Tend to hear this word being said as a snooty stuck up voice in my head. I prefer the word gross.
Last September when we started this blog the idea of meeting each other was something that we were talking about, but hadn’t actually made proper plans for. Who would go to who? Or would it be better to meet somewhere completely different? Meet in the middle? (Though not literally, as that would be the middle of the ocean after all.)
It was something that scared me and excited me both. I asked to go over to Canada, as I thought that pocketcanadian’s family could provide some useful distraction. (Whilst we know each other very well neither of us are being blind to how difficult it could be, and strange it will be, to be sat face to face after all this time.) So what time of year? How long for? Would I stay in a hotel or at their house? Still lots of questions. Then pocketcanadian booked time off work, we talked about it some more, and then I just did it, booked the flights. In the ‘just do it and worry about it later’ way that helps with my anxiety. I’ve never travelled alone via airports, I don’t even like flying. I’m going to be a bag of sleep deprived nerves, anxiety and worry. But it’s booked. It’s been booked for 6 months now, and I’m excited. And nervous, and anxious, but really very excited. As in there is a list of things to pack already stuck on my fridge. There is a purse with canadian dollars and my passport, and a couple of clothes that I got which are ready and not going to be worn beforehand.
It’s going to be bizarre, landing in Canada, going through security, picking up my suitcase, and walking out to try to find my best friend that I’ve never even been in the same country as. What’s that meeting going to be like? Will we hug? Or will that feel too weird? Will I cry (with my lack of sleep, heightened anxiety, and unfortunately I think pms)? Probably. Will she cry? If I am, probably. Will we feel at ease? I doubt it, not right away. Will we just stare and smile at the other without really saying much, like we did the first time we video called each other? (Seriously people, it was goofy grins for hours. We’re ridiculous.)
My week after that first meeting is going to include a few more; meeting those people closest to pocketcanadian. Her family and her friend. Those meetings will scare me too, but they won’t be as important to me as that very first one. 💜
We’ve had a heavy list of words these last few days…the kind where you read them and thing ugh, fuck, I don’t want to write about that. And so I’ve been reading them and then ignoring them, waiting for something easier to come along. But hey ho, that doesn’t seem to happening so I’m just going to get back into it before my list of words that I haven’t done piles up even more.
I want loving people in my life. Um, duh, pocketbrit, who doesn’t?!? But I’m actually kind of embarrassingly desperate to have loving people in my life. I used to wish something terrible would happen to my parents (which I would’ve been devastated about – it wasn’t that I didn’t love them) in the hope that somebody else would come into my life who would be so gentle and loving and caring, and really look after me. Not just physical me, but emotional me. And I don’t just mean I wished it once, I mean I wished it a lot of the time. As a kid I was drawn to books with orphans in them, or kids that have had a really crappy time only to be taken in by somebody, to finally have that loving paternal relationship where they are finally safe. I would obsess over those adult characters that became loving guardians, and in my own inner world, I used to pretend somebody was coming for me, it was just a case of waiting it out.
Here’s the part that really hurts my inner parts: I’m an adult now. Nobody is coming. It’s too late. They might be little, but this body is not.
Lately things have been terrible with my therapist. Something she keeps bringing up is my problem with attachment. She’s said before that she doesn’t think I have ever truly felt safe. And now she has repeatedly mentioned how as soon as I start to like somebody (and feel more relaxed, more safe), I panic, and then I push them away. It’s not safe to me. The phobia of attachment, and the phobia of attachment loss.
Lately I’ve been pushing her really hard. Though honestly I’ve routinely been pushing her away since I started with her a year and a half ago. I’ve threatened (and tried to) quit countless times. It’s so difficult because I’m desperate to have her love me and care for me, but the moment we have a really good session, or she’s feeling caring and attuned and attached and I feel a little safer, let my guard down a little, it’s like sirens go off in my head. Guaranteed the next session she will say something that I take the wrong way (because I’m subconsciously on high alert for clues that she’s actually not safe, that I need to leave), and it all turns to shit.
I don’t have many loving relationships in my life at all. The friendship that I have with pocketcanadian is the biggest exception. And that’s surprising, because there is truly a lot of love. Even though this one too is fraught with regular pushing from both of us, it’s still standing and it’s still strong, and that surprises me and also doesn’t surprise me. I think we work hard at it, I think there’s a lot of common ground and understanding and leeway given. My therapist and I have talked before about how it’s been different with pocketcanadian, how I’ve managed to let her in, and not leave when I start to panic…what we came up with is that the friendship of ours took place without the direct contact of a normal relationship. There was almost this barrier to hide behind. We knew the most intimate details of the other, without even knowing the other’s name at the beginning. It was backward, and it kept a physical distance between us that allowed me to gain an emotional closeness without panicking. Of course as the emotional bond got stronger, the more I loved her, the more I relied on her, the more panicked I would get. But the amazing thing is this….we both love each other, and we both already understand, already expect it, and we both fight to overcome that flight response. Every single time. Something about the physical distance, and the anonymity leading to very deep truthtelling between us, meant that this friendship could become the most genuine and loving one in my life. That I have ever, and I’m certain will ever, have.
In contrast, I very recently told my other closest friend something that I was terrified to. And, that there was more I want to tell her. This is a friend that I have known for the majority of my life – a best friend that I see fairly regularly, that I used to spend all of my time with. I have never told her any of this part of my life because I have always been too scared, despite her sharing similar with me. But her response to the little that I told her? Extremely loving. I balled my eyes out for an hour and a half afterwards. But after the crying settled, I wanted to run. I still want to run. Every time I think about it I feel a swell of panic in my belly. And i keep telling myself that despite her loving response so far, she’s going to not believe me or be so disgusted when I tell her about my brother. In fact I convince myself that that will happen. And so I tell myself I won’t ever see her again, I’ll remove her from my life.
It’s crazy this attachment shit. It’s crazy how I desperately long for a loving relationship, and then panic and destroy the relationship as soon as it begins become loving. I know this is my trauma playing out, that it’s not my fault, but it’s also just so shameful.
I hate my body 99% of the time. When I was a kid and everything started happening with my brother, I started eating. I was pre-pubescent, and I was eating to not think or feel, to numb. I still do it regularly even now. If my brain is noisy or my body noisy, I go to the fridge and I just stand there and eat. I’m not hungry…in fact sometimes I’m even very aware of how overly full I am, as I continue to put more food into my body to quiet it.
Of course, I became pretty chubby after that. I wasn’t even fat, but I was the chubbiest in my very small year and did have a fair few pounds that I could’ve done without, and so of course I became the “fat kid”, the one to be bullied because they were bigger than the others. And so my hatred for my body began. Because it was causing me to be singled out and picked on. Not only did the kids at school point my weight out, but my grandfather took frequent opportunities to be cruel to me about it. His disgust was very apparent; he was pretty forthcoming. It’s two years since he died on thursday…I’m not sure how I’m feeling about that. Did I ever actually like him?
I also hated my body, because it was my body that men were after. It was my body that my brother used, abused, raped. My body singled me out in my family because it was female, in a generation of all boys.
As I grew up I hated the female curves that were forming on my body. I always thought (and most of the time still do think) that I have huge horrible thighs. I used to have bigger boobs (now they’re smaller, and I’m actually okay with their size), and I hated them, they just felt wrong on me somehow. Like they didn’t belong, were alien to who I was. What I felt like, and always wanted to cling onto, was a small child’s body. It’s never made sense to me, because it wasn’t the womanliness that caused me to be abused, that attracted him to me. I was abused in a child’s body. The only thing that seems to fit is that I was clinging onto the hope of being rescued and looked after. Nobody will recuse a grownup – they rescue themselves. Nobody is going to take me in and love me if I’m not a kid. I still struggle with this. A few years ago I lost a lot of weight in not a lot of time. My thoughts around food and eating and exercising were extremely disordered. Several times I tried to make myself sick after eating, even though I was actually just terrible at it. I’m still struggling with it. Still wanting to lose weight even though I don’t need to. Wanting to be small, wanting to not take up space, wanting people to figure out I’m not okay, wanting people to treat me like the little parts that I have inside and to take me in and parent me.
My angry part hates my body for taking up space. For existing. For being soft and squishy, for being hurt, and for being a body that can be hurt. She takes a razor blade and punishes the body, feeling pride and satisfaction when the gentle flow of blood rolls down our skin. She would rather our body was made out of cast iron: impenetrable.
And finally I think I should probably finish by quickly mentioning the memories that are now flashing in my mind. Of a body forced to do other peoples bidding. A body that I had no real control over. A body forced and hurt and violated. How am I meant to learn to love the body that got me here, when it did everything that it did? Forced or willing, my body did those things and now harbours shame and resentment and anger and lately a lot of rage.
I’ve got a feeling I’ve put this photo up before. I’ve just been searching through photos on my phone and got completely sidetracked for over an hour… Photos of me as a baby, photos of pocketcanadian as a baby (omg she was so cute and she doesn’t even realise it), so many photos of the sky and sea and greenery.
What I was looking for were rays of light. Pc and I both love when you get the rays in the photo. Also, the other thing that came to mind when I was looking through was golden hour… That time of day where everything just looks so much better.
Hopefully pocketcanadian might put some more up… She has loads of amazing ones
The very first thing that came to my mind was being physically trapped by my brother. In a room with a locked door, in a room without a locked door even. It’s amazing how you don’t a concrete physical inability to escape, to be trapped. Verbal threats, the position of a hand around a throat, held tight around your wrist, a glare even will do it. A look that says you are not leaving here, don’t even try. Similarly in those situations, how your own body freezes and traps you there, forcing you to just endure it. How your brain may shout at you to leave, or your eyes might focus on the door, but you just cannot manage to get your body to move out of the fear and through that door.
I don’t like siting still in one place where I am not comfortable and at home. I currently do a job where I am on my feet all day, walking around and doing things… I like that, the ability to move around. I don’t like feeling stuck in a room and unable to move. I have trained to go into a profession which will be an office job, but part of the reason I haven’t done it is that I don’t want to feel trapped in a room at a desk all day.
This week I went back to t after several weeks of not going after a really bad session. I didn’t realise I was doing it but I never sat back in the chair for the entire time I was there. I hovered on the edge of it, and right over on the side that put more distance between my therapist and me, and less distance between me and the door. I think I was ready to get up and walk out – I didn’t want to be trapped there, forced to stay if she hurt me.
I hate this word, and I hate how it frequently gets used by the parents of children that are ‘misbehaving’ or being ‘demanding’.
Because when you’re the parent of a child that’s throwing a tantrum over not getting what they want, or being generally difficult and obnoxious, and you’re getting angry and shouting at them and shaming them and telling them they’re a spoilt brat, how do you think they got that way? A four year old that has learnt to get exactly what they want and refuses anything other than that, hasn’t become that way by him/herself. Children aren’t born spoilt, they don’t come out of the womb that way, it isn’t a part of their DNA, it is something that they have learnt through a lack of proper parenting. And so the anger and cruelty that you hear coming out of parents’ mouths whilst shaming their child for being a way that they have learnt to be under their own parenting, makes me crazy and so mad. Because it’s not a childs fault if they have gotten what they want so far in life, because they are the child, and it’s not their responsibility to set the boundaries for what they can and cannot have, and what oversteps the mark into ‘being spoiled’
Short sidetrack to google and find out what the difference between spoilt and spoiled is….nothing. Apparently Americans (here’s looking at you pocketcanadian) use spoilt, but we brits use both. Who knew? Not me.
The other thing is what does being spoiled actually mean? I guess I googled it because I was thinking about how over here I think we use the word spoilt more in terms of what someone would call a ‘spoilt brat’… someone who is demanding, and refuses to not get exactly what they want when they want. Someone not used to hearing no, and refusing to accept no as a reasonable response. A phrase generally used for kids…so yeah, just ugh to that. It bugs me.
Spoiling somebody isn’t necessarily a bad thing though is it? Saying you want to spoil somebody for their birthday, or because they’ve had a rough go and could use some love and support. Which just makes me think its such a stupid word to use, because doing something like doesn’t make somebody ‘harmed in character because of being treated too leniently or indulgently’, which is the definition google is giving me. I just think it is a dumb fucking phrase.
And finally, the personal bit….My mum in particular likes to tell me and other people about how I’m spoiled. So no shit I hate this word. And yet I have never been one to act in a spoiled way, I’m just not like that. When we were kids we didn’t just get pocket money, I used to work in my parents business, or earn money doing jobs like cutting the grass. We didn’t go without anything that we needed nor plenty of things that we wanted, not because of acting in a spoiled way, but because they were freely given. Private schools were paid for (whether you wanted to go to the local comprehensive with your friends like I did or not), Expensive gifts were given, whether you asked for them or wanted them or liked them or not. And you never said no to them, that was extremely rude and ungrateful. And that’s the thing…it’s a catch 22 with her. Because it doesn’t matter if you don’t want it, or how much you tell her not to, if she decides shes going to give you it (because she’s a narcissist and it makes her look good), you’re getting it. And I’m actually very grateful, and have always been grateful for everything I’ve had from them. I just don’t like the implication that because you are freely given things you never asked for, you’re spoilt.
Finally, (I promise I’m nearly done and will shut up soon), things in our house were given to make everything ‘okay’. I think there was a genuine and very kind and loving desire from my parents that we would never go without anything, but things were also given to placate and guilt you into forgiving and forgetting other things. You weren’t allowed to still be upset if you were given a gift, in fact you would have to show just how grateful you were. For example every single week my dad would bring back gifts for my mum and me from the airport on his flight home. For my mum it was for his own guilt over the women he was sleeping with whilst he was away, or simply to get a peaceful weekend, like the gifts for me were. But as it happened, I was happiest when I was just given a bar of milka chocolate (yum), when I didn’t have to express how grateful I was all the time, and when I could just spend time with my dad guilt free, eating chocolate.
I don’t have much to say about this one tonight, except for I just don’t like this word, it grates on me
I’ve got plenty of regrets. I’m not going to go into all of them, because well, that would end up being an incredibly dull and longwinded post serving nobody, not even myself.
Today my mum brought up my brother with me. Apparently somebody drove into the back of his car (yet another in a series of unfortunate car dramas of his). She made a comment along the lines of “it’s like somebody up above has shoved a huge arrow pointing at him to attract car accidents”. I think I smiled, shrugged my shoulders in a kind of well, good way. She said I thought I’d tell you that because I thought you would like it…think he deserves it.
The way she does this, randomly brings it into conversation completely freaks me out. It makes me panic and dissociate. It doesn’t feel safe. I said that he drives like a complete idiot, so he does deserve it for that, yes. She didn’t take the hint, or rather, she just ignored it, as she has a tendency to do, and then said “I don’t get it, your relationship with him is worse than ever now, youre the one that said that you had a good relationship with him now”. My panic grows, my shame grows. I say that I don’t remember saying that. She tells me that I did, the day that I told her what he’d done (and yes I did say that). It’s her narcissistic way of saying that I’m now making it all difficult when I was perfectly fine with it back then. Its the insinuation (likely in my head, but I also don’t doubt that my mum is very much thinking it), that I chose how it is now. That I didn’t want them to tell him. That they said they would do whatever I decided. And they still would.
And I could…I could tell them to tell him that they know, to have it all out there, and risk him never coming back. And they would. So as far as they are concerned, they’re doing the perfectly right thing. They’re amazing parents. It makes me want to shrivel up in shame, even now just writing it. Because as far as they are concerned, the upset that I am harbouring (that they don’t even realise I am to the extent that I am), is entirely unfair and unjustified, and all because I’m selfish and too much, and making them out to be awful when they’re not. Except they aren’t taking any of the rest of it into account. They aren’t considering that my dad said literally nothing about it to me until I said that it was making me upset. His response was to completely and utterly pretend it didn’t happen. And then, when forced to talk about it with me, it was a family meeting that felt like a very cold business meeting. I was in tears being stared at by my parents who remained sat in their chairs. I was forced to come up with a plan of what we would do. I was forced to hear over and over about how if they told him, he would never come back. It takes no account for the pressure of all of it placed on me, it takes no account for the total control that was removed from my clutches and placed into theirs. I didn’t choose to tell. My mum asked and asked and asked until I said that yes it had happened. She already knew. I told her I didn’t want my dad to know, she said that he had a right to know and that she would be telling him. I was immediately forced to say what I wanted to do about it. At which point I think I said what I did about having a good relationship with him now that we were older. That things were different. I said it because it was true, and because I needed a grasp on staying as is was for a bit. Not having the rug pulled entirely out from under my feet. She was throwing everything at me in the most terrifying situation to me. She paid no real attention to the fact that I was very much not okay, she made it all about her, made a big deal about how she had to go to bed because she felt sick.
No regard has ever been given to how traumatic that day and the days following were for me. And I’m not surprised, they have no understanding of trauma. They laugh at the idea of somebody having PTSD who hasn’t been serving their country in war. It’s a preposterous concept. But what really hurts is that they have no desire to understand. To do some reading, to think about how to help, or what I might need. All the while thinking they’re being so amazing, and that I’m being difficult and extra. Making a big deal out of nothing. I hate the shame that I carry because of it. The shame that makes me cry and makes me want to hide, just for putting it out anonymously on the internet.
My biggest regret is everything that has come since telling. The not shouting, the not putting it all out there, the not bringing my brother into the huge mess that he doesn’t know exists but that he himself created. The staying close to them, the still seeing them, the not talking about it. The getting increasingly closer to my dad again, to the point where I don’t know if I would ever be okay with leaving them, even though I think that that might be the best thing I could ever do for myself. I don’t know how exactly I would do it different, and I know that no way would ever be perfect. But I just really regret the way that I did do it, even if it was the best I knew how at the time. It feels like the biggest mess that I won’t ever be able to clean up.
I was thinking about starting to get back into writing these blog posts with this word prompt too. It makes sense right…a small and easy way into saying how we’ve not been good lately with the commitment of this blog, but that we want to get better.
We don’t owe anybody anything with this blog, though. We set out to use it as a way to help communication between the two of us when things weren’t good, to have a daily means of communication, to commit to writing more or drawing more, or taking more photos, for ourselves more than anybody. And, for the curiosity of just seeing how words resonate differently for the two of us.
These small daily words (albeit small words with a big bloody impact sometimes) can make us think of nothing at all, or the silliest or most stupid of things, or a whole host of interesting or hard or exciting things. I’ve loved it so far, learning more about my friend in the process, and getting to write my thoughts out too, see where they lead. Because sometimes you think you have absolutely nothing to say, and then before you know it you’re writing a very long post about something that wasn’t even in your consciousness when you first read the word of the day in the morning.
How have we only got 102 days left? That’s crazy how quickly it has gone. I’m committed to this last bit. To jotting down at least something for as many of them as I can,