My Kit and I went to North Carolina over Thanksgiving weekend, in part to visit his sister (whose ashes we scattered into the ocean in Avon last November), and in part to have a real, actual, honest vacation. While we were there, we bought a couple of very pretty handmade bowls from a local potter.
We got home Sunday at 5:30. I brought the bowls in, still wrapped and in their paper bag, put it on the counter, and we went to get dinner. We came home at 8:00 to find our yearling cat, Tache, wearing a torn-paper-bag bib, and his older sister, Hatchy, catatonic.
I was angry. I was disappointed. I got into the shower and started crying.
Look at what else you broke, the sock monkeys started to whisper. You knew he could reach the counter. You know he loves paper bags. That was careless. It’s your fault.
I spent the rest of the night rehashing everything I had caused to break over the years – the tajine, our first pizza stone, glasses from events. I spent it upset about money I had spent over the weekend/month/year that was silly, and could have been used better, and gone towards this vacation to make it better. And then I felt bad that I was stressing Kit out by my tailspin/meltdown/whateveryawannacallit.
Two hours later, three days of relaxation and rest were completely shot. I spent the next day in a fog, which was an utterly perfect way to prepare for my therapy appointment that evening, dontchaknow.
I described the incident and started to cry again. And my therapist (we’ll call him DM) started taking it apart. We got down to a core of something.
The bowls meant more to me than just things. They were something Kit really liked, something he had picked out, something we got together, for our home. They were a part of our first real vacation in years, if ever – most of our travel involves vending or festivals (many of which we have worked). I was disappointed. I was hurt. I was sorry that Kit had lost something else (considering everything else he’s lost over the years) before he even had a chance to enjoy them.
Instead of letting myself feel that, I turned automatically to blaming myself. It isn’t comfortable; it isn’t pleasant. But it’s familiar. It’s a barrier. It keeps me from thinking about the real, honest, vulnerable emotions behind why I’m upset, and redirects me into something I’m used to, something I use to shield myself from the actual feelings. Why I default to blame, I’m not sure. I don’t remember being blamed for a lot when I was a kid (except for food disappearing, which usually was my doing, because unhealthy food relationships run in the family). But it’s a thing. And it’s a thing I need to work on.
That’s kind of the core of this particular bit of Work. One of the reasons that I had to Ordeal in such an extreme way was to rip me open so I could feel and receive and be. One of the things I realize that Raven was trying to do last year, in taking my core, was try to open me back up.
I did not let it work. Hell, I didn’t even mourn for my old cat Minoush when she passed – after being my nutbar girl for eleven years – nearly as hard as I mourned for Belenos after only 8 months with us. I shut myself down even harder when she passed. I wasn’t letting myself feel anymore, because it all hurt too damn much.
The Wake Up Call ripped me wide open again. I’ve been feeling the walls trying to come back up since the pottery fell, feeling myself deflecting, and I’m having to work hard not to allow it. I’m not always succeeding, but being honest with DM is the first step. Being honest with myself is next. (That’s what he’s there to help me with, after all.)
An interesting side effect, though, is my laughter. I’m noticing that I’m laughing more at things. I’m laughing harder at things. I’m not just humming or giving off a light chuckle. There’s something more authentic to my laugh these days, something that’s been missing. Maybe it’s just me, but I hear something different, and I like what I’m noticing.