Thursday, February 01, 2007


Walter called me today to see if I was still brooding about something that happened two days ago.

Are you still going over it? Is all he said. He knows me. He knows I get stuck in a place and refuse to move out of it. Even if it’s a painful bed of nettles.

I was not. Not about that, anyway. I talked about it incessantly for two days to whoever would listen and moved on. To something new.

I realize the one downfall of me painting for days on end is that while I’d like to think I’m letting my mind wander, I can easily get fixated on a single thing. I play it over and over again, having different conversations, imagining different outcomes. Some of it is healthy.

Some of it is not.

I want to run every option through my head so there will be no surprises. What is the worst thing that can happen? How will I protect myself?

For the first time, I am aware of doing it. It never occurred to me before why I had to have every angle covered. A deep, physical need to know where safety was- if I go to the party and I feel uncomfortable I will say I have to get up early and leave. Or the actual planning of appointments so I have real reason to leave- a dentist appointment so the time to mingle in an unfamiliar crowd would only be an hour. When I would visit my mother, I had to drive so I could leave anytime I needed. Airplanes were not acceptable. I would be in someone else’s hands for whatever period. The mere thought provoked panic.

I can remember sitting in the back of the closet, as a child, with the wool coats and stifling hot air. I wanted to be safe. The problem? I was claustrophobic. I couldn’t breathe and was too afraid to dash for the safety of the outdoors. I had planned poorly.

I don’t trust. I’m trying to heal these ancient wounds and the first step is to be aware of how it has made me move through life. I brood over every detail. I must plan carefully. I need to have control.

When I was young, there was no control. No stopping the demands. The urgent requests in strained voices.

Jeanine was deeply hurt tonight when I admitted I did not trust her. Not completely. She does not understand I don’t ever want to be caught in the closet again. She thinks it’s about her and what she can and cannot do.

It has nothing to do with her. It is about closing the wounds. Understanding no one can hurt me again.

I can try to explain, describe the scenes, say the words but she does not understand the level of fear I lived with. No one can understand, no matter how well written, or acted in a movie or painted, unless they have lived through it.

It is not an instinctive response. It is beyond the fright or flight. It is years of terror coating ever muscle in your body. There is nothing natural about it.

One more coat to do tomorrow. I am going to try and stop brooding.

Instead of staying in the closet, dreading my poor choices, I will imagine the glorious freedom of the dash outside.


Anonymous Casey said...

No one can understand that level of terror, or what it does to you, unless they experience it themselves.

Several years ago I was in a argument with my now ex, and it esclated into screaming and I had had enough. But it wouldn't stop, he woudln't stop. I remember being so absolutley scared and terrified and wanting to escape to anywhere safe. But of course I knew there was no escape and no where safe. I began to feel like I was reliving my childhood. Huddled in my bed listening to Mom and Dad fight or worse even, trying to escape Moms drunken 6 hour lectures. Then the oddest thing happened.

I felt myself getting small. Then I felt myself floating and I was watching this fight between the two of us from the ceiling, looking down on it all. From up there is wasn't scary. It was almost laughable, unreal.

Of course it didn't save me, to this day it was the single worse fight I ever expercienced. Later talking with my therapist and wondering about the floating part, she explained post tramatic stress syndome to me. She said that I had had an out of body experience. That I had post tramatic stress disorder.

Our childhood was so bad that we have the same disorder that soldiers get after years in combat. Wow, can you understand that?

Maybe now that we can talk about it there will be some healing.

1:31 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

Yes. Maybe now we can talk about it we can heal.

We are healing.

It's not easy.

But it's awful to go through life not trusting anyone.

5:12 PM  

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