Thought Sketch #0008: What A Time To Be Alone
Thought Sketches are the long-form microblogging notes I would traditionally post to Facebook, Tumblr, etc. These thoughts are documented here as brief snippets of thought and contemplation, a public journal of my observations and insights, as I’m not really one for blogging or writing the way I’m “supposed” to.
I love What A Time To Be Alone so much, it's basically a chosen sacred (in the most secular sense) text. Sacred as in life-affirming and stay-the-course kind of guidance.
CW: sexual abuse, abuse
Things being shitty with Dr. D (my most recent lover, as of this thought sketch entry) turned out to be a very good - albeit painful - thing for me.
Can I tell y'all the truth about this man, though? He has his shortcomings, for sure - we all do - but I was wrong. He wasn't, actually, being cruel to me. I have just been so accustomed to being treated cruelly by people I'm intimate with - physically, emotionally - that I was looking for it and wanting it to be there. Because it was easier for me to figure out how to cope with being treated with cruelty than to cope with the discomfort of being vulnerable. He actually did arrive to my life, and has taken a step back from it, exactly the way I wanted to experience this type of scenario with: exceeding gentleness. Once I stopped looking for the inevitable shoe drop, I realised...no, beloved, this was messy. You are growing and it's messy. You also, unfortunately, accidentally gaslit him, but now's not the time to try to fix that 'cause you both need some space. But accountability is power. You might not be able to be accountable to him right now, but you can be to yourself.
D and I met shortly after - like, literally within days - of me accepting that I was physically violated and abused. Really letting my bones feel the weight of that, confronting the terror it still brings up every time I try to reach into the box my mind and body put all those memories into to keep them away from me so I wouldn't die. Bodies and minds are ingenious like that, you know, and trying to circumvent that brilliance isn't always the right choice as I've come to find out. I have spent so many years numbing myself to the gravity of that violence, it is the one thing I have consistently avoided in my writing, in my sharing, in my artmaking. I've been in therapy for two years and I spiraled the drain on it, with bits and pieces of rage and grief rising one after another, pulling me closer to myself and to accepting the scariest part of it all, which is that I was vulnerable. I was vulnerable, both by choice and by circumstance, and I had no control over any of it. There was no taking accountability for any of it. Nothing except surrendering to the fact that I was there, and it happened, and I need to clean up the mess it made. I described these feelings and realisations to some close confidants as follows: it's like standing on a train track, knowing the inevitable is speeding toward you and that you need to get out of the way, but you are so terrified you freeze. I thought I had to turn around and look at the train, knowing all the details of the thing barreling down the seemingly inevitable track at me, in order to avoid being killed by it. That's where I've been for the last 10 years, unable to turn around to see it because my body - in its genius - said absolutely the fuck we will not. But the truth is, I don't have to turn around to recognize the danger. I don't have to look at it. I just have to find the courage to step off the tracks.
I wanted a lover who would distract me from the intensity of having to do that with another intensity, a more pleasant and controllable type, to make it easier for me to process it all because sensory stuff is weird. I wanted enough distraction to cover me and hold me while I ran for my damn life away from feeling like I had to torture myself in order to get free. Someone who would exit my life with gentleness when I no longer needed the bandage and the blinders, who would also reflect back to me the person I am cultivating myself into and create space for me to recenter around. And...Dr. D did just that.
I used him without meaning to - I mean, we all use people without meaning to - but shit, that was some witchy woo on my part a little. The wish was granted and holy crap, it sucked. That's been hard for me to swallow because I was cruel to him, too, and lashed out in pain when he could have very easily told me to fuck myself but didn't. I was a bad guy for a moment, and yet, here I am. Not dead from it, despite every fear in the world that I am secretly awful and no one will ever want me around, and that if I admit I was a mean asshole well, cancel me and throw me in a dumpster, I'm trash. But that's not happening, because...responsibility. Heck, even he still wants me around, he just needs some space right now. Hopefully soon I'll be able to give this relationship the appropriate tending and accountability it deserves from me, to close it out or start fresh on a healthier note, whatever we need when that day comes. He may be a useless man, but he gave me a really beautiful gift, and for that, he is a useless man I have gratitude and affection for.
Do you know why I love this apartment so much? It reminds me of the home I've built for myself. *I* am the feeling of home that I have so desperately wanted all these years. Space to be, without the caveats or fuckery that comes with trying to be 'good'. I create the space for love to gather by being loving, kind, responsible + accountable, and I did it little by little, tender moment by tender moment, through honesty and discomfort. This apartment is a reminder that the nest is in being real as fuck with myself about where I am and what I need and who I am. That there's no such thing as too big or too much space, just not being respectful of others and refusing them space. People will find you where you are, and where you are will be enough, no matter what bullshit you're on. And the ones worth holding on to will tell you you're on some bullshit and encourage you to stop shooting yourself in the foot, and trying to defenestrate them when they're only trying to be kind to you. If you're really lucky and not a complete asshole, they might even hold your hand while you extract the bullet(s) from said feet, even though that's definitely *not* cute or pleasant.
Reading Chidera's book, this beautiful book, has been like reading the love letters I've been lowkey sending myself on some level of the metaverse. Reminders that I am enough and enough is also a journey and a process.
What a beautiful time to walk with myself, alone but no longer lonely.
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