"Why am I the one always packing up my stuff?" - Fun.

I've decided that it's time to start taking this place I reside in for myself. My ex's new place doesn't open up until January 1st. So in the meantime, all of her things are still here in my place. This poses a bit of a problem because it's all a fresh reminder of everything. So, I've started to de-ex my house. I have plenty of room in the garage now that there's only one car parked there. So I've started stacking anything that isn't affected by colder temperatures out there. I figure then I only have to see all of it when I enter or leave the garage. It won't be so bad. I've also started moving around some things so it doesn't quite resemble the same configuration as it did when she was here.

It's a good, but difficult thing to do. As I move her stuff around or pack it into a box, I think about all the memories we shared with those items. Tonight I've taken a break from it, but last night I felt that familiar tug of heartache the entire time I was moving stuff around. I can't say that I'm enjoying it. It's funny though. When she and I first moved in together, I was worried about not having enough space and losing that time alone that I was all too familiar and comfortable with. Now I'm afraid of the empty space in the house and all the time alone.

"How can you just walk away from me, when all I can do is watch you leave, Cos we've shared the laughter and the pain and even shared the tears. You're the only one who really knew me at all." - Phil Collins

Recently, Jess and I had started watching the YouTube show SourceFed. I've tried to watch it since the breakup, but I can't enjoy it like I used to. There's a feel that I get when I watch it, and it takes away from my ability to enjoy it. Same goes for TableTop, Destructoid, Rev3Games, and just about anything else we watched or did together. I caught myself saying "Bitches" the other day, which is a phrase I picked up for her to be used in place of "Dammit". That also gave me a weird feel. Three years ago, I shared my first ever drink of alcohol with her, and I'll probably think of her every time I have a drink because of that. I wonder if I'll ever be able to enjoy those things again in the same way.

She emailed me earlier this week, and it was very friendly. She shared a bit about her new place and whatnot. I was happy to hear from her, but at the same time, I'm caught. I have this feeling of still wanting her in my life mixed with a "she can't have it both ways" mindset. That part of me that's angry and hurt is fighting with the part that's still clinging on to the idea of her and I being together. I'm doing my best to just be cordial and ignore both of those pulls. I'm just not sure how to reconcile how I feel yet.

"But if my silence made you leave, then that would be my worst mistake. So I will share this room with you, and you can have this heart to break." - Billy Joel

What I can say is that the false hope has faded. I know she's not coming back. Well, let me rephrase that. If she did come back, it would be a huge surprise. I don't expect it nor do I think it's realistic to even wish for it. If there was any doubt in her mind about us, she wouldn't have broken up with me. It sucks, but that's the reality. There's no sense in my trying to convince myself otherwise, nor is it healthy.

I'm finding myself with questions though. In particular, I know that relationships and decisions don't happen in a vacuum. When a relationship like this ends, it's not just one person's fault. Both are responsible in some way. Her feelings changed, but that doesn't just happen. So, I'm left wondering what did I do, consciously or not, that caused her to be less attracted to me? I'd like to know, if even just for closure and personal growth. It hurts knowing that I very likely did something somehow to affect her feelings though.

"So come and get me, Let me get in that sinking feeling that says my heart is on an all time low. So don't expect me to behave perfectly and wear that sunny smile. My guess is I'm in for a cloudy and overcast"  - Freddie Mercury

Depression can be addictive. I've dealt with it many times throughout my life. I'm very familiar with the feeling and know that in some ways it can be comforting. It's like a warm, sad blanket that wraps around your body. It's easy to get stuck in it. I'm hoping that doesn't happen this time. It's probably a good sign that I'm sick of crying, but that doesn't stop it from happening. I cried after moving some of her stuff around yesterday. I cried in front of my doctor today. I cried listening to music at work. It sneaks up on me now. I'm doing fine, and then bam...tears. Plus, I feel like a jerk by leaning on some friends so much. I'm thankful they're there, but I don't want to burden them with my emotional crap either.

I've definitely noticed that time moves much slower now than it did. Time flies when you're having fun, and I'm definitely not having fun right now. I'm also a lot quieter. I've noticed that I keep to myself more. I'm guessing that's natural given what I'm feeling, but I'm pretty sure my new teammates think I'm a bit boring and antisocial. I'm not intending to be that way, but I can't help it right now.

As per usual, thanks to all my friends for reading this, for chatting with me, and for being there for me through this time. It really does help. I feel less alone when you guys comment, message, call, or what have you.  It means a lot that you would take time out of your lives to do so.  I am eternally grateful.

"When somebody loved me, everything was beautiful. Every hour we spent together lives within my heart. When she loved me." - Sarah McLachlan (song by Randy Newman)

The Thanksgiving holiday was good. It reinvigorated my heart and soul to see my family and be surrounded by the people that love me. I didn't realize how much I needed to see them after recent events. I'm so thankful that I have them. I don't know how I would have made it through the holiday without them.  There was a lot of time talking and catching up with my siblings and parents. My younger sister, her husband, and I went out late on Thursday night to do some Black Friday shopping. It was a good time.

In fact, I hadn't intended on doing any shopping, but it occurred to me that night that there were a lot of things that were going to be missing after Jess moves her stuff out. So, I figured why not replace it when all the sales were happening. I got some great deals and didn't spend that much. So, I feel less dependent on some of the stuff that's here and not mine. I plan to start rearranging the house and moving her stuff into the garage. I'd like to retake this place for me and make it mine. I may not feel so terrible coming home after that what with all the reminders of her moved. We'll see.

There were some great times with the fam this weekend. I felt my sense of humor come back. So that's progress, I guess. I got to spend time with my nephews, which is always fun. They're growing up so fast. We continued our slow-to-start new family tradition of having a cookie day. We make Christmas cookies together as a family. It was a little early to have a cookie day, but it was fun. Any tradition that involves sweets is one I can enjoy. I brought a bottle of port and some fancy rum with me. We all shared some great wine and drinks. I think I want to make that a tradition too. It was a good one.

I did pretty well emotionally the whole time I was home. I vented a lot to my sister. She's the best. In fact, I managed to make it all the way to Saturday without crying. My family never saw it happen, but I had a moment I found myself lost in thought and just couldn't hold it in. Thankfully my makeup didn't run or anything despite tears down my cheeks. I also managed to keep the puffy eyes to a minimum. I'm pretty sure no one noticed anything. I'm just grateful it was only one time there.

In fact, in the past week overall, the crying and the sadness had been fairly minimal. In my time building up to the holiday, I kept myself fairly distracted. I spent time chatting with an old coworker and catching up. I listened to an ebook by Penn Jillette while I made the five and a half hour drive. I Skyped with an old friend from Pennsylvania, and I watched some Netflix shows. Even with all of that, I still find myself lost in thoughts and memories frequently, but I've been doing an ok job of keeping it together.

That said, my brain hasn't fully accepted that she's not coming back yet. I continue to have these thoughts about all the little things, like the inside jokes, the looks we used to share with each other, and so on. I think about all the memories we shared together over the last few years. For brief moments, I feel like nothing's changed and we're still together. Then that feeling fades, and I feel empty again. There's a part of my brain going "NO NO NO NO!!!!" every time that happens. I'm not exactly bargaining with Jess, but my brain is going through that process. I feel like it's bargaining with me wether to accept that she's gone. Denial is tough. I really don't want her to be gone.

Jess and I have exchanged a few texts here and there, and she's very much all business and distant. That aspect alone hurts. While I think it'd probably hurt more if she wasn't distant, it feels cold. I know it's very hard for her too, and she's probably keeping distant to protect both herself and me. I know that, but I still feel that coldness regardless. Tonight I made the mistake of texting her and having more of a conversation. I shouldn't have, because I was already feeling down. It made me cry...a lot...out loud vocal sobbing crying. I told her I miss her and that I love her. I knew I shouldn't have done that, but I did it anyway. It was a stupid thing to do because it just makes things worse. I need to keep my emotional brain from breaching my defenses like that. I did the same thing on Saturday night when I visited her Facebook profile. It's stupid to do that, but I can't help that I want and need to reach out to the person that used to be my support.

If there's one thing that has been the most difficult recently is that lack of support. She was my confidant. I shared everything with her. I leaned on her and she leaned on me. Now that person in my  life is gone, and I have no one to share my innermost feelings with. It makes me feel so completely hollow and alone. I need my best friend again. I miss her so much.

I really wasn't looking forward to heading back to Iowa today. As I got underway on the drive, I started to feel my feelings slowly change over the 5 hours in the car. The closer I got to Iowa, the more sad I got. I started to feel the pull of heartache again. It feels like a real, physical pull. It's as if someone has a rope tied to your heart and is pulling on it as if to rip it through your ribcage. It makes me want to curl up and sob. Tonight has had it very strong in my chest.

Along with the sadness has been a rise in a bit of anger and feelings of betrayal. I had moments in the car that I wish I had access to a speed bag or punching bag. I just wanted to punch things. The feelings of betrayal come from the destruction of trust. She knew how my previous relationship ended and used to refer to my previous ex in a very negative way because of how I was treated. Because of that, I trusted Jess never to hurt me in the same way. Instead, she did the same thing...very abruptly dropped the bomb on me around Thanksgiving time. No warning....just boom.

On top of that, I was so committed and gave up a lot to be with her. I doubt anyone would have ever questioned my commitment to her. I gave up jobs and moved across the country twice in order to make the relationship work and continue. I lived in Texas, a state I never wanted to live in (no offense to Texans, it's just not for me), because that's where she was going. I would have followed her anywhere. She was my life, my future, and I would have done just about anything for her.  All that said, I don't want to make it sound like I feel like she owes me anything because of what I gave up. That's not how I feel at all. I'd gladly do all that again if it meant a happy future with her. I want her to be happy. I just feel like...shit...all that just to be dumped. Really makes me think.

As I was almost back to my place in Iowa today, that irrational, hopeful part of me was imagining her at my place when I got home. I imagined pulling into the driveway and seeing the living room lights on, opening the garage, and seeing her car parked there. I imagined her announcing to me that she'd changed her mind and wanted to come back to me. Naturally, that's not what happened. The living room was dark, and the garage was just as empty as it ever was. Still, if she did come back, how would I handle that? Now knowing that she's destroyed my trust and that she has the ability to suddenly not find me attractive, would I want to take her back. I think I'd want to initially, but I think I'd question it. If she came back, what would stop the possibility of her changing her mind again in 6 months. Then I'm right back where I am now. I'd like to think I'd say no, but I'd probably be the fool and say yes. If I was a somewhat smart fool, I'd say we start slowly...but of course...none of this matters. It's all just a dream.

After I get the place rearranged a bit, I'm going to start looking into meetups. I may consider a roommate just to keep the house less quiet. I don't know if I'm really wanting that, but just something to think about. I'm going to do my best to start trying to find friends. I need to find some people here that can fill my life up again. I think that'll help me heal a lot. In the meantime, I may do a lot of traveling in the coming weeks. I hope to keep my weekends filled with friends and distractions. It's time to find some new hobbies too. I'm looking into that. I'm sure I'll post about that as time passes.

I hope all of you had a great holiday. As usual, thank you to everyone for your support, your comments, and your hugs, both real and virtual. It all helps more than I can express.

I've reached that point where literally everything reminds me of her. This weekend, Elle apologized several times for somehow reminding me of Jess. I had a coworker today apologize as well. I had to tell them both that it's ok, because there's no way to prevent reminding me of her right now. Even when sitting and doing nothing, I'm thinking of her. She's a good 95% of my brain right now plus or minus 5%.

I find myself wondering if she has me on her mind just as much, or if it's a lot less? All I know is that any form of communication between the two of us has been initiated by me. That probably doesn't mean anything. I know it hurts for her, but it has to be at least a little easier because she's coped with the loss longer than I have. Either way, I miss her so much. I never understood it when people said "I miss you so much, it hurts" but I get it now.

I've been experiencing a lot of existentialism lately. I find myself randomly feeling like I'm just a drone walking through a nothing life and wondering if any of it matters. Sometimes it feels like I'm just an observer watching this life unfold instead of actually participating. It's a strange feeling, as if the words I say aren't really mine and that the motions my body makes are being made by someone else. I'm guessing it's probably a common and natural thing for someone in my situation.

What I do know for sure is that right now, as much as I'd like to distract myself with video games, a book, a movie, etc, I have no motivation to do any of those things. I stare at my Steam library at all the games I have available, and nothing is interesting. I look at my DVR, and there's nothing I want to watch. Instead, I refresh the internets and stare at the screen. Sometimes I'm not really even paying attention. I just open a browser, load a page and scroll without really reading what's there. In fact, I've been going to bed early because I don't know what else to do with myself. So, on the bright side, I'm well rested...

On another positive note, I didn't cry today. Work days are much easier than weekend days. I find it interesting that up until the breakup, weekends were the best, and work days were work days. Now, I look forward to work days because they keep my mind off of things. I actually am terrified of weekends now because it means I have all that time to be alone with my thoughts.

I really can't wait to see my family this week though. It'll be nice to be surrounded by people for a few days.

I miss her so much.

Saturday was the Day of the Doctor. I can't help but think about how Jess introduced me to Doctor Who and that a year ago I hadn't yet seen much of the series. I may have only just begun watching it with her. Up until the November 23rd, 2013, I watched every episode with her. I very much looked forward to cuddling up with her and watching the latest antics of the time traveler, his companion, and the blue box. So, I guess to me, it was the day of my doctor. I had been really looking forward to the 50th anniversary special, but it became a bit more somber and sad for me when the day finally came.

I didn't actually watch the simulcast. Instead I chose to be distracted and around company. In this case, it was company I'd never met before. A local person who knows of me through Facebook offered up her guest room to me this weekend. She lives about an hour and a half away from where I presently live. So, it got me out of the house. Her name is Elle, and she's a very nice lady.

We spent Saturday evening chatting over drinks and food. It was a welcome change from what I had been expecting to be a very lonely and very sad weekend. I got to see her family's winery, her lovely house, and a lot of the farm land in and around the Iowa City area. I can't say that I was at my best as a guest though. There were so many times I was quiet, lost in thought and emotion. I guess that's to be expected though. Thanks to Elle for making my weekend a bit less painful.

In my time chatting with Elle, I did come to a realization. This whole breakup has been very painful all around, but I think the thing that hurts me the most is that I was never given the opportunity to fight for the relationship to succeed. I made several suggestions a week ago, but it was made clear to me then that she wasn't interested in that. She never gave me the chance. Instead, it feels like a week ago I was ripped out of the Nexus. In fact, I'm still waiting for the portal to my universe to open up so I can return to where I belong, because I feel like somehow I managed to jump universes a week ago into this hell.

I got back home today around 2:00 pm. As the evening went on, my mood went from mildly neutral to pretty bad in fairly short order. After Thursday, I felt like maybe the tears were mostly behind me. Tonight proved that wrong. I cried a lot tonight. I've been so devoid of happiness that I've been kind of shambling or shuffling around the house at a very slow pace. My feet have been kind of dragging along the floor as I move. It's a pretty sad state of affairs, and seriously, I think Kleenex needs to hire me to be their spokesperson for how much I've been using their product this week. I did eventually watch the Doctor Who Anniversary special, and it was great. I still wish I could have watched it with her.

There are other bad things I need to acknowledge though. During my downtimes this week, including tonight, I've had some very bad thoughts pass through my head. They've been fleeting thoughts only. I don't want anyone to worry, because I'm not by any means at risk. However, I have to at least acknowledge that I had those thoughts pass through my mind when at my lowest and weakest points. If I continue to have these thoughts, I'm going to find a counselor. I may do that anyway. I think it may help me cope.

I'm feeling very broken in so many ways. Having the person I love so much tell me she no longer finds me physically attractive is completely demoralizing and has really taken a toll on my self confidence and self esteem. I'm feeling pretty horrible about myself right now. I'd like to say that I fully understand how Jess's attractions changed and why, but I can't and don't. So, for anyone that has asked me the question of how that happened, I don't really have an answer for you.

A lot of people have also asked me what I'm going to do now. Am I going to stay? Am I going to move? The answer is that I'm not really sure yet. I've told myself that I'm not going to make any big or quick decisions right now. What I do know is that I'm currently in a lease until next August. I also have a job that's pretty good. I really would like to be closer to family and friends. I will write more as I think through things and make decisions.

So I guess things haven't really improved. They've kind of gotten a little worse tonight, but I guess there will be ups and downs as I get through this. Hopefully tomorrow is a better day.

It's very cold here. We had freezing rain yesterday, and every time a car drives by, I hear the crunch of ice under the tires. Each time I look over hopefully as if she somehow has decided to come back. I know it won't be her, because she's on her way to visit her family in Arkansas. But it doesn't stop me from my wishful thinking.

Yesterday, an old college friend of mine, Kevin, took time out of his life to drive five hours just to be there for me. I haven't seen Kevin in a good several years, and I'm so thankful for having him as a friend. He helped distract me from my pain and my newfound loneliness. We talked about old times, shared a few drinks, and talked about similar stories of horribly difficult breakups. It was exactly what I needed to help me feel a little less desolate.

I can say I've made a little progress. Thursday I made it through the whole day without crying at work. I was still pretty emotionless, but I did regain the ability to smile, even if fleetingly. I was even able to laugh during the evening chatting with Kevin. So I guess that's good. However, for the most part, I'm still feeling pretty numb and flat. Though tonight, I've had some really emotional moments where the tears have come back. A few steps forward, a few back.

One thing that a few people have been saying is that if they were in my position, they'd be angry on top of all the other feelings. I'm not. I'm sad and I'm heartbroken, but I'm not mad or angry at her. I know how hard this has been for her. I know she's hurting and grieving as much as I am. This has been a devastating loss for her too. I know that she, in no way whatsoever, wanted to hurt me. Neither of us thought we'd ever be in this position. We shared tears together on Sunday night a day after she told me. No, I'm not mad at her. I'm just feeling hopelessly sad and alone now. I wish I could change how she feels, but I know I can't.

Strangely I'm still feeling dizzy. I'm starting to think the dizziness might be something other than what I thought it was. I may have to talk to the doctor about that. It has me a slight bit concerned. It seems a little worse today, but I think it might be because I didn't get nearly enough sleep last night. We'll see tomorrow.

I can't say that I've been looking forward to this weekend. Without anything to do, I've been feeling like this weekend was going to be hell all by myself. Thankfully, a local friend has invited me out to spend the weekend in the Iowa City area. There's a winery out there, and it'll be a good distraction. I'm looking forward to it. I'm also really looking forward to seeing my family next week. I've missed them, and it'll be good to be home.

Some of my conversation with Kevin surrounded what I'm going to do next. I guess the limits on where to go are no longer there. I had pretty much expected that I'd continue to go wherever Jess' career took her. Now, that restriction being gone, I can let my career take me wherever it takes me. My first thought, however, is Madison. I lived there back in 2001, and I really loved the town. There's a great tech sector, a few video game companies, and it's close enough to my family that it's easy to visit them. I'm going to keep that in the back of my mind as time passes and see what happens. I'm definitely not going to make any quick decisions though.

Lastly, the playlist that has been looping in my mind needs to be shared. Three songs continue to play in my head over and over. The first one is "Goodbye, my Lover" by James Blunt. If that song doesn't perfectly epitomize how I'm feeling right now, I don't know what does. The second is a song I hear in my head any time I get depressed. It's an instrumental piece from the film "The Prince of Egypt" called "Death of the First Born" composed by Hans Zimmer. It's a sorrow filled song that speaks to my pain. Lastly, a song I've listened to for years to cope with loneliness and sadness. It's called "Dante's Prayer", written and performed by Loreena McKennitt.

Again, thanks to everyone who's been reading, commenting, and being supportive. You've been wonderful.