I don’t know what the hangup is in my brain land about feeling okay, or feeling balanced, or middle of the road. I know how to navigate the extremes–I’ve lived most my life doing the electric slide back and forth between them.
But this sense of ease? It feels like a threat to me.
When I’m happy, or content, or serene, or sort of just existing, I find myself to be uninteresting. Boring. Like… I’m so accustomed to this IDEA I have of myself of an uber intellectual insightful chaotic hilarious unpredictable shit show that, when I’m feeling middle of the road and balanced, I’m like:
I’m seeing deeper layers of manipulation at play. Here’s what I mean.
If you ask how I’m doing, and I’m like, “Doing alright. You?” There’s no hook. There’s no cliff hanger or invitation… There’s no door to a deeper conversation. There’s no shock value.
I think I’ve thrived off of shock value my whole life.
Who am I without shock value? Who am I without the chaos or the drama or the need to “hook” a person with some super interesting story?
I don’t know, but I’m ready to find out.
I’m learning I don’t have to be perpetually interesting, or terminally unique. I don’t have to be the victim who needs everyone’s pity, and I also don’t have to be the hero posting profound life-changing stuff for people.
I don’t have to be anything. Or do anything.
And that’s really tough for me to swallow. Like, it’s in the process of integrating right now and I can feel myself fighting it, like a kid fighting a forkful of broccoli.
There’s a level of control and comfort in working as hard as I do. People commend me on how hard I work, how dedicated I am to my recovery and my spirituality and my wellness. But, as my boyfriend called me on: “I think you just work hard to create problems so you can work hard to solve them.”
And it’s true. I chase my tail. I keep myself busy (mostly in my mind, and rarely via action–which is a dangerous approach) so that I don’t experience life as it is right now.
My boyfriend is a pretty balanced, chill person. Spending time with him and experiencing what it’s like to be with someone who, like, actively embraces the present and lets go of the past… Is… Um…
I’m like, WAIT. YOU DON’T NEED ME TO FIX THINGS. OR CONTROL YOUR LIFE. OR TAKE CARE OF YOUR EMOTIONS?
YOU DON’T GET EASILY TRIGGERED AND YOU’RE OKAY TALKING ABOUT STUFF AS IT HAPPENS AND I CAN TRUST YOU?
YOU DON’T EXPECT ME TO DRESS UP SEXY OR BE PERFECTLY SHAVED OR TO PUT OUT NO MATTER WHAT?
WELL THEN WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU WANT ME HERE FOR?
And he’s like, I just want to be with you. No matter how you are. Just you, in this moment.
And my heart is like:
And my old beliefs all join together and are like:
He and I go through the above process about once every other week. After a week or so of not seeing him in person, I easily settle back into the energetic imprint of past relationships… And I become convinced that EVERYTHING HAS CHANGED AND HE EXPECTS ME TO BE SOMEONE I’M NOT AND AND…
And when I see him again I’m extra high strung and lost in the cat world of my head and have no idea what’s real and what’s not.
We will sit on the sofa… And it takes me some time to settle. He’s like, “What’s in that sweet brain of yours? Dare we open Pandora’s box?” And then I do it. And it’s like:
I have to dump my brain thoughts and crazy fears out–which seem to refill every couple weeks–and normally it’s a lot of
I AM TERRIFIED YOU WILL SEE THAT I’M HUMAN AND MESSY AND FREAK OUT AND LEAVE AND–I AM HIGH STRUNG, OKAY? I JUST AM. AND I LIKE TO TALK AND THINK AND TALK ABOUT THINKING AND THINK ABOUT TALKING AND I KNOW I CAN BE A LOT SOMETIMES AND I AM FREAKING OUT ABOUT NOTHING AND I DO THAT SOMETIMES AND I DON’T KNOW HOW TO STOP EXCEPT I DO BUT THEN SOMETIMES DON’T WANT TO.
(Most of the time when I’m talking, there’s actually nothing wrong. There’s nothing to share about. There’s nothing to discuss or hash out or work through.
It’s just this habit, of wanting to be working through a problem.)
And he listens intently and helps calm me down a bit, while also giving me space to self soothe. And pretty soon I settle into REALITY, which is that everything is good. It’s not bouncing off the walls awesome, and it’s not HOLY SHIT MY LIMBS ARE FALLING OFF bad. It’s just… good. And calm. And enjoyable.
And it’s okay to be in that.
It’s not a threat.
It was for most of my life… But it doesn’t have to be anymore.
Calm times used to be the calm before the storm. Silence meant someone close to me was about to explode. So, during calm and quiet times, I learned to clench all my muscles in preparation. I learned to be “on”.
Chaos around me? High pressure situations? I’m as calm as can be.
Calm waters? I’m panicking and having a meltdown about a scarf not matching my outfit.
So… It’s okay to feel okay. And I’m learning I don’t have to be clenched or constantly ready for the next threat. I can chill the fuck out, free of repercussions.