Updated: Aug 31, 2022
I did things a little different this month - I ripped a page out of my diary to show yall how I process in real time. This isn't necessarily a linear "piece," this is literally me working things out with myself mid-trigger, to process. Hope this gives y'all some insight on how to a) better tolerate your least favorite feelings and b) take some time to process before reacting.
I’m knee-deep in crippling anxiety right now.
A lover told me about another woman they’re seeing. In most cases, I would be incredibly happy for them, celebrating joy and happiness in their life. But, this time I am not. The opposite, in fact.
When I read the text message my throat dropped into my butthole and my face got red. A wave of fire started at my thighs and exploded out the top of my head. I had to pull my car over and BREATHE to stop me from responding with hate and fury, things regret are made of. It took everything in me not to completely self-sabotage in that moment – a simple text made me feel like I was losing everything so, why not confirm that loss by creating it?
All of the coping mechanisms and, “what’s coming up for you?” techniques I teach started rolling in. “Stop and breathe. This is a trauma response. Befriend your worst fears. Have grace for your triggers. What do you need right now?” I had to dissociate and be my own therapist to get through what was literally only 60 seconds of internal dialogue and wrath. After another 60 seconds, and a bit of honesty, I recognized, “I cannot respond nicely, so, I will say that and suggest talking later.” That’s the best I could do in that moment, so, that’s exactly what I did.
See, what’s different in this scenario is, we have not defined the, “what we are?” question. A classic, caught feelings without drawing the line situation. And, while it’s seductive to revel in impulse, it’s not fun to be triggered and have no explicit boundaries to address hurt feelings or confusion.
I cannot escape or avoid being hurt, however, my ability to manage my hurt is undoubtedly tied to my sense of security. To my level of awareness and safety. To my honesty. If I don’t know where I stand in someone’s life and could be expendable, how I can I create happiness for them? If I have no insight on the degree of intimacy or best practices for ensuring my emotional safety, how can I celebrate? If I haven’t been candid about my own feelings, if I’m hiding or fibbing or minimizing or fantasizing, how can I avoid confusion and upset and delusion? It’s less about the outcome and more about the unknown. Solidifying the thing allows me autonomy, to know how to move, how to cope, how to heal. Mystery around the thing keeps me on edge and running, “what if’s” on an incessant loop.
What is the fear here?
The fear is, you’ve met someone else who is better than me, who you love more than me, whose head fits between your chest better than mine. That I am disposable, not good enough, undeserving. And I certainly could create evidence to confirm that. I could pull up stories and memories of times and people who showed me how UN I am. UNimportant. UNlovable. UNworthy. Who am I to believe otherwise?
I could let Jealousy turn me to ashes.
The fear is you will leave me, like I’ve been left before. That I will be alone, exposed to the elements with no one but myself for shelter. Isolation breeds harm; I cannot flourish in loneliness.
The fear is aged 6, looking out the window waiting for what will never come. I hate you, I hate this, I hate me and humans are ridiculous.
So, there it is.
Well, what is the truth?
The truth is… the joy created from our laughter plays in my head when I need to be reminded why I love. That bliss may be fleeting but I’d experience jealousy twice over just to hear the sound of your voice.
The truth is I am happy for you. I may say it through a clenched jaw but, it’s true.
The truth is, this means so much to me and I will not be undone when we part. I can experience hurt because I am alive and will continue to live beyond this immediate inability to get the fuck over myself. The truth is you are powerful beyond words AND SO AM I. And my power, in part, lies in my ability to put the pieces back together. I am capable.
The truth is I deserve love and am loved. By myself, by others and …by you. I am not alone. I will not curl up into a ball and be forgotten. And I am not defined by my proximity to lovers.
What do I need right now?
I need love and reassurance. And perhaps, it won’t be from you and that’s okay. I need to be reminded that I am deeply admired and adored and supported and affirmed. Because I am.
I need grace. With myself. I’m human, I’m doing my best. I’m learning.
I need honesty. I need to create the space to uncover my truths and be held accountable for my harms. I need safety in boundaries and clarity.
And lastly, I need compassion. For Jealousy. I see you. Your fervor is never unnoticed. Your presence turns rooms red and your persistence is unmatched. You refuse to be anything other than chaos in splendor and I can do nothing less than admire your dedication to authenticity. I see you.
You humble me.