This was a hard letter to write and it is long, rambling and has lots of typos. I’m itching to edit it and make it “prettier” but sometimes the truth is ugly.
One of my greatest fears all my life has been discovery – the fear that others will see me or who I really am and find me abhorrable, disgusting, unworthy and just…gross. One of my greatest talents, born from my greatest fear, is the projection of a false self as a preemptive strike against being discovered when the need arises. Need, in these cases, is the occurrence of something that causes me to feel guilty and/or ashamed. And since most everything has always caused me to feel either guilty or ashamed, I’ve spent most of my life on a preemptive offense against being seen, camouflaging myself behind smoke and mirrors, lies, distortions and fairy telling. I know I’ve covered all this before but my last letter about Marsha’s death requires a follow up letter. Because while that letter held kernels of important truths, these kernels were floating in a huge pot of distortion soup that I cooked up. And I didn’t cook the soup for your benefit but for my own…because I wanted you to eat it up, let my twisting of the truth create an alternate truth within your understanding and then allow myself to dwell in the comfortable space that is defined within the understanding I created for you. See? That is the demon I fight…the reflex I hope to one day get in front of rather than following behind it, like I am now, in the same way the pooper scooters follow after the unfortunate elephants in the parade. So I am here today to clean up the turds I dropped in my letter to you yesterday. And while the parts inside of me aren’t necessarily in agreement that this letter is one that should be written, the part that is “fronting” at the moment is adamant in the promise to remain 100% authentic with you – even when it means writing these weird letters that definitely demonstrate just how confused I am and how confusing I can be. As with most of the letters I write despite the opposition I feel from within me, I’m going to type this one out as fast as the words come to me and not give any thought to spelling, sentence and paragraph structure and so forth and I’m not even going to correct on the fly because that is where the censoring starts and that isn’t what I want to do here…because I can’t clear up the untruths and bring the truths out into the light if I redact myself along the way. On that note, this paragraph has gotten really fucking long, hasn’t it? smh…
Ok…let’s just get to the meat of it . Let’s start with the truths of what I told you yesterday.
Marsha was an Olympic skier. I did met Marsha a year ago when I traveled to Boulder to pet sit for her while she had a stem cell transplant. Marsha was a force to be reckoned with and had a big personality. We did text back and forth quite a bit while she was in the hospital. The furries and their pecking order were exactly like I described them. I did visit her and the animals last fall and promise to visit again this month. Marsha did offer to let me live with her while I was visiting (and on at least two other occasions). We did keep in touch while I was in Florida. Marsha did text saying her cancer had returned. I did make specific plans by text just three weeks ago to see her as soon as I arrived in Colorado. Marsha did die. I am mourning out of proportion to my relationship with Marsha.
Now for the truths that weren’t in the letter that will, but contrast alone, will highlight the less truthful parts of my letter that were carefully fabricated in order to create an image for you that I needed you to have so that I could create a pretend reality “out there” and therefore overwrite the true reality “in here.” It is on a daily basis I am shocked at just how adept my mind has become in crafting realities for me to escape in so that I may avoid any unpleasantness in the truth.
The naked previously unspoken truths from my previous letter that were excluded in order to hide the shame that I’m disguising as grief because grief is more noble than shame: Marsha’s “big” personality translated into zero respect for boundaries and she pushed my boundaries from the minute I met her. She triggered my people-pleaser-part and I had a hard time navigating conversations with her without feeling hard pressed, uncomfortable and worried she would trigger my Little One so I spent most of my time around her feeling very anxious and switch-y. My time spent at her house were some of the most miserable days of my adult life because I was lonely and miserable; feeling trapped by her expectations that exceeded my stated (and restated) boundaries. I spent many days depressed and wearing my dead mother’s big fluffy purple housecoat and eating too much while ignoring the animals because I resented the fact they were so insistent that I spend every minute catering to their every whim. Queen Zuzi was a complete bitch and I couldn’t stand the way she tried to boss me around and the way she intimidated the other animals. She once climbed up on top of me when I was in bed and refused to get down; growling and hissing at me in a way that was completely demon possessed and I found myself terrified of an animal for the first time in my life. Mr. Spencer smelled like a dirty vagina and I triggered when he was near me. Several times he climbed under my blankets while I was sleeping and I started sleeping with the door shut despite Marsha’s explicit requests that I keep the door open and let the animals sleep with me (an unreasonable boundary pushing request that she persisted with despite my declining multiple times) While I was at Marsha’s house with her animals, I started feeling “switch-y” and worrying that I would end up acting out sexually so I decided to go get all of my hair cut off and make myself feel as ugly as possible. I passively suicidal. I slept for 12+ hours each day, consumed as much marijuana as possible and binge watched every Netflix everything. I became convinced Marsha’s offer to let me stay with her was a ploy to get me to be her caretaker when she came home from the hospital and, upon learning she was going to be released to come home, I made up an emergency “back home,” packed my things and left in the middle of the night. I visited her this last fall out of guilt for the way I had left and only because I knew she was healthy again. If she had still been sick like she had been, I’m not sure I would have visited here. She was the one who messaged me when I was down in Florida and I only sent her one picture of a sunset; otherwise I didn’t really spent a lot of time thinking about her or dwelling on her wellbeing. About a month ago she texted and asked me to come stay with her and help her watch the house and the animals so that she could go in for radiation/chemo every 18 days and I lied; telling her I had another pet sitting commitment but would “let [her] know” if anything changed.
Now you may not think much of me in reading through these omitted truths and I’m sure anyone else who stumbles across this letter out here may also consider me to be a real p.o.s. when they read these truths as well – especially when comparing them to my last letter and seeing the contrast and how I so yucky-ly painted another bullshit picture of myself, my actions, my relationship with a woman who recently died of cancer and my grief. And that part that bothers me the most of it all? This letter was necessitated because I want to stay authentic and I needed to shed a more truthful light on my last letter (since I can’t simply delete my letters to you like I used to delete my bullshit on my old blogs). And I’m working hard to remind myself….if I’m going to integrate and move beyond my brokenness, I have to accept all my parts into one. And that means I need to accept the part of me that writes the “bullshit” letters and accept that letter was written by ME, even if it was a part of me that feels like someone else. And in order to integrate, all the parts have to feel welcome into the system – shaming and throwing shade on a part is self-defeating in this effort.
So I wrote that letter yesterday. I wrote this letter today. I let Marsha down last year when she needed me and I lied to her this year when she needed me again. I mourn the opportunity to do right by her more than I mourn her as a person. I attempted to mask my guilt in recognizing this disparity between my truth and what I felt SHOULD be my truth by writing a letter that plucked only the little pieces of truth that would reflect the image I wanted to create for you. I crafted that letter in a blatant attempt to manage my reality inside of me by creating a false reality outside of me. This is my brokenness and I am very good at being broken.
And while it is so humbling and even humiliating to be so broken so visibly in front of you, being authentic (even when it hurts) is my only hope in glueing my broken pieces together. Not “together again” because I’ve never been unbroken before…so maybe broken isn’t the best term for me. I’ve been watching my sister knit her shawls for the past couple of days and now I’m wondering if maybe that isn’t the best way to start thinking of this whole dissociated states and integration process. I’m not broken into parts because I’ve never been whole. But like my sister’s shawls, I’m a collection of yarn skeins – each needing to be unraveled and knitted together into something beautiful and whole. And, like my letter yesterday and like my sister’s knitting, sometimes things get a little messy. And when that happens, things need to get pulled out and made to look a little ugly for a while in order to get things back on track.
That’s enough rambling and unraveling for now, isn’t it. Thanks for sitting with me for this one. It’s always good to have someone sitting next to you when you’re pulling out your stitches and correcting a slip up…it helps keep things from getting all knotted up. Thank you.