I’ve been getting about 2-3 hours of broken sleep each night for the past few weeks. I go to bed at a reasonable time, and then my mind just turns the “thoughts” knob to 11. I’ve never had a problem sleeping before, and when people talked about their trouble getting to sleep, I simply couldn’t relate. I believed them, but it was a foreign concept to me. Now I’m lying in bed every night with a brain that won’t shut up, and even my migraine medicine won’t put me all the way out. (And this weather has brought me migraines for the past couple of days)

Now, though, I run through everything in my mind as soon as the light goes out. Things I should have said. Things I should have done. Things I could say or do now, and whether or not they’d be good or bad. That last one was a big player last night.

It’s so hard not to write her every day, not to text her good morning and good night, to let her know that I’m thinking about her. But she said she didn’t want that, so I don’t. And that fucking voice in my head makes it worse by saying even if I did, she would just see it as a pitiful attempt to get back into her good graces. She’s made it clear that she doesn’t want to give me another chance. She’s given me plenty already. My brain doesn’t think about that, though. It runs through all the things I should do, everything I should try, all the words to say… as if there is some magic spell that would combine these components into a charm that would make her forgive me and take me back.

I do want her to forgive me and take me back, as unlikely as that may be, but I don’t want it to be because of something I said or did. As much as Hollywood loves to promote the grand gesture that magically fixes all problems, that’s not how real life works. A grand gesture might work temporarily, because our brains have been conditioned by Hollywood, but it wouldn’t be a permanent solution. It doesn’t fix the underlying cause, and the same old problems would just be waiting to resurface. I would need to fix me before I could work with her on fixing us. And even if she never changes her mind, and we’re done forever, I still need to fix me.

I wrote her a letter in my head last night, as I lay there tossing and turning. It’s a letter I don’t think I’ll write out, though. It was an explanation of what happened, and how I think it got to that point. Little things that added up and put a distance between us. The big thing that decimated the proverbial camel’s back. Confession would be a better word. I don’t think it would help her, and I don’t think she would want to read it even if it would. But it did help me gain some perspective on it. The missteps and missed opportunities all laid out in front of me, all of which could have been avoided or resolved if I was just willing to talk about my feelings.

One of the things that came up in therapy yesterday, during the talk about value, was how I came to think about my value on a transactional level. The examples of value I gave were all based on things I could provide for others, like hard work at my job, emotional support for a friend, a strong back to help someone move… That was also something that churned in my headstorm last night, keeping me from sleep.

I love my parents. I’m not going to blame them for the way I turned out, because they did the best they could. I do think, though, that they contributed to that concept I had of my value. My father never really talked about feelings, or showed a ton of affection. My mother had good days and bad days. They were there for me, of course, but I didn’t learn how to communicate about feelings from them. It’s possible that I came to the conclusion that I had to do something to earn their approval, the prove my value in some way. Over time, that developed the wrong way, and I lost my sense of what my intrinsic value was. I still can’t really wrap my head around my value, though. I still feel worthless.

I almost wrote that sentence as “I feel worthless without her.” While it would have been true, I’ve always doubted my worth. She made me feel like I had value, though. I could put a smile on her face, and that was me that did it. I made her laugh. I made her blush. I made her happy. At least for awhile. But I do understand the assignment’s purpose. Find a value within myself that isn’t about how it affect others, but how it affects me. I just don’t know that I have the ability to do that yet. 40+ years is a long time to build habits. I don’t think they’ll break in a couple of weeks.

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