waiting on the front porch

she just stood there on the front porch waiting for her will to come and get her she was packed she had a suitcase full of noble intentions she had a map and a straight face hell bent on reinvention she was learning about please and huge humilities then one day she looked around her and everything up til then was showing and she wondered how did i get here without even knowing where i was going? ~ani difranco

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Location: montreal, quebec, Canada


Saturday, November 04, 2006

fear. yoga. hugs.

"i must say a word about fear. it is life's only true opponent. only fear can defeat life. it is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well i know. it has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. it goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unerring ease. it begins in your mind, always. one moment you are feeling calm, self-possessed, happy. then fear, disguised in the garb of mild-mannered doubt, slips into your mind like a spy. doubt meets disbelief and disbelief tries to push it out. but disbelief is a poorly armed foot soldier. doubt does away with it with little trouble. you become anxious. reason comes to do battle for you. you are reassured. reason is fully equipped with the latest weapons technology. but, to your amazement, despite superior tactics and a number of undeniable victories, reason is laid low. you feel yourself weakening, wavering. your anxiety becomes dread.
fear next turns fully to your body, which is already aware that something terribly wrong is going on. already your lungs have flown away like a bird and your guts have slithered away like a snake. now your tongue drops dead like an opossum, while your jaw begins to gallop on the spot. your muscles begin to shiver as if they have malaria and your knees to shake as though they were dancing. your heart strains too hard, while your sphincter relaxes too much. and so with the rest of your body. every part of you, in the manner most suited to it, falls apart. only your eyes work well. they always pay proper attention to fear.
quickly you make rash decisions. you dismiss your last allies: hope and trust. there, you've defeated yourself. fear, which is but an impression, has triumphed over you.
the matter is difficult to put into words. for fear, real fear, such as shakes you to your very foundations, such as you feel when you are brought face to face with your mortal end, nestles in your memory like a gangrene: it seeks to rot everything, even the words with which to speak of it. so you must fight hard to express it. you must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. because if you don't, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you."
-yann martel; "life of pi"
(quote that has really encapsulated my mood as of late)

yesterday, my anxiety never really went away. it built and built, but never summited into a full-fledged panic attack, which would have almost been a relief. work was hard. my boss was in a bad mood; when she gets in a bad mood she herself is anxious, she paces back and forth, she snaps when she doesn't mean to - and i was so rubbed raw from the past week that i had to disengage, sometimes, to not lose control completely. take deep breaths. drink lots of water. i had this moment of connection with her though. she turned to me at one point and said, "you know, i don't make very good coffee, so i'm not going to offer you any of what i make." and i looked at her and said, "do you want me to make you a coffee?" and she looked like she was going to cry and said, "yes." so i told her, "you know, if you ever want me to make coffee for you, you can just ask. i won't be offended." and she thanked me. later, i was re-organizing one of the freezers for her, and i drew up a sign for the other staff members so that everyone would be aware of the changes i made, and she grabbed me and kissed me when i was finished, saying "finally! someone is helping me!"

her bad mood cleared after that, and it made me realize, how overwhelmed and alone and frustrated she must have felt...how like me. she's not the easiest person in the world to help, (neither am i), but it's worth it.

i'm now at the point where i feel like i should talk about something else other than my struggle with what's going on, because i feel like this is getting to be depression-central around here, and i don't want to scare people off. but that would be dishonouring the commitment i made, and it is my usual defense mechanism - back off. change the subject. leave town. so i'm going to try and stick with it.
the physical sides of my anxiety are hard to cope with, at the moment. vibrating hands. accelerated heartbeat. i don't know if anybody else has stood at the top of a cliff and watched the earth crumble off and fall into the ravine - but that's what the inside of my body feels like, from the tip of my rib cage spreading through my belly. i've been trying to deal with it - yesterday i meditated for the first time in forever. i'm sure i only lasted for about five minutes, but i want to try it again. making yoga a part of my home practice, instead of just trying to hit the studio every week. i'm tired of feeling this way, both emotionally and physically. it's just too much, and once i'm here...in this state...i can't stop it, slow it down, change it. i'm just here.
i also feel out on a limb. (i just tried to go back and hunt for the post where i talked about needing lots of love, i can't find it.) there's a part of me that felt the wonderful comments and phone calls and emails from you guys. there's a part of me that felt met telling me he loved me when he dropped off the flowers, when he told me that i was incredible, when he called and left a message for me yesterday to check in. but last night...i got home late from those errands and called him - left him a message. started falling asleep early, so i took a nap, then realized the nap was going to turn into an all-nighter, so i left him another message.

...then i left him another one, because i had all these feelings building up in me and i needed to get rid of them. basically about how i missed him, because it feels like we haven't spent any time together since the day before my birthday. which, in itself, isn't that long. but i need physical reassurance a lot, i'm realizing. i also told him how i still feel uncomfortable telling him that i love him and that i miss him...for all the reasons that i've actually spoken about here (the questioning, the distance). anyway. he hasn't got back to me yet, so i'm freaking out. there's the limb.
see, i know he's a wonderful man. he just is. he tries his fucking hardest for the people he loves and he leaves himself last every single day. i love him to death for that. i know he wouldn't "do me wrong"...at least, in my head i do. my heart is preparing. it's always preparing. to be hurt, to be rejected, to be left alone. i really want to stop that. i want to trust my boyfriend, my partner, who has done nothing to deserve my mistrust. and from there, i want to trust the world again.

i read 37 days all the time. (i would link to it, but my links are screwed up - have been since i moved here). and a while ago, patti wrote an incredible post which i related to IMMENSELY about the healing power of touch. read it here, if you'd like, if you haven't already. (but be prepared, if this is your first visit to 37 days, you will probably be. sucked. in.)

...it just got me to thinking, due to the satir quote at the top, that i hug people (actually, one. i hug met) maybe...once every two days. and that's only fleeting. when met asked me if he could come over the day before yesterday to give me a hug, he really meant just that - five minutes, no more. if people need 4 a day just for survival, where the hell does that place me on the continuum?



Blogger Deb R said...

There's so much truth in the passage you quoted. I love that you reached out to your boss, despite her being a difficult person to reach out to and despite you not being in a very good place emotionally yourself. I hope you realize that's a very powerful thing.

Sounds to me like you need more hugs in your life, yes? It gets easier the more you do it, honest. :-)

I forgot to tell you in the meme comment, I think it's cool that you photographed the moon from a mountaintop. That has a sense of the profound to me.

6:45 a.m.  
Anonymous ceanandjen said...

That passage did indeed describe fear and it's effects so succinctly. It permeates every part of us.

I was so touched by your story about your boss. This just goes to show that our presence in this world does indeed have an inpact. Your boss was embracing you yesterday, even if that embrace was in internal.

Be gentle with yourself and continue doing what you need to do to take this one day at a time.

Sending you a great big warm bear hug from Portland this Saturday a.m. The boy and I are off to the airport to pick up some friends visiting.

Thinking of you and sending love...xoxoxo

9:23 a.m.  
Blogger Sacred Suzie said...

I love that story about the woman at work very much. We can get like that, all stressed and trying to show how strong we are and then someone helps us and we are moved so much.

I'm sorry the dark time continues for you Bee. Have you tried doing a spiritual cleansing? That may sound weird, but it isn't. I know a lot of my dark feelings lift when I just light a candle and say I am protected by the light of the divine. Perhaps that will help you?

Big hug to you Bee. You are strong, just keep taking babysteps. You'll get out of the dark.

10:02 a.m.  
Blogger Superhero Activist said...

I can't say much, I am overwhelmed with the beauty that is you.

You know I love you, my dear cosmic twin.

I am sending you a giant, take your breath away, bear hug.

11:49 a.m.  
Blogger bee said...

deb r, i am going to post the picture of the moon, if it works out...once i get my photos developed and put onto cd. wheee!

jen....the storm clouds broke. this afternoon, for no reason. it feels so good. i have to tell another work story! ooh, maybe i'll just do it here. this guy that i work with on saturdays, he asked me how my birthday had gone and i didn't want to launch into the 'real story' so i just said, "i learned some powerful lessons." and he said, "like what?" and i said, "like not taking life for granted." and you know....it's true. :)

suzie, that's a wonderful idea. i'm going to try that, soon. (i always keep sage in a bowl, for smudging purposes.)

john....i know. ((HUG))

3:42 p.m.  
Blogger Cheshire Cat said...

I'm glad to hear your storm clouds are leaving. I've been thinking about you a lot lately - sending you thoughts of strength and love. I wrote another piece for you on my blog.

10:25 p.m.  
Blogger Jane Poe (aka Deborah) said...

ah bee, I feel your anxiety girl. I have my own bouts with it, but I relate more through my best friend who is riddled with anxiety attacks and insecurity. You are aware, present and here. You understand your needs, wants, and what is not presenting itself to you in this moment ... keep writing. Keep reaching out, keep exploring yourself. Dear Bee, your words are your power. They come from your soul. You are amazing. Keep it up girl. xo, d

11:27 p.m.  

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