an interesting weekend
This weekend did not remotely go as planned. On Friday morning, I was having a decent day–had some great wins and had good news from work. I assumed I would take Fogg to her vet; get some labs done; start her on some meds; and go home. I had planned on getting the weekly have-tos out of the way that night and working on my thesis the entire weekend like the sad little schoolgirl I’ve suddenly become.
Yea–THAT did not happen. At all.
Instead, I was at the vet for a good 5 hours between our normal vet and the emergency/hospital branch. Given that it was just supposed to be a quick jaunt 6 blocks away, I took a Lyft instead of bothering to deal with traffic myself. And that small decision made a really big difference for me, oddly.
So, whenever horrible shit happens to me, I often find myself in these moments of connection with people. Things I just flat-out don’t expect will simply show up, and it’s these things that–when I look back at the really tough days–remind me how important random connections can be. In fact, these things often were the only things I held onto on the worst days of my life. Honestly.
Stuff like that gives me hope that humanity is more than all the bad things we hear so much about. Because when I was breaking apart, some someone propped me up and let me know I mattered and wasn’t alone. These things inspire me to do the same for others.
So, on Friday, I had three men driving me around the city with my cat. The first was a grad student who immediately fell in love with Fogg. He was so concerned about her and so kind–even helping me carry her inside. On the way to the ER vet, I met a guy who was a Regis alum (!) and also a grad student–so we discussed all the common professors we had in the philosophy department. We talked about the importance of our Jesuit education. We talked about society and all the ways people are being changed by technology. And I met a guy who talked to me about his take on gentrification and the minimum wage.
It was good, in these moments, to get out of my head and out of the oh-shit-fuck spiral that can so easily paralyze me. It kept me calm. And each one of these people reminded me of the good in people.
Since Friday, I’ve been bad about self-care–going long stretches forgetting to eat and not sleeping more than a few hours at a time–actually to the point that I’m just randomly falling asleep. It’s odd how a mind can get consumed with grief and worry–how time just seems to fly by when you’re in this state–and how you do things you maybe wouldn’t normally do.
I was worried sick yesterday morning. And a bit desperate to not be alone. When it’s quiet, I tend to freak out–so I was trying to manage that panicked feeling before it got me in the gut. The worry was, of course, about the tests–but it was also about the monumental effort it was going to take to pay for all of this–and the news that it may be even more than anticipated. It’s a good thing I’m resourceful and have gotten through worse financial BS and had some resources I could tap into. The whole thing–all these things–really activate a part of me that activates the post-traumatic stress thing. Money and dealing with big things alone bring up a lot for me. And I’ve been doing this since January, really. The last time I went through this stuff with Cleo, my roommate–amazing human that he is–really supported me and proved his brother-hood to me yet again. We’ve been to war together, and a big part of my not being a total freak that day was him helping me get through it. Since this whole saga started with Fogg, he hasn’t been able to really be here to support me. He’s not in the state that often right now, so basically, we chat on the phone. I call him with updates, and he listens to me when I’m freaking out–ever the voice of reason who tells me to not make major life decisions when I’m upset. And basically talks me down from the ledge and reminds me I’m alright. It’s rough. The odd thing about it is that I often doubt that I can handle things–even though I’ve proven time and time again that I’m great at dealing with shit. I really am. I’m the one you want there. But I feel really fragile and often am terrified. I don’t let it stop me, but I often feel like a little girl playing grownup.
We had good news yesterday, but she is certainly not out of the woods. We have no idea when she’ll be back home, and the idea of caring for her alone–again–is pretty daunting. Luckily, my boss and team are amazingly supportive–and have been since this whole thing started–so I don’t have to worry about bringing my A game at work tomorrow or about leaving randomly to go get her. That’s a big relief, and something I’ve always felt in the past during these types of crappy days.
I guess the whole thing rattled me big time, and it made me feel like doing things I don’t normally do. Like let’s just poke things that you put to rest years ago because you’re not entirely happy with the situation–and hey–why the hell not? In recent years, I’ve sought out personal peace more than relational growth–thinking it wasn’t really worth it–often because my feelings were hurt or I wanted the other person to turn the other cheek. I texted a friend and told him he needed to talk me out of it. He’d never seen this risk-taking side of me that just didn’t give a crap about protecting herself. I was pretty much done with all the barriers I’ve put up with people–and I was just going to clean it up. So, I reached out to some exes–all except one. One of the bigger ones who I’ve tried and tried to fix things with. It’s just not happening. I’m clean, though. And it’s his choice. I’ve accepted that. I even contacted the last guy I sorta almost dated who really hurt me a few weeks ago. Because I really am over it, and why am I just randomly shutting him out? He’s not a bad person. He did a stupid thing, and it wouldn’t have worked out anyway. He was a good friend, so I can get past it.
I knew at least one would probably hold on to his grudges and be a dick–no matter what I said. But I committed to a) telling the truth; b) not mincing words; and c) honoring myself and the relationships we once had. And more than anything–asking for what I needed. I was vulnerable in a way I haven’t been for quite a while. I didn’t throw up walls, and it was a return to the person I was during that crazy time when my mother was dying. I was just not going to abide the bullshit anymore. I was going to try to fix it and change it. I was going to say everything and close it in my heart.
For the most part, it was a positive thing. And in one day, years of anxiety and suffering kind of went poof.
When I love people, I fucking love them. Full throttle, crazy, heartbreaking love them. I can be slow to pull the trigger with people–even when I feel that connection with them–because of that. Because usually when I pull that trigger, I’m prepared for all the joy and devastation that comes with it. That is absolutely terrifying for a girl who has lost every single person she’s ever loved like that. When these things come to an end, I realize that I often find myself in dark places where I protect myself too much and I get really really angry. Only I don’t know what to do with anger. So, these things can create giant rifts where I never intend there to be rifts at all. It’s only recently that I’ve actually been able to be friends with near misses and exes. And those relationships were hard won. When both parties were super damaged by the relationship, it causes things we never intended. Like going years without speaking to someone who was your very best friend during the most difficult period in your life. That shit sucks.
The thing is–when I love someone–I don’t actually really ever let them go. Whether I speak to them or not, that relationship still lives inside me and informs all my choices and views about love. You can stay stuck in the past forever that way and never really move on. I am especially prone to this.
I’ve never been involved with someone that I didn’t adore as a human being aside from all the romantic whatever. It’s impossible for me to love someone who isn’t my best friend. To go from that to nothing at all is a loss in itself, and I’ve found it hard to remain friends with them and also heal. It took pushing them out of my life completely–for sometimes short or long durations–to allow me to forgive both of us and resume that friendship–a different friendship, but one that is often still great.
For better or worse, these people know me. They know the good, the bad, and the ugly. And to understand myself and those moments we shared, I kind of need them around. To really heal that crap.
I realized that yesterday as I talked honestly about things that I hadn’t ever discussed with people that meant the world to me–that I never meant to hurt. And I realized that part of the reason I’ve been single–or just not into romantic anything in recent years–was because I didn’t understand that part of my life. I guess there was a part of me that kept everyone at arm’s length to an extent–even when I loved them–so I would avoid doing the shit I did before again.
I really had forgiven these people and didn’t hold grudges. But until we stopped throwing up the walls you throw up when someone hurts us, it was really impossible to invite that same kind of love in again. So, it’s like that time in our lives keeps us hostage.
I don’t know what will happen, but I know it’s a whole lot better than what was a few days ago. I’m not silly enough to think we can be close friends, but we can stop acting like the past is our present. And honestly, these interactions highlight the things we most need from new relationships…showing us that the love we had is still something we can experience with people who are whole new adventures.
At the end of the night, I got a FB friend request from the one cousin I speak to maybe once a year or two. I didn’t accept the request until this morning, and there was a real part of me that almost left it unaccepted–in limbo. There was another real part of me that wanted to edit a whole bunch of things or add filters so she couldn’t see the tender parts of me–so she wouldn’t read how I really feel about my family in posts I made years ago when I was much more candid on FB.
I really wanted to protect myself. And I knew that saying yes would maybe open gates with others in my family who are difficult. I’ve never had family, really, and there is a lot of pain there–so to witness their lives on social media is pretty damn uncomfortable for me. But also a missing piece of myself and my mother.
So, I accepted. And I saw a photo of my grandparents that I’d never seen before. I realize that–as much as I have tried to mend fences with my family–and as frustrated as I’ve been with how they are–I’ve been holding up those walls too–all while extending my hand…sort of like all those times I tried to make amends with exes…sort of in how I was always too polite and never asked for what I actually needed from them.
I was unwilling to be vulnerable in any way. Because these people have hurt me my entire life. And I don’t know them. They don’t know me. There are so many ghosts there. But does it fucking matter? Can them knowing who I am and how I really feel about them really do anything more? I’ve accepted the most painful things about them. I have zero expectations.
It’s just funny that, suddenly, this shows up on the day I decide to clean up the hard things in my life.