'll be a dual citizen soon, but I feel like I’ve lost myself after eight years of being with this dude. How could I have been so dumb? Help me, Rabbit.
Let's start by scraping your ex out of your story, once and for all. Let's just review the facts: This is someone who cheated on you, didn't like the way you dressed, didn't like the fact that you had no advanced degree… Is that even possible? What does that even fucking mean? And he couldn't handle your depression. Basically, he was game for the hot, swaggering, drinking dancer, but once you became a human being he was wringing his hands and looking for the door. Pointy Little Man, indeed.
And that alone would be understandable, or at the very least typical. But instead of actually exiting, like someone with a conscience, he kept pulling you back in, his human security blanket, even as he was fucking undergrads. First of all, the sort of PhDs who fuck undergads? Christ almighty. I like an attractive whippersnapper as much as the next old perv, but actually having sex with someone who's still in college? Taking your clothes off in the presence of someone who still molds their little baseball cap in a perfect C-shape, and says shit like "See ya, wouldn't wanna be ya?" Unless you're Dane Cook, I don't get it. Fucking undergrads when you're a professor makes you a douche, period.
And then he's running back to you, complaining about various women, telling you they're lame, explaining exactly what's lame about them so you'll dislike them, too. This guy is lonelier than you are. He's more of a mess than you are. And he's angrier than you are, too.
Please leave The Orifice out of this. Fine, you were a mature professional at her age. She's obviously good at what she does, namely, staying up all night, drinking and giving fantastic blow jobs. Let's not begrudge her that. If she's sleeping with a forty something, who knows what's going on with her. She's got it bad enough, trying to play the low-maintenance cool chick to your douchey ex. That game can't last long.
But even if she's the embodiment of all that is beautiful and right in the world, it doesn't matter. She has nothing to do with you. She's just some person in the world. Your feelings about her are inherently self-generated, because you're not in a relationship with her, she owes you nothing, and no matter what The Douche told you about her, you don't know her. The Douche can't be trusted. Do this much, at least: Think of her as The Girl (and not The Hole). She doesn't know you, either, and whatever perceived slights exist there, they're there because of one malevolent force in the world: The Douche. He's needy, manipulative, self-serving and bad. Private languages, shared senses of humor – in this particular case, the private universe you describe is one that's wrought from mutual dependence and fear. You obviously make The Douche feel powerful and worthwhile for some reason, at the price of your own power and self-esteem.
It's time to cut off ties completely. What is this talk of banking and emergencies? Leave The Douche out of it. Take out a loan and pay off whatever you owe him or clean up whatever keeps you tied together. Just get him out, he's a leech on your energy and he keeps you in this state of rage over having wasted your time on an essentially screwy, selfish human being for too long.
Cutting him out (which you've already started to do) means honoring yourself and setting the stage for the next part of your life. You could almost have sent me just the last paragraph of your letter, because the rest is just backstory about someone who doesn't matter anymore. Your anger at him now is partially anger at yourself for still considering him part of your story, still feeling like you ended up the way you are now because of him. He is this powerful symbol of you selling yourself short. That's why he can't be in the mix at all – you don't need that kind of a symbol around you.
So, now it's time for new symbols, and new paths. I suspect that getting in shape is a huge part of your recovery, since you're a former dancer and you obviously care about this aspect of your life. I totally understand about injuries. What is it with 40 anyway? Between vertigo and ankle-turning, I've had a bunch of problems this year, but finally I figured out that if I don't push myself, I'll just be lame for the rest of my life. Some injuries really keep you on your back, but others you just have to find some workaround. Right now I'm wrapping my ankle really well, doing Tae Bo, and then walking my dogs, then icing my ankle afterwards. Something about the Tae Bo has actually made my ankle stronger, and it hurts a lot less and feels less stiff than it did when I was doing next to nothing. My husband has a foot injury that hurts more after he does anything, but he also says that it hurts less overall if he's working out. I don't really understand this stuff, or why it's just part of the fucking conversation when you pass age 38, but I am starting to see how the stakes get really high as you get older and gain weight. If you have injuries and you're too heavy, it's that much harder not to reinjure yourself, it's that much harder to get motivated, etc. It just sounds like you're at a really important juncture with your physical and emotional health, and really, the quality of the rest of your life is going to rely on you making a serious commitment to getting into the best shape you possibly can.
Eating less is obviously a big part of that and so is yoga, but it also sounds like you need a little aerobic exercise to push your whole routine to a level where you feel not just that you're making steady progress, but you're changing everything and turning your whole life around. Maybe you could swim or try some low impact Cardio Barre classes, which of course will strike you as annoying, as a dancer, but also might build on your strengths. You could get a DVD and just do a little bit at home every day. It's all pretty dorky and hard to get excited about, but my sense is that this is at the core of what you need in your life: to feel like you're willing to completely throw yourself into a new way of living. Besides, nothing tackles anger and builds confidence like working up a sweat.
Again, I don't know the nature of your injuries, I just have a sense that you need to put even more energy into this part of your picture. You have to work really hard to find a good solution here, whether that means seeing a physical therapist or taking on a new kind of workout, I don't know. But you can't just slowly chip away at the pounds. My guess is that you, in particular, have to be more proactive than that if you want to get inspired by the whole process. Because you were once extremely fit, you have a long way to go until you feel really excited and sure that you'll get back to where you were. A lot of this rage you have isn't just about The Douche, of course, it's about you feeling furious at yourself for letting yourself land here. This isn't about being overweight, either, it's about feeling that you're strong and flexible and capable again. For a former dancer, nothing could be more important than that. It's essential.
As far as the rest of your life that's died with the departure of The Douche? You probably would've had to face this even if you were still with him. People get old, move away, have kids, and the party isn't the same as it was in your early 30s. There's a point where we all have to ask ourselves, how do I really want to spend my time?
So what do you love to do? What's your dream? Sometimes just acknowledging what you really love is a big step, even if you can't exactly redesign your life around it. How do you want to spend your time?
My guess is that if you 1) cut off all contact with The Douche permanently, 2) face your injuries head-on, find some solutions or at least ways to work within the limitations they place on you, and get into much better shape, and 3) start looking very carefully at your dreams and ambitions and favorite ways to spend your time, and start to redesign your life in order to honor your passions, you're going to find yourself in a very different place in a few months.
People will tell you that anger is something you have to express, or resolve, that you should write an imaginary letter to The Douche, or burn an effigy of him, or try to sort through your feelings for him in therapy. My opinion, based on what you've said, is that he's already dead to you, and the lingering emotions you have around him are feelings that are more closely tied to your confidence level. You're pissed off at yourself, you feel like a reject that got left behind. You're angry and not just sad because you know, deep down inside, that this isn't who you are. You're not just the depressed overweight exgirlfriend (and seeing yourself that way is what makes you hate The Girl).
You are a powerful person, and everything that ever made other people love you and follow you around before is still there. You have charisma and ideas and colorful thoughts in your head, and people like you. If they're not acting like it at the moment, it's because you yourself are in conflict about your worth. You can turn your story around, though. You don't necessarily need to move or get another job or find a new guy – these things may happen. But those aren't issues that can be tackled directly, until you start really taking the actions that will give you more respect and affection for yourself right now.
For the next year, you have to work really hard to pull yourself out of this rut. Every day is going to feel like a chore for a while, if you're doing this right. You have to push away your discouraged thoughts and just move forward. You have to dare to have big dreams again. You have to dare to believe that you might find someone new who will love you without being an enormous douchebag about it. Plant your head in a dreamy space, and make your injured body go through the motions. Research your dreams. Make some deadlines. Work really, really hard. Make a steady flow of plans with friends. Do some elaborate cooking once a month, throw a little dinner party. This is the year you turn it all around. But you have to commit to it. You have to say to yourself: I am changing everything. I am going to be strong and resilient again. You have to silence the whiny and discouraged and enraged voices. When they get too loud, leave the house for a walk. This is the year you're not going to settle or make excuses or fall into old patterns. You're going to be kind to yourself, but you're going to work hard, every day.
It's time to push away the old stories – stop telling them, stop thinking about them – and focus. You don't have to explain anything to anyone. Just focus on what you want, and move forward.
This is the year you pulled out of a tailspin. This is the year you started taking care of yourself. This is the year you stopped listening to other people more than you listen to yourself. This is the year you started to get everything you ever wanted. This is the year your dreams started to come true.
I feel sure that a few small changes will turn into a whole new life for you. You have so much of what you need already, you're already on the right track. But for you to really feel happy again, for you to have the kinds of friends and life partner and job that you have always wanted, you have to redouble your efforts and be strong and focused. None of your challenges is going to evaporate into thin air, of course. But your whole way of viewing the world is about to brighten up dramatically. You can do it! You really can. You're already on your way.
Best of luck,