This Is Where I Say Something Witty

Get a grip.

This has become my mantra the past few weeks.

We saw Batwoman last night to get my supplements for my various mental and physical maladies. We were only supposed to stay for a few moments and leave, so don’t inquire as to how the situation went from a discussion of supplement dosage into a mother/daughter therapy session. I haven’t been remembering many details of conversations lately, usually I could type up word-for-word what happened, but nothing is in order in my mind lately, everything is scattered. I just remember laughing with Olga and my mom one moment and then crying on Batwoman’s shoulder moments before leaving the beautiful apartment building, with its white iron balconies and pretty bridges surrounding. I remember talking to my mom and having this conversation witnessed, like John Gottman’s ‘Love Labs’ which observed arguments between married couples to see which ones survived and which ones ended in a fiery divorce. My mind flicks to my latest day in Anatomy and Physiology class – the feeling of devastation when Mrs. Bare announced the weekly vocabulary quiz. I turned to my right and whispered over to Sydney, “Was that posted on the class site?”

“We have vocabulary, like, every week.” She replied before turning away. I felt Matthew watching me (a young man for another blog post entirely) and swallowed hard, staring with ice in my stomach at my blank notebook page where the definition assignment should have been lying plain as well. I flick back to saying goodbye to Olga, I suddenly sobbed and she stroked my hair like a mother would a child and spoke softly as she hugged me. I wanted to be comforted, but my mother was standing nearby, waiting for the tears to cease.

I want her to see I’m on her side, but I want Olga to help me.

I hold back when I speak directly to my mother, to Heather, to everyone in my life. Because no one needs my baggage. No one should have to be placed suddenly into the role of therapist when they have asked for nothing but simple conversation. But there is suddenly this person in my life, Batwoman herself, who has made it clear that (her words precisely) she would love to be my therapist. She wants to hear it all, she wants me to call her in the wee small hours when I need someone to talk to. It’s an incredible gift. No guilt, no regret. But I have yet to call her. Because she knows my mother.

The odd thing is, I trust her. She is what the Taoist monks would call a wood person. She creates boundaries and breaks them in her life, she is honorable, and she takes the initiative. I know she can be trusted because she does not gossip – it simply isn’t her, she is above it. I know if I asked her to then anything I say would go straight into a vault and never come out. But…

It’s been a long time since I completely let go of everything I was thinking to someone – I know, dear friends, here I am, baring my soul every few days. But this is different. To have that human connection and look someone in the eye while I say the things I tell all of you – there be dragons, either that or it’s the edge of the world. Heather used to be my unbounded confidant, but I care too much about her to put all of this onto her like I did before. I was so selfish, and I’m human enough that I still am, but now I know what I value enough to lie to.

Get a grip. Get a grip. Get a grip. Hold back here and there and write it out before stuffing it away in my doctors-bag style purse along with a dozen other little notepads and journals. Tiny progress reports on my life from there to here and onward. I sometimes wonder what the police, or anyone, would think if I were killed and they were stuck with all of it. Sorting through my various streams of consciousness at key points in my life. I’ve tried to read my notes through the eyes of an observer. Sometimes I feel envy, other times pity, others yet, anger. So much of my time is spent wondering how others perceive me – and trying to live up to, and move beyond, any of their expectations. But lately, I feel like I’m being dragged underwater, a ball and chain clamped to my ankle, pulling me down, down, down until I wonder if I should stop holding my breath – no, I am not holding my breath, I realize. I am not slowly and peacefully glancing wistfully up to the surface, wishing I could find my way back to where I once was. No.

I am thrashing. I am screaming, I am clawing at the open sea around me, watching the moon and the stars and everything I had such a clear view of turn murky and dark.

Get a grip. Get a grip. Get a grip.

I am so terrified of failure, of looking like a fool, of being perceived incorrectly, of having my character and reputation torn to shreds, that I’ve forgotten that it’s okay to look like an airhead. Appearances don’t matter and they won’t hold up anyway. But my mind is everywhere, I can’t remember what I used to remember so easily.

I don’t feel like I’m going crazy, I just feel like I’m losing my mind.

–Hannah-Elizabeth/Classic

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Free Association and Unwitting Mentors

It has been quite some time since I  posted for no reason. Since I’ve felt a prick on the mind – that feeling that I have something to say, but never figure it out until the close of the post. Who needs Freud to free associate when I have WordPress?

I most likely have hypothyroidism.

I pride myself (sometimes too much) on my perception. Longtime readers of my  blog will remember that I study people in all forms – neuroscience to facial expression, body language to psychoanalysis. I go so far as to jokingly call myself Sherlock at times. But the past month I’ve been forgetting things – and it’s worse than the typical trip-up of the brain like forgetting why I came into a room or losing my phone. My arms feel weak when I lift them to take something from a shelf. I often feel as though I’m always moving at half speed. I’ve started thinking slower and talking slower because the words don’t appear in my mind like they used to. And my hair has started thinning. (Wednesday we’ll find out if I do have hypothyroidism)

Did I mention I’m freshly 17?

My anxiety problems, panic attacks, psychosomatic symptoms – I can hide those. My mom told me when I was a child, “I don’t know how to be a parent.” and has shown me how difficult it can be for her to empathize with my emotional baggage. I don’t hold it against her- Grandma Charlie (yes, I just said that) was mentally ill, and, as you can imagine, was not the poster momma for compassion. I’ve come to accept this and learned to just keep a stiff upper lip until I can’t. But my speech, my weakness, my hair…How am I supposed to hide those?

I’ve been working on the first ‘key’ Olga mentioned (referenced *here*) but I’ve been dissociating a lot more. I feel like, even though I control what I say and do, I’m never really here anymore. I’m always a little far away, watching myself. Seeing the world through my eyes like a movie screen. What will she do next? I wonder.

So far, my entries look like this, barely legible scrawl right before I fall asleep at 3AM:

I feel like I have no right to be talking about this – because human beings have been through so much worse so much earlier in life, I feel guilty and foolish for flinging my troubles onto any unsuspecting blog browsers.

Sometimes after putting up a stiff upper lip for a month or so, I have an overwhelming longing to be somewhere safe and certain. With no one and with everyone – the people who matter and don’t pretend to understand when they don’t, what my mom doesn’t see, is that it has never been about knowing ‘the right words’ to say, it’s simply being here. Here. Not awkwardly or angrily or speaking eloquently or in a tone suggesting the essence of eternal wisdom. Because it feels as though trying to find the right words or do the right thing isn’t to make me feel better, mom – it’s always to make you feel better. I’ve protected you from me for this long, and with no choice I’ll keep protecting you from you while I’m at it. Always taking your side when you’re wrong and holding you when you cry when you never hold me. That’s our life, isn’t it? Hasn’t it been this way the past six years? Me raising you and advising you and teaching you while I curl up and scream and cry into my pillow in the still of the night while you sleep peacefully down the hall? So you don’t have to see me like that and feel a responsibility to do anything?

In those days, every month or so, I want to be the kid. I want to be the child who cries about everything and can run into your arms for comfort instead of stepping off to the side and demanding of myself to get a grip when my heart insists on scaring me and the world starts going dark and I think I’m going to die. Who holds me, mom? Who tells me I’m right when I’m wrong and lets me imagine a future of my own and dreams of my own without telling me why I shouldn’t do them and about the challenges, about the people already lining up to stone me into oblivion in the big-bad world whose mission it will be is to crush everything I believe in. And how I won’t have it in me to maintain my dignity.

I’m not bitter now – take my word for it. I’m angry, I’m scared and I’m tired. A voice in the back of my mind keeps snapping at me and saying I shouldn’t be talking about all of this. That I’m a wretch for talking about it. Me, me, me is all I talk about, and who would care anyway?

I know this is absurd. I know I don’t want a flood of ‘Hannah, you are soooooo pretty and sooooo smart! Just look at you, how you know the proper use of ‘You’re’ and ‘Your’!’ I justify my selfishness by the fact that this blog is my safe place. I don’t even talk to Heather Madame about 90% of what I say on this blog. I trust my blogging peeps with the naive raw material from this little brain of mine. Heather gets enough rants from me, don’t worry. And I think that’s why I don’t tell her much. I’ve written before about how Heather is like Watson to me; there’s only one, and I don’t want to lose it or take it for granted.

I’ve got a lot of thinking to do – and what with how slow my mind has been working, this is going to take a while. I might be zipping back around WordPress tomorrow, I might not be back for a month.

All I know right now, is life is a toss of the dice, and all we have is how we handle the cards we’ve been dealt.

I want to deal with this right, I want this to be more than just about me. There is a world outside of me – I’ve seen this through Alannah, Marlize, Mandii, Emily, Mark, and Thoughts (to name a few), they’ve faced crap head on and they handle the cards they’ve been dealt with dignity,  honorability, and a grin to bear it. And more than once when I didn’t know what to do, I’d think about a post from any one of them and I’d laugh out loud or pause and contemplate, always finding the answer I’ve been looking for. My unwitting mentors. I’ll always be profoundly grateful to have known them, and to have them know me as well.

tffn (ta-ta for now.)

Hannah