I’ve touched on a lot to do with today’s topic, actually in a round about way through my writing.
When you deal with hard times and bad shit on a day to day basis for a long time, you learn to put up walls. You learn to protect yourself from anything outward coming in. You learn to make yourself safe, and not vulnerable to any outward influence. You learn to hide your true self away, and keep your feelings to yourself.
Day Eight: Share Something You Struggle With.
A friend recently told me I have “a lot of closed doors.” It made me think about what that phrase meant. . . And then this topic came up in the challenge.
I have this facade. I am hard as nails and nothing can phase me. I don’t cry publicly, I laugh off the bad shit, the crazy shit. I don’t dwell on the problem, I find the solution. In that way I am able to make the problem go away, make it no longer a problem. I do what needs done, and disregard any feelings I may have about it. In this way I am able to avoid the dwelling process.
This is how I initially dealt with the passing of my father. I broke. I broke when my brother called me, I was hysterical, I even blacked out for a moment. Through the cloud of my broken mental state, I heard Matthew urging Chase to go back in the bedroom. Matthew was only ten, Chase three. I heard my ten year old trying to care for my three year old and came to, and found myself standing in our apartment kitchen banging my head on a wall.
When I say that if it weren’t for my children I wouldn’t have survived the death of my father, I say that in the most literal sense.
It was then that I knew I had shit to do. I had to arrange for care for my children so I could get to my brother. I knew I had to make arrangements for dads funeral, figure out what to do with Aaron’s affairs. . . I began making a mental list and put my feelings aside. I had to.
It wasn’t until I had everything situated almost a year later – my father’s affairs in order, my brother situated in a new home – that I had time to really mourn. I had pockets of time when I could cry a little, but it was short lived – because I had shit to do that wasn’t gonna do itself. During this time I stopped any sort of socializing. I lost a lot of friends while I dealt with all that had to be done. I worked, I cared for my children, and helped brother with what he needed when he needed it. That as it. People didn’t understand that I was doing what needed to be done, and to continually hear people saying “I’m so sorry for your loss” reminded me I had lost someone, I had lost the only person who had ever understood me. . . And I wasn’t okay. It wasn’t until after everything was taken care of that I realized that in that first year I had also lost damn near everyone in my life that I thought would be there to hold me up when I needed it. Goes to show that when shit hits the fan, you find out who your true friends are.
This is a large example, but this is how I approach everything. If I take time to dwell on the situation, it overwhelms me and has the potential to undo me. So I take the logical approach and deal with it. After the problem is addressed, then and only then do I give myself the time to internalize and feel anything about the situation.
And I do it on my own. I don’t let on to anyone if I’m having a rough time. This isn’t something that was a new thing when dad passed. But it did reiterate what I already knew. When the going gets tough, there’s a select few that stick around to see the outcome.
So, everyone thinks I’m this cold, hard hearted bitch because I don’t show emotion about anything. Because I take the bull by the horns and deal with it. Because I have walls and closed doors and keep people at arms length.
I could innumerate all of the fucked up shit I’ve dealt with in my life, but I’ve covered a lot of it in other blog posts. So, you tell me – what choice have I had? If I dwelt on all of the bad and didn’t just go around fixing problems, where in the actual fuck do you think I would be? If I had leaned on someone and relied on someone other than my damn self to get me through it all. . . Where do you really think I would be?
Certainly not here.
What I struggle with is letting people see behind my cold facade. I can count on one hand the people I trust enough to know that side of me. The people who have seen me break, have seen me cry. . . The people who know that deep down inside, everything effects me.
It takes a long time for me to trust someone, anyone, enough to let them see the side of me that has feelings. And then they’ll only get glimpses, and it shocks the hell out of them.
I’m sure a psychologist would have a field day with me.
But in my opinion, I don’t need fixing.
If I tried to drown my problems with alcohol, or otherwise obliterate feelings by altering my mind, then maybe there’d be something to worry about.
Instead I write, and keep my circle small. I take the time I need to reflect on what bothers me in private, and I move on to the next ordeal, the next situation. Sure, I can imagine how a professional would think that’s unhealthy, to not deal with an emotion at the moment it’s felt, to push aside the feelings until I am alone. And maybe someday this process will backfire and I really will go batshit crazy.
But at the moment, and for every moment before now, it’s worked. I recognize what I do keeps people away.
But I’m okay with it, mostly.
I do worry that in time, when I’m old and all of the problems life presents to me on the regular are gone, I will be alone because I didn’t take the time to allow anyone to get close to me. And then. . . Will I be lonely? Or will I relish in the quiet and peace?
I suppose only time will tell.
I didn’t realize that these writing prompts were going to center around so much self discovery. I’m good with it. Everything happens for a reason, folks. Maybe I needed this self reflection in my life.