Sunday, August 12, 2012

Cave Dweller

Let’s see if I still remember how to do this.

By the decree of some friends of mine last week, I’ve been ordered to get back to blogging. Whether it be daily or not, will remain to be seen, so for today, I will blog.

This decree came from two women I met with on Wednesday about financial stuff, but more about how else I’m supporting myself emotionally and spiritually during this slog through. Part of balancing the idea that I’m “slogging” is to see what else I can do to add in some fun, or creativity. I told them I got this “fortune” tag in my Yogi tea recently that read, “A relaxed mind is a creative mind.” and therefore, of course I haven’t felt much creative lately. How, I asked them, do I, or do they, find the time to be creative, or the room, rather, to be creative?

There’s plenty of time. But the time seems to be filled with the white noise of unemployment and impending bills. So, how do I split those curtains of thought, like on a stage, and let them move to the wings for even a little while so I can breathe properly?

Part of it, they suggested, was to get back to this blog. They also suggested that I make a commitment to spend 10 minutes a day at the piano. I don’t have a real one, but a USB cord-plug in one that connects to Garageband, and it works. I told them, as we met, that every time I pass a piano, I have to tinker on it. Even for a minute. This piano playing was part of my “mandatory” spiritual practice earlier this year, when I was still going to school, and there was a piano in the chapel there.

Recently, I went on a job interview at my school, and as I was early, and feeling desperate, I went into the chapel, and played for about 20 minutes. It was heaven. It always is. I’ve heard it said that we can be “the kind of people who find something that works, and stop doing it.” I certainly fall into that category.

So, here I am, back to the blog. Part of the reason I stopped – well, there were many parts. As some of you who were reading around that time know, I was starting to look at some patterns around relationships, to look at my behavior around men, and particularly my avoidance of intimacy. The very day after I stopped blogging, I had a very strong PTSD/panic reaction – and I sort of knew something like that was brewing -- so how, or why, to tell you about it.

After arriving at my temp gig that day in tears and going back home to curl into a fetal position and bawl for an afternoon, the next few days were not so easy. Part of not writing is that it’s not easy to talk about drowning when you are drowning, and part of it is that I wasn’t sure I wanted to talk about how black and dark I was feeling.

A friend told me when I shared this with her several weeks later that perhaps you would want to match your own dark or hard parts of yourselves with my own, and that it could have been a service to share it. But I wasn’t able to then, so I glancingly mention it now, still not willing to talk completely into it, and not sure where the "appropriateness" line is – or if it’s just a continuation of my fear of intimacy.

Any of that said, I got better. I was able to stand at the bus stop with less of a striking sense of EVERYONE IS STANDING ToO FUCKING CLOSE TO ME – BACK.THE.FUCK.UP. Which is basically what my PTSD says. It says you are not safe, I am not safe to be around you, and I have to retreat into myself or into my cave. Part of the problem with this now is that I am at a point where I am tired of retreating. So, I’m standing at a place where I’m frightened to let myself be present with you, and I’m exhausted by refusing to. How do I let myself be in the world, then?

A friend sent me a worksheet on tips for PTSD reaction response. I’ve talked about it with appropriate people. I remind myself to breathe – often. And I take it easy on myself.

I’m not surprised all of this is coming about. As I’ve begun to dig deeper into how my continued financial crises keep me from fully engaging in life, and have started, however slowly, to find relief or at least tools around this, I realize that parallel and beneath it is the same sense of rejection of responsibility regarding intimacy and relationships. Hide. Don’t be seen. Don’t be bigger than you are. It’s not safe. The same underlying motivations that have kept me in “underearning” have kept me serially single. I’m not able to be responsible for myself. To be responsible for myself, for my dreams and desires is to necessitate coming out of the cave.

Well, fuck. No wonder I had a mini-breakdown.

To stave your fears, I am better. And, I am glad to finally be working on all of this stuff at a deeper level. I’ve finally come to the conclusion that I cannot think myself out of this. I have to have help. Left to my own devices, I would be pushing a shopping cart. Or, as I am now, left to my own devices, I would be habitually broke and habitually single. I don’t, really, want to be either. And this means work on helping myself to get out of the cave.

The cave was an appropriate place to be for many years, many years ago. It’s outlived it’s usefulness, and I don’t want to be stuck there any more. This means doing things that are counter-habitual, counter-default, counter to ways I’ve been for a long time. It means being a person who continues healthy habits that work, like playing the piano, or blogging and letting you know what’s going on with me. It means doing my damn dishes so that I don’t have to wince every time I walk in my kitchen. It means getting out of pajamas and into the world, if even for an hour at a time. It means reminding myself to breathe.

It means reminding myself that I am meant to be something more than small and isolated. That I have things to offer to the world, even if I feel vague on what those are sometimes. Getting out of my smallness, my fear, my deprivation on levels physical spiritual emotional and romantic will mean doing things differently, and trusting that they will produce different results.

I won’t guarantee that tomorrow I will write to you again. But, I guarantee that I will try.

Welcome back. 

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