How far I’ll go

This week has been extra-specially rough on my emotional state for many reasons, one of which is the expiration date of my time in this house.

I hadn’t cried about it yet until last night.

Last night the tears came.

Last night I said the words out loud, “I hope I made the right decision,” but it’s not just one decision. It’s so many decisions. About this house, about my intermediate plans, about my job, and about what I want from my life.

There’s a lot of turmoil involved in all of this – with the move, and the job, and even some other stuff I don’t care to share at this time.

But there’s a lot of change. A lot of transition. A lot of insecure footing. I’m the author of my story, and I’m closing up a pivotal chapter without any idea how the next chapter begins.

But there is a difference between this time and the last time I was in a similar situation.

It’s me.

Last night I drew a parallel between my transformation and the transformation of this house into my home three and a half years ago. “I feel like I was born here,” I said. In a way, I was. This version of me. Phi-is-me and everything she’s accomplished…

I could die tomorrow knowing that my existence made a difference beyond what I can even imagine.

So, as insecure as my footing may be, and as terrified as I am about moving back in with my parents for an undetermined amount of time, I still know I’ll get through it. I know I’ll survive it. I know I’ll emerge from all of this strain to find myself in a better place than I was in before. Maybe not right away, but eventually.

I struggle with this next part because I know if I lay my problems side by side with other people’s problems…my shit is inconsequential.

But for right now….

For today….

In this very moment….

I need it to be okay to admit that there’s a knot inside my chest and a slight emotional paralysis and I’m very, very scared.

Irreplaceable

I had a dream last night. It involved time travel. There was one of him and he was going through time collecting all of me at different ages and in different timelines. It was like a poly dream where he was still my only one, but he had several of me and he loved them all dearly.

I told him about it as I woke up. “Luck you,” he said. And I replied, “Nah, lucky YOU.”

I mean, he had a half-dozen me’s to keep him busy. But each one of me still had to spend time without him, and that was sad.

I thought back to the dream. There was an old version of me with grey hair who wore frumpy sweaters. He loved her, too.

“Whenever I’m with you…. no, wait. Even when I’m not with you,” I corrected myself, “Since we’ve been together, I sometimes forget that….,” I paused, trying to figure out how to say it right. “I forget that I’m not perfect. Or that I’m not everyone’s ideal. I forget that I’m not thin.”

He smiled. He understood what I was trying to say. Since I’ve been with him, I forget that I’m fat. I forget that the form-fitting dresses aren’t really “sexy” to the rest of the world. I forget to feel insecure about myself. “I see me the way you see me,” I said.

“Well,” he answered, “I am unique in the world. Then again, there could be dozens of others who think like I do that could replace me.”

“No,” I said. “Nobody could ever replace you in my life. And I don’t think anybody could ever replace me in yours, either.”

He shook his head, agreeing with me. “No, that would be impossible,” he said pulling me close.

Poly or not, he loves me for who I am. At any age. What we have is unique in the world, and nobody could ever replace us in each other’s lives. That’s enough for my monogamous heart to feel secure in my relationship.

I think that’s what that dream was telling me, but I only need to catch him staring at me with his big loving eyes to know it when I’m awake, too.

Shards of Glass

There’s a quote on the white board in the office break room by Carl Jung:

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.

I mean, I kinda raised an eyebrow when I read that this morning as I filled my coffee cup for the third time. What was the office manager trying to say, that we annoy her?  That we annoy each other?

Was it passive aggressive commentary about our boss?  (Probably).

But, it’s true.  The thing about what annoys us about others really being about us.  About our own issues, hangups, insecurities. It’s probably why I’m nonplussed about trolls in my comments. They don’t bother me ’cause I don’t require everyone to agree with me in order to feel confident about my opinion being my own.

Like yesterday when someone decided that I’d “settled” because I’m dating somebody poly.

Whatevs, dude. I know me and I know my partner and I know that neither of us feels like we’ve “settled” on anything. The opinion of a stranger who knows neither of us isn’t enough to make me feel insecure enough to get into a shouting match with him.  Let him think I’ve settled. What’s it to me?

(This is probably why I don’t really get many trolls in my posts.  I starve them.)

But if it *had* annoyed me, if it had enraged me that someone would think (or publicly say) such a thing about me, then what it’s really saying is that I either A) am not as confident about my relationship as I claim to be, or B) am not as self-reliant on validation as I’ve worked so hard to become.

And I certainly don’t need a “personal army” of fetlifers to come to my rescue when someone says something mean about me.

Anyway, that’s not the point of this blog.  The point of this blog is to share a metaphor about introspection and self-work that I came up with this morning that tickled me in the clever place.

It’s about identifying when something is about *you* and doing the work to make positive changes in your life, rather than continuing to exhibit negative behaviors in response to things that annoy you.

For context, it was in response to someone seeking advice on how to overcome the negative behaviors associated with their self-acknowledged distrust/jealousy/and control issues.

Here was my metaphor:

The more you dig into the cause of your distrust/jealousy/controlling impulses, the closer you’ll get to overcoming it. It’s kinda like….let’s say you have foot pain. Like, it’s bugging you. Severe, effing, foot pain. You can complain about it and you can walk around limping, or hopping, or constantly try to relieve the foot pain by soaking it in epsom salts.

Or you can investigate the source of the foot pain. Find that you have a tiny shard of glass stuck in the bottom of your heel. Your skin has calloused over it so it’s tough to reach, but that’s why every step you take hurts.

With enough exfoliation, and maybe a pair of pointy tweezers or a needle, you can get that shard out. And, while the relief won’t be instantaneous (it’ll be sore for a while), there will be some relief and the more you carry on without that shard the better it gets.

Sometimes my metaphors run away from me. What I’m trying to say is, when you find the source of your jealousy/insecurity, you can start doing the work to address why you behave the way you do, rather than behaving the way you do to address the insecurity itself.

Earlier today a fet friend of mine wrote something about a step she’s taken in her journey to overcome self-hatred.  She said that where she once felt very free with using the word “hate” in connection with her feelings about herself, she’s now finding that she no longer wants to hate herself.

I told her that was a huge step.  She’s not only identified that there’s a shard of glass embedded in her heel, she’s also decided that she no longer wants to live with the glass in there.

The only thing left is to start doing the work to get it out; but, much like they say in AA that acceptance is the first step – I feel like deciding to *do* something about it is a great leap forward.

I’m a big advocate for personal growth. The term used to have such a new-age-crunchy-granola-bar-eye-rolling connotation to me, but now that I’ve actually experienced it for myself; I think what personal growth really means is self empowerment.

No more limping.

Finding the source of your pain is one thing.  Deciding you want to start living without it is everything.