Epiphany #5

This “I’ll work on me, you work on you babe” while taking a break instead of just breaking up seems beneficial to our relationship.  We are actually talking to each other now and, in some ways, we are in a better place then we had been there for awhile. It is nice to remember what we like about each other, what attracted us to each other in the first place, and how much we actually do love each other.

I’ve been sharing my little epiphanies… from “I am here, I’m still me” to the “I don’t really know you” with a list of stupid questions like, “Do you own a cast iron skillet?” Yeah, there are a LOT of little things that I do not know about this man.

He got the point:  I need him to be a little more open and honest with me and he needs me to stop hiding aspects of myself that, for reasons real or imagined, I felt like he might not be able to handle it.

Where do we go from here? Who knows? Right now, it is just one day at a time.

 

LATER:  I was thinking about how to tell the new student doc assigned to me at the family clinic that when I ask for an antidepressant, I want a low dose SSRI, preferably Lexapro, NOT 300mg of Wellbutrin (way too much, that’s enough to send me over the edge so I’m NOT taking it) and suddenly, I got hit with Epiphany #5.

How do I tell him? He thinks I lost my me… oh my gosh!

That “strong vibrant woman” he met and fell in love with ye 3 to 4 years ago (I didn’t jot notes on a calendar or keep a diary) was riding a prolonged cusp on the edge of mania, self-medicating with 100 proof peppermint schnapps straight up (hey, alcohol is a depressant) plus Jacks & Coke and a few other things when we first got together.

I ended up back in therapy, bailed out and eventually crashed, series of harsh things took me down into depression… that’s easier to hide. I have a lot more experience going down. I blogged about some of it, from Wired in August 2015 on up past the new year, mixed in with other stuff.

So, basically, he has seen me up and seen me down, both ends of my mental health spectrum, but might not have realized it… stable is the middle ground. So he thinks I lost part of my me… that my stable me is missing something?

Epiphany #5 just opened a frikkin can of mental worms.

Stable me is NOT so vibrant. Stable me doesn’t drink, mainly because I know alcohol is a depressant and I tend to cycle down a lot more than I cycle up. Stable me is a responsible human being. Stable me doesn’t make as much art, doesn’t read poetry on street corners, doesn’t do wacky things.

Humm… I’m going to have to think about this for awhile before I venture to bring it up in conversation.

Thanks for reading!

 

I AM HERE

Epiphany #3:  I AM HERE… as in, ALL OF ME is still frikkin here.

If I hid parts of me from you, it was an unconscious, automatic reaction to clues (real or imagined) as that is what I do when I pick up on vibes of disapproval. If I think you find an aspect of me unacceptable, then I will simply hide that part of me from you.

It is easy to do… childhood conditioning.

I was raised in an era when children were seen and not heard, when little girls were supposed to be passive, weak, adorable, meek, soft spoken little ladies, and oh so very nice… stand still and look pretty.

Double down if you live in a glass house called a parsonage.

I was one of five little “angels” with impeccable manners, pretending to be what I’m not… feeling more like a fraud with each passing year. And, of course, little girls are not supposed to even FEEL negative or “inappropriate” emotions, so there was no outlet if you do, not allowed to express them. Best not tell anyone if something bad happens… your own fault anyway, something fundamentally wrong with you.

It took years and some therapy to love and accept myself as I am… now I am trying to be consciously aware to override that auto-response to clues (real or imagined) so I can stop hiding aspects of myself from those who love me.

Please know that I don’t do it out of shame or guilt or even to make myself more acceptable to other people. I do it for self-preservation, to guard my precious me… I am my own treasure.

I guard my me because I have always felt like people want to change me, or make me change myself, just so I would be more acceptable to them and/or fit their own impression of who they thought I should be.

Fixing me is not your project.

I am not going to change who I am to please anyone. The only one I have to answer to, besides my own self, is God.  The approval or acceptance from other people is not necessary. I hide my true authentic self from people who may find me inappropriate just so I don’t have to deal with their bull. Who I am is none of their business. They don’t need to know all of me.

WHY would I hid parts of myself from the ONLY person who has ever noticed that I do that? The only man who has accepted, and encouraged me to be my true authentic self as I am?

Clues babe… that automatic response kicks in, it’s unconscious… wasn’t done on purpose.

What clues?  Well, here’s an example… when I briefly mentioned what I was writing a book about, he pretty much told me that my topic wasn’t very nice, that I shouldn’t write something like that. So, I just never mentioned it to him again… it became none of his business… he doesn’t need to know anything about it. Eventually, I took ALL my writing underground, essentially closing off an aspect of myself as writing is vital to my existence.

Oh yes babe, I still write. I write a LOT… even got phone apps for that, so I can write anywhere at any time and email it to myself. That’s what I did in the wee hours of the night, when pain pulled me from slumber, and I got up so my moans and thrashing would not disturb your sleep. You bitched too much about me being on the computer so I alternated with using phone apps at the kitchen table, writing to take my mind off pain while waiting for pills to kick in.

Another example? When I try to talk to someone about things that are important to me and they cut me off with “why bring that up again” or some other offhand remark, I just shut up and stash that topic off as something I cannot openly discuss with them.  After that happens a few times, I stop trying.

Suppose it doesn’t matter anyway… but we are supposedly just taking a break so I can work on myself while you are out doing what you do.  That’s Epiphany #4:  I don’t really know you.

 

I AM NOT BROKEN

Epiphany #2:  I am not broken. Therefore, I do NOT need to fix myself.

Granted, I am a bit messy right now. My life is a mess, I’ve been an emotional mess, my house is a mess… so THAT is what I’m working on. It is time to tidy up, brush out the cobwebs, dust myself off, and get it together.

It’s going to take a minute. I’m only three weeks in on my quest to get back to being me again, the strong vibrant woman that I used to be, the me he thinks I somehow lost touch with by trying to blend into his world.

Epiphany #1 was That’s BS… I couldn’t blend into his world if I wanted to, the ONLY blending attempt going on was in my kitchen.  I made dietary changes, learned to cook food that he likes, tried to prepare meals that we both could eat, and adapted to HIS cultural thing about making his plates.

In MY culture, mommies make plates for little kids and grown ass men make their own damn plates. Who best knows what your own self wants, eh?

Sometimes I think his cultural thing about women making men’s plates is more about hierarchy in the relationship, with women being subservient to men, than “an expression of love” as I always felt like he inspected the plates and I would catch myself waiting for some sign of approval. Perhaps making his plates unconsciously changed how he saw me… a strong, vibrant woman stands on equal ground, she is not subservient to her man.  Another complaint was that I was too used to being on my own, that I made household decisions without consulting him. A strong, vibrant woman does not need permission or approval for every minor decision. So, there is mixed messages in all that… do you want me to be the woman you fell in love with… or the one who is tamping herself down in an effort to please her man?

OH WELL… I’m just going to work on my mess, get my life and the house back in order.

It is a solitary process that requires a continuous daily effort.  I quit bawling buckets, so I’m making progress. There for awhile, I was an emotional mess. It was like being on a roller coaster, a water ride, with angry highs and sad lows, tears flowing at the slightest provocation.

Flipping rooms helped… he left all his stuff when he walked out the door on the 4th of July, so I’d wake up hugging his pillows, breathing his scent in a room that looked like he just went to the bathroom. Now I’m sleeping in my office and that bedroom has been cleared out and repainted.

I still need some white for the window trim and doors. The window topper boxes need repainted before they go back up.  I also want to do a decorative edge along the color blocks, maybe lines or a leafy vine in Mars Black.  I like the two-tone blues… the pale so light it reminds me of a cloudy sky.

Eventually, this room will be set up as my studio workspace.  It’s open and airy, catches a good breeze, and the morning light pours through an east window.  I want to move my kitchen table in there, use it as a work table, so I need to find something else for out there.  Maybe something round or square with four chairs would fit the kitchen space much better.

It will be alright… by the time I’m done cleaning the house, going through bins and boxes, reclaiming my own space and setting it up as I please, I should feel more together inside, too.