Saturday, May 11, 2013

I've Been Busy

No, I know, I haven't posted a whole hell of a lot this year.  I didn't post a lot last year either.  The excuse I tell myself is that I've been busy.  It has been a crazy 20 months, a lot has been going on.  I've gone from hating my job and being bored, to unemployed and being stressed, to a new job I'm not exactly qualified for and being stressed for completely different reasons.  Meanwhile, my family grew, we lost our home, and we've moved to a different city.  Yeah, a lot has been going on.  So that's why I haven't blogged a whole lot. Okay?  Well, maybe that's not exactly right.

The new job is stressful.  I have taken on responsibilities that not only are new and different than what I am used to, but are not exactly a match for my personality and behavior.  You see, I am not an aggressive person.  I am not a dominant person.  On a DISC analysis, I would rank as a "High S".  S is for steadiness. High S's are known for being patient, predictable, consistent, deliberate, steady and stable.  My second descriptor would be I, I is for Influencing.  Main characteristics for my "I" are trusting and sociable.  Basically, I like to serve, I like to be helpful, and I am trusting.  I actually like these things about me.  But, my new job is in sales.  Worse than that, my new job is in managing sales reps.  Characteristics that are helpful for people in my line of work are demanding, driving, ambitious, determined, aggressive, competitive and venturesome.  These are characteristics of a High D, D is for Dominance.  Characteristics that describe my dominance are conservative, calculating, hesitant and low-keyed.  Can you see where I might have a problem?

I am an intelligent person.  Perhaps, without sounding condescending, I possess slightly higher than average levels of intelligence.  With such, I am convinced that I can be successful in any role that I decide to take on. If that requires adopting characteristics that were outside my comfort zone, so be it.  I am still as convinced of this today as I was 8 months ago when I took this job.  What I did not account for, and this is what is really starting to bother me, is the effect taking this job would have on my mental state.  Everyday, as I slowly realize that success in this job are going to take longer and more work than I anticipated, I get slightly more depressed.  Everyday I start to consider a little bit more the idea of throwing in the towel and doing something else.  I know that I can be successful.  But given all the other challenges that I am currently enduring, do I still really want to be?  Failure, even the idea of failure, is contributing to my depression.

I thought things would be different at this point in my life, in my marriage.  Given more than 10 years of marriage, and almost another decade of courtship prior to that, my wife and I should be able to endure anything that comes our way with ease.  Right?  Why, then, is it so difficult to have a simple conversation about budgeting our money?  Why, then, can't I tell her that I do not agree with her reactions to things that our dog does, or to the things that our son does?  Why is communication so fraking difficult?  I want so much for my family.  I do not want to live where we are living longer than we need to.  I do not want to continue living from check to check, worrying about how we are going to pay the rent.  I want to provide everything the world has to offer for my son.  I want my family to be comfortable, where our only worry is how we can best help our neighbors, friends and family.  Why can't I express any this with any eloquence to my wife?

A midst all of this, there is still my secret.  My bisexuality is not a secret from my wife, but my willingness to act on it is, my history of acting on it is as well.  All of our struggles have pushed this part of me to the back burner, but it hasn't turned off the flame.  The reality is that I am too busy and too stressed and too depressed to do anything about it. I went down this road, crossed this line, with the idea that one day I would be able to live this part of my life, too, out in the open.  Maybe not to the general public, but to those I care about the most.  To my wife.  We were supposed to be on a path to a healthier relationship.  We're not, and I am not sure what I can do about it.  Certainly, I must bridge this communication gap.  How exactly do I do that?  The realization that my ideal state is that much further away, perhaps completely out of my grasp, is contributing to my depression.

I write this post today not to explain my lack of blogging.  In the end, I write for me.  One thing that I have learned in life is that writing gives me clarity.  Sometimes, it even gives me therapy.  I am not asking for answers, although I have found many in this community and for that I will always be grateful.  I am not asking for anything.  I am only using this space to bare a piece of me that needed to be bared.


  1. Jay,
    Your posts are so heart-felt. You and I have spoken about this, and I too, have a communication problem with my spouse. You'd think saying the things in your head would be easy to just say them out loud, but for some reason, they are not. I wonder if part of it is that we don't want to show vulnerability to them, we don't want to say to them "I have this problem..." It's so much easier to go along with the idea that everything is fine.
    That way we can pretend, at least for a little while, that everything really is fine.
    You have so much other stuff to deal with - your job being the biggest one. Take things one at a time.

    1. Tuesday, perhaps you and Jay should be married to each other! It seems like you both are effective written communicators.

      I'm sure this has crossed both of your minds before, but I'm going to ask, just for the heck of it.

      Have you ever considered communicating your feelings via writing? Could be a note, a letter, an e-mail or a text message.

      When my 70 year old dad was having trouble communicating with my 17 year old stepbrother (Yah, Dad was 53 when he was born) he asked me what to do. I suggested texting or e-mailing, and texting was totally new to my father.

      Now, Dad and Bro are pretty good communicators........via text messaging. They even throw in a couple "I love yous" sometimes.

      As an example, I'll bet if Jay cut/copied/and pasted a sentence from the above post and e-mailed it to his wife, it might open up a whole dialog, that is 10 years in the making.

      Oh what the hell do I know. I'm single for a reason, I guess.

    2. It is easy to pretend that everything is really fine. And the reality is that most things are. The fear I have in mentioning some things is the argument that will inevitably follow. Things would be easier if I were perfect, therefore impervious to criticism.

      Jack, you're right. And, I have relied on writing to communicate better in the past. I could solve all my problems if I just let her read this blog. Well, maybe not. But your point is well taken.

  2. It has been a crazy 20 months. 98% of the time you probably feel like you can cope (or at least make it to the next day) but I'm guessing this post represents that 2% of the time when you feel overwhelmed.

    So much has happened that I wonder if you're suffering from a form of post-traumatic stress disorder. Do you feel like you're either on edge or depressed most of the time? Is joy fleeting or non-existent? Do you feel like your life is running you rather than you're running your life? If so, maybe on a long plane flight you can spend some quality time thinking about yourself and what it will take for you to be happy.

    It seems to me that the financial trauma you faced deeply affected you. Now you have this difficult job that doesn't fulfill you, yet you're determined not to be defeated by it. Keeping your nose to the grindstone and working your ass off may come naturally to you, but maybe you're paying a high price for that determination. Working that hard at a job you don't love might be slowly sucking the life out of you. Eventually you may become resentful - not just of the job but of everything else in your life that oppresses you too. If you're in a pressure-cooker situation, what will happen when the pressure becomes too intense to handle?

    You have a lot of working years ahead of you. This job will not be your last job. This company will probably not be your last company. Maybe you should do some soul searching now and start thinking about what kind of job you could do that you'd love? You know...develop an exit strategy from the pressure-cooker life you have. In the long run, staying in a job you don't like very much (even if you're good at it) is not worth it. Life is too short. Check out this article that talks about the #1 regret older people have

    1. I honestly never considered the possibility of PTSD. What you're saying makes sense. I don't feel I am suffering from PTSD, though. I realize that I am relying on my self-awareness to feel this way, and that there are all kinds of reasons why that is not a good idea. Joy is not fleeting, and it does exist. I am sometimes struck at the rareness of joy. But, I think that is just because I am pissed at having to've grown up, and at that growing up is not all that it was cracked up to be. There is joy. I mentioned 20 months intentionally, 20 months is how old my son is. He is a source of endless joy.

      The trauma didn't come on suddenly. We obviously knew we were going to have a kid, we planned it. Losing the job was not a surprise either. The company was going out of business, struggling for years. I chose to hang on till the end, rather than jump ship early.

      I am frustrated. I sometimes feel like I have no control. But like all other emotions, it comes and goes. I have a communication problem, sure. Things are not like how they should be, like how I would want them to be. I need to work on these things. Writing helps me to clear my head.