Yesterday was one of those magical running days. The kind where the beat of the music and my grief match up perfectly. It's hard to describe what I enjoy about running. There are several stretches of blocks in my neighborhood that I use for sprinting. The lines on the sidewalk just require it. When I get to those specific streets I pray for the right fast song. I run until I can barely breathe. I run until I am gasping out sobs and I can barely see anymore because I am crying so hard. There is so very much to cry about.
I have so much grief. I feel like I will never stop grieving. I will never feel like I can move past these feelings. I'm trying to trust the process. I'm trying to believe that even though this cycle of mourning isn't over it will end some day. I just don't know when. It's hard to keep going.
Why was I crying yesterday? It's hard to remember specifics because I cover so many topics in my head. I spent a lot of time thinking about why I am the sort of person to send nasty judgmental shaming letters to. I get them every so often. I trigger the shit out of people. It's the same reason my former therapist fired me. I don't do things how other people think they should be done. In the process I am deeply distressing. People don't like feeling distressed by how "off from the norm" I am. They want me to fall back in line, damnit. I should do _________ in order to be acceptable to them. I can't.
I can't ever be acceptable to everyone in my life. That isn't an option open to me. I will always bother people in some way on some level. Pretty much everyone. I will always talk about subjects that make you uncomfortable, no matter who you are. I will search for that topic that bothers you the most and then I will harp on it constantly. I do this on an unconscious level. I default to challenging people. A lot of the time I'm not doing it on purpose. I believe with every part of me that I would not have survived if I was willing to let other people set the terms of my reality. I would have crumbled a long time ago. I would have to believe that I was who they say I am.
This time I would have to believe I am an addict. I am bad. I am helpless before these things that control me. My cutting, anger, drug use, and sexual activity are bad. I am bad for being addicted to these things. Bad. Bad. Bad. I know. I've always known. I know that you think I am bad. That doesn't mean that you are right or that I have to agree. That's an opinion not a provable set of facts. I'm obsessive (even though I hear this kind of pedantry means you lose the argument I am going to do this anyway because it is my fucking blog and I'm only arguing with myself which means there is no such thing as losing) so here's a definition for you:
Addiction is defined as the continued use of a mood altering substance or behaviour despite adverse consequences. This can include, but is not limited to, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, exercise abuse, and gambling. Some defining characteristics of addiction include: impaired control over subtances/behaviour, preoccupation with substance/behaviour, continued use despite consequences, and denial. Habits and patterns associated with addiction are typically characterized by immediate gratification (short-term reward), coupled with delayed deleterious effects (long-term costs).Physiological dependence occurs when the body has to adjust to the substance by incorporating the substance into its 'normal' functioning. This state creates the conditions of tolerance, and withdrawal. Tolerance is the process by which the body continually adapts to the substance and requires increasingly larger amounts to achieve the original effects. Withdrawal refers to physical and psychological symptoms people experience when reducing or discontinuing a substance the body had become dependent on. Symptoms of withdrawal generally include but are not limited to anxiety, irritability, intense cravings for the substance, nausea, hallucinations, headaches, cold sweats, and tremors.
That's from Wikipedia. I use marijuana under medical supervision to deal with psychological issues. Yes there are technically adverse side effects because smoking is bad for your lungs. Overall it makes my life so much better it isn't funny. I repeat that it has fewer side effects than any other drug I could be on.
Cutting, sex, and anger are all in a hand wavey category. I have a problem with the 12 step language of weakness. "I'm not responsible. A higher power has to save me." Well... I am certainly addicted to harming myself. I do it in a variety of ways. I don't give any particular method much higher billing than any other. I think that is what he really meant by saying I am addicted to these things. But of course he's blowing hot air out of his ass so he doesn't quite see the pattern. I go through long periods without cutting. I have gone many years between periods where I feel bad enough about myself to need that release. I can easily channel that frustration and rage into other areas if given the slightest chance.
Cutting works to put an end to bad emotional states that would otherwise lead to suicide. Is it a great approach? No. It isn't. But for an awful lot of my life I didn't have a better choice and I think that cutting was significantly better for me than suicide. No one is going to take that belief away from me. I had to cope. I managed. I survived. The last time I cut I had kind of an epiphany that it wasn't working any more. I threw away my scalpels. I have moved beyond the utility of that as a coping method. I didn't stop because someone shamed me or told me I was bad for doing it. That kind of response is only likely to cause me to go do it more and more and more. I stopped because I realized it was insanity to continue. Insanity in the sense that it doesn't make sense to keep doing the same activity and expecting a different response.
I no longer have a life where I need a physical outlet for my emotional pain. Thank you, Noah. Thank you for being my bulwark against the dark. Thank you for providing me with a safe place to live for the rest of my life. Thank you for supporting me so that I can do work I am better suited for and I don't have to go out and "get a job" to prove I have worth.
The emotional pain I feel now I can talk about and find solutions for. I think the only place where the language of addiction is particularly useful for me is where it talks about the diminishing returns issue. Or if you talk about the cost being too high for the benefit.
I asked Noah for monogamy partially as a way of providing myself an 'out' on dealing with a lot of my problematic behavior. I'm not good at self-regulation when it comes to sex. Now I am safe. Now I will always be able to say, "I'm in a monogamous marriage; I can't have sex with you" instead of having to be able to say "I don't want to." Saying I don't want to have sex with someone is hard. I feel unworthy of doing so. I feel like if someone is suffering for lack of sex it is my job to fix it. I can be a sacred whore, that's fine--but I must be a whore. I don't say no very well. I am going to hide behind monogamy and be grateful for it. I feel guilty that I am dragging Noah behind me kicking and screaming into this change. I feel like I am unfairly punishing him for a problem he doesn't have. But I asked and he agreed and he doesn't really want to talk about whether it is fair or not. It is. Move on.
I cried yesterday because I feel terribly bad that in order to protect myself from my own impulsive behavior I have curtailed Noah. It seems selfish and immature and just flat mean. I am such a bitch. And I'm trying to learn how to tell him "no" in general. I no longer close my eyes and go away and let him have sex with me. It's hard. It's hard to feel like I am not breaking rules. It is hard because I feel like I am bad for not giving him release when and how he wants it. I am not holding up my end of the deal. He is supporting me--don't I owe him? I told him that thirty years of being a whore is enough for anyone. It's time to retire.
Noah isn't attacking me. Noah doesn't require that I put out because he wants me to. I project that onto him. I fear that belief. I have it. That's enough.
Am I an addict? Maybe? Yes? It seems to be an irrelevant question. Unless you believe that someone who takes thyroid medication is also an addict it is simply a innate bias to say that the pot is a problem. It's not your preferred kind of medication but I'm a hippy and my doctor agrees that it is good for me. Imagine me sticking my tongue out at you. I also see a massage therapist and an acupuncturist (ok, not since pregnancy but I will get back there some day--I believe in the benefits). I think I should see a chiropractor about something going on in the lower right hand side of my back. That has been a problem since Jeremy sodomized me when I was like ten. I have never been able to get it to stop hurting. Running is teaching me a lot about my body. I think I have a better idea of how to deal with the pain.
So! Am I an addict when it comes to pot? Wikipedia says no. I'm going to go with that. Sex? Well... obviously I'm doing as much "recovery" from that as I can do. I am not actually interested in celibacy and trying to be celibate just because someone else might think I should be would result in me not being married any more. Noah wouldn't tolerate that. He's dealing with me saying "no" a lot and he's dealing with not being allowed to have sex with other people. I think he's a god damned stand up guy. No more can or should be asked of our marriage as I'm figuring out this shit with my relationship to sex. So am I addicted to sex? Maybe? But it doesn't matter because I've figured out how I can have a healthy relationship with it and I'm moving forward. Kind of a useless thing to sit around and go to meetings on at this point. Just sayin'.
I haven't cut in nearly a year and I no longer have my favored cutting tool. I could some day acquire another one, sure. I don't think I will though. I don't want that modeled for my children as an option of coping mechanisms.
It's interesting to me how this evolution has happened. I cut for many years. When I stopped cutting my body as a teenager I started cutting my hair. It got shorter and shorter till I shaved it when I was seventeen. My mother was so angry with me it wasn't funny. I felt like the whole world was radiating anger with me for cutting my hair. I was told constantly how ugly I was and how unflattering my "new look" was.
It's been very weird and uncomfortable that people keep gushing about how good I look with a shaved head/short hair this time. It makes me cry. Because when they say it I hear my mother ranting in my head and I want to hit them and cry that they are lying to me. I feel rage that this person is lying about finding me attractive this way. I try to not do more than clench my fists. I try to not stomp away. I smile. I say thank you. I think that I flinch sometimes and then people simply become more emphatic. Noah certainly tells me that he likes it often. That is one of the things I cried about yesterday. "Hair" was on.
I wonder if my family hated this as a hair cut because of how intense it makes me look. I feel like I have to plaster a fake smile on my face all of the time or I look like I might punch you in the face as soon as say "hello". It's weird. I feel like the effects of aging are doing interesting things to my face. I am going to wrinkle like fuck. All the women in my family have deep lines of care from a fairly young age. We live hard lives and it shows. I look at my hands and I see my mothers hands. I see the rope appearing. My hands are the hands of someone who does manual labor. Well, I don't have deep callouses yet. But I will as soon as I get up the energy to do more gardening. I would have done anything to prevent aging the way I am if I had stayed in a relationship with Tom.
One of the things I cry about when I run is thinking about how resentful Tom would be of the changes in me. It's strange. I cry because I loved him so much and he wanted such a small piece of who I am. I feel bad that after my family he felt so very good to me but we didn't know how to be real people together. Tom lives in a world where "pretty" and "sexy" are such a high bar that they become a vocation. I'm naturally pretty lazy. I don't think I am that pretty and I don't see much point in dressing up a plow horse to take it to town. I know I am attractive but it's different. As I age it becomes more dramatic to me. I am intense in a way that precludes pretty. Pretty is about unoffensive and I will never be that. My perception of the world Tom lives in is honestly kind of bleak. I would not be happy in it. I can't stay dedicated to something I feel like I will never actually attain. It involves a lot of specific activity and specific idleness that I just don't want. I think back over how I lived my life and I feel glad that I made most of the choices I made. I was always running.
A boyfriend from high school sent me a congratulatory message about the half marathon and sent me a link to a marathon training program that is way more awesome than what I had been doing. By which I mean I am so grateful that this program wants me doing two miles for the first few weeks because it feels like such a wave of relief I can barely stand it. Doing only two miles for the last two days of running has meant I have practiced sprinting. It uses different muscle groups and it feels good to stretch my legs once in a while.
I lost my train of thought a while ago because my cat jumped on the keyboard and then I got mad at her. We had to pause and have a negotiation wherein she glared at me and looked sad that I had thrown her the floor. I sighed deeply and went and got a blanket to prevent her from drawing blood and I moved my computer so she could lay on my lap. Puff's mother gave her to me when Puff was only a few days old. Her eyes were still closed and I bottle fed her to keep her alive. Puff's mother brought us the babies to save them from a rain storm that would have drowned them outside. The feral mama wasn't willing to come inside and care for the babies and she didn't want anything to do with them later, but she did save them. That feels important. I have had Puff for fourteen years. My niece named her. T said, "She looks like a puff of clouds." She is white with grey nearly-Siamese markings. For a couple of years after Shanna was born Puff avoided me. I feel like our relationship has deepened a lot over the last year or so. She doesn't mind Calli the way she minds Shanna. She loves that I sit in the garage alone. I attribute a lot of our relationship growth to the smoking, actually. It keeps me away from the kids and she is quick to remind me that our alone time should be special, darn it!
I feel the need to apologize for my many typos. I stop writing when I am abruptly pulled away to do something else and I really don't have time to edit. I'm not a professional writer so it feels ok to be sloppy.