All I've undergone, I will keep on...
February 21, 2015
Ordinarily, when I start writing something here, it's something I've thought about quite a bit. I don't just sit down and start spewing forth the contents of my brain. I prefer to be focused. Controlled. Planned out. Spontaneity isn't my "thing".
But, today is different. Today I'm working without a net. This should be very train wreck-ish.
In the past 2 weeks, I have experienced:
- The death of a beloved dog who had been with me for 13 years, over 1/4 of my life
- The death of one of my best friend's mother, whom I have known since 2nd grade
- The renewal of wedding vows between a dying man and his loving wife
- my own total meltdown in trying to process all of this against the backdrop of my own emotional events
In short, I flipped the switch in the nick of fucking time. Even so, I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel any of the sting of those events. But, what I mostly felt was cold and detached from actual feelings. It was like watching someone else feel them. Psychologists might liken it to a dissociative episode, but hey, whatever coping mechanism works, right?
All my life, every relationship I've ever been in, I've been required to be the "strong" one. Too many people rely on me. I came to view feeling anything as a liability. Even in my divorce, I was so busy surviving, on ensuring that my daughter was safe, I never got to be anything but the "strong" one. I never, ever, properly mourned the death of that relationship.
By the time I could relax, the feelings I should have felt were just faded memories.
My daughter got to be there at the end of our dog's life. It was her choice. She got to say goodbye, and she stayed through the whole process, and it broke my heart to see the grief in her. But, in front of her, with her, I had to be the "strong" one. I believe kids need to see their parents in that light, until they're old enough to figure out on their own that their parents aren't superhuman. She'll figure out one day that I'm only human. Just not that day. Hopefully, not any day soon.
I felt the pain of my dog's passing, but I didn't let it show. I had already said my goodbyes in private, and I had already mourned the loss while I was alone with my other dog. I can be strong in public, but a complete mess when I am alone. And, I spend way too much time alone.
I went to see my friend's mother in hospice, before she passed. I hate hospitals. To me, they represent places of great pain and loss. I remember being with my aunt and my paternal grandmother in their hospital rooms when they passed away. I remember that feeling, and I associate it with hospitals, and I hate them. I hate them in a completely unrealistic and stupid way, and I hate going inside of them.
But, you do things for your friends that you wouldn't otherwise do. You take risks, you make yourself vulnerable, you face fears. It was important that I be there. She was a big part of my life, growing up between our two houses. I have a thousand memories of her that I will always carry with me, and none of them will be from that hospital room.
By the time I got to the wedding vow ceremony, on Valentine's Day no less, I was almost completely incapable of feeling. I learned the song I was supposed to play, and I remember playing it. I remember when my friend and his wife said their vows, they were both crying. I remember the audience was crying, too. "In sickness and in health", and "Till death do us part" take on special significance when one of the people is terminally ill with cancer.
I remember all of that, but it was like I wasn't completely there. Like I was watching it from somewhere else. Or hearing about it second hand.
I'm sitting at the reception, alone in a crowded room, and I feel a million miles away. I took out my phone, not even really thinking about it, and I flipped to a picture of the Impossible Girl. She sent me quite possibly the most idiotic selfie I've ever seen, so of course I made it the default for her contact entry.
I look at her goofy face, and I remember the things she's told me, the things she's said, and for just a moment, I'm back in the room. I'm not detached, I'm anchored in the here and now, and I realize it's her. This is what she does to me.
And it's fucking terrifying.
The funeral for my friend's mother wasn't so bad, but I was so incapable of feeling at that point, I don't know if it was just my imagination or not.
So, today, it all caught up to me.
I've been trying to be okay ever since the funeral earlier in the week. I thought if I could just make it past that, if I could just hold it together another day, maybe 2, that I would be okay. I want to be okay. I want to be me again, not this disapassionate version of me who can view the world through a filter of numbness.
The Impossible Girl was there for me. She wanted to help me get out of my head, get distracted, go somewhere, do something, do anything. And, I wanted that, too. I wanted to be okay, after all. I want to be me again.
I'm broken. I don't know how to glue the pieces back together, and I don't think anyone at the moment can help with that.
It started with something stupid. These things always do. I bought a new TV (as predicted), and it's awesome but it has a manufacturing defect. I contacted the manufacturer, tried to fix it through resetting the TV, and took about a dozen pictures of the defect to provide them with evidence, and they said a technician would get back with me in 2 to 3 business days.
Yesterday was one week since I received that bullshit response. So, I sent a nice email requesting a status update, and I thought I was okay. But, a crack appeared. I didn't notice it. You never do, at first. It always starts small, and then it grows, and as it grows, every thing that comes into contact with it just causes that much more destruction.
I wanted to be okay, though. People who are okay, they don't lose their shit over things like this. I'm okay. I want to be okay.
My ex contacted me last night, to tell me she thought it would be all right if we go ahead and get my daughter her first cellphone for her 11th birthday this coming Sunday. It makes sense at this point in her life, and I support the idea, and even though I had everything already in place to make it happen, she wanted to do it herself.
I understand why. She wants, for a change, to be the hero parent. I'm always the one that can get my daughter the things she wants and asks for, so it's fine, I'll let her have this one. To me this isn't a competition, but if it is to her, then fine, let the wookiee win.
I was actually impressed that my ex had put thought into this topic, and had reasoned out why it made sense, and come to this conclusion on her own. But, then I found out how she ACTUALLY made this decision. And, the crack grew worse.
She's one of those people who makes decisions by "Facebook Committee", as I call it. That's where you surrender your free will, and leave your actions up to the consensus of the fucking morons who have NEVER had more than a couple of brain cells to rub together, and whose advice has historically been worth about a handful of shit and some Chuck E. Cheese game tokens.
If I were okay, it wouldn't bother me. If I were okay, I wouldn't really care. I want to be okay. I wanted to be okay.
I'm not okay.
But, I kept moving forward with my night, these cracks notwithstanding, and I was carrying on a conversation with Impossible Girl about our plans for tonight, for a Friday night dinner and shopping expedition.
She's my friend. She knows me better than I care to admit. She understands me on a level that scares the shit out of me. To the extent that I am capable, I love her. In a different world, maybe we would be a couple, but not this world. In this world, that isn't possible. Not now, maybe not ever. I understand the reasons for that, and I've accepted it, even though a part of me will always wish it could be different.
If I were okay, that wouldn't bother me. If I were okay, I wouldn't really care. I want to be okay. I wanted to be okay.
But, I'm not okay.
I knew our night out wasn't a date. I even made reference to needing to go to sleep soon so at least one of us would be well rested for our "date" Friday night. If it had been something I said in person, I would have made the 'air quotes' motion, to emphasize that I was using the word facetiously.
It's hard to communicate via text, because the nuance of the language is lost. The intent. The tone. She sent me an innocuous, understandable message, but because of the cracks...
"It's not a date"
Even though you can't convey tone in a text, it hit me like a wave of negativity. I know I was the source of that negative energy, and if I were okay, it wouldn't bother me. If I were okay, I wouldn't care, I wouldn't read it that way, it would be fine, and we would laugh about it.
But, I'm not okay.
From that tiny crack there grew a gaping broken hole, and suddenly that part of my brain that takes offense at everything in the world around me was loose, and that other Chimpuat, filled with anger, came out of hiding to push the world away and protect me.
"How dare you. Not a date? As if there is something so wrong with me, that of COURSE it's not a date? I am fucking Chimpuat, awesome and unique, why wouldn't someone want to go on a date with me? FUCK EVERYONE!"
Dark Chimpuat, once he's got the microphone, well...he's pretty fucked up. If I were okay, he wouldn't bother me. If I were okay, he wouldn't be out of his box, trying to shield me from everyone, everything, and myself.
But, I'm not okay.
I'm not prone to anger. I'm not 'that guy'. I don't get angry, and on those rare occasions in the past when I did, it was never an outburst. A calm would come over me, and my voice would get steady and low, and I would calmly and logically fuck your world up with my anger. But, this wasn't like that.
This didn't make sense. I love this girl, I should never get angry at something she said, not something that is a true statement and not meant in any way to be malicious or hurtful. If I were okay...
...but I'm not.
That anger, it spilled over, and the cracks that had formed and the suppressed and ignored anger I felt towards my ex and towards Sharp Electronics, it just fed on itself. I tried to go to bed, tried to sleep, but he wouldn't really let me. That part of me, it turned that shit over and over in my head until by the time I got out of bed this morning, I was well and truly angry at the whole fucking world.
I thought I could get it together. I thought I could be around people. I went to work, and the office was blissfully devoid of people, and I thought I'd be okay. I went to breakfast with a friend, because I thought I'd be okay with him, and I wasn't expecting Impossible Girl to be there.
I have never had anything but the best of thoughts toward her. I care so much for her, it's ridiculous, and to feel this anger shedding off of me in waves, and so much of it directed at her, I wanted to be anywhere else but there. I wanted to swim in my hate for her, and simulatenously apologize profusely to her for ever having had a thought like that.
I'm broken, I realized. Right then, I realized I'm broken, and I'm not okay, and I can't do this, and I can't be around people, and I can't be with her right now, and I can't do anything but run away. God, the desire to run away was so strong, I'm surprised I didn't literally run away from the table.
I cancelled our plans. I tried to explain it, I'm sure I failed. I don't expect anyone to understand. When you're fucked, when you're broken, it doesn't make sense. It can't. If I were okay, it would make sense. If I were okay, it wouldn't matter.
But, I'm not okay.
I want so badly to feel again, to rejoin the human race, to be okay. I want to be okay. And, I can't. I can't.
When you're broken, when you can dissociate from the world around you, you don't care who you hurt. They aren't real, these feelings you should feel. The only thing that hurts is that I know I should hurt for how I treated her. I know I should hurt for how I felt toward her.
The anger is gone now, but only because I know I'm not okay and I gave myself permission to go on being swtiched-off Chimpuat. For now. For how long? I want to be okay. How long do I have to be like this, before I can be okay?
If I try, even for a minute, to be normal, to think or feel like a normal person, it all comes back. The anger, why is it always the anger? Why is that always the easiest emotion for us to tap into?
And all this anger, it all comes back to me. I'm not mad at her, I'm mad at me. I'm not mad at my ex, I'm mad at me. I'm not mad at Sharp, I'm mad at me. It all comes back, it all comes home, and if you've never experienced it, you have no idea how much hate you can have for yourself.
You start to pick apart the very parts of you that make you human. You start to criticize everything you've ever done, every move you've ever made, every interaction and relationship you've ever engaged in.
I'm usually a nice person, I usually give without thought of receiving. I see the best in people. I see the potential that lives in everyone, and I don't see the way they see themselves, or the way the world sees them. I'm often wrong, but I'm never without hope that I'm right. If I were okay, I could be like that. If I were okay, it wouldn't matter.
But, I'm not okay. So the monster inside, it asks why I bother being that way. What has it ever done for me? Hasn't every bad thing that's ever happened to me been a result of that stupid way of thinking? Wouldn't it be nice for a change to take, instead of give? Why should I pour so much energy and time into anyone else, when I get so little back in return? Why would I ever invest in another person, ever again, when it's so much easier to be something else? Someone else? When is it my turn? When does someone come to see the good in me, past all the bad, and pull me out of whatever hole I'm in?
I don't want to be someone like that. I don't want to be some THING like that. And, if I were okay, it wouldn't be a threat. If I were okay, it wouldn't matter.
But, I'm not okay.
I'm not okay. I can either choose to be dulled and numb, or I can choose to be recklessly angry at everyone and myself. Right now, I have no happy medium, and I don't know how to get back to normal yet.
Maybe it just takes time. But how long? Maybe someone can help me. But who? How? She tried, and I lost it.
I am not without hope. I am not convinced this state never ends. I know there is a way out, I know this doesn't last forever, I just don't know how to get there. If I were okay, maybe the path would be clear.
But, I'm not okay.
I'm not okay.
I want to be okay.