retreating

It started off innocently enough.  It had been a long day.  I wanted Foster’s Freeze.  Specifically their signature cheeseburger combo (with two cheeses) and a caramel sundae.

Foster’s is about 1/2 mile from me, and whenever I would go out when I first moved here–which wasn’t too often–I’d see this little burger stand and it hearkened back to my youth.  After they moved the old Circle K in my old neighborhood, the building that had housed it became the site of many walk-up restaurants.  Usually burger joints.  One was extremely memorable.  They sold the best chocolate milkshakes–these thick monstrosities for a little over a buck.  So, I’d gather my pennies (literally) and walk the few blocks to get one–even when it was snowing.  To this day, I have a soft spot for such walk up restaurants.

Being a Colorado girl, I had been bombarded by In and Out lore my entire life.  But In and Out has never appealed to me.  It’s gross.  The fries are the worst I’ve ever had.  The animal sauce is basically Big Mac sauce, and somehow, they manage to put too much cheese on their burgers–so that the meaty burger is completely lost.  I love cheese, too, so that’s an abomination.  And it’s greasy.  Which, with burgers?  Fine.  But along with the too much cheese, I can almost never finish it.  I don’t want to.  Y’all can have it.

So the day I got my first Foster’s Freeze, I walked up and was transported back in time.  Old school sundaes, cheesy burgers that were balanced.  Perfect, thick crinkle fries.  Nirvana.  I walked home in the rain, overjoyed.

But last night was not that day.  Last night, my head hurt from my wisdom tooth shenanigans.  It had been a rough week, and I was feeling fed up with nearly everything.  So I ordered Postmates.  Now, I order out way too much.  Now that Amazon is also in the game, it’s even more.  It’s not good for me–this I know–and I waste a lot of food/money because I push off cooking–because I’m just so damn tired.

Still, Friday nights are designated food delivery nights for me.  I usually get my go-to Mexican.  Only a simple transaction wasn’t so simple.  The app fucked up and then their “service” (which HAHAHA) fucked up more.  Pro tip: let me call you or call me.  But do not force me to use Twitter or email to get resolution.  And, um, also your Twitter folks don’t help at all.  And if it takes two hours to respond, you have lost my business…maybe forever.  They never actually responded to my email.  Instead, they sent some strange thing related to my credit card with no explanation and then 2 hours later, when I hadn’t ordered anything, sent me a $100 credit saying they fucked up.  While I appreciate the $100, I’m not sure  I trust them anymore or want to deal with their bullshit.

But I might because–well–delivering to this apartment is some utter bullshit.  It took me a while to train the Postmates who service our area, but now they know how to find me.  And they actually read my directions.  Amazon never has an issue.  Instacart never had problems either.  They read directions.

Unfortunately, in my hangry–so hangry–rage last night–I decided to go another route since Postmates locked me out and effed up my dinner plans.  Amazon is still pretty small here, and the only burger option was a decent option–but in Santa Clara–which isn’t far–but this is rush hour and cold fries were not on my agenda.

I had used UberEats in the past and had a decent experience.  I recently decided to boycott them for their bullshit.  But this girl was approaching meltdown, so I decided that–fine–I’ll order from them.  Only because they were super fast last time–and what could go wrong?

Everything was fine, until she got to our adddress–well, not my address–our community address.

OY VEY.

So, I live in a large apartment community.  There’s a main address, which is the leasing office.  There are multiple buildings over the course of two large blocks along with retail space.  Our building is easy to find, if you read my directions.  The key is parking on a side street, looking for a fountain and then walking down a short sidewalk.  We’re between a dog park and a huge fountain.  Impossible to miss.  But you have to get out and walk.  The problems usually happen when these people think they can just drive to the building.  Our address is the leasing address.  So, GPS sends them about a block away.  With no parking.  So they can’t get out, and then I end up telling them to park on 9th–which is right by our building.  Simple.

The woman delivering my food–grilled cheese–was not fluent in English.  And I am sensitive to that.  It was not just an accent.  It was not understanding words.  Or in this case, directions.  I finally got her onto 9th, and she said she was in the garage.  She, of course, wasn’t–and I couldn’t figure out how she could be in the garage.  So I walked out onto the street–barefoot, btw–and saw nothing.  I decided to go back in–get shoes–and walk back to the street.  I asked her if she was parked.  She didn’t know what parked meant.  Then I saw her zip past me.  I told her to stay put.  And started walking to meet her–only she didn’t and kept circling the block.  So, I basically spent 1/2 hour literally chasing down this woman because she was panicky and wouldn’t stop moving so I could get to her.  I finally anticipated her bullshit and was able to literally flag her down.  She basically threw the food at me since she was literally driving like a crazy person, and I walked the four blocks back to my apartment.  The food was soggy and lukewarm by this time.  But it was the best grilled cheese ever.  Props to the food truck.  Next time, I’ll just take Lyft over and get it myself.

After all of that, my cat barfed while I was eating–and I was so exhausted from chasing after her that I didn’t even feel that hungry.  So, I’m now about to eat my leftovers for breakfast.

###

I share this story because it was pretty symbolic for my life lately.  Me exhausted, settling for stuff I actually don’t want, and then not wanting it even more after enduring an epic bullshit battle to complete simple things.  Only to be left even more exhausted, ready to give up, and being treated poorly.  Feeling like I am not understood–that I am literally speaking another language.

For some reason, after that debacle last night, I came across my old blog.  FB reminded me of something, and I remembered I still have it on private.  A time capsule for a super shitty part of my life when I literally gave up what I thought was my dream–when the worst case scenario did, in fact, happen–and I somehow survived.

2008-2009.  I had just quit TFA.  I was in this live-in relationship.  And I was struggling hard with my mother’s death.  Trying to figure out who I was and what I was going to do.

You know how–when you’ve been away from something for so long…to get on with it…you have to kind of forget the hard shit?

Well, I was struck by how hard it was.  I remember the TFA bullshit and feeling that loss.  But I didn’t remember how much my ex and I fought or how unhappy I really was.  How much the grief of my mother’s still pretty recent death would engulf me.  How much I struggled with allowing this man to love me.  And how much he just didn’t.  I was struck most by something I wrote right before he broke up with me: how I was hard to love.  And I was pissed reading that.  Because I believed it then.  But I wasn’t hard to love.  I could see it so clearly.  That relationship made me feel that way.  And I let it.

(I’m not hating on my ex, btw.  We’re good.  I forgive him for his part, and I certainly recognize all the ways I blocked him from loving me).

And the anger–the rage–the fed up everything I had after.  And how I fought for my life.  To get here–even when I had nothing and didn’t know wtf to do.

Except I’m still angry.  Not at anyone in particular.  It’s an anger that has built, frankly, over time.  Since I was in diapers.  An anger towards myself.  An anger towards all the people I allowed to treat me badly.  An anger that I was never known or seen by those who said they loved me.  An anger that it was easy for them to leave.

The anger does a few things.  I either bottle it up–which is why I’m still so goddamn angry–because that is what I was taught and that is my way–the self-sacrificing martyr fucking way that destroys me.  Or I lash out and do shit that I don’t want to do and, years later, can’t even fucking remember.

I realized today that it’s this exact thing that a) motivates me to isolate…because I don’t want to be angry…and I don’t want to explode…b) fuels shame and trauma, years after the original offense.  And I’m pissed about that, too.

So what do you do with that?

Well, today, I wrote this goddamn blog entry–to reach out instead of shutting down.  Because I know I’ll numb out to it if I don’t and just get more angry.

In therapy, we’ve been talking about how–despite all my progress–the move really really reactivated my shame and trauma scripts.  Only I was aware of them and knew how to seek help.  I worked hard on self-care.  Because when I am in that PTSD mode, I throw myself under the bus.

And while that can be productive and can benefit me–hey, I won a goddamn trip from work because of it–it’s not something I should allow.  But I am finally understanding why it happens and how it happens and why it keeps happening.

There will be lots of work to do.  But it’s not just mental.  So much of it is physical.  I think I really desperately need to find a regular exercise routine and go back to rolfing and acupuncture as soon as money allows.  So much of my response to trauma is a physical one.  So much of my emotional reactions are responses to physical feelings.  It’s why every therapy session I have starts and ends with breathing.  I need to learn how to make space for me and endure the hard shit without suffocating myself in the process.

Edit: I just reread this, and I realized I did it again!  I didn’t give myself credit.  Reading that old shit, from that hard time in my life…and WOW.  I did a lot of work.  I’ve come so so so far.  I still struggle with things, but I am not a part of the walking wounded anymore.  I look at who I was then, and I am so sad for her.  But I am so grateful that she lost all of that and kept going.

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