Saturday, September 28, 2013

What AM I Running From? Part 2: The Next Revelation

A couple days ago I went to see some local herbalists. I have been feeling worse and worse, and when I saw them at the Tuesday market, Elizabeth looked worriedly at me and said, “You look exhausted.”

“I feel awful,” I said, and almost collapsed crying in her arms.

I’m not very good at admitting that I need help. In fact, it’s not all that strange that I made it to this point before I reached out: in the last week I’ve been to three doctors, had 2 rounds of blood tests done and have now spent two hours with two wonderful women who offer natural remedies, all in the week that I canceled every plan I had because I can barely stand up without getting dizzy.
Anyway. I am tired, and I went to Elizabeth and Diane because the first set of antibiotics the doctors gave me for an eye infection didn’t work; next I thought they had misdiagnosed a bladder infection (I’ve had enough to know that I don’t have the symptoms) and the second round of antibiotic eye drops didn’t seem to be working either.

We got through my 10 page medical questionnaire, looked back at my history of antibiotic use, candida issues, general overall health problems and lab results and it seemed clear to them that 1) my immune system is shot from too many antibiotics, hence the ear infections, sore throat, cough and pink eye in both eyes in the last two months that will not heal 2) I am dragging ass because of a thyroid issue and adrenal system exhaustion and 3) I’m physically suffering from emotionally working through a lifetime’s worth of bad habits, defense mechanisms and fear.

We talked for a long time. They applauded what I was already doing for myself – I’ve been religious about the candida diet for a month now, plus in general I know enough to be eating and drinking a lot of the right sort of things to help myself – and it somehow came up that I have a copper IUD.

“You should take it out,” said Diane.

“I can’t believe they still are putting those into people. The toxicity is definitely not helping your system,” said Elizabeth.

I’ve had the IUD for three years. Before I had the IUD, I really and truly had nightmares of being a single mother living in a one-room shack, trying to comfort a baby, thinking to myself “Oh my God, this is real, this is not a dream and I cannot wake up,” and having no idea who the father was, let alone how to get support from him.

Since I’ve had the IUD, I haven’t had a single dream like that. I also recently heard a horrible story about an illegal abortion in a third world country that did not allow them, and after all the research about being on hormonal birth control for too long and how it can increase your chance of cancer, the IUD seemed to be a good option when I got it: no more nightmares, no worries about needing Plan B, the effects of long term hormonal birth control, broken condoms or even thinking about abortions or the emotional repercussions of having one.

Let’s be honest here, shall we? I am not sexually active enough that these are even THAT big of a deal, but when you travel as much as I do, finding yourself in rural areas in Catholic countries, the last thing you want to worry about is whether the resources available to you if you make a bad decision in the States are too far away to help you now.

At any rate, we discussed my peace of mind, other options, and the general state of my health and how it could be helped by my poor body not having to deal with yet another foreign object.
And then I went home, exhausted, loaded myself up with the tinctures they gave me and went to bed.

At 6 a.m. the house alarm went off. I’m house sitting and had been warned this would happen for often no good reason, which is what this was. Nevertheless, nothing scares the bejesus out of you like being woken out of a dead sleep…or a good dream, like the one I had been having, but didn’t remember until later.

At 3 p.m. that same day I laid down on the couch and suddenly it came back to me: the dream I had been having when the alarm went off for no good reason. I was looking at a little girl with chubby cheeks, and she was looking up at me over the edge of a countertop. She was my daughter.
In the dream, I was totally and completely content, and she was beautiful. I remember thinking in the dream that I was surprised I didn’t have a boy (a psychic coworker in a previous job I had predicted I would have a boy) but otherwise I just watched myself be totally content and interact with this wonderful little girl that was mine.

At 3 p.m., this memory of the dream set off huge alarm bells, internal this time but just as piercing as the house alarm had been at 6 a.m. Despite my exhaustion, I suddenly wanted to leap up off the couch and find the nearest sugar (which, due to the candida cluster in my gut, I cannot eat if I want any chance of getting better anytime soon); I thought about if there was any alcohol in the house (ditto for alcohol); I got a huge knot in the middle of my chest and found myself close to crying.

I stopped and looked at all this. What was this feeling, and where had it come from? It was not the dream itself that had caused the panic, but the thought that came with it: this could be my life. I could be looking at my future: I could be happy.

Something screamed NO! and tried to shut a door. The panic grew worse. Then it came to me: if I had it, it could be taken away.

This is so cliché it’s almost embarrassing. It is such a heard-of realization to have that I have thought about it many times before and always dismissed it. Nah, that’s not me; I'm not afraid of any of that shit. I am introspective enough I would know, I thought: if I was afraid of letting others get close because if they got close that meant I would be torn apart if I lost them, I would know it by now.

But I didn’t. Not in the way that hit me then. It was like realizing I had only lived in half a house, completely ignoring and unaware of the wall that blocked me off from all the best parts, and then suddenly one day I walked straight into it and panicked at the thought that once I started incorporating all the things that were on the other side, I would never be the same again.

And that’s true. And suddenly, I also know it’s true that I have purposely lived in a way that kept me cut off because it was easiest, best, because it hurt the least. This is separate from my need for alone time and quiet; there are plenty of people who have that AND have other people in their lives. This is separate from the many friends I have, but it does have to do with how much I am willing to open up to them. This has been something that was kept separate from me, because the realization that I was holding myself hostage was too much to bear.

Another realization on top of this one toppled onto me, and it rolled me right off the couch to cry on the floor in a ball. It was my grandmother. Somehow it became clear that I had gotten this idea from her death. I was 14, and Nana went in for a fairly low-risk surgery to remove a small cancerous spot on her lung – she had already survived having 70 percent of her liver removed due to cancer, for crying out loud – got an infection in the hospital and died.

And I still miss her. I was her first grandchild, and I was special to her. She’s the first one I ever remember baking with; some of my most treasured possessions are her recipes, several of which I have memorized, two of which I put in both of my cookbooks; in fact, one of those cookbooks is dedicated to her.

I don’t remember being especially devastated when she died, but it seems this idea may have stemmed from there: the idea that all you love dearly will eventually be lost to you, and therefore it’s best not to love dearly at all. That, and a lesson learned through her that cemented that idea: two weeks after my uncle, my grandmother’s first born, graduated college, he was racing a car on a track, lost control, regained it and was on his way back into the race when he turned his head to look behind him and was decapitated by a guy-wire.

I don’t mean to be dramatic, but that is truly what happened. I have heard the story countless times from my dad, who tells it without much emotion – he was 16 at the time – but each and every time, unbidden, I have thought of my grandmother, and the pain of losing the first child you ever poured your heart into, before his time and at the prime of his life, in a nightmarish and unexpected way.

So you see, invisible audience? Somehow it was hardwired into me: somehow and some way I began to associate the best kind of connection, intimacy and love with the inevitable pain of loss, before the intimacy was even there.

When I look back on the people I have let myself be close to, specifically the men I have dated, I have always been thankful that they chose to leave me, because ultimately and in hindsight it was clear that they weren’t right for me. At the same time, I never saw any other options besides them: it’s not like men have been beating down the doors to date me my whole life. What I never really considered, however, was that perhaps I didn’t even see them: that they weren’t even on my radar, that I wasn’t on theirs, either, because something in them picked up on “deeply and unconsciously emotionally unavailable” and just moved on without a thought, and I intuited “is someone I deserve and will be happy with; could eventually crush me to lose” and unconsciously turned away.

Jesus this is exhausting. I cried loudly and hard for over an hour, mostly on the floor, when I had this revelation. And then I got into a bathtub with a cup of naturally sweetened hot chocolate and laid there until the water went cold.

To be honest, invisible audience, I have to wonder if this is powerful or interesting to anyone but me; if you've gotten to the point that I have, where you wonder why you're still reading, because it seems the layers will never end and the cascading tears will never stop. I wonder at my need to write out loud, and whether it will always feel this way.

I wonder all that, and yet I know that writing out loud is the answer for me; even if all the traffic on my blog is spam traffic, even if it seems redundant and ridiculous to write this out into the internet when it's part of an important internal process, it feels important nonetheless. And therefore, if you've made it this far, I will simply thank you for reading, and I will keep writing all the same...for my own peace of mind, my own needs, and my own capability to process what I keep dredging up from the depths. Maybe what I write is helpful to you, but most importantly, know that the fact that you're reading this, whether you ever reveal yourself or not, is important to me.

Love and revelatory kisses,

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