Saturday, April 05, 2008

The refusal of suitors

The floods is threatening
My very life today
Gimme, gimme shelter
Or I'm gonna fade away

-Gimme Shelter, Rolling Stones

I was born during a flood, and I always wondered if that was symbolic of something. Water is a symbol of the unconscious. I have a powerful unconscious, but the thing about the unconscious is that you cannot control it. I stuff my feelings in there, and they come out in ways I don't understand. I feel like I'm trying to purify myself- let the floodgates of my unconscious open and wash over me without drowning.

Part of me is a very talented survivor. Some of the things I've done, without knowing why at the time, were critical to getting me where I wanted to be. Especially with my career, if I decide I want something it usually seems to work out, but always in unexpected ways. I could never plan out the good things that happen to me. I seem to have a talent for being at the right place at the right time. It's almost like someone, some higher power, is watching out for me, or some part of me has foresight that I'm not consciously aware of. On the other hand, I also seem to have a talent for making things difficult on myself. My move to Los Angeles is a perfect example.

Before I moved, I longed for a job where I was appreciated, paid fairly for my level of experience and education, and with co-workers that I liked and fitted in with. I also fantasized about writing a book, and having a supportive group of writers to give me feedback and encourage me. I have found both in L.A., and, unexpectedly, I've reconnected with something I really love, hockey, and in a much more satisfying way, because now I am playing hockey and I live in an NHL city with the most dedicated fans I've ever seen, and I get to be one of them. I never could have predicted that one. I miss my friends and my cousin in Seattle, but I have friends in L.A. that I adore, and some of my favorite times in L.A. have been with my cousin who lives here, and his family. I love this city, and I feel like a truly belong here.

The way I got here is so signature me making it hard on myself though- I hooked up with a guy who seemed sweet and supportive at first, but turned out to be angry, cruel, and mean as a junkyard dog. I moved in with him, and let him take his anger out on me for a number of months before I had enough. He insulted and belittled me, kind of like that part of myself that still does not believe in me. That part of me has focused in on my love life as the nexus of my self-destructiveness, so I can trust in my decisions and gut-instincts about my career and other areas of my life, but I have no confidence in my ability to make good choices about boys. That area of my life is so fraught with self-hatred, I feel like I should just stay as far away from it as possible until I can work out all the self-reproach and self-esteem issues.

My therapist chides me for using the phrase "work out". She says I'm giving myself the time and space I need to heal. I don't need to think of it as work. I think she's right in that there is part of me, maybe the same part that knows how to be successful in other areas of my life that knows exactly what I need to heal myself. I started writing this blog having no idea it would be a pivotal part of my quest for recovery from my life of abuse and tragedy. It just seemed like a good idea at the time. Somehow I find people who help me through this, who hold my hand and keep me from feeling lonely. They are the positive powers that pull me out of the negative waters of the abyss.

Sometimes I struggle with feeling angry that I had to go on this journey at all, angry at the people who put me here and left me with so many questions and unresolved feelings. I wonder who I would be and what my life would be like if I hadn't been so challenged. I sometimes think of myself as a twisted distortion of who I was supposed to be if I had been supported and loved, and hadn't lost the person who meant everything to me. I want to burn away those memories, those betrayals, and the knowledge that life can be so terrible. But I can't. And there are parts of me that are strong and insightful because of what I've been through. I would be a different person if I hadn't been through this, but there's no way to know who. I like who I am now (most of the time). I have things to write about. I can relate to other people's struggles. I like people who are like me- survivors who know about the dark sides of life but don't want to live in despair and self-ignorance.

Sadly, I have (temporarily) bid a fond farewell to my sexual self. She understands that it’s just too confusing for me to incorporate her into my life right now. I'd like to think she flew standby to Hawaii, and is now frolicking in the ocean in a teeny tiny bikini, and learning to hula. Then maybe she's go to San Francisco, make eyes at bike messengers, and dance in the clubs all night long wearing outfits that would get her written up on the internet. She'll be back, someday, with lots of exciting stories of her adventures. I will be happy to have her back.

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