Echoes Of The Past

I had other plans for this post, really I did, I’m just not there at the moment. Maybe I will be in a few days, but for now.

Last night was the first time in a while that I felt my body go numb and my stomach feel icy cold. As I read the words on the screen I felt my knee started to bob up and down: Doom and gloom, imminent catastrophe, the end of times.

It’s the first time in a while that I gave in to my mind, the first time that I had, in more layman’s terms,”gone to shit”. Up until this point I’ve been fairly resolute and yet just now, finally the cracks start to appear. Finally my resolve breaks and the ‘what if?’ thinking slips back in.

Maybe we won’t be okay.

And what if we’re not okay? What if it all goes wrong and soemething bad does happen and, and…

Before I know it, I’m on that downward spiral.

I know that downward spiral well, and I am very good at that downward spiral. It’s also why I now keep a spreadsheet of all of the other times that I’ve been on that downward spiral, so that I can try and climb my way back out of it when I do:

The EventWhat HappenedWhat I Thought Would HappenWhat Actually Happened
The Yugoslav WarsNato air strikesWe’d get bombedThe break-up of Yugoslavia
9/11War in AfghanistanWorld War ThreeOsama Bin Laden captured and killed
War on ISISRussia and the US started attacking ISISRussian &American jets would collide over Syria and start World War ThreeUS-Russia de-escalation hotline created, multinational cooperation on ISIS

That’s just a snapshot.

Yes, I admit it, I’m a catastrophic thinker. It comes with having an overly sensitive, overly imaginative brain, that much I am sure.

I’ve been this way since I was knee-high to a grasshopper.

Any time the media predicts doom and gloom, I get drawn into it. Sucked up into the vortex, I fall into the catastrophic thinking, the worst-case scnarios and the inevitability of it all. “Could happens” don’t exist in my brain, “would happen” and “will happen” is the only possible ouitcome, just you wait and see.

We’re all fucked.

But to date it never has, and even if things sometimes do get worse before they get better then I am left to swallow my pride when my “I told you so” doesn’t get to happen and those who predicted a (eventual) peaceful resolution get to have a go instead. It doesn’t sit easy with me, no, but I can at least accept it.

If they can at least accept my glaring daggers at them when I realise that I’m wrong again, of course.

Nobody likes being wrong, nobody, but we all get it wrong sometimes and we have to be able to accept it when we do. It’s as Alexander Pope said: To err is human; to forgive, divine.

I’ve been trying to be strong, and for the first time yesterday then I think I could finally admit that perhaps I wasn’t as strong as what I wanted to be. I wasn’t trying to put on a front exactly, so much as i was facing the facts: I have to be strong now. This isn’t about what I want to do anymore, it’s about what I have to do.

But I wished again that the world could be divided into good and bad, villains and heroes, nice and not nice. If life was that straight forward then it would be easy to hate him and then I wouldn’t feel as shitty and confused as what I currently do.

I’m not heartbroken, I think heartbroken is the wrong word for it. Heartbroken implies a sense of missing and longing and I’m not longing for the disrespect that he gave me. Frustrated and confused, maybe. I think those are better words for it.

Nothing hurt too much until the idea that he might be over me and with someone else already. That hurt, but then it also had to be okay. After all, I’ve been talking to other people, too.

But if he was just all bad then it would be easy for me to hate him and have done with it and move on. He wasn’t though, and for as often as he sometimes treated me in ways that no man wth any respect would treat a woman, he also had some redeemung qualities.

The last time I was all wrapped up in apocalpytic scenarios (thankyou, Joe Biden), he emailed me to tell me that things weren’t as bad as I thought they were, and even gave me a list of signs of hope in our world. He reminded me that ‘what if?’ is not a question I should ask, and ‘what is?’ is instead. That was meaningful and special, though I put a lot of weight on his word.

Probably too much weight; I was holding him to his word, trusting him, probably for the first time. I was trusting him and his word now with that one role that I know he so desperately wanted – to protect me.

But that one tiny time felt like something that we could work from. That one time felt like a glimmer of hope in something that felt so otherwise dark and hopeless.

It’s not that I always want protecting, I am quite capable, and I think that was something that used to bug me. I needed him to trust me, to let me lead my own life and make my own decisions for me. I needed him to lead me and protect me only when I wanted and needed him to, when I trusted him to. In all other ways, we had to trust in one another.

I had another demosntration of this last night, as I struggle to put the starry lights up in the bedroom window:

“Do you need a hand?” Matt asks.

“Maybe,” I reply “though I wouldn’t ask for it if I did.”

“Okay, do you want a hand?” he asks this time.

“No” I reply, I’m admittedly stubborn. Hey, I’m a Virgo, it’s what we do.

I nearly break myself several times whilst trying to get the lights up in the bedroom window, though I never, ever gave up.

Incidentally I’d once told my ex that he reminded me of my Dad, and it might have been why I found “us” so difficult sometimes. If he’s like my father and I’m like my mother, then we’re destined to make the same mistakes unless we’re willing and prepared to do something different. My parents loved one another deeply, but my mother’s deeply caring nature was drawn to my Dad’s anxious need to protect, and then my father’s need for control dripfed into my mother who lashed out and worried excessibely sbout my brother and I in return. Dad was a social worker with a highly stressful job, Dad used to love a drop of whiskey before bed and then he’d torment us and say hurtful things, which I suppose is why I’m so sensitive to “teasing” now. My parents also argued over everything because their commununication was in tatters, Dad would walk out because he couldn’t handle being wrong and Mum would walk out on other times because she was in a boiling rage and didn’t want to lash out at anyone. My brother and I were left wondering whether we were the real adults and making the adult decisions.

Mum misses Dad a lot, but she’s also an anxious driver now because he’d never let her drive before. She’s also wrecklessly making up for lost time by doing the things she never got to do while they were married.

So you see? Trust is everything in a relationship, but so too is respect and communication. Without those, you’re pretty screwed.

I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I’m perfect, I know I’m not, but what I will say is that it’s damned near impossible to communicate with someone honestly when you’re so afraid of what they’ll say or how they’ll behave. The antithesis of trust is fear, and that’s what I was feeling.

That’s also why I had to break free and try and rebuild myself.

How can I trust someone who reacts with anger? How can I trust someone who abandons me when the going gets tough, who leaves me not knowing where they are, and whether it was something I said or not?

It’s not that I didn’t love him, that I didn’t want to thank him, or worse, even that I hated him, I had to trust him and I couldn’t, not when I was so afraid.

What was the alternative to all of this? That I got into a heated argument รก la my parents? Another chance, knowing that he could unexpectedly abandon me without warning once again?

I know now that we probably wouldn’t have worked out anyway, and for as much as he wanted monogamy with me then I couldn’t give monogamy to him. I am polyamorous; I have two men in my life that I love with all my heart and I was open to a third. I can’t just cut them out to favour one, no way, that’s not fair. For a rational anarchist I also found his position there quite confusing, after all, what I do is a sort of anarchy, too.

It could have been fun, we could have had a lot of fun, but it is what it is and I respect his choices to walk away. It’s not necessarily that I want to be okay without him, it’s that I have to be okay without him now.

But that doesn’t mean that I’m getting away with losing myself into all of the doom and gloom.

“But-” I begin.

“No” Matt says firmly. JHe knows that my ‘but’ is often followed by a ‘what if?’ argument, and he’s having none of it. I’m quiet, still, reticient.

“One more ‘but’ and I’ll put taps on your butt” he warns, “want that?”

I look at him and shake my head.

“Then go and find something else to do-” he says, “that’s not reading the news!”

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