So, I’m sitting in my kitchen. I feel trapped. The sprinklers outside have filled the air with the smell of ant spray. My mom’s boyfriend has turned our living room into a movie room and they’ve been watching movies for hours. Loud movies. Sad movies. “What Dreams May Come” was last. I have the soundtrack on my ipod but I don’t need to see it.
I went shopping today. I spent too much money. I know that, but I didn’t know what to do. I managed to get to the social security office today to drop off some papers and was struck with “fear of life,” as Joe calls it. Fear of life is when I’m scared of everything and don’t know what to do. I’ve been extremely confused lately too and the mall was the closest safe place to me. I ate Chinese food, which gave me the stinky farts (who knew?), and shopped. And shopped some more. I thought long and hard before buying things. Did math. Put things on hold. I came away with 4 pairs of shoes, 2 pairs of slacks, an awesome shirt, a new glasses case, and a journal. A pink pearl necklace is now waiting for me on layaway.
Today I thought intently of a friend’s happiness. I will call that friend J. (No, not Joe and probably not anyone else I’ve represented with the letter J in the past.) I like J. He’s special to me. I’d like to be his girl. I’m not sure what he wants from me. He’s always busy and the time we spend together doesn’t involve much talking. Yesterday he said he’s having a rough time and today I spent my time intently thinking of his happiness, sending warmth and love his way.
I don’t have experience with relationships. But I know longing well. It has a strange life. The experts say when you feel the primal/caveman feeling of love or affection the accompanying action urge is to embrace. They also say our pattern of action urges changes based on life experiences. Through life I’ve learned that I need to stay away from what or whom I am drawn to because if I embrace or move toward they will hurt or leave me.
I know longing well. I know the desperate need to be held, the wanting nothing in the world more than for the other person to be safe, warm, comforted, happy. Spending every waking moment thinking, praying, trying to find ways to make their life better and quell my own pain at not being able to be near them. But I don’t want it to always be that way. I don’t think it has to be. And I think this person might not hate me for not staying away. But I don’t know how to do that. It’s like a blind person painting.
I know how to get through the pain of being alone.
I don’t know how to be with people.
I know how to distance or detach myself.
I don’t know how to be authentic. It’s scary. Terrifying.
But I’m being honest, authentic, with him. When I talk to him. Which is almost never. But I’m trying. I’m trying to be me. Trying to find that girl I left on a park bench somewhere years ago and bring her back to life. Reintegrate her into the community. For now she wanders and rocks and sings and talks to herself somewhat happily. Except when she’s scared or mad. Don’t make her mad.
I want to feel loved, whatever that is. I’m accustomed to wanting or loving people who don’t want or love me back, so it doesn’t take much to make my day. But it takes something.
So tonight I feel that longing with all of my soul to be held by this person. And my involuntary urge is to turn away, to shut down. But I don’t want to. I think he’s safe. But I don’t know what to do. What do people do instead of shut down that doesn’t cause the other person to leave? (pause) I want to do that.
When asked what I think love is my answer lies along the lines of finding someone to grow old with. According to my therapist I know more of parental love than romantic love. I’ve never seen what people call “love” in front of me. I lived with my mom growing up. None of my friends had happy couple parents. I don’t know what it looks like. I don’t know what it means. I do know, however, that I need to find out. And stop rambling.
Tonight I eat salsa that tastes like the smell of rubbing alcohol and spy on my mom who’s cuddled on the couch with her boyfriend watching a movie and write to an internet of strangers about my current inner struggle with learning how to love, how to be vulnerable. Seems a stretch, doesn’t it?
I have to go now. This moment of thought is fading and I feel really confused again. Thanks for listening. I’m grateful to have this outlet.
© Michelle Routhieaux 2012