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.
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.
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.