Lick, Lick, Lick, Lick!
Sniff, Sniff, Sniff,
3/6/80-Thurs.-Feeling really low tonight. I wish I were dead. - Called Carol Toss, and afterward am feeling better.
3/9/80-Sun.-Have still been having waves of depression but generally not so bad as before. I have not gone over to Betty's area or seen her for two weeks and have not called her or written her in nine days. It's been a month since I told her it would be best, since we were getting along so poorly and she was still so attached to someone else, that we not get married, and since she, in turn, decided it would be best we not continue seeing each other and to see if she could return to Keith, at least for financial support, till she can get a job and get her child support increased. Since I've been actively seeking to "let go" of this relationship emotionally, I believe now it should take at most about another month to be substantially over the pain and longing of this involvement. Meanwhile I'll continue my four point program: stay busy; spend time with others; meditate a lot; and do good things for myself. - I've also been introducing myself to at least three strangers a week for the past ten days. So far, I've met sixteen new people in this way during that period! I don't intend any further to sit around feeling sorry for myself!
3/16/80-Sun.-Been still quite active in seeking greater social and personal involvement. Quite sad as well, all the more so since Betty called, "just being spontaneous," and then dropped off some mail at my place. I called Frieda, my counselor, and set up a more stringent contract, to limit further the possibility of my initiating any contact with Betty. And I went to a fellowship meeting of "singles and singles again" at a Baptist church, where, however, I felt so awkward and out of place that I resolved never to go back. Now, at my apartment, am feeling pretty damned lonely and depressed! It seems crucial now to increase my self-confidence, self-concept, self-esteem, especially in relationship with close associates, and perhaps also over my "physical self." Question: How, realistically, to do this? Yet, there's no percentage in saying I can't do it, or in settling for the status quo. Scary and challenging as it is, I've got to do some changing! The whole thing about Betty all this time, despite her wild vacillating, our many fights, her betrayals, a lack of commitment, and our having very different values, etc., would never have gone on so long had I not thought so little of myself and of my capacity to find other women to love (and who could genuinely love me) that I was grateful (and still am) for every little crumb of affection, every piddling promise or remotest hope of "commitment" from her.
Surprised today to discover that ease of the turmoil proved to be as close as some of my Lifestream Way literature. I read a few letters in these books on the subjects of loneliness or solitude and received very good advice as well as a renewed sense of meaning. I'll keep in mind, first, that when I feel badly I can turn to letters in The Lifestream Way literature; second, that I may remember The Lifestream Way as an option, certainly preferable to suicide or a return to drinking; third, I might go to the Gagan center for two to three months next fall; fourth, I may find a lot of value in The Lifestream Way (LW) literature that I can preserve and include in my personal philosophy, even if I do not return fully to a strict LW lifestyle and system of beliefs. I am thinking now of going a certain length of time here without a strict return to LW but with reading of the literature, more meditation, and greater emphasis on a vegetarian diet. Beyond a set time, if things aren't going better for me, I'll quit this burg and go, probably, to Austin where I'll commit myself more completely to a renewed LW lifestyle.
3/25/80-Tues.-Watched "The Ordeal of Doctor Mudd" on TV tonight. His suffering, courage, and love put me to shame. Compared with what this man had to go through, even what I have put myself through with Betty in the past year is as nothing!
3/27/80-Thurs.-This too will pass. Take it easy. One day, or better just five minutes, at a time.
4/4/80-Well, things are looking up. Betty called again and brought more mail by two weeks ago, stirring up my feelings most painfully. However, I told her then to just throw any additional mail for me away and told her I couldn't talk then, that I had to go out. Although at times since then I've longed for nothing so much as another call from her, or to go by and see her myself, she has initiated no further contact of any kind. Nor have I. It is now about a month since we last saw one another. And several weeks since I called her. Though still painful, it is now much easier to really admit that it is over between us, that it is for the best this is so. What is more, I am not the isolated social failure I feared I would be in the aftermath of this harrowing relationship. I am frequently lonely and still down on myself sometimes. But I've kept active and involved socially to a much greater extent than I imagined I would or could. And I've also felt courage, strength, and confidence growing much faster than I would have believed possible. There are now several really good days for the few really bad ones, all things considered. And I'm finding new friends.
4/6/80-Easter Sunday. Have spent the day so far studying and working on civil service applications. Pam Love and I have a date for the latter part of the afternoon and into the evening. Not sure what we'll do. It's open. Had a dinner date with Cynthia Laird last night and stayed afterward at her place till nearly 1 AM. We made love, our sex somewhat awkward and frustrating. Afterward, feeling badly that we'd not been better together physically. Cynthia became quite excited yet was, however, O.K. about the let-down after I had come too soon, maybe two minutes into intercourse. Later, I felt like it might be best to give up sex entirely and resign myself to living alone. Wonderful! Today woke up feeling much more positive. Figured sooner or later I'll find a girlfriend willing to put up with me long enough to go through exercises to prolong my staying capacity in sex, long enough to become really well adjusted to one another sexually.
4/9/80-Wed.-From Pam Love, I learn Betty was back at the Unitarian Church Sunday, a return she had told me she intended to make as soon as she and Keith were back together and he was willing to face the music with friends in that Fellowship about their having had a baby that wasn't planned and out of wedlock. And also that Cynthia was upset in some way over Pam's being involved with me, which she surmised. Various rumor-mongers reportedly were spreading the news through the organization about me, Betty, Keith, Cynthia, and Pam, among others, and mourning melodramatically about how the Unitarian Fellowship had become a kind of Peyton Place! Ha, ha! - I'm pretty irritated with the whole thing.
As for Pam, something has happened to my mood and I feel almost detached. I want to be friends with her but think that our being lovers or romantically committed would be insincere. Yet I think she wants more and may no longer accept a just friends relationship, partly because I have not been clear and consistent in my messages to her, i.e. sometimes wanting to go to bed and to see a whole lot of her and sharing myself with her at both my best and my worst, yet then feeling detached and wanting to be "just friends," and feeling uncomfortable about sex with her, seeing her as too tense, nervous, awkward for it to be fun. I wonder if this is projection, but then know it's not because I do not and did not feel this way about amorous times with Betty and definitely did enjoy sex with her, all the more so once we were able to have good, mutually satisfying sex. But with Cynthia, Pam, Janice, or Judy, etc., I keep comparing, and I still taste, smell, hear, touch, and see Betty while another woman is with me. At other times, I am simply not sexually aroused with someone else, while, at others, as with Cynthia, when I do become aroused, and she is as well, I know that it likely will end in frustration and disappointment for both of us. So, what's the answer? Perhaps only "just friends" with anyone for awhile, until a relationship or relationships develop naturally in which it is safe to deal with this sex problem openly and constructively together.
Meanwhile, depression, alternating with anger, goes on. But my responses seem generally healthy. I am continuing to see others and to stay engaged socially, despite the confusions mentioned above. And I'm starting daily jogging early in the morning. I'm finally getting into studies and applications for jobs, with a view to finishing up my semester and my master's program as well as I can and then to getting a good job elsewhere as soon as possible. I also plan a week's visit with my brother and sister-in-law, Ralph and Mary, in Norfolk next month.
4/10/80-Thurs.-Got some good feedback today from one of my treatment teams at Clay. They said the new counselor, taking over as I phase out, will have a hard time filling my shoes, that they've never had a VR intern do as well, work as hard, and do as much for their patients as I had. Hooray! I needed that! I find it so hard to naturally give myself this kind of credit.
4/11/80-Fri.-Am now extremely busy, what with the Clay internship, catching up on studies not done all semester, completing job applications, preparing résumés, contacts with friends, dates, AA Young People's meetings, Insight Meditation Center activities, taking the PACE exam tomorrow morning, jogging, and all the miscellaneous chores or odds and ends of things that creep up on you and demand attention now. Nonetheless, I am still sometimes feeling pain over the Betty business, and yesterday morning, in my little cubby hole of an office, I briefly became tearful at work. I'm sure it went unnoticed. Today I feel similarly, though I've at least remained dry-eyed.
4/13/80-Sun.-Had good dates night before last and last night. Feeling comfortable with both of these women and can now be sexual with each of them, at least at a petting stage. Seeing my relationship with Betty in better perspective now and admitting it never was that good for any time at all. The pain of it is also less. Have begun to see the new friendships as valuable in their own right and not simply as diversion or ways to forget. For the first time in weeks, I'm feeling at ease with the space and time of being by myself at my apartment. I think I have all but stopped seeing myself here as a victim.
Betty dropped off a letter in my mailbox this AM. It came as a great surprise since in it she said she is now really over Keith and hinted that we could now start over if I wished and had not found someone else, that she had loved me but had not been ready to really be committed or to get married because she had not actually gotten over Keith yet. I think she means it. And I've also heard it before. And it still doesn't mean we would make it together. We might.
4/17/80-Thurs.-Got more good feedback today, secondhand. Dr. Eloise Grant, the staff pharmacist, reported to Harriet Bower and myself that in a Clay staff meeting today Dr. Mitchell Right, our VR Team Supervisor, said that Harriet and I were two of the best VR interns he had ever had there.
Also, Betty called this evening. I felt receptive, and we had a pleasant conversation. My contract not to contact her is up next Wednesday. Then I'll go by and see her. Meanwhile, I've got dates w/Pam the next two nights and a Hell-of-a-lot of studying to do.
4/20/80-Sun.-Had some pot with Pam and her friends, Steven and Michelle, again last night. Afterward Pam and I snuggled up in bed back at her place. Today I meditated for several hours at the Insight Meditation Center.
I've decided to start seeing Betty again but also to keep dating others and not to give Betty any money, for at least one month. I shall not stop dating others until when and if Betty and I are engaged; and I'll not ask her to marry me or offer her a ring until we've been getting along really well for at least six weeks. Meanwhile, I shall continue in counseling w/Frieda Brown for at least a month. Meanwhile too, I shall plan my life around the prospect of getting a good job as soon as possible, regardless of any relationship(s) here in Columbia, and shall assume that in all likelihood such a job would take me elsewhere. Starting in June, however, I'll seek work in Columbia to tide me over till a good job comes along. Generally, I shall leave initiating further developments in a relationship with Betty and her family, at least 50% up to her. Before we become engaged, it should be clear to both of us and to her kids that we really care about each other and that it is a reciprocal, sharing, loving relationship. Meanwhile, I'll let her have complete freedom and not ask for any kind of exclusive commitment, nor make her any promises either.
4/24/80-Thurs.-Dad's Birthday Anniversary - Betty told me she was ready to get married. After much thought I told her tonight I would be happy to, but wanted her to tell Keith today and that he would no longer be babysitting for her kids. She said O.K. I also had a date today with Diane at Clay Institute. We had a good time. I'm feeling a little scared about the prospect of marriage to Betty soon. Am reading "The Big Book," Alcoholics Anonymous, which has a lot of good material.
4/25/80-Fri.-Both Betty and I had serious misgivings today about our getting married, yet she terminated things more finally than ever with Keith, and I accepted, and she as well, that we shall marry, probably very soon. I have decided that, come what may, we are to have no more fights and that, no matter what, I shall not back out of this in any way. Yes, I am scared, depressed, and angry, mixed in with the more positive feelings. I shall treat her nicely, be kind to her, show her friendliness and respect, and the same with her children, no matter what. This is my family now. I shall take the next several days five minutes at a time, look on the bright side, and find the irony in situations that otherwise might tend to depress me. "When you learn to love hell you will be in heaven."
4/26/80-Sun.-The last couple days have shown the mistake of Betty and I trying to get back together. It is now glaringly obvious that we are better off apart, that we have too little really in common and also that we really, neither of us, genuinely care enough about each other now to try hard at all to make it work. So, with some regrets and sadness, feeling a little foolish, but also with relief, I am now free of her and ready to start over, or, rather, to pick up where I left off in dating different woman and participating in other social activities.
5/2/80-Fri.-I have finished my internship at Fall Institute. I shall miss the place because I have enjoyed my time there. I received my evaluation from my supervisor there today. He said he thinks I did better than any previous intern he knew of, there or in other facilities, in terms of my working with clients, my sensitivity, my interest and enthusiasm, and my productivity, and that he would be pleased to have been able to keep me on as a regular counselor. He added that I would be really missed, by both staff and patients, with both of whom I had earned respect, developed warm relationships, and made a significant impact, that I had touched and made a positive difference in the lives of several people with whom I had been involved there. He stated that, based on my work itself and my ability as a counselor, he would give me an A+. He said his one reservation was that I take my work too seriously, work too hard, and don't set priorities adequately to avoid feeling stressed when there's a lot to do. He added he didn't know how to recommend that I do it but that his one piece of advice was that I ease up somehow, relax, take it easy, establish priorities, and then not fret about lesser things or things one just does not have a convenient opportunity to get to. He said I should set my priorities and then simply take things one at a time and not take your work home. If anything is left over, he feels I ought to learn to say "To Hell with it!" and forget it, then go have some fun! "Learn to play," he said, "if you want to stay in this without burning out and want to stay as good as you already are." And he told me he hoped I would stay with this work because I am really good, and it is a field that can use more people with competence as well as genuine concern, and who enjoy it as I do. Dr. Hank Evans, my masters program coordinator, emphasized that I had been an excellent student but that I did not naturally admit it (accept this about myself).
Betty and I got back together last Sunday evening and have been very close ever since. We agreed then to give it "one last chance." And, despite being together every evening, we've had no fights or arguments of any kind since. Yesterday I agreed to a contract with Frieda Brown not to marry Betty for thirty days. So, we'll see how it goes. To my surprise, Betty readily agreed to wait, despite my not having given or promised her money or anything else. She said she wanted us to marry only if we both thought it was best and what we wanted, not a whim. And she has remained affectionate and has seemed still very committed in her intention and hope of linking herself and her family with me. After this, I realize that she is not just out to take advantage of me, that at this time she is no longer confused, as I felt she had been in most of our relationship previously.
5/5/80-Mon.-Still spending a lot of time w/Betty and family. On a scale of one to ten, I would rate this relationship as presently about a five. There are still many hassles beneath the surface, yet most all the time now we are friendly. Frequently we are very affectionate, at times sexual (though seldom satisfactorily so for both of us at once). We are acting more like we really love each other. Sometimes I think we do. And yet too often Betty really gets on my nerves. There are times as well when I could do very well without her kids. Sometimes I wish we had never gotten together again, perhaps even that we had never met. And then I feel like saying simply: "Betty, I really hoped it would work and that if we tried hard we could overcome all the problems but, the truth is, I see now that I do not feel good enough with your kids or with as little privacy, as little free time, plus as little just plain fun, as I am able to have with you and your family. (Is this me, her, the situation? Does it really matter?) So I'm sorry, but I think it's best we not get married. Good luck and goodbye." Yet sometimes I'm really happy and pleased we may soon wed.
5/6/80-Tues.-It's 3:30 AM, and I can't sleep. I have my last final exam this morning. I also expect to be breaking up for good with Betty today. I realize Betty and I haven't a chance in hell of being happy together and know now that our friendly time of the last several days was extremely fragile. But both to save face and to be certain I was doing the right thing, I have held off any confrontation or termination until I would have "a good reason." Instead I played a rather dangerous game, going through the motions of our being about to get married, yet half the time I forgot it was a game and believed in it myself, all the while praying that something would happen to keep us from this fate. But we had no fights and no major disagreements and in general seemed, on the surface, to be getting along swimmingly. Indeed, even now I don't want really to end it and keep thinking that maybe by some miracle it might work out, that I don't have sufficient "excuse" to end things, and so should give it at least one more evening together and then see how it goes and...
Anyway, yesterday I asked her to go with me to pick out an engagement ring and, instead of agreeing or seeming at all pleased, she asked what we were going to do about her house. When I said I didn't know, she began complaining about not having enough money and my not having a job, all considerations that would have been equally valid - or invalid - a couple weeks ago when she said she wanted us to go ahead and get married right away.
She finally added that she did not feel free to get engaged because I was "in no position" to take over full responsibility for her family's financing, implying that she needed to hold onto Keith as an option for helping her out financially. Our discussion was ended at this point by the press of her children's many needs for attention and assistance, which persisted, with one or another or several at once, through till a half hour past all of their bedtimes, at which point she said she was tired and was going to bed early. We left the issue amicably enough, though things hardly felt resolved.
5/7/80-Wed.-The game continues. I almost, but not quite, broke off with Betty today. I did talk with her about my frustrations and misgivings and she did the same about hers.
As mentioned earlier, I took my last final yesterday. I think I did well enough for an #A in the course and hence a 4.0 average for my whole 51graduate hours.
Meanwhile, I've mucho job seeking activities to be going through and also will be getting in a lot of meditation. Am thinking also of doing some writing.
5/10/80-Sat.-(1:00 AM) Am just back from my final date with Betty. We were making love and she stopped it, objecting that she was uneasy. I gave her a couple of minutes to explain and, when she did not, got up, got dressed, and started to leave. She called me back and wanted me to guess why she was uneasy. When I wouldn't play, she volunteered, at last, that she thought her husband (former) might be having the house watched so he could help his case in court against having to pay her more alimony and that it might look bad if I were there too late. We argued over this briefly till I pointed out that if we had both been more intimately inclined we could have spent the same time enjoying some good f--king, at which she grew hysterical, slapped me, and screamed for me to get out. "Oh, I'm going alright," I said, "and don't worry. I won't be back. I'd no idea I was so terrible> orobscene!" And so, at long last, it really is over and good riddance!
I think now that I shall try hard to get a job here in the next few weeks but, if I don't land one, I'll plan to head to Austin with Ralph and Mary about the middle of next month, and shall develop an appropriate résumé to fit my new location, in Texas. It then would be my intention to get work in central or northern Texas, and perhaps to begin a Ph.D. program in counseling at the University of Texas, after a year or two working in the field. I intend in any case to remain in counseling. Meanwhile, wherever I am, I shall stay active socially.
(11:30 PM) I've called Ralph and Mary and some friends in Austin. I've made a new contract with Frieda for no more contact with Betty. Have made a date with Judy for tomorrow night. I plan to have as many dates as I can during the balance of my time here. It already feels as though I am now on my way out of this burg. I'll spend the next few days completing applications, going through interviews, arranging for good references, etc. Toward the end of the week, I'll drive to Norfolk for a week or ten days of vacation. Upon my return, I'll resume applications and interviews, pack up my stuff, work on a temporary basis (as for Manpower), and continue with dates and other social activities. If I've not yet obtained work by the third or fourth week of June, when Ralph and Mary head for Texas, I'll move there with them and remain till I obtain a good job, meanwhile cultivating contacts in the new area.
5/11/80-Sun.- Have called some more friends and relatives in Dallas and Austin. It now looks as though that general area has abundant opportunities in many ways and that several people there would be rooting for me and giving assistance, and also that temporary accommodations and income would be relatively easy to come by. Am now thinking I may go there as early as the end of this month, though probably not till the end of June.
5/12/80-Mon.-Was feeling kind of blue today, despite everything, over the latest, evidently final, breakup with Betty. Also really anxious generally and in a quandary over whether to go for a job and continued social life here in Columbia or to go to Austin and start over there. It's complicated by low pay in this area, already having a few friends here and some references as contacts here, Betty's being here as a temptation and aggravation, and a position now being open here, similar to what I've been doing the last several months, but paying only $11,600 a year. I have, however, now tentatively decided to try hard for this position and also to have at least five more dates with at least three more women before deciding whether or not to leave SC.
5/13/80-Tues.-Following up further on a couple of job leads and getting my references in order. It appears I may obtain work in federal safety again. Also possible I can get a counseling job with a private rehabilitation service that operates in the Southeast, headquartered in Atlanta. I plan to check into the Safety angle tomorrow. Got my resume back today. It looks damned good! Starting to send it out. I am off tomorrow to visit Ralph and Mary and take a vacation.
5/14/80-Wed.-(6 AM) The radio's playing a sweet-n-sour sentimental piece that's really pretty good, the air conditioning's roaring in the background, hot tea warms my nervous tummy, and memories and hopes blend in the wee hours of night-morning. I'm alone once again, but no longer feeling in a panic over it nor especially angry or depressed.
Had a date Sunday. It was nothing special. I called the evening short, not feeling turned on by her and not feeling like making out when it would be insincere, just going through the motions. Asked a girl out last night but she said "No" unless I were free on Friday; but Friday I'll be in VA. In any case, I doubt I'll be living in SC much more than another month now. And I'll be vacationing in VA till nearly the end of May. It seems I'm just waiting to leave Columbia, so it is hard to really get into developing new relationships or even cultivating the present casual ones into anything more.
Nonetheless, I intend resuming dating and some social activities after my return from VA. I think there'll be less motivation, however, than two to three months ago, also less opportunity for new acquaintances. Will take more effort. A new contract of some type with Frieda may be in order to help keep myself more active socially and interpersonally despite the feeling that this chapter in my life is now over and that I'm just waiting now for the next three or four weeks' time to elapse to close this book forever and open a new one somewhere else. Well, I've got to take a short nap before beginning the new day, a long one. I'll be in Norfolk tonight.
5/16/80-Fri.-Have been up here in VA now for two days and nights, and it's been great! The tension is falling away like great stones being lifted off me. Ralph and I have been playing a lot in a very relaxed way. In addition, I've been spending a few hours a day pursuing job leads quite casually. Each day seems to open new doors of potential vocational opportunities, so that now the future seems brighter and more interesting than in a long, long time. It appears likely I can get a good civil service job, if I want it, somewhere in the US or in Europe within the next few months, either work related to my counseling degree or again in safety management.
Tonight, after an already full day, Ralph and Mary and I went out to eat, and then Ralph and I went bowling while Mary finished her meditation. Ralph and I both topped our previous record high score games. My previous high was 166. Tonight I bowled on 181 game and a 188 game right after that!
I feel confident too now that, whatever happens and wherever I wind up, I'll stay active both socially and sexually.
Was gratified and reassured to learn from Frieda the last time we met that my latest scores on MMPI and Rotter Incomplete Sentence Blank fell within the average range. So I'm not (no longer anyway) "fucked up" after all!
Not really sad this time over the final breakup with Betty. It is true I would prefer not to be alone. That's just the way it is. No relationship is a better situation, after all, than a bad one would be. There will be other opportunities, better ones I'm sure. Indeed, this past semester I've felt more at ease and confident with women than ever before, and they, in turn, have shown me more interest than at any time since perhaps my high school days.
So, all in all, things are looking up!
5/20/80-Tues.-Went bowling with Ralph again tonight and got seven strikes in a row! I bowled a 211 and a 168, my best and fourth best games ever. WOW!
I've had a few ups and downs and still at times get wistful or sad and moody about things not working out better with Betty and so my now being alone again. However, this has not been immobilizing. Rather, it has helped provide motivation for having fun with Ralph and Mary and for making future plans that will include staying quite socially engaged.
While still keeping my options open for available safety positions, I am now definitely concentrating on the quest for counseling or related jobs.
I intend from now on to take it relatively easy so far as work in concerned. As a goal, I'll try to do concentrated work no more than four hours a day. I hope to take up the slack with more socializing, fun, sexuality, physical activity, recreation, goofing off, hanging out, following up my natural curiosity and good imagination, being creative, and doing meditation.
5/21/80-Wed.-Although Ralph and I have continued to do things together and for the most part are enjoying this time in each other's company, at times the old competitiveness and rivalry interferes. Today at times it was obvious we were getting on each other's nerves. At one point, we had a brief argument over nothing. Afterward, I realized it's not just a clash of our personalities. For me, it was also frustration over my job situation (which today seems again discouraging because of a current freeze on federal hiring) plus sadness, anger, confusion, and frustration over the whole relationship with Betty and once again being alone.
It really comes down to existential questions. What's the meaning of life? Why must there be pain and loss? What does it all come down to, if anything? How can we avoid wasting our entire lives? But it's more basic than all that. I just feel bad and finally, completely, have to admit it could never have worked out with Betty, despite the high hopes and the good times, because we saw things too differently. And yet I loved her a lot and still do. Many times, despite everything, I could really feel good and have fun with her. Now, as sad, scary, and frustrating as it may be, willy-nilly, I have no choice but to start over with others and let her go emotionally. And yes, a part of me will probably always be a little in love with her. But it is absurd any longer to hold onto that or to cling to the fantasy of she and her kids really being my family.
I have decided to definitely apply only for counseling or related jobs.
5/24/80-Sat.-Feeling a mixture of anger, sadness, and fear about the remaining few weeks in Columbia, the final termination of things with Betty and family, all the preceding relationship w/her, starting over, still being alone, being out of work, soon leaving Columbia, going to Austin for awhile, etc. Although I realize that it is just the way I'm seeing/feeling it, right now I'm pretty blue. Nothing seems to relieve this.
Feeling a lot better now, however, after a brisk three-mile walk.
Evening: My visit to Norfolk, quite possibly my last one, is coming to an end. I leave for Columbia tomorrow morning. And the only reason for getting in touch with Betty further would be to remind her to pay me back for a recent $500 loan to her, if only at $10 a month. But this reminder can await my final departure from Columbia. If she contacts me, however, I would have one more option to resume a relationship w/her, if this is what she desires. I would do so only if she wants us to get married right away.
5/25/80-Sun.-(1:30 AM)-It has just occurred to me that the idea of marrying Betty now or of being willing to or wanting to, after all that's happened, is one of the most lonely, sad, self-defeating things I can think of and seems like a really pathetic self-indulgence. It is a real cop-out and one most unlikely to lead to happiness. Instead, under no circumstances now will I marry her.
I realize that part of my loneliness and sense of lost meaning now is not just being out of work, being in limbo between moves and locales, not knowing where I'll get work and if it will be a place with many social opportunities, being completely on my own again, etc. During the course of my involvement with Betty I made several compromises. Two major ones were to put doing things with her and according to her wishes and her style of life ahead of my preferences for 1) regular, daily meditation and 2) vegetarianism. But once I had compromised in this way for several months and had dealt more directly and honestly then with some of my previous intellectual reservations about the discipline of The Lifestream Way and its belief system, I found I no longer felt comfortable with a strict and literal following of that path. Yet I now have no other, nothing comparably meaningful and relevant with which to replace The Lifestream Way.
I believe there is much more to existence than everyday, common sense "reality" has to offer. But I do not believe that true reality can be neatly packaged in any one set of acceptable beliefs and behaviors. So, like it or not, we are all on our own. We have each other. Our loving and caring for one another can make a big difference. But we are still ultimately alone. No one else can show me the way. Finally, we do our best with insufficient information. Yet we are responsible. These are our decisions. And we are bound to make mistakes, some big, some small. There may be no ultimate meaning we can know this side of the grave, perhaps none at all. So, to whatever extent we can, and as soon as we can, we may as well enjoy things simply and directly, here and now. And let ourselves have whatever fun we can along the way! At least for me this is a beginning. I intend, in a relaxed way, to give it a try. Perhaps also with a good sense of humor. The light approach is closer to the mark anyway.
With Betty I must finally admit defeat. Yet I am not thereby defeated. This is only the beginning.
Betty says she sent me a letter. I'm back from Norfolk now but won't be able to pick up my mail till tomorrow or the next day. We talked on the phone tonight. She is once more with Keith and says it's better with him than at any time in their various attempts since I have known her. This at once means she was never really serious or committed to our relationship, that it is absolutely, finally over between us, and that it is best that she and I not try further but just let whatever we had die. Further cementing my feelings about this, she said she now plans to do photography with Keith, something she has found, from the outset, more important than commitment or quality in her relationships. Besides this, she said she has definitely decided to give up her older three kids to their father for the summer, a man whom she had divorced three and a half years ago for child abuse! She said she "wants to be free of them" to concentrate on her photography and her future with Keith. Such a decision is something I can barely understand, much less agree with. It makes it all the more clear that her values or priorities and mine were and are too divergent for us to ever be happy together. So be it. She is out of my life. Perhaps I'll mention her to someone with whom I become close in the future. That is all. I may be very down over this at times, perhaps even for quite a while, but at least it is now completely at an end.
Tonight I arranged to attend a party at Pam's Fri. night. I expect to be moving to Texas in four weeks. 5/26/80-Mon.-Anxiety this morning, perhaps from trying to avoid the pain of last night's Betty revelations. But this is futile. One way or another, it must be faced.
5/27/80-Tues.-My feelings had turned to anger by this evening. Still, I'm doing OK. I called three women this afternoon and evening (yesterday, that is, as it is 12:00 midnight) for dates, and got one positive response, one likely, and one maybe later. I also joined a men's bowling league tonight and had my first games with them. I consistently scored pretty well.
5 PM. After receiving Betty's letter from the Post Office this morning, I felt compelled to go see her briefly to clarify a couple of things she had misunderstood. The result, however, was that we were again feeling very affectionate toward one another. Yet she is "exclusively committed to Keith." Lord! It is over!
5/28/80-Wed.-Ralph called tonight. He and Mary plan to stop here on their way to TX on June 17th if I'm going with them. I said "Yes." So, it's not long now. I'll be pretty busy getting everything done in the time remaining.
5/29/80-Thurs.-Watching a late movie on American troops in Burma during World War II.
Sent off another packet of civil service applications today.
Called Pam to say "Hello" and worked out plans for our date Saturday.
Made theater reservations for a date with Tish tomorrow.
Called Barbara this morning to set a time to pick her up tonight, as we'd not arranged the details. She said she'd call me back, but she never did, though I was home most all day and part of the evening. She seemed interested enough before. Did she stand me up because she's uncomfortable that I'm White and she's Black, but didn't want to just come out and say this, or does she just not want to go out with me, or is something else going on for her now and she would rather not deal with someone new?
I'm reading Sybil. Quite interesting.
Still having problems with loneliness, remaining jealousy and regrets over the Betty situation, insecurities about being now without either a job or a girlfriend and not knowing even where I'll be and what I shall be doing in a few weeks. It is hard not to think that it's all been a waste. It is hard not to feel everything is pretty meaningless and futile.
Got my second disappointment in new job hopes today. Civil Service said I was "unqualified" for a position I had applied for in the Norfolk, VA, area. Oh well, I'll keep applying. Sooner or later I'll get lucky. The same with my social life.
Carl Unger, at the meditation center, points out that a period such as I'm experiencing now, with no regular engagement/involvement/structure/stimulation to confirm one's meaning, identity, security, or common sense view of oneself and reality, is just as good as a meditation retreat if handled in the right way, with a good attitude, and if one keeps on meditating. The mind, having less entertainment, can take better advantage of the meditation this way. The discomfort I feel is really "hot boredom," the mind-ego-small self's resistance to facing and dealing with things as they are, and going beyond all the little personal dramas, fantasies, internal dialogues, memories, and rationalizations by which we maintain our shallow, false views of ourselves and of how things are. He points out that beyond the "hot boredom" is "cool boredom" which can hardly be described but which can be appreciated once it is experienced and is akin to the difference between constant practice with a musical instrument, even when one just is not in the mood, and giving a sensitive, skilled performance that expresses at once the soul of the composer and of the musician. It is well, then, to take full advantage of such times as this! Soon enough, I'll be normally engaged and involved once more and the mind then fully entertained.
5/30/80-Fri.-From Sybil I've gained the insight, hinted at also in counseling w/Susan Campbell and Frieda Brown, that in Betty I had found the female counterpart to my father. In marrying her, in a way I would be recapitulating the love-hate relationship I had as a child and adolescent with him. Like him, she is often insensitive, blaming of others, hypercritical, judgmental, aggressive, demanding, ambitious, competitive, domineering, self-centered, vain, and self-assured, while casually hurting or manipulating others. Like him, she is given to hysterics (his, of course, not through screaming but through ranting, harping, exaggerating, "awfulizing" etc.) and to contempt for others and prejudice and bigotry. Like him she is very strong-willed and has great pride. Like him she is moralistic, self-righteous, and narrow-minded. Yet, also like him, she is paradoxical and at other times can be charming, intriguing, affectionate, caring, interested, stimulating, intense, exciting. So, I got hooked with her in much the same way as with my father, though more intensely and intimately, because of course our relationship was also sexual and between genders, and she had a strong attraction for me in more ways than he could have.
Wanda, Dr. Right's secretary, dropped me the hint in phone conversation that his letter of recommendation for me, though frank, had been glowing - that anyone would want such a reference in his or her file. I hope I get to put these good references to use before long!
I'm giving notice at the apartment complex today. I've never really felt at home here, it being where I fled on breaking with Betty in those chaotic days after: our living together; the abortive attempt at getting married; her delivery of Clarence; her renewed interest in Keith; her naming the baby after him; etc. It will surely feel good to be quitting this place, even this part of the country, to literally be putting all of this behind me.
Going to a dinner theater with Tish tonight. She seems a really nice person, attractive in a quiet, mellow way. Once I'm settled down again, I hope I can meet and cultivate the friendship of more people like her, folks who are perhaps not so exciting as the Betties of this world, but, in the long run, much more likely to permit and promote real happiness.
5/31/80-Sat.-Frieda says my recent psychological tests show my responses now to be in the normal range. Can the sadness, loneliness, and uncertainly I am feeling now be normal? Yes, if I were a therapist and myself were my client who asked me this question, I would agree that is is quite reasonable to grieve and go through such feelings and stages as this in dealing with a significant loss, especially when so much else is also in limbo. But it is hard to take. At one and the same time, I feel I must be with others and yet want to be by myself. I would be gone from here forever, and still want to go see Betty "just one more time." Little things, like my typewriter breaking down yesterday while I'm trying to get important applications in, nearly reduced me to tears of frustration and anger. Oh yes, all things considered, still quite normal. So, life goes on. And though there's no one to hold my hand and tell me it will be alright, I'll make it O.K. and it will be alright. Things are looking up. Besides, I'm courageous, persistent, tenacious. I'm determined to pull it all together and be happy. I'll make it happen.
My date with Tish last night was somewhat disappointing. She did not seem to be bored, yet she was extremely unresponsive, talking little and seeming very reserved. We had dinner, saw the play, engaged in light chit-chat, and listened to a couple of hours of Joan Baez back at her place, then said our farewells. Her embrace and kiss goodnight seemed not even dutiful, but frosty, fearful, despite both the warmth of her words and her invitation for me to come back. For all her ambiguity and fickleness, Betty at least had been responsive and usually affectionate. And even her absurdly inappropriate, hysterical anger gave a better feeling of being alive than this. The play and Baez were nice.
I suppose some of my own uneasiness about relating to women, my "shyness," is at the heart of my so often being associated with girls who are at least a little bit wacky and don't, or can't, simply relax and have a good time with me. Almost all these women seem nice and interesting and open in some respects but also screwed up and uptight in others. It is not, though, because of me that Betty, Tish, Pam, Diane, etc., are uneasy and uptight in one respect or another. Perhaps it may even be the human condition. But the main thing, I think, is to just keep on dating all these different women. If I discontinue seeing one, I shall begin seeing someone else, but not settle for an exclusive relationship with anyone too uptight for us to grow in a sharing, loving, intimate, reciprocal, trusting involvement.
I had a "study date" with Diane earlier this week and brought her over to my apartment where, despite some socializing, she spent the better part of the night working on a paper while I filled out job applications. The silly girl removed her clothes but then became angry when I kissed her in a playful way, and said she wasn't interested in "getting physical." Where do I find all these birds? Are most of the available women out there neurotic? For now, I guess I'll assume that most of them are, not expect too much from any particular date or even any one friendship, keep seeing folks despite such absurdities, and wait till I find someone who is not screwed up and with whom I have plenty in common before starting another real relationship. I suppose too that, as I feel more confident and sure of myself, these anomalies in my date life will seem less upsetting and just more boring. Indeed it was boredom with her silly bedroom games that sparked the long awaited final breakup with Betty. But I hope before long I'll find some women who've got more going for them - and for me - than this.
Between dates, and while awaiting my typewriter's being fixed, am beginning to get ready for the upcoming move.
Pam just called. Said she wants to go on our swimming date early, so she can get back sooner because she's decided to take a nap before going on to a party. The last time we'd talked she was planning to come over at 2 PM and spend the rest of the day with me. Well, I can certainly understand her reserve and ambivalence since we were getting pretty close when I went back with Betty. It's really surprising Pam's been willing or interested in going out with me again at all. I think now she's giving a clear, healthy, self-protective message: "It's over. I'll go out if it's very convenient and I've nothing better to do. But I'm really just going through the motions with you now. And if you don't call me again, that's fine too. I'm going my own way, and you've really no place in my life anymore."
4 PM. Pam and I had a pleasant time swimming and will go together to the party tonight. She's not playing games with me.
11:45 PM. Back from date with Pam. I asked her why we still seems more distant. I just made it a playful, pun-ful comment: "Ever since you moved to this apartment our relationship has gone to pot." I asked if it were because I'd seen Betty again. She said that was part of it but not the main thing. She said I was intense in a depressed way and extremely self-critical, didn't give myself a chance, didn't accept myself, didn't give myself permission to simply be happy, all of which reminded her of her husband. He had died not that long ago of this negative, self-critical intensity, apparently having taken an accidental overdose.
All of this scared her about me, she said, as I was only the second person she'd known that vehement in self-doubt and anxiety to be better than he already was, and the first one was now dead. I told her it was true I was too self-critical and had recently been boringly depressed, I knew, but that I thought her perception of me was exaggerated by still dealing with her husband's death. Also, that I was sad due to still getting over losing Betty and her family, even as I knew it was for the best, just as she was still dealing with losing her husband. Nonetheless, Pam's comments simply supplement those from several others. I am too hard on myself and am always trying for more and feeling frustrated by what I don't have, rather than just enjoying and accepting myself and things as they are.
6/1/80-Sun.-It has occurred to me that in several uncanny respects there were similarities between Betty and Pam, similarities that I could not know of when I first started going out with Pam. Both women were thirty-two when I met them, were, in fact, within four months of being the same age. Both were the younger of two children in their families, the older of whom was a brother my age. Both had alcoholic fathers. Both had very high intelligence. Both had been married before, had been divorced about three years, and had not resolved their feelings about their marriages and divorces, and both attributed to me characteristics of their former husbands. Both women had been in a near fatal accident from which they were saved only through timely medical intervention which included, for both of them, a spleenectomy. Both women, though in different ways, were uneasy about sex.
Here, however, the similarities cease, for in personality they were very different. And my reaction to them was also different. I found Betty very attractive and very exciting yet extremely difficult to get along with, abrasive, competitive, often trying to put me down, frustrating, more inclined to fight with than to cooperate with me, and also manipulative, immature, indecisive, inconsistent, self-centered, and irresponsible. Pam, on the other hand, has a far more appealing personality but is much more nervous, is afraid of her feelings, and is not physically attractive, often seeming uncoordinated and awkward, and is less creative and more compulsive than Betty. Betty is an expedient practical realist, by comparison. Pam is much more a dreamer who puts herself down before criticizing someone else. Betty would hardly ever even question herself, much less be self-critical, and she tends instead to blame others when she feels frustrated. Pam and I, then, are much more alike. What I need and want is to find someone with a lot of the qualities of both of these women but with few of their liabilities, and who also wants someone like me! Perhaps a tall order. We'll see.
But, god, I'm sad! I just want to crawl into a hole and cover myself up in it. And, despite everything, the temptation to go see Betty seems especially intense today. Notwithstanding all the negative things I say and feel about her, there were many good times. When they were good, they were very, very good, and we had seemed to come so damned close!
8:30 PM. It is scary going through these last days, slowly spinning delicate web links with distant places and ordering and simplifying my plans and possessions and social relations to best befit my new, more nomadic existence, to be able to take with me what roots I have and what nurturance I need, to become comfortable with being uncomfortable until, perhaps months from now, I may be settled once more with a good job, new friendships, a new house or apartment, perhaps almost anywhere in this country or in Europe...
The number of people left to date, much less enjoy with any intimacy, is shrinking as mutual detachment is occurring. In slightly more than two weeks I'll be gone. I arranged today with Allen in Dallas to spend some time with him this summer, while waiting and looking for a job in that area. I called Pam and made a date for Friday. At most, I'll probably only see her a couple more times. If I were much smarter than I really am, I'd likely stick with Pam, ask her to join me once I get a good job somewhere, and we could make a good life together. But instead, I am looking forward to cutting ties with her and everything else about this place. It is time to begin in earnest sorting and packing for the move. Slack time can be taken up with movies, walks, reading, meditation, swimming, etc.
6/4/80-(8:25 AM) Awake all night with an illness which, I believe, is just from nervousness and anger about Betty ("You make me sick!"). Cancelled dental appointment for this AM - I'll get a new one for needed restoration work once I'm in Dallas or Austin for awhile. Meanwhile, I'll give myself especially good care on my own, watch sweets, etc.
Today I'll "get myself together," do my laundry, do some typing at the university, and begin preparations for the move. If feeling better by then, I'll go to the Insight Meditation Center this evening.
Still feeling really at loose ends and badly about the whole Betty business.
I finally got out briefly this evening, to get some ATM machine cash and a couple of things I needed from the grocery store. My illness persists but is not so bad. I still feel weak and a little shaky.
Called Pam. She's been sick too and with the same symptoms. It seems my illness was not hysterical or psychosomatic.
A resolution not to work on anything serious more than four hours a day is fine, but since the result at the moment is just more time sitting around feeling sorry for myself, the "cure" seems worse than the illness. Accordingly, tomorrow I'll begin full-time efforts to get ready for the move and get a good job.
6/8/80-Sun.-Peace, harmony, and contentment are available. The keys to them are clearly visible in the collection of philosophical and behavioral principles and attitudes, "The Way It Is," in "My Steps," in the Handbook to Higher Consciousness, in the practices and philosophies of Zazen and of Buddhist meditation, and in the writings of Carlos Castaneda, Charles Tart, and Joseph Pearce, among others. Such things are no mystery. They are simply by-products of a fulfilling, growth inducing, integrating way of life.
6/11/80-Wed.-I've decided not to apply for either the safety or the psych-tech. openings at Fort Jackson. Both are at only the G5-7 level, hardly worthwhile after getting a masters in counseling, especially as they would mean I would remain in her in Columbia.
Had some pot with Diane tonight, before and after a fine Spoleto orchestra concert. I agreed to write her before she leaves Clay, later this month, and let her know how things are going.
6/13/80-Fri.-Things are just as they are. Therefore they could not have been any different. If they could have been, they would have been. So there's nothing for it but to accept it. If you don't accept what cannot be changed and could not have been otherwise, you're just being stubborn and deliberately upsetting yourself.
(10:30 AM) I just sent off 10 cartons of my worldly goods to Austin via United Parcel Service. I think the balance, or most of it, will go on the U-Haul trailer Ralph and Mary are bringing. But I'll get a few more cartons ready to ship, just in case I'll need to.
(10:45 PM) Had a dinner and movie date with Pam tonight. She asked for an early and light evening due to illness and also cancelled our weekend in Charleston for the same reason, yet let slip that she already has plans for other activities on Saturday and Sunday. I suppose she was mainly just too ambivalent about the intimacy of a final weekend with me and her own feelings for me, since I am leaving and since she's unsure how close she wants to get to anyone right now. We said an amicable but reserved goodbye to each other tonight after I took her home. I feel pretty sad about this, one more woman out of my life, another one who really was not even very committed to our relationship. Plus I am just disappointed about the missed weekend in Charleston, but, after all, I am leaving on Wednesday anyway. If I do return here for the psych. tech. job, I'll not make any special overtures to renew my relationship with Pam, but I shall respond, on a 50-50 reciprocal basis only, if she wishes us to see each other again once she knows I'm back.
So, I face a weekend alone. I plan to go out to Lake Murray a couple of times and do a lot of meditating. I shall also go on a couple of long walks, I believe, and read Illusions.
In the midst of all the stuff of "My Steps" there are some interesting and valuable things, worth preserving for my amusement or wisdom in old age. Once I am again in a more settled place in my life, and have unpacked my shit in a new house or apartment, then perhaps I shall have a chance to go through it, typing up a bit of it each day so that in a few weeks or months I shall have a typed draft, however rough, covering up to two to three years ago. I can then also edit "My Steps" for the period since 1975 and discard the extra, junk type entries that have no usefulness beyond the moment of writing (i.e. written just to work things out in my mind, on paper). Then I can edit and type up a packet of philosophical principles and realistic attitudes, for practical adaptation to life, growth in consciousness, etc.
6/14/80-Sat.-I had a dream today in which a counselor is asking me for advice to help him in working with Betty as well as with the latest boyfriend she has taken up with and has then rejected. He said that she now seemed open, at least a little, to looking at her part in the difficulties that arose in that relationship, that she had really cared for the guy, apparently, and had been very hurt when they broke up, though it had still been her intransigence and rigidity that had forced them apart once things began to get rough. The guy had been stunned and shocked and had sought counseling, then had gotten her to participate as well in a more limited way, and she had been genuine enough in counseling so far to reveal some of her vulnerability, to let down the facade of goody-goody niceness and sweetness. I was eager for more information from this counselor which, however, he was unwilling to give, wanting to protect his clients' rights of privacy and confidentiality. But beyond that interest I said I really would prefer not to talk about her, that I was still too involved for it not to hurt too much, and that, besides, I had a conflict of interest: if she really were going to be more genuine and open, I would want her to come back to me, not this new fellow, though I realized this was unrealistic. I then decided to ask my counselor for permission to call or go see her. I woke up at this point and, after thinking about it, was disappointed to see how unresolved things still are for me about Betty. At least I did not actually try to get in touch with her.
6/15/80-Sun.-A year ago today I received my first Father's Day gift, from Tommy, Betty's then six-year-old son. Last night, I slept fitfully and had numerous angry dreams of Betty. In three days, I'll be gone from here. The way I feel now, even if she writes, I would never communicate with her again. Every slightest thought of her now brings up such anger that I'm having hundreds of fantasies of hurting her. I need to vent the emotion, I know, for it is fruitless and just keeps me trapped in the past. Yet I know that at the moment it serves as a protection from a great deal of hurt I do not want to feel yet, and also helps keep me from making a fool of myself by going to see her once again.
I think that in TX I may do some volunteer work with kids in some capacity or other.
Reading Illusions by Richard Bach.
This afternoon I meditated for an hour. I have now a variety of meditation methods at my disposal. The simplest would seem best. I shall use "Mu" as a focusing device for the first thirty minutes of each meditation session and listening to or for the Lifestream Sound for all additional meditation in each session and shall plan a session of at least an hour a day. I shall not suppress thoughts, fantasies, and sensations but rather, on noticing that I have gone off into such distractions, shall simply return to my focusing device. I shall have my regular meditation session sitting in a chair with eyes closed. Other meditation, as in a meditation center, shall be in the form prescribed by that school or discipline. I shall continue the meditation for the rest of my life, with as much consistency and regularity as I can muster.
6/16/80-Mon.-A good sign: last night had a dream of Paige, meeting her and joining in singing songs at a jam session she was participating in, and of casually putting my arm around her and of her responding, leaning against me, etc. Our having a good time together. No dreaming of Betty at all! Hooray!
I have just about wrapped everything up, literally, here in Columbia. Feeling pretty sad. This morning, I almost started sobbing just before stopping at Clay Institute to say "Goodbye" to the counseling crew there. Well, I guess I probably shall still have periods of sadness or anger for awhile yet, and then, one of these days, I might just let it all go. I have defended myself against the hurt for months with anger or even with trying to get back with Betty again, to "really make it work this time." But now, with only a few hours left in this city, it all seems to have come to a head. I must admit that it is really over and there's nothing I can do about it. To make certain I let this sink in, in fact, I must not initiate any further contact with her until I'm involved with someone else and have a good job, and then only if she has written me first.
6/17/80-Tues.-(12:30 AM) Betty called and then came by yesterday afternoon. She suggested that she work while I go on for my doctorate and that we get together once more, with this new arrangement. She felt, this way, she would have what she needed and I would have what I needed, and so we would not be in competition as we had been. I told her, as kindly as I could, that it was too late for us, that I wish it were not so, but that I really did not think that it could work for us now, that if I did, I would marry her at once, that I loved her and had never wanted anyone as much as her, but it seemed best that I go ahead and leave now, that if I stayed Keith would still be involved, at least in her fantasies, and she would probably once again be frustrated with me, if for no other reason than just because I was not and never could be Keith and she was not completely over him. in fact, while I had known her, she had never been over him.
I feel sad now about the whole thing, yet relieved as well, that I was able to turn her down this time on my own, and even that once again it obviously is not going so well between her and Keith, or she would never have wanted me back. Thus, I need not feel at all that I was at fault or somehow did not do enough to make it work. Clearly, Keith is not able to suit her either, even though he has always been her first choice. So I am not justified in putting myself down for any kind of inadequacy in relating to her. God damn I tried! So did Keith. Yet no one, evidently, is going to be enough for this woman, at least not for awhile. I have a lot of compassion for her, and I understand her frustration. I am glad not to be, myself, in her situation. But in large part she has, unfortunately, done it to herself, though she clearly can not see it that way. - So, though I am sad thinking of the whole thing, I am now more free of her than before, more ready to really begin anew. I think now my relationships will be looking up!
Ralph and Mary called. We may all be leaving late today rather than tomorrow morning.
I had my last session with Frieda Brown. She gave me names of some counselors I might contact in Austin and Dallas. We bid each other fond farewells and best wishes. I think now perhaps I shall try group therapy.
After sleeping much of this morning, tomorrow will be a busy day!
Frieda seemed encouraged by the progress I have made in therapy with her. She seemed genuinely sorry to say "So long," sincere in wishing me well and hoping I would keep in touch. She encouraged me to keep smiling, saying I am much more attractive that way. We gave each other a good hug, and I left.
6/20/80-Sat.-I am now in Austin! We arrived day before yesterday, about noon.
Betty had come by one last time, only a couple of hours before I left. This time our visit was more painful and frustrating for me. I felt sad and angry, as did she, and she left in a huff after tears had failed to sway me to stay, and after she had felt insulted when I suggested that at least now maybe she would be able to make up her mind, her choices of men to depend on being narrowed to one.
I have now pretty definitely decided to stay with my brother, Allen, in the Dallas area, starting about the middle of next week.
I went shopping with Alice (down from Michigan for our family's reunion), Mary, and Ralph today and got some nice clothes and good shoes.
6/26/80-Thurs.-It's after 1 AM, still quite hot here in Allen's apartment, and I hate what I have seen of Dallas. Am really wondering if I can feel at home again in TX. It was 109°F here today, and I am thinking I made a big mistake in leaving Columbia in the first place. So now what the Hell do I do!? I am nearly 37. I have very little money, no job, no wife or even girlfriend, no property except a very used car, and no kids. I am in a strange city that I hate. I have no good prospects for jobs plus a lousy employment history. The only damned thing I have got going for me is a good graduate school academic record. All I really want to do is go back to Columbia, look up Betty, and take her up on her offer, but that now would make this move look splendid by comparison. What the fuck do I do now!? Nothing I can think of seems right. Fantasies of oblivion, wishing I were dead. Well, I think I had better admit to Allen and my folks I made a mistake, go back to Austin, stay at my folks' place a few days till I can find a good residence situation, where I can pay by the month, one that is quiet and well air conditioned, go down to Manpower and apply for temporary work, continue with long-term job hunting, and continue with social activities toward making new friends/meeting new people there, meanwhile resume my restriction from initiating contact with Betty.
(9 AM) Explaining to Allen about wanting to go back to Austin right away, I started crying despite myself, getting into some of the sad and mixed up feelings going back at least as long as I have known Betty. (I had a dream of her last night in which my father and Betty started having an affair, and then I confronted them about it and was rejected by them both.) Allen was real nice and said it was alright and that he understood, that he had actually cried on the trip back to Dallas from the family reunion in Austin for similar reasons. I said it was too bad he was that lonely here. He said, with tears now in his eyes, that he knew he did it to himself, though he was slowly changing, that he tended to separate himself from others and not be able to get close to them and join in with them. He said he still feels like an outcast from his own family and that he never got what he needed to feel at home in his own home, but that, now that he's away all the time, he just feels the same way, except even more so, out in the world as well.
Allen was made a scapegoat by our parents when he was little, and to some extent this has even carried over up to now. Our father, especially, was really hard on him. Watching this and other similar tragedies as I was growing up, I often felt furious or just very sad and finally left and went out to San Francisco hoping to escape the pain and the hate there. Yet I felt in doing so like I had in breaking up with Betty and her family, that it was like I was a part of a tree and yet had to chop myself off the rest of the tree and just hope that somehow I would learn to grow again in whatever soil I found myself in after I had fallen away. Like Allen, of course, I never did feel at home in the way that was needed, anywhere. Still, in the present circumstances, Austin is much more attractive, has easier and better opportunities for meeting new people, and is less overwhelming and intimidating, while everything else is unsettled as well, than Dallas would be. I shall stay here one more day and go to a baseball game where Allen is playing tonight, then go on back to Austin tomorrow morning.
6/27/80-Fri.-Have decided to stay on here thru Sunday and see how I feel about things then.
On second thought, I've an upset stomach and am too hot at 2 AM and half the time can't sleep for the noisy neighbors here at Allen's apartment. And I don't like a city this large and complicated to begin with. Why beat my head against the wall when I don't even like it here? It was a mistake coming to Dallas. Three more days here will not change that. I plan now to leave later today. Hopefully, despite this heat, I shall eventually get some sleep before then.
Well, I told Allen I would stay through Sunday and see how I felt then. I'll stick with that. But my impression right now is that I just don't like Dallas and would much prefer to be in Austin. So, I guess I'll work on applications the next three days and then head back. Meanwhile, the heat here at his apartment is keeping me awake till 3 AM - One thing I need to assure myself is a cool place to stay once back in Austin. I just like the overall character of Austin better than here as well. The radio here says it all: rock, religion, and country - no good music or educational stations. Staying here now seems a colossal waste of time.
Later. Well, I stand corrected: I have found one classical station. I am tired and hot, which clearly is part of it, but I have seldom felt so depressed, out of place, unsure of any way to get out of the present mess. And seldom have I missed Betty so much. Seldom was I less sure that I shall find a way to fill the void I had tried to fill with her, or be simply happy.
109°F day before yesterday, 113°F yesterday, and the same today. Lord!
1:30 PM. Starting afresh. I'm just going to take it easy today and on till Sunday evening, when I'll head back to Austin, spending a lot of time in recreation, then some in filling out employment applications. And I shall concentrate on Handbook to Higher Consciousness and "That Which Is."
7/1/80-Tues.-Feeling pretty badly. Have a bad case of the runs, an upset tummy, and also a fever that has lasted over the past couple of days.
Temperatures remain sky-high and are predicted to remain so at least through the rest of this month.
I am, despite the heat and illness, continuing to do one or two things daily toward getting a job.
7/2/80-Wed.-Well, there's been no break in the heat wave. But my illness is now all but over, and I have come to a decision that leaves me feeling positive and optimistic again: I' shall wrap things up here in Dallas between now and July 11th, except for possible infrequent visits to pursue jobs in person, if there are any bites later on applications and inquiries submitted. Meanwhile, I plan to stay active in my job seeking and then get packed up again to leave July 11th in the early evening, to resettle in Austin, probably renting an air-conditioned room on a monthly basis, then wait out this interim till I land a good job.
Today I completed and mailed off sets of applications for positions in Europe and Hawaii. Whether I get one of them may depend on the letters of recommendations on file at Univ. of S. Carolina Placement Office, letters I have not seen, having waived that right so the professors could feel free to write just what they wished. The one big thing against me is my poor and unsteady undergraduate academic record.
I feel much more relaxed in Dallas knowing I'll be making good use of my time here but probably not staying.
7/3/80-Thurs.-Went to a dentist today for restoration of a missing filling. Also made some calls in connection with employment possibilities. It now appears likely I can obtain a job in the next few weeks for at least $15,000 a year, though it is likely to be in one of several rather out of the way places. Suddenly I feel somewhat depressed and rather reluctant to go ahead with my job-seeking efforts. Still, there seems little help for it. It would be worse not to seek new work that seems available.
Meanwhile I'm experiencing fantasies of Betty again, which I find depressing, and of myself as dying of cancer, so dramatic has been evidence of my aging, in my face and hair, in the last three to four months. Bother! Also am feeling still a little queasy, which is doubtless feeding some of these morbid fantasies.
7/5/80-Sat.-Got a letter from Betty today. I reacted to it with renewed depression and anxiety.
7/7/80-Mon.-It has occurred to me that That Which Is, as well as that part of it we call "our own nervous systems" interact and manifest and simply are in extremely complex, interconnected, multidimensional ways that bear little if any direct relation to common sense reality, three dimensional space, and ordinary, everyday conceptions of space-time. Much of our conscious energy, then, is employed in maintaining this convenient, artificial construct, a matter-of-fact "reality" at several levels of simplicity and of dimension removed from the actual state of things. This highly schematic projection and reduction of ourselves upon the nature of true reality is useful up to a point, but in most of us it has come to take the place of a more meaningful, enriching, exciting, productive, authentic, and direct way of perceiving and appreciating that seamless phenomenon which is at once ourselves and all things normally sensed as other than ourselves, now, then, and in the next part of a continuum of constantly, dynamically changing momentary "nows."
Dreams and waking fantasies are still dominated by the theme of Betty and her family. I have resolved that, no matter what her communications with me, I shall not contact her again in any way.
If I'm not down to 145 pounds by August 1st, I'll begin liquid-only dieting on both Monday and Thursday of each week, plus daily 3 mile-hr. walking, or equivalent swimming exercise. (Meanwhile too, I shall resume and keep up my daily meditation sittings.)
It now appears likely I'll have a job paying an acceptable income within the next couple of months. So, I may as well keep on sending in applications and, otherwise, just relax and enjoy this respite.
Meditated for an hour and a half this afternoon.
Went for a long walk this evening.
7/10/80-Thurs.-Kind of low today or, rather, continuing so since yesterday. It is 1 AM and I've yet to go to bed. Said my "Goodbyes" all 'round Wed. afternoon and evening. I'm packing up and heading out in the morning. I realize now I may not feel any more terrific in Austin, as I am still going through some pretty deep grieving about Betty. But there's more for the likes of me to do in Austin, and it will be easier to meet new people and get around there.
Later. So, here I am in Austin. Ashes in my mouth. My teeth hurt and need brushing. Went out to my folks' place this evening. First, I got a cheap motel room. Visiting with Ralph, Mary, Mom, Dad was a dreary test of endurance and control that left me seething. I find I've still much anger toward my parents for their conditional "love," their guilt-tripping, and their abundant criticism, and toward Ralph for his hostility, eagerness to show me up, and his patronizing attitude.
Also got a letter from Betty in which she pours out her love and says she can't bear to live without me, but adds I could have been kinder and more empathic, more understanding. What a bunch of bullshit! Oh sure, she thinks she loves the hell out of me now that I'm definitely gone and she can romanticize the tragedy of her loss. But in the flesh - HELL - I asked her thirty times to marry me. If she'd truly been so in love with me all she'd have had to do was say "Yes" just one of those times and consistently followed through, and we'd now be sharing our lives instead of separately lamenting how and why it all came at last to an end.
7/11/80-Fri.-Resumed TM meditation this morning. Have decided to use this meditation style, 20 min. every morning and every evening, as a base or foundation. I shall use other methods for centering and consciousness growth, but continue with this as my fundamental tool for stilling the mind.
7/15/80-Tues.-Seven years ago today I was initiated into the Lifestream Way. I'm no longer actively following that discipline, however.
Yesterday, I moved into my new room. Having a little trouble adjusting to it. The place is warmer than I usually find comfortable even if somewhat air-conditioned (down to around 78° at night), has a dirty carpet, and is already occupied, by roaches. I have trouble sleeping when I feel too warm or when it seems stuffy, as is the case here. Yet, chances are it will remain pretty much this way, so I may as well simply accept it. I would prefer it were cooler, but not enough to move somewhere else or do anything but complain to the landlord, which, chances are, won't do any good. I shall make the best of it.
7/17/80-Thurs.-I have been continuing my twice daily TM meditation. Meanwhile, this has not been a slack week. Yesterday I submitted a thick application for a plum counseling job at Austin Community College, a position which will be filled within the next 2-3 weeks and begin in a month, here in Austin. It would be a very challenging, but also, I think, a rewarding job. I hope I get it.
Nonetheless, there is no guarantee I would get it and, accordingly, I feel I must go on applying for other positions. Accordingly, this afternoon I submitted another thick application, this time for a position as an administrative assistant in the personnel office of the Travis County Courthouse. It pays better than the community college job and doubtless would be easier than a counseling position. Perhaps it is even better suited to my overall personality. Bit it does not thrill me the way the other opening does.
Meanwhile, my social overtures are finally beginning to pay off, and I expect to be visiting, this weekend, with at least one new friend.
My room has become more livable, following a thorough spraying for the bugs and a steam cleaning of the carpet. I am also getting used to the temperature and able to sleep well again.
Tomorrow I'll seek to contact the primary psychologist Frieda cited for me in this area.
7/18/80-Fri.-A disappointing note has been that I have not, as I had anticipated, been having really close, good times with old friends or with relatives here. I have changed, and they have changed. I'm into my things. They're into theirs. And little frictions with certain of my relatives seem all too often to be just the tip of the iceberg of deep-seated antipathies, rivalries, resentments, etc. My two closest friends here, whom I used to visit regularly when we were both living in the Carolinas, are now in the midst of a great deal of stress over their own marriage and so have little free energy for the sort of happy times we used to just spontaneously have together - indeed, I may now just be a bit of a catalyst, since Rosemary idealizes her friendship with me; and Jack and I, by ourselves, haven't that much in common. So I've yet to have a single real visit with them and don't want to start seeing Rosemary by herself, so long as things are up in the air with them.
Meanwhile, though I have several friends here from my Lifestream Way days, such friendships are now a little phony, since I am no longer wanting to strictly follow the LW principles, including 2-3 hours of meditation a day and no sex outside of marriage. All this is O.K., and it's good at least to have several friendly faces in the vicinity, who wish me well generally, but it is just disappointing that what was, or seemingly might have been, is not now possible. Well, it is, in many ways, a time for new beginnings and accepting things as they really are.
On a positive note, I have been losing some weight, especially around the waist. Am getting to be a darned good looking guy!
Called Dr. Coffman (referred by Frieda). He's on vacation till Sept. So I made an appointment with the senior staff member at the U.T. Counseling Center and will see him Monday to get a good group therapy referral. For some reason, I'm feeling really anxious over this. Do I still feel it's embarrassing to go into counseling? Am I worried about making a good impression? Sigh! Is it just the new situation? All of the above? Ha! Oh well, I suppose it's natural to be a little nervous. Yet I believe I have done the right thing, so I may as well give myself credit.
7/21/80-Mon.-(2 AM) I just met and spent an hour with a prostitute (Theresa), a very beautiful, intelligent, talented woman, vivacious, very "up" - though probably at other times she's not. Met at the Lazy Daisy for an after-midnight snack, she between customers, I before going to sleep. She really turned me on and was quite likeable and easy to talk to. I think I even fell a little bit in love with her. In any case, when she had to go I grew very sad. Theresa has a full life, it would seem, and raises the energy and spirits of many around her, but to stay up and energized herself she shoots up with speed or uses cocaine. And so, in a way, I was another of her Johns, getting high from being around her. When I offered to exchange phone numbers, just to talk sometimes, and said I'd like to know her better, she said I was sweet and thanked me, but said she had plenty of people to talk to. And so she left, first offering to pay for my bill. I declined. She then joined a "Mr. Fox" who was, presumably, her pimp. With him, she moved off down the street. She and "Mr. Fox" had their arms around one another's waists, after a warm embrace and a deep kiss. She went off, no doubt, to the next John waiting, like me, though I hadn't known it, for someone named Theresa to come into his life and, for a few minutes, lift him up a little before she goes her way, the moment gone forever, forgotten in quest of the next high, or in fear of...
7/31/80-Thurs.-It again seems uncomfortably hot in my room, particularly distressing at night. But this is not sufficient reason to move once again. Come what may, I am here for awhile, at least till after I've gotten a regular job, though, meanwhile, it often seems hard or impossible to really rest here.
And I have decided to limit my overtures to meet new women from now on and to let things settle down again. I've now met, visited with, or dated at least one woman a day for a week and a half. I'm "booked up" with further such visits and/or dates, sometimes two a day, through next Tuesday evening. All of this has kept me from brooding much over Betty, but it has also often seemed like just plain hard work, emotionally draining, from which I'd enjoy a vacation!
Yet I know I'll not simply cease seeing anyone. I shall probably keep in some contact with several of these ladies so long as they wish it and on terms of intimacy as great as they will each find comfortable. Thus, things are bound to remain somewhat hectic, and perhaps complicated, for awhile. There is for the time being certainly no need to do anything further to meet still more women.