Experiments

My shrink wants me working on specific aspects of my hypervigilance/empathy issues. Specifically she wants me doing woo woo shit trying to work on “creating a barrier that starts inside my spine and goes to the edge of my skin and holds me in without letting me contact other people”.

Woo woo shit.

But I’m GGG and I’m paying for her input on my life so I work on my assignments. It’s funny what I think about and notice when I do.

I notice the angry parents more than I notice the sad/upset people. Trying to “focus on myself” means I notice anger more. That’s kind of funny. I think I partially noticed that  because of a conversation I wrote about on the kid blog. My kid told me I was being average for yelling as much as I am at Disney World.

So I went to multiple theme parks without them (there was one roller coaster I wanted to ride and then that park closed so I went to the one that was open to eat) and I spent my time kind of looking around trying not to be impacted by peoples feelings.

I notice way more angry people than usual.

Want to know something funny about anger? I only notice situations that feel like they have probability to escalate as I’m walking around normally with my kids. I tune out the annoying yellers and ranters who just exist without impacting me. I just don’t notice them. When I’m trying not to emotionally connect with people I notice them and they bug the shit out of me.

Why are people so god damned mean?

(Small break to change the topic: ok, watching weather is way cooler on the east coast than it is on the west coast.)

It’s funny how I’m watching people act out the equivalent of that toddler HALT thing you are supposed to look for. (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Thirsty) Uhm, it just occurred to me that it is absolutely equally as important for all age groups… but I learned it for watching toddlers.

I’m telling you, I’m learning how to take care of myself by taking care of my kids. It’s a trip.

Anyway. The arguments and fights. Whoo. Just calm down everyone. Clearly I’m not the only one struggling with adjusting to the weather and the distance of walking here. I’m not going to recount the bickering I heard because it’s not central to my story.

I’m the main character here. Stay on topic.

I really and truly love having a space where I get to be the center. I don’t have much desire to “promote” my blog or sell ads to make money. I just want a place where I get to be self centered because I can’t really be in the rest of my life any more. Not if I want to have the life I want to have in thirty years.

I have to think about Noah. I have to think about my kids. I have to make decisions that will have all of us continue this fantastic privileged life we are leading. We are so ridiculously lucky.

I think about that as I spend a lot of money on presents for freaking everyone I know. Yeah. It’s gotten ridiculous.

I think it is funny how it is a mix of things that remind me of you and things that I think will delight you because it will remind you of me.

So so so so many books.

I can’t tell if I am trying to buy peoples love or if I just want to share this ridiculous privilege that I find I’ve stumbled upon. I didn’t earn it. I just… have it. I’m learning so many things. I really want to share.

Want to know my favorite part? I am buying presents for grown ups too, but mostly kids. The won’t care at all if I’m trying to buy their love. They will say, “That sounds great!”

And in the process I will also get to share what I’ve learned. Because they will love me and want to spend time around me. See, it works all the way around.

But it still feels bad. It feels like my mom trying to buy me off from noticing that my life was shit. It feels like trying to buy forgiveness for harm.

I don’t think I’ve harmed them. I really don’t. But I feel scared.

I could let fear keep me from sharing this awesome experience with the kids in my life in the best way I know how. But that seems kind of silly. Even if the best way I know how isn’t The Best Way How Ever it’s ok that I want to do it this way.

“This is why I thought of you when I saw this. This is the aspect of your personality I want to remind you is visible in the world.” My unspoken wish is that this talisman will work as a form of validation for you. I see you. You do matter. I can’t be with you all the time telling you that. Please take this and try to remember it on the dark days. I see you. You do matter.

Is that trying to buy love? I don’t understand gift cultures very well. What I grew up with was very distorted.

My mom overbought gifts because she was brought up Mennonite and poor and she wasn’t allowed to have things. Even when her family was fostering children and the foster children were given presents (to help them adjust) my mom wouldn’t be given presents. So my mom gave her children mountains of presents. By the time I came around it was stuff she has been buying all year long at $.25-$.99 at a time.

I have a lot of feelings about receiving gifts. Then I married Noah. His mom has gift giving issues of her own. We get a lot of stuff. Dealing with it has been an emotional journey.

Apparently Noah’s parents are very happy that we keep sending status updates about our journey to Texas. They are very happy that the kids are excited about visiting them.

I’ve written a lot of 10+ page letters that are probably kind of confusing talking about my background and why I’m not telling the kids negative stories about their grandparents and why I am telling the kids as much about their family as I know. “You get a blank slate with these kids. Whether or not you abused Noah is kind of moot. Don’t fuck this up. The well hasn’t been poisoned even if I don’t like you very much.”

I feel waves of horrifying guilt that I can’t curate this for my mother.

It’s different.

If my niece and nephew hadn’t both been sexually assaulted.

If I had managed to keep it from jumping down a generation. But I can’t do that. I can’t control their story. I wasn’t willing to stand next to them making sure nothing happened.

I get exactly two chances to do that this lifetime. It’s an incredible gift.

Thank you, Noah. I will never run out of gratitude for the fact that you are the reason I get to have this life.

I am watching the sun rise over the savanna as I sit on my balcony. The kids are still asleep.

I’m not sleeping here. I don’t think this is a proper queen bed. And I ran out of sleep aid. So I’m lucky if I catch 4-5 hours of sleep. Even with melatonin and pot. That forking sucks.

I miss Noah. I miss going to sleep without a wad of pills.

Human beings are social animals. It’s a well documented thing that some of the most successful marriages are those in which highly traumatized people have the opportunity to earn attachment.

I am really glad we did this trip. I will be really glad when it is over.

I’ll get to write about it for decades. I only have to live through it once.

I only have to be away from Noah for this long once.

It feels like trying to breathe without my left lung.

It feels like trying to go to sleep only I can’t because I lost Ted and I don’t have Noah and I feel so sad and like such a failure because I can’t even keep my teddy bear.

I can’t keep my mother. And I can’t keep a teddy bear. Clearly I do not deserve to live.

And that’s what keeps me up at night.

Sleep deprivation is known torture. I find that my inability to sleep goes in weird cycles with how safe I feel. The less safe I feel the less I sleep the less safe I feel in a terrible worsening cycle.

This is why I take handfuls of pills when I travel these days. Sleep isn’t optional. We leave the resort tomorrow. I’ll buy more. Driving will be fun before then.

We are spending the night in Miami tomorrow. I want to drive down to the Keys. I want to take pictures of the Everglades. We will have a king sized bed so I can sleep.

I’ve seen so many things. It is becoming kind of amazing to me. It’s not that I think I understand everything I’ve seen. I’m just saying that I have a significantly different impression of the field of botany than I used to have. I used to think plants were boring. I don’t any more.

I’ve seen too many kinds of fantastic plants. I’ve see such incredible growing techniques. I want to keep learning.

I hear my garden is missing me. Sniff. I miss you too baby. Next year will be great. ALL THE FERTILIZER! We’ll come back from this period. It’s ok. Eventually I’ll figure out automatic watering and you won’t have to suffer when I’m gone. I’m sorry.

You know what, Noah? I’m glad Puff didn’t have to spend her declining years dealing with snow. I’m glad she gets to enjoy the last of her life surrounded by sunshine most of the year. And yet she would be pissed here. She’s always pissy the one week we have horrible summer. She had a hard enough childhood with me. I’m glad she is so spoiled now.

I guess things are working out ok.

Today we are going to Typhoon Lagoon because it is the last park we haven’t been to. We’ve been here for like 18 days (minus travel time to/from NYC) and we still haven’t been to the last park. That’s a sign we’ve been resting a lot. Ahhhh. Wise choice.

I’m looking forward to the time on Vero Beach. Hurricane Joaquin means we shouldn’t spend a lot of time playing seriously on the water. Which means we might spend a lot of time sitting alternated with the kids running back and forth in the sand.

Sounds great.

The kids are really frustrated with being on resort property because there aren’t many places where it is appropriate to run.

We like to run everywhere. We don’t have good instincts around that. We spook animals with our sudden bursts of energy.

Good grief we are ridiculous.

Enh, we do fine as long as we move a lot during the day. We can sit. But we only choose to do so when focused on something we find interesting.

Is it really so bad? We are interested in a lot of things. The kids are progressing on skills. Why must it happen in an environment where they are forced to learn to sit all day whether they like it or not?

I just don’t get it. Ok. Wandering off. My arms burn like fire.

3 thoughts on “Experiments

  1. WendP

    I’m so sorry about your Ted. I have a similar sleeping item that’s still on my bed. I would miss it terribly if something happened to it.

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