So I guess it’s time for a 6 month check – in 🙂 It has been a whirlwind of 6 months. This past November my husband moved to another state to take a job he’s been hunting for for a long time. I’m surprised (and not) that I/we did not mention it in the last post when I said I was fine. Perhaps that part was. If I, the person writing this post, thinks back on what was happening in January I was barely holding it together. Recently I learned that a clue that I’m “not fine” is when I’m over-sanitizing things. That could be a clue I suppose.
Anyway, at that point I was playing long distance house with my husband and scrambling to get our house on the market. Since then I’ve moved all the way across the country for my job (my husband is still at his job) relocated my 2 dogs to him, got my house on the market largely by myself, oversaw construction from the opposite coast, and a million other things.
I am not fine.
I am also not a mess.
I think I am more integrated than I have been overall but I have certainly had these moments where the disorganization gets so severe that I can barely breathe. I struggle to make sense, I hear unrelenting noise and arguments in my head, and while I can function at work my productivity goes way down. The rest of my day is filled with impulsive behavior and sheer panic.
Like I said, today I am mostly organized, and I’m learning to deal with anger. The anger I “feel”is like a minor irritation that gets pushed down and covered by panic attacks. The anger I know is there and am afraid to witness is more likely closer to a blind rage. I keep having these images of myself on my knees, clawing at the ground in front of me and just screaming crying “I hate you” and “kill me already.” I can’t attest that this is a memory but it is certainly true for some part of my psyche. I do remember episodes where I would rage against my parents although I could far from certify in a court of law what they were about or what I said. Just that raw, primal, emotion.
I had a friend out from my former home state this weekend. My irritation with her was almost instant. She didn’t want to do what I wanted to do, she didn’t want to accept what I had to say about how the heat was going to affect her, and worst of all she tried to mother me a million times. Do you have enough this, do you have to go to the bathroom before we leave, are you hungry? I had to sit on my hands at times because the urge to cause physical harm was very real.
I had a really hard time standing up for myself and at times it came out as snarkiness. Passive aggressive. I’d go just to the line of possibly hurting her feelings and then back up. There was one incident at the park where I knew someone was going to take our parking spot. I looked at her and I said calmly, “If you make a big deal about this parking spot I will lose my shit and we will go home. I won’t stand for it. It’s just a parking spot.” She looked at me and nodded. It sounds like something a parent would say. But what would a friend say? Why does everything have to be parent/child in my life?
Having a mother figure in my personal space was too much. Having her sleep on an air mattress in my room was too much. I kept waking up expecting her to be in bed with me even though that is not the nature of our relationship at all.
Don’t get me wrong, we did have some fun. The most “normal” was when I could be in my adult rational self, not worry about timelines and agendas, and go with the flow. When I could concentrate on the quality of the time we were spending together. I think there was this part of me though that really resented a reminder of my former life. I kept asking myself what the hell we had in common.
One of the things that irritated me most was when she’d go from parent figure to little kid and get giddy and silly. Normally I love to be silly and have fun. Instead for whatever reason I kept having rebellious teenager pop up, which is weird because I didn’t even know her then. We even went and got tattoos, and I enjoyed the fact that mine took 3 hours instead of 1. By that point in the visit I didn’t feel bad about making her wait for me.
The tattoos were impulsive/not impulsive. I’ve been planning this particular artwork for a long time, and knew that I would get it done before I left San Diego as a celebration of my time here. She surprised me by asking me to go with her to get one. We had talked about it before and I guess she worked up her nerve. I got a recommendation for a good artist from a friend I trust and away we went.
I am beyond thrilled with my artwork. It’s a lotus flower in blues, purples and pinks, with a stained glass pattern. The lotus is representative of having a safe place, a mantra that can help me safely navigate the anxiety. The stained glass pattern represents the fragments of my self that by themselves are frightening and sharp but together form a lovely mosaic. The pink center is warm, tender, and untouched, morphing into the purples where things start to pop and get sharp. The blue creates a cool, soothing, strong and regal platform on which to stand, while the double walled black borders hold it all together. I can be held together, and be beautiful, and strong, and not fear my edges or my parts.
I struggled for a moment with my color choice – pink, purple and blue are the colors of the bisexual pride flag. This new tattoo compliments my smaller butterfly, which I chose to symbolize transformation (of course) of something beautiful from something ugly, and for that tattoo I DID choose the bisexual pride colors on purpose. At that time in my life that is where I identified.
I don’t know about today, but I could not imagine this artwork any other colors. We kept putting colors together and I kept coming back to this. It is not a declaration of my sexual orientation, and yet if others infer that I will not be harmed.
My friend goes home tomorrow and I am exhausted. I need to dust off my adult and get ready for the work week, and my husband will be out for a week. But that is a story for another time!
How are you? Are you still out there?