The last few weeks have not been much fun. They’ve been a lot of hard work and a lot of coming to terms with reality–a reality that is sobering and heartbreaking all at once. Admitting things to yourself that you’ve known for a long, long time–but more than that–feeling the full breadth of the burden–facing it head-on–not pretending it wasn’t there. And realizing–man, I’m sorta crazy.
The gist of it–my life has inflicted all kinds of injuries upon me that I didn’t even know existed–and most of them came about, ironically, from trying to cope.
Things are better now, mostly because I know exactly what I’m dealing with and I did a whole lot of work in short order to deal with my nonsense. But there’s still a lot more and, even though things look respectable enough–even though they’re tolerable–there’s still that massive burden and that underlying panic I have that I won’t be able to deal with it–this panic that I’m always in all of this all alone. And the accompanying grief that all of it was distracting me from.
Some things are becoming much more obvious to me.
1) Things are big burdens to me right now. I crave simplicity in a way I never imagined I could. I’m tired of stuff and everything being harder than it needs to be.
2) More than just being tired of it, I simply can’t tolerate it anymore. I’m having to really admit defeat here–that my mind and my body cannot deal with complicated and difficult anymore. I need to heal, and there’s no healing when you’re always surrounded by shit that threatens to drown you.
3) I’m surrounded by people who are just as burdensome, and they’re committed to misunderstanding me. It has nothing to do with me, and it’s not my job to educate them or fix them. But it is my job to make sure my contact with them isn’t a burden as it has been for the last several years of my life.
4) I need actual meaningful help and people who will accept what I can and cannot give. Not people who want things from me or people hellbent on making me take care of them in whatever ways they deem necessary.
5) I’m willing to suck it up and pay for this help. And that means first admitting that I cannot do this myself.
6) How I help myself is no one’s business.
7) The same things within me that made me disbelieve my actual need for help also exist in the world as very real barriers, and it’s so easy to give up–to use that as a reason to embrace the old ways–but standing up and insisting is part of the healing work I need to do.
The past six months has allowed me to really see who people are and how–despite caring about them and loving them–someone can be toxic for you without any intention for it. I’m starting to appreciate the full gravity of my grief there by allowing myself to finally feel the disrespect I allowed and the actual pain they inflicted on me through careless actions and selfish behavior. And so many other things that have nothing to do with who I am and my value to anyone. Separating their behavior from who I am–not using it as some evidence of my fucked-up-ness–has been really hard. But it took experiencing ableism related to my chronic illness and my possible ADHD–from someone I deal with every day–to really bring home that I’m not bad or wrong. But the expectations they have for me are about their own feelings about how they’re good…and it takes me being their fall guy to make their self-image possible. It says nothing about me, except that I allow them to use me that way. And that has allowed me to see them for who they are: a person who is inherently unsafe for me right now–that I need to keep at arm’s length for my own sanity.
I’m starting to see how I’ve been used and how I’ve used others. And man–I’m just done with it.
I’m also starting to see what’s worth the sacrifices and what’s not. People and things and jobs. And all the things that go with it. So, I’m taking some breaks from things like dating and school and trying to conform to other people’s anything.
Instead, I’m doing my own work–cleaning up my own house–literally–and walking away from anything that makes me feel like shit.
I was supposed to get my hair done today. It was part of a bargain I made with myself when I was struggling to find motivation to do what I’d avoided for far too long. With good reason–it was fucking painful. In a weird way, it reinforced something. When things were at the good enough stage–or the as good as it’s gonna get by this deadline stage–which wasn’t mine–it felt like the reward wasn’t mine or wasn’t well-deserved…because it wasn’t done. But shit is never done, right? Nothing is ever perfect. It’s all maintenance and swirling out of control only to get back to center. It’s important to take care of yourself, and part of that is acknowledging when you’ve done something hard.
I got a facial on Friday, which was my day off, and it was nice–though these things never feel as kind as I want them to feel. I tried to rest as much as possible because I’m covered in bruises and feel dead tired. Emotionally and physically done. But I had a paper due, of course, and I overcomplicated–of course–doing that shit I do where I can’t just submit something ordinary. And my attempts at more make me unhappy with it because I’m too tired to really do what I want to do–and because this shit is the same shit I do for work–I wanted nothing to do with it. I felt myself phoning it in–even as I wanted to make it so amazing. I worked on it more this morning–finally allowing myself to make it good enough–knowing all I had to do was what was asked and it would be enough. But it irritated me, and that made me more tired. By the time it was almost time for my hair appointment, the thought of sitting in a chair–talking for four hours–in a loud salon–made me more tired. And then the stylist canceled with a two hour window, and I was pissed again–at the disrespect–not the burden–which truthfully I didn’t really want today. Though I’m sick of my hair and need it cut so badly.
I was irritated that I’d given them another chance–as I always do–even after an injury. That even though they treated me poorly, I still didn’t want to believe they sucked. So, for the second time, I wasn’t getting what I needed–and it was my fault because I allowed it.
A theme in my life for the last year. It’s hard to be truly mad at people who do just what you allow them to do, when evidence points to them being unreliable.
After the anger flashed its way through me, I was happy to settle into bed and watched WandaVision–a show I started watching months ago–when I first met him–because people kept telling me I should. I suppose I also watched it then because he and I just started our relationship. We used to have these long conversations about tv shows. I remember one of our first conversations was about Buffy. We’d talk about perfect scenes and characters. Being a comic book artist, he had all these thoughts and ideas about various Universes, and while I never really actively considered DC versus Marvel, I’m a woman who loves stories and characters. So, I guess it was a way to explore his world–one that I couldn’t quite explore because of COVID and all the shit that went with our complicated love affair.
I remember watching the first episode of WandaVision and being annoyed–because being me–I’m not so into black and white anything. I don’t really enjoy old sitcoms and I felt the whole thing was such a gimmick. I didn’t know how to react to it, really, and I tried to hang in there–I really did–because so many friends said I should. But that judgmental part of me just couldn’t. So, I left it at episode 2. He hadn’t seen it, and I remember ranting to him about it. I knew–at some point–I’d revisit it because that’s also who I am–never one to ignore recommendations from people I trust.
I wish I had hung with it more then because it’s really good. Odd and unpredictable and a whole journey I never expected. A world I didn’t know much about–except I knew all about it. I watched the whole thing today–and at the end–I sobbed. All day, I felt this chasm of grief I’ve been holding onto for months now. One of the reasons I love story is because witnessing the stories of others makes our own stories accessible to ourselves, all too often.
I wanted to call him and talk to him about the story and the characters and the world that existed. And then I realized I couldn’t. Well, I mean–I could…but he wouldn’t necessarily be there–and he would never be what he was then, even if he was. And that was another grief. Neither would I–and yet another grief. And did I even want that–or did I want some thing I made him out to be? That’s part of this whole story, too.
There’s still so much work to do.