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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
23rd-Jan-2014 11:39 am
There are a few things I skimmed over or didn't outright state in yesterday's post because it was very stream-of-consciousness and painful to write, so here are a few things unpacked.

The Thomases Moving Here
We started talking about this so early in the relationship that we didn't tell anyone simply because "it would sound crazy". Um. Well. I should listen to that voice. It did seem to be perfect: they have friends here, Lynne has family here, Adam and I would help care for Caitlin, Children's is a great hospital for Cait's condition and much closer than they are to their current hospital, they'd be able to have social lives. Lots of benefits for them. The benefit for Adam and I, of course, would be financial. Cutting our rent in half would cover that Judah-shaped budget hole, and we'd have money for Elayna's tuition without scrimping. So we've passed up a *lot* of opportunities over the past six months to keep that space in our house available to them. Even painted Judah's old room purple for Caitlin. We had so many plans; we even knew which art would go where, and where Michael's Doctor Who toy collection would go. Our future story was very detailed. Hence the shock.

The very first comment on that post hit an unspoken nail on the head: cbpotts said "...it gets you professionally, personally, financially, even maternally."


Anyone who's followed me for any length of time knows how deeply I love parenting, and what a shock to the system Elayna's departure has been. I was so looking forward to having a little girl in our home again. He called me her almost-stepmom a few times. I liked Cait from the moment I met her, and easily grew to love her. She's fond of me too, and was reportedly looking forward to me and Nicky (she's seen videos of him) being there in February after her surgery.

The loss of Cait hurts, too. Very, very much.

Model Rape Survivor
Survivors know this one. It is the idea that the model rape survivor should have a certain set of socially-acceptable reactions on their way to recovery, which should be totally linear and completed within a few months. Model rape survivors should not be angry. They should not have setbacks. They apparently shouldn't have anxiety over seeing their rapists at a con. (He wasn't there, as far as I know, but his roommate, who harassed me and a few friends last year, was.) And when triggered, they should magically be able to direct that to people other than the people who, unwittingly or not, triggered them.

All of this, of course, is some bullshit. There is no one true path. There is no cheat code. Yeah, that sucks. Yeah, I'm not perfect. I never claimed to be. I'm actually doing incredibly well on almost everything, by reasonable standards. But Judah basically re-sensitized my triggers. Which is a normal and expected thing. And after that one incident, I dismantled that; Michael and Lynne hit the same buttons repeatedly in future conversations and I remained totally calm. Which Michael refused to acknowledge even when pressed directly during the breakup call, but the good thing about a relationship conducted extensively in Gchat is that there's documentation of everything.

Yes, I leaned on him very heavily in June and July. But after Judah's stuff was gone from here and the legal balls were rolling, after I got my social life to where I wanted it, after I processed all of the post-Judah stuff, I was making great progress, and it became all about me supporting him - which, as I say, I didn't begrudge, as I love him, and I am a caregiver at heart, and he had helped me; why wouldn't I help him? But that one aberration, that one death throe of ridding my system of Judah, that one normal and expected thing, was A Bridge Too Far. Because I was supposed to be Good For Him at All Times, and those boundaries didn't allow for normal human emotion.

Four-hour phone calls
On chat last night, a friend pointed out something I'd left unsaid; I think many here know it, but it deserves to be highlighted. I am phone-phobic. It's a big stressy thing for me to even pick up a phone to schedule a doctor's appointment. Adam makes all the phone calls in this house, because he hates phones a little less than I do. Illogical, I know, but phobias are illogical. Pretty much all my friends know to text, not call, because I straight-up do not pick up the phone.

I tell you this so you'll understand that being on the phone for four hours a day is a) a big lifestyle modification and b) not one I would ever have requested. Is why his story of me eating his days holds no water. Anyone who knows me knows that there is no world in which those requests would have come from me.

Things I Won't Say
He's chosen to be publicly cruel. I won't.

You'll see that even now there are gaps in this narrative. That's because there are a lot of things that aren't my stuff to air, although they would explain a lot about their behavior. I'm very aware that Cait's surgery is next week, and the reactions some explanations would bring would hamper their ability to care for her.

My hope is that Michael will eventually get help; I'm not going to pull shit that would hamper that. I do love him and think that he can get better if he chooses to do so. And I am not the petty one here. The things I've spoken of are things that affect me directly and tie into other things in my year-plus of awfulness. I will explain things that will explain me. I won't get into their shit. And I won't swipe back at them.

We all have our choices to make after this. Mine, as always, is to be kind, even when I'm not getting kindness in return. Could I get into a vicious slapfight? Oh hell yes.

But that's not the person I want to be. And that's what's important now: making the choices I need to make to be the person I want to be.
(Deleted comment)
23rd-Jan-2014 05:24 pm (UTC)
Yeah. Past 18 months = lost three cats and my last grandparent, the Judah crap (which is multilayered), and a whole lot of other intense stuff, and now this.

(Also now you see why I was such a stressmonkey about getting on the phone with him the other night, yes?)

And hmm. I'm narrowing in on the person I want to be partially through a process of exclusion. I want to be kind, in this post's example.... I got there by "I don't want to be cruel" and "I don't want to be an asshole."

I want to continue to be radically honest. I want to continue setting and reinforcing my boundaries, because I'm better and healthier when I do that. I want to stop compromising.

One thing this has brought up: I was fighting to keep this relationship over the past few weeks after Lynne's tirade mostly, it seems, because I so feared change. Judah's shit took away a future I'd planned on. I built more plans with Michael and Lynne. I think I hung on in the face of evidence of toxicity because of the fear of having that future taken away, too. I had all my eggs in that basket. Had I been less afraid of such a massive change and less attached to thinning threads of potential "safety"... I can think back to a few times over the past weeks when I almost admitted that this wasn't working, but held on because I so needed that fairytale future story.

So I want to be less afraid of the unknown and better able to take it in stride.

This is an ongoing process! It seems silly, but I'm going to be doing The Desire Map in order to help me pinpoint what I want. Her Style Statement book really helped me clarify some things, so I hope that The Desire Map will do likewise.

The thing about being in constant externally-imposed crises is that one gets reactive. I'm taking this time to be proactive.
23rd-Jan-2014 06:02 pm (UTC)
All of this stuff: Judah, the Thomases - it is happening at the same time what is the most important relationship in your life (Elayna) is going through huge changes. It is like forest fires on top of an earthquake.

Being a mother anchors you. Being a mother to a small anchors you a LOT; spatially, responsibly, self-wise: you of all people know what it means to lose the ability to completely disappear, to complete reinvent yourself because you can not walk away from the baby - which is hard because you were born with walking feet.

So here you are, having been anchored now her whole life. Which is a big freaking chunk of your whole life. And now she is growing up and moving on and in our culture we don't even talk about that in terms of loss, pain, grief, grieving. That anchor has pulled up out of the sea bed and even though it is dangling underneath the boat, where exactly does it go now? A mother with a grown child is a new identity to you.

Of all of this, Caitlin would have gotten me too. Grown up lovers, let's be real, they're nice but ultimately they are replacable. But a child. Someone to love as Mommy. Someone who loves you as Mommy.

Christ, honey. You have grown so much, because with a pull like that it's hard not to put up with everything in order to have it. What we wouldn't give for another hit, you know what I'm saying?

But I have seen, and I expect to find, that the unanchored time you're in right now is a time that passes. The space between mother and daughter changes with time. And your models of this experience don't seem to have been wholly positive in this regard. But the change can be positive, and your anchor will rest again. In different soil, but no less secure than when Elayna was wee.

Fuck the forest fires. Give yourself time to ride out the earthquake. You are going to be fine.

As for model survivor, there are no prizes for surviving. No body does it better or worse. It's not a qualitative experience. It's a binary. You're breathing or you're dead, and you are breathing. You have won, and you keep on winning.

23rd-Jan-2014 06:05 pm (UTC)
Also, rereading this made me cry. I hope it did not make you cry. It was supposed to make you feel much better. This is one of my classic Intent Fails.
23rd-Jan-2014 06:45 pm (UTC)
Yes to all of this. *sigh*
23rd-Jan-2014 06:53 pm (UTC)
Have you read China Mieville at all? He has a book, I can't think of the name right now, that has a creature in it called an Anvac and there's a whole colony on floating ships/barges/etc and although I don't think most people would find it comforting in general, I think that maybe you might. I should send it to you.
23rd-Jan-2014 07:09 pm (UTC)
The Scar!
23rd-Jan-2014 08:52 pm (UTC)
Yeah I caught the phone thing. I'm not phobic, I just hate talking on the phone, so I can't imagine being pushed into talking that much on a nightly basis, let alone phobic on top of that.

23rd-Jan-2014 10:24 pm (UTC)
Adam got used to coming home and seeing me on the phone and giving a sympathetic look...

There are a few people I have a manageable level of comfort talking on the phone with, and Michael became one of them through sheer desensitization, but there's another reason I hate phones: mild hearing impairment. There's a "What? No, don't paraphrase; can you just repeat?" and "I didn't catch that?" factor there that doesn't exist over e-mail and chat, which are my preferred modes of communication.

It's worthy of note that both of them dumped me over the phone, in the environment where I was less capable and actively uncomfortable to start with. Which they both knew, and he especially knew because I'd mentioned it after her call.
24th-Jan-2014 02:02 am (UTC)
Yeah, after reading, not surprising on phone-dump. Rude.
25th-Jan-2014 02:27 pm (UTC)
Also no written record, and a different feeling re: immediacy
23rd-Jan-2014 11:44 pm (UTC)
You are a wonderful, gorgeous person and I am fuming on your behalf. We've never met in person, but I consider you a friend, and I don't much care for people who do things like this to my friends.
24th-Jan-2014 12:36 am (UTC)
I had forgotten about your phone phobia. 4 hour phone calls are ridiculous anyway but that brings it to a whole new level.
24th-Jan-2014 03:18 pm (UTC)
Being phone-phobic myself, I really hear you. People who insist on contact by phone who aren't my family (and even my octogenarian parents are lovely about my phone avoidance and do a fair amount of emailing) generally make me rant and pace and rant some more. Even Akycha and I don't talk on the phone much -- during the LDR part of our relationship, long ago, we spent most of our time on MUSHes together.

I think the last time I had a four-hour phone conversation, I was 18.

Also bravo for choosing the other path. It's easy to be publicly cruel on the internet. It's hard to take the other route (and sometimes it backfires even then *sigh*).
25th-Jan-2014 06:37 pm (UTC)
I am reading and listening and sending you love.

And hell yeah about making the choices you need to be the person you want to be. That has been the theme of the last few years of my life as well. The people who matter will want you to be that person too.
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