Like a snail, I’m traversing the wet lawn of lifelong self-sabotage one inch at a time. I’m heading for the Hydrangea safe-house before a boot crushes the life out of me. The killer I’m trying to escape, the psycho whose detection I’m avoiding, is my ex-mind.
There are behaviors and thinking patterns I will leave behind in the bastard of a year 2018 proved to be.
2018 (aka Scummy) made a whoa-man out of this here woman. Whoa! what just happened? Man! I didn’t see that coming.
It did have uncharacteristically charitable interludes.
I was gifted, by an otherwise cold-hearted Scummy, prodigious creative output and almost unfaltering tenacity. It’s what saved me from crawling into bed and becoming one with the mattress.
Other than that, I was gifted situations and people who upped my street-smarts considerably. About time too.
Attracting the attentions of men who were unsuitable for me did what it was supposed to do.
I had to know what I need, why I need it, and how I need it.
Once I had that sorted, I had to make it clear to myself that I deserve to receive what I need, that I do not need to justify why I need it, and I am not required to compromise. My prices reflect who I am, the real value of my unique stock; that means I turn away bargain hunters determined to haggle.
We all deserve focused, clear-sighted love. Peripheral love delivers scraps of attention and time, diminishing us and our life vision.
I see clearly, now that the pain has gone.
Once I had that sorted, I could do the math and see the correlation between the deterioration in my physical and emotional health (and therefore my productivity, happiness, and self-reliance) and a tendency to give too much credence to other people’s feelings and desires, while diluting my own.
I dressed in my Sunday best, braved 2018’s dungeon-like den, and told him with dignified resolve that he can shove the Unsuitable Men Only magnet he stuck on my forehead up his Milk Way.
He laughed hard and long through billows of cigar smoke and slapped his knee in delight, She gets it, fellas, she finally gets it!
I told Scummy I’d leveled up. He stopped laughing and gave his full attention to his expensive cigar. A long silence ensued.
He dipped his chin, raised those intimidating eyebrows and said Do you know when you’re not responsible? When it’s not your problem?
Good question. Did I? I had to give it some thought…
I was about nine years old when I went, as I often did, to the beach with my older brother. He had a skateboard and there was a wide, smooth pavement at the beachfront. I sat on a wall while my brother had his much longer, far more accomplished, turn on the skateboard.
Relaxed in the sun, my reverie was punctured by You little bitch.
As I turned to look, a big, much older boy, oozing sour and sinister, snorted hard through his nose and gobbed the resulting ball of creamy mucous onto my hair. My ponytail was slimy with snot.
I thought he must hate my hair, because I did.
Why else would he spit phlegm on me? I didn’t know him. What had I done to warrant such hate?…
…let’s screech to a halt right here.
You see the problem, don’t you?
Problem is, I didn’t. It’s taken all this time, and many watered-down versions of the same vignette, to figure it out.
I was asking the wrong questions and, more importantly, asking questions when there was no need to.
Asking: What have I done wrong? What must I do to fix it? Is this my fault?
Instead of knowing I was in the wrong place at the wrong time (I just happened to be an extra on the set of his dysfunctional production), I took responsibility for a stranger’s foul actions. I gave him a leading role in my movie when I made his unprovoked attack my problem, questioning whether there was any validity in what he did, what he said, wondering what it was about me that made him do it.
I made his problem my problem.
This dynamic reincarnated itself throughout my life, covertly, again and again, against a different scenic backdrop. Less intense, but still in character.
Despite reading about adult children*/child adults, I still fell into my mind traps.
Now, I hope to evade those traps, having identified the mechanism that snares me.
A nasty, wounded person (and who isn’t wounded?) with a nasty, wound-inflicting mouth, or nasty, wound-inflicting actions, won’t easily take center stage in my mind. I know now that their nastiness has nothing to do with me.
I lifted my chin, looked Scummy dead in the eye, and said I do. Anything else you want to sort out while I’m here?
Scummy sighed and tapped his middle fingers on his knees, considering my question.
When last did you flee into fantasies?
Of course. Reality check. 2018 did not tolerate escapism. He was all about taking the reins and dealing with stuff.
Again, as a very young child, I retreated into the rich, bliss-inducing fantasies created with my vivid imagination, spending hours walking up and down, up and down, shaking my hands as I did so. It was a seemingly benign activity, medicating and soothing, I suspect, trauma and fear.
No harm indulging in a bit of daydreaming. It’s considered an essential component of ‘manifestation’.
If rich fantasies and ‘feeling as if it is real’ is all that’s needed to call in a dream, I would have been hard-pressed not to be a slut in my teens. A posse of broad-shouldered, ripped men (who work with their hands and are kind to animals and children) would have pursued me without letup.
BTW, they are ripped because they wield heavy tools, frequent barn raisings, and chop wood.
A funny friend of mine would have a salty Cornish fisherman in a cable knit sweater drop anchor in her harbor before you can say tuna if fantasy so effortlessly becomes reality.
Fortunately, it’s not that easy. I’d be in hot water, more often than not, if it was. One of the other required components is action.
Without action, fleeing into fantasies becomes a prison with invisible bars. You keep yourself in one, small place, no matter where your mind wanders.
To make those dreams work for you, to make at least some of those hours upon hours spent in mind-movies a creation in your real life, requires action.
I might have written a tortured tale to sit alongside Wuthering Heights on bookshelves, or, at the very least, churned out historical romances, or Mills & Boon, if I’d jotted down all the sexy, provocative romances residing in the boudoir in my brain. I didn’t. They stayed in my head like it was a Story Hotel and then they checked out. Gone forever.
Now, I’m keeping an eye on my mind. If I see myself wandering into escapist fantasies, I yell CUT (in my head, not aloud).
If I have a good idea, or a good thought, or a good couple of sentences wander onscreen, I try to honor their chances of success by writing them down.
And no, I no longer pace up and down or shake my hands. I lie very still, or dance, when screening a mind-movie.
So yes, Scummy, I’m a recovering fantasy addict and I’m sticking to the program. I’m taking action...
I’m also taking tea-drinking with me into the open arms of 2019. But that’s about it.
Everything else has to be revised, reinvigorated, rearranged or, at the risk of sounding ruthless, booted out.
That’s why I’m in a witness protection program and on my way to the Hydrangea safe-house. My ex-mind is insanely jealous and crazy and angry and wears hobnail boots. I got it arrested and I’ve testified. So shhhhh…don’t blow my cover.
Kiss 2018 goodbye because he is a Happy Old Year!
He fulfilled his purpose and will die peacefully and poker-faced in his sleep, surrounded by all who grudgingly respect and love him. I’m standing closest to the door because I want to be the first out.
I’m unashamedly curious. I’d love to hear how 2018 treated you. Did Scummy change your mind? Your life? Did you see another side of him? The family man who enjoys giving presents, perhaps?
Thank you for popping by so faithfully over the past three months. I love your visits.
See you again in the New Year!
* A term used to describe children who, for whatever reason, take on adult roles and responsibilities/burdens. They have a tendency to display, without fail, two characteristics as adults: an inability or reluctance to ask for help when needed, and a belief that they must have done something wrong when things go wrong.
4 thoughts on “Shell-shocked in 2018”
What an exquisite drawing of Tea Shell and her teabag!
Much food for thought in this remarkable piece of writing. As always xxxxx😊
Thank you and welcome to 2019! Always appreciate your comments and attention to detail! xxx 🎆💖🐌
I’m rather fond of dear old 2018 … on a personal level. On a global one, the sooner the orange scum is booted out of our lives and consciousness, the better.
I’m pleased ol’ 2018 was good to you on a personal level… Let’s hope 2019 dittos that for you AND sorts the global ghastlies out. xxx 🙏❤️