Trust

Broken. Maybe it’s a lie here and another lie there. Catching two different stories about the same event. And slowly, no matter how many excuses I make or how much I want to believe and trust someone, it’s gone. There is nothing left. Every story needs confirmation, but is the evidence provided even definite proof? Could it be faked? Digitally altered? Showing something that only appears to be what I am looking for? How much of the story is a lie? All or just part or just the tiniest but most crucial detail? It’s maddening to have to test everything because there’s been enough demonstration that anything can be lied about. There are no boundaries that aren’t crossed by deceit.

Really, the only sane choice is to cut ties with this person. Make sure there’s no access, leverage, anything left that I would not let everyone else see. Nothing with which to attack or blackmail me. Because if the lying is so obvious and brazen, could there be anything this person wouldn’t do?

The web of lies only can grow, entangling me further into betrayal, danger, and most of all hurt. When trust is gone, affection will follow.

How I Yearn to Be Distracted

I made a resolution to write daily and shop less.

So far, shopping less and not buying unnecessary things has been easier. Christmas was just 17 days ago.  So I have more than enough everything and can’t afford to splurge on luxuries right now anyway.  I still browse slickdeals.com, which is a bad sign.  Buying stuff that was a good deal was a big part of 2017’s too much shopping.  And it’s amazing how much a toddler step stool seems like a need if you have nothing else to buy.

But, certainly I do feel a shift away from shopping.  It’s focusing on writing from my often painful interior world that is hardest.  I’d much rather: SHOP, eat, read articles, watch TV, play videogames… really anything else.  After a bad break up 4 years ago, I was miserable and needed to fix my life. So instead of that, I read the entire Harry Potter series almost obsessively.  My therapist viewed it as self care. I viewed it as distraction and avoidance.

Maybe it could be argued that Harry Potter is a very satisfying, fulfilling fiction to read.  I do love those books, even the Order of the Phoenix.

But I definitely see a pattern in my life of picking easy, mundane tasks over big, multi-step projects.  Daily effort towards a goal despite setbacks that come as part of life could be named grit.  I have no grit.

I’d rather do a simple task I don’t think is important than work on developing a meaningful career.  Or learn a language. Or make art.  Or learn and practice a new skill.  I have an ukelele I never plan on learning how to play.  I’d rather do a one-off like mail a friend a package, bake cookies, research something I will never do, go on an errand, than embark on a journey that depends on showing up each day.

Maybe I am afraid of not feeling like doing the work over and over.  Or not making noticable progress even if I do try again and again.  Maybe I won’t make a decision or commit to anything.  Maybe I have a failure mindset and anxiety about failing makes trying impossible.  Maybe I really don’t want to be successful, ambitious, or happy.  Whatever it is, I have no grit.

And I would much rather shop for some item I could live without than write about not being disciplined enough to write everyday.

Someone like me

Once I was asked, “Why don’t you spend time with people like you?”

To my surprise, there were two answers.  I thought compromise was part of every relationship and no relationship could be smooth-sailing. And secondly, I honestly didn’t believe there were people like me.  I didn’t feel as though I connected with more than a handful (read less than or equal to 5) of people in my life.  Every other relationship has been strained with substantial, almost daily chafing difference.
A similar question of why I was spending my time with people I didn’t even like, was a result of similar reasoning.  I had been trying to accommodate myself to fit school friends, college boyfriends, and later, all sorts of random people.  My mother once asked me why I was trying to get back together with a boyfriend I didn’t even like.  It was a pretty revelatory statement that opened my eyes to the truth: I didn’t want to be rejected, even by someone I otherwise wouldn’t want in my life.

I spent so much time trying to be someone else for others.  While complaining of others’ failings and my attempts to live with these people, I was asked, “Why don’t you just live according to your own standards?”

Again, the answer surprised me. I didn’t think my standards mattered as much as those of the people I was trying to change myself to be accepted by.  I didn’t agree with their standards, so I always felt tension in the relationships. But I didn’t leave, armed in the knowledge I was being true to myself. Instead, I sunk to ‘their level’. I lived my life according to the principles and behavior that I myself disagreed with.  And why, oh god, why? Because I didn’t think there were people with my values and that I had to compromise to have any friends and not be lonely.  I was desperately lonely. I found interpersonal connection hard to create.  I didn’t find people who I felt like I could be myself around.

So now, self-aware of these insights, in a romantic relationship I want to be true to myself and find someone like me. With the same professed values, interests, humor, and lifestyle.  As a friend once said, “After you marry, the relationship will stay the same or might get worse. But it never gets better.”  But combined with a ticking clock, loneliness, and less than stellar self-esteem, I find myself in my same old habit of trying to wriggle into a fit with someone. 

Anecdotally, I often try clothing or shoes once very quickly and decide it fits. I purchase it, cut the tags and then wear it for an entire day, at which by the end of said day I am very uncomfortable or in pain. The item doesn’t fit right.

I find the same in relationships.  I get so excited initially at what I see as a great fit with a glamourous new man (and rarely, a woman).  Then, within weeks, I realize this person is very different from me. I have just jumped in the deep end of infatuation and desperation and now I am drowning, trying to figure out how the relationship can be managed to fit.

Clearly I need to be more patient, discerning, and selective. It would help if I could catch a break and finally meet someone that’s really similar to me.  That’d be lovely.

Brush Yourself Off

A friend told me it “happens and then you get back up”.

“How?” I asked.

“How with two broken legs, sprained ankles and messed up knees?”

Let go, move on, pick yourself up, power through, move forward, get over it, be stronger, stay positive, get better, try harder, gotta do it, don’t give up, carry on, hold on, it’ll be better soon.

Fun sings, “May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground.

And I do want that. My feet, their step, resounding sound, eyes straight ahead. walking forward.

But for now, I’m stuck in this hole.  The sides go up above my head.

How did I get in this mess? Was it my fault? Someone else’s? Fate or destiny? God’s punishment or His gift?  I don’t know. Could I even remember with my memory slipping away? And does it matter anyway?

Because all I can see are these walls all around me.  Surrounded by the dirt on every side with only a glimmer of light at the top of my world.

Am I strong enough? With all these broken bones?  With this debilitating fear?

I feel weak. I feel pain. I have wounds. I wake from nightmares to this nightmarish world.

I am just sitting on the dirt ground for now.  I know that I must have fell down here.  How? I don’t have the memory. It seems like it has been this way a long time. Maybe always.

Given a little time, I am going to get up.  Going to climb my way to the top.  It is going to take sweat, dirt on me, smeared all over me body.  Muddy dirt during the rain isn’t going to hold my weight. I will slide down even as I try to get higher.  But I can’t give up.  I don’t remember what is up there, but there is absolutely nothing down here.  Not even food or water.  So what will my life be here and how long will my life be?

And when I am up there, I am going to leave everything behind.  All those feelings and all those things I saw before are going to be gone.  No people from the past, just people in the future.  No memories because even if I clung on, my brain won’t go along with that.

Even down here, I don’t want to remember anything. I don’t want to dream of anyone I used to know. I don’t need anything that before I used to love or use.  I don’t have room enough in this hole to care about anything else, but where next I will place my hand or foot.  There will be new songs on my lips and I will give up the words from before.

I will do more than brush off. I will become clean. I will use the rain or a lake or a river or even the ocean if that is what I find.  Because I won’t let fear win. I will leave it behind in that dark hole.  I will know I am the strongest after climbing up those dirt walls. And already now, that fire of a belief swells up, feeding on the oxygen of my breath.

To live, I will give up everything. Everything I have known. Everything I remember.  Everything I believed. Everything in my past.  Because I want to see the future become the present.

There is nothing back there. Nothing of my past is coming up with me. I don’t want or need it anymore.

A Period of Grief

I remember, after a religious conversion, seeing the sky.  It was blue.

It was as if the world had suddenly burst into vibrant color.  I was Dorothy and I found myself in Oz when previously I had only known sepia Kansas.

I took this as evidence of the correctness of my new religion.  Years later, upon reflection, I realize that I had found something more powerful, although more vague and mysterious: hope.

My life prior had been fully greedy, violent, resigned, and  indifferent.  My life changed at this time and I gained some freedom. That freedom gave birth to a fragile hope.  And the world bloomed in color as it became more beautiful than I had ever known it could be.

The world was the same, of course,  but I had new eyes.

But the dark world of my past came back to haunt me.  This time it was more menacing, powerful,  and hellish than I had ever felt before.  It was a long time of grief.

Again, the reality we interact within and share remained as it is and I was the change that threw my life into chaos.  Whether stolen, forgotten, or abandoned, the result was the same; my hope was gone.

The bright blue sky, same wherever it is visible-no matter where you are-was fading to some pale gray tinged derivative.  I would still try to find that perfect sky from five years ago: tropical beaches, small boats on the ocean, fields with distant horizons.

But my hopeless was gray.  The weather was brutal winters.  The kind that bite deep into your bones.  Or it was dingy, soaking rain with no umbrella.  Or oppressive heat that sizzles and bakes away energy and time.

The places around me were full of ugliness and cruelty.  Or indifference to me, as I became isolated from life.

I saw joy and love others’ experienced from life as if separated by a thick panel of glass. It was clear. My vision didn’t seem distorted.  And the scene was somewhat familiar.  But even if it had been strange, it would have been radiant still, beautiful still.

My life on the other side of the glass was dark.  Trapped in this small cage, I couldn’t find any way out.And as days, then months, passed, my energy started evaporating.  Trying was harder as hope died.  As it was dying, fear crept in.  After fear made a home named anxiety in my heart, resignation settled in.

Isolated, in pain, hopeless, despairing-that is how I existed.  And the days and months added up to years.  As I moved geographically, my despair and grief packed up and moved along with me.  I was chased across the world, through time zones and countries, by a dark shadow only I felt.

Myself was dead.  Somehow, while I was drowning in intense pain, who I was became less than a memory.  It was as if she had never existed.

The conscious moments were I chose the wrong instead of the right had led me somewhere inescapable.  My mistakes that created despair that radiated outward to everyone in connection to me.  I was only sobbing, messy, dirty, and disgusting.

And because hope had already died, anxiety taken rooted, and resignation crowned, this hell was the only reality possible.   That glass wasn’t one-sided.  Those who looked back at me felt as helpless as I knew I was.  No one could help, many tried, the only ones who survived were the ones who gave free gifts of love over and over to an unchanging, unrescued prisoner.

This grief is called depression.

This was the darkest depression I had ever felt in my short life that had already many times been tainted by darkness.

Text with old friend

“… I would say I am even more psycho than when you met me.
I pretty much had a breakdown … yesterday and told my ex-boyfriend that I couldn’t take care of myself and thought I was a rubbish person who couldn’t ever be loved.  Like, probably I am under so much constant distress over this belief that I can’t cope with anything but be next to someone very kind and just watch TV.  Which is all we did for the last few months when we were together. “

I’m not there yet

I am ready to be in the next thing.  I am ready to be starting something new.  Something that will make use of all the horrible experiences I came through.

But I’m not there yet.  I’m just in-between: not in abuse anymore but not recovered yet.  I don’t even know what the future will hold.  The possibilities of the future are too bright for my eyes right now.  I can’t see what I want to do or what I can do because what I see is blinding light.  I was in the dark too long to be able to see in sunlight.  For now, it is all painfully white.

Thankfully, I am feeling my way towards somethings and people keep encouraging me to stay in the place where I can’t see because of the blinding light.  They hold out the promise that eventually it won’t hurt so much and that it won’t be so overwhelming.  That eventually it will be my new “normal”.  After, that is, my perception adjusts.