Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Laughing at the Absurdity of a Difficult Life

Today was the first non-humid or very close to non humid day we have had in a month. Today was the first day I didn't step outside and immediately start calculating where the nearest place I could go inside to get away from the air was. That was beautiful. I decided to take the bus to SMCC and go back to the pier and lighthouse I so much enjoyed yesterday. So, after spending an hour at the public market talking to xxx and making two girls I had never met who were sitting at the coffee shop talking to her laugh, I did. As I expected, it is never what you think is going to make you happy that does. The pier just didn't do it for me today, but sitting on the bench overlooking the ocean and lighthouse and getting good reception to the AM oldies station did. I admired the seaweed, thinking about how it wavers back and forth in the tides, but because it is rooted so strongly to the ground, because it is so well attached, it remains strong, and manages to hold on. 

I ended up talking to someone who was there with his dog for an hour, later on, sitting on the bench. I commented on his dog, and he was open for conversation, so a conversation ensued. Neither of us had anything to do or any desire rather than to enjoy the day and apparently, perhaps, connect with others if the opportunity presented. I started with casual questions about his dog and where he lived. Maybe I talked about buses, since it is what came to mind, and this spurred conversation about sensory sensitivity, which he seemed to relate to. This led to discussions on environmental issues, and the state of our health care system, and so on. He was a good talker, able to pontificate on issues of value and importance far more than most people I meet, and be somehow sensitive to the emotions and deeper side of our conversation. I would have stayed for longer, but I wanted to get to even the last hour of the gay pride picnic I had planned to go to in Portland. I stayed an hour later than I had planned because I realized the value of this opportunity I had with him. 

He offered me a ride back to Portland, and I accepted, because I could sense his sensitivity, I could sense his gentleness. I saw the way he interacted and talked with his dog. I did not think there was any danger, although I would not normally accept a ride with a stranger. With him, there was not. But there was some sort of chemical in his truck, and I ended up having the worst reaction I have had in several years. I was smart enough to get out after only about three minutes, and only rode across the campus with him, and got off at the bus stop to take the bus the rest of the way into Portland. But unfortunately, with me, three minutes is really all it takes. I had had a sense that the smell was too much, but overrode it as I kept thinking how much easier it would be. I should trust my instinct more.

So, one half an hour bus ride of sobbing and talking to myself later, I stumbled into to the public market in Portland and was fortunate enough that xxx was working at the coffee shop. (As well as being fortunate enough that people in Portland seem to have a high tolerance for people walking around sobbing. Tis my life.) I remembered in Missoula that I used to eat expresso chocolate brownies at the bakery there and the reaction seemed to be cut in half so quickly, and thought well maybe I should try coffee. I've never had coffee, just expresso which I find too bitter. xxx mixed some coffee with cocoa powder, respectfully answering my questions about the origin of the chocolate and coffee before I felt safe enough to try it. Unlike the expresso, it actually tasted okay, and I had three little mini-cupfuls, free from her with so much caring. My brain came back to me, and while I still felt bad, I felt functional again. We talked, deeply, resonantly, with caring and honesty to each other, and my heart filled up, with enough love and connection to override the physical symptoms of my body. Caffeine must help the brain reaction somehow, and the love she gave was enough to help with the rest. 

I was supposed to meet my friend L for the pride picnic, but she couldn't find it and I had missed it, so we ended up sitting outside the gelato place for two hours talking. I really enjoyed it. It was casual, relatively easy, and more meaningful than my conversations often are. The air for once actually felt good. Not like something I had to escape from. Something I could actually settle into. I knew there would be few nights this summer where I would feel that way so tried to enjoy it. 

It wasn't what I had expected to do today, but it was probably better. 

I said to Sarah that I have such fear of trying new things, even little things like trying coffee, new medications, drinking, whatever because I am terrified of my body and how it will respond. But I was so far gone I was like... Give me what you have, I'll try it. Since it was a coffee shop... Well... Probably better to be there than some other places, lol. For me, even trying coffee would feel dangerous on a normal day. But I did it. And it helped. 

My thoughts are hard to articulate but they went something like this. 

Part of this I posted on Facebook earlier, but wanted to expand, and needed the feeling of being in connection with someone to do so. 

here is no way I can control the world. There is no way I can control the way I experience the world or perceive the world. I can't control the way my body experiences the world. I can't control whether I am hungry or not most of the time, whether my body hurts or not, whether my brain feels like it's going to explode, whether or not I feel like I can breathe if it's humid, all of those things I am coming to accept, gradually, kicking or screaming, I just can't control them. But I can start to come to an understanding of being okay even despite these things. I can start to come to an understanding of some things being more important than these things. I can try to recall memories of connection with others, Hugs, laughing , jokes, memories of feeling good and try to connect with those feelings instead, as hard as it usually is.

I can try to laugh despite it all. I can try to remember I am connected with something more important than the physical body - the universe. Most days I don't have an understanding of what it means to be connected to the universe, but some days I can start to see it. I can try to find and connect with my inner strength, which I am told is there and some days even see evidence of. I can start to believe that people are safe to connect with and let myself be open, unapologetically open, to their energies good or bad knowing that true connection will be worth all the hurt that might come on the way to it. Someone had told me that she thought if I was really open with myself and not holding myself back my energy or emotions wouldn't come across so intensely or strongly or overwhelmingly. I think she is write. I think I am too afraid and too much trying to avoid trying to feel my own emotions. I have a lot of coping mechanisms which are good, but too many of them while they are great at keeping out the negative emotions and things, they keep out the positive emotions too. They are designed, unconsciously, to keep me away from the world. Because the world is perceived as scary, negative, overwhelming. But I don't WANT to be kept away from the world. I want to be part of the world. And that is going to mean taking on even more pain that I am taking on now, and being open to more, i

Maybe I did already write what I needed to, I don't know. I am just trying to explore this concept. This concept of surrendering control. How wonderful that would be. How necessary that is. I can't keep riding this roller coaster. I have to find a way to laugh at the absurdity that is my life, rather than identify so strongly with the pain in it. I think the only way to do that is to maintain and keep trying to strengthen my connections with people and things outside my body, and think of them whenever I can. 

This is my attempt to survive the life I have been given. 

1 comment:

  1. Trying to balance what I can control and what I can't is big struggle... but when I get it right it makes a big difference. Good for you for trying to maintain connections with people in a way that works for you.
    - R.J.