Thursday, August 21, 2008

What makes me so sad right now

So sad it's like the world is suddenly a different place and I'm scared that I can't fit into it in the ways I want to, that I'll never fit into it in those ways. I mean physically. In my body walking through streets and sitting on sofas and talking to friends and crying and laughing, I know I will do all these things, maybe even in a few minutes, but I wonder about getting to that place of absolute vulnerability which is safety and childhood and hope and I need all of that.

It's because my relationship with Derek is where I've felt so physically present, in my body and my emotions no matter what they are and nurtured and held and safe yes safe. And yesterday it was so so hard to stay in my body so so hard it hasn't been that hard with someone I love or even someone I don't love in years, maybe even 15, since I remembered I was sexually abused and then I realized oh, there's so much more I could feel. I want to feel all of that, and with people I love I don't want to lose hope for all of that, the place where my body is just here. I'm here. I want to be here.

At least writing helps, writing this I'm crying more than when I was with Derek, then I only got a few tears and they didn't even come out of my eyes really, now they're running down my face and I love that. I didn't really say what I wanted to, or not in the way I wanted to. I kept thinking about Derek and how he would respond, and the places where it feels like nothing will budge. I can't help thinking that all of this started because I wanted to tell Derek some things I've resented, I wanted him to listen and then it would be okay. It wasn't okay. It's not okay. And I don't know what to do about that.

I feel like I'm accepting his boundaries like I did something wrong. Even when he was talking about wanting more time apart, not time without contact but time without talking through our issues or getting together and I wanted to know exactly what his boundaries were, and he kind of got upset about that. I said listen, I'm not like your other friends -- I'm not going to cross your boundaries, so I want to know what they are. And he said I'm not upset, maybe I'm just confused, and then we figured out those boundaries -- chatting on the phone is fine, as long as we don't process; we’ll talk in a few weeks. And all that sounds fine, it's just that I'm worried we'll still have those same walls -- Derek wants me to let things go, and I hate that language but maybe that's what I was trying to do when I talked about how his five years of disastrous alcoholism affects me now and he couldn't even listen, I mean he listened but it was too much.

But then I say what about letters, are you okay with letters and Derek says letters are fine. I should've left it at that -- there's so much I want to say and I'm not able to say it in person -- not able because he can't deal, not able because I can't speak. I can speak in a letter. But then I say what if the letter is really long, because I wanted to send you a letter earlier and that would've been the best thing for me, but then I kept thinking about how it would be for you. And Derek says I don't think I want letters right now, I don't want to communicate in that way.

Of course I can write a letter in a few weeks, I guess that's what I should do. It's just that there's so much to say and there's just more and more and Derek doesn't want to feel overwhelmed and I guess I just have to get past that and not think about how he'll react or whether it'll make him angrier or whether he'll even read it and just write what I want, on my own terms, like I'm writing now.

7 comments:

Angel said...

Ah, I love the feeling of tears rolling down my cheeks, too. Good to hold onto those small little pleasures even when things are hard...

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Oh Angel you truly do understand!

Love --
mattilda

keidy said...

I like a good cry too.

Tony said...

Mattilda, dear, you really epitomized how I feel sometimes with a relationship I am having:

"there's so much I want to say and I'm not able to say it in person -- not able because he can't deal, not able because I can't speak. I can speak in a letter."

The paradox of this is that I am afraid - on a strange, "self-hating, apprehension-about-bad-things happening-because-I am-being-Real level"- I am afraid of writing that which I cannot speak.

I love the person I am with. More than many. He is the closest thing to long-term love I have found. He is someone that my mind thinks: wow, you really could be with this one for a VERY long time: he is a life-long love. At the same time, I have all these insecurities, and he has been distancing himself from me. But I think his distancing (like no sex, little physical contact, and his wanting to be with "new" people for "fresh" air) is a process of him getting closer too because he says things like "you are one of the few people I can sleep with through the night and feel comfortable - like less than a handful."

I feel like maybe the problem - the "problem" being my perception of his distancing - is with my body, how it looks, how it is interpreted by a larger socioeconomic heteronormative system of power. Then he says he is still attracted to me - just no sex. Which is fine. He wants fresh air - new lovers, new sexual partners - and I am still a part of his life. Which is fine. It is just that somedays I feel myself fading farther into the background of his life. Paradoxically this feels good and bad - with the loss of excitement or attention comes a sense of being with a person for so long that you just "are" a part of their life. It also makes me feel invisible - can't we have the "are a part of your life" without the invisibleness - an invisibleness that reminds me of the powerlessness I experience as a working-class queer person struggling everyday to survive? I think about how much I love our relationship because it makes me feel comfortable, uncomfortable, honest and restricted, challenged and nurtured, but I also think about what could make it feel less hurtful sometimes. That, I think, probably starts with society.

He is into positive thinking, and sometimes I feel that he doesn't want any information possibly construed as "negative"- sometimes I feel like he wants to live the fantasy of A World Perfect. This world is sometimes kinda like a forced violence - an internalized violence that represses a lot of lived experience. That is why it is hard for me to speak fully via a letter.

Sorry about going on like this - I have just had this deep inside of me and I currently have no place to release this information.

And yes, the complications of relationships, love and experience never cease - the nagging sense about the bottom about to fall out that haunts oppressed peoples - indeed in the lived experience of an oppressed made to feel guilty before they even started as individuals. Perhaps that is why he is so forceful about positive thinking - he is trying to avoid disaster.
Of course this late night blarb to someone I have yet to meet goes far beyond me and my relationship with Tomek - that is his name. Far, far beyond, it is about identity formation, reality construction and the lived trauma that is immanent for queer people.
Perhaps we need to reformulate our conceptions of reality? lol

I can't wait to discuss how lived experience, discourse, citationality and performativity all relate to class, gender, sexuality, temporality, race, etc.

Thanks for listening this far.

Love-

Tony

PS-I am the union boycott organizer who was working in Boston, and emailed you recently. I am back home in la, and may end up being assigned to southern california for a long time. so I will simply have to make a trip to the bay area so we can have coffee and chat.

my work email: tcochran@unitehere.org
my personal email: beingpeace@gmail.con

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Keidy, yay are crying!

Tony, I really relate to this "sense of being with a person for so long that you just "are" a part of their life" because Derek and I have been friends for 16 years and that's how it felt for so long until...

And this is beautiful: "I think about how much I love our relationship because it makes me feel comfortable, uncomfortable, honest and restricted, challenged and nurtured, but I also think about what could make it feel less hurtful sometimes."

Oh, no -- and positive thinking! I'm wondering about that with Derek too... And the violence of it.

I look forward to the time when we meet, whenever that is...

Love --
mattilda

Daisy said...

I said listen, I'm not like your other friends -- I'm not going to cross your boundaries, so I want to know what they are.

And it is entirely possible he doesn't know what his boundaries ARE... especially if he has had addiction issues.

So many people, I have learned, don't know how to answer that question :( ...they just expect you to KNOW intuitively.

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

That's a good point, Daisy -- a great point -- I'll have to think about it...

Love --
mattilda