Today I’m using Microsoft Word to blog, when I normally just use a text editor. I’m trying to cut down on the number of typos I get from rushing to publish, because I think that my courage will run out the longer I look at something… and it’s true. The longer I spend on editing, the more I believe my words don’t matter, so I’ll move on to something else rather than writing anything. Perhaps it’s a little too stupid and careless to publish whatever I want, but for everyone that thinks as such, there are a hundred more who applaud me for my bravery in just telling what’s going on in my life. As for the last couple of days, “shitstorm” just about covers it… and in the end, my life hasn’t changed all that much. I lost a friend who’d no longer become good for me, and I can feel good about that. I miss saying things like “kick ass, take names, be good, all that shit…” but in the end, I realized that I was saying those words every morning just as much for me. Uplifting myself by uplifting others, so perhaps I should just e-mail myself every morning. It would do just as much good, perhaps more, because I know I’m pouring a go-get ‘em attitude into someone that really needs it.
Last night I went to bed at 7:30 and slept hard until my alarm went off. The last two days have been emotionally draining as much as physically. When I’m upset, I don’t eat. This morning looked a lot brighter and I was able to manage cereal with bananas and yogurt and a couple of tangerines. I still feel stupid at all the signs I missed, that this thing could have entirely been avoided if I’d just realized nothing was ever going to go back together and to stop trying. It’s not in my nature to think that way, but perhaps it needs to become so. The well of hope became poisoned water, and I drank enough of it to get sick.
All I wanted was to be heard, understood… and when that didn’t happen, the breakdown was complete. I remember years ago that Argo hurt me HARDCORE. To the point where we didn’t talk for hours in a day when we were used to not going 15 minutes. She said that my silence was voluminous, and when I told her that she’d hurt me, she said that she wouldn’t apologize for what she’d said, but she’d apologize for hurting me.
In this instance, I see no difference. I couldn’t apologize for something I didn’t think was wrong, but I could apologize for her hurt feelings, so I did.
It doesn’t matter what the truth is. She’s going to believe what she wants to believe, thus my need to get as far away from this situation as humanly possible. The bitch of it is that if she’d bothered to get to know me, we could have cleared up a lot.
During my illness, she didn’t talk to me a whole lot, just to Dana… and I can’t imagine what those conversations might have entailed, but my guess is that they were a far cry from reality.
Because reality is that I couldn’t get a new patient appointment for three weeks, and I didn’t have any other choice but to go to the emergency room, because there was no doctor that would prescribe for me without me actually being their patient. My time in the hospital was very successful, by all counts, because I learned that there are coping mechanisms for anxiety and angry that I’d just never learned (and lots of people never do). The other thing I learned is that a lot of my “attention deficit” was actually boxes that could be checked on a trauma diagnosis kit. That when I didn’t know what to do, my attention would shift to something I did know… my own memories. If I couldn’t solve the present, I would continually try to solve the past.
And in retrospect, this is starting to sound very familiar and scary. However, I am so much better at solving the present now, because I have the tools to do it…. But not with people who know the old buttons to push to ensure that they will get an old reaction instead of a new one. No one is immune to being “worked over,” and I am no exception. It was a stunning realization that I had grown past Argo, that I didn’t want to be held to my old self because if we had anything to resolve, she wouldn’t approach me as someone who’d been working on my issues. She’d just push buttons until she got what she wanted.
Pushing those buttons has never and will never make my behavior okay, but it takes a gargantuan amount of strength to walk away when you are feeling threatened. I don’t know too many people who would have walked away from having the same buttons pushed I did, and it doesn’t matter what they are. People who feel provoked are provoked for all sorts of reasons, and we all struggle with those moments of “cortisol and sin” that we know aren’t going to end well, because in the end, we’ve given the provoker exactly what they need to “prove” their rightness.
I keep going over and over in my mind what I should have done instead. The first is that I never should have responded to her e-mail. I said I was done. I should have meant it. That would have cut the fight off at the pass, because it would have been me saying, “fight with God if you have to, but you’re not going to get to me.” But our relationship has been like that for years- Argo coming after me with both guns blazing and when she sends across those escalated words, I jump on them like a dog with a bone. I undo myself, not her.
It reminded me of the fight with Dana, where I couldn’t let her just provoke me and walk away. What I should have done in that situation is gotten in my car and driven away. But I couldn’t let her be “bigger than me.” I couldn’t let her win. Anger bubbles up in me from deep inside, and over time, both Argo and Dana learned to capitalize on it so that I would feel ashamed at my behavior with no recognition on their part that I was capable of a calm conversation, I just wasn’t going to have it if there was already a gun on the table.
Feeling threatened is what has driven most of my emotions since I was a teenager. I have so much work to do on responses to adrenaline, because fight-or-flight overtakes me in a way that I cannot see clearly anymore. I can only see spots in front of my eyes and not a path through to get what I want without trying to threaten the person more than they’ve just threatened me.
I don’t know what to do to de-escalate the conversation myself to get the guns off the table in the first place.
When Argo wrote to me and said that she was getting blowback from her friends and I said I was done, she said, “If you continue to refer to me in your blog, drive by “areas of interest”, and send me fucked up emails, I will be forced to seek legal action. I can promise you that.” My throat closed up because I was like, “what fucked up e-mails? Yes, I realize that there are plenty from over a year ago, but nothing since and in fact, signs of growth in others. If I’d known that driving by places I’d seen in pictures and wanted to see for real was going to lead her to that place, I never would have done it, because it was the last thing on my mind to hurt someone. Facebook is just a medium. Real life is real life. I could understand the stalking aspect if she thought I was trying to get pictures of her house or something fucked up like that. But I was 50 miles outside of the city, most notably to see all the places I wanted to go with Dana and just didn’t get to while we were together. Imagining what those friendships might have been like had we not used C3 to blow them up.
While I was on my sightseeing trip, it was incredibly sad and cathartic, and I cannot help that part of my strength in letting go of Argo now is due to the fact that some of the places I saw said, “let her go” as well. The reason I kept holding on to our strength is that perhaps a month ago, she told me that the best present I could have given her is getting well. Her nastiness now is uncalled for, but not unexpected. Like every fallible human ever, she escalated and I engaged, thus “proving” that I haven’t gotten well at all. I am sure she has all the proof she needs to believe that I am the villain in all of this. I don’t believe that I am a villain. I believe that I am perfectly imperfect, that I have the ability to accept myself in the face of being unacceptable, to quote Paul Tillich.
I am as perfect as humans ever get.