I will meet you where you are

Talking to A punched a hole in the emotional wall I had put up. I knew it would, as soon as I heard her voice.

She asked me how I felt the wedding went, and I told her “everyone had a good time and I’ve had lots of compliments, it seemed seamless.” And she immediately said “okay, so I asked you about how you felt about it and you told me how other people feel.”

And I got kind of choked up and said “I don’t know how I feel. I remember moments, but it was like I was living in black and white and everyone else was in colour.” And it feels so far away. I just reread all the posts I wrote while I was here and don’t really recollect much of the time I spent. I never realize how disconnected and far away I am when I’m back here. 

Here’s the thing about this trip. Nobody really did anything big. My mom and dad for the majority of it were incredibly supportive. Even when I had a meltdown on my Mom last Tuesday. My brother and I managed to get through our differences. My brother and my husband managed to navigate through theirs. So nobody did anything that was like “red alert” and yet my body was on high alert the wholetime.

A said “I am going to say something that is going to frustrate you. I think it’s a good thing that nothing big happened and you still feel this way. Because it allows us to turn inwards and look at where these feelings are coming from instead of focusing on a current external event.” She was right, that DID frustrate me. It means I have to do the work that scares me the most. 

We talked about a lot, with me resisting her most of the way. She talked about our relationship and her care for me… and how that care terrifies me. I told her that when I cancelled I wanted her to reach out and hold that space for me and I wanted her to rescue me – even though I know that’s not her job – and she told me that that instinct makes sense and what’s more is that she’s proud of me for recognizing that.

We talked about how in our own little circle, in our immediate family, only the 5 year old has this ability to ask for what she needs – and she does so without hesitation and so blatantly. And I look at her and I look at myself and think about how I was taught so differently. Nobody directly asks for anything they need in my life. 

“Do you ever think I will be able to do that? Do I have an internal compass? Or is it broken?”

“It isn’t broken. You just can’t hear it because of the noise.”

We also talked about how when I anticipated my brothers meltdown coming I got so anxious I was nauseous – and the meltdown never even came to fruition. I found out he and my SIL had a fight and he was driving to my parents and it was like the whole house braced themselves for war… I don’t think A had ever seen a more blatant example of the codependent relationships in my family.

Connection and legitimate care terrify me, and I change the subject every time. 

I fly back tomorrow and see A Thursday, and I don’t want to. She doesn’t feel safe – that positive connection doesn’t feel safe… which is when I know I am at my most disconnected.

I apologized to her for moving backwards and she said “not necessary PD. I want to be on this journey with you, and I will meet you where you are. Ten steps back or ten steps forward, I’m here.” 

At least I know I’m not a robot with all these feelings that have popped up. But I worry she’s going to need a lot of patience for the next month or so. And I worry she’ll leave me.

How Am I?

I have a phone call with A today that I cancelled and then un-cancelled. 

She’s inevitably going to ask how I am. And honestly? I have no fucking clue. Absolutely zero. 

I feel like I’m on the positive side of things right now but I can’t tell you about most of the time I’ve spent here. I know the last few days have been positive but if you were like “what happened last Monday or Tuesday” I have nothing. 

I can’t find that centre ache, can’t access the girl on the stairs, and I’ve basically been perma-drunk since I landed. 

It’s going to be interesting. I wonder what she’ll do. 

Almost there 

It’s the day after the wedding. My husband and I stole away to a hotel somewhere beautiful for a night and are resting. We are exhausted. Tomorrow I booked us couple massages. 

I am having dinner by myself in a restaurant. My husband wanted pizza and I can’t eat out easily due to allergies. I never used to be able to eat alone, worried about how people would perceive me or what it looked like or “look at that poor sad girl with her phone eating alone.” Look at me now. A plate of salmon, a glass of wine, and WordPress out on my cell phone. 

The wedding was beautiful, it was magic and honestly I’m so glad it happened. It was amazing. And actually kind of perfect – I have received so many compliments about it being “the best wedding” people have ever attended. But it was hectic and emotional – so much emotion – and after photos I got really overwhelmed and had to take a break by myself. I’m proud though, I told everyone to leave me alone for a bit except my maid of honour and advocated for my need to have some time. I’m about to get a bit TMI but I really had to go to the bathroom and didn’t want anyone coming with me, so I stripped out of my dress and wandered around my locked bridal suite naked for a bit – it was helpful. 

I’ve been going non-stop since Thursday morning, and I feel like I’m losing my footing a bit. So it’s kind of nice to sit here and eat alone. The space is nice. Not to mention the alone time. 

I haven’t slept well for the past few nights. I’m hoping for a really nice long sleep tonight. There’s something about being in this constantly triggered state that’s exhausting – and even though I loved yesterday and it was the wedding of my dreams, I can’t help but feel it was dulled a little – like I didn’t get the full experience.

On Thursday night I went to bed at 11p after the rehearsal dinner. I woke up multiple times because I was sharing the room with my maid of honour, who has an insulin pump that beeps consistently when she is low – I know this, didn’t expect it to wake me up. It hasn’t before.

That’s when I wrote the last post. And I felt activated and angry and I emailed and I cancelled with A. I have since realized part of me wanted her to write back and try to convince me to show up. I wanted her to say “PD, why are you cancelling? What’s going on? Are you okay? Tell me about how you are?” I wanted to feel that care. 

And she emailed back very quickly, I got it the next time I woke up from a dream (which was 2am, and my bridesmaids were arriving at 6:30a). And this is what it said:

“I’ve received your message. I look forward to seeing you on Thursday.

Safe flight home next week.”

And I immediately felt activated. It was 2am, I wasn’t coping, and this is the first time I had felt anything in days… and it was disappointment and maybe anger. I wanted to be cared for genuinely by an adult figure – someone who sees me for me. I wanted her to fight for my attention. To fight to get me to show up – which isn’t her job. She performed her job, allowing me to cancel and saying she looked forward to seeing me. But it wasn’t enough for me. I knew that that reaction was over the top and very much from my attachment issues, and compounded from where I was and the stress – so I knew it was unrealistic but it didn’t stop me from wanting her to fill that gap I’m supposed to fill for myself. 

I needed to sleep if I was going to get through my wedding day, so I listened to her recording of The Guest House. And that opened up the tiniest crack in my armour. And then I wanted to talk to her even more. So I sent this: 

“A,

If I sent that in a moment of weakness is there a way to undo it? I realize the back and forth isn’t ideal or fair but as soon as I sent it I regretted cancelling. I think I’m just really out of touch with myself and what I need right now… I won’t go into details but had a brief panic this morning when I realized we wouldn’t be talking. 

I promise to not cancel it again, if perhaps you’re okay with reinstating our phone call? Let me know, and I apologize for the inconsistency. I realize that it is unfair.

PD”

She responded with “no worries at all. Let’s talk <date and time>.” Which I didn’t get until yesterday during my brief wedding panic. 

Until I listened to her voice I was completely disconnected. The only emotion I was feeling was dread or panic, and then I managed to connect – briefly – and it got better.

The wedding was amazing… and also lucrative! I loved it. But I can’t help but feel I was a bit separated from it because I haven’t been able to deal with being here. And maybe that’s how all my experiences have been. A bit out of touch, like I’m running in black and white while everything else has been in technicolor. 

I’m alive 

I’m here. I’m alive, although apparently completely and absolutely numb. Which is okay. 

I’m currently in my hotel room with my maid of honour getting ready to marry my husband (again) tomorrow. 

We had our rehearsal dinner tonight and it was lovely to feel so cared for, so loved. I am actually looking forward to most of tomorrow.

But there is no question I am completely unable to access that centre. Who knows why. Part of me thinks it is because when I am here, I am my centre.

I did read the words my husband wrote about me in our speech tonight and I cried. I’ll share them with you tomorrow. May you all find a love as strong. 

I’m cancelling the phone session with A. I’ve written her, 

A

I need to cancel our phone session on Monday. Please confirm our next appointment time is Thursday at 7:30pm.

PD”

Talking to her from here will do me no good and will simply be a waste of her time and my money.

I’m surviving, things are okay, I’m numb but honestly? I think that’s a good thing. 

I just can’t 

My experiences don’t matter here.

What I need doesn’t matter here.

Things are solved with platitudes and “want to know what makes you amazing?” and when that doesn’t work “you should try having my life” and “deep breaths” as if calming down instead of expressing ourselves is the best option. 

And flower girls walking down the aisle with their Mom so numbers match when my brother wasn’t included because he can be a jerk and now his feelings are hurt and this is the end of the world – and oh my god – why is it my job to manage everyone else’s emotions.

I can’t do this.

I don’t have any out here.

Everyone screams “drama free” and “it’s what you want” and then my SIL and brother text my Mom about something behind my back that I could solve if they talked to me. Honestly, I asked SIL if she wanted to walk with the flower girl and she said yes and now apparently that wasn’t true. 

WHY DOES NOBODY TALK DIRECTLY TO ANYBODY  ELSE.

And my Mom says my husband doesn’t visit enough and he doesn’t come over enough and he doesn’t text my brother and fuck, what am I supposed to do with that when I’m stuck in the middle.

And honestly I think my husband is wrong to not have my brother involved as a groomsman but I don’t know why I think that. I have 7 girls and he has 6 guys, and why isn’t my brother a groomsman – and my brother is hurt – but my brother was also a total jerk to us for a long time. And the right thing would be for my husband to do whatever he wants on the one day in the world that’s supposed to be just for the two of us. 

And my brother at the dinner table yesterday goes “<his therapist> has 30 pages about the fact that you aren’t including me in the wedding.” YOU’RE THE EMCEE. You had that role, lost it, and then didn’t speak to me for 8 months, and then just to get all of you to shut up I gave it back to you. FUCK.

And fuck all this drama. I genuinely can’t breathe I’m shaking so hard between tears and hysterical laughter. 

And me saying “I need you” to my husband is met with “this whole thing is your fault” and “I can’t emotionally support you right now – not when we are out with people all the time.”

So I float here relatively alone and cry and fight with my Mom and make her cry but she doesn’t hear what I’m saying. She tries to derail or re route or tells me how she feels. Nobody hears me here. My words mean nothing. It’s like they think I’m having a tantrum that has no feelings behind it. It’s like I’m yelling underwater. 

She does hear me about the sexual assault and miraculously parents well through all of it until she says she sees it as a reflection of her parenting. As a failure. And I’m like mom – I told you – that’s not a failure. You told me it isn’t my fault and checked if I’m okay. You told me he’s out of our lives. That’s a success. But of course the conversation derails into me taking care of her.

This is so painful. I need to shut down. But my body hasn’t yet. I need to go into “do what is best for everyone else so it doesn’t hurt anymore” mode. 

I’m cancelling with A. I hate her right now. The fact that I can feel anything is all her fault. She calls this progress and I call this leaving me exposed. And this is where her email boundary comes in handy because I would fire off some sort of malicious angry email about it, that would just make me feel worse.

Instead of “Dear A, I am writing to cancel our phone session on the 31st. PD”

It would be “Dear A, I know I’m not supposed to write you about my emotions because it’s not the proper forum but fuck that. You’re the only person who hears me and I’m in a place where I’m angry and unheard and I can’t figure out what is right from wrong and I also can’t disassociate and do you know why I’m here? Because we’ve made so much progress that I’m at a place where I can’t run and hide like I used to. So I don’t want to talk to you. I want nothing to do with you and I hope you enjoy your stupid vacation in Hawaii that you paid for with all my session fees. I hope you enjoy relaxing on the beach. I’ll just be over here absolutely broken because you’re so good at fixing me. I hate you. I hate you and I know I only hate you because you’re the safe person to hate right now and that makes me EVEN MORE ANGRY. I’m cancelling our appointment and I’m never speaking to you again. I was better off without you. PD

Obviously I would never send it and it’s childish and obnoxious and not based in fact but fuck it, that’s how I feel. Totally and irreparably broken. 

Why do I fucking care so much. I need to stop caring. I need to just stop. I just can’t. I can’t. 

Okay

Everyone says welcome home – this isn’t my home. Not anymore. I don’t know, was it ever truly my home?

It’s so hard to be around my parents. My Dad is the easier of the two but even him, in the car, tells me to acknowledge that my mom did a great job painting a room in the house – and then I barely walk in and she’s showing me and expecting my praise. And I give it to her but the words are hollow. The funny part is that if they hadn’t asked or told me to say certain things – I would have anyways.

And the forced space sharing and the forced conversation and the inability for silence and my Mom going “this is going to be a stressful week – make sure you build in time for you.” SCUSE ME WHAT. I am currently having time for me and you’re talking through it. She’s so insecure – and it’s so hard for her to be so excited and really glad I’m home while every inch of my skin is crawling with the urge to leave. 

I went to open A’s recording 8 or 9 times – I can’t do it… I just can’t. It’s too much. I’m pretty sure I’m going to cancel my phone session with her too. Connecting when I feel so disconnected doesn’t feel helpful.

——–
Censored. I think that’s the thing I feel the most here. My brother is coming over today and I got asked not to say that my husband is at his bachelor party because my brother wasn’t invited. And it’s like alright. Allow me to protect his feelings. Allow me to cater to what everybody else needs. I didn’t not invite him. And also maybe if he wasn’t an asshole to him most of the time, he would have been invited.

(Two good things, my dog and my niece.)

And then my brother just makes fun of me over and over but this time I see where it comes from and I’m able to shut it down a little bit – which is nice. That’s nice. If I don’t react, there’s nothing he can do. Doesn’t stop him from saying crap though. 

It’s hard to be aware of the pattern of wanting to monitor everyone’s feelings and feeling responsible for them and not do it. And really, where do you draw the line? I had a bachelorette yesterday and my maid of honour and sister in law CLEARLY don’t see eye to eye. They are very different people. And they both managed the whole time – nobody said anything but I am hyper aware of their emotions. And I knew they were upset with each other and it took all I could muster to not interfere and try to make them both feel better. 

And then there is my Aunt, my Dad’s middle sister. She has been angry with me for months about how we chose to have two separate weddings and didn’t include her in what she calls the “real one”. The one with only our parents.

Problem is she has told my sister in law and my Mom, but not me. My issue, as I told my Dad, is that my Aunt hasn’t bothered to talk to me. We are close, or used to be, and I totally appreciate what upset her about all of it, but talk to ME about it. 

And today my Dad suggests I call her, to rise above, so to speak. And it’s like – I don’t want to. But I’m also confused. Because normally I would bend over backwards to fix it. But catering to her by giving her a speech or writing her a special card (both sister in law suggestions) is just telling her her actions – dictating my wedding – are okay. But also I appreciate her upset. So where’s the line? It’s not like I excluded her on purpose, my husband and I made decisions that worked for us, and I don’t regret any of them. 

Is calling just to see how she is, is that catering? Or is it making the first move? Or is it being be bigger person. Where are my boundaries at, in this situation, I guess is the question. 

People are hard. Emotions are hard. It’ll be okay. I have to remind myself I am not responsible for how people feel… I want to be polite and rise above and tactful, but I don’t have to compromise myself for them. 

I do it anyways, though. Old habits die hard. 

———

As for my goals, well, I haven’t even tried. I’m very “what’s the point” here. 

Anyways, I’m alive.