Track and Field

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I want to get past the cycle I am in.  I want to find every sore spot and work it out of me.  To improve.  To unshackle. To do this means going through hard things I have always avoided.  I don’t ever go through hard things.  And yet.

When I sat down with my cousin at lunch today, I had specifically told myself we would not discuss which was most readily on my mind.  We have come to be able to talk about anything, just about, and yet, I systematically rejected the idea of talking about the message my sister had just sent me on Facebook.  There wasn’t a need, internally, to qualify why.  We just weren’t going to do that.

So, naturally, naturally, one of the first things that extemporaneously is expressed out was how I felt about this message.

I know my sister will read this.  If not tonight, then some point relatively soon.  I thought sincerely about writing something else or even possibly not posting at all.  But, that’s a whole part of this and maybe the organization of what I need to express is not the entirety of what I have to do…maybe I have to actually let it be read.

She sent me a message that was about a CD that she’s been looking for for a long time and which she found in my room.  The details beyond that are not so important, but suffice to say, at some point I took it and ripped the songs off of it and carelessly tossed it somewhere and forgot about it.  Like I do with about 90% of the things I own.  She was, in a way she very rarely is, mad with me.  Like MAD.  And a bit mean in letting me know.

However, in reading this message, I was aware that oh, sure, maybe I did have it.  And then, my whole body reacted to the ego shielding itself.  If she was mad, well, I was mad back because of all the things I’m going through and I have to…and I am…and how dare and…it was so many other half-started insistences rather than to get to the truth.  Yes, I think I took the CD and I had forgotten I had it and when questioned, I said no out of hand.  Just capitulating to the truth when there was negative emotion to follow it, felt and feels so impossible.  A path we can’t take.  But the why?

I know this matters to her.  I know that.  I said, I don’t know why it doesn’t absorb for me.  I don’t know why.  I don’t listen.  I am very much concerned by the way I am concerned about myself.  That perhaps there is this Void in me of loneliness that I am devoted to worshipping and it has made me really challenged at just being in the world with the people around me.  Also, if there’s going to be a fight, I just

In talking with my cousin, she talked about me being a person who derives worth from primarily from people.  My sister from process.  The other option is performance which is occasionally on the table, too.  Our values are inherently different. For me, while the importance of the CD is not something I can get my brain around…there is a reason I’ve yet to discover that I need to discover that these things I own literally do not matter to me.  The idea of them does, but not the actual things.  While being called an empath sarcastically feels like a hugely painful dig.  In that I feel discomfort, in that I feel recoil, in that I feel hurt and defensive and I obliterate the fact that I did something wrong.  That’s the thing about knowing someone as a sister knows a sister – you know the places that are tender and when you’re upset, those are the places you kick.

I did something wrong.  I screwed up.  And I get more and more separation and protection and relief from assuring myself that’s not the case rather than biting the bullet and saying it.  It is a mountain rather than a molehill.  I am aware of at least that much.

After talking about many things about modeling conflict resolution and She was starting to tell me about being gentler with myself and I had to reaffirm that I think I am too gentle, and what saves me, what actually helps me is the rare occasions that I go to the hard places. That I experience vulnerability and discomfort.

By way of explanation, I had the example of going to the bank today to get money for lunch.  I told myself, just ask for your balance, just ask for your balance.  The teller was in and out and she gave me my cash and said have a good weekend and I drove off, knowing I hadn’t done it. I was so frustrated with myself and I thought that was just because I was trying to be accommodating to the busy teller and get myself out of her way when if I sat in that moment for just half a second longer, there was a larger truth that I felt ashamed of how little money I have right now.  I don’t want to know my balance.  I don’t want to feel stressed and so I didn’t ask.  It was my choice not to go into the painful truth.  But from the outside, oh, busy teller and me, I’m just a failure who can’t even ask for the things she wants.  It adds to this whole myth of impotence.

Like maybe if I could sit and think about why I have such a disinterest in caring for the things I own I could root out where the impulse comes from.  There could be progress.

We started talking about Buddhist monk Pema Chodron and the Courage to Choose Something Different.  It being one of the Three Difficult Practices.  I can get the awareness bit, sometimes, which is the First Difficult Practice…but choosing not to do what I always do which cements the pain and exacerbates it…but to change the reaction.

After all of this, a customer at work today – maybe all of four foot tall and traveling with her two sisters to spread her father’s ashes – was quiet after I told her ponytail was sassy.  She said, insistently, knowingly. “You’re the kind of person who will just say anything.  I’m old, so I see how you are.”

Cut me to the core, but I asserted myself…”I think I’m bold enough to say what I think, and I think your ponytail is sassy.”  There was so much laughing and talking that I don’t think she even heard me.

So I apologized to my sister.  I wanted to have this whole conversation about all of the above, but after this long day at work, I didn’t want to tear myself apart.  I don’t think I knew all of this then.

I still should have, though, so I guess this is what I am trying to do now.

Spare Change

dirty-old-truck-1475644-639x503Okay.  So.  The thing in the way of my happiness is me.  If I am to gauge that I would experience a noticeably larger amount of happiness were I to follow up with my plans and attempt to struggle towards my dreams.

So, weight loss.  Right now.

I hesitate to write this because I certainly wouldn’t want anyone writing about my status when I’m working on myself, but my sister is doing great with her low-carb.  I don’t know how much or how little she’s lost, but she’s feeling good, she’s doing it and I can see a difference and I hardly pay any attention to anything.   There is, not an insignificant amount of jealousy, in that I feel bloated and starving and exhausted all the time and she seems, from the outside, alright.

And I am making no money at all, (so it seems) and running out and buying fast food and eating out at places that aren’t really in my poor person budget, acting in old habits, airporting as I defined yesterday.  Just thinking about the

I think, okay, vegetables.  And my whole body gets pissed off.  I get pissed off about everything that’s out of my control or seemingly so…my job situation, the fact that you can have one of these lingering powerful romantic interactions with someone and be strung along for weeks, my mom being sick and having to suffer to do what we can to destroy the sickness and getting messages from my vacationing sister about how I need to be reacting and behaving right now.  And in that space, being able to have a sandwich or a piece of pizza or four or five peanut butter cups to quash hunger and everything else attached to hunger, is magic.

It feels like sidestepping the effects of time.

Yesterday’s truth: There is no day outside of the chain of days, time does not stop and restart, we don’t escape life to some other place.  We just live in or out of fear.

This is the story of the fat people of the world.  Sometimes.  Some of them.  Of me. The Brene Brown bonafide truth that you feel freaked out and vulnerable and you do whatever you feel is necessary to excise those feelings.  Eating, when you’re scared of your own power, is this magical shield that is also a sword.  It just shuts off the thoughts for a while.  I feel like if I am vulnerable to my thoughts, I’ll lose ground, not gain it. Start panicking about driving which I’ve mostly avoided for the past three or four months.  I’ll look around and see what I’m currently half-blind to – real unhappiness with the treatment I accept, real fear, real sense of time slipping out of my hands.  It’s all the mental surgery I don’t get anesthesia for.

I’ve put forth this diatribe before.  I’ve danced the dance, lit the candles, stood very still and waited for signs to emerge.

Yet. At the bottom line, it’s will I do it or won’t I do it?  Right now, I don’t have the strength of will to curb things slightly.  Right now, I want a big act or nothing.

Hmm.

The Disparaging Eye

Back on track?

That’s the question I keep asking myself today.  Is it time, is it about to be time?

And yet, I’m wholly offended when I mention the popcorn’s been absconded by my father and my mother’s immediate response is that it’s time to start scaling back.

It can’t be about her opinion.  Or yours. Or anyone under the sun save myself.

So I keep asking the question and trying to arrive at the same answer more than twice in a row.

I’ve watched the whole of the The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, albeit in two sittings today.  It’s made me eager to see the second which I thought might have happened today, but didn’t because I’m a bit disorganized and I really didn’t want to bother the universe outside as the universe outside does not have readily available cream puffs.   But the idea that my only motivation was the presence of dessert and goodies was equally as unpleasant so I got myself involved in a walk with my sisters and the weird little dog.  Just to prove to myself, I suppose, that the way forward is at least marginally accessible.  That I’m not so chained to the addictions I’ve been indulging myself in that I can’t even walk on my own two legs out in the broad daylight.

Like everything else, this is a matter of the mind.

You start a new year, you want to start being a new person. You want a boyfriend, a clean house, a will to go anywhere and everywhere without this constant anxious feeling in your heart or stomach or head that the timing is wrong, that they’re judging you (this was a big one today, for no reason at all), that your choices are the wrong choices…simply because they’re not what someone else would do.  And you can trust other people’s judgement, but not your own, because your own is what got you here, on the precipice, once again.  A girl with a plan but no real follow-through.  All of that is the power of the negative.  The shadow, the fear, the critic.

It all gets very boring.  It gets very boring to have to convince yourself you know how to breathe and you know how to eat and swallow and sit still and you can trust in those things and move on to harder tasks.  The fear says prove to me that you can handle this minute, this one, and this one, sit here with me and let the world go by while we see if you can pass this test.  It becomes unbearable from time to time.  Never be drunk or kissed or published or broken-hearted because we are still waiting for the A grade on waking up and dressing yourself and feeling sentient in this body.  It’s an ouroboros.  I can never be perfect in this body because this body can never be perfect.

So all I know how to do is to buy the shakes and turn on the wii and do some exercise come January 1st.

 

One Crazy, Stupid Love

The new computer and I are attempting to make friends, but it hasn’t quite happened yet.  So I’ve got the old laptop trying to load Adobe Photoshop Elements because I, in my genius, have had the hare-brained (not hair-brianed)  scheme to update our e-newsletter’s layout which means I need to update the graphics and I thought I could just do something simple with Paint (Paint.net versus MS Paint) and it turns out that the quality’s just not acceptable and in order for this to even be usable for tomorrow, I’ve got to get it done tonight.  Tomorrow’s going to just be way too busy.  So I’m on my bed with two laptops contemplating everything.  As one can’t come unplugged without screwing up the whole works (and is why I bought the second, in part) and oy.

It’s turning out okay – of course, the computer just overheated and shut down so we’ve got to get that one back up on its feet before I can transfer all the work onto this one.

Fun.  Well.

The weekend’s last embers are starting to cool and the latest chill that autumn has to give is starting to run through my bones.  It is finally starting to feel like 2013 is drawing the curtain around itself.   What a year.  I never would have imagined at its outset that this would be the year my boss would be leaving, that I would have a new car, my sister a new job that pays a decent wage, that my little sister wouldn’t be with us for Thanksgiving, that said sister and I would see Mumford and Sons three or four times.    That I would make such progress at the therapy I’m doing and yet, also and fall off the wagon…sort of.  If there’s a crazy wagon to be on or off, I know I’ve found myself in both positions this year.  That I’d lose weight and find myself constantly back at the precipice.  That I would send off my work for publication and find a very delayed rejection, but a lot of support in the process, that I’d start a writing group.  That I’d go to meetups.  That I’d get so strong and tough and soft and weak.

That I’d be facing my 30th year, happier than I was when facing my 29th.

Still lonely and sad and aching and with knots I’ve yet to even come close to picking at.  But.  But, I guess, I’m in some position to pick them apart now.  Moreso than before.   I have been working hard, you know. Maybe that’s hard to believe given the dilettante’s existence I chronicle here, but I have been trying this year.

I think I’m scared about succeeding and ending up the place I see myself going.  Some place that here in the dark seems out of control, impossible.  But I would have said that if you told me to try and prepare for this present I have right now, the one I’ve survived and made the best out of.  Because out there’s where you are, Mr. Future, and it’s not enough to leave the grail beacon alight, and hope.  I’ve got to go through the marsh myself, for the both of us.

Ah-Oooh!

I want to just dive in with the Calling In the One business.

But at the same time, I have, already, a whole written documentation of these unneeded, unwarranted, unbreakable promises I’ve made.  I wrote this piece for my creative non-fiction course in college all about

Since I’m not going to share that here – it’s not the space and it’s a bit too precious to just cut excerpts out for this purpose – but the gist is this:  my little sister made choices and was coerced into making choices by a man far too old to have anything to do with her and for a time, ran away.   The story is less about that and more about what the pain of that loss of innocence did to the rest of us and highlights a memory I have about an earlier loss of innocence and my warped reaction to it…a promise made to my parents and the heavens to be good.  To never hurt them, to be perpetually virtuous and right, in some nebulous, holier-than-thou, but entirely earnest and frightened manner.

I literally promised myself that I would be in the cupboard because outside of the cupboard is all the slags on parade.  Girls who obviously didn’t respect themselves or their mothers and who were alone and so off the map of what was right and allowable and socially acceptable, that it was morally obligated for me to shun her and them and turn my head to the light.

I remember the bedroom ceiling opening up, the sky glowing, and I in a fervor more fit for a penitent Joan of Arc, made this solemn vow.

I think I could have became a nun if I didn’t like orgasms that much.  Or cursing.  Or letting my tits hang out.  Or being a complete glutton. Or being demonstrably and embarrassingly profane.  I was never going to be this paragon I swore I would, this perfect child, this Stepford Suzie, but somehow, this sense of inconceivable wrongness, of shame when it came to the idea of intimacy stayed branded into me for a long time.

And I still feel the mark.  It makes me flinch whenever a boy gives me a stare. It isn’t thrilling, it’s agonizing.  It makes do whatever I can to avoid being the aggressor and makes me assume things that never were intended so I don’t fall off the map into Dangerland.

That’s part of it.

I think the unspoken promises were to always be the peacekeeper, to always be the go-between, the one most invested into our collective unit-ness.  When my mother got sick, being her best little faithkeeper seemed essential to me. No one else seemed to be aware of the brusqueness of their words.  That their screaming felt like knives and I had to protect her.

I really felt like I had to protect my mother.  We never spoke of this, but I know I did.  My grandmother died shortly before my mother got sick.  I know I felt like leaving, cavorting, becoming a big teenage jerk was a dangerous and terrible thing to do.

I would keep everything nice.   I would be dependably nice and because no one was interested in the depths of my inner worlds or the parts of me that were less than agreeable, being agreeable always became the best defense tactic.

So again the promise was made to be good.  To be whatever it was that would make people not look at me twice and that would be free of rough edges.  I believed in being that much more than I believed in being myself.  So driving, dating, trusting my instincts, that whole process of growing up, sorta never happened.  And people assumed that I wanted it that way, but because of the promise and how addled I was with issues and hormones and stupidity and love, I didn’t think to say I have a right to be with someone just for me and just for the way I am.

To ask for that seemed impertinent and impossible.  Instead, baseball players, actors, musicians, secret internal loves.  They’d never leave me.  They’d never age.  Sometimes I’d picture them gathered about me, at this Unending Last Supper, never contemplating a betrayal, but offering succor in their own particular, if fictional ways, for the travails of being a teenage suburban girl.  I didn’t feel alone, but once I was aware of the gap, I felt completely untranslatable back to what “real girls” do.

What I want to say now is that I love my family, but nothing is served by me pretending I don’t have needs – to be social, to grow, to fail, to make mistakes, to have my reach exceed my grasp.  And my virtue, or lack thereof, is not on the table as a bargaining chip.

I agree to be myself around them and for them.  I agree to not treat my emotional needs as secondary to that of anyone else.  I agree that I go forward under my own power, that we may sail as a fleet, but I’m the captain of my own ship.

 

 

You Are Free of the Chains that Bound You To Me

Satisfaction?

I made sure that my hotel is still booked for the trip to Guthrie.  I couldn’t find the email confirmation anywhere and I was sure I paid for it, sure I settled on doing it versus camping, but the absence of the email when I have just about every other email that’s ever been sent since the advent of tubes and webs, was unnerving.  So I had to go through and find the charge and backtrack to the website I used – which is one I’ve never used before – and there it was, all confirmed and lovely.   No reason to panic and think we have to somehow haul camping gear on the plane as if either of us wants to be in the middle of an orgy of be-plaided, hopped-up, giddy hipsters and attempt to sleep.

So yeah, I posted a shit-ton yesterday.  I have no idea what will occur tonight, but I am keeping on with the program.

It asks about toxic ties.  And I think I’ve already begun addressing that in some ways.

That impulse to give up Mr. Rochester, to really, not let him creep into my posts here and into my thoughts, was important and is important because his presence…it is toxic. Whatever one thinks of him, to stand on the outside of someone’s life and try and will a connection without ever asking for one or doing anything to generate one and call that even almost love…it’s not helpful.  It’s in the past.  Same as with the Long-Lashed Boy, married and one assumes happy and well, and the Correspondent, vegetarian and seeking something other than what I provided, and the One Who Almost Might Have Been Several Times Over, vegetarian, married and a father several times over, and I dearly hope happy and well.  But all of them, in the past, never to return.  And as I feverishly run my hands over these memories, I begin to erode away their features and they all seem a mass of best beloveds.  As though they were a breath away from marriage proposals.  In my mind, they are burnished and patina’d and magic talismans of my desirability.

Sure, but they are toxic.  They are the flowers in Rappaccini’s Garden.  You stay breathing in their poison so long, you can’t leave without breathing that poison, too.

Time to let them go to their wives, their girlfriends, their families and let me make one of my own.  Let me find Mr. Future, who is lonely for me, and waiting for me to climb out of the garden as he’s got the good sense not to meet me in a crypt.  No, he searches on the aeries.  He searches in the grocery stores, in the libraries, in the places where kind people make their ways.

I am needing to give up the relationship patterns that allow others to subsume my opinions and feelings.   Work, home, friends.  I have to center in me.  The personality the Good Lord thrust upon me.  With kindness, but forthrightness, because my meals are no one’s business but mine, my diet is a thing I am doing.  Not a thing WE are doing.

I’m rambling.

Things are so much better following this lesson, trying to take it to heart.  I am shutting doors so that I can have focus not so I can keep people out.  I am working hard so that I can get up to the aerie with wings and not terror.

My co-worker.   I was better today at radiating love (with the door shut) and with acknowledging her without capitulating to her demands and it made me feel better which is, ultimately, the goal.

Oh, I hear the thunder.

 

 

Looks like it might rain.  Looks like might is more like will.

Unleash the Hounds!

I am, right now, in the space for the thoughts to get out.  The fan is blowing cool air, I am full of dinner and dessert.  I have muted the advertisements on Spotify.

I did my best today to not block love.  It gave me a headache and backfired a bit, but I kept at it.  As the song goes, I radiated love like Three Mile Island.  They told me I looked ill and pained and should go home.  But I kept at it just enough to refuse to let myself blow up over aforementioned person getting a label stuck in the postage machine that required a single touch to resolve and should not remotely be …enough.

I accept them for who they are and eventually, it will not be my problem anymore.

Ca suffit.

The program asks me to write in my journal a list of those I resent.

Probably most everyone I interact with on a regular basis to some degree.  Some of whom might read this.  Not in a big, seething ball of resentment sort of way, just, a casual, Well, aren’t you just King/Queen Shit today?

If I resent my parents, it would only be because they have expectations for me that they don’t have for themselves and they never modeled for me.  But, it’s not like that matters anymore to me.   I value my shyness and introversion, but I don’t have this expectation that I can go through life like that and be happy 100% of the time.  I’ve had to go through a gauntlet and I’m still not brave and I still feel socially anxious and shitty most of the time…but they aren’t responsible for that.  I choose.

If I resent my sister, it’s only because we’re so similar and yet so different.  We want things for one another, imagine that, that we are unwilling to give ourselves or demand from ourselves.  We haven’t really been in tandem for a long time and part of what therapy is about – for me – is releasing that expectation that we need to be in lockstep for me to feel safe.  Like status quo is the best to hope for without knocking the apple cart over.   I had a lot of really ingrown and shitty beliefs that are just based in the seemingly accurate idea that I can’t get outside love so the love and support of my family has to suffice.  And it’s permanent and risk-free, so it’s so easy to abuse.   And I think I resent that I keep waiting for her to make leaps so that I can follow behind, having the way double checked, and for that way to be the way I’ve already decided I want to go. I guess I resent the feeling of having to own my own future – not having a trailblazer giving me emotional hand-me-downs.  But part of therapy is that as much getting through the fear and being a trailblazer in my own life, for my own self, is important to me.  So that resentment – at whatever level it remains active at this moment –  is actually a good thing because it’s putting me into gear for me.

And I’ve spent decades being resentful and envious and jealous and cruel and more to my younger sister, but time has helped that.  And my own need for her to meet my expectations and to maintain this 5-person family unit and for life to feel like the storybooks my life has never matched up with.  She’s softened, by taking her life her way, and I think I’ve pulled away enough to get some perspective that I didn’t have when all the drama went down.  She was always able to have things I didn’t want but didn’t want to be inaccessible and they were.  Boys flocked to her, she didn’t have – in my mind – any struggles with her weight.  Fear was completely out of her dictionary.   I was resentful that we took all of that as natural.  She was the flirt, and I…inert.

I was really resentful that nobody ever interjected themselves into the situation and redefined the roles and said I could be the flirt.

But…I…was there.  I had choices.  And I feel bad that I chose, more often than not to make her feel bad about herself when I felt so helpless about how bad I felt about myself.  Again, the sense of unity, of nobody running off to not need this mechanism of care I felt I was a cog within.  I wasn’t a cog.  I was a girl, burying her head in the sand and the clouds and anything to escape the dissonance of my body and mind and the outside world.

And I did fight back, in my way, becoming a fabulous and intriguing person with a rich inner life.   And a genius sense of humor drenched in a custardy sarcasm. Hah.  I did develop empathies and strengths that benefit me to this day.

I was resentful of boys who wanted me to be their word girl.  Who wanted me to be their Cyrano de Bergerac.  Who seemed kind to me and befriended me and then over and over again wanted me to use my gifts to help them seduce other girls, sometimes my friends.  When they couldn’t think of the words, they came to me, and I, shamefully, awkwardly, helped them. I think nothing in my life ever wounded me like this did because in language I feel at home, I feel free, a bird gliding on the currents.  It is where I think if I have any beauty, that beauty emerges.

And they saw the words, not me.  Like a shadow. I was never more than “a good writer” to anyone, and the powerful sway of my inner worlds drug me under, so that I wouldn’t be taken advantage of.  I felt so unseen, so ungrounded, so shelved.

But I was there.  I never raised an eyebrow or moved a hemline or said let me interject myself into this scenario and change the roles you think we have to play.  I chose the result because I was petrified of what would happen if I let the boy choose.   I gave up on people who might have just been good friends because I was focused on them falling in love with me (without having to engage with them whatsoever) and I regret that.  A lot.  Especially in certain cases.  This is not Mr. Rochester’s story (and we’re not technically writing about him) but he told me to be bold and I see the benefits of that now.  I’ll need that.

Work.  If I harbor resentments now, right now, it’s not really about any of the above people, it’s here.  Here where I feel like they infantilize me, judge me, care zealously about me unless I have a different opinion and that happens more often than I acknowledge.   I feel like they are happy for me to be sitting there with rapt attention for the next twenty years, just service with a smile.  I feel their fear that I would pull the rug out from under them by leaving and it makes me feel trapped even if I don’t know where else I’d go.

And I think about how much emotional investment I have there.  How much work I’ve put in and respect I’ve garnered and how many tears and how much lost sleep.

And this is what needs to be released.  The anger which is going to end up screwing me in the end.  The resentment when I have shown them that this is the way I am to be treated.

I am on the right path.  I care about them as work colleagues and friends but, you know, I want room for more.  So some of the anguish, it has to evaporate and rain on someone else’s parade.  I want to fill that space with love.

Fwoooooooh.