I. I felt pretty solid yesterday. After days of grappling with the whats and whys of everything, I thought I had it figured out, and when I looked at it all from the vantage point of that understanding, it made sense and became something I could accept. Something I could live with. There was something in there about knowing for sure that when I get what I need in any relationship – consistency, honesty, feeling like I matter – I am easy to love. My nervous system purrs along like a cat and I bask and bloom and beam love back. When faced with inconsistency, or withholding of information (whether to protect me or handle me or just because I don’t rate being in the loop) I turn batshit crazy, full of all the annoying questions, grasping and pleading and…
…fucking gross. I disgust myself. Which is unkind, I know, but I haven’t quite mastered the trick of being gentle to the parts that act out of trauma. Integration seems impossible some days because I have this image of myself that I wish to uphold – calm, centered, easy-going, able to take the punches, self-possessed, self-assured – and I do have that within me, but only under certain circumstances, only when certain conditions are met. Consistency, honesty, feeling like I matter.
I go feral otherwise. Wild-eyed in my misery.
One day maybe I’ll just accept that these are normal and perfectly reasonable things to want and I will stop shitting all over myself for wanting and even demanding them. Yes? Yes.
II. Meanwhile, I woke up at 3 in the morning absolutely paralyzed with self-doubt. Like, ‘what if you’re wrong about everything? What if the truth is something ugly? Something searing that says something about your worth?” I had to talk myself down because it doesn’t matter if I’m wrong about everything and the truth is something ugly. Understanding it or misunderstanding doesn’t change the fact that it is what it is and the work now is to learn how to live with it. And to be extremely gentle with myself while I do that.
Extremely. Gentle. This is all very much. Be ever so kind.
III. And this *is* true, no matter what: consistent absence is better for my fucked up nervous system than inconsistent presence. There is no way around that. So, I guess that’s all I need to know, yes? Yes.
IV. I had the old nightmare last night of being out in the world, getting lost, forgetting my address, forgetting everyone’s phone number, and losing my phone. It felt like it lasted for hours. I was wandering an unfamiliar city barefoot (no idea why). I was very aware that my dogs needed me and I couldn’t get to them and that made me feel wretched. At one point, I found my phone at the bottom of my purse but it slipped through my fingers and broke into a million pieces. I tried to put it back together, sitting there on the sidewalk like a child with a broken toy, sobbing hysterically, and then I realized I was dreaming.
“You’re dreaming, Effy. Wake the fuck up.”
I couldn’t, though, so I said “Fine, then. I’ll fly.”
And I did. I soared high up above the unfamiliar city and got my bearings. I picked my destination and descended to safety, curled up, and fell back into sleep.
This is only the second flying dream I’ve ever had in my life. The timing interests me.
V. I unpacked four boxes yesterday and there is still this little corner of chaos to contend with but I have to build two bookshelves in order to wrangle it and I’m not sure I have it in me right now.
Slow and steady. Gently, gently.
VI. Filming today. I was sitting on the front stoop with coffee and the dogs and I saw the exact thing I wanted to paint for Book Of Days for September. It arose fully formed before my eyes complete with a cute interactive feature, and I was like “Ohhhhhhhhh….” and that helped me feel a little better about the shape the day might take.
VII.Can I just take this moment to express my gratitude for my work? I think I’d be absolutely wretched without it right now. I’d be nothing but loose ends. Thank you, Work, for giving shape to my days, for providing restful places for my soul to rest in what I know best how to do. There. There’s the bright side.
VIII. Any way you slice it, it’s a release. Leaning into that today. What’s next? Let’s stick around and find out.
IX. I miss Leonard*, but he’s been flashing his tail at me from across the street so while he may be mad as hell at me for bringing these dogs into his territory, he hasn’t forgotten me, and maybe in time he will forgive me and wander over again while the dogs are safely inside.
X. I remain, as ever, a hopeful girl.
*Leonard is the squirrel that befriended me in the first few weeks while I was here without my dogs. He has since stopped visiting for obvious reasons, but has no trouble swooping in and snatching the peanuts I leave on the stoop for him.