My friend has seen me with snot and tears running down my face and has sat quietly with me when I didn't have any words to say, all I had was a flood of heavy, deep emotions hitting me in waves. She has sat with me during the awful storms and helped me create a space to just feel what there was to feel and to ride it through to the other side. She has been my anchor to the present to help me remember those feelings are from the past and that I do not live in that past anymore.
Last night we were coordinating a get together when feelings I haven't felt in years hit me life a storm. I want SANCTUARY.
I feel like I have stepped back in time to the beginning of my divorce. The feelings are the same even though the circumstances are different. The things happening right now in my life have me standing on the shore with the storm swirling around me. In the craziness of my evening I felt like I had boarded the enemy ship and I couldn't for the life of me remember what word I needed to remember to ask for temporary safety. I had to text a friend well versed in movie quotes what word Elizabeth Swan used when captured by the pirates to ask for temporary protection from the Pirate Captain. My fabulously nerdy friend texted me back, "Parley"
I said it out loud when I read the text. I wanted to scream it to the heavens, but it was late and I have a neighbor upstairs who already hears too much of my drama. I need temporary protection emotionally and spiritually. Sanctuary and Parley are the words I will keep tasting today.
Last night I was tasting them with tears. The mix of emotions were anger, frustration, fear, feeling lost, feeling alone, feeling like I have to be strong. Too much is happening to show or feel the emotions. Too much is at stake for such weakness.
I texted my girlfriend that I needed sanctuary, that I was having a rough day and I really just wanted to come over and crawl into her bed and remember what safe felt like. This is how I felt in 2010 after telling my husband I wanted a divorce, I had to live with him for another 9 months because I had been out of the work force for 10 years. I had no income and no means to rent an apartment. To make matter worse, I had been home schooling our children for 5 of those years and had hoped to figure out how to continue that and work part time until we could transition them into school or until their dad and I could figure things out. I was waiting for the courts to come up with a financial plan that would help me get into a place of my own and help me get back into the workforce. It was delayed, and delayed again for 9 months.
Two days a week, the kids and I traveled 26 miles (both ways) from our remote little town up in the mountains back down into the town we had lived in two years previous where all of our friends lived and we would meet up with our home school group on one of the days to do the whole socialization thing and the second day was just me and my best friend and we spent half of the day doing art history, history and or science with the kids and then they would play for a bit. During the time that my ex and I were legally separated but physically still sharing a home, I spent many of those afternoons curled up in a ball in my best friends bed sleeping. I didn't feel at ease in my own home. My ex did not give me any space to be private, to relax, to breathe.
He hovered too close all of the time. Conversations were started, fights were started, heart break was started and there just wasn't any time when I didn't feel like I was being watched and observed. Sleep was damn near impossible. You can't sleep when you feel you are being watched. In the mornings when he left to go to work, he would lean in close to where my head was in my bed and whisper mean things mixed with garbled non-sense. I would just lay there eyes closed trying to not react to what he said, trying to pretend I was asleep. There was no relaxing, just torture.
When I would arrive at my friends house I would try to pretend all was well and normal. We would walk/run, teach the kids, eat lunch and I would walk up to her bedroom and lay down under her covers and I remember I would start crying from just the sheer knowledge that I was by myself and no one was watching or judging and I was safe. Towards the end I usually arrived at her house, walked in and couldn't stop the tears from flowing down my face.
I never felt comfortable crying around my ex-husband. Even when our marriage was in one of the really bad extended unemployment episodes, it just wasn't acceptable. If I was crying because I was stressed about how we were going to pay our bill, it made him feel really bad that he wasn't able to provide for us. Any negative emotions I felt, and felt in his presence added to the stress he was already under. Slowly, over a hand full of lay-offs and un-employments, I learned not to cry around him. I learned not to share my fears about what was happening or what was looming. It wasn't safe to feel.
My ex just didn't like to see me cry, and he sure as shit didn't ever cry. It reinforced the whole be tough, don't show weakness, don't make anyone around you uncomfortable. I am not sure I have mentioned this or not in any of my previous writing, but I am a crier. My emotions are and have been so surface level for my whole life. I cry easy and I cry often. I cry watching movies. I cry a lot when I write. To have lived 16 years with a partner who I could not cry in front of meant I was not being me in my relationship. I was told to not be myself, so that he could be comfortable when he came home. I had to save my crying for private time, when I sitting in my bath tub at night. Or when I curled up and slept with my children. Or blessedly daily when I talked to my sister on the phone Monday through Friday when my ex was out of town for travel for 10 of those years.
But during the "separation" I couldn't cry in my own home as that seemed to be a trigger to my ex that I was having a change or heart and then the all night conversations would start. During the entire 3 year divorce process, I couldn't cry in front of the kids as I was trying to be a grown up and not involve them. My ex would cry in front of them and they would comfort him because it was so awful to them that I was leaving him when he loved me so very much. I didn't feel I deserved to cry in front of my kids, because I chose to leave their dad. I chose to fuck their life up. I chose. You don't get to cry when you choose. It is only acceptable for you to cry if you are being left. No one likes to see you cry when you have made a choice & now you have to deal with the consequences. Acquaintances can be down right mean reminding you that you had it all, and you chose to throw it all away. I am very happy to note that I don't have the acquaintances in my life any more.
Fuck that, I hurt. I wanted to cry. I didn't choose to have an awful marriage. I didn't choose to realize that I made a mistake in who I chose as my life partner. Even though I realized I didn't want to be in an emotionally destructive and abusive relationship, I mourned the loss of my life. I mourned the loss of my children, because I knew my "choice" meant I would not get to kiss my kids and tuck them into bed every night. I mourned the loss of my home and security. I mourned the loss of me. I mourned a decade of unhappiness, ugliness, emptiness, emotional abuse, neglect and powerlessness. I felt like 90 percent of the weight inside me was pain, pure hurt and sorrow.
I feel a very similar swirl of emotions right now.
I am not in an abusive relationship, but none the less, I find my life swirling out of control. What I am feeling is my learned response to extreme stress. A small non-combat taste of PTSD. Although my head is quite certain we have served in combat for several tours in the past 4 years. My fight or flight has been damaged over the last decade. My head floods my body with the real deal of chemicals each time my ex attacks me through the courts. After 4 years, my body floods me when I get the nasty email from him too.
Don't show anyone what you are feeling because that adds to the stress they are feeling and makes them feel bad. Don't cry until you are alone, because they will see how weak you are. Basically, don't be. Don't be me. Be someone smarter, stronger, more composed, more in control.
I am back in a bad marriage and the marriage is with myself. I can hear my ex in my head. I can feel him in the tightness in my chest. I can feel his hands around my throat telling me to stop talking because I am not saying anything new, just endlessly rehashing the same shit. I can feel his glare as I will the tears to stay in my eyeballs and not fall onto my cheeks. And I can feel myself steel my shoulders back in response to the momentary feeling of emotion. I feel him watching me, judging me. Finding me unworthy and incapable.
I am just now beginning to recognize that this feeling is me being off course. This is what being unauthentic feels like. This swirling, sick to my stomach feeling is me having stepped back into a storm and having allowed myself to get off course again. This feeling is powerlessness.
Powerlessness over my finances, over my day to day choices, over what drama I get sucked in to, over what roof will be over my head. Financial and emotional duress. My not being able to comfortably take care of my family financially causes me extreme emotional stress.
I am begging my-self for Parley until I can create Sanctuary in my own life again.
I am looking for a new job to regain my financial power.
I am looking for Melissa again, to pull her back to shore. I am hoping she will seek sanctuary this time to heal.