Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Intimacy and the Apocalypse

All this domestic bliss has not been without incident.
Once the pleasantries of the first couple of weeks were behind us, and the Thanksgiving holiday completely on top of us, we encountered some relational friction.  The conflict really didn't have anything to do with the holiday itself, unless you factor in the resentment that built inside me as I stood all alone scrubbing sink after sink full of dishes, glasses, pots and pans while Velvet played video games.  Those little annoyances go with the holiday territory in America and only contributed to the relational friction because my agitation level was elevated.

The factors underlying the relational friction are largely characterological.  As someone who has been institutionalized for suicidal depression, I'm accustomed to the men in my life blaming me as the source of every fight, problem, challenge, hostility and general unpleasantness because I am, as they say in the trade, the Identified Patient.  I maintain that my neurosis, if you will, has simply been identified.  Theirs, on the other hand, runs rampant.  Their own issues cause all kinds of trouble, but when I react or object, the man is typically happy to point his finger directly at me, the known mental patient, as the root of the problem.

I freely admit that I can react badly sometimes and that I can be vicious when I'm hurt and angry. The good news is that I'm rarely passive-aggressive because I'm so actively hostile.  However, I am only hostile as a result of being angry and hurt in the first place.  Unless I'm hurt and angry, I'm my usual cheerful, goofy, dopey, affectionate self.  I also understand that no man purposefully antagonizes me because there's no logical reason to turn an affectionate, accepting female into a raging Medusa, but as I pointed out to ABear once the conflict was resolved, it really doesn't matter whose head trip you're stuck in.  Once the head trip kicks in, we're stuck in it together until we find a way out.

Most likely, it was inevitable that we'd wind up on the Road To Beaumont (Stonerdate 01.16.12) and that other abuse issues would be activated in the process - most specifically all that date rape stuff (A Quantum Heap, Stonerdate 09.25.12).  It's possible that I may not have been triggered as hard when the trigger hit if I hadn't been keeping certain feelings to myself over Thanksgiving weekend because Velvet and Cupcake were there.

It's difficult to make sense out of another person's behavior when you don't have all the background, so in many ways, ABear was simply minding his own business and was totally bewildered to find himself in the middle of a shit storm.  Nevertheless, part of minding his own business included a remarkably bad sense of timing when delivering devastating critiques of my behavior.  For example, we were at a Burner Happy Hour when he was compelled to tell me that I should pay more attention to others when I've had a couple of drinks and am telling a story since their eyes glaze over.

It's true that I get chatty when I'm excited, and it's true that when I'm excited I get wrapped up in  the moment and forget to breathe - but there's no reason to assume that a listener has lost attention simply because I've bored him/her into a coma.  Those eyes could be glazed because of the four scotches they just downed, or because they have to pee.  You never know what is in another person's head.  So even though I was devastated in the moment - because honestly I can't remember anyone ever telling me I was boring, and it cut to the quick - I could see how ABear might be concerned that my behavior would reflect poorly on him.  We're seen as a couple at these functions, after all, and he's trying to make contacts for a DJ job in the city.  That's a scary proposition for an older person who has been out of the business for a decade or more.  After a day or two, I figured it was also possible that ABear was worried about causing people's eyes to glaze over his own self, so he may have simply been projecting his own fears.  We all do that sometimes.

It's just that when we were able to talk about the situation, briefly since Velvet was on his way over and I had to get a turkey in the oven, he stuck to his assessment and maintained that I talk too much in certain social situations.

I  probably do, but the whole thing reminded me of the time The Narcissist said I was stupid when we were in Austin and I'd forgotten that I'd left the weed in the ice chest it got soaking wet.   I objected to being called stupid, and The Narcissist said, "Well, wasn't it stupid?"  The Narcissist was a complete and total asshole whereas ABear is just a regular guy - but either way, they both felt their criticism of me was absolutely justified.  ABear went on to explain that I'd certainly want him to tell me if there were toilet paper on my shoe or spinach in my teeth.  He felt like he was helping me.

Maybe he was.  The  point isn't really whether or not I occasionally bore people into a coma when I'm excited and drinking.  The point is that he and I hadn't had a chance to talk through this situation when we found ourselves in a trickier spot later in the weekend.  That tricky spot was sexual, naturally, and even though it was a trigger for me, in the greater scheme of things, the whole thing was simply a matter of learning how we each communicate and where our boundaries are.  Once that trigger is hit, though, the resulting head trip follows a predictable spiral into dysfunctional territory.  This time down that spiral, I was in the process of concluding that I was too damaged to be in a successful relationship.  Fortunately, I recognized that was bullshit before the process was complete.

When we finally had the opportunity to talk at length, ABear and I both were wondering if I'd put up roadblocks to intimacy.  I  probably did, but it was certainly unconscious - just as his criticisms were probably unconscious, too.  We didn't talk much about his view of himself in this episode.  I suspect that's because once there's a real fight, ABear absorbs information and retreats into himself.  He seems to suffer in silence, whereas I am never silent about anything even when I don't have any clear answers.

It's all good because we successfully cleared an obstacle, but it was a tense couple of days.  We set aside that tension for the night when we went to that surprise party with dancing and a million balloons.  Or at least I set it aside - ABear may not have realized there was a shit storm brewing at the time.  It doesn't matter now.  What matters are the wishes we made as the balloons floated up into the clouds because in that instant, our intentions were clear.  Once your intention is clear, the path toward reaching that intention can present itself.   For me, that opening myself to receive love and to allow the trust I already felt to develop freely.

ABear said something about letting the balloons loose on Facebook, and of course we were reprimanded by a very well-intentioned individual for compromising the environment and endangering wildlife.  Guilty as charged, but when I was contemplating my careless, self-centered actions, it occurred to me that if those balloons turned out to be the debris that somehow triggers a global environmental collapse - I was down with that.  The world has been teetering on the edge of the apocalypse for who knows how long, and if two lovers with a balloon bouquet turn out to be the final  straw on the camel's back, I'm proud to participate.  The goddess Kali illustrates how destruction clears the way for new growth.  It's all part of that divine feminine energy, I guess, and so am I.
Blessed Be.



Krell said...

Not trying to be a dime store psychologist here.. but I notice that you and ABear have mentioned that one night with the balloons. It seems to be significant for both of you. Perhaps the balloons represent emotional items that may have been kept internalized for whatever reason and releasing those balloons subconsciously signals a desire for a new beginning. You are ready to "let go" of the past and have committed to opening up for the future.

James Joiner said...

I am the clean freak and the pots and pans guy but no biggie, I clean she doesn't. Relax and enjoy,

PENolan said...

Krell, I like it!

Jim, we're relaxing now for sure

ellen abbott said...

so Pinko is now ABear? just trying to keep the characters straight.

PENolan said...

I've been trying to call him ABear, which is his DJ name, and that's what all his friends call him. He's still my Pinko, though, since his blogtalk show is The Pinko the Bear Show

Courtney said...

I am excited for you and your relationship! I just wanted to say hi!

PENolan said...

Hey Girl! Good to see you.
Hope things in Oklahoma are OK
(sorry, just had to say it)

It's funny, this relationship. One of the things I love best is that he only had two quarrels with this post, and once I made a couple of simple edits, it's all good. A far cry from that blog stalking narcissist . . .

Krell said...

Things are always good in Oklahoma..

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