Numbers matter to me.


I’m somewhat obsessive when it comes to numbers. It’s something that I do…

I remember in the first grade, when you had to do those timed math sheets and had 5 minutes to finish 100 problems. Tests were addition and subtraction, and then later in school you got hammered with multiplication and division. And then, to really make you hate life, they mixed them together.

I sucked at them. I was slow. I couldn’t finish them in the allotted time. But I began practicing, I began getting to know numbers like my life depended on it. I memorized anything to do with numbers – addresses, phone numbers, Pi out to 9 or 10 decimal places (I can’t even remember 4 now…), the numbers of people in a room, the ration of women to men in that room, etc.

Flash forward to college and I whipped calculus problems like crazy. I became so detail oriented, and mastered methodology like there was no tomorrow. I even passed a Calc III final with a 100% after sleeping halfway through it. I even remember, the very last final I had for my Bachelor’s degree was for a class in Chemical Engineering called “Transport Phenomena”. I giggled the entire way through the exam. Seriously, I’m deranged like that.

The problem for me is this: Real life doesn’t involve numbers. It doesn’t involve the cold calculations involved in getting the right answer. No, real life involved feelings, emotions, striving for other things than finishing a class. Real life’s problems are not clear, they don’t involve an exact answer.

And this is why I drink. I drink, because I don’t know how to deal with emotions very well. Not my emotions, mind you…I’ve already accepted that I’m FUBAR. No, I don’t know how to deal with other people’s emotions, and specifically, I don’t know how to deal with other people’s problems – especially when those problems involve me. I drink, because I don’t always “get it”. I drink because I don’t understand why the world isn’t laid out in front of me, like I was promised growing up. I drink, because the biggest lie ever told is “You can do anything you put your mind to.” (That’s the biggest fucking boondoggle ever, by the way.) I drink because I feel like a failure when trying to make others happy. I am conflicted between the things I do well and the things I don’t do well. I’m confused about the things that make me feel happy and the things that make me feel accomplished. I worry about my ability to take risks, I worry about my ability to handle emotionally difficult things.

Today is my 44th birthday (Thanks for the songs, Rita! No one has ever played the piano for me, before.). And because I obsess over numbers, I also obsess over dates. And I want my birthday to be a day I can remember with pride – and it’ll make it easy to remember the exact date of my sobriety. And I want this to be a memorable one, because I want this to be my last try at being completely sober and dry. So, today, I am beginning…

…Day 1.

It’s no secret…

…at least one here, but I struggle with my sexuality. I’m working on my 6th day of sobriety, and as my mind begins to clear and I can literally feel my mind cleaning up the garbage within my mind, I am left pondering with a mind clear of clutter.

The clutter I deal with is inundated from depression, anxiety, relationship issues, career matters, lack of confidence, lack of self-esteem and my sexuality. I used to pride myself on my ability to be clear in decision making, but now I can’t decide what color pants I should wear, let along anything serious. But one thing that sticks out in my mind, is my sexuality. I think of myself as bisexual, and somewhat of a dual-gender, but I find I accept myself more when I am under the influence of alcohol. But as my mind begins to clear and I begin thinking of ways to make my situation better, I also begin to contemplate the reality of my sexuality.

Am I truly bisexual? Am I truly someone that exhibits traits of more than one gender? Or has this been another escape mechanism I use to escape the problems in my life? I try and think about my life and the places I have felt sure of my sexuality and gender, but there are different places where I wonder if it were some animalistic urge taking over my common sense, or if I was truly acting in a way that is true to my being. Having a foundational upbringing in Catholicism has had an impact, I’m sure, but being a scientist is something else I consider. It always depends on my frame of mind.

I find myself constantly torn between doing what I believe is right versus what I feel makes me happy. I remember growing up and being told, “If it’s not illegal, immoral nor intending to hurt someone, then it’s not wrong.” Legality is an obvious matter – it’s the societal norms we have that dictate what is acceptable to the community at large. Morality is as concrete as the faith system you follow. Hurting someone is a matter of perspective. None of these things appeal to a solid answer for me, in terms of sexuality. Legality can conflict with morality. Morality can conflict with someone’s perspective. Someone’s perspective, given the right support, can alter legality. Government, religion, individuality are always at odds and in eternal conflict, aren’t they?

The fact that my career and marriage are not stable has a tremendous amount to do with the stress I experience. It adds to the stress I feel trying to understand myself. It sometimes makes me wonder if I am just fucked up and that my life has spiraled so far out of my control, that there is no saving it on my terms. Sometimes I wonder, if I should have been in love with a man – or a different woman. Would that negate my status as a father? Can I even be a father, if I also enjoy wearing panties and dresses? What implications does this have for me?  I ponder the implications for career and jobs. I ponder the reality of truly being “out”.

I have lived so safely within my own mind, but my mind cracks from the desire to drink and hide myself from everything. I want to avoid the drinking, but when my mind clears, I’m filled with the thoughts of “should” – What I should have done or what I shouldn’t have done. And I’m left wondering if I am bisexual or if I should be something else.

What is it that would give me the peace of mind I desire so much?