The Art of Self-Sabotage

I’m sat here in the kitchen on this beautiful November day with the sun streaming through the window.  As I haven’t got my SAD lamp yet, it’s helping, but not really soothing how I feel right now.  Which is like my heart has been ripped out.

If you’ve ever had a bout of unrequited love, then you’ll know how much it hurts when you finally realise that your love will never be returned.  I wrote this short poem once:

It breaks my heart to know
That at the grand old age of thirty-two
I have never been in love.
I thought I was once
But it turns out I was mistaken
For you cannot be in love
If that person does not love you back.

The American Declaration of Independence, written in 1776, reads:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Anyone who has taken even one class in American Studies knows that even now, over two centuries later, this statement is not all it’s cracked up to be.  When it was written, “all men” meant all white men.  Not black men (or women), not even white women.  Not Native Americans.  The US has just elected its first non-white President back into a second term of office, so perhaps we can read the declaration as a little more accurate, but until the word “men” is removed I don’t think we can ever get that warm fuzzy feeling inside that everyone is equal.

What I’m getting at, is that the truth I held to be self-evident, was that this person was “the one” for me; the one I assumed I would eventually end up with, no matter how long it took.  The last few years I’ve been fighting with this issue, while growing into the person I’ve become; a confident, beautiful 30-something.  But the problem is, I have held that in my heart for so many years as a truth; how can I accept for so long that my heart was wrong?  I’m not the same person I was in my 20s.  I now have belief and confidence that I can be a great writer, that I can talk on the radio, that I can go across the sea to follow my other, American Dream.  The problem is that knowing you can do something and then actually doing it, especially when you suffer with depression, can make it impossible.

So back to the subject of self-sabotage.  I struggled over my late twenties/early thirties to know what I wanted from life and I came up with two realisations: 1) That I wanted to live and work in America. 2) That I wanted to be with him.  I always seem to put America first when I think about that, although perhaps that should have been the secondary dream.  Because now I know I have no chance for the second dream to ever be true, I’m struggling to get motivation together to go for the other dream.  Maybe because America feels like second best.

I realise how crazy this sounds.  I mean, I’m looking at going to the States to undertake a Master’s degree in Women’s Studies in Los Angeles.  How can this be second best?  It’s ironic actually that my dream of doing further study into women’s studies is being held up by the desire to be with a man.  A strange man, at that.  No, what I mean, is a man who is a complete stranger to me.

I glance at the printed copy of my Personal Statement and Study Research Objective.  I know I need to channel this sunshine into my heart and block out this hurt, at least long enough to get this application finished.  Maybe I’ll get the chance to go West, like so many before me, to find paradise; maybe I won’t.  But I know I need to rid myself of these chains that hold me here, in order that I can enjoy the rest of my life.  The city that has kept me down for so long will not be my home for too much longer.  Of course, I will come back and visit my family, including my gorgeous eight month-old nephew, Jamie, and friends, and enjoy the sight of the beautiful cathedral on the hill.  But I have never belonged here, and it’s time to accept that and search the world for the place I do belong.  To use my unalienable right given by my creator, to enjoy Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Rob Edward
    Nov 11, 2012 @ 14:06:12

    Hi Jodie! This was a lovely blog post. I relate to this so much. I, too, have an unrequited love; one who is almost a complete stranger to me. She is with someone else which is something that I am having a hard time coming to terms with. But I don’t really have a choice, do I? Life isn’t always fair, nor is it always easy. But we put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward the best that we can. We have no other choice, really. Unless we resolve to retreat into a cocoon and pretend the world doesn’t exist. But that isn’t living, and life is for the living.

    I have a birthday coming up in a few months – one of the BIG ones – and I’m still not quite sure what I want from life. But the fog is slowly clearing and I do see glimpses of blue sky. What I want to tell you is that YOU WILL BE OK. You will move on and find someone who will love you the way that you love him. But don’t let your unrequited love keep you from your other dreams. Chase those dreams in SPITE of him. Use it as an opportunity for growth. This advice is as much for me as it is for you. Take care. 🙂


    • 33andlostinlife
      Nov 11, 2012 @ 16:42:27

      Thanks, Rob. It’s comforting to know that someone else is going through the same thing. It’s hard waiting for that switch to click inside you. But I guess maybe it never will, so we have to just carry on with life and hope one day it will all be a distant memory.


  2. jackie Gannon
    Nov 12, 2012 @ 13:57:15

    Jodie you may find it hard to believe but I have been through the same thing as you,. obviously years ago. But it lasted between the ages of 26 ish to 39 ish. So a long time. Please please try & knock this on the head. It is not easy. Maybe you could go to a hypnotist? At least you need to put as many miles as possible between this person & yourself.
    For myself i have obviously got through it & while bitterly regretting the ‘wasted/destructive’ years being obsessed by this man, who clearly wasn’t worth it (nobody would be) I have to try & take positives from the experience. Rather like knowing what it is like to suffer a long debilitating illness. Not too over dramatic I think you would agree…….
    I haven’t said anything before,(while obviously understanding what you were going through), because i really want to forget about at the time i kept it all very secretive & in fact couldn’t talk about it. unlike yourself…… Well there wasn’t Facebook & blogs in those days!!
    So the purpose of this is to say that you will get over it in the end!!! It will gradually lose it’s sting. Love will turn to hate & anger & then just calm down & process itself into your psyche along with all your other life experiences of which there are many to come.
    Take care & kick that man out of your brain space! With Love x


    • 33andlostinlife
      Nov 12, 2012 @ 17:24:42

      Jackie, thanks so much for sharing your story. For a long time it was my deep, dark secret and even though I’m now very open about it, it hasn’t solved things. However, it has led me, in very small steps, towards being closer to moving on. Every day is a step in the right direction, and I hope by writing this blog, I can make people aware of what I’m going through, not only this but with my depression as a whole, so that in the future if they experience the same thing, they hopefully can learn from my mistakes. I know it’s been hard to do what you’ve done and not only tell me, but other readers of 33andlostinlife, but I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your story. Together we build hope for the future xx


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