Friday, June 20, 2014

"Just because the past taps you on the shoulders, doesn’t mean you have to look back." *

Yesterday, I complained that I felt disconnected. I felt unmoored and adrift. I was physically and psychically uncomfortable. I wanted to talk with my lover; I wanted people to reply on facebook more quickly than they were; I wanted to talk to clients and make some profound statement that would somehow touch them and give them something to hold on to. I wanted to make an impact...and I wanted acknowledgement that I do make an impact.

I was needy. And small. And frustrated with myself for being so.

But I think I nailed down the reason for my disconnectedness. It is anxiety-related and fraught with some self-doubt and insecurity. I have to remember that my fears are generally unfounded and not let my imagination run away with me. I have to remember to be tethered to the positive things I know to be true rather than be quick to attach to things that may not be anything at all. I also have to trust and believe in other people.

In my first marriage, I was often put down. For just about everything. My weight. My lack of housewifely skills. My laugh. My sense of humor. My desires. My dreams. My looks. My attempts at intimacy...emotional and physical.

In my second marriage, I could almost do no wrong...except that to have or want or desire anything outside of him and us was wrong.

I thought I was over all the repercussions of that. But the truth seems to be that while the past was put away, it was not done away with. It had no impact on me because I was not in a relationship. Like a muscle that does not ache until it is over-exercised, my past was merely resting somewhere in my head, waiting for a chance to start playing back old memories and feelings.

So I have love in my life now. A man who does not make fun of me when I get silly, even if he can't quite go all the way with me into my silliness. A man who is thrilled for me that I am losing weight ONLY because I am thrilled with losing weight. A man who shares my humor, my appetite for life and loving, and my housekeeping skills. A man who neither rejects me outright because his own time is too precious to himself nor demands all my attention because he is so insecure that he needs constant reassurance that he still exists.

And it is apparently scary.

To a part of me that is not used to being treated well, it is apparently a daunting thing to be loved and cared for just because I'm me.

And so the past comes up and tries to poke holes in my happiness. And the past me who was so attention-starved that any scrap would do slinks in the door.

The past few days, memories of what Pat has told me about myself...about himself...about us...were not as firmly held in my heart as the old insecurities about whether or not I was worthy, wanted, acceptable. I was scared I was being smothering, so I didn't ask to talk. I cut back on my texts. I reigned myself in...maybe not well, but I know I did try. The harder I tried not to seem needy, the needier I felt and the more upset with myself I became. The me of the past wanted to text and say, "Are we okay?" though I had no indication that we weren't. I wanted to say, "Have I upset you?" though, again, there was no indication that I had or that he was even upset with anything.

I worked hard to get to the bottom of my find a way to get comfortable with feeling needy and not doing all my old behaviors that reflected it. It was difficult, and I don't know to what degree I succeeded, but at least this time I tried.

The past is apparently not gone away completely. It still whispers and taps me on the shoulder, trying to get my attention and drag me back where I lived so long.

But I don't have to look back anymore.

I know that with most of me.

I just need to remember it better.

* Facebook meme

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