A Familiar Empty

is settling in my gut. It's sort of noteworthy cuz I haven't felt it in a while.

What happened yesterday is still lingering, still stinging. There's a myth about the 5 Stages of Grief: it's widely cited but I remember reading somewhere that the person who is attributed to this said that it's not quite that simple. They don't happen in succession, rather they happen simultaneously. With some other stuff thrown in.

But the major emotions are easy to recognize, and I feel them now, not in succession but all at the same time. I struggle with believing... is it really true? Were there motives behind the discovery? Am I disloyal for even believing? And then rage: I could scream. I've learned that I need to give myself at least 24 hours before reacting to anger, but after 24 hours I realize I'm going need a hell of a lot more time than that. And so I bargain with myself that if I give myself some time, I might feel differently. That if I look at it from several angles perhaps I won't take it all so personally. Or maybe time will prove that I'm just plain wrong. Mostly I'm sad... like a loss, deep and profound. A loss of innocence. Another tear in the already flimsy fabric of Hope that I surround myself with, so as not to be beaten down by life.

But I'm not at all accepting. Not yet anyway. And I'm not sure that I ever will be.

When I was younger, I was much more judgmental of life and people than I am now. I think--I hope--that I'm even less judgmental today than I was even three years ago when I started this blog... writing and thinking have given me the space to analyze myself, rethink my positions on a lot of things. Allowed me to find the humanity, the kindness, the understanding. All this thinking led to the inclusion of the mantra (included in the post "Surviving the Dark Days"): you cannot control what other people do; you can only control your reaction to it.

Everyone has drama and issues and things that make them dysfunctional, and with my ability to feel mental distress I tend to be hyper-aware of those issues. Particularly the ones I refer to as "white-hot core" ones. The ones that flash out to burn you when you get too close to them.

With time and understanding of myself I realized that my rules of operation can really only be applied to me. I can only hold myself to my own moral standards... I have no control over what people do or how they choose to rationalize their actions. I cannot be the one to blame or judge. It's not my place. I can only state... and choose to stand by, the rules I've set for myself. And I've done my shit. I've done my dirt. I am far from perfect. I've even broken some of my own rules. But there are about two or three I can honestly and proudly say that I have never broken no matter how tempting, and so it hurts to feel that those same rules were not applied to me.

With sadness I realize that the small circle around me is even smaller than I thought. There are several reasons this is true, and I know that some of them I contribute to. For example, my impatience with people who don't take the time to deal with their core issues, especially the ones who make the same mistakes over and over. Or the rage I feel when I think someone I care about is being hurt or taken advantage of--while not intended to be directed at the person I care about, very often comes across that way. I get frustrated very quickly when I can clearly see another, more productive path for someone I love than the path they are on and they themselves can't see it. Or worse, are too mistrustful of themselves to close their eyes and take that leap of faith. So lately I've had some harsh words with CNC because she has some of those repetitive issues that make me bonkers, and also I thought she was being ripped off by someone. When I told her this, in my usual intense way, she accused me of being negative.

The BigMan's words resonate in the quiet: "It's not WHAT you are saying, it's the WAY you say it." And he called me "relentless".

But after what happened yesterday I felt compelled to call my friend up, and try to make her understand, as nicely and patiently as I am capable of how much I care about her, how much more I see for her, and how badly it bothered me that I thought she was being ripped off. One of the things I love about her is that it seems we apply the same rules to ourselves, and because of that she trusts me. That trust enables her to let my raging run off of her. But she's also strong enough and brave enough to let me know I hurt her.

And I can tell her I'm sorry, and I mean it. Turns out she had also spoken to the Professor who had the same feelings about the rip-off as I did, and so she canceled the transaction. And secondly I made her promise that she would look into going to college. My friend is going through life on a 5th grade education. She never went to middle school. Or High School. Let alone college. I told her that I thought that she was brilliant, and kind, and able to handle school, to take it one small step at a time, and I'd be there for her. So I hope she'll do it.

In my heart, I counted the folk that time has shown me I can trust, who accept me for me, who don't take my ragings or crazies or Voices personally, or as an excuse to do things because they think I can handle it. Or maybe they think I deserve it. Or maybe they never really gave that much of a fuck about me in the first place, choosing to fulfill themselves regardless of the cost to anyone. Even if I happen to be in the way. Just when I had gotten used to and happy with the idea of a larger world, my world is suddenly very small again, and my heart is broken.

But I've been through worse. I've been through the Black and the Dark, and it never ever hurts as bad the next time as it did the first because for one thing, you learn to cover the holes up quicker. You can see when the bleeding begins that you'll need to act more quickly before the trickle turns to full-on hemorrhage.

The worst thing I do to myself in times like this is second guess myself. Or over think. Accuse myself of being melodramatic. And sometimes I allow my empathy and understanding to get in the way of my own self-preservation... it's why I stayed in that awful relationship with the ParentingPartner for so long. I hadn't spoken to anyone about what happened. I can't, for several reasons. But because my UpstairsNeighbor is close to my heart, I went upstairs and unloaded. The first time I gave spoken words to my pain and ugh, it hurt just as much letting it out as it did keeping it in. I asked her if she thought I was over reacting. She said no. She would have felt the same way and that made feel slightly better, but not a whole lot. Because the hole is still there...

Day two, and it still hurts. But I'll survive... though it's compounded by the BigMan making no effort to understand the Beast. To use kindness. And I've no patience and no desire to be understanding. He's bearing the brunt... I'm tired of understanding and being empathetic.

I'm tired. And worse I still wonder if I'm wrong...


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