A three-peat of posts? Who do I think I am, the Chicago Bulls? Incredible!
(The Bulls won championships in 1991, 1992, and 1993, and again in 1996, 1997, and 1998 for those who didn’t quite get the poor joke I made. Thank you to those who found it humorous. And yes, I had to google my own joke.)
I just got done with my weekly therapy session and I felt the need to write, so I am doing so at the coffee shop close to home, and I’m sipping on chamomile tea and eating the best goddamn frosted sugar cookie I’ve had in a while. It’s crumbly and I’m sure some have fallen onto the keyboard, let alone the fact I’m typing with one slightly sticky hand now (from the cookie; gross, you guys. Grow up). This is why I can’t have nice things.
Tonight, I’m going to address something that I struggle with, and that is The V Word.
No, not “vagina,” although I like to joke that I could never be a lesbian because I am squeamish around other cunts. Bless anyone’s heart for dealing with these things. I thank you for your service.
No, sillies, I mean VULNERABILITY.
(Insert a great clap of thunder, terrifying lightning, and flickering electronic devices as the word is read.)
First of all, what is it? The dictionary defines it as such: vul·ner·a·ble–adjective; susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm. Synonyms include helpless, defenseless, powerless, impotent, weak, susceptible. Used in a sentence, “We were in vulnerable position.”
In general, I do not like to make myself feel any of the above. I am smart enough to realize I cannot prevent this from happening, but goddamn it if I don’t try. I do take issue with the word “weak,” though. I don’t find being vulnerable as being weak. It takes a great deal of courage to express yourself in a way as to be perceived as being vulnerable. Opening up and exposing the raw bits of you to other people is terrifying, which is why I don’t do it, or do it very rarely.
I never considered myself to be a controlling person, but with the amount of self-awareness I’ve been made to do over the last few months via therapy, I certainly can be! I recall a moment this last July when with two people I trust, one asked if they could drive since I had been doing all of it. I quickly said, “no!” And then followed up with “don’t take away the minimal amount of power I have!”
I can also be a bit of a control freak at work to an extent. I don’t like accepting help from coworkers unless I am forced to. I like to think I have shit under control most of the time, but will begrudgingly ask for assistance when it comes down to it.
I do most things by myself, as well. If I have a problem, yo, I’ll solve it, check out this hook while the DJ revolves it. I detest asking for help, although again, I will when I must. I won’t like it, but I’ll do it.
My dad was like this, too. When he was going through chemo and it really started to kick his ass, whenever we would go to his oncologist and she’d ask him how he was doing, knowing two weeks prior, he was puking his guts out, in pain, and leading a miserable existence, he’d smile and say he was doing okay.
“You’re not going to get a medal for pretending everything is OK when I know it hasn’t been, Dan,” she said to him one time. I started clapping and yelled “THANK YOU!” to her, because from my point of view, he was enduring so much but trying to act like it wasn’t a big deal. It’s cool, I got this…while breaking down crying at having me to see him in such a low state.
Sound familiar to anyone? Huh. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree.
I could probably think myself stupid as to why I am also this way, and believe me, I’ve tried. I think most of it comes from not wanting to bother anyone. I know that’s annoyingly cliche and the stereotypical reply, but truly y’all. We all have our own shit to deal with, why should I encumber you with my problems, as well? I shouldn’t, so I don’t.
And yet, by doing so, I inadvertently push people away and I sit and wonder, “gosh, where is everyone?” I never claimed to be smart.
Also, historically speaking, and it seems like I’m really ragging on the old husband a lot lately, and I totally am because fuck that guy, I became controlling and fearful of asking for help because I couldn’t rely on him for anything, from talking to me to knowing what the fuck to do if an appliance broke. His solution was to ignore it, which trickled down to me quite literally. If you ignore it, it goes away, right? Well, yes, which is why he’s my ex-husband. Ooh! Burn.
Tonight, Therapist and I were discussing what I do with my emotions when I have them. I know it seems like I don’t do anything with them, but that’s far from the truth. I just internalize the shit out of them, but not the way of suppressing them, but rather raging a battle in my head about what I feel. Pissed off? I will fucking rip you to shreds in my thoughts. I know I am angry, I understand why I am angry, and I do let myself be angry, but you’ll hardly know it, save the ultra-mature method of sulking and pouting. I don’t want to fly off the cuff at you in an outburst of fury and say shit I will regret and never can take back, so I stew in it. Then, I ruminate over it. I try to see the other person’s point of view and what happened that made me angry and try to understand them, if that makes sense in my jumbled wording.
You make me mad, I get mad, but then I try to empathize with you, saying stuff like, “well, it wasn’t meant to be taken that way, I’m just overreacting to the situation,” and in doing so, I calm myself down. In theory, it’s actually a great practice. It’s mindful as fuck, too. But it’s also counterproductive because my emotions and feelings are valid and real, so express those fuckers! But I get worried I’ll offend or say something awful, so I have the argument meant for two people in my mind like some sort of crazy person.
Therapist then said, “you have no trouble expressing yourself when you write.” There has nary been a truer statement uttered in all of mankind.
You know why I love to write, especially about shit like this?
Because I have control over every aspect of it. I can write what I feel and not have to deal with someone trying to get their two cents in, or getting me flustered, or talking over me to make their point. I can say what I want to say in the safety of my own space, I can stop and think for a few seconds before I type without having the conversation commandeered from me. I don’t have to make myself vulnerable to another person. I mean, writing is fucking amazing and I love it.
Some of you probably don’t love it as much as I do. Actually, there’s no “probably” about that. I know some of you hate that I can write so well about a variety of things, yet can’t open my gob in person.
I know I’ve been saying this for a while now, but I’m trying to work on it. In fact, my weekly homework assignment is to intentionally be open with someone in person. Oh my gooooodddddd. I recoiled in terror at that. But I’m willing to give it a shot. Lucky for me, most of you do not exhibit the same traits as the guy I used to be married to, so I take comfort in the fact that whomever I speak to won’t wander off to get stoned or stare blankly at the television while playing video games, so that’s nice for me.
Also, please let me say this: I know I’ve been running my ex through the fucking ringer, and I want to say that he really is a good guy. Truly, he is. He just happens to be a major component on my road to understanding myself better, so unfortunately, he’s getting his ass unknowingly kicked. Sorry, dude.
I hope this makes some modicum of sense, and I hope I used the word “modicum” properly.
I want the important people in my life to read this and gain some small amount of understanding. I want them to also know I am committed to resolving my problems. That’s one thing both Therapist and the psychologist I saw said in common: “Erin, you want so badly to get better.”
They’re right. I do want to, and I will some day. Not today, though.
As usual and always, thank you for reading.