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July 4, 2010

My Consciousness Streams in Realtime

Filed under: Uncategorized — thirdxlucky @ 4:58 pm

I’m sitting in the bar at the Walnut Brewery which, due to some fortunate fluke of geography, means I can connect to CU’s wireless network. I wonder if there’s a CU office building around here or something. It’s about 4:00 in the afternoon, and I’m drinking a beer and eating some Mac ‘n’ Cheese and watching it drizzle on the people sitting on the patio. Hopefully these clouds will clear up in time for the fireworks tonight.

4th of July is the perfect time to make some comments about patriotism, nationalism, identity, international politics and my mixed feelings about what it means to be an American. But I’m not going to, because that’s not what’s on my mind right now.

I’ve had a pretty intense day. Something happened in my house this morning that triggered me in a way I wasn’t expecting, and I freaked out and had to get out of there before I had a meltdown on any innocent bystanders. It seems I still have a lot of baggage around sex and sex-related trauma. Because I’ve made so much progress and done so much healing in the past year, it’s easy to think that I’m all better and to forget that I still need to be extra kid-glove careful with myself psychologically sometimes. I really wish I was over all of this, but I’m not. I’m not even sure what “all of this” I’m trying to get over is anymore. It might simply boil down to the fact that I’ve been raised in a rape culture – one in which the idea of even “normal” sexual relationships, especially between men and women, is rooted in an objectification-and-coercion-model – and that, for some reason I don’t understand, I’m intensely over-sensitive to it. If that’s what’s going on, recovery may literally take the rest of my life. I hope this isn’t the case. That would suck.

Anyway, the point is, I realized I was about to have a cataclysmic freakout, so I just left the house and got on a bus without telling anyone where I was going. This is kind of a shitty thing to do, because it makes people think you’re upset with them. On the other hand, I feel like it would be shitty to force anyone who hasn’t explicitly agreed to do it – much less people who have no idea what’s going on – to witness/help process the raw emotional toxic spew of a trauma reaction. Sometimes that happens and you can’t prevent it. (I remember one night, three or four years ago, dissolving into an absolute sobbing, shrieking trainwreck on Jackie’s lawn. August held me through it despite being scared, angry, hurt, confused and basically clueless as to why his usually obnoxiously-rational girlfriend was suddenly screaming and hitting things.) Still, if you can prevent it and know you’ll be okay, for fuck’s sake, do. Especially if said innocent bystanders were involved in what triggered you; it’s like trying to do couples therapy on your own intimate partnerships, or trying to be a friendly shoulder for your ex to cry on about your own break up with each other – it’s kind of a nice idea and understandably tempting because you’re so close, but it’s also a complex, emotionally entangled recipe for fucking disaster.

Here’s my other, far less altruistic, motivation for sudden bailing: Watching someone you love suffer is painful and sometimes scary. Especially if you don’t understand why they’re hurting or that it’s part of a healing process. Especially if you think they’re hurting because of something you did wrong. Problem is, at the tiniest sign of emotional distress from someone else, I will automatically kick over into Caretaker Mode and start taking care of them instead of myself. This is a bad habit, but it’s one that’s deeply ingrained from growing up with my emotionally eleven-year-old mother. So, sometimes, I just need to be selfishly solo in order to sort through my own shit. In fact, I really need to do this MORE often than I do. Otherwise, I put it on hold and don’t sort through it at all until, well, I get triggered by something unexpected and have a total meltdown. All over some unsuspecting innocent lover, friend, roommate. Hell. Trauma is a pain in the ass for everybody.

These are all new realizations for me. I mean, literally, I’d never articulated any of this stuff before I wrote it here, just now.

It’s a process.

Deep breath.

Man. What a fuckin’ day.

I’m going to go watch some gigantic explosions now.

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