Monday, October 29, 2012

How I Know There's Progress

This is the kind of thing I have to write down, because I have a feeling that there will come a time when I can no longer remember that I felt this way.

Last night TechnoGuy and I went on a date.  We don't do this often enough - that can happen, when the children come along.  However, our children are now 13 and 17 - we don't even need a babysitter.

But here's the thing:

Every single time TechnoBoy asks me to do something with him, almost without exception - go to a movie, go out for dinner - I am reluctant.  I am reluctant because I have known, at the very core of me, that I will let him down somehow.

I won't like the movie.

I won't walk fast enough.

I won't dress right.

I won't be good looking enough.

I will be having a bad hair day.

To make it succinct - I don't want to go out with him because I know I'm not good enough.

HOWEVER.

We have season tickets to Broadway Across Canada.  (Season tickets in Calgary = 2 shows.  Per year. Sounds better than it is, when you put it that way!)

Yesterday afternoon, TG said "We're going out tonight!" and I asked where and he said "Rock of Ages" (ps kinda hated it but there were some good laughs) and my immediate, visceral reaction??

"Yay!!  Time out with my best friend!"

And I was getting ready to go, I was excited.  Pleased.  Delighted.  Able to make wardrobe choices without the constant negative feedback loop that has accompanied me so much of my life.

And we had a lovely time, thank you.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Labyrinth


It’s full dark.  The parking lot is empty, and our shoes crunch on the gravel as we start down the path.  It’s a clear night, moonless, the deep black of the sky studded with shy stars.  Here and there a bridge spans a meandering stream and I stop, tilt my head back and drink in pinpoints of light.   It still takes my breath away, how much I love to be outside after dark, on crisp nights like this, and I’m still at a loss to explain why I have spent 50 years denying myself this.

 We cross a pale field of autumn grass. The labyrinth is barely visible.  Even though we are in the middle of the city, we are in a wide open space bordered by trees.  I take a few moments to wonder at the fact that I am not worrying about doing this wrong, or about not being able to walk this far.  This recently befriended body moves easily across uneven terrain – we trust each other to show up, my body and I.  Traffic and streetlights are far away, but the stone path of the labyrinth is light enough rock that we can see where we are going.

 As we start down the path, my sister in law tells me “The going in is an emptying, a letting go.”  I take a deep breath.  I have a lot to let go of, these days.  That sounds good to me.

 The path curves, now forward, now back.  I can see the center. “Metaphor time.”  I say.  “I want to get to center.  I’m tempted to leap these benches and get there RIGHT NOW.  But ...” I shrug.

 “But there are things to learn on the journey.” She answers.

 We sit together on a bench overlooking the center.  I rest.  There is nothing else I want to know in this moment, nothing else I need to see.  We are hemmed in by the silhouettes of leafless fall trees and I am deeply grateful.

 I cross my ankles, uncross them.  Grin at her.  “I’m still not sorry I’ve spent so many years thinking you were a flake”, I tell her, and her genuine laugh fills the space between us.  “I’m just completely willing to admit I was wrong.”

 We head back to the car down a different path, through the trees, past the river, and I concentrate on holding the peace of this place somewhere deep, accessible, for the days to come, when peace is hard won.

 **

 The next day, driving back home, with my family asleep in the vehicle as I drive away from sunrise, a phrase in a song on the radio blindsides me, and I am convulsed, first with a flashback, and then with horror.  Familiar territory now, a club I didn’t ask to join.  I breathe, stroke the steering wheel, use the coping skills I’ve learned.

 And then I remember the labyrinth.  “I am sitting here on this bench, in the crisp cool dark, and my good friend and I have just journeyed back to each other after too long away.” I tell the memory.  Remember the psychologist’s suggestion of a TV screen to hold the memory, while I’m in the safe place.  I imagine the screen off to one side, and the scene plays itself out as I breathe in cold night air.  Too big, that screen, so I shrink it to smartphone size, where it flickers its heartbreaking truth, barely visible at the edge of my vision.

 I imagine turning the phone off, but the labyrinth disappears, and the flashback fills my head.  They need to co-exist, this place of peace and this broken-ness, and I think that maybe I am learning something true and necessary.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

In which I appear to be in a manic phase, even though I am not bipolar

- So yesterday I walked almost 3 km, with the dog.  (by the time we got home, the dog was doing that thing she does with random driveways.  She just walks up the drive and looks back over her shoulder at me, like, "Hey, I know!  How about we live here now?")  Six months ago I didn't walk around the BLOCK because "I couldn't."  Shows how much I know.)

- today I was on hold with Shaw because our cable wasn't cabling, and I was running a bath, and I noticed that the garbage cans were full unto overflowing so I started gathering up garbage and then I noticed that something had interrupted me in the middle of folding clothes ...

and I laughed at myself and tried to remember that really, the bathtub was the Next Thing because bathtubs overflow, and then I thought ...

how long has it been?  since I just got up and did what needed to be done, and then the other thing that needed to be done, and then the other thing?  and how long have I been gone?  I mean, here, but gone?  and even though I know, I KNOW, there is a lot of sadness ahead because therapy is like that, and we're nowhere near done - for today, for this moment, can I just say it is really really really good to be back?  for however long that lasts?

- also I would like to point out that I am 20 lbs lighter than I was three months ago.  (it's an odd diet.  Im calling it the "Moving Back Into Your Body" diet, and when I talk about it, I sound like a touchy feely flake, because it's ...well, it's like that.  I'll talk about it some other day. When I believe I haven't just accidentally shed 20 lbs in water weight.)

Also the bath water is done and so I am going to jump in it. Enjoy that visual.  You are welcome.

And turn off the TV, which scared the pants off me (well, it would have if ...) because I turned it on to make sure the cable was still broken and then the cable got fixed and then there was a little old lady talking in my bedroom while I was folding clothes in the living room.

Also my dog is cute.