First of all, without church and just the feeling of being stuck, I feel even more distant/isolated. And, I’m an introvert and socially retarded as it is, so it is not like I have just knocked out 80% of my life and am now stuck at home. Other than not being able to go to the store because it is closed, and the church, my life really hasn’t changed. I still go to work. In fact, our company just let us all know that they are an essential business, so we are to report to work whatever the governor says. But I work second shift. There is one other second shift guy in the department and he stopped talking to me a year and a half ago. So I am pretty alone there. There are some folks I am friendly with, but, they either go home at the end of their shift (early) or the second shift supervisor gets nosey if he sees me talking to anyone. It’s pretty solitary, really. I work on cryptograms during lunch and breaks.
Ok, Wednesday. This is hard. Because I have already been fired by my last therapist and my first therapist wouldn’t even see me again when I tried to go back. I am really starting to think that if I complain at all about what is going on, then it is just me and there is something really wrong with me. If people who choose as a carreer to work with folks that have mental or emotional problems can’t even work with me…
I went in there and she asks the question, “So how are you doing with all this corona virus stuff?” So, I told her. I told her about Monday when the store was closed, and the time changed so that even if I was not on Mandatory over time, it would still be closed. So I went to the other store that is usually open 24/7 and it was closed and closes before I get off work too. I told her that I can only shop on the week end now, when all the people are there. She suggested before work. well, even if I didn’t run the farm and rush out the door every day to get to work on time, the food would have to sit in my car all day, and that’s ok in the winter, but it’s spring now, and we’ve seen 50 and even 60 degree outside temps. In the car (black) it is even warmer.
She seemed to just dismiss the whole of it as though I shouldn’t be upset about being inconvenienced. She knows I have asthma and diabetes, and heart problems. and shouldn’t be around a ton of people. And she tried to make the suggestion, could someone else shop for you? Nope. My dad had to get me a thermometer and zicam on Tuesday. She asked if he could shop for me. I am like, no way! He is late seventies and diabetic, with heart issues. And he can’t be bringing home stuff to my mom neither. I had tried to buy the stuff Tuesday after trying to vote and voting was cancelled. But there were too many people in Drug Mart and I would have been late for work.
So this is Wednesday. She didn’t try to figure out why it was such a problem for me, she just berated me for being frustrated. She went on and on talking and I sat there watching the time slip away, and that was making me more and more frustrated and less and less able to do anything to change it. Finally, with less than five minutes to go, I said that we spent all the time on something that really wasn’t that big of a deal for me (the coronavirus itself), because that isn’t bothering me. She asked, “Why, some passive method of suicide or what?” I don’t even know what I answered, but it must have been ok, because she left off that. I am not so much worried about getting the disease as carrying it to my parents. But if I get sick, I get sick. She had mentioned not letting this stuff depress me, I said, I am not going to let it depress me, I have better stuff to be depressed about. She asked what. But there was no time now, and I knew it.
Well, I mentioned my frustration with being expected to be strong, or being considered strong because of the sexual abuse. She let me go on for a minute, and then she jeered at me, “You are weak! You are weak! is that better?” I don’t know what I responded. I was going to my little place. She started laughing. Finally, I said something about her laughing at me. She said, no, she was laughing because she said stuff like that to people all the time. She changed tacts and said that she did feel strong for having survived and was proud that her attempts of suicide failed and that she came out of it and is on the other side.
She said that maybe I don’t feel that way now, but other people are just trying to be supportive, and maybe they are further along than I am.
Well, I left. And I thought a lot.
I thought about why I felt so angry about the stores closing so I can’t shop at night when it is empty and a lot easier (and safer) for me. And I come up with the feeling of powerlessness that drives me crazy. And the fact that the changes are just coming at me so fast. We had a meeting about the coronavirus on Friday (a week ago Friday), and then on Monday, then the stores closed up on Monday, and then they come out that we can’t vote on Tuesday at 10:30 PM Monday night. Before I can wrap my mind around a change, another comes at me, and another, and another.
I don’t like change. I suppose everyone faces changes differently. But I really avoid changes to the extent that it hurts me. I will stay in a crappy job because I don’t want to change. I will accept abusive treatment because I don’t want to change. Normally it is up to me to either stay with something that isn’t working, or to change it, and I generally stay with whatever isn’t working. When it isn’t up to me, like when Karen chucked me, or when the stores just close, or I have to do mandatory over time, I kind of lose my mind.
I have written about the being told I am strong stuff before, so I won’t belabor all of the stuff I thought about it. What came to me though is that I don’t feel heard when I am talking about how vulnerable I feel, how I want to feel protected and nurtured, how I feel needy, and people tell me how strong I am, I feel invalidated, unheard. It is so important for me to connect with folks and when they aren’t getting it at all… Yes, I would rather someone jeer “You are weak!” at me than to hear, kindly, “You are such a strong person.” If that is what I am actually saying. I know some of you have said, “I know you don’t feel like this right now, but I know that you are really very strong for feeling your emotions.” And that is really nice. Because it doesn’t just dismiss how I am feeling. I am heard.
When I was a kid, my mom was physically abusive to us. My sister, who was 2 years older than me, when she was nine or ten or eleven (we lived in the old house), my mom could slap her across the face and my sister would just stand there and look at her. I don’t know that I have ever seen my older sister cry. THAT’S FUCKING SAD!!!! But when my mom would hit me, I would bawl, when she was going to hit me, I would be afraid. That would set her off. She gave up with my sister, but she could still get through to me. If she was angry with me, I would cry and she would then pounce. To survive, I had to toughen up. Had to. “Never cry at work, they won’t take you seriously.” I shut down everything. So now I am strong. I can talk about being raped without a tear. I can talk about my brother telling me he doesn’t know what I was talking about and that he doesn’t think about me at all, without crying. I did not cry in Marley and me, Old Yeller, I am Legend — and that dog was related to some of mine, no she looked just like mine, the dog in K9 is related. But people think I am so strong because I do not show emotion. It’s the opposite.
I feel alive when I feel vulnerable, when I feel disappointed, when I feel sad, when I feel irritated. When I feel ANYTHING other than fear and depression and anger. This isn’t weakness. It isn’t strength. I don’t know that it is because others are further along than I am, though they may be, I think I am on my own schedule and part of being whole for me is embracing the vulnerability and the sadness and the feelings most of us don’t like to admit. Culturally, it is admirable and desired to be strong. For me, being strong is a denial of me in order to protect me. You can say, to admit and feel vulnerability is actually strong, I would have to agree. But to take a simple “you are strong” to mean that, well that’s hard to do.
So now what? I think Angela just had a really bad day, and maybe my bad day collided with her bad day, and we can work this out. Because the alternative is to change. And I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate change.
I’m sorry for being who I am.