Earlier this week I booked my plane tickets to Canada. Despite my massive nerves about meeting pocketcanadian and her family and friends, despite my massive anxiety about traveling, and flying on my own… Its an adventure that makes me smile every time I think about it.
This one’s hard. Like really really hard.
When I was a bit older I used to go to my brother and ask him for things. I did it knowing the things he would ask for/demand in exchange. I went knowingly and willingly and had I not, those instances would not have taken place.
I sold myself to him, basically.
I struggle with this, even now, a huge amount. What I’ve come to realise is that I went to him to gain some control. I went in a complete panic inside, and I detached myself and I did it. And then I felt lighter afterwards. The threat of what he could do that day was no longer a constant companion inside my head; it had already happened. I felt more relaxed and I felt safer and I was doing what I needed to do at the time to cope.
And yet… Am I not to blame? Is it not my fault? Those instances surely were… I mean had I not gone to him, there was no telling whether any abuse would have taken place those days. In law there are two types of causation, one of which is the ‘but for’ test. But for my going to my brother and asking for things, it would not have happened that day. And at least once, if not multiple times, that would be the case. In which case causation lies with me, and in which case the fault is mine.
I think of the relief I feel when I’ve lost my shit, gotten angry thrown a total temper tantrum… How releasing that anger suddenly feels like relief.
I think of how people say that crying when you’re so so sad offers relief and how actually, it really fucking doesn’t. How you feel like you’re drowning in it, it’s not getting any less, how actually letting it or doesn’t seem to help… Until suddenly you feel empty and full all at the same time. How that actually doesn’t feel like relief, it just feels exhausting.
I think of how I truly truly believed that if I could just tell my parents, I’d feel relief. I’d feel freer. How that is laughable to me now (omg I was naive). I think of how I guess it did offer a small amount of relief, I no longer have to constantly ruminate over how I would tell and what would happen if I told, and that’s amazing, but also, I’ve just substituted ruminating over that for ruminating over the fact that they couldn’t have given a rats arse about it. How dumb and naive I was, how shameful it feels, why? What did I do? Is it me? What do other people think? Well anyone care? Am I being an idiot?
I think of the sweet relief of cutting, how it releases everything inside of me and just quietens it all down for a bit.
I think of the relief of telling somebody, and not being alone. I think of pc and how talking on the phone to her and laughing and joking or just being heard and loved can bring sweet relief.
I think of how I had no relief back then. Except to dissociate, to split off and to ignore it all.
I can’t do this one today… I’ll be back.
This makes me think of weathered faces. Frown lines, worry lines, smile lines. A face that’s weathered storms and somehow feels knowing, and kind and gentle and compassionate.
I want to draw it, show you exactly what you mean, so hopefully there’ll be a part 2 coming….
Free associations today:
- The way that my kitten or my pups curl up on my chest, their little heads under my chin, and as I breathe the air passing through my nose hits the tops of their ears, and it makes them twitch all adorable, and then every now and again they’ll shake their heads. I try to move my head so that I’m not exhaling on them, but it’s not always possible. And, despite how it’s clearly bugging them, they really don’t want to move, so just put up with it. Sweet little twitchy ears.
- Breathing in the air late at night. Walking out into the crisp cold wonders air and breathing it in. Wood chimney smoke, the smell of the cold cold air. And, the sweet summer nights. Saltiness from the sea, sweet mellow flowers, warmth, and a day well spent outside.
- Running and running and running until you can run no more. Sprinting as fast as you can, and feeling the air burning through your lungs. There’s some sort of satisfaction and comfort in that.
- Sufocating; my biggest fear. Being held underwater, hands over mouths and nose, things in your mouth that shouldn’t be there.
- My grandmother in the hospital. Already dead if not for the life machines technically allowing the basic functions to continue as that of a living person. But body only, not brain. Saying goodbye. The machine pumping her lungs full of air. Its roughness, the forceful way her body moved with the oxygen. The loud harsh noise of it. Not at all gentle like the actual breathing of my dear nan. Saying goodbye to the body of somebody already dead but being made to look alive in the most grotesque way. She wouldn’t have liked it one bit.
- The way therapists have always made a note of my lack of breathing. The way I hold it all in. One therapist once told me it made him think of tiny little baby birds opening their mouths for their mums to feed them to survive. My body was the birds and I was starving it of life by refusing to breathe. That not breathing is a way of holding all emotion in.
- The way my flute teacher in my very first lesson made me lie on the floor and asked if he could put his hand on my stomach to try to explain how I was breathing wrong, and how to do it better to maximise the air I was taking into my body. How scared I was, but how I did it despite every bone in my body screaming at me not to. How I never looked back, how I adored this man.
- How my t told me today to sit with my kitten and notice his breathing and then go back and notice my own for as long as I could, until I find it too much, and then to go back to my cat again. How I’m trying to do that right now as I write this.
I’ve found sharing here really hard lately. Which is why I’m now catching up on five posts all in one day (or trying to at least…if my laptop wouldn’t keep crashing and deleting everything I’ve written). But I think the reason I’m finding sharing here hard is that I’ve been sharing so much in my personal life. Only really with pc and with my therapist, but it feels like such a lot. It’s tough and it takes your energy, and I’m more of the closed-off/keep-it-to-yourself kind of person. So I’m learning, or rather unlearning, that lesson that it’s bad to share.
The other thing that this makes me think of is of my mum. Ugh. She has always told me and everyone else about how secretive I am. How I never tell her anything, how everything always has to be a secret with me. For obvious reasons, I really truly hate her saying this. Because I mean if it isn’t enough that I’ve obviously had to hold so many secrets; of a family where so much abuse is taking place behind closed doors; emotional, physical, and lucky me, sexual (and let’s be completely clear, she’d have gone mental had I not kept those secrets), then how about all those other times the lesson of ‘keep yourself to yourself, don’t share’ was instilled… How about the time she told me that if I didn’t help her keep a secret from my dad they would get a divorce and it would be my fault? And how about being a little girl and sharing something only to be met with judgement, or anger, or annoyance, or laughter, or a very matter of fact “i don’t care”? How about her telling me how she just tunes herself out and nods along pretending she is listening because she really doesn’t want to listen? So fuck her and her sudden decision that actually, she would now like me to share everything with her. Fuck her.
I have always been an uncertain person. For as long as I can remember. And whether I was like that before or not, my childhood would definitely have made me an uncertain person.
And it’s an annoying thing to be, to never be totally sure, to not want to make decisions, to always hold back. Except this is one way that I’ve adapted. Because i’ll be really really uncertain. Anxiety will kick in, I will be going over and over, no quite sure…I think this, but what if that’s the wrong thing, the wrong answer, the wrong thing to do. Until at some point I switch all of that off (I dissociate), and I go into ‘just-do-it mode’. Where I keep my head upright, I look forward and I just do. I push all those other voices far away and I get on with it. And you know what, I kind of like this about me. I don’t like the feeling uncertain, not at all, but if I’m going to be like that I’m glad I have this way to manage. After all, most of my decisions are made this way. It feels kind of resilient.
This word makes me think of all of those people that enable abuse to take place. All those questions that weren’t asked, all those times a blind eye was turned, all those times it would cause too much hassle to pry.
It makes me think of our mothers.
This one isn’t pretty. I wish I didn’t, but I absolutely do get jealous. Regularly. And I bloody hate it. Like I said, it’s never pretty. Anyone who has (and really, isn’t that everyone?) will know the horrible, stomach clenching, seething anger and jealousy that starts in your belly and just gets noisier and noisier until it’s completely unbearable roaring for attention. I hate the fact that even when you know its illogical, when your brain knows you aren’t being fair, or that its dumb, you can’t align thoughts and feelings…you can’t just switch it off with understanding that there is no need to be jealous.
What I’ve really been thinking about is the things I get jealous of… I’ve been thinking about how I used to get so, so mad and jealous when pocketcanadian and I would be talking and then she would have to leave because her family needed her. Or how I would sometimes hate hearing about her having a good time with her friends. I would go crazy, and it has been the cause of an argument multiple times. I would tell her I didn’t matter, I could never actually matter, because I was over here, in the UK and she was in Canada, and I’m not actually in her real life. Oh god I would tell her that all the time. That she doesn’t actually care, that I don’t count, that she tells me that stuff to pacify me but doesn’t actually mean it. That she wouldn’t want to ever meet me in real life. And even though she told me I mattered so much and that she cared and loved me, I would still get so jealous of the people that got to physically see her all the time. I would try hard not to lose my shit a lot of the time, but I couldn’t always help it. I’m better about this stuff these days, because I’m more secure in knowing that I actually am important to her, I really am. But still, it crops up, and when it does, just ugh, so so much ugh.
The other people I get jealous of frequently, and they aren’t even specific people, is anyone with a loving family. It makes me enraged, to see loving parents and kids, and to not have that myself. Sometimes it makes me smile to see, sometimes (most of the time) it hurts my heart, and sometimes I’m really just jealous. How dare they get that? What was wrong with me, what did they do that I didn’t, for them to be loved and supported like that, and for me not to? How is that fair? And, I hate them, just because they got what I want and never got. (I don’t actually, that’s just the jealousy talking.) How come my therapists son got to have her for a mum? How come he gets someone that will give him freedom, but love him no matter what, and support him (in a career in art – something that would never have been allowed for me)? How come he gets a mum that will be attuned, that will care and be gentle, and be present? I hate it. I hate the jealousy, and I hate the anger. Because it’s not rational, and yet it’s still totally there. And, even though I have no real clue about her other clients, I’m jealous of them too… I bet she prefers them, I bet they get more of her time and more of her care. I bet shes really gentle with some of them. I wonder if she ever sits next to them on the sofa, or hugs them, or holds their hand? She would never do any of those things with me. And, following on from that, I’m jealous of other people’s therapists. I hear about pc’s therapist and I get so fucking jealous. I read about peoples on here, and I think, fuck, I can’t even pay someone to want to do any of those things for/with me. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.
Finally, the last thing I’ve been thinking of is how people judge other people for being jealous. How they’re seen as bad, (and they can be if they act it out badly), but normally really are just hurting people. People wishing for something they don’t have, which hurts them. Normally jealousy isn’t really acted out, or the person tries so hard not to. It’s kept in, not given space unless it pummels its way through, and the part that annoys me is that people seem to be so quick to forget that it feels fucking awful to be jealous. Nobody wants to feel like that. It’s not an emotion that you choose…”oh hey, you know what I feel like feeling today…that bottomless, constricting, raging, jealousy. That sounds like fun”. I wish jealousy could be met with a little more gentleness. But also I know that’s so hard; the very last thing I feel like being with myself when I’m like that is gentle.