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Monthly Archives: January 2014

Emotional Cloud Storage

I have been thinking today about where emotions go. I think we all have seen or experienced that couple They are hot and heavy and passionate. They are “in love” and “soulmates.” (I have never had first hand experience of this but have witnessed it many times).

But then, a few weeks or months later; they split up. What happened? Maybe they weren’t really in love. But whatever intensity and passion they had was real. Where did that go?

Where does love go when it’s over? Or anger? Or sadness? Nothing lasts forever. And though I have known those last two emotions; I can feel them starting to leave.

It’s kind of like asking what happens when we die. Except we may never know where our emotions go. But we will all have a definite answer to what happens when we die. Someday.

I personally don’t believe anything happens when we die. We are just dead and gone. That thought doesn’t disturb me. I’m not afraid of it. I’ve thought about it enough to be comfortable with it.

But, for some reason, I like to think our emotions go somewhere when they leave us. I’m sure this is just me being uncharacteristically sentimental. Or maybe I am just being too literal. (Or maybe I just don’t get how emotions work).

I like to imagine all of our collective emotions are still out there somewhere. Like little pieces of our souls. Our emotions persist even when we have forgotten or outgrown them.

I like to imagine them hanging out with each other in a sort of cloud storage. (Which I do imagine as an actual, literal cloud).

I like to think my emotions have distinct personalities. Which leads me to believe that all emotions have them.

All of my emotions recognize that they once belonged to me. I am their creator. They don’t all like each other. Or me. But they can be cordial at parties if they have to be. They have genders. But the genders of my emotions are specific to me.

My anger is quiet and serious. He rarely smiles or goes out. He has some acquaintances. But they are mostly other people’s anger. He doesn’t really like being around them.

My shyness is very sweet and friendly, and surprisingly, not shy. She’s kind of the mother figure as she has been in the cloud longer than my other emotions. She has tried dating a little, but keeps going for the sadness types. And the relationships never last.

My sadness is very shy and funny. He’s tried to make friends with my anger, but my anger never laughs and he makes my sadness too insecure. So he hangs out with other people’s senses of humor. And they are all so bitter!

My emotional pain is severely morbidly obese and depressing to be around. She and my shyness are kind of friends. My pain doesn’t know why my shyness even bothers. Frankly, my shyness is just about over my pain’s attitude. But she is too nice to say so.

My fear is foreign. Nobody understands him and he is constantly frustrated by that. He’s kind of boring, honestly. So nobody bothers to try to understand him.

Possibly it is just me that feels this way and thinks these things. But I don’t really know. Does anyone else imagine their emotions this way? Are your emotions friends with each other too?

What If

I was talking with a friend yesterday. He and I were discussing why I sleep with a bat in the bed with me. And one in the bathroom while I shower. And one by my couch in the living room. And why I keep a taser on my night stand. And why I have a knife in my purse.

I need them to feel safe. Safety is my primary concern. I know I am getting better. For the past few nights I have even been able to fall asleep with the bat on the floor next to the bed instead of in the bed beside me (for the first time in over a year). And I even recently gave away the bat in the living room.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to give it all up. Especially the one in the bathroom. I hate taking a shower. I feel so vulnerable. I am naked. I can’t hear over the water running. I’m blind since I have to take my glasses off. But I am trying.

During the conversation, he asked if i would ever use my bat on him. I didn’t even hesitate or need to think about my response. Of course I would, if I had to. I would not hesitate to use them on anyone ever, if I felt I needed to.

We had a whole conversation about trust and violence and responding to abuse. And I told him that he hadn’t done anything abusive to me, yet. But that I thought he could.

He froze when I said that. I could feel him trying to process it.

I held my breath as I waited for an answer. I expected an angry outburst. I expected him to yell at me, or stop talking to me. I always expect the worst from people. I guess because that is what I usually get.

But he instead responded in a very calm and quiet tone. He was totally reassuring and understanding.

We spoke for a time about one of my favorite subjects. What if.

One of my exes used to say that I could hypothetical him to death. I love what ifs.

I told him that I had already thought about what I would do in almost any situation. I am always thinking about that. All the time. I never stop to relax. I feel like my brain works on multiple levels and one of those levels is always considering; what if.

And then we talked about that. And the more kind he was; the more adamant I became. I am the expert on my life. I know what I need to do to be/feel safe.

He never even argued with me. He just disagreed.

Later, I lay awake in bed. My heart pounding. I couldn’t understand why it was bothering me so much. Why was I so upset by our conversation?

And then I realized why. It had forced me to vocalize a feeling I hadn’t had to think about in a long time. I hadn’t even really known I had felt that way in the past. And I didn’t know I no longer felt that way until the words were out of my mouth.

The truth was, I wasn’t sure how I felt anymore. And that made me upset. I wanted to know how I felt. I wanted to take our conversation back. I wanted to suck all the words back in. But I couldn’t.

Instead I woke him up and explained it all to him.

Just admitting that I didn’t know how I felt anymore made me feel better. I still don’t know how I feel about that subject. But I will eventually. Maybe the next time someone asks me, it will just come out.

But he is right about something else too. I don’t need to sit around making myself decide how I feel.

My feelings will come to me. Just like they have been. I am always evolving. I am always learning. I am always tweaking and adjusting myself.

It’s how I came to be who I am. And it’s how I’ll come to be whoever I become.

Underweight

I realized today that I have had an eating disorder for 20 years. Not just that I had one, because I know I will always have disordered thoughts and feelings regarding food. But I was actively suffering from an eating disorder for the past 20 years.

And somehow everyone claims ignorance. Was I so good at hiding it? I don’t think so. People see what they want to see. All my puzzle pieces were on display if anyone had ever cared to piece them together. But I guess they never did.

I’m starting to worry about the long term health effects of being underweight. Of what starvation really did to me. I’m thinking about long term bone damage and osteoporosis. I’m worried I may have damaged my internal organs. My liver is probably already doomed from my heart medication.

I’m worried I’m going to have to stop blaming being cold all the time on the blood thinners I haven’t been on in almost 2 years. I’m worried I’m going to start blaming it on my eating disorders.

It’s probably to blame for some other health issues too. Like my sometimes dangerously low blood pressure. That isn’t completely the fault of my heart problems. I’m even starting to wonder if some of my heart problems were caused by my eating disorder.

I wonder about the long term issues my malnutrition caused on my developing mind and body. I denied myself the nutrients I needed to grow and be healthy for so long. I can’t help but wonder how I would have been had I not done that. Would I have been smarter? Happier? Better adjusted? Taller? (I hope not). But I guess I’ll never know.

Self Harm

I don’t know why, but lately I have been thinking a lot about self harm. Not in the way that I think about suicide. Thinking about suicide is soothing and abstract. It calms me down and feels like doing a brain teaser or a word puzzle.

But my thoughts of self harm are not like that. I’ll just be going about my day and a thought will seem to suddenly pop into my head. With an accompanying image.

For example: I was tweezing my eyebrows the other day. I had my face only a few inches from the mirror and found myself staring into my eye. I had the sudden, violent urge to plunge the tweezers into my own eye. Of course I didn’t. I put the tweezers down and walked away.

Then, yesterday, I was at work, walking with a pair of extremely sharp pointed scissors. As I was walking with them when I got this horrible, gory image of stabbing myself deep in the meaty tissue of my thigh.

These aren’t the only instances. Just the most recent ones. They are quite upsetting to me. I don’t know where they are coming from or why. I don’t know what is wrong with me.

I brought it up to my therapist and she compared it to my suicidal ideation, very dismissively. But I know this is totally different.

Expansion Set

I feel like, growing up in the throes of my anxieties and eating disorder, and borderline compulsive behavior; my world was so small.

The vast majority of my time was spent thinking about the small things. My attention was hyper-focused on the tiniest details of myself.

I spent hours exercising, tidying my room, making my bed, cleaning the house, cooking. I would cook for my sister or my family. Not for me. I still don’t cook much for me. I didn’t have many hobbies at that time. Reading, writing, cleaning, exercising, not eating.

It surprising how much time, energy, and thought went into not eating. And also into not thinking about not eating. Every fiber of my being, every ounce of my spare concentration was so narrowly focused.

And for what? I have nothing to show for all that effort. Years of my life that I could have spent on other things are gone. I could have gotten better before now if I had had the room in my brain to think about it. But I didn’t.

And maybe that is the point. Maybe my eating disorder saved me in a way. Maybe it saved me from being destroyed by what was happening to me. I couldn’t focus on all the abuse because I was too busy not eating.

It has taken me 20 years to stop thinking about not eating and start thinking about all that other stuff. 20 years later. Now that I am safe and emotionally mature enough to deal with all that.

It’s so strange to have the space in my head available to start thinking about other things. I feel like my own mind was confining me for so long.

And now I feel like I’ve let myself get away. Sometimes my brain comes back to that confinement. My mind is kind of obsessed with tying itself up.

But now that my mind has opened up wider than it ever has been before; I suddenly have room to consider the strangest thoughts that never occurred to me before.

I feel like my life is expanding. And it feels so good.

Detachment

It used to be that when I was kissing someone; I’d be so in my own head. It was distracting. And nothing ever felt real.

We would be making out, and then all of a sudden it would somehow lead to us having sex. And I could never understand how I’d gotten there. There was always this strange, dreamlike quality to it. It was like having an out of body experience.

I was so detached from myself and from what my body was experiencing that I rarely ever felt any pleasure. And I never felt anything mentally or emotionally. I felt like an inanimate object. Like a table or a rock.

Afterwards, I would feel nothing. Not happy, or sad, or satisfied. I didn’t want to cuddle. I felt nothing. I was always just blank.

I know I’ve spent most of my life feeling blank. But this was a different blankness. I keep toying with it in my mind and turning it over and over again.

I always detached from the experience so much that I barely consider what was happening to even be sex. I could never tell when things were transitioning from one phase to the next. I never made the conscious choice to have sex with those men. I just never stopped them from progressing to the next step.

And now I’ve finally had sex with someone that I actively chose. It didn’t feel like I was dreaming. I was right there, fully enjoying it. For the first time in my entire life.

Afterwards, I felt happy and satisfied. And I wanted to cuddle for the first time in my life. Unfortunately, I chose the wrong man to have sex with because he didn’t want to cuddle. But that really isn’t the point.

Next time, I am going to choose the right man. And have sex that I am fully present for and can completely enjoy. And I will actually feel something before, during, and after.

Endings

It is so easy for me to talk myself out of things. To over think. To over think myself out of things.

Either I’m not ready for a relationship or he isn’t right for me. But, honestly, if he was right for me, wouldn’t I be ready for a relationship? I do want one. But maybe I don’t want one right now. Or maybe I don’t want one with him.

I’ve never ended a relationship for not being “right.” It feels so weird to even consider. Like I don’t deserve to be so picky. Like I should just take what I can get.

Every guy I have ever dumped was because they were abusive or had committed some equally unforgivable action.

It’s so strange to just say ‘he wasn’t right for me.’ But I’m hoping as I get closer to that right person, I’ll find myself saying that more and more.

Someone doesn’t have to be a bad person to not be right for me.

But isn’t me making smarter dating choices going to make it harder for me to end things? The closer I get to getting it right, the more I’ll worry that I’m being too picky. And the more anxious I’ll feel about ending things.