These three little words are certainly ones to live by - especially if you're me.
Starting at the end of last month, these have been words I'd wake up to. Was I ready for another day of feeling disconnected from everyone including myself? Another day of contending with that unwelcome feeling of impending doom? Another day of cloudiness, and feeling as if I'm surrounded by a fog? Another 24 hours of reminders that fall is in full swing, now?
I'd tell myself as I pull myself out of bed every morning - 'I'll just proceed with caution.' What this means to me is, I'm gonna wing it, just as I've been doing for the past few weeks. When I have to go outside, I'm going to inhale and exhale, I'm not going to look at the 'pretty leaves,' I'm gonna do whatever I need to do in order to get through each day that I wake up feeling like I'm stuck in that limbo place between awake and asleep. Forgetfulness is a BIG thing these days, and while I'm usually good at remembering things, this has been one such casualty of this year's transition into the Fall season. I don't want to say this is dissociation because I've done plenty of that in the past. This is different. It's more like I'm on autopilot and am going through all the motions - I just don't feel very 'present' these days even though I'm wide awake. This is SUCH a hard feeling to explain, but I'm thinking most of you get the gist. ❤️
If you ask my mother, I'm a a terrible daughter. The Oompa had a (minor) surgery scheduled the morning after my traumaversary. I'd known this for at least two weeks prior to the date, and even though this was ALL the Oompa would talk about...I still forgot. My sister's text on the evening of her surgery came as a surprise: "Mom's out of surgery and doing well." I broke down into a combination of swearing and crying. I forgot. I completely, totally, fucking FORGOT. I KNEW she was going to come at me with the 'why didn't you call me to wish me luck on Sunday (my traumaversary, and the night before her surgery)?'
Sure enough - when I'd pulled myself together, I called her to see how she was feeling. She didn't waste any time. Proceed with caution, I thought to myself as she yelled at me and basically made me feel like dog shit on the bottom of someone's shoe for not being attentive to her needs and for calling her the night before she had her surgery, or even the morning OF her surgery to wish her luck. She couldn't even BEGIN to understand what was on my mind on Sunday, and why none of it had anything to do with her having a stone removed endoscopically. I certainly didn't expect her to understand, either, so I told her that I had no excuse for it and that I was sorry. Of course, I DID have a reason to not be focused on a minor surgery, but as it was not a reason I'm going to disclose to her, I quietly accepted the responsibility and the accompanying bitching-out.
"I want you closer!" she also said. And she wasn't really talking about the two hour's drive from my house to hers - she was talking about....being emotionally and mentally closer to her. More attentive toward her and toward my sisters and my nieces and nephew.
The kids, I don't mind at all - they are loved deeply and I'm proud to be their auntie, but I don't want that kind of a relationship with her. It just doesn't feel possible. Many of you already know of my issues with my mother, but I won't get into all of that, here. I just do not feel emotionally capable, at this time, of being close to her. Because I'm too nice, I didn't have the heart to tell her that there's no desire to, either - not right now, anyway. My sisters aren't too bad, but I've NEVER been close to them - even before I lived two hours away. I'd lived fifteen minutes away from them at one point and would still, only see them for holidays and birthdays. The same as now. We're all fine with this arrangement, by the way - it's just the Oompa who has an illusion of the three of her daughters existing in harmony and being each other's best friend. That's simply not happening. And so I proceeded with caution, and let her know that of COURSE, if the surgery were more-than-minor, I'd have been there and I'd have shared in the 'burden of taking care of her.'
Meanwhile, here I am, not having someone taking care of me. And that's mainly because that's how I've always wanted it and, strangely - needed for it to be. I'll take care of myself. This is often mistaken as me 'pushing others away' but it's simply me doing what I'm used to doing, what I've trained myself to do for the last twenty-four years. That drives my mother absolutely insane, too. She wants to feel needed, she wants to have something to hold over others' heads. 'I do for you, so you must do for me.' Maybe that's partially why I adapted to the 'fuck it, I'll do it, myself' mindset. Of course, we also already know that I have issues with asking for help...with anything at all, even the simple, superficial tasks like dishes or laundry.
I know that to some, I've been an inadequate support system lately. I know I'm not mentally available. I've done my best to let those close to me know that I'm needing patience and time to let all of this run its course. I thank those who have reached out, who have checked in and who have reminded me that they are there to talk if I've needed it. I apologize for being a shitty friend lately - and I hope you'll believe me when I say I'm not trying to be. I'm just needing to be my own friend right now, and I'm seemingly failing at that, too.
I haven't been out of the house more than three times in the last three weeks. All three times, it's been to go league bowling. I've not gone grocery shopping, I've not gone to get myself a gelati from Rita's before they close for the winter season, I've only ventured outside based on necessity. As many are aware now, we got our puppy a couple months ago. Though he's adorable and he's loved by us all, he was the wife's idea. He's not 100% potty trained, so as I'm the only one home during the day, I'm also the one who has to bring him outside every two hours or so to do his business. And because he likes to take his time, I threw myself into, 'well, as long as I'm waiting for the dog, let me pull the weeds over here....' This turned into 'Project Winterize the Back Yard,' and also something ELSE I could throw myself into doing, if it meant I didn't have to sit and think about anything or try to explain the feelings of being disconnected from everything. I don't count this as leaving the house, either, as I'd do a little bit of pulling every day while I was also waiting for the dog to finish up whatever he's doing, and once he's finished, both of our asses are back inside.
I've thrown myself into schoolwork. I had a midterm last week, this week, and there's another one next week. I spend 90% o the time I'm sitting in my chair, also doing something having to do with school. This, too, keeps my mind from drifting into never-never-land and from falling deeper into a pit of 'where the fuck am I?'
My traumaversary was a week ago, and I'm JUST now starting to feel the fog lifting, some. The sun is peeking in through the clouds. I'm not there, yet, and am still 'proceeding with caution.'
Even now, there's more I want to say but there are very few words. Just getting this small amount (if you compare my previous blogs to this, it seems MUCH shorter) out has been an accomplishment.
Safe to say today's a win!