shapeshifting

A few days ago, my therapist and I were discussing things that have been going on in my life lately when she brought up something that moved me in a big way. My hatred of reality. I immediately had big thoughts and opinions.

I’m not someone who has ever really accepted reality–to blazingly painful results. When shit was too real–when things were not how I wanted to be–I shapeshifted into something I wasn’t quite ready or capable of being–to bend the world to my whim. I learned to escape reality at every turn of my childhood. Except, for my parents, escape was through alcohol and avoidance. Whereas, for me, the ultimate reality avoider was ego. That lie that it was all mine to fix. That idea that I was so powerful. Which was more of a half-truth, really. While I was powerful and had choices–as a little girl–I was also dependent. And the very idea of being that superhero was never really a choice.

Rejecting the idea that the reality of the world applied to me was the most profound resistance to the bullshit that was my life. And it still is that thing. It’s why I’m a writer. Long ago, I learned the lesson that you can create for yourself the world that doesn’t exist. And if you delude yourself enough–for long enough–eventually it becomes a kind of reality.

###

This morning, I found out a friend of mine passed away at the end of May–after a stay in the hospital for CHF–one of the things that killed my Mama. He was a fixture in my life for all the years I’ve been an adult orphan–another orphan who often supported me and turned to me because we got each other. A single man who longed to find love. Who called me Ms. A and sweets. And truth be told–probably–likely–had a crush on me. Like many of the men I met back then when her loss was so new. It’s why we never met. That was me avoiding the uncomfortable reality that I might, one day, break his heart.

We were each other’s family in the land of misfits. The ones we could always count on–loyal to the core–despite all kinds of everything. I was his cheerleader when he escaped an abusive situation with his only remaining family, and I literally kept him alive when he was suicidal. But his heart was finally too broken to recover, and there’s a poignant poetry to that–for my friend, who wrote pretty things and would have appreciated this last tragedy.

A few hours before I found out, I had lamented about some of the things he often lamented about–and that’s why I finally checked on him–knowing it had been too long and he was too quiet.

The reality has felt a bit too cruel, but in a weird way, I am envious of him–getting to see our beloved parents again.

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Several days ago, I finished watching WandaVision. I’d tried to watch it before, but I couldn’t get past the who oldie TV show schtick. I remember telling the comic book artist about it–him being the expert on all things culture. He somehow hadn’t seen it yet. I told him then that I’d probably revisit it. I’d hoped to watch it with him. But life is. And so, I watched it alone in one go on a weekend night, surrounded by my cats.

The whole thing was sort of a gutpunch when we finally made it to the end. A whole meditation on complicated grief. On how I chose to live my life for most of my life. Oh, how I could relate to Wanda. The all-powerful superhero who could create entire worlds just to avoid the stark reality of her life. Even if it meant controlling people and comical chaos.

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A few weeks back–I noted that I collect things. Almost obsessively. That I want to know all the things. Have all the things. It’s like I forget that I can always get more. That there will probably still be more there tomorrow. Sometimes, the collecting means more to me than the actually absorbing and appreciation of the thing. In some ways, I’m like that with people too. There’s a part of me that wants everyone to like me–no matter what–no matter who they are–no matter why.

All of it is a way of controlling things, I suppose. Denying all the absurdities of reality. The cruelties. The things I can’t possibly ever begin to understand yet alone accept.

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