Wednesday, the 24th of September, 2014.
In my family, emotions were shared freely between everyone, most of the time without even the need for words. We were all so tuned into one another that thw simplest and smallest gestures, a tone of voice, a noise, a change of posture would be woven into the dynamic seamlessly and intuitively. I remember one time feeling a sudden thirst and my mother digging through her bag and handing me a bottle of water as though I had asked for it. I could interpret the subtle movement of my family as though we were the same being. To this day, it is difficult for me to resist the temptation to merge when I am around them.
It is comforting to feel a part of something, but it is also confusing. A lot of articles talk about co-dependency and enmeshment, when discussing addiction and most discuss it in negative terms. It is difficult to have an individual sense of identity under such circumstances. It has been exceedingly difficult for me to establish a life for myself, even though it is all I have ever wanted to do.
Trying to venture out into the world without understanding what a boundary is meant that I absolutely couldn’t protect myself. People often treated me as though I didn’t respect myself because I wouldn’t reserve myself from others, I would naturally want to share my entire self right away. Holding back always felt so unnatural. For me, it was normal to simply yield and flow into whatever was around me, be it people, or just things, nature, whatever.
I always respected myself, I just didn’t see myself as separate from the things around me. I was a part of this massive thing that was happening. I could feel my connection to my family members even if we were a days drive or a world apart, it was always as though they were still flowing through me. I also felt this with my closest friends and my most significant relationships.
For my entire life, I have never been without a person who I could share consciousness with. I have never had to deal with emotions or thoughts without someone else being a part of them. If I felt something begin to emerge, I would always share it being totally raw and open, without censoring or holding back. It didn’t always matter whether I knew the person I was sharing with or not. All I needed to feel was an affinity and that person would become like a family member. My need for there to be a flow between people superceded my need for a familiar face. There were, of course my favorites between which the flow would be particularly strong.
There was something so immediate and so intense about every connection, even, if we were making plans for lunch. Thw intimacy was incredibly deep. We could verge into the most sensitive and intimate sharing at any moment. We didn’t need to direct the flow, we would allow it to move of it’s own accord. We let it follow it’s course, wherever it wanted to go, like a river picking it’s way.
I have recently cut ties with the people who have woven a very deep part of my consciousness, all of them. My parents have illnesses that I am very susceptible to taking on because of our closeness. My best friend also had struggles that would harm me because I couldn’t protect myself. I wasn’t able to pull away when the connections began to injure me and so they became dysfunctional.
I feel a need to see what it is like to be a separate person and am realizing that I have never before experienced this. I have always been a part of other people in a very real way. I would share my discoveries as I made them, they would know everything I had done and thought and felt every single day.
Now, it is mostly just me. I am not part of something else. I feel strange, like I am in a canyon. I am sending out my voice and I can only hear the reflection of it coming back at me from all directions. I have never had to stand alone in my life and simply trying to do so is the most transformative thing I have ever done.
It is so eerie. There is this silence. It’s occurring in the place where I would normally be feeling all my people. I can’t really tell what is going on with them. I can’t really feel them anymore and it is really really strange.
It is the also the first time that I have been able to detect the essence that is uniquely me. Without all of these feelings and thoughts flowing through me, I can begin to realize what it is that I am generating alone. I don’t think that I have ever really been aware of myself outside of a system, relating to others.
Everything feels very surreal, and as much as I miss the warmth and security of my immersion, I am excited about the potential of finding my personality and knowing where I begin and end. I will never be able to forget how incredible iy feels to be one with everything, but I think that I need this experience as well. I need to know what I am to be able to move beyond the limitations that I have been facing. I need to be able to protect myself from harm, and I am just beginning to understand how to do that.
It is taking a tremendous force of will to keep myself well during this shift but I feel the promise of the change and feel hopeful that I am moving in the right direction. I cannot keep ob the path I was walking down before. It is helping that I feel so little choice in the matter.
I know, somewhere in myself that this is the kind of solitude that I have to come to terms with, this is the real test of my strength. If I can make it through this time, I feel like I can become the person I want to be.
Wednesday, the 10th of September, 2014.
Walking home from an event the other day, I felt especially lively. It was raining lightly, but I had an umbrella and the air felt fresh and cool. Everything was glistening and it had that magical quality that the city can have when it is slick and shining. It felt good to get away from all the people and to just walk.
I had had a few odd encounters at the party. I suppose I was feeling a bit vulnerable and something about the night time and the darkness was hovering at the periphery of my awareness. I kept pushing it away, remembering to notice how beautiful it was, how nice and refreshing it was to be out of doors, to be walking.
I wonder if it is unusual to be a woman who has not often felt afraid at night time. I don’t often feel vulnerable in public, or often at all. I have these highly developed barriers that make me feel immune to others trying to rattle me, or to reach me even. Something about that night, though, felt odd.
I remember feeling unusually visible. I felt that I was noticeable to everyone, where I usually feel quite stealthy. I felt like a beacon for some reason. Perhaps it was the romanticism of the rain and the city at night, but I felt glowing, like a rare gem. It was quite and excellent feeling as feelings go, but it also made me seem like something of immense value. I don’t usually imagine myself to be of much value to anyone, apart from my close friends and family members. I am just another person to everyone else, but all of a sudden I was a WOMAN. I felt my femininity immensely and something about being that felt very dangerous.
I suddenly understood the desire to hide women away, to cover them up, to create towers and walls around them. We are these precious gems, and the way that some people look at precious gems leaves little to be desired.
Something about feeling so beautiful also made me feel like a target. I felt that there were these men on the bus that wanted to get my attention. I am usually quite comfortable looking around me. I like to get an idea of the people on the bus, and possibly contemplate the many shades of humanity. This time, when I surveyed the bus, there was a man looking right at me. We connected eyes in a rather intense way, and in a way that I was not particularly seeking out. I overheard him brag to his friend that I had looked right at him and suddenly I felt very uncomfortable indeed.
I felt like a deer outside of the cover of the wood. I felt like prey and I am telling you, it was not a pleasant feeling. I felt a very strong energetic connection being forced upon me and being so vulnerable, raw and open it was a bit difficult for me to shut it down. It also forced me to take a closed demeanour and stare grumpily out of the window for the remainder of the bus ride. It did not feel safe for me to be radiant.
There were little starts of fear that ran through my entire body. What if he follows me? I was going to be getting off the bus at a fairly lonely stop quite late at night, and in the rain. It seemed very forlorn. I fought with the feeling to freeze, to be incapacitated by his gaze and I somehow remembered to feel fierce. I don’t usually feel afraid to walk alone at night. I don’t exactly know why, but perhaps it is about how still and peaceful it feels, as though nothing could be wrong in the world. I also prepare myself to deal with whatever I encounter, remaining alive to my experience. I am very assured of my own power and mastery over myself. I also feel confident in my power to intimidate.
I remembered to believe it impossible that someone would want to hurt me in that way. I also remembered that the sanctity of my energy could not be violated. When I got off of the bus, I allowed myself to remain vital and connected and being around so many trees made me feel like I could wrap myself in the majesty of nature.
I feel as though it was an important experience to have. Having been what many referred to as a “freak” in a small town has given me some pretty robust defence mechanisms. I can keep it together when people yell at me out of their cars, call me names and throw things at me. I can deal with extreme amounts of aggression. I will not get rattled by a 200 lb man yelling in anger directly in my face or threatening violence against me (I dared him to go through with it). I am a tough lady and it is not easy to rattle me but I have never before been that kind of person.
I wear the face of a warrior in public, it says, don’t bother trying with me. It says, you are defeated before you even begin. I have never before felt like the willowy thing that I am, a delicate, defenceless little doe peeking her nose out from her protective home. I have never before felt like something to be won. I suppose this is something that some women feel often. Those fragile, beautiful creatures. It makes me want to walk around with a staff so that they can allow themselves to be radiant. Perhaps instead of needing men to escort us around, we can train women warriors to be our knights.
I am very glad indeed of the experiences that have allowed me to become as strong and resilient as I am. I sometimes wish that I was able to be as tender and vulnerable as some people allow themselves to be, or are naturally. It seemed quite glorious for the few moments it lasted. I, however, treasure the safety I feel from the level of mastery I have over myself. I only wish that the world was safer so that I wouldn’t need to be this way so often. I hope someday to stumble into some kind of fairyland where people are decent enough that I can begin to pack away all of my weapons.
Friday, the 29th of August, 2014.
As a preface to this manifesto, I want to note that I have been told I dress like a slut twice in one week, both times by men, but that I have also been told that I dress slutty from time to time for most of my life, at least since adolescence, by both men and women.
The events of the last week have given me pause. I have been taking the time for self reflection and to compose my response to such accusations for all future times.
For all intents and purposes, I have always been a slut. As far as people have been able to describe it to me, the qualities of slutiness are things that I resonate with and celebrate in myself.
I am generally sexually available, but only to people who I am attracted to. I don’t believe in withholding sex under some paradigm that men are trying to “get it” from me and I have to protect myself from them. Good sex between consenting adults is a win-win scenario.
I don’t feel that sex necessarily leads to commitment and that they can be part of different conversations. Not all sexual partners will be compatible as life partners and vice versa. Also, I think sex can be a very effective testing ground to see how two people connect with one another (in many different facets).
I feel sensual/sexual within my body most of the time. I like when people appreciate my body, as long as they are respectful. I enjoy when other women and men celebrate their vitality and enjoy looking at and appreciating it. I think it is fun to feel sexy with others and often only becomes weird when it has been repressed.
I feel that respecting people’s boundaries is sexy in that it allows for yearning and it makes it all the more incredible when someone lets us little by little, to slip past all of those lines to be able to kiss and touch them all over their bodies.
I feel that sexuality is something vital to all living things and is an expression of living energy. As such, often I feel the most sexy in forests and around lakes and rivers. I feel sexy when I feel the most open and human and most often this has nothing to do with penetration, though it definitely does sometimes.
Penetration is awesome, so are lots of other things. I believe that feeling pleasure is a celebration of life and allowing ourselves to truly experience pleasure from the smallest circumstances of our being is the most sure-fire way to combat the diseases of capitalism and modernity.
Pleasure does not primarily reside in gross sensation. I believe that pleasure comes from the experience of the movement of energy in the body. Gross sensation, when it is solidified, only leads to blockages and thus, stagnation and suffering. Pleasure is about embracing change. New experiences and deepening sensation are the core to exploring pleasure within ourselves and others.
Wearing clothing in an attempt to hide or shield my natural state is something that I am opposed to. The only reason I want to wear a lot of clothing is for the associated kinkiness of mystery and wonder. In my opinion, clothing should be used as an enhancement to sensual feelings rather than as a prison.
I believe that a good bacchanal is healthy for the soul. Sometimes we need to release and the only way we can do this is through madness. Of course, damage can be done, but so too can holding things in. The real damage comes from shaming those who merely seek respite from their sufferings. Of course, we all want to escape sometimes. The confusion comes in thinking that the places we are escaping from or escaping to are part of different worlds. They are the same world. The path that we chase when we do drugs and party and drink is the path of wholeness. This is a sacred act and as such should be treated with respect. I party to connect with myself, to see beyond myself and this is good.
I need a million tools for reconnecting with myself, of constantly returning. There is no way that I will be sobre about being in a body that overflows with sensual and creative energy. That requires a mother-fucking celebration.
I am going to shake my ass, without shame, and I will copulate when it befits me, like my pagan sisters and brothers, because our vaginas and breasts and cocks can dismantle the machines. I believe it. It is one of our greatest powers.
So go ahead, call me a slut, it only makes me stronger.
Friday, the 22nd of August, 2014.
The challenge is, to integrate heaven and earth, to be divine and material at once. How do we move through a day with the weight of illusion? How do we live in time eternal, when our skin melts like glass, over centuries?
These people are crying because there is not enough spice. They address me in all seriousness as though a lack of regard for this circumstance or that meant a denial of their existential being. All of us, living in the world in various degrees of denial as to the reality of a tree.
Our visions for the ideal comes crashing to the ground as we try to negotiate with people who are not enacting heaven as we wish it. Not all of us call out to heaven, few of us bring it into our bodies and let it dance us from within.
We are all building up cities and tearing them down, playing tug of war with highways and cement blocks. Hiding our wounds and piling up around them bits of fabric and wires. All the electricity in my house running around my head like a false aura. It puts metal in my bones and hums like summer flies in the background of my mind.
How many summers will come and go, how many eyes will witness? How long until we are broken open and stand on the street corners with gazes alight with compassion, so true that it hurts, blazing through our armour like meteor strikes.
Fuck sentimentality, but fuck ironical distance, fuck apathy and fuck all this pain and fear and confusion. We’re all alive, more or less, all slugging through, or flying, or flying apart, or dying. We’re all here, more or less. I’m here with you, talking to you, reaching out, trying to be seen but much much too cool to let you know how pathetic I feel and how heroic, how awesome and disgusting and incredible and vile and beautiful and wretched, how boring, how excruciatingly explosive, how many times I orgasm, and weep, and sit quietly with my whole body holding in my organs as though a singe breath might let out an ocean.
How noble I feel as I wash the dishes and look over these clean floors, like a ruling conquerer. How little I feel in this forest, but how perfect. I want to shut out all the noise and tell everyone to stop and bare witness to this, this moment, this slant of light. It’s so real, so unreal. I want us to all stop walking around in our little outfits and pretending that we don’t have asses underneath it all.
Wednesday, the 13th of August, 2014.
For a very long time, I thought that intimacy necessarily came with intense anxiety, foreboding and even dread. I believed that a normal part of me getting to know someone involved me breaking down. I believed that I would always hold a low level of discomfort in my body around the people I was closest to. I didn’t believe that I could ever truly trust another person, because whenever I tried to exercise my version of trust, I would end up feeling betrayed.
Not receiving any proper guidance in these matters as a child has meant that I have had to muddle my way through them on my own. I have had to make a lot of mistakes and alienate myself and others that I care about, a thousand times over. I didn’t believe that I was significant enough to have any affect on another person, nor was I important enough to ask for someone to accommodate me. I would foster intimacy with anyone who seemed interested in being with me. Neglect can give a person such a profound sense of worthlessness. I bonded most closely with those who were also desperate for a life-line and because we were all drowning, none of us could be trusted.
It is much much harder to get to know people who have a stable sense of identity. They want to know all about me, they want me to be able to articulate my opinions and desires and to be able to move fluidly between talking to them and letting them go like someone who trusts that they will come back, and even if they don’t, that everything will still be okay. They talk to me as though I am a well adjusted person, just like them.
It’s somewhat alarming that there is so much casual disdain for people who are not acting in ways that we can understand. I have been in a lot of uncomfortable situations lately, where people are describing behaviours that I have fully identified with at another point in my life, or last week, or whatever. They talk about these people as though they are not “worth it” because their behaviour was tiring and incomprehensible and it makes me feel immensely thankful for all the people in my life who decided that I was worth their time and energy. I am thankful that people took the time to talk me through some of my worst episodes and that they remained my friends afterwards.
At other times in my life, I have been very ill. Because I was ill, I needed coping mechanisms that allowed me to explain what I was going through to people who might not understand what it meant to be triggered or to be having an episode. I needed to explain away their fears while I simultaneously grappled with the waves of fear, terror and dismay that washed through my body. I needed to make sure that they didn’t overreact and send me to the hospital or call an ambulance or anything stupid like that.
So many people are totally unequipped to deal with mental health issues. It’s also heavily stigmatized, with an aura of fear and danger surrounding anything that seems a little bit too instense. I have tried to reach out so many times in my moments of deepest fear and there are a lot of times that reaching out has been the worst thing I could do. It’s not necessarily true that when you reach out for help, that the person on the other side is going to be 1) healthy 2) able to help you. It’s quite possible that you might be pulled into someone else’s illness and it has been my experience that in the times when I have been the most vulnerable, I have also been drawn into the most dangerous situations with people who would go on to do me a great deal of harm.
This is all a totally normal part of my existence, almost too normal. It’s become habituated to such a degree, that I didn’t even notice when things in my personality started to shift. For one, I stopped hating myself so much. In some ways, I even started to like myself. Something that comes with that, is the ability to choose the people I am interested in getting to know. In addition to this, I can also choose how I want to get close to people, how long I want it to take and what form it is going to take. I can choose to step back, to assert a boundary, all sorts of amazing things that I was never capable of before.
I am starting to realize that with all of these new tools, I also need to reexamine my script. I don’t necessarily need to warn people in the same way when we start to get to know each other. I am much better able to negotiate myself out of a triggering situation. I am much better at navigating my stress and the intensity of emotion that I experience on a day to day basis. For the first time in my life, I can break out of an obsessive thought pattern. I have started to have the realization that I can just shift my focus. I am starting to think that there may be certain things about myself that I can reserve until I know someone better. The details of my grief are mine and mine alone and I no longer feel such an urgent need to find someone to listen to them.
The funny thing about starting to accept myself fully for who I am, is that as a whole, I feel a lot shittier than I did before and more consistently shitty. I am not experiencing the major seesaw between Godlike potency and utter despair that I once went through. As much as my lows would wreak utter destruction in my life, those Godlike highs were pretty freakin’ intoxicating. Now, it seems that I am just regularly flawed and sort of awesome, which is cool, but lacks a certain transcendent explosiveness.
I think in general, I can learn to build my way up to being as awesome as I would like to be in a way that doesn’t require such crippling backsliding. Perhaps too, I can get to know people at a pace where I don’t feel like I am losing my sanity and sense of personal identity. Just maybe.
I am starting to feel my emotions flowing through my body and I am not trying to shape or suppress them anymore. Sometimes that means a little bit more manic instability, but I think that the better I get at processing what is happening to me, the more I will be able to channel my emotions into constructive behaviours. For now, I will just continue to yell a lot and give an excessive amount of high fives. I will also continue to allow myself to be annoyed at people and sometimes give customers the finger when they are not looking, cause that’s also part of my truth.
I don’t really know what to tell people about myself anymore. I am no longer the character from my story. I am much stranger and more contradictory that I even I suspected. It’s both funny and frustrating to be dealing with this totally new person with such unique reactions to situations. It is also just a little too tantalizing to ignore. I guess I’ll just continue to see what happens.
Perhaps, having a script is a little too limiting for the person I am becoming. It may be that I may never quite know how I am going to react, because I am always changing. It may be that I develop a tool box. I can use the tools, but will only use them in the situation where they are best suited. I can put away some of my older tools, until I may need them again. For the time being, I am feeling a fairly potent dose of crazy. It just so happens that this is the closest to sanity that I have ever been.
Wednesday, the 30th of July, 2014.
Having mental illness is awful. It’s also embarrassing, and ugly.
This last week has been some kind of hell-coaster for me. At times, I really felt on top of my process, having a lot of great moments and growing beyond my limits. At times, I felt like my mind was on fire, I felt myself at the edge of sanity wondering whether or not I would be able to make it through this one.
It’s difficult, because people throw the word “crazy” around a lot. It mostly seems to mean that a person is being emotional…which seems pretty reasonable, and human. Unfortunately for me, sometimes I really can feel crazy, like crazy crazy.
My friends have been trying to explain it away for me, telling me that what I am experiencing is normal and okay. This is incredibly helpful and really comforting, but also not entirely true.
I am really good at holding things together, and have always been really good at hiding what was going on with me. Now that I am trying to open up to people, it’s becoming harder for me to hide what sometimes feels like a runaway carriage of thought, with me just holding on by the very tips of my fingers to any form of control.
I move through life with this little niggling worry that something is going to trigger me. I have arranged everything so that I don’t have to experience a lot of stress. I work part-time. I tell people it is because I need to focus on my “art”, but really it is because when I am forced to spend too much time around people, I can start to feel my mind slipping. I keep a lot of distance from people, mostly because when I start talking about what is going on in my life, a lot of people start talking a lot about the benefits of therapy.
Unfortunately for me, I can’t work enough to afford proper therapy and the waiting lists are all 6 months - a year long. I am on all of them, and even the best of them are only something like 12 sessions. That’s just enough time to open up a hell hole of emotion and then be left to cope with it totally on my own. Sounds super fun, if you ask me.
Something I have really wanted in my life of late, is to have a relationship, any kind of relationship, but particularly something casual, easy and healthy. It’s a little bit unfortunate that when I actually meet someone I like, I am pretty sure I develop something like a brain fever and they (understandably) want to distance themselves. I can’t actually manage intimacy that includes a lot of touch (so like, real intimacy). It makes me really sad to have to acknowledge that this might be a reality for me, and it might be a reality for a while, a long while.
With all the fun of developing a new relationship, how can I safely or reasonably communicate that I am unwell and need reassurance? It’s pretty interesting to try to keep that calm and cool demeanour when I am facing some minor psychosis about being killed or starved by some unknown threat and feeling quite desperate to cling onto something that feels safe.
So yeah, I am a “crazy” person. I can’t deal with the normal reality of dating. I actually almost got triggered into a real psychosis by someone not contacting me after they said they would. It’s humiliating, it’s ugly, I fucking hate it but I can’t help it. I have to and have had to go through this totally on my own and the only help that I have ever been offered is to numb my senses with medication. Because I have chosen the no medicine route, I have had psychiatrists refuse to offer me treatment.
I actually have to think about and worry that I make sure not to let out too much of what I experience so that people don’t get scared and want to institutionalize me. It’s real. This is a threat that I have experienced before and will probably experience again. It is the reality of being someone with mental illness. It doesn’t go away. It does get better and for stretches of time, it can really seem like I am over it, but I am not and might never be totally “over it”. I get triggered by stress and life can be pretty stressful.
Just to make it clear, this is not something new. I experience this reality every day and have been dealing with it for my entire life. Being close to, or actually losing the thread of reality has been a part of my experience. It is normal for me. My normal can be really scary for other people. They worry about me and want to “help” or at least do something to feel more control. The problem is that there isn’t really a space in our society to help people who suffer from these kinds of problems unless you have a lot of money. For people who experience mental illness and poverty, it is a tough rode and can be incredibly lonely.
I guess I just wanted to come out of the closet in some minor way. Sometimes when I say I feel crazy, it’s not an exaggeration. I am sure that I am going to be fine. I have been through worse times. It’s been a while since I have been this ill, but I am fairly confident that the worst is over. Now it’s just a matter of time for my self-care to kick in and I will begin to recover.
I am really working on letting go of the shame of what I experience. I can’t change who I am. I can’t just get over it or think of something else. I fucking wish I could. I need to congratulate myself for the minor victories. I got out of bed this morning and went for a walk, I called a friend last night, I managed to talk about ski-doos with my roommates yesterday instead of dwelling on my worries. I am fucking kicking this illnesses ass and for me these things are all huge, huge.
Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t understand or are judgemental. I guess these people aren’t really my people. Maybe my people will be fewer or farther between. I fucking love them, though. They have propped me up this last week and I don’t think that I would have been able to make it through without them.
So, I guess I am going to try to get back to normal today. I am going to do a lot of boring things and fun things. I am starting the journey back to myself, back to sanity. It’s just like this little vacation I went on. I am hoping that there will be a time, someday when this stuff is easier for me. At least, there is always hope.
Sunday, the 27th of July, 2014.
Every time I think I have arrived somewhere, I am explicitly reminded that I am still on my way, and that I have a long way left to go. There is no stopping, barely even any slowing down. There are no short cuts or quick solutions. There is no other way to go forward than straight through.
* * *
Lately, I have been in the process of exploring the nature of my connections with other people. I have been especially focusing on my ability to be vulnerable, to dare to open up about my real experience and even more frightening, who I really am. It is something that I usually keep tightly guarded, something that I don’t share with anyone, even the people who I consider my closest friends. I was never able to trust that people would receive me properly, especially since I had never shared with them the truth of who I am.
Part of what I am going through right now is facing up to some of my worst fears. I am putting myself out there and people are doing exactly what I was most afraid of them doing.
More so than anything else, I am afraid of people abandoning me, of going through all the fear and anxiety and strife of facing my demons with another person, of sharing some of my deepest shames, personal failures, hopes and sacrednesses. I would share all of that and then those people would take off and all of the comfort and safety and love that had been built would be taken away.
My problem is that the way I go about developing relationships is highly unstable. People can come into your life and make promises but not even they know what the next moment will hold and neither do I. Life is this way for everyone. We all would like to believe that we can be there for people, but real trust, real understanding takes years to develop.
How do we keep ourselves safe when baring our souls to the world? We don’t. We try our best, but since every challenge is new, I find myself hurt again and again in ways unfathomable to my previous self. I am hurt deeper, more fully, and with more at stake. This is my choice; I choose to dare. I have made the choice to bare my soul and to learn from every experience until I can finally make it work.
In doing this work, I am having some things reflected back to me about who I am that has been horrible medicine to swallow.
I realize now that I have been using intimacy and love like a drug. I pull people in because I want to escape my experience of myself. I haven’t been able to accept myself, to embrace my experience. I can’t wait for the agonisingly slow process of healthy intimacy to develop because the entire prospect of consciously opening is in itself a trigger. I pull people in super fast so that the intensity of the experience will numb me to the pain. I pull people close because I am afraid that the reflection I will see of myself through them will be of someone I can’t bare to witness.
I prefer to remain hidden because being hidden means that I am safe. I want to be seen but I am barely able to see myself. The intensity of being real and present with another human being makes me want to chew off my own arm.
I feel like I am getting better at this. I noticed the other day that I went through an entire party without wondering if I belonged or not. I didn’t feel like an alien even once. Right now, I can get pretty deep with people, I can remain calm and collected for the most part. I can engage in casual touch without it feeling weird or awkward, I can accept touch.
There are still these parts of me that I have never shared with anyone, that are still very raw and that I have repressed for a long time. As my comfort with myself increases, so too do these little secrets get out. As soon as things start to get really real, I start to panic. This sets off a whole sequence of events which result in me becoming one big emotionally raw nerve. Not only do I have to deal with the uncertainty of new relationships but also being haunted by my childhood and adult traumas. The field of intimacy is forcing me to process a lifetime of pain and all of this while being observed by someone. I don’t fully understand how people can deal with it.
* * *
When the only way a person relates is through speeded up intimacy, where the truth is only revealed slowly and much later on, we develop a lot of unhealthy relational mechanisms through the entire beginning of the relationship. We learn to be with each other in a ways that are dishonest. We learn how to hide from one another and when real emotions come up, we don’t have the emotional safety to deal with them in a rational way. We get triggered and lash out and damage the very relationship we were trying to build. It’s funny because I always thought that this way of relating was more honest. We didn’t hold anything back from one another. Really, it’s not possible to move so quickly in a way that takes account for the wholeness of a person. There is no way to get acquainted with another reality without taking the time to go through our stories but also walk along the path next to each other, making new stories together.
I am working towards breaking free of the script of fast and emotionally turbulent connections, even though I don’t know how else to act. I am currently facing a lot of humiliating experiences, reacting really intensely to things that other people might have taken in stride. I feel at risk of being judged for being one of those crazy women. I mean, maybe I am and maybe also that is okay. There is no easy way to inform the people I am dating of the scope of the trauma I have experienced without it getting me into a situation where I feel exposed, but it still does come out from time to time and it means that people have to have a bit of patience with me, and not be too easily spooked.
I want the same amount of compassion from people as I offer. I move through what is one of the most challenging phases of my life. I keep reminding myself that there are a lot of people who don’t survive the kinds of experiences I have been through let alone even entertain the possibility of having a stable, healthy relationship. It is a personal victory for me that I have somehow found a way to survive in the city, hold down a job and have a happy home, a dog, good friends. It’s amazing really.
I continue to get closer to what I want, which is at it’s heart, a desire to know and to love myself. With that, I believe that I will be able to share my experience with someone else in a way that is safe and happy and honest.
Until then, I suppose I will continue to embarrass myself, put my foot on my mouth and come across like a crazy person. I believe that I will learn to slow it down. I will say nuts to anyone who cannot love me for who I am, even with all the stuff I have been through. I don’t want to hang out with people who don’t like weirdos anyway.
Friday, the 25th of July, 2014.
Friday, the 11th of July, 2014.
I’ve been having this experience lately, of people admiring my ability to open myself to vulnerability. I have to remind others that there is a certain amount of privilege in being able to avoid being vulnerable.
Thursday, the 10th of July, 2014.
Recently, I have been trying to honor the practice of setting limitations in my life. I know that a lot of the people I spend time with seem to value the act of non-definition, of simply living from moment to moment and seeing what comes of it. I often feel a pressure to be more free, less demanding, more spontaneous.
I have pursued this kind of course for a long time, trying not to define my relationships or plan my days, trying to be flowing and changing from moment to moment. On some level, I do believe it important to keep my eyes open and to try to see with clarity what is being presented to me. On the other hand, I feel that lacking definition can sometimes fall into the category of lacking intention, and this is the very thing that I was trying to avoid.
In my community, definition seems to be a dirty word, as though by defining something, you take the life out of it. I believe that our definitions don’t have to be prisons. By defining something, we create a container, something to direct the energies with our collective intention.
I enjoy having responsibility towards others. I like having definitions in so much as it helps me to feel like I am creating something. I believe that we have the power to revisit our definitions as soon as they no longer serve us. Perhaps we need to expand our containers, change their shape, create some openings.
Definitions do limit us, but so do bodies, and being alive. Limitations are part of existence and pretending that somehow we can escape all sense of limit denies the potential greatness of those limits. Limits can help direct energy. We can be ambient light or we can be lasers.
Definition creates focus. Commitment can deepen intimacy. Being responsible to another person can enable a greater sense of freedom. When definitions and limits fail to enable our focus and growth, we sometimes need to break out of them, like a chick from an egg, or a butterfly from a cocoon.
Limits and definitions can create a sacred container, within which we can perform a transformation. Accepting my own limitations and creating boundaries around them gives me the comfort and safety to explore going beyond them. Without a container, I am directionless, I deny form and limit my own growth.
The only way I can surpass my own limits is to first accept them. I need to work within the limitations of my body, my emotional maturity, my understanding and comfort. It is an act of love to say no to someone who wants me to go outside of my comfort and capability. Everything within its own time and space.
I am becoming much more comfortable expressing my needs and acknowledging the shape of my container. I deserve to feel safe. I deserve to have my limits honored by others. I will wait for the right people to come along, who can be served by the kind of space that I am in and who do not need me to be beyond myself. I might not be enough for everyone and that is okay. I am enough for me right now, and when that is no longer true, I will push myself to expand.Next »