At the moment this word is making me think of pocketcanadian, the amazing friend I’m lucky enough to share this blog with.
She doesn’t have endless patience. Nobody does (or should), but lately, she’s so much more patient than I could ever ask of her. I mean she’s always been patient, but extra lately. And the best thing of all… Its been with one of my young ones that really needs it. The little one and i have spent the last couple of days listening to pc’s voice and rereading the conversations between the two of them. Because, pc has been so gentle, so loving and kind, and so patient.
Neither of us can quite believe our luck, because here’s the thing, my little one believes pocketcanadian. She believes her words and she believes her love. She always knew that it was genuine, but she never dreamed that it could actually be applicable to her too. That somebody, actually, really, wants to fight to love her. That they care. It’s amazing. And she’ll carry on fighting it a bit sometimes, keep thinking it isn’t safe, but she also knows it’s there patiently waiting. And that’s so much more than we could have dreamed of.
so, i’ve been absent here lately. like so absent. hanging on by a literal shred, and only barely, at that. watching the days dawn and then set, seeing the daily words increase in number as my shame becomes a constant taste in my mouth, a burn in my eyes, a stone in my gut…
(a quick aside: the first phrase that came to mind was hanging on by the skin of my teeth except, ummmm, gross, i don’t have tooth skin, do you? i mean where did that saying even come from?!)(i know. i could google it. but it’s squicking me out.)(okay fuck i googled it. and it’s biblical, from the book of job. sorry god for saying fuck so much, amen.)
this word has come to mean a lot to me because of how much it hurts pocketbrit, because of the shame it carries, because of how deeply it injures her, over and over again. generally, i have a more visceral response to being strong (or not being strong) rather than weak (so you can imagine i was ever-so-delighted to see this word come up in the rota of words i’ve ignored for two weeks) but over time, this word has become meaningful because of my love for my friend. and it makes me so, so sad.
it makes me sad because i know there are some parts that are convinced she is weak, and that her own mother planted, fertilized, and tended to this belief, for years and years (i literally want to spit when i think of that woman, for not seeing her beautiful, smart, sweet, kind daughter. for not protecting her. for looking the other way. i hate her with the hatred of…i don’t even know, just a lot. she hurts my friend so, so much. i don’t even have the words for the level of disregard, and disgust, and anger i have for her.) it makes me sad because i know how fully this conviction is steeped in her cells, how small it makes her feel, how helpless and alone. feeling hurt is weak. asking for help is weak. crying is weak. being vulnerable is weak. sharing blame with others is weak. letting people close is weak. loving and being loved is weak.
and being weak feeds the huge fucking maw of shame, makes it roar so loud the only possibility seems that you will get swallowed up, you will die. i have that shame too, it is fed by different things, but oh god, i know the terror of it, i feel his breath even now on the back of my neck…
and yet…and yet, my lovely pocketbrit has done all of those ‘weak’ things, especially this past year. has fought through and around the shame, has believed me enough to let me in. to let me close. to let me love her, and to love me back. to tell me her hurts, to ask me for help. to stay with me when she wants to run. to tell me when i’ve hurt her heart. to cry with, and for, and to me. to go to therapy, to tell her therapist some of the awful, horrific things she has had happen to her. to be vulnerable.
she has done it all. all the while sure that she is the worst, that she is the most awful, the stupidest. all the while with that goddamn shame in her ear, with the meanest of mean dreams playing as she sleeps, with memories and sensations wracking her body as she wakes up every day and works to funnel the chorus of voices telling her how wrong and horrible and weak she is.
that’s not weak. to me, that’s amazing. she’s amazing. this is the hardest fucking stuff, and she does it, every day.
no kidding she wants to die sometimes, who wouldn’t?! jesus. enough, already. she’s already been hurt so so much. she deserves a break. a really big one, a really peaceful one, where she is actually able to feel, without the impediment of shame, how loved and adored she is, how important she is to the people in her life.
[25 minute break to cry] [sorry, i’m a bit little]
today it feels all the sadder because i hurt her last night, i wasn’t there for her and for her wee one, and it was awful for us both. i know that happens sometimes. i know it will happen again. but i don’t want her to stop doing all the things she thinks are weak with me. i want her to stick around long enough to realize how very strong, and powerful, and amazing she is. i don’t want to fertilize the idea that she is weak, unwanted, unloved.
that couldn’t be further from the truth for me. and i am fighting shame so hard today, trying to grow up bigger and bigger, so i can tell her without crying (not that she minds me crying, but dammit, i just want to do it without tears and without the terror of my little one), how proud i am of her, how much i need her and love her, and how not weak she is. how much she has grown, how much i admire her, how glad i am to walk with her through all of it, even when it hurts. i know she might not believe it but i want to say it just the same.
**this post was actually written on Jan 11/19 but backposted to the date of the word**
i was actually going to attempt this one.
but given all that has been happening this past week…all the different ways this word is impacting my life right now…i am exhausted just imagining where i might start.
sometimes i wish i had less of this. it would make things more simple. less hurty. more easy to tell what is mine and what is yours. there are some days that it seems that i can feel all of the pain, where i look at my wife and my kid, at pocketbrit, at my friends, at people in the grocery store, and their hurts are like a thousand little darts into my heart. i see their pain, and it hurts me, so much.
and how i got this way, ugh. and then ugh again. it was trained into me from a young age, and it was functional, of course, served as protection. i mean, not actually, i still got hit and violated, but how much more would it have happened if i didn’t know how to read others? if i didn’t value how other people felt, couldn’t see things from their perspective?
as messed up as it sounds, it is one of the vestiges of being raised by the family i had that i wouldn’t trade. despite how often they criticized it (while simultaneously benefiting from it), how often i was seen as being too sensitive. i don’t want to be any way else. i don’t want to be checked out or unaware of your hurt, of your joy. i want to know it, i want to feel it, i want to be with you through whatever it may be…because honestly, how else are we meant to live?
i’m totally dating myself (again), but this song.
i feel like patience is one of those things i work at all the time, but fail at fairly often. plus, i am not very consistent about it; i have nearly endless patience for some things and most people, but am impatient with myself about nearly everything.
i looked up the definition of patience, and yeah, where i fall short is in the not getting annoyed part. most definitions say something along the lines of bearing problems/delays/suffering whist suppressing annoyance/anxiety, and not complaining. yeah i don’t think i do that all that well. i think i have compassion for others, but i’m not sure i can say that i am always able to swallow my annoyance, or refrain from complaining, at least inwardly. and the synonyms of this word make me feel even less like it applies to me: forbearance (i think only ancient stuffy british people would use this word anyway), stoicism (um, noooope), self-restraint (bahahahahahah)…
but after goofing around on the internet looking at various definitions of the word, wikipedia, of all places, provided a definition i really liked, and that i could consider may apply to myself. which was that patience was the level of endurance one has before negativity sets in. i thought, yeah. okay. i do have patience about a lot of things, then. still not so much myself, but yeah.
i’m pretty sure that this word also refers to the single-player card game that pocketbrit, and others like her, would call patience. on this (morally superior and obviously correct) side of the pond, we call it solitaire…coz it’s a solitary game, makes sense. i invite you, pocketbrit, to defend yourself and your countrypeople on this one. i will give you strimmer vs weedwhacker, but you have to concur that solitaire makes more sense than patience!! (i know you will not concur, as it pains you to agree with me…but COME ON)
lately, everything has just felt like staring into the fucking abyss. christmas. my absent, revisionist, constantly disappointing family of origin – which now includes my only sibling, after a disastrous, explosive (on his part), frightening (for our daughter) display on boxing day, in our home. everything suddenly so, so clear, yet so incredibly dark.