Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Big Therapy Project, Week Two: Ache and Gentle Progress

Heartwise, I’m still missing the Mysteries very much, and I probably will for a long time. I hope to never mix star-crossed love with internet-addiction again—I keep wanting to hurl my now-retweet-notification-less phone out the window for making me so lonesome for them. But I’m starting to forgive myself for taking comfort in a thing that didn’t make sense, because it also DID make sense. I wish I were still writing and receiving those “I love yous,” and now, in calm and quiet heartache, I still know I really meant them, so maybe somehow they did too.

I’m not really sure if I can go on identifying as poly, not because I don’t love a whole bunch of people at once but because I keep not asserting my real needs because I end up feeling guilty and ashamed of emotions and reactions that don’t seem poly enough. I keep pushing myself to accept more metamours than I can manage because not to do so doesn’t seem compersiony enough or something, and I try to power through and understand jealousy instead of recognizing it as the warning sign that it is for me. I should be able to identify and avoid things that don’t make me feel safe or cared for, but instead I try to process, change, and adapt to them lest I should not seem loving or understanding enough. When I type it out, those seem more like problems with my own boundary drawing than with poly, but I still don’t ever want to feel that nothing-feeling that I felt last Thursday night again, and I don’t know if there’s a way to avoid it in the poly world as I keep finding it. Relationships are a ways off for me anyway, so we’ll see.

Anyway, mental health: After last Thursday’s panic attack at school, my therapist made an extra house call Friday evening. By the time she got there I was in a pretty giddy state from being back in real life, but I had really worried myself the day before, so for the first time in my entire life, I broached the topic of being medicated. I wondered aloud if I should have an as-needed prescription for panicky times, but knowing how important it’s always been to me to not be medicated, she said it’s not necessary, that things aren’t serious enough to start messing around with my brain chemistry. I felt very validated, relieved and proud about that. (However, I threw a bottle of Tylenol in my work pocketbook—it’s been proven to ease existential despair, so maybe it works for temporary soul death too.)

Yesterday at work, another momentous mind-thing happened. I happened to witness something particularly ugly and triggering (in an inner-city school, this is a semi-weekly reality) and I didn’t scream or cry and my soul didn’t flee. I notified the proper people and teams and stopped downstairs after school to talk to my mentor about it. As we talked, I felt the experience physically leave my brain, like a little pain-butterfly. That doesn’t mean that it wasn’t an important or upsetting event, but if I could not carry around every scary thing that happens in my body, that would be a very good thing.

The Big Therapy Project is to start a dialogue with my 16-year-old self, and I wasn’t sure if she’d talk to me. Last week, she showed up in a dream, surly and sniping, in the guise of an old not-quite-metamour. She said I’d never given her any reason to trust me and then completely shut me out, so I’ve been asking her all week what I could do to help her feel safer. Somewhat unsurprisingly, she asked for privacy. She liked what The Puncher’s Girl said to me the last time I was at the Regular Dungeon: “Let me get your clothes, you don’t need to be any more vulnerable.”

And since I’m finally making her a priority, keeping her from slipping through the cracks, no longer putting her at the bottom of the pile, now that she is my highest and deepest priority, I have to take care of her and do what she asked for. This is a pants-on operation for a while (except Mr. Sweetface, whom she likes) until she feels safe again. I un-RSVPed from some nakedy things as an act of love for her. I don’t know how long it will be, but I do know that it will be worth it.

16-year-old me is deeper and wiser than adult me in some ways, she’s even optimistic. As awesome as she was at the art of the zipless fuck, she’s the one who believes in sex for love and she would really like me to keep trying for it. Maybe it was that summer writing letters to that nice Catholic boy, or maybe she’s just where the heart part of me lives. After I spent about 45 minutes writing a conversation with her, I felt spent and warm, the way I did that weekend at the Big Poly Conference. I slept better than I had in a long time. If I can keep turning my attention to my own heart until it’s healed, I believe I can get better and be closer to the loving person I really want to be.

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