Some Post-Breaking Point Thoughts

Friday, September 14, 2012

I'm feeling a tad more like myself today. It's going to be a while before I get back to "normal" - whatever that means these days.
It's strange; I will feel OK for a few hours, then suddenly a wave of exhaustion will hit like a tidal wave.

I mentioned this to my doctor yesterday, and she said, not unkindly, "Yes, Cass, most people *are* tired after not sleeping for six months. Even you."

Point taken.

I was talking with T & J tonight; it was wonderful to hear their voices. And suddenly I was just wiped out. And they noticed; they asked immediately if I was OK, and if I wanted to stop. I didn't; I needed that connection.

I've had two long conversations with my parents in the past two days: one last night with my father, and one tonight with both my mother and my father. The former was... well, not pleasant, but... how do I describe it? He was trying. That is not the norm, to put it mildly.

The latter, unfortunately, was a return to the old patterns. It was distinctly uncomfortable, to be honest. Without going into family dynamics... well, it was just hard. I will leave it at that.

I feel all alone when I'm at work. Because, really, I am.

And I feel all alone when I'm with my parents. Because, really, I am.

It's awful to feel that way, and it makes me sad to say it.

But it's the truth.

I've learned to deal with this, and to not expect anything else. I wish it wasn't this way. But it's made me tough. That is both good and bad.

I learned early on in life not to rely on other people. That made me independent, and it made me tough, a lot tougher than I realized until recently. That toughness has helped me find the strength to transition, and to deal with the tumult of the last six months.

But it cuts both ways. It's also made me put up walls to keep people away. I wouldn't, couldn't let anyone get too close. Especially family. As Neko Case sings so powerfully:

The most tender place in my heart
Is for strangers
I know it's unkind
But my own blood is much too dangerous

I've gotten better at overcoming this in the past 18 months. With friends, that is. My own blood, too, is much too dangerous, my sister excepted.

But you don't undo the effects of a lifetime of self-imposed solitude in just a few months.

I spoke with my friend C the other night. She and I have an intense emotional connection, and always have. We get each other, as I once told a therapist.

I told her about the events that led up to my collapse. She asked me what I was going to do now, and I replied, quite honestly, that I don't know yet. But I do know that I need to make some profound changes in my life. And I will. My transition and my health are number one. Everything else must serve them.

After a pause, C finally spoke.

"You know, Cass... it's OK to let your friends help you. It really is.

"No one can do it alone. No one. Not even you.

"We all want to help. *I* want to help.

"So... let us.


I know she's right.

As are all of my friends who have told me the same thing, in one way or another.

I know I need them. I certainly need them right now.

This has been the hardest six months of my life.

I'm at a crossroads.

I need to make both short-term and long-term changes in my life. And I will.

But I will need help. I know it.

I just hope I can learn to allow it.


This is one of Greg Brown's most beautiful songs, and one of his saddest:

Oh, Lord, why does the fall grow colder each year?
Lord, why can't I learn to love?
Lord, if you made me, oh, it's easy to see
That you all make mistakes up above

But if I open the door, you will know that I'm poor
And my secrets are all that I own
Oh, Lord, I have made you a place in my heart
And I hope that you leave it alone

The battle between those two emotions this song evokes - between feeling unworthy of love while simultaneously aching for it - and the narrator's unspoken determination to keep striving to feel worthy - never fails to move me.

Time to say goodnight, as my Atavin has, thankfully, done its work. Tomorrow is a new day, and another chance to begin to learn to love. And to be loved. I can think of nothing more important.


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