Well, Hello Me!
Freedom! Joy! Beauty! Laughter! There I am! I’m living again!
After a ridiculously stressful time, I’ve once again found peace and joy in my own company. When my anxiety reaches dangerous heights, when I’m crying every morning, when I’m self-medicating just to make it through the day, I should know something is off; however, when I’m engulfed in the darkness or in crisis, I don’t see my situation clearly because I’m in survival mode and everything is distorted by those dark glasses.
It had been so long since I had been emotionally close to another human being that I had forgotten my own built-in early warning system. Anxiety. Panic attacks. Racing thoughts. Unable to sleep. Paralyzed with the fear or loss. These are all clear signals I’m engaged with someone who lacks (or has an extremely limited capacity for) empathy** and/or with some other kind of toxic person/situation. Toxic to me, that is. Since I’m an HSP*** with C-PTSD, my tolerance for stress, assholery, abuse, bullying, and cruelty is much lower than most people’s. Yipee.
I thought I had finally fit in somewhere, but I was once again sadly mistaken. I trusted too quickly in my joy at finding new friends, new purpose, and the renewed ability to feel love, so I now have to pay the price for my foolishness, my utter stupidity for thinking it would be different this time. I braced myself for the seemingly-endless waves of grief I knew would follow after losing so much, but all that came was a solitary (albeit intense) panic attack. Although it was a considerable loss, including a support structure and a cherished, close friend, there hasn’t been much emotional pain in the aftermath. That surprised me. There’s been confusion, regret, sadness, and a sense of emptiness, but not the pain of loss I had dreaded.
Still, I learned the lesson again just the same: trust no one.
(If only I had listened to Mulder 25 years ago, I’d be in much better shape today!)
But that’s not quite right either. There is someone I can trust, at least someone I can trust more now than before, and that someone is me. Had I listened to myself sooner in this situation, rather than advice from several different people, things likely wouldn’t have gotten as bad as they did. Although I made some (familiar) mistakes on my own, I recognized them faster and protected myself better than before, which is the main reason I’m not shattered right now. I’m truly okay. In fact, I’m better than okay.
I’m pretty fucking great.
Freedom tastes pretty sweet, kinda like a frothy mocha. Mmmmmmm.
My days are once again mostly silent. I don’t get many emails or text messages anymore, and although I do miss sharing my life and travel pictures with my former friend, I fill the hours with living my dreams, sharing my life and travel pictures with the world through social media. I revel in the joy that beauty and laughter brings. I quiet my mind with reading, exercise, and learning to ride English style. I’m perfecting my “rising trot” and starting to canter this week.
Music has become a bigger part of my life again, but now I’m making it by learning to play the cello. While the elegant instrument rests between my legs and against my shoulder, I relish how the bow glides across the strings, vibrating next to my cheek, kissing it with their song.
The other day, I had one of those moments that causes overwhelming joy, desperate for release, to leak from my eyes. It was when I played the first few bars of Bach’s “Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major,” the very piece that inspired me to learn the cello in the first place. When I heard that perfect brilliance coming out of my strings, clumsily played by my fingers, it was one of the most joyous moments in my life. I’ll keep practicing until I can play through the entire Prelude by heart.
The laughter has mostly come from listening to Book of Mormon when I drive. I had the great pleasure of seeing it on stage in London last month, along with three other shows: The Painkillers with Kenneth Branagh, The Master Builder with Ralph Fiennes, and The End of Longing with Matthew Perry. Although sometimes the Book of Mormon soundtrack brings me tears when it hits too close to home, like when Elder Cunningham talks about his best friend (who doesn’t feel the same way about him and abandons him) or when Nabulungi sings about hoping to fit in, it mostly brings laughter.
As I drive through the spectacularly beautiful English countryside, I sing “Hasa Diga Eebowai” at the top of my lungs, happy I’m alone because then no one can tell me I’m too loud. Hatimbi is right! It really does help make things seem not so bad.
I change the words just as he suggests in the song:
My boss is a bully and my crush is cruel
Hasa diga eebowai!
When it comes to trust I’m still a fool
Hasa diga eebowai!
The reserved English drivers who pass me laugh and shake their heads at the silly American woman singing and dancing in the car on her own, and thus I spread joy to all those around me.