Friday, January 20, 2012

In the ball pit

I do this thing where I start thinking - really thinking - about something that's important: Have you noticed this about yourself?  Is there a reason why you have to run your mouth like that/act so awkward around new people/ be unbelievably cranky for no good reason?  And as soon as the truth about the thing starts rushing at me - as soon as I'm starting to get to the meat of the issue, or when it starts to sort of click in my head that this is not a unique occurrence, that I sometimes act like this and maybe it is a pattern... well, when the truth starts rushing at me, I start rushing away.  Is there anybody who needs tending or talking to, or playing with?  Isn't there a show on right now that I can escape into, be mindless with?  Isn't there a book I could read that would take me anywhere but here, facing the truth?  It's such an uncomfortable feeling, this realizing things about yourself, and I would do just about anything to avoid it, I think. 

When it does come, and I have seen the whole, frustrating, ill fitting truth about myself, it sticks in my brain: a large scaly burr just big enough and irritating enough to block out anything else.  I have no other qualities except  this uncomfortable truth - I am no longer a good person, a caring sister, a hard worker - I am only an inveterate gossip, a gigantic fraud, a loathsome individual who feels lonely until she's with people and then wants nothing more than to be left alone.  Even though I know that this is not true - that all the good things I am or do are not obliterated by some newfound/newly understood flaw in my character - it is how it feels, and sometimes how it feels is how it is. 

I have recently come to quite a few uncomfortable realizations about myself, and trying to integrate those things - a certain pettiness here, a confounding inability stick to the straight facts there - into my vision of who I am is proving more difficult than I'd have guessed. I have always known that I wasn't perfect ~ contrary to what others may think, I am well aware that my goody-two shoes image is just something other people see me as - I have never seen myself as such, and wouldn't really care to.  But these inconsistencies in my character - the difference between who I want myself to be and who I really am, these are things I want to fix, to change.  And that means recognizing them first, figuring out how deep they run and (maybe) where they come from, and how to stop doing them.  It's a lot of heavy mental lifting, and, for a person who has limited reserves of any kind of energy - physical, mental, emotional - it certainly seems Sisyphean. 

So I keep looking for low energy escapes - can I ever get my Google Reader below a thousand again?  Is Reddit being entertaining or insulting today?  Is there any way I can get my uncle to have a conversation with people so that they don't think he's an ogre? Let me organize every photo you've ever taken in your whole life! - and then condemning myself for needing these escape routes.  It feels like I'm stumbling around kicking at little pebbles, all the while trying to avoid all the heavy boulders I know I have to move if I want to move forward, but just can't even look at yet. 

It feels that way about everything - about all the work I have to do to manage my illnesses (and the question of when I decided that just 'managing' is enough for me), about all the things in my own behavior that I'd like to change; about all the topics in my family that need addressing, and all the ways we find of not addressing them; about not making time for friends and then wondering why they aren't making time for me; about the world as a whole and all the things spinning out of control in it.  It just feels like there's too many important things that should get looked at, poked at, lifted up and examined, fixed, and I don't want to touch a single one of them. 

A perfect example in the physical world is that my space is still not undecorated from Christmas - oh, the actual decorations are down, but the furniture is still all in the wrong places for every day living.  Thus making it more difficult to do things like get towels, because we moved the cart that holds the towels behind the chair, so you have to climb over the chair to get ready to take a shower.  It's little ridiculous things like that, but also huge life changing things like deciding to call the PT again, and see where that takes me, or actually changing my diet enough to prevent this diabetes thing from happening - and I just don't want to face any of it at all. 

And here I write the necessary caveats that "we've all been sick since Christmas! - and I mean sick sick, like the flu that won't die sick" and "I've just spent two months caring for a wonderful lady, whose head is harder than the stairs she fell down!" and "blah blah blah Chronic Illness, you idiot!" but all of that  - while true and real and just so much - doesn't feel like enough of a reason to let everything else pass me by.  I never feel like I am juggling half of the balls I need to juggle, there's just me, standing with maybe the three or four largest, most fragile balls, throwing them up and catching them (sometimes by the skin of my teeth, but still, catching them), and all the while, the floor around me is littered with a million other smaller balls.... It's basically me, standing up to my waist in the ball pit of Chuck E Cheese, trying to catch all these biggest balls, but knowing I've let a thousand more go.   And not knowing which of those thousand was the next most important - the one that needed me now, and I won't get to it for another three weeks.

I don't know what to do about all that - how to climb out of the ball pit, or juggle better, or even begin identifying the colors of all the stupid things I'm standing in.  I know this feeling will pass, or fade, because it has in the past, but it never goes away... I'm always fumbling something, and I wish I knew how to stop. 


Amanda said...

This happens to me all the time. But then at some point reality kicks the shit out of me for one of these things until I'm forced to deal with it or face dire consequences. Neither way is fun. And yet when I finally look the truth square in the eye instead of dodging, I go "This feels so great to finally just look at it for what it is. So why dont I just do that instead of running away from stuff?" But the next time, it happens just the same, even though I know the whole time that facing the truth about my faults would feel infinitely better. Sort of like how getting a throat culture always worked for me. (As a kid I'd run around to get away and freak out so bad that the only way to get it was to wait until I screamed and do it then. As an adult I don't scream or run around but it still doesn't go well. Lots of head turning away and mouth shutting. Both involuntary but still provoking rage from nurses.)

sanabituranima said...

Thank you for this. I also have this problem. It feels like being "peeled" when you see an evil in yourself. LIke an emotional/psychological/spiritual equivalent of having your skin ripped off. But then afterwards you feel better.