So Del has a post up called “Sometimes You Just Gotta Open Your Mouth” wherein he talks about a lot of things – primarily mortality – but, at the beginning, specifically about feeling overwhelmed when faced with the blank blogging-page.
I can relate.
There’s a zillion things that I feel like I “should” be blogging about here on Syrens – Bill C36 and its (negative & appalling) effect on sex workers’ rights and safety; Jian Gomeshi and the situation where predators sometimes use an identification as kinky to hide their abusive behaviour; Bill C279, which would protect gender identity under the Canadian Human Rights Act and enshrine it from protection against hate crimes under the Criminal Code as well, and which is currently being held up in the senate by one or more Conservative senators who – apparently – are hoping it’ll die (AGAIN) before being passed, due to another election; … Along with my own growth/struggles/you-name-it around poly, power exhange, and personal sexuality.
So I sat down over waffles this morning and “just opened my mouth” onto a piece of paper. And what came out – surprisingly or otherwise – was another discussion of loneliness.
I often joke to people – my friends, anyone who reads this blog, y’know: people – that I’m “the most monogamous poly person I know”. I admit that I’m starting to wonder if I’m not shooting myself in the poly foot by saying stuff like that. :-\ Between this and the slight possibility of my wife getting yet another person in her romantic life (ye gods…), I wound up thinking about loneliness and how it relates (sort of…) to polyamoury. Basically, I wound up thinking about Fear Of Abandonment and how loneliness makes assholes of us all by messing with our ability to feel empathy, among other things.
Look, I don’t have a study to back this up (though the loneliness stuff I linked to, above, isn’t far off), but I’m developing this theory that Fear Of Abandonment makes people incredibly self-absorbed. I’ve talked about this before, although possibly not on this blog, about how the fear of (and pre-occupation with) What Other People Think of us, and how (not IF, but how) people feel about us can lead us to believing that every little thing is some kind of a referendum on whether So-And-So likes us for real or not.
 
Someone didn’t send a thank-you note after that thing, that time? Clearly this is because They Don’t Really Care about me, and has nothing to do with their work-life being kind of overwhelming at the moment.
 
Someone didn’t text me back immediately? Clearly this is because they’re punishing me [in a really passive-agressive way] for some unknown Thing for-which They Are Going To Leave Me with all haste, and which couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the fact that I texted them while they were on a date, at work, or possibly driving.
 
Someone didn’t come to my birthday party? Clearly this is because They Hate Me and has NOTHING to do with the fact that they’d made plans to do something else six weeks ago, while my party invitation was kind of short-notice.
 
Seriously. Captain Awkward is FULL of stuff like this, so I heartily recommend that you go and read it if you need more examples. But do you see what I mean? Starhawk wrote something – in either Dreaming the Dark or Truth or Dare – about being “King Nothing”, about how being the Most Hated is, in a weird, backwards, upside-down way, kind of like being the Most Loved.
It makes sense.
For those of us who secretly, or not-so-secretly, believe that we are worthless, that we’ll never be worthy of love and kindness, that being wanted isn’t really something we understand as possible… knowing ourselves to be the Lowest Of The Low is, in a way, a chance to be special in some way. Being the “Best Loser” is still being the best something, right?
 
Gawd. Even just writing that down. It feels so self-pitying, so very much an unneccesary (“unneccesary”?) cry for sympathy and attention and what-not, so very, very “poor little rich girl” to be sitting here with my neuroteypical brain that does not pre-emptively re-absorb its serotonin, that doesn’t plague me with disturbing thoughts of how nobody would miss me if I just happened to die on day, y’know, “by accident”, that the people I love would be better off, and happier too, without the burden of my neediness[1] always weighing on them.
And yet I beat myself up – often emotionally, sometimes physically – on really bad days when I’m so overwhelmed with shame that I slap my own face, tear at my hair, claw at my skin, while my Jerk Brain puts on the skin of someone who woould never hurt me like this, and laughs inside my head. While my self-loathing rages and screams at it Are you happy now? Are you happy now? If I hate myself enough, will I be worthy of your crumbs? If I hurt myself enough, will your indifference feel like love??
 
Whew. Yeah. So that’s the inside of my brain for you.
But I was talking about loneliness and how it can make you really self-absorbed.
I wonder if everyone who deals with loneliness, who is afraid of being abandoned, ditched, replaced “as soon as Someone Better (and wouldn’t anyone be better?) comes along”, if we aren’t all secretly carrying around that same horrible, cruel, world-devouring voice that never stops telling you you’re bad, it just changes up the volume periodically.
 
At Unholy Harvest this year, I got to take part in a ritual. It was a really good ritual, and I hope that we get to have another one next year[2]. Part of that ritual involved partnering up and one of you saying “I love myself. I love myself.” and the other acknowledging it, saying “You love yourself”. It was so easy, when my ritual-partner said that she loves herself, to respond with a grin and “I know. You love yourself!”
But I don’t know. Maybe she was faking it just as much as I was, and her confidence and her 1700-lumen smile that actually does light up the room, are just a cover-up for the same loathing and self-directed rage that are gnawing at me all the damn time.
All I know is that when she said “You love yourself” to me, I laughed in that awful “this is actually a living nightmare and I just told a really big lie” kind of way.
 
I have no idea how to like myself better[3]. Every time I see someone make a note of how they’re resolving to treat themselves with as much compassion and care as they treat their friends, I wonder if it would be okay for me to do something like that, or if acting like I’m mean to myself, publically acknowledging that I’m mean to myself (I am mean to myself, and acting like it doesn’t count because I’m not taking a razor to my own arms is… possibly part of how I’m doing it?), if, given that I spend most of my days cooking good home-food, making different kinds of art, going for walks and/or doing yoga, and getting in a number of more-than-occasional hot baths (you know, living the life I actually want and getting to do it in spite of my own income being kind of uncertain?), it isn’t a little bit ridiculous to act like I’m entitled to, I dunno, also believing that I deserve that stuff. Or something.
I don’t know.
I don’t know how to like myself better. But I think I need to.
I think I need to.
 
 
Take care,
Ms Syren.
 
 
[1] … Er… Mostly. I’m not suicidal. Not suicidal thoughts. Not suicidal ideation. DEFINITELY not PLANNING anything. But that “burden of my neediness” thing… That eats at me sometimes. :-\
 
[2] Although heaven and earth know I’m not up to facilitating it at this point… Maybe I can figure something out?
 
[3] And I mean that in the sense of “like myself more” but also in the same sense meant by phrases like “laugh yourself healthy”. Funny how that works out, isn’t it?