After I went almost all the way through design school and then quit the last quarter, I was increasingly unhappy in my marriage. Not that I had ever been blissful. I’d married him because I was pregnant. That’s what you did back then. It still wasn’t socially acceptable to just live with your baby daddy. I suppose that was a good thing in some ways for the girls, even though it ended anyway when they were six and eight years old.

But hell, I don’t want to sit here and write out a line by line account of my past. That shit hurts. I don’t like to spend too much time thinking about it. The truth is, I go back and forth on whether or not I like the person I was in the 80s. Usually I land on the side of not liking her. Which begs the question: how do I feel about myself now?

You know, there are some things I just can’t seem to get it together on. I’m not much of a people person and I guard my heart. I keep people at arms length. I am putting a long term friendship on hold because she wouldn’t take my counsel under advisement. She wouldn’t even consider it. Case closed. So I have no desire to be with her anymore. Is that wrong of me?

Here’s the thing: I have a faith. I believe in God. I even claim to follow Jesus. I don’t call myself a Christian because I think that term raises a lot of negative feelings and I don’t want to associate myself with it. I’m not like other people. Yeah, fuck, I’m special and all that, remember? Anyway, I have a faith. So shouldn’t I be willing to be a martyr and sit and listen to my friend’s problems and try to figure out a way to be able to help her even when she has rebuffed my advice?

Or should I decide what my own boundaries are and live by that without shame? Which choice is going to make me a better person?

I just don’t know.

When my adult daughter wants to come over and talk to me I cringe. It’s not that I don’t want to help her, I do. It’s not that I don’t love her. I do. It’s just that the potential emotional fallout of such encounters makes me feel vulnerable. Of course, I have a history with this particular daughter that makes me feel like a painful episode could happen again. And I try to avoid that kind of shit.

I find that as I get older I am more and more hesitant to extend myself. I am hurt and hiding in my hidey hole. I am disconnecting from more and more outside things and content to be at home, alone, no longer in the world making a difference. Realizing this disturbs me. It’s like everything I touch eventually falls to shit and I withdraw further.

It wasn’t that long ago that I decided to become part of Toastmasters. I’m a good speaker. I’m a good writer. So how much fun would that be? It would be great fun. And it was great fun. I got to write speeches and give them and critique others’ speeches. I was even elected president. And then it all fell apart one day when I was too harsh in my critique of someone’s speech and another member publicly rebuked me. I left and never went back. I will never go back. There is now shame attached to that event and that place and those people and I will never go back.

So now I am making myself cry. That’s not a good way to start the day.