This is one of those weeks where I feel like going back to my therapist and asking for a retro-active refund....cause seriously.... how did she miss some of these issues, really?
I guess that some of this would have come up sooner if I hadn't been dating-avoidant for five plus years. And one day I won't feel like I'm perpetually broken, that I'm constantly having to explain why I'm triggered about one thing or another, that I'm not worthy of attention to my feelings, etc. One day I'll be able to process my feelings in front of another human...until then, my processing needs to be written out.... its the only way I can do it and feel safe. I only hope that it isn't interpreted as being passive aggressive, that is not the intent. On my blog I can write about crying, and anyone reading it can imagine this pristine scene with a single glorious tear rolling down my cheek and me lightly dabbing it with a cloth handkerchief.... oh...and Erik Satie would be playing softly in the background....there is candlelight....and I'm wearing some fantastic ball gown....
The reality is that my crying is not pretty...or at least I don't think it is pretty. To be fair though, I haven't really looked at myself when I cry, but it feels ugly so I assume it is. Have you seen Claire Danes cry? Phenomenal actress- ugly cryer. So the reality of me crying is probably like Claire Danes wailing away.
So last night, I'm staying over at the Gent's house after holding a fairly awesome party. We were cuddling in the guest room...or he was attempting to and I was trying not to cry. It's been a week. My body has been hurting...from stress, from antibiotics. I've had a bunch of deadlines this week (in fact as of the writing of this I still have two major things that have to be completed and its 9pm on Sunday....the outlook is not good). I felt pulled in a thousand different directions, trying to make sure that I'm checking in with everyone, feeling like I'm a failure at not being able to do it all, but trying to support everyone that I can. Its been overwhelming, and any attempts at self-care this week have felt incredibly hollow and like the stress and tension I'm feeling right now is a parasite in my body. I feel like I need to just have a deep soul-crushing cry to get all the tension out. Last night, I could feel it coming in waves and I kept trying to push it down and away. But it kept coming to the surface, and I didn't want an audience....and even with him holding me, telling me it was alright, that he wasn't going to leave, that he loved me, that our tribe loved me.... I just couldn't let him see that. So I sent him off to his bedroom while I tried to curl myself in as tight a ball as possible and attempt to silently cry.
As of tomorrow we will have been dating for three months....but three months of deep love and acceptance is not enough to undo a lifetime of feeling punished when I express my feelings and needs. The last time I cried in front of a partner, I was broken, and he left the next day.
Flashback to almost 10 years ago..... Mr.3 and I are in Denver. Its our second trip in a month to try to rectify a situation that seems so crazy chaotic now that I can't even being to explain it. The money was running out, nothing was making sense, his paranoia was becoming my paranoia, and nothing was going as he said that it should. We were at a mall food court in Aurora and there is this kid being obnoxious at the table next to us. I just wanted the kid to stop, to be quiet, and I kept thinking how easy it would be to grab that child and snap his neck. I felt so powerless that I had a brief moment where I seriously considered harming a child so that I wouldn't feel as helpless as I did at that moment. It scared me....bad. I abruptly got up and started out to the car with Mr.3 following me confused. I got into the driver's seat but I couldn't drive...all of the emotion, all the craziness, the uncertainty, overcame me....I got out of the car, leaving the door open, and stepped a few feet away from the car. And I started to scream. A deep primal unhuman scream.... I was no longer in my body.... I don't know how long I was screaming, but it felt like it was forever. The memory of the sound of my screaming haunts me.
And then he laughed at me.
It was just a chuckle, almost a snort, but it was enough. I ran back to the car and had it in drive so fast that the car was moving when he got into the passenger's side. We went back to the motel we were staying at and I spent the rest of the day crying inconsolable on the bed. I was in and out of it. I have vague memories of seeing him looking at his computer, writing something on a paper tablet, him coming in and out of the room, him glaring at me from across the room... In the morning I was still fully dressed, lying on top of the bedspread.... black stains on the white pillowcases from my mascara running. He had slept on the other side of the bed and was in the shower when I got up. He had left a letter on my pillow. It was a love letter of sorts....hollow in hindsight....talking about how he didn't realize how much I loved and cared about him and that it hurt him to see me in such pain....that he was going to try to be a better man. When he got out of the shower there was this new plan that he had. He suddenly had a job interview in Denver the next day, things were looking up. And since we were to drive back to Salt Lake that day, he would stay at the hostel in Denver for the next couple of days, and I would drive back alone. I was so numb it sounded rational. So I did. I dropped him off at the hostel and drove home. I was broken....but this process went on over a few days, as it was one story after another resulting with me driving back to Denver four days later with half of our apartment in my little car.... but that story is for another day. The point of this, is that I've now got it ingrained within me that if I let a partner see me cry, let them see me be broken, that they will leave me. They won't stay to pick up the pieces.... they will just go.
The Gent says that he won't do this....and I know that he won't. But knowing that and physically crossing that boundary are two entirely different things. We process alot. And I'm really good at processing with other people, with their emotions, their difficulties...but when the attention is turned towards me, its painful. I'm really good at loving and giving to others. Receiving it back? Oh, it's ugly.... as the last several degrees I've taken at Masonic workshops and the emotional rollarcoasters that I have gone through on them can attest.
I'm not sure really what to do with this. I discovered a name for my issue today.... emotional nakedness. Naming it feels a little better, but I'm not sure how to go about working through it. I expect it will take time to lose the emotional modesty that has been my protective shroud for so long. But saying that it will take time sets off an anxiety snowball of worrying that people will decide that I'm really not worth it anyway and just go. I know that I'm frustrating as hell..... I can't ask for what I need because half the time as I'm not sure what that is, and when I do know, I don't want to ask because I'm worried that I will be a burden. If I express my feelings honestly, I feel like I've had some sort of a tantrum and then I try to retreat further in order to mitigate any damage I may have inadvertently caused.
I'm seriously shocked that I don't have a flatter forehead from all the pounding of my head on my desk in frustration. If emotional nakedness is a thing, I wonder if it is also possible to give yourself an emotional concussion?
So what do I do? I don't want to do therapy again...even though it has been suggested. I will have a legit foot-stamping tantrum over that.
I'm trying to give myself gold stars for little things that feel like milestones.... well I actually don't have gold star stickers at my house, so my calendar has multi-colored owls on it....but the idea is still the same. I can keep doing that.
Trying to cut yourself some slack and show some compassion is soooo much harder than it sounds.
There is a website that documents all the time that Claire Danes has spent crying on film!
This makes me feel oddly better....