overdue

there is so much so say and so little, all at once.

i mean, the world has changed dramatically. we all cover our faces now. avoid touching each other. bathe in sanitizer. across the globe we are all in various phases of resuming life since we were shut down by that invisible miniscule virus, that bastard covid-19, but it is but a shadow of our previous lives.

it’s been nearly six months of this new normal. in mid-march, my plane touched down in canada from seeing pocketbrit in the UK and it was all quarantine and online grocery orders and schools shutting and PPE and terror.

and it’s hard to think of life prior to that, when we could see our therapists in person and hug people and gather socially and have meetings and could breathe freely. and in particular, it’s weird to think about going to therapy at all, because i haven’t been since my therapist, S, ditched me nearly nine months ago, in early january. a stellar start to a dumpsterfire of a year.

and recently, after months of fighting the fact that i still do need help, after wading through the nine layers of hell(acious shame), i reached out to someone new and promptly ran away after one session.

i’m not sure i’m ever going to be able to trust someone ever again.

and i know that’s so stupid. i mean for goodness sakes, am i truly going to let my ex-therapist dictate the future relationships in my life? how super lame-o.

it’s just…it is a unique and tortuous experience, to be dumped by your therapist. particularly uniquely tortuous because i didn’t think it would happen to me, not in a million years, because i thought there was a base layer of respect and understanding and care and love (isn’t that last bit ridiculous? i know.)

and i let myself believe her lies (and they were lies, the lot of them) and that is the part that sucks the most, that i let her know me, i gave her access to my little one, that i trusted that she would hold us in mind. yes, that’s what hurts the most, that’s the pain that ripples out, month after month – it’s the pain of regret. i was so incredibly stupid to let her close, to believe her words. in the scheme of her life, i am someone she can support one moment and then the next…not.

i think because our challenges started several months prior to the final death of our relationship, i am feeling all sorts of things right now about her. i am still incredibly angry. and so, i thought i would use this space to write out my letter to her (i have penned several), both from adult me, and from the wee one inside.

here’s my grown-up version:

dear S,
 
for most of the time between now and from when you dumped me as client, you have felt like an abstract thing. a banished thought in the corners of my mind, covered with piles of splattered dropcloths and barbed wire, walled off by chained link fencing with locked gates. there were several intense days following our last interaction where i was suicidal, full of shame and terror and grief, where i was consumed by all of it. my small one a trembling jelly-like oozing mess, spilling into everything, with her wails all i could hear.
 
then a vast galaxy of nothingness. where you were a thing that happened, a person i used to know, another disappointment among thousands of disappointments in my history, but with no sting to it. during this era there was nothing but numbness.
 
and then, there was rage. such huge fucking rage. i’m still one foot in the lava in it, i have to warn you. because i can’t believe the lies that you told me. i can’t believe the trust i placed in your hands. i can’t understand how your mouth could form the words not once, but repeatedly, that you loved me. respected me. cared about me.
 
i will never, ever make the mistake of trusting another therapist again like i trusted you. one day, i may work with someone again, but i will never share myself as fully as i did. and i will certainly never believe that i am anything more than a job for whoever the new person is, and i will not get tangled in notions of love and care. i know now that when it comes down to it, i don’t count, coz it’s not a real relationship. it is only as enduring as the therapist allows it to be: it can be cut at any moment. never, ever again will i believe that someone i pay, someone who works with people like me for a job, could come to love me, would find me important, or see me. ugh i’m shaking my head at myself, the naivete of my trust and belief in you. how could i have swallowed your lies? and for so long?
 
listen, i know your side of the story. i rubbed up against some old primal stuff, blah blah blah, you couldn’t provide me with what i needed, i was growing beyond you, yada yada. no matter how much a “good dedicated hardworking therapist” you wanted to be, you couldn’t. it was so wild how desperate you were for an out. you could barely wait to respond to my email – that egads, yes, now that i mentioned it, you likely weren’t the person to help me anymore. after seven years, being my therapist was suddenly too hard to even have a good enough ending. nope, i was too triggering, my questions and my hurt were too much, you were on edge, you seemed to have lost your instincts, you were unnerved – all of it, backhanded blame, just like always. so incredibly familiar. it was my fault that you couldn’t even have a last session in person, that you couldn’t say words to me over the phone, even. it was my fault for being who i was, for activating those things in you. (yes, that is what you said.)
 
there were glimpses of your fragile ego throughout our time together, but these glimpses, over the past year, turned into long stretches where you were defensive and inflexible. insensitive. out of touch. you have always talked big talk about the Greater Love and the Greater Good and the Big Holding of the Hands of the Universe but all of that was a smokescreen, i think. for your getting off on the guessing game that being a therapist provided. the detective work of it, the mystery of it. the stripping bare-ness of it. the weeping and the release and the intimacy and the rawness of it. front row seats to the processing of pain. front row seats to redemption?
 
i realized i could basically pinpoint the beginning of the end of things – could you? can you remember when i stopped being easy for you? i’ll tell you when – it was pretty much exactly when i worked through the majority of the attachment stuff, when i stopped trying so hard to appease and please, when i stopped reaching out as much in between, when i brought my anger along with my tears. when i got less little, and more adult, and challenged you as an equal rather than from the vantage point of a balled-up, trembling, terrified and traumatized little girl.
 
(who, by the way, is still very much present in me. poor little love. i could honestly spit, that i let you have access to her in the way that i did. and i have sworn to her, over and over, that i’ll never do that again to her with another therapist, not ever. no way. you literally held us, in your lap, and you were wrong for doing it but i was also wrong for letting you.)
 
in any case, you’ve got your side and i’ve got mine. and here’s how my side goes, in terms of us ending. you and your ego could sense that i was hurting, and that i was thinking of going elsewhere. and instead of being a therapist, instead of thinking about your client, and actually letting me choreograph our ending (the type of ending that you were fully aware that historically, i wasn’t able to get for myself)…you took that from me, too. you did it first. get before you are gotten. check, mate.
 
one of the worst parts of it all was that you called me ‘sweetie’ to the end. to the bitter end, you insisted you loved me and cared about me. including in your final bullshit note, the same one where you invoiced me the time it took for photocopying seven years of notes…like, not the cost of copying the notes themselves, that i understand. but invoicing me for the time it took you to photocopy the notes, remember that? ha. yeah, i felt your love. right down to the last cent. (also, fuck you extra for that.) and i can’t believe you would have done any of the things you did, but to actually say those things to me as you did what you did…did you hear yourself? how ridiculous it sounded to utter those words? S, none of how we ended was loving, caring, or respectful to or of me.
 
there was a time that i thought about actually engaging with you about this, but there is no point. it became incredibly clear what we were, and also what we weren’t. who you were, and who you weren’t. who i am, and who i’m not. and it turns out i’m not someone who needs to have the last word. i’m not someone who needs your meaningless apology or empty gestures or sad excuses. i have heard you loud and clear, through your words and also through your actions, and i’ve heard enough.
 
so yes, there is this anger, but there is also grief, the same mawing gnawing grief that is always at the edges of me. for thinking i had something when really, i had nothing. for believing in the fable of it all. for wanting something more and thinking it was possible. for looking outwards for the healing that can only happen within.
 
i long ago put away the hope that this, all of this, might mean something to you. might register as a loss. might trickle into your brain, in the night, tighten your tummy, bring sudden tears to your eyes. but, i don’t think it does. i was but a blip. easily replaceable, gladly forgotten. it is meant to be that way, with therapists and clients. it is not meant to be real, though those of us who are hurt are desperate for it to be. it just can’t be, we can’t be.
 
because you will always choose you. you will always save your own life first. secure your own oxygen mask to your face, before turning to help others with their own masks. of course it is, it’s how it’s meant to be. and lying, and saying it’s not, aye, there’s the damage. there’s the hurt. there’s the lie to beat all lies.
 
i know better now. and i have you to thank for that.
 
– pocketcanadian
 
at another point, our stuffed pup and pocketbrit’s worn loved bear from her childhood that she gifted us clutched under my chin, i transcribed for the little one. and she cried and cried and cried and this is what she said:
 
S
you left me
you quit
you went away even though you said you cared but that was a big fat lie
i am a tiny speck, i am invisible, i don’t matter
i am a dummy for believing you
a big big dummy so big the biggest
and [pocketcanadian] is a dummy for letting me believe you
 
you said so many lies to me
right to my face, you said them
S you knew all the things that hurted me and you still did it, you still said lies and you aren’t even sorry
you don’t miss me at all because i didn’t count in your life
i tried to do all the things to make you stay
i told you all the things that made me cry and i cried so many times like a hundred million times and i let you near when i did and i wish i didn’t do that
i thought you meant it
i thought you cared
i thought it mattered
you said it did but it didn’t
 
i thought you were different S
but then on the last day you talked to me like i was stupid and said it wasn’t my fault but that was a lie too coz your other words said it was my fault
you threw me away like garbage
i didn’t even get to say goodbye
 
you only liked me when i was sad
not if i got mad
not when i got quiet
you only wanted me if i could be small and easy
just like everyone else did
just like always
 
you made me feel not alone for a little while but that was actually a lie anyway
 
and all of those words make my heart ache. because they’re her words and feelings, but they echo inside, bouncing off my ribs and my gut and my funny bones and my kneecaps and the soles of my feet. i don’t know how i’m meant to comfort her when there is such a large part of me believing her, feeling our constant, proverbial wrongness reverberating everywhere, everywhere, everywhere.

Magic (184)

So the first thing that comes to my mind for this word is of course, Harry Potter. I was about  8 or 9 when I began the love for this series. I remember going to watch the first two films in the cinema with my parents and middle brother, and I very vividly remember the day that the 5th book in the series was released. My mum went to tescos with my middle brother and I, and on the very day it was released we each got our own copy of the book, and a bar of tesco value white chocolate (pocketcanadian will be making a puking gesture at this point because she hates white chocolate), and we went home, and I’m not sure about my brother, but I couldn’t have been happier. I went straight upstairs with the beautiful big hardback book with thick pages, and my bar of chocolate and sat on the wooden floor in my room under the window with my back against the wall, and was completely entranced by the book. I’m not completely sure whether I had read all of the other books up to that point, but I most definitely did from that moment on. I became quite obsessed with Hogwarts and Harry Potter. You probably wouldn’t realise it from afar – I didn’t talk non-stop about it, I didn’t wear Harry Potter costumes…but I did always, no matter what, carry one of the books (if not two if I was nearing the end of one of the books) with me at all times. And I mean all times. If I was going to school, to my grandparents, even in the car with one of my parents for just 5 minutes. Hogwarts was my safety net. It was love and misunderstanding and belonging, and finding a family where you believed you had none. It was home to me. This crazy imagined world with spells and dragons and wonderful half giants, and men with long beards and cloaks who love you before you even know who they are. I can’t put words exactly to what it is that made me feel such a connection to the books, but my favourite character was Sirius (and then Lupin), and of course Harry, and I think its probably clear from Harry’s lack of support and safety, and Sirius’ complete lack of belonging in his own cruel slytherin family, that the idea of not belonging in the family that you know, feeling unseen and unheard and out of place, as well as unsafe and unloved….I think that was a big part. But more importantly, how they found their own family – how they found a home and love and belonging that they never knew existed up to that point. There’s a lot in that I think.

So yeah….I would read the series non-stop. As soon as I was finished with one book I would move onto the next, and once I had finished the last book in the series (that being however far along in the series was released at that point) I would just go straight back to the beginning and start again. My books are so very battered these days. A couple of them sellotaped together. I used to just pick up the 4th and 5th books and read the last several chapters at night, when I was sad and needed to cry but couldn’t, needing a release. The death of Cedric and Molly’s mothering in the fourth book, and then Sirius’ death and the scene with Dumbledore in his office in the 5th book, were both scenes that could induce tears with me. Somebody who found it very hard to cry, but very much needing to given the things going on in my life at that time…these books offered an outlet for that. As well as offering so very much more.

I’m not too happy with J.K Rowling right now, but nevertheless, this series will always mean everything to me. It was the very thing that I latched onto and kept me moving forwards through all of the disgusting things happening to me. So this to end this post ❤

Dreams (358)

I hadn’t intended to click on this title in my drafts – it was the last one above the button to see more of the drafts – but actually it seems like a decent one to do today, because it sort of fits in with the last post I did on Hope, and also, because my dreams have been pretty terrible lately.

*****

So first off, dreaming for things, having broader dreams for my life, are hard. I’m not going to go into all of that again because its pretty much all in my last post, but yeah.

As for the dreaming that I do when I’m asleep…they’re bonkers generally. I always thought everybody remembered their dreams in intricate detail, but pocketcanadian was always surprised and kind of happy that when she asked about my dreams I would go off on a very long-winded story with lots of segues and anecdotes and plainly random twists and turns, because she remembered all of the intricate detail in her dreams too, unlike her family who thought it was very weird.

As a kid I would have a recurring dream that would alter somewhat, but on the whole stay the same. I still have the same dream from time to time. In it I’m at my parents house, in my bedroom with one or two of my dogs, and I would sense and then hear the people coming to attack us. Sometimes I would see their cars and vans coming up the drive, sometimes when I was older and driving myself, I would be driving to my parents to see them and come across these people down the track to our house. Every time in these dreams My parents would be killed, and sometimes my dogs too, and always, always, it was me that they were truly after. Me that they wanted to rape and then kill. Most of the times I would be in my bedroom and try to quiet the dogs and then climb out of my bedroom window, dog in tow, and run as fast as I can through the garden and into the fields. Often I would be chased, and at this point I would have to hide in the stream running through a little wooded area, trying my hardest to not scare my dog, and keep them quiet, sometimes unsuccessfully. In many dreams I would manage to run to my grandparents house which was close by, and with huge relief and also still heightened terror run in ready to tell them that my parents are dead and that they’re coming to get me, to call the police. Sometimes they would be alive and confused and I would have to hurry trying to lock all the windows and doors, never managing it in time….but normally, I would run into their house in equal parts panic and relief, only to see the men there, and them dead, waiting for my fate. And then I would wake up….covered in sweat and sometimes tears, heart racing out of my chest and still feeling the terror.

There are other versions of this one…where I turn into a miniature person so I can hide…where my dad lets them in….where my dad invites them so that he can sell me to them, where I hide in the house….where there are guns and shots and a fight at the house….

*****

Other recurring dreams include dying on a plane. (Fear of flying – obvious much)

Lately I keep having a dream about arguing with my dad, talking back as he goes off on his “mental health is bullshit, young people these days are pathetic, never had anything bad happen in their life, therapy is total crap, only soldiers know trauma etc.” rant, to ask him how he can be saying that to me, ask him how being raped by your brother at a young age is nothing, how that’s no big deal and to stop being so goddamn pathetic. Clearly my mind trying to process all of the things he has been saying to me lately, and my own desire to scream back at him rather than hold my tongue which is what I currently do, trying not to cry and not to let the shame roar inside me.

I’ve also been having ones where I tell somebody that has pretended to care and has asked questions about what is going on with me, that I was abused. Only to then go back and try to tell them more for them to say they aren’t interested, they don’t want to hear it. There’s a lot of shame brought up even thinking about those dreams.

*****

I think dreams are incredibly interesting – the way we process the things that happen in our day during REM sleep, the way that traumatic things go unprocessed and are “incorrectly filed”, how things like EMDR work to go back in time and process them at a later date. The brain is just amazing, and I’d love to learn more about the brain and trauma, how it all connects and works to keep us safe.

Hope (359)

I find it really hard to hope for things, to admit what I want and acknowledge to other people that actually I do hope for things.

Lately I told pocketcanadian of one of my biggest hopes, that I really want to move to Canada and away from my parents and family for 6 months, two years, maybe forever. Its a big thing admitting that. I told my therapist once and then the following week I came back to her, so full of anger at myself, saying it was impossible, it would never happen for a whole load of reasons, and that she shouldn’t have ever led me into believing it was actually possible. Safe to say I was punishing myself for daring to hope, and worse, for expressing those hopes to somebody else.

Lately, 9 to 10 months later, I’m beginning to express those hopes again. To look into it a bit more, to tell pocketcanadian, to put more attention on what I really want and to just give it space. So here i go, I’m going to put it out there a little bit more. Put it here, and think about all the logistics of it.

So im from the uk, and i love being by the sea, love water, and feel connected listening to waves, diving into them, feeling the water all around me. So, id like to go to the coast, ideally the east coast, Nova Scotia.

That might not be an immediate thing though, because pocketcanadian is somewhere else in Canada, and I think if I’m going to make this huge move, it might be better to start out near her, so that I have a safe space, someone I can turn to and see and hug on those bad lonely days.

Here are the things i need to work out (this list will get bigger, but here’s where I’m at right now) :

Rent. How much a month? Bills included? How much for bills? Council tax?

Working visa. Cost? How easy?

Student loan. Normally comes out of wages, what happens if I move abroad?

When? Before I’m 30, as soon as I’ve saved enough money.

Cat? If 6 months, i could leave him here and he would be looked after, but I would feel so guilty, and I would miss him like crazy. If longer, take him? Can I find somewhere to rent that will take pets?

Business? Can I get my craft business going here? Can I get it to make money? Can I move that abroad? Would it make sense to? Would I be able to take my equipment?

Job. This is a big one. I would need to ideally have a place to rent and a job lined up. Needs to be enough to live off and slightly save (ideally).

Money. I want to go there with all of my basic expenses for 6 months in savings. 6 months rent, bills, food etc. Or , alternatively, 4 months and enough for the flight back. That’s probably more realistic. And of course will need the cost of the flight there.

Transport. Won’t have a car, so get a car out there? Car cooperative? Public transport?

Travel insurance. Or will it just be medical insurance once I’m out there ? How will I pay for my sertraline? Will it be easy to get? Will it be expensive? Doctors, dentists etc? How do you go about that stuff?

 

That’s where I’m at right now, thinking of these things, with lots of questions, things to find out.

I don’t know what it is, but hoping and expressing it and telling people makes me incredibly anxious. The nightmares and dreams, and just constant noise in my head of “you can’t do this”, “you never should have said anything”, “you’ll fail”, “you’ll hate it”, “you’ll get too lonely”, “you can’t leave the cat and your family and the dogs”, “someone will die and you won’t be here and you won’t ever see them again”, you will screw it up, you’ll run out of money, you won’t make any friends, you won’t get a job, you’ll fuck it all up”. Etc etc etc.

So this post is a fuck you to that anxiety. Time to start the couple of years of planning and saving and working it all out.

 

All the (fucking) feelings

I don’t even know tonight, what it is. I don’t know if it would even help to pinpoint it, but it just feels like all kinds of things, everything.

Hurting and hurting. Like physically, in my chest and in my legs and my head. A heaviness, a sadness, a thick inarticulable aching sort of blanket tucked around me. Things feeling fuzzy yet poignant, tears rising and falling, rising and falling.

*

There is someone i knew, not very well, a young, very kind person. With a really beautiful singing voice, with an energy that I could feel when I was around them. A person I was drawn to, a person with an intrinsic sadness yet so much openness also. A person born in the wrong body who did so so much work to make it right for them, so they could feel at home. They finally furnished themselves, with all the right parts, and then they died. Suddenly, during Pride week, in this pandemic. I have no right to feel so sad about it but I do, I feel bereft, i feel robbed, it was not their time, they weren’t finished yet.

*

Earlier I did that thing where you’re just doing something normal and ordinary and then you find your vision blurry and your cheeks wet and it’s a surprise, almost, to be crying because there was no real preamble, no conscious thought or swell of discernible feeling. It’s a bit silly honestly, and i got self conscious about it and mumbled an apology to my wife (“sorry for being a baby”) and with great tenderness, she smoothed back my hair and said, “It’s okay. You’re *my* baby” and she meant it.

*

Like many people, i watched a black man be murdered in front of the world by a white police officer two weeks ago. Watched that man beg and call his mama and fight for breath, his cheek grinding the pavement, his neck under a uniformed knee. Watched him go unconscious while that huge white ugly face loomed above him, expressionless. I have been to births but I have never been there when someone’s life left their body. Yet, we all were. Strangers, millions of us. We all were there, and i don’t think I’ll ever be the same.

*

I wrote my parents a note this weekend, advocating for my daughter, to whom we still permit them occasional internet and phone contact. They’ve been pressing her for details about us, about our lives. Passing on kisses and hugs to us, as though everything is okay. Making her feel guilty and like she is betraying us. In my email i told them that I want them to think of her first, their granddaughter, and put her back at the centre of things – but not in the middle. Told them i hope she never has to reconcile the grandparents she has with the parents they’ve been to me. I also told them i threw their cards and cheques in the garbage, that they should keep their professations of love and money solely to her, coz i didn’t want them.

And that is true but it also isn’t true, because I do want it. The love, I mean. I won’t ever get it, I know that now, but I do want it. I do want parents who love me, who show it and profess it. I hate that it still hurts me that I don’t.

*

Someone i didn’t know very well read me today, in a way that was both unnerving and comforting. She saw me, somehow, with very little effort and called attention to a part of me i usually hide, with something that felt like love. I don’t know why she did that, it was brief like a cloud passing over the sun and then we reverted back to our usual roles. But I’ve found myself folding around that moment, hands cupped in to myself, holding close how she reflected me, with gratitude and also grief.

*

Father’s Day is coming up. I actually forgot about it this year until i was reminded, and then a realization slammed into my diaphragm, that i didn’t remember coz it’s not actually relevant to me. I don’t have a dad I can celebrate.

*

Our daughter made slime tonight, a new recipe. I saved the day from ruin with cheap hair gel from the grocery store – the internet lied, it was not the “Best Slime EVER,” and there was much crying, googling of rescue measures, and frantic phone calling. Though to be honest, after nearly every drop of that three dollar, priceless magical goo was dribbled in, as her eyes shone, as her small hands kneaded the fragrant sticky formula with the kind of bliss i can hardly recall, i would have bought three thousand more bottles, just to sustain that moment.

*

Today was a bad missing day, we each have those sometimes, even on the same day now and again. Because of travel limitations i don’t know when I’ll see her again, and she’s my best friend. She lives across the sea from me and things have been really hard lately but our love, in its intensity and magnitude and longevity, also takes my breath away. Tonight I just wanted her to be for-real close, not just imagining like we have to do behind our closed eyelids all the time, but like in the same room on the same couch feet tucked under us and i could reach out and grab her hand, close.

Squeeze it once, twice. Our signal that we’re right there, not leaving, through all of it. The breathing, the grieving, the minutiae of the seconds making up a day and the gains and losses and feelings.

All the fucking feelings.

Child (364)

It’s funny, I came back  here today for the first time in quite a long time (those declarations of returning to this blog and finishing these words are always meant with conviction and renewed determination to do it, however every single time I try that determination seems to die down relatively quick – so no declarations today, just here because I felt like it, because I wanted to be), and when I clicked on the drafts of all of those words that I have yet to write about, this one was at the very top, and I didn’t even look any further, because I feel like a have enough thoughts to get down about this one.

So to do a little background of where I am right now, during these crazy times; I am furloughed from work (currently in the UK the government is paying 80% of a number of workers wages to keep them from being made redundant during covid-19, when lots of businesses are closed), and I am back at my parents house, which is a short drive from where I live, as they wanted me there. I am doing lots of gardening, general helping out, cleaning, cooking etc, and hopefully will be able to work on my own business concept that I want to give a go soon, as well hopefully being able to some back office improvements to the business where I currently work. The thing is, its utterly shit. It was bearable for the first couple of weeks, but it is now into week 11 and its just shit. No other way to say it. Despite the fact that I am in my mid 20s, and that I’m home helping out because they wanted it, I am back to being a child. The lack of privacy, the inability to do what I want or need to do, the way my day is often scheduled and dictated by them, it’s enough to drive me insane.

I started this post several weeks ago, and never finished it, only coming back to it now. I’m sure I had a whole lot more to say about this back then, but its gone from my mind now. I think I mostly just needed to rant about it. To say how mad it made me that despite being a grown up, being back in my parents house I am back to being treated like a child, just one with a whole lot more jobs to do. I seriously hope this lockdown ends soon.

shittest of shits: 3/30

that is today.

i worked but i don’t even know how. i was somewhere else. i forgot to eat lunch. i drank water though.

my body feels terrible, my brain feels terrible, my head feels terrible. i’m small and ashamed and stuck there. it is hurting all over, inside and outside. i feel totally alone.

all i’ve felt like doing all day is crying, and now that i actually can, that i have a minute just for me, it won’t come.

i don’t think i have anything else to say.

emotional lability: 2/30

at work, i often use ‘labile’ to describe an aspect of someone’s health. i might describe someone’s blood pressure as labile, for instance, which is not a good thing – it means it is unstable, going up and going down but not staying steady. i thought of this word today, in terms of me. how i was doing.

i didn’t even know that ’emotional lability’ was an actual term, but when i googled it, i was like, yup, that fits, that was me today. at first i was okay, feeling kinda good, adult, productive. and then i crashed into the pit. i was weepy, i was enraged, i was ashamed, i was scared, i was young, in quick succession and then back again to adult versions of all the same.

which is what happens when you don’t eat and drink your feelings. fuck.

there were good parts in the middle…i rode my bike in the sunny windy afternoon, got my heart pumping. i didn’t find that i wanted to eat bad stuff, i didn’t feel particularly hungry today at all. though i am hungry right now…i am going to have to do something about that before bed, i think. (actually, right now. banana and almond butter to the rescue! trying not to goop on the keyboard.)

i know part of my (disproportionate) irritability at my family earlier was being hangry, though at the time i felt justified and was pretty sure it was just coz they were so self-centred and annoying. and then i slammed a door (not on purpose) and stomped into my room and laid flat on my bed and breathed for a bit, and scrolled social media mindlessly for a bit more, and then i got up and apologized to them, because i really was being a horrible grump because of all the feelings that i wasn’t numbing with the gin & tonics that were starting earlier and earlier in the daytime hours.

***

pocketbrit and i didn’t talk much today. caught in our own personal hells, i think. it never feels good when we don’t talk. i think i realize how much i rely on her to check in when we have days like today, and it makes shame burn in my chest. (and shame is a clusterfuck.)

this morning, when she hadn’t replied to my messages, i was only curious. it was unusual but not unheard of, and when i checked the weather, it was a beautiful day there so i figured she was outside.  by noon, i was more worried and also feeling ashamed and rejected. as mid-afternoon approached with no word, i was a mix of worried, and when she replied by saying “i’m here” i was angry relieved confused ashamed hating myself for being a fucking lunatic.

tonight, as i’m sitting here, missing her, i’m struck by the process of worrying goes for me, and how ashamed i get when i worry. how untrue the stories i start to author are, and how reflective of trauma they are. how i dip into and out of being little, and how being little hijacks my ability to be rational and understanding and fair. coz the things that i start to hear and feel are things like, she stopped caring. and she forgot about me. and it always ends with, i did something wrong and now i have to guess and if i don’t guess right it’s going to be even worse. 

and usually, at that point, my adult brain steps in, tries to soothe the small one. attempts to settle her with more likely stories. like, she’s busy. her phone died and she didn’t notice. she’s gardening, you saw all the plants she’s looking after, that takes a lot of time! to maybe her parents are really after her today and her head’s really bad. but as the hours went on, even the adult starts panicking. she’s hurt. she’s sick. she’s really really not okay, and you don’t even know. and then, always, you wouldn’t even know if something bad did happen, no one is going to tell you anything anyway because you live across the world and besides, you don’t even count and then both little and adult ones are a mess, and the shame gets even huger because this is not even a normal response to someone not seeing my messages, i’m being a total loon and i know it.

and then my shame activates her shame, and our little ones start to box, and soon it’s a triggerfest, where we all feel like garbage and none of us gets what we want or need, where we will both go to bed with our small ones activated and scared and mad and sad and missing. which feels absolutely terrible, the worst, when what we want is to feel connected and close.

but sitting here now, and even earlier, i knew we were okay. we are okay. we have done this before, been here before. i’m not leaving, and neither is she, there’s too much here for both of us, it’s why it hurts so big, coz there’s such a big space left when we’re absent. it was a shit day coz it was shit day. and she will tell me and i will tell her and we will love and understand each other through it, like always, when we are better able to. we will smooth it out among all of us, and i think, i hope, that tomorrow will be kinder.

 

 

a new start: 1/30

i’ve wanted to come here for a long time. have in fact drafted about 5 or 6 posts, sat here several other times with the cursor winking at me, judging me. i don’t know why i could never just take the plunge and publish something.

except…i do, and it’s coz starting over is scary. and it’s also coz there’s so much to recap that i get totally overwhelmed trying to figure out how i’m going to capture it.

so, maybe i just don’t have to capture anything. maybe i can just jump in, and commit to one day at a time, for maybe the next 30 or so days. and then we can see where it goes. maybe, once i’ve gotten in practice, i’ll feel like going back and writing some of those hundred or so posts on the words we started with. maybe i’ll tell you about the shit sandwich of an ending with my long-time therapist. maybe i’ll tell you about the amazing trip i took to the UK to see pocketbrit a few months ago, before the world shut down. and, maybe i won’t. maybe this will just be space for whatever comes.

***

one of the things that brought me here today is actually that today is another another ‘day 1’ for me, a commitment to my health. over the past several years, i’ve done quite a few rounds of the whole 30, and i always feel better when i do. i first did it to support my wife, who was making dietary changes because of her autoimmune issues, at the suggestion of her naturopath. surprisingly, i discovered that some of my own food intolerances were similar to hers, with some additional ones thrown in, and that some of my chronic discomforts/health issues were improved when i refrained from consuming these foods.

when we are doing well, i’d say we typically eat whole 30 about 70% of the time. since the shutdown of the world as we know it, however, we were eating 100% crap, not to mention drinking like fish. and, i look and feel it. bloated, sore, swollen, irritable, impatient, full of self-loathing. (i mean the latter doesn’t ever really disappear, it just wanes slightly.)

so i thought i’d commit (to myself) to write here about how i’m feeling. how my body is doing. how my mood is. and pretend that it’s about the whole 30, knowing that it’s a tiny bit that, but mostly, that it’s about getting back to me and this space, and trying to tune in with where i’m at.

i have to warn you, it will likely be raw and not all that cute. with no eating or drinking feelings, no therapist, continuing to work (i’m considered essential so have been working throughout the pandemic) with no social outlet, full-on physical distancing mode whilst at home, and also supporting a kid to do distance learning while the wife works in the home office? nowhere much to go, and no one to go anywhere with? yikes. i’m not selling it, lol.

and, i hope it will serve to keep us connected, pocketbrit and i. we still talk every day by text, but the phone and video calling is more sporadic. we both have less time on our own, and although we have more free hours in some ways, it seems to get filled with the bullshit minutiae of pandemic times. so, we miss each other, really really hugely, lately.

i hate it.

***

so maybe i’ll actually start today’s entry, now. (i thought i was avoiding the preamble but see above at all the ambling i have done!!)

i woke up, late, from really interrupted sleep, from a series of odd and upsetting dreams. the latter of which was one where i was living with my mom, who suddenly believed me about my dad having sexually abused me. didn’t require evidence, actually believed me. apologized to me. loved me and hugged me and was on my side.

but the dream was also full of other things that are big sources of shame. the examples may have been trite, but the themes were obvious. (my brain is an asshole, not remotely subtle.) like, having people not believe me  about something (in the dream, it was that i didn’t like soda.) having made mistakes that led others to judge me (as being irresponsible, impetuous, fill in the blank, my dream was full of this theme. the one running through it was that i missed a deadline at university that everyone knew about, everyone but me.) having to tell someone something very difficult, and hurting them (in the dream, it was a man who was courting me. madly madly in love with me, thought i was the most gorgeous wonderful person in the world, and i had to tell him i wasn’t into it.) being ‘too late’ and having to live with the consequences (in the dream, i was stuck retaking a full-year biology course, even though i had already taken it, and it was going to affect when i graduated.) ridiculous, but i was already exhausted by the time i woke up because of the life i had led in my dream.

the rest of the day didn’t pan out too great either. i got blisters on balls of my feet, going for a walk. i wanted to buy a bike, but there were none in stock. i picked up the wrong hardware to repair something, and my wife was mildly annoyed and i got triggered, and then so ashamed for not being able to stop my descent into littleness. i wasn’t there for pocketbrit, who really needed a friend. my kid suddenly wanted to talk to my estranged parents, after weeks of being completely disinterested in skyping with any of her grandparents.

and, hearing their voices in my house was just horrible. as bad as it always is, but maybe a bit extra, after the dream. i never go on camera, or talk to them, but it doesn’t matter. i have to hear them talk to her, and her to them. and i’m torn between needing to listen, needing to be a good parent, wanting to make sure they’re not being inappropriate with her by pressing her for information, or making her otherwise uncomfortable, and wanting to fucking run. wanting to dive under my covers with pillows over my head, or flee from the house, into air that doesn’t ring with their voices.

but here’s the thing, none of the options are good. none of them are better than the others. they’re all equally shit, because i hate that they are in our lives, in any form. i hate the posturing and pretending, i hate our daughter listing off all the things she wants (knowing she will get them in the mail in 2 to 3 weeks time), i hate them buying anything for her, i hate the birthday cards and cheques they still send us, despite us not opening or cashing them in nearly five years, i hate that the scenario in my dream will never come true.

my mother will never choose me. she never has, and she never will.