Tuesday, December 16, 2008

our misfortunes may become us (part 10)

i have severe abandonment issues. in all relationships, i only see an end. i spend so much time nervously waiting for the phone to stop ringing, for the door to close on me, for something to happen that will tear the people i love from me. i have severe abandonment issues.

as a child, the people i loved either left or left me in the hands of people who would hurt me. i watched my grandfather beat the shit out of my grandmother. i watched a family of alcoholics drink themselves into rages and tear each other apart. i was molested, for years, by other family members who were supposed to be looking after me. i learned not to trust that people would take care of me. i learned not to trust. and i learned that the people you love will either leave you or hurt you. or you'll watch them hurt themselves, helplessly. it's not now what i believe, but it's how i've been conditioned. and so i have severe abandonment issues. and these issues, this fear, has caused me to inadvertently live a very isolated life. in a crowded room, in the arms of a lover, in the eyes of my parents, i feel alone. i fear departure. i panic of loss. i try so hard to hold on, but always feel so powerless.

i don't remember much between ryan's departure from me, and my departure from san francisco. it was as though i became a ghost that day; the day he left. i'd finally found someone i believed would stay. someone i believed i could hang onto. and then he was gone. he was gone. gone. and suddenly, i was nothing more than a ghost. each day just blurred into the next. every action and inaction seemed pointless, seemed moot. it was like each day existed only because it had to. i floated through the walls and my words were merely exhalations. i was alone.

and then i ran away to portland. to escape the traces of him and who we were. to escape the traces of who i was. and perhaps, just maybe, to exist as i had felt: alone. to get lost where i knew no one, where no one knew me. to lose myself in foreign faces and places. to lose myself in a lack of history. to lose myself.

instead, though, i built myself a home. a life. a new history. i tried to date, but no one ever measured up to him. no one was ever enough. and then i got hiv. and everything changed. or, merely, returned to how it had been before i left california. i felt alone and isolated and barely there. i was losing more and more of myself every day. i was withering away into bottles and bed sheets and brittle bones. i stopped eating. i stopped answering the phone. i drank myself dizzy, night after night. i was becoming a ghost. again.

and then i lost my job. and then my boyfriend. and then i just lost it. i totally lost it. i had stopped coming up for air. i had stopped coming up at all. each day existed only because it had to. insomnia set in and got so bad i could no longer distinguish my dreams from reality. there were days i laid in bed and did nothing but fantasize about blowing my brains out. sometimes those were the good days, too. paranoia overcame me. and i became completely distorted by it, by the dreams, by the booze. and the scariest part about it was i could walk outside, with a smile on my face, and hang out like everything was peachy-fucking-keen. you'd never know. they'd never know.

and then i broke. i called colette and simply said, "i've been thinking bad thoughts. i've been thinking about dying. i'm not all right. i'm not okay."

she was out a week later. and i started to feel safe again. and i started to eat again. and i started to see straight again. and i started to let go. of all the rage. of all the pain. of all the fear. i did my best. for a while, at least.

eventually i started to erode to it, again. i began to push the people who cared about me away. so they couldn't leave me. so they couldn't hurt me. so i could be in control of something. so i wouldn't feel so powerless to loss. it's fucked up. it's totally fucked up. but my heart was so broken, i could make no more room for cracks or tears. i could make no more room for love. i needed permanence. and permanence seemed so impossible to come by. nothing and no one is permanent.


and then i met a boy. and he sure did seem to love me. and i thought he was great. he was great. and i thought, no one will ever be ryan. i will never love anyone like i did ryan. so someone great will always have to be enough. and even in that shitty paradox i had prefixed, i needed to hold onto him. i needed permanence. i needed a normal, easy, simple life. i needed a simple life so badly. i needed something new to live for. i needed soething new to experience; something new to help me forget. i needed this to work. i needed it to work.

so after a month and a half, i asked him to marry me. and he said yes. and within a month, he was all moved in. and the life i painted for myself would surely begin with this little step. i was prepared to settle for consistency. i was prepared to contently settle in whatever promised to be simple and routine. i needed some stability. so i created it out of fear and heartache and necessity. because i have severe abandonment issues.

and then i left for asia...


Sailor said...

my parents taught me to measure love. as if it can be contained only for a short while.

imagine a cup full of love. it refills every time we find another person to share it with. with each loving gesture, each "i love you", little by little, the cup is drained until there is nothing left. the quota is filled, and you must move on because love is quantifiable.

i can't begin to tell you what that has done to me in terms of relationship navigation. my relations are ruled by fear only. fear that soon the cup will be empty and i'll be staring at its pieces, watching the door close with a soft click - and i'm not supposed to cry, because that's how the world is.

often, when faced with fears such as these, we become armless and legless. completely hopeless and helpless. we become a vulnerable observer. collateral damage.

when you finally have enough, when you finally reach out for help it has the potential to get worse. because although people love a scandal, for some reason it is just so hard to get people to care about the good things in your life. however small, inconsequential and trivial they may seem.

they will listen for only a short while.. and then they won't be listening anymore. just waiting for their turn to talk. and the door is closed again and you've dropped the cup and there's nothing to do except measure your breaths.

josh hallmark said...

thanks. this is actually going somewhere and no longer the current state of things. as weird as it is to put one's life into a storyline, this is just where i'm at in it. things will pick up in the next few posts.

pookiebearinutah said...

i understand when an important relationship is destroyed, how you might not feel there is a reason to go on, however, if you can push through this awful time there will be other joys in your life. this hole will never go away, but if you keep busy, you won't always be looking at the hole in your life and those days can bring happiness and a desire to go on into your life. for continuity in your life, look to your family. they may not get you, they might be dysfunctional, but they will always love you and want the best for you. check out www.meetup.com. i tried it when i was starting over, it kept me busy, and i met new friends that have helped me to move on. keep going, i love you.