[Warning: So. I’m finally back to writing about what is really going on with me. If you’re new here — you should probably go read one of the funny posts… This one is uncomfortable and itchy and not as funny as the lists, but ultimately better for me, and hopefully my process/floundering around can help someone else out there who is struggling… or just make you laugh, I don’t know. Anyway. This was a hard one to write.]
I need to write.
I think this has been established.
I need to write. It’s what I do. It’s how I process. It’s who I am.
(it makes me laugh, it makes other people laugh with (at?) me, it makes things better every single time)
And, to be honest, somehow, without even really (consciously) trying — I have built the perfect life for a writer who isn’t really a full-time writer yet — I have a job that is basically seasonal — very very busy for 4-5 months and almost deadly slow the rest of the year, I have TONS of free time, my son is in college and, apparently (sniff), doesn’t need me much anymore, I’ve run out of sick/dying relatives to take care of (OUCH), I’m single, I don’t even have a pet to take care of for God’s sake. There is no reason why I shouldn’t be writing my fucking heart out almost every single day.
Well, there is one reason.
Remember the benevolent and stubborn elephant in my head who tried to keep me from writing when my mom was dying, because she thought it would be too much for me? She’s back. She’s big. And she doesn’t seem friendly…
ME: “So. You’re back. What the fuck?”
ELEPHANT: (Refusing to look at me, spraying what I can only imagine is delightfully cool water over herself, because apparently the inside of my brain is as hot as my body at this point….) “Well isn’t this interesting…. she finally notices the blatantly obvious huge mass that is moi. And we used to think she was so quick.”
ME: “Who are you talking to? I’m right here. I can hear you.”
ELEPHANT: (Turning to gaze down at me with what I can only describe as a bemused look on her face) “Who am I talking to? Who are you talking to? That is the real question.”
ME: (eyes rolling) “Don’t act like I’m crazy, I’m not. You wanna know how I know? The elephants in real crazy people’s heads don’t like to point out that they are not, in fact, real elephants. Everybody knows that.”
ELEPHANT: (cocking her head and chuckling) “Whatever you say, baby girl.”
ME: “I’m not a baby and it is whatever I say. I know you’re not, like, an actual “being”. But you are big and powerful and once again you’re standing right the fuck in the way of EVERYTHING. I need to write. I need to write and I need to process and all this Big Scary Stuff is coming up for me and you know it and you won’t move and you won’t even let me begin to look at it. I thought we agreed that you wouldn’t do this anymore. Didn’t we have that agreement? Why are you here again?”
ELEPHANT: “A. We did have an agreement. and B. You broke it. You’re the lawyer, what happens when agreements are broken? The agreement is over, that’s what happens. Law 101. So I’m here. And I’ve been here for a long time.”
Me: “First of all, not all agreements are over if one person is in breach. It depends on the kind of breach and the kind of contract and it’s all very convoluted and there’s never a simple answer, even though people want lawyers to give simple answers and OMG WHY IS MY LAWYER BRAIN ON RIGHT NOW??? How do you think I broke the agreement?”
ELEPHANT: I said that I would stop worrying and not get in between you and your creative genius if you took care of yourself and didn’t get overwhelmed and depressed and lose yourself again and you said “of course I won’t do THAT again, look how healthy I am, look how I’m taking care of myself, of course you can stop worrying and protecting me from myself, I will never go down that road again, because I know what it looks like, I’m FINE…” and you were fine, for awhile, sweet pea and then your mom died and you were still fine because you took care of yourself when you felt the grief turn to depression and you hung in there, but then things started changing and you started to lose yourself again and this time you didn’t see it, honey. And I could see that you didn’t see it, so I came back to protect you.”
ME: (trying to swallow lump in throat) “Oh. Thank you.”
ELEPHANT: “Of course.”
ME: “You seem different. Bigger. More…. comprehensive? I think you don’t just want to stop me from writing, you want to stop me from dealing with, or even looking at, the Big Scary Stuff that is being triggered all over the place for me right now.”
ELEPHANT: “Yes, that’s true. It’s too much. You’re not ready. If you start writing about it and dealing with it, it will overwhelm you and pull you under again and I can’t let that happen. Better to avoid it altogether, I say. Too messy.”
ME: “I know you want to protect me, but I have to do this. I have to look at the Big Scary Stuff now and I have to learn new ways to do things and I have to write about it. It’s time. I don’t want to keep living like this, I don’t want the Big Scary Stuff to control me and fuck things up and keep me from having what I most want and being who I really am. Please move, please let me do this.”
ELEPHANT: “I don’t think so. You’ve said this before, and look what happened. No, I think you’re better off avoiding it altogether. You’re fine now, why change?”
ME: “I’m not fine. That is the point. I’m not fine. I’m very un-fine. I am tired of repeating the same patterns over and over and over. Nothing changes if nothing changes, right? I’m alive. I’m surviving. Sometimes I’m happy, but I am most definitely not fine. And it’s not all hormones – some of it is, for sure. And I’m working with a doctor to help with that. I feel like everything (ok, most things) that are Big and Scary for me have been magnified and clarified for me in the last few weeks — in a very fucking uncomfortable and miserable way, but THANK GOD FOR CLARITY…. I know what I need to address, finally. I really do. And I am ready to do it now. I really need you to work with me and help me do this, don’t stand in the way. Don’t steer me away from what I have to do. Don’t help me numb out, act out, do what I always do…. Help me change. Please.”
ELEPHANT: “No. You’re not ready. You know how I know you’re not ready? You can’t even say what the Big Scary Stuff is out loud. How do I know that you’ve gained some clarity when you can’t even say it? Until you can say it, it’s dangerous to let you start working with it. Like, tsunami of pain and shame and sad type of dangerous.”
ELEPHANT: “That’s what I thought….”
ME: (pulling myself back together and dusting off my shoulders) “Fine. Here’s what the Big Scary Stuff is — I am a huge black hole of needy insecurity. I don’t even live in my body, I live in my head. I don’t see what is going on around me because I’m so busy telling stories about it in my mind. My mind can extrapolate the most amazing and negative stories that you will ever hear from virtually NO information. [so I should be an AWESOME writer, right?] They are truly crazy and the best part about it is that I believe them…. And all of the stories involve me being unlovable, unloved, alone, doomed, ashamed, scared, useless, lazy, ugly, empty, dumb, a disappointment, failure, a mistake, an imposter and so on and so forth. And because I believe all those things about myself, I don’t believe that anyone else could possibly value me. And if they do somehow seem to value me, I question it and tear it apart and suck it dry. And I don’t know how to give myself what I need, so I try to get it from other people (and, since I’m being painfully fucking honest, “people” = “men”, usually) — and I try to get it quickly because it’s an urgent need at this point — so I manipulate to get it and then don’t trust it when it comes, because of course I’ve manipulated it, so it isn’t real. And when I can’t get what I think I desperately need exactly when I desperately need it – I can’t tolerate it. I have to leave the relationship or keep escalating my attempts to get what I think I need and then I become bitchy and temper-tantrumish. And if I DO get what I need? I don’t really believe it, because deep down I am positive that I don’t deserve it and that somehow I was just so good at manipulating that I got it. So I end up leaving the people who do love me, just as easily as I leave the people who don’t. Because I can’t tell the difference. Basically, I’m fucked up. And exhausted. And depressed. And I want to learn how to be different.
ELEPHANT: “Wow. That’s big. I know that was hard to figure out, much less admit out loud, sweet pea. Do you see why I wanted to protect you? I’m so proud of you. I will go now, but I can’t promise not to come back.”
ME: “I know. Thank you.”
So. There it is. And here I am. At least I’m writing.
p.s. This was hard to write. It’s hard to be vulnerable. But it’s a process and I know it works for me to write/share. But I’m not asking anyone out there to fix me, so don’t worry about that. Support is great, though 🙂
p.s.s. or p.p.s. – whatever – Yes, I’m still doing the anti-antidepressant experiment, but am considering going back on them because this hole feels big and it snuck up on me and getting out of bed is hard. Part of it is the heat. I’m not kidding — if there isn’t a DSM for heat related depression, there should be. This heat sucks the life out of me.
p.s.s. It’s hot and I’ve been inside all day writing (writing!!!!!) – I’m heading to the beach now. Somehow it always helps. Look at this cool thing – from Pinterest. I love Pinterest.
p.s.s.s. How is it the end of August? Ugh.
p.s.s.s.s. I’m playing with my wordpress theme again…. don’t worry, this isn’t the final choice 🙂