Love Languages? – Quality Time

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Sleep calls to you, but it’s a siren song, beckoning you to ruin. No, best stay in the middle and not seek solace on the shores to the left or to the right. Best not to even look overboard, because you might be dragged over before you even know what’s happening, and then where would you be?


I write this on behalf of you and other survivors who can’t face their abusers. I write this on behalf of my own child who will one day realize the extent of the damage that my own pain caused him. I do hope that I can be well enough one day to receive his honesty and honour his story, but if I can’t, at least he’ll know that once upon a time I knew how he feels. I also write this on behalf of the perpetrators of emotional violence, like I myself sometimes am.


So, sometimes I forget that I have this thing. Sometimes, life will be going so well that I forget that I’m sick. All it takes is a few good days, and for some reason, my brain thinks that I’m cured, that I’ll never have a bad day again, or if I do, it will feel different, and I’ll be able to rise above.


So I wonder, does God see only the fiftieth time that I’ve messed up that day? Does He hear my cries when my heart can’t take it anymore? Does He hold my dreams as tenderly as I do? Does He look at the efforts I expend to try and make the world a better place and smile? The same way I smile when I see my son doing the same?


I don’t know what your story is. What I know is that even if your trauma isn’t “as bad” as mine, I won’t hold it against you for having a more severe reaction than me. And I hope you can understand that even if my trauma isn’t as bad as yours and I still can’t keep it together like you, it’s not because I’m trying to take attention from your pain, or imply that people like us are incapable of healing. I don’t want to disrespect your trauma by appearing to complain about something that seems minor to you.


From deep in this wretched pit, I’m the most philosophical, because my mind has disconnected from my brain somewhat. My metaphysical musings and self-reflection on the nature and causes of this miserable existence of mine become as sharp as glass, while the rest of the world fades away into a manageable haze.


In our sunnier days, we might get involved in things that we think might make us feel better. But we can’t see into the future to know how we’ll actually feel when the time comes around. Something that we were excited about when we took it on suddenly looms terrifying. Why did we get ourselves into it? Instead of stressing about it today, we could just have the day off to sleep and not dream.


Honestly, I should make a list of all of the weird borderline moments I’ve had. With a lot of distance, they start to become almost funny. But my hope is that if you have these thoughts too, you’ll see that you’re not the only one, and even if it doesn’t make the feelings go away, you’ll feel a little less stupid for feeling that way.


I wanted to keep track of how I’ve been feeling throughout these endless cycles, and share with you ways of rising above and moving beyond these bricks that keep landing in our path. Ways of coping that allow us to live lives that we can be proud of, even if it’s just a quarter mile at a time. But I know what it’s like to sit there, knowing there are all sorts of things that need your attention, but those things are like bats beating their wings outside of your glass box.


Poverty keeps us waiting. Waiting in lines, waiting for applications to be approved, waiting to see a specialist who might be able to help. Waiting in droves, waiting forever, always with the high possibility that we’re just not bad off enough yet, and we must go back to the start and try again.


I have big plans for myself, as you know. And I know that it makes the cliff face even taller, and makes the landing even more painful when I fall, and makes the climb back to the cliff ledge even longer and more treacherous. But I can’t help it. As painful as it is, I can’t seem to stop dreaming, not for long.


Do you ever realize sometimes that your brain sucks at being a brain? Mine does. It can’t perform basic functions like putting simple concepts together or motivating me to do basic things. It’s blasted full of holes and it works backwards. It’s twisted inside out and now the simplest things are usually out of reach if I try to do them for long.


I have a feeling most of these confessions are going to be quite dark and sad for the next few months as we complete our trip around the sun. I’m trying to remember my strategies and reach for peace, and not protaskinate the day away, but it’s hard because thinking about doing things is like hanging on to an electric wire. The more behind I feel, the stronger the current, and the harder it becomes to want to touch it.


So I wonder, does God see only the fiftieth time that I’ve messed up that day? Does He hear my cries when my heart can’t take it anymore? Does He hold my dreams as tenderly as I do? Does He look at the efforts I expend to try and make the world a better place and smile? The same way I smile when I see my son doing the same?


Really, it is beautiful here, and it’s generally quiet at night during the week. But I can’t get rid of this pressure in my chest, a pressure that makes it hard to breathe. It’s that sticky tar that I was telling you about, the one that is so hard to remove by myself. I wish I was stronger.


“Real” problems are those that can be seen on the outside. “Real” problems are those that are not caused by some internal deficiency but by some external, unstoppable force of nature. If you don’t have “real” problems, then the issues in your life are caused by you just as much as they can be solved by you. So what are you waiting for? Stop trying to get attention and just get back to work like the rest of us.


And I swear, every time I go to this office, I hold my breath when they ask for my name, because there’s been three or four very traumatizing times in the past when I’ve completely missed appointments there. This doctor also has two offices, so sometimes I’m booked to see him in another part of town, and I’ve shown up at the right time but at the wrong place more than once. A nightmare.


So I laid in bed and thought about what I would do if I had a billion dollars. It was a pretty fun thought experiment. I really hope I do become wealthy one day, because there’s so many things that I want to do in life that require a lot of money. A million can be a good start if you’re very careful, but let’s be honest, it won’t go very far in today’s economy. No, the billion is the new million, for sure.


And so if you have any loved ones reading this, trying to understand why it seems like you’re on and off, hot and cold, all the time. I wonder, even to this day. Last night I was yelling at God, asking him why he made me this way. Why couldn’t have just made me a normal human with a normal brain. I’d rather just be down all the time than have these annoying ups that just make me feel all the worse for falling.


Every small thing sends me into a spiral, whether good or bad. So I could ignore my fatigue and just keep on keeping on, or when I can, take the time to care for whatever emotional scrapes and bruises I’ve accumulated that day. Not only do I actually heal and get stronger, but I can prevent some of the injuries in the first place.


When I left home, everything went to crap. Now, you might think that having university classes would make me get up and go, but since there was no one to yell at me at home for missing school, I went less and less often, being less and less present, not completing homework, retaking classes, asking for second chance after second chance, until finally dropping out.


And if you fall, my love, if you fall? It might feel like par for the course, or it might devastate you. Either way, remember, tomorrow is another day. Go to sleep, and wake up, and take it one day at a time. You don’t need to change the world right now, but your existence is putting ripples into the universe that are affecting the course of history, for better or for worse. You are necessary.


I think part of it is that I’ve been trying so hard to make positive changes in my life, and those of you like me will understand that positive changes can be the worst ones of all. Not only does it get your hopes up, but it can also make you neglect some of your strategies because you’re “feeling better.” Without a doubt, when we can we have to be willing to try or keep trying, but those bad habits and maladaptive behaviours won’t leave or be controlled without a lot of kicking and screaming.