White-Knuckled

I feel as though with one hand I’m clinging to the side of a cliff face with all my might, while the other hand holds an object that I truly believe I can’t live without.  The object is so heavy that if I don’t let it go, I’ll lose my grip on the cliff face.  If I let go, I’ll have both hands free to pull myself up and over, but I won’t have whatever that object is, and I TRULY feel like I can’t live without it.  I can’t see it, exactly, but I know it’s important.

The reality is that I know the object is the fucked-up coping mechanisms that I’ve used most of my life, and that the best thing to do would be to FUCKING LET IT GO and pull myself up and over the cliff’s edge onto safe ground.

And yet I hang on to it.  Sometimes it gets so heavy that my grip on the cliff face loosens, and I slide down.  Then I loosen my grip on the object so that I can focus on scrambling back up the cliff face with my other hand.  But as long as I hold the object, I don’t have enough power to get up and over the top.  I’m stuck there, clinging to the side of a vertical drop, until my grip loosens and I slide down again, only to scramble back up to where I started.

Two steps forward, two steps back. 

I’ve been thinking lately that I haven’t had anything to write about, but really, that’s not true.  I started this blog as a sort of journal so that I’d have to be accountable to something.  And then people started reading it, and THEN I started to find myself putting up that facade that I use in my daily life: “I’m FINE!  Everything’s FINE!  Just FINE!  Did I mention FINE?!  I’m SO!  MUCH!  BETTERthanksforasking!”

I like to think I’m not a people-pleaser, and in some ways that’s true.  But in other ways, I’m a SERIOUS people-pleaser.  So it’s not that I really haven’t had anything to write about, it’s more that I’ve fallen into the (old) pattern of telling everyone that I’m “FINE!”  There is a saying in the 12-step culture that goes something like, “FINE is an acronym for Fucked-up, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional” (or “Emotionally unstable,” depending on the version you hear).  It always cracks me up, because for me, it’s the God’s honest truth.  The more “FINE!” I am, the worse off I am in my head.

So I have to get back to writing about the hard stuff, “FINE” be damned.  I have to get back to DOING the hard stuff, and stop sabotaging myself every chance I get. 

I’m thinking of finding a therapist in LA.  I haven’t been to therapy in a long time, but I seem to be stuck at the moment.  I need to find some different coping mechanisms and figure out how to let the old ones go.  I’m not sure when exactly I’ll be able to start seeing a therapist (moving has put a serious crimp in my budget), so it might take a while, but since I seem to be able to keep my act together for a couple of months at a time, I figure I’ve got a grace period here.  If I’m just starting to get “back on track,” as it were, then I’ll need help sometime toward the end of July or August, and my finances will be more stable then.  I’ve read that other folks seem to have good luck with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), so I might give that another go, although I didn’t have great luck with it the first time around.  (Then again, I’m not sure I would have had great luck with ANYTHING at that point.)

I’ll also need to go back to the gym in the meantime.  I wrote the other day about being afraid to go back, but it isn’t really that I’m afraid of what people will say.  (Ok, I’m afraid of what people will say about “the fat girl who came and then quit and is coming again.”)  But mostly I’m afraid of change.  I’m afraid that if I change, I’ll let go of that object that I’m holding with one hand, and I REALLY NEED IT.  I *don’t* actually need it, of course, but I FEEL like I do.  I heard someone once say that the reason that change is scary is because our egos (in the Freudian sense, not the self-esteem sense)  can’t tell the difference between transformation and annihilation.  So anything that threatens the status quo is seen as dangerous and scary, and our egos fight to maintain the status quo, no matter how fucked-up the it is.  So the idea of letting go of that object, of the maladaptive coping mechanisms I use, is terrifying.  (I just reread that bit.  I promise to stop abusing commas so thoroughly.  Maybe.)

ANYWAY.

That’s where I’m at.  (Man, I stop abusing commas and start abusing . . . what?  Participles?  Something like that.)  I also think I’m going to add a page to the blog up top.  A Progress page or something like that, which will not be so much about “Before” (with a sad, bare face) and and “After” (with a smiling, perfectly made-up face), because HELLO, I AM NOT A “BEFORE” PICTURE (can I get that on a t-shirt?) but more about the literal progess.  As in, “here are the things I am working on today.”  So if you want the truly boring minutiae, you can click over there.  I’ll still keep posting here M,W,F (well, except when I jack up my own schedule and post T and Th instead).

That is all.

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11 responses to “White-Knuckled

  1. It seems that there’s always this discomfort that goes along with growing and progressing. Some people never face and deal with it, thus stay stuck in ruts. Good luck, having the courage to deal with this stuff is half the battle.

  2. I really feel where you are at today. Why is it that obvious things are so difficult? “Let go” sure sounds like a great idea, but how do you do it?

    (I always abuse commas, but I make sure to abuse semi-colons and colons too. And periods.)

    Keep writing it out. You may feel like your stuck in a rut, but you’re doing a lot and changing at least as far as I can tell.

  3. Ah that cursed “public face”! I so know what you mean. Sometimes you just want to answer, “Nope. Not fine. Not at all. What do you want to do about it?” I haven’t tried that yet tho… stupid social conventions.

    And I’m all about the therapy! Seriously, I think everyone should be in therapy. Love it.

    PS> Nobody’s judging you at the gym, really! 99% of are too focused on our own exercise and insecurities to take a second glance at you. And the tiny 1% that are actually rude enough to judge? Well, they’re the kind of people that bitch-slapped by karma so they’ll get theirs;) Just go – you need the endorphins!

    PPS> Thanks for your comment today! It was nice to have an “insider” perspective!

  4. I’m at a loss except for this sentence right here (I mean <—- THAT one back <—- there).

  5. Want to get together sometime soon? We can kvetch in person…

  6. Sounds really frustrating but it also sounds like you’re trying to DEAL with things in a really honest and productive way.

    And yeah, it does sound like a really good time for therapy to help sort things out!

  7. You should stop abusing those commas and go beat up a gerund or two. That would make you feel better.

    (Don’t you love how easy it is to give advice on how to deal with someone else’s frustrations? I wish it were that easy to make yourself feel better. Though some of those gerunds really are annoying. Just saying.)

    The nice thing about cycling to work is that even though every single driver who passes me can see my (oh so lovely) body, the helmet and sunglasses provide a disguise so they don’t recognize me. Maybe you could wear dark glasses to the gym?

  8. Hey old friend! just stopping by to say hello. Will be reading through your blog 2 catch up and find out what you’ve been up to. Take care,
    K.

  9. I can relate to this post SO MUCH. Your analogy about letting go really resonated with me. And I love the definition of “fine”…never heard that before, but it is so true.

    I have often felt the same way, that I just can’t live without my coping mechanisms; that as much as I know they hurt me, sometimes I feel like it’s all I know and as much as they pain me, I also CRAVE the comfort they bring. It’s so exhausting to think that I could possibly be dealing with this tug-of-war my entire life, although I pray that isn’t the case.

    I hope you are finding some comfort tonight in something that allows you to care for yourself. You aren’t alone.

  10. thinking about you.
    checking back in.
    how are things now? did you find/decide on a therapist?
    thoughts on the gym?

    your mom seems so FREAKIN supportive—could you lean on her for a bit?

    Carla

  11. Julie, I know, right? It’d be nice if growing were easier, LOL.

    Thanks, Nicole. I’m working on it, although some days I feel like I’m just rehasing old shit, you know?

    Charlotte, you crack me up! See, now I’m tempted to tell the next person that I’m not fine at all! Ha!

    POD, that made me laugh. Thanks for commenting, even though you were at a loss for words! 😉

    Emily, YES. I sent you an email.

    Crabby, the only thing I have to be careful of is that sometimes the “dealing with it” can for me become another way to hide. That sounds weird, but I can ruminate over something for so long that I never actually DO anything about it. I guess I’m frustrated because that’s kind of how I’m feeling now. Does that sort of make sense?

    *giggle* Merry, I just might try the dark glasses. Although I’m afraid they’ll slip down my nose when I run! LOL!

    Hey, K, how’s life treating you? Long time, no see, chickie! Glad to see you around again. 🙂

    Thanks, Sarah. Sometimes it helps just to know I’m not the only one. *hugs*

    Hey Miz – I probably won’t be able to really track down a therapist until after I move in July: I just don’t have the cash for it right now. And I haven’t been back to the gym, although I’ve started slowly going to bed earlier (so that I can get up early enough to go). As for mom . . . her dad isn’t in the greatest shape right now, so she’s pretty tapped out. We lean on each other, but I can’t take too much of her right now; she’s having a hard time just caring for herself.

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