Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Context is Everything

So recently I wrote vaguely about life coming unraveled and how we are constantly having to make and remake our  lives and how if we think about it, the process is elemental. Eventually we’ll all be released to our literal elemental selves and then be reconfigured into new life, which to me is the most holy and beautiful idea of all time. I get a lot of solace out of that thought.

And so, while I was thinking about life and unraveling I was thinking, what lead to my decision to tear out all the stitches of my adult life? I mean, Huh? WTF?

And so I’m gonna give you the straight story. Or at least the straightest story I can. I’m not really a straight person, I see the whole world as a whorl, spirals, loops, circles.


For my entire life, I was incongruous. I felt out of context.



Let me try again. 

I was fractured. I was broken into pieces. I never felt like I had context, I never felt like I was constant. Every day I’d wake up and think, who do I have to be today? Maybe yesterday I met a friend on the street and we chatted easily and I seemed engaged and we seemed to connect as people, but inside, I was not really there. So the next day if I ran into the same friend on the street, I might just nod or wave awkwardly because the person I was yesterday isn’t the person I am today.
I would engage with people but have no recollection of what we did or what was said. Every time I’d meet with people, even good friends, I would fret about the interaction. I wasn’t sure I could be consistent, I was always worried  that people would notice I was never the same person from one interaction to the next or sometimes from one minute to the next. I worried about this with everyone, from my spouse to my friends and everyone in between. Family even 

The only constant was the gnawing sense that I was lacking.

I don’t think most people feel this way. I think Jeremiah Sniffnugget-Worthslothford  goes to bed knowing who he is and wakes up feeling like the same guy. I think most people probably think of who they were as children and see who who they’ve become as an adult and are able to see a pattern of how they got from small human to large human. Most people have a core self.

Like a lot of people who experienced trauma as children, I did not have a core. I was just pieces rattling around in a body.

I made all of my life choices while unaware of my capacity to have a unified Self, all the decisions I made I made from the perspective a person with no history, no context.

I grew up in a home where it was dangerous to be a person so I became blank, re-configuring my outward persona moment to moment based on what I thought would keep me safe, and I did this all without knowing I was doing it.

I wasn’t until fairly recently that I started going to a therapist who uses EMDR, a technique that has helped me immeasurably but that I don’t feel like describing right now. You can look it up if you like, or I’ll write about it later and fill you in. It’s interesting.

Anyway, the thing is, it wasn’t until just a few weeks ago I actually felt like most of the pieces of my self were in their proper place. I actually felt like something fell into place. It was a physical sensation, and I thought, OH. Hello. I’m here.  

It was stunning. I was stunned. I felt the pieces fuse together. I don’t think I’m totally put back together, but it’s sort of like having 490 pieces of a 500 piece puzzle. There are enough pieces that I can see the whole picture.  

I haven’t been a cohesive human since I was very very small. So for the first time in 48 years, most of me is in place, and it’s weird. Good. But weird. Good and weird.

Good because I still have 30 years (hopefully) or so to live as a mostly whole person. But weird because I’m looking at all the choices I made when I was not whole and I’m thinking, Oh no. Some of this is wrong. I made huge mistakes. I did the best I could but I made so many choices based on the experiences and needs of a broken person. 

One of the things I know I got RIGHT, 100% right, is having my kids. Because my kids are the best people I know and I adore them and if I had to endure a horrible childhood again and endure years of depression and anxiety to guarantee that I had the same kids again, I would. I would do it all again. Because those kids are 100% right. No doubts, no regrets.

But some of the other stuff, it’s not working now. I find that life looks different when you lead with your strengths instead of your fears. 

So far, life as a mostly whole person is still hard. My heart constantly feels like it’s either overfull or breaking but what’s different is that now, most of the time, I don’t feel like I’m going to die, I don’t feel like a fraud. I wake up and go to bed feeling like the same human being. And best of all, when I’m with people, it’s a joy to be there with them. I'm there with them. We're together. It's amazing. 

This is totally new. It makes me a little giddy actually.  I know I'm a person and I know where I am. I'm here. Helloo. Hi. Hey there. I'm here. 

Thanks for reading.

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