Doing the Math

This article recently came across my Facebook feed:

To Men I Love, About Men Who Scare Me

I do this “math” with every male, even friends. I have told a number of male friends on various occasions that I was nervous, or even scared, of them. Not because I thought they would hurt me, but because they’re male. And males hurt me.
When I was in the ER a month ago I couldn’t be touched by a male at first. When the triage nurse tried to take blood from the inside of my wrist with a straight I howled in pain. Because holy shit that hurts!  It was the only one she could get to, and the vein ended up collapsing in the end.  As she went off to find someone who can handle hard picks really well the male friend who accompanied me to the hospital came over to reassure me.  All I could do was cry, cower, and hold my hands out. He understood. And he told me afterward that he was not offended.  I simply communicated my needs in the way that made best sense to me at the time.
I do the math the author talks about whenever something unexpected happens too Like bumps in the night, a dog’s tag jingling on the buckle of its collar, or the unlocking of a door. Is someone breaking in?   How did they get a key? Did I lock the door? Do I have the charlie bar in the track of the sliding glass door and the bedroom window?  Do I hear someone on my balcony?
I hate this about myself.  Because I know these men.  They will not harm me.  But they are male, and males I previously considered trustworthy were not.  So my damaged internal warning system flicks into Red Alert right away.  The vast majority of men in my life get it.
I am working on applying logic and reason to these situations.  It’s a Saturday night with the wind howling so I’m inundated with sounds I’m not familiar with.  I keep checking the slit in the curtains for people on my balcony.  It’s exhausting and terrifying, but it’s good practice.  Because the people whooping and shutting car doors aren’t going to jump onto my balcony.  They’re not going to break in. I’m safe.  And if I tell myself that enough times, maybe I’ll believe it.  Because it’s just the bar crowd; they want their cheap well drinks, not you. The winds are strong, so everything’s blowing around.  Sticks are hitting the windows.  It’s unlikely someone’s breaking in.

Now if you’ll pardon my abruptness, I will go and check the locks on my doors and verify that the charlie bars are in place.

“You Complete Me” and Other Lies I Tell Myself

Today I was miserable.  I slept deeply last night thanks to modern chemistry, but I slept very long and it was not terribly restful.

As I was laying in bed trying to just rest a thought crossed my mind: “if only I had someone to do things for for, I wouldn’t be so empty inside”.

Did that come from inside my head?  Mine?  Ms Spokesmodel for Independence since October 2012?

Yep.  It did.  It came from inside my head.  Which means I have a problem.  Well, I still have a problem.  Because this is an old problem for me: I jam whatever else I can in that empty space except what actually belongs in there.

I knew I had this hole, and I know I’m the only thing that can fill it.  But I’m afraid I’m going to stuff that hole with something else but me.  Why?  It’ll hurt less than filling it properly.  It’s easy for me to serve others.  I’ve been conditioned to do so since before I have memories to say for sure.  So I serve.  My religion at that point even reflected that.  I was encouraged to serve selflessly.  While I still think that’s a good idea in moderation, I never got the memo about taking care of oneself and how that’s essential.

In spite of this early conditioning I now know that I am the first one I need to serve.  I cannot pour from an empty cup, after all.  But I have been more comfortable trying to serve others than filling my own cup.  Or learning to fill my own cup.  There, that’s more accurate.  I’m still learning how to fill my own cup.

That’s where the lie of the other half comes in.  The mind abhors a vacuum, and will stuff anything at all in it.  Because my “cup” is empty, I need to fill it.  And the easy way is to fill it with another.  I did it when I was married.  In fact, that may be a reason I did marry.  It gave me purpose.  It gave me direction.  I was an empty cup, starving, and I filled myself with a husband.  With domestic responsibilities.  With his expectations of me. With dreams of a family of my own.  It was easier than filling the void with myself.  I was no one special, no one at all.  How did I deserve to have my own life?

I’m learning that I was wrong.  Very much wrong.  I was, and am, a decent and good person.  I do deserve my own life!  And say I wasn’t.  Say I was the shittiest person that ever lived. I still deserve my own life because everyone does.

Now that I’ve gotten this off my shoulders and out of my mind, I can keep on learning to fill myself with myself.  And maybe do it better than before.

Wait, “Body Retrieval”? That’s a Thing?

A Shaman friend of mine once mentioned that just as soul retrieval is possible, body retrieval is possible too.

I admit I laughed a little.  Okay, fine. More than a little!  Because I have a body.  It’s right here.  I’m using it to type this and I’m pretty sure I’ve had it my whole life thus far

Lindsy's Hand

See?  Body!

 

So I laughed, because it’s still there.  It didn’t go anywhere.

Except that’s not what body (or soul) loss is.  It took me a bit to figure it out.  I didn’t actually lose my body.  I cut myself off from certain aspects of it.  I still have access to the aspects needed to function.  I can type, I can walk, I can feed myself and go up and down the stairs.  But there are some that are terrifying to me, like being touched by people without warning.

And then there are others that just don’t register, like the pleasure of running my hand through my freshly-cleaned hair.  Like the absolute freedom of dancing stark naked in my living room to Janet Jackson’s “Together Again”.  I cut myself off from it.  Because it’s body-pleasure.

I’ve been on a vendetta against my body for about two decades now.  Ever since I realized that in our culture, and in my family, “fat”is anathema.  Anathema in the very biblical sense, where something is dedicated to evil and, thus, accursed.  The rape just encouraged me to double down on that vendetta because I blamed my body.

I blamed my body for a lot of reasons.  All of them good.  All of them horrible.  I am “fat” no matter what I do.  I came when I was raped. I have asthma.  My uterus is prolapsed.  So many more.  All of them good.  All of them horrible.

So I cut myself off from the “scary” parts.  My body was the enemy.  I am not my body.  I am a person who is driving a meat suit.  The meat suit is separate from “me”.  And I lived like that for a long time.

Then I realized that I’m not riding the meat suit; the meat suit and I are one.

At the time it was the way I chose to deal with a very serious problem, and it worked for a time.  Because all stop-gap measures work for a time.  It’s not working anymore.  Because I’ve split myself in two, and a house divided in that fashion makes every look at my uncovered body uncomfortable.

So now that I know, I’m working on “body retrieval”.  I need to get back what I tried to get rid of.