Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Confessions of an emotional cripple

I do emotions like I do spiders. I can talk about them in theory fine. If I see one I can look at it up close - even with a magnifying glass - discuss it with the children, look it up to find the scientific name and appreciate it quite well. If a SMALL spider gets on me I will brush it off with minor skin crawls and a little "yeach" felling in my belly. If a big one gets on me I will be screaming "GET IT OFF" and alternating between trying not to vomit and trying not to cry like a hysterical little girl. If I ever get a big spider on one arm while I have a chainsaw in the other - hello prosthetic arm.

It's not pretty.

Emotions in theory I can deal with. Little emotions I can deal with - only minor skin crawls involved. BIG emotions involve a packet of marshmallows, lots of sleep and stoic insistence that I AM FINE and NO, I do not want to talk about it. And really folks, I mean that. That little word picture I painted earlier about the chainsaw and the arm - that could be you if you insist that I talk to you about my *feelings*. Wanting to cry with me and hug it out - yeah, not this little black duck.

Don't worry, I had a bunch of children so they can set up their own little support group when they get older and get bulk discounts on their therapy.

I am not all cold and nasty though. I tell my husband and kids that I love them often. I am warmly stating my choice to love them. I am describing the state that we live in (love) with accuracy and truth. I do not often examine this feeling, this *emotion*, up close though. Like one who chooses not to look down when climbing a ladder because of the ensuing vertigo, I choose not to look at the mind numbingly fear inducing swirl of vulnerability that accompanies love very often. Just like not looking down does not really make me any less high on the ladder, not examining the emotion of love very often does not actually make me any less in love - so I don't see the point really. So long as I am able to meet their needs with genuinely loving "I love you"s, we will just leave it there shall we.

Right now, my Father-in-law has been diagnosed with cardiac-myopathy. The only cure for this would be a heart transplant. Which may have been an option if he were 20 years younger and if there wasn't so much else wrong with his health. So right now, with the help of drugs, we might - MIGHT - get a few more years.

Please excuse me a moment while I make this, which is plainly not about me, totally and completely about me.

Let's not talk about the father issues, abandonment issues, fear of loss and grief issues and a million other issues that I have. No really, let's not. It is hard enough for me to admit that this man, who I love with the fire of a thousand suns, will not be around forever. Let's look at the ways that I love him. The son that he raised for me to love. The twisted sense of humor we share. The quiet way he let's me be me and seems to just adore me for it. The way he lights up when my children walk in the room and positively glows when they climb on his lap and call him Poppy. More than anyone else in this world this man is my father and I trust him, like I trust very few others in this world, to stick around for me.

So right now, there is a third of a packet of marshmallows in my underwear drawer, I am going to bed and if anyone asks, I'm doing OK and it's best to leave me alone right now.

Does this mean I am not dealing with it?

No, it means that I am dealing with it my way. Right now, as we speak, there is nothing left unsaid between Bill and I, although few words have passed. Neither of us being the cry and hug it out types, I am not sure how we have communicated that we each think the other is pretty special. But we have and I am happy to leave it at that. The thing is, those people who insist that to hug and cry it out is the only way to deal with stuff are emotionally arrogant. On a par with those who think that if I choose to be alone I am a socially defunct depressive with no interpersonal skills. No, it doesn't. It means I value alone time. The marshmallows probably aren't healthy but they are the only part of my coping mechanisms that I believe could do with a little tweaking and from someone who used to binge on sugar and butter and whatever else I could lay my hands on then spend a few moments bowing to the porcelain I am actually not all that stressed by the odd compulsive bag of marshmallows. Hey, I leave them in my stomach! I do talk about my feelings to God. On occasion I also talk about my feelings with my husband, if I feel it is something we can both benefit from. But for the most part they are precious, they are fragile, they are private and they are mine.

So to the outside world I may look like an emotional cripple.

From the inside, I am doing OK.