two hundred & sixty one: fight

i don’t know why i didn’t think of this word in terms of arguing…i mean, there was a lot (a LOT) of fighting that went on in my childhood, between my parents, between us kids, between parents and kids. and goodness knows i’ve had some awful fights with pocketbrit.

but what this word made me think of was the the sense of fight we have in us. as in fight or flight. as in, that instinct that kicks in, that lights a fire in us. that sense of fight that sometimes ebbs away, when we become very old or very sick or very hurt.

*

the first association i had was to a song i really love, and i don’t really know why i love it like i do, why it speaks to me like it does. it was maybe when i heard it? what i was going through at the time? i don’t know. but the chorus of the song says “take me to the bar/where a sweet voice in the back of my skull, says/take me to the bar/and see if i can fight…take me to the bar/where a sweet voice in the back of my skull, says/take me to the bar/and straight to bed all night.”

and i guess i just pictured someone who had just been through a really, really hard time. who has not been up to their usual tricks, who had been on their own, who had not been themselves. and they are asking to be taken out for the night, as a test almost, to see if they can do it. if they still have that spark, that fight. and then, knowing how difficult it might be, that they’ll go home, exhausted, to fall straight to sleep.

i could relate to that, i guess. that sort of testing of oneself. in the early days, i felt like that a lot, about nearly everything. how will it be to go to the grocery store, driving a car, taking a shower, getting my hair done, getting a pap test, knowing what i know? how will it feel to work? how will i mother? what will it be like to see my old friends, the ones who knew my parents? will i still take on ignorance, like the person at the bar in the song? can i still fight?

everything felt different after remembering, every single thing, although i looked exactly the same in the mirror, and i couldn’t guess how i might be with it all. i’m still figuring it all out.

*

last summer or maybe fall, pocketbrit and i wrote a scenario (and then recorded it) about our first meeting at the sea; i wrote the first day, and she wrote the second day. in them, i came to her, and we rented a little cottage from a little old lady who left us her two dogs. we slept in two twin beds in a loft at the top of the cottage, and went for walks with the woofers, read, drank gin and tonics, took turns cooking meals, went and retrieved my lost luggage at the airport, and just got to know each other.

in her scenario, while we watched the sun set from the porch swing, i fall asleep against her shoulder. when she shifts, i wake up in that utter jet lagged confusion that comes when you don’t expect to fall asleep, and she puts a cushion on her lap, and pats it, and without any fight, i lay my head on it, and go straight back to sleep.

i don’t know why it’s my favourite part of that recording, when she says that. but i love it. just the thought that i could (and would) do that, the trust in it? her gentleness? i don’t know. but it brings a lump to my throat, tonight.

*

our old tabby cat’s life force has been wavering for months, but now, it is close to his time. the sass and the fight has left him, in his wake only a bony, confused body, cloudy green eyes, matted fur. he doesn’t clean himself anymore. he seems to forget where his litter box is, and is starving all the time (or has forgotten that he has just eaten?) he can’t jump or chase anymore. we used to delight in teasing him (and having him tease us back) but not now. he spends his days following us around, meowing plaintively. napping in odd places. still wants us close but not always sure how close.

but he still purrs, so so loud. and he still lets us hold him like a baby, and blinks his eyes slowly when we talk to him. we’re giving him all the bacon and yogurt he wants. we just mop up after him. we don’t want to argue. our fighting days are long over.

 

backposted, written june 16/19

two hundred & fifty nine: sweet(ness)

this one made me think of pocketbrit, coz i often bid her goodnight by telling her to sleep sweet. and i am way way too sad to write much else tonight but it did make me feel a swell of love for her. we both have such trouble getting a reprieve from the meanness of our brains, especially at nighttime lately, and she has had an absolute shitpile of a weekend and will also have a pretty crap day tomorrow…so i hope she is resting. deeply and peacefully, quiet and safe.

on nights like tonight, when i’m missing her extra, it helps to imagine her tucked under the covers, soundly asleep, five hours ahead. there is a sweetness in thinking of the overlap of our nights, our stillness, knowing she is across the ocean yet under the same moon and stars and rising sun. i don’t know why it helps and catches my breath but it does, it just does.

Adore (235)

I adore my friend. And I adore how sometimes when I ask her if she loves me (because I’m little, because I need her to say it, confirm it, so I can believe it), she’ll sometimes say she adores me.

“Do you still love me?” ….. “I adore you”. 

Such a small little difference, but it makes my heart feel big and full. Makes me want to hug her really tight.

Guess what? I adore her too.

two hundred & twenty nine: sea/ocean

this is a huge one.

i mean, it’s the whole reason we’re here, with this blog. coz it’s where we meet, most every night; or when we’re feeling sad or scared; when we’re lonely and needing to feel close. the sea is where we go.

*

i had my first flashback in a very long while tonight. it was not expected and it was vivid and it was horrible. i was on my own with our daughter (who thankfully did not notice i was losing my shit, i was in the bath, trying to steam it all away) but i had pocketbrit with me on chat.

and, like so many times before, she stayed with me. didn’t leave. kept talking to me and the wee one. held us close, at the sea. hand in hand, she waded into to the cold water, alongside my small one who wanted to wet her feet. and then, when her little teeth chattered, pocketbrit dried her off, and got her in warm fuzzy jammies, and took her into her lap and swung with her on the porch, back and forth, back and forth, until she was asleep on her shoulder, face buried in her neck.

and then she brought her into the warm, and laid down next to her on the sofa, with the fire burning low, and went to sleep, too. after telling me a million times how proud she was, how much she loved me, and after crying her own tears for what we all had to endure.

i fell asleep with the both of them too, for a couple hours. i woke up in a dark room, with wet cheeks and a huge lump in my throat. i was dreaming, i don’t quite know what about, but it was a good sad, it was safe, there was love.

*

i truly don’t know what i’d do without our cottage at the sea. i had no idea a place in our minds could be so real, could help me feel so close to someone, so comforted, so loved.

i go there often: on my own, sometimes, but mostly to spend time with our young parts. sometimes we go to throw stones into the surf, to rage and scream. sometimes we go for long walks on the beach, small hands in larger ones, to scout for puppies we hope to steal away from their owners so to cuddle them in front of the fire. some afternoons we just go and set up puzzles on the table, or put a movie on for whoever wants to watch.

so much napping happens on the worn grey sofa at the sea. so much snuggling. and a lot of swinging on that old worn porch swing, where soft cushions and fuzzy shawls and blanket cocoons abound.

i swear it’s a real place, our place at the sea. it’s certainly real to me, and i think, to her. i can hear it, if i close my eyes. can smell the beeswax candles, the sprigs of lavender on the mantle, the wood crackling in the fireplace. i can see the gentle orange of the flames flickering on my eyelids, and can sense its warmth. and when we text each other, urging the other to tuck in, to stay close, i feel that too. and our code for i love you: two squeezes of our hands. all of it.

the sea has saved me. i don’t know how much more plainly i can say that. i don’t know what i’d do without it. and i don’t want to find out.

two hundred & twenty eight: blood

i was seriously going to write a post about menstruating, but i thought that may be somewhat off-putting.

it was bizarre that my next thought was about this shawn mendes song, because anyone who knows me will tell you that my knowledge about pop culture is pretty limited. especially current-day pop culture. but i had the main chorus of this song repeating itself in my head, and then when i went to search for the lyrics, i was struck by the depth of what he’s written, especially for a mainstream pop song. which is apparently based on his own struggle with anxiety. so i guess i’m a bit of a fan, then? of a young, hot canadian dude with ridiculous abs who also puts his mental health out there for public consumption (not that he hasn’t been rewarded heartily for it, but still.)

and then i thought about this one day when i told pocketbrit how many hours i’d slept that night (it was something terrible, like 3) and she told me it was bloody appalling. which i then imagined her saying it in my mind, and it made me laugh out loud. and i realized that it probably would sound adorable and thus i really needed to hear her actually say it, and after one thousand eye rolling emojis she actually did send me a video of her saying  bloody appalling. TWICE! (and, fyi, it is still one of my favourite videos she’s ever sent. in fact i’m still grinning like a total moron just thinking about it.)

two hundred & fifteen: built

i forget sometimes that mine and pocketbrit’s relationship was built upon the common experience of trauma. that we met online, on a forum where we could be anonymous but also share our stories and our struggles. and that what brought us there was the pain and hurt and desperation we were feeling daily.

and then we have days like we have recently, where we are both young and spinning and triggered, where we lash out and hurt each other and isolate ourselves, and i remember. and i hate it. i hate that she knows it. i hate that we’re so hurt and hurting, that our ability to tolerate and foster love and intimacy has been so profoundly affected.

i got a book from the library yesterday called baffled by love: stories of the lasting impact of childhood trauma inflicted by loved ones. i don’t usually read books like this; i’m steeped enough in my own experience of trauma (and deal with it enough in my work) that i get overwhelmed easily. but this one seems different, it is easy to read, and i appreciate the author’s voice in telling her stories along with the stories of her clients.

by page 20, i had already found words that resonated with me deeply, that made me remember that i’m more than a big bag of triggers covered in skin; that i have more to offer pocketbrit than just activating her own hurt. these are those words: “trauma is hard to speak about and hard to hear about. but stories unshared don’t disappear; they return in relationships, silently taking prisoners. if the trauma remains unknown, unspoken, and unconscious, it does harm. telling your story to a compassionate witness, in contrast, can be healing.”

and that’s what my pocketbrit is: a compassionate witness. she is one of the most important people to whom i tell my stories. she is the person with whom i work through the majority of my core wounds. it is my relationship with her – the one built on all of this ugliness, all this stuff i want to forget – that is helping to heal my heart, that makes me feel like i might one day be okay. it is so fucking hard sometimes, but so far, despite the hard, despite the hurt, it is always worth it.

Greed (165)

Every now and again, not very often but occasionally, when either pc or I are not doing so good, particularly if we’re little, we’ll send virtual hugs to the other (ugh if only they could be in person), and because we know how the other isn’t doing good we’ll send a really silly big number of them.

This word makes me think of how we know the other person is little and has shame roaring in their ear (because we both do this very occasionally), when whichever of us it is responds with something along the lines of I don’t need that many, I don’t want to be greedy. Its a big give away, not just that shame is noisy, but that we’re feeling too much or undeserving.

And that instantly makes me sad/mad. Because when we’re little we’re not just accepting love like little kids normally are. We’re bracing ourselves, informing people of our flaws to let them know that we don’t deserve it. As PC always says, getting ourselves before we’re gotten.

one hundred & sixty: morning

the gorgeous-est version of this song was my first thought (and i am a fan of dolly’s, don’t think i’m not, it’s just the wailin’ jennys are perfection, sorry).

*

and then, honestly, i thought about how much i kinda fucking hate mornings in general. how long it takes me to wake up, to feel ready to face the day. how some mornings, i open my eyes and just know it’s going to suck the big one. see my earlier post to refresh your memory, lol…

*

the majority of my mornings, i have access to pocketbrit coz of the time difference. her mornings are mostly without me (unless i’m awake coz of my job), whereas it’s my nights that are quiet. it is one of the pluses of my mornings. i definitely miss her at night but i think i would also find mornings lonely without her.

*

i do like coffee, though, and that’s mostly a morning drink at our house. so maybe it’s not the mornings i hate entirely but mostly the waking up part? i dunno.

Affirmation (159)

People who have grown up in abusive families tend to have missed out on these growing up, I think. Maybe they totally clung to them whenever they received positive affirmations from people, or maybe they dismissed them, refused to let them in, shrugged them off as not truthful, they are only saying that because they don’t really understand, they don’t understand all the reasons you’re actually just terrible. Some people do both; I did. Both clung to any slight positive affirmation thrown my way, and refused to truly let it in. Voices inside my head citing off every single reason that the person was wrong to say what they did, backed up with the data of every single time everybody else said something bad to you, or wasn’t there.

Now, particularly when I’m young, I need (too) many of these from people that I have let in. (Which is not very many people – only pocketcanadian and my therapist). Sometimes my shame surrounding this feels crippling…because to me asking for affirmations – that I’m not alone, that my hurt is justified, that I’m not bad, that I’m loved, or even just that I matter, my hurt matters; all of it feels needy. It feels weak.

In both mine and pc’s circumstances, our parents are acting like nothing is really wrong. It is crazy-making. Like truly *crazy* making. I’m sure there are unfortunately so many out there that know exactly what I mean, and I can’t begin to sufficiently express how insane it makes you feel when your family are carrying on as though everything is just dandy. In my case having no doubt as to the abuse actually having taken place (after all, I didn’t tell them, they merely asked me to confirm it), but nonetheless having a family dinner complete with my abuser, as though we are one happy family. Most of the time I know that they are the crazy ones, but sometimes i start to truly question my sanity…have I lost it? Did I tell them? Am I imagining all of it taking place? Or are they right, is this just not a big deal but I’m making it into one?
This is maybe the most hurtful part of it all.

And so, my point to that last paragraph, was that having somebody by your side, rooting you on, confirming that yes, that really did happen, and yes they really are doing what they’re doing, and no my love, you are not the crazy one, they are the crazy ones, the crazy is theirs, not yours…Having those affirmations, is invaluable, and without it I don’t think I would be here. It feels like when you take the stabilizers off your bike for the first time and you have somebody running alongside you as you cycle…you’re still so scared, still unsure, you still don’t feel totally safe, but you know there’s someone right with you, keeping you going, there ready for when you fall, reassuring you.