I have a memory of something a friend told me. I can remember details like it was on a drive to my place to drop me of either after a trivia night at a bar or after the next time we saw each other. His vehicle was very open and stripped down, like a panel van or old Bronco. It was cold, not really much if any snow on the ground but were were in coats. I can’t remember exactly what he said or how it got brought up but I have always remembered the gist and it has been something so important and valuable to me.
I am not very good at trivia and my friend rocks at it. The night at the bar I remember feeling really small and useless. I don’t remember if he said something directly to me of if it was just his actions but my feet were taken out from under me. He wasn’t mean, but more careless and unthinking. I had resolved not to do another trivia night because it wasn’t fun and I was no good at it. When he was taking me home he told me that he had done it on purpose. He sometimes felt threatened by me and will go out of his way to cut me down in size so that he doesn’t feel so bad about himself.
I was stunned. As I thought about it, I was so incredibly pleased. He cared enough about me to be willing to tell me this thing that most people would consider dangerous to admit to someone. For me, it felt like a magic decoder ring. He gave me the power to see beyond his actions to what is going on with him and stop being affected. His actions weren’t personal, they were about him, not me. I was so grateful that he was willing to give me info that would take away one of the ways he had to protect himself. He saw it as just explaining why he had behaved poorly. It wasn’t an apology but he might have meant it to be as much of one that he could manage. I hadn’t labeled his behavior as bad, just that I had gotten hurt on some of his spikes and I needed to avoid those in the future. It was neat to find out those spikes weren’t always there and showed up because of me. That meant if they showed up again, I could avoid them and might even be able to do something to make them go away. I have felt like I am missing pages from my copy of the human operating manual and he allowed himself to be vulnerable and fill me in on some instructions. And I didn’t even ask him for it or create a safe place where he could tell me anything. I am guessing he felt he had been enough of an ass that I deserved at least an explanation. From my perspective, he acted the way almost everyone acts. Sometimes I get hurt, sometimes I don’t. I can’t tell the difference from their behavior.
I have always cherished this gift of his. He doesn’t see it as all that big of a deal. I wonder if he even remembers telling me. On the surface, he behaved like and ass and later owned up to it. A typical person might have been mad that he hurt them on purpose. For me in my wired backwards world, he behaved normally and then gave me a wonderful gift. The fact that he hurt me on purpose meant I had some ability to control how hurt I got. I could see that it was his thing and not take it on. I have used his gift over and over during the years and still am so grateful for it. I wish I could remember exactly what he said. I have taken it out and worked with it so many times that his words were lost long ago.
And no, I never went to another trivia night. They weren’t fun and I saw no reason to put myself in harms way. I never felt badly about it.
I was laying here thinking through an old memory from when I was about 25. I was going as deep as I could trying to remember everything about that moment while thinking out how I would write it up for a LJ post. It was another wired backwards thing.
When I opened my eyes, I was still on the edge of that time in my past. I was bored of lying around and was ready to put my groceries away. The groceries that had been de-thawing on the kitchen floor for the last 3 hours because putting them away was more than I could face when I got home. I was dreading dealing with sorting out where everything went and putting them there. Shopping had been at the top of my list every day since Sunday (4 days ago) so when I got to it today, I hit four stores, spent $120 and came home with three trips to the car worth of stuff. 7 or 8 bags I think. I really didn’t want to deal with them. I sat and ate dinner (which was one of the bags) and ate some new chocolate (never made it to a bag) because I was feeling alone and wanted to feel snuggly.
After opening my eyes and getting off the couch with my 25 year old self in my head, the feeling would start to slip away. I would close my eyes to preserve the feeling of being back then when I could and I also repeated stuff that I had been remembering from them. It worked long enough for me to get through all the groceries without me going buggy. The freezer was a piece of work. I am good at packing a freezer to capacity. I had it fully packed and then found something else that needed to go in. So I reworked it and then found something else I had forgotten. I even managed to do that. Nothing falls out when the door is open but it is pretty solid food and packaging in there.
The feeling wore off my the time I was done. I didn’t look at things that have been crutches for me lately, I just put them in the area they belong to find later when I need them. I am very proud that I fit 5 lbs of linguine in an Irish Cream Liqueur tin. That is feeling is from my past as well.
Now I am wired from the chocolate and the brief burst of activity. Looking at all the other things I could do, I have hit a wall and want to just flop in front of it and stop moving. It was really nice to visit how I used to be and be reminded that even though I have had to live with depressions in the past as well, I did have life in me and everything didn’t seem so hard and overwhelming. It gives me hope that I will come out the other end and be able to deal with day to day life again. Then I think about that and I feel hopeless that there is another end to come out of since I have been stuck here for years. I am 20 years older now. I feel like I if have it, then I should be able to bring it to my life now, when I need it. But back then, I just did. There was no work to it, it just was. Floating to the top, pushing me forward. I am concerned I broke that bit.
But it sure was nice to have a moment where it came to visit again. I can’t feel it now and can’t remember it directly, but I can remember remembering and appreciating it. I wrote this post to help with that.
I have been avoiding talking with my dad because it could be anywhere between no big deal to something really messing. I am in need of money and while I haven’t asked, I get the feeling he and I don’t agree on money like issues.
So here I am in a vulnerable position asking for help. I want exactly what I asked for. A lump sum of money. He starts charging to the rescue and wants to make thing happen for me. Which due to the way things are structure could make things a lot worse than they already are and make things harder for me to deal with. He is wanting to make things easier for me but is not checking in with me due to his own insecurities.
When he is feeling slighted or hurt, he retreats. When he helps he is there 120%. Having both of these going on at the same time is hard to deal with. And when you are up to your neck in other crisis and coming apart, it is really hard to manage.
Well the confrontation is done. It turned out to be on the low end of the scale and he is doing what I am asking him to do and seems to understand why this is the best way. There has been a huge build up of fear and anxiety over dealing with this. Now that it is over and no big deal and things are good, there should be a sense of relief. But my hands are shaking really hard and I don’t feel good. I think that is because I don’t feel seen and heard. I don’t think he realizes how hard it was to reach out and ask for help, how much I tried to take care of the problem he feels he got hurt feelings over, how much I am swallowing and keeping things one the surface so as to just deal with the immediate need, and how much it turns into him talking about his problems.
I am going through what feels like the worse crises of my life. This is all new areas for me and I am very scared and not used to dealing with feeling this scared. My old method of dealing with this is to get distracted and avoid and deny and I am trying to not do that. I realize that the crises is not relatively large. If it really was a Major crises, I might do better at dealing with it. It is these things that are under the wire of Major but big in terms of minor that seem to be my worst problems. One it croses into Major, it seems like some of my systems get disconnected and other usually non-active systems go online. Before that happens, I spend my time freaking out. Having others around to either hold space for me or help me focus help so much and sometimes seem to be the only way I can deal with stuff.
As I write this out, my hands are not shaking as much and I am getting more tired. Seems like a reasonable response. But I just got something else I don’t want to deal with tossed on my plate. Damn it, I want my sense of relief from getting through that icky confrontation situation I have been afraid of successfully. I sense of accomplishment is too much to ask for. (ooo look, the shaky hands are back, guess it is issue specific instead of general state of being).
Just keep moving, one step at a time, baby steps. Things will change over time. Lather, Rinse, Repeat. *le sigh*