What Is and Is Not Mine

NOTE: This is a low piece. It contains some reference to suicidal ideations. I’m not in a good place and this is darkly reflective of that. Consider that before proceeding. If you don’t have tools and support for how to handle tough feelings, i would recommend skipping this one.

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Hold me down, I’m so tired now
Aim your arrow at the sky
Take me down, I’m too tired now
Leave me where I lie
~ Florence and the Machine, Sky Full of Song

I am not okay. The stress of my therapy is high, the stress of my marriage is medium, the stress of the virus is intense, the stress of politics is insane, and the stress of my children is over 9000.

I’m so turned around i’m not sure if i’m dealing with a depression or a mania. I think i’m coming out of a depression, and a mania is peeking at me from around the corner, but i’m hesitant to rely on my insight into anything recently. As i look back over my last couple of months of entries, there are moments of clarity that may produce self-esteem, while others threaten to drown me in despair.

And yes, i’m dealing with some feelings that border on suicidal. There’s no plan, but there has been some ideation. In the past, both the ideations and the attempts, were more about wanting the feelings i was having to stop, but not being able to do it myself. They were about my actions screaming that i needed serious help, when i didn’t have the words to ask, couldn’t say them, or had no one/didn’t know who to say them to.
Now i have a therapist (the lovely Ms T), and good support by way of my husband, my closest girlfriend, and an online community of people that i trust and with whom i have a long history of being genuine and honest.

The feelings are stemming from the therapy, i think. There’s a lot of looking back involved – that’s just the way it is.
But also, the state of the world is not exactly helping.

I know i regularly write about feeling as if i’m about to break into a million pieces. It too, is the nature of therapy, i think. It results from the looking back. And maybe from the looking forward… God yes – the trying to envision a future where i am not this broken and bleeding thing. This creature that skirts the light, blinking blindly up from the edge where i’m trying so hard not to seep back into the shadows.
But the darkness pulls at me, picking at my clothes like hungry birds.
And the blackness sucks at my feet, winds up my legs, making me slow, like running from the Evermore in an endless nightmare. So heavy – my body will not obey me.
I’m truly becoming afraid that i have nothing left.

It’s not as easy as grieving the terrible traumas endured by the wee and lovely lass that i once was… I wish – i would feel close to glory were that the case.
No, it is the wreckage that i’ve wrought that brings me to this lonely and desolate place.
Laying down the burdens of my progenitors that were never mine to carry has taken most of my life. I was ready to launch into the future – blazing past the atmosphere into the vast Beyond. Neon rainbow unicorn fire-goddess me.
But stop. Here now, what is that impeding my acceleration into the starry soup of fabulous possibilities?
These things at my feet wrapped in butcher’s paper, tied in twine and looking like tonight’s supper?
These are not pieces of me.
These are the bits and chunks that i’ve hacked off of others. Ready for me to drag them back to my hidey-hole. To slowly spit and then to consume its rancid, blackened meat.

If you’ve read enough of my posts, you surely recognise that i get all metaphorical when i’m dealing with the most unpalatable parts of my existence.
The damage i’ve done to others is the thing i must now choke down.
Finally being light enough to take off my death dress and dance into the New Days, naked and scrubbed pink and shiny… I can’t.
Now, that was a tricksy thing you did there, Life/Universe/Me.
Launch cancelled.

Metaphors over. What’s happening is i can now see beyond my own pain and suffering, and that means seeing that which i’ve caused others. And as seems to be the horrid and inexorable way of things – it is to those whom i hold dearest i’ve dealt the most.
I hope i can carry these burdens into the New Days, but i don’t know. It’s ugly and bitter and it’s me and what i’ve done. Just as i was born into a life i didn’t ask for, so were my children. Just as my mother did damage to everyone around her, i find the same can be said of me.
And it hurts to breathe right now.

Oh look at me
At all I’ve done
I’ve lost so many things that I so dearly love
I lost my soul
I lost my pride
Oh I lost any hope of having a sweet life
So I cry,
Cry, cry
~ Jann Arden, Hangin’ By a Thread

Seriously

WARNING: References to suicidal thoughts.

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Love and boundaries. FML.

I was raised to have none.
All the better to enslave you, traffic you, and just generally abuse you, my dear.
~ My mother the wolf

Whatever people wanted to do to me, i generally let them. Sex stuff was strictly controlled by my system, which saved me from sexual abuse by peers, but adults could get away with anything, and school-aged kids could humiliate and torture me at will. I did nothing. I never fought back. I would try to avoid, to stay away, but once some bully had me cornered, they could say or do whatever they wanted, as long as sex wasn’t involved. Somewhat strange, is that i was never beaten up physically at school, or after, although i was often followed and threatened and hurt by harsh words. I think my size (Amazon) was intimidating.

Over the years i’ve learned to stand up for myself. Despite the years of screaming and yelling that came from other parts of me, i myself am not violent. When my system was basically unleashed on the world around me due to a severe bipolar mania, i broke a lot of shit. Dishes, glasses, i kicked holes in doors and slammed them off their hinges. I threw things at walls, and one time i threw a chair through a front window. And even worse, there were times during this first, years-long bout of madness, where my people would confuse my partner for a past abuser. I couldn’t control them, and he didn’t know how to handle me switched, so there were times when he pushed for communication too hard, got in too close, and they would scratch and bite at him, and even pull out his hair.
I’m fortunate he stuck with me through that.
He would have been well within his rights to have me arrested and charged.
He saw me as sick and forgave my physical acting out.

It wasn’t long after i was first in therapy with the person i’m working with again now, that i was able to regain control of myself enough to stop the violence. It’s been a decade since i fought him off like a wet cat, and at least a half dozen since i’ve broken or otherwise destroyed anything (although i can still occasionally slam the shit out of a door).

The world’s current system of criminal justice, levied against my childhood abusers would have been nice. I’m in my 50s now though, and my primary abuser is long dead, some of the others that i have names for are either dead or dying, and there were many whose names i cannot recall, if i ever knew them in the first place. I’ve never thought about revenge towards them. Not even my mother. Oh, i’ve reimagined what i might say to her as she lay dying in her hospital bed, only days from the coma that would cradle her to her death.

I had my girlfriend drive me when i went to visit her. I’ve always been a crappy driver.* I’ve got too much going on in my brain to pay proper attention i think, and even back then i knew i was too emotional to get behind the wheel and not have an accident. This time i asked her to take me to see my mom because i’d made her a cassette with music on it (yes, i’m mix-tape years old) and wanted to talk to her. The song list was gross. It bore witness to me years later of how sick and twisted my relationship with her was, as it was filled with love songs, e.g. Without You, by Badfinger.

“I can’t live, if living is without you… “

And i begged her to love me with T’Pau’s Heart and Soul. Yeesh.

I went to her room and she graciously received me (/s), and i gave her my little gift, and then proceeded to apologise for being such a bad daughter. I told her how her accident made me realise how lucky i was to have her for a mom, and how desperately sorry i was for all the difficulties she’d had because of me.
Seriously.

She raised her arms up off the bed and spread them open to either side of her, splaying her fingers wide. She shrugged and nodded and with lips slightly pursed, she magnanimously (/s!) forgave me. I wept with gratitude.
Seriously.
Of course she didn’t say sorry back.

(My mother said sorry to me once in my life. I was 3 or 4 and i said “Fuck” while playing with my dolls. She slapped me across the face so hard i fell off my chair and later couldn’t see out of one eye. She did a lot worse things than that both before and after though, so i don’t know what moved her that day.)

At least she died a week or so later.
Of sepsis.
She rotted from the inside out.
Damn right it’s poetic.

Raised with no boundaries and to take the blame for everything.
I come from a country that’s made gentle fun of for saying Sorry a lot. Take my cultural influences and my upbringing, and i’ve said sorry countless times. Every day, multiple times a day. My first response to so very many situations and happenings is, Sorry! I know that sometimes i drive my husband and sons batty with my constant apologising. It’s not just, Sorry, i oversalted the soup.
It’s, Sorry you have a headache (because i’m annoying and needy and do stupid shit).
And, Sorry kids, i know between the nature and the nurture i’ve completely fucked up your lives forever.
When we used to watch team sports on television and our team was losing, i’d say sorry and leave the room because i felt like it was my fault.
Seriously.

After years of counselling i’ve been able to tone it down quite a bit, but a new close friendship i have has made it clear i have a ways to go. She’s told me a number of times to stop saying sorry for things that aren’t my responsibility, have nothing to do with me, or were due to circumstances i couldn’t have helped. She lets me see the love and the frustration on her face when she says it, too. So i know i still have a problem.

I know now that i have an overblown, highly developed sense of blame, and i’ve been working hard over the years to temper it. To be honest though, i struggle. I’ve hermitted a great deal over the last number of years, because i’m just not well enough or together enough yet to do a lot of peopling. It’s too complicated and too fraught with emotion for me. It takes so much effort and energy to be present and conscious and stay in the face while being around others. Now i do it in small chunks, almost always with just 1 or 2 people. If it’s a group, i don’t last more than 3hrs, except for a wedding i went to this summer where i lasted just over 4 – but i was switched for the last hour and some, so yeah, 3 hours, tops.

I put my personal growth in this area to the test a few months ago, when i stopped taking the blame for a loved one’s problems, and removed them from my safe place. It was incredibly difficult, it took years of poor treatment for me to do it, but it was an empowering experience. I now know i can say Stop, and No, to a loved one, and i’m not bad and i won’t die.
The problem is, that was just a dress rehearsal for what i’m facing today.

Today i say Stop, and No, and draw a boundary around myself that’s been decades coming. It’s a big deal, the biggest, and i might pay dearly for it. The cost may very well be losing the relationship. I have to do this though, or there’s a good chance i won’t make it through the therapy i’m currently in. I’m afraid i’ll just stop it and walk away. I’m afraid i’ll get sick and locked up. I’m afraid i’ll get overwhelmed, lose control, and end the relationship myself, in an unhealthy way. I’m afraid i’ll fold in on myself, and those soft, suicidal whispers i’ve been hearing lately will get louder and start suggesting a plan**…

Right now as i’m writing, i’m reminding myself that this person’s reaction to my boundary will be their own. I cannot control it, and more importantly, i won’t even try. They get to think what they think about it. They get to think whatever they wish about me, and whether what i’m doing is right or wrong. They get to question my motives and even come up with an answer that i think is incorrect. They get to misunderstand and get as hurt and/or angry as they want to get.
I’ve written down what i want to say, because i know my Bits N’ Pieces are going to be active and talkative in my brain, so i’ve made sure i don’t miss anything that i think is important. I want to chicken out and not do this, but i can’t. This ache in my belly will consume me, and i’ll lose myself for who knows how long? I want to send the words by text or email, because it’s going to be brutal for me -i’ll probably cry my face off while reading it out loud- but this relationship deserves a face-to-face.
I
I
I
I deserve a face-to-face.
Seriously.

I know this is a little vague, but as i’ve embraced a more rational and critical method of thinking, i’ve learned that i’m the kind of person who prefers the unvarnished truth. You don’t need to sugarcoat it, and you can be as blunt as you’d like. I would just rather know what’s real and what’s not. I want to believe as many true things and as few false things as possible – even if it hurts and changes my worldview or drastically alters my circumstances.

Maybe i’ll write about that sometime soon.

Sorry this is a bit of a downer for the holiday, but it’s the truth.
Sorry.
Heh.

Love and Peace,
~H~

*I quit driving a long time ago, don’t worry.

**I’m doing all the things i know to do when i have suicidal thoughts. There is no current plan, but i’ve stepped up the frequency of my therapy appointments, and i’ll be sharing this uptick in invasive thoughts with her this week. I’m maintaining my house and my personal hygiene, but eating and sleeping are difficult. My BFF is spending the day with me tomorrow, and that will put a spoon or 2 back in my drawer for later. My thoughts do not determine my actions so much as my conscious awareness of them facilitates better choices and decisions. I’m not at the place where a higher level of care is required. I assure you that if it was, i’d go get it.