thirty-seven: loud

i’m playing catch-up on 3 posts and it’s already late, so this might not be so good.

when i thought of loud, i thought of shame. and i know shame is going to be a word one of these days in the next year too (he’s kinda the star of both mine and pocketbrit’s shows), but i’m fairly certain i’ll manage to piece together a few words for that post, too. because that thieving bastard is one of the noisiest guys i know.

shame feels like one of my most constant and oldest companions. historically, it is his voice that i hear most, it is his voice that washes over me if i have a millisecond of pride or happiness. he also seems to get extra loud in my brain (and my body) when i’m tired or sad or beaten down…and keeps me all three of those things, too. i know now he’s just trying to make sure i’m safe, trying to crunch me down into a teeny-tiny non-threatening version of myself, trying to protect me, trying to keep me under the radar. i don’t need that anymore, but he’s soooooooo slow to get the memo. and, in fact, the more convinced adult me becomes about not needing him, the noisier he gets.

when shame gets loud in my body, i feel his presence as a fluttering stone in my gut, a vice at my chest, the noisiest hissingest whisper in my ears. his ugly, soul-shrinking words make my insides wilt, and then liquefy. he and his buddy fear often arrive hand-in-hand; shame with a megaphone up to his lips, amplifying the litany of my offenses (mostly being wrong and existing at all), and fear with a stun gun, plugging up words in my throat, catapulting me backwards into the terrifying frozen past.

it is mythical how powerful his hold is on me, even still, even with all my skills and knowledge and logic and grounding exercises. even when i can call his bluff, even as i recognize his lies. even when i’m adult. that guy, and his loud, interrupt-y ways, bring me to my knees regularly, and i hate it.

Loud

Today I went for a smear test. I’m in my twenties, I’ve never had one before, and like any person, I don’t like the sound of it. I didn’t talk it through with anybody, didn’t even tell anyone. Not my therapist when I saw her last night, not pocketcanadian when I was telling her about what was going on in my life.

I booked the appointment when I happened to be at the doctors (a rare thing) last week for an infected finger. I was thinking that I could push through, be normal for once. I thought, naively, that if I didn’t tell anyone and didn’t talk about it, and forced myself to go, that I’d be okay. That I’d be able to do it. Be normal for once.

Instead I woke up anxious, after an anxious and otherwise a bit unsettled sleep. I layed there, thinking maybe I should just not go. And then I put it aside, those doubts, locked it up, and showered, and left. I got there, I walked in, I sat in the waiting room, and the nurse called me.

And she was so loud. She spoke to me so loudly that I knew the old man outside would surely be able to hear. And that was it really. That was all it took, her loud loud voice, that made me scared, brought my little one right to the surface, and made me immediately ashamed and closed off and scared, and brought tears to my eyes.

There’s something so harsh about someone being that loud. It isn’t gentle or understanding, it isn’t soft. It’s scary. Loud voices unsettle me.

Anyway, I held it together. I listened to her, answered her questions. I got undressed, exposed myself, layed on that table, her loud voice talking about what she’ll be inserting into my vagina, my brain trying to block her out and keep my shit together. And I am…

…and then that loud voice asks me to open my legs. Tells me I need to open them more, that she can’t insert it, that she needs me to open my legs really wide.

And I am done. Freaking out, tears running down my face, jumping off the table, apologising. Memories playing behind my eyes.

And don’t get me started on the embarrassment of leaving through the waiting rooms that followed.

There’s something about loud voices that I don’t like. That scares me and induces a trauma response. I tighten up go into higher alert, don’t trust and am wary. It’s not gentle and doesn’t feel safe. Basically, I don’t fucking like it.

*****

What I really want to do right is put my good headphones on my head, and put some music on loud enough to drown out my brain and body, so that I can hopefully sleep. I might just do that. That seems like a good loud.