Secrets of the Game

I am looking forward to school starting in September. The Fall is okay I guess; the foliage that the Northeast is famous for and the cool days that I can happily cozy up into a sweater. Preferably one with long soft sleeves that I can pull down around my hands. I have a favorite that is cashmere and gray and has long sleeves with thumb holes in it for me to fuck around with while sitting. September brings back the warm encompassing feeling of ritual. Waking up, rushing around like a bunch of chickens, dropping the kids at school and bringing my dog to the park to play. Much more enjoyable and relaxing than taking toddlers to the park I might add.  My days go on from there, assuming nobody stays home from school.

The first memory I have of self shame was when I was six years old. It was Winter and I was being questioned at the police station. After asking my mother to leave the room, the officer started asking me questions about my stepfather.

Things like, “Does he tickle you funny?” and “How does he spank you?”

I was embarrassed and confused and immediately was trying to find the right answer to questions that I knew had an undertone,  but I didn’t know what. When I told my stepfather about the police visit he beat my mother. I learned a few things that day. The biggest was to keep my mouth fucking shut. I quickly learned to keep secrets. I have kept secrets for years. I am bringing this up because by keeping secrets, big and small – I have developed very sharp skills in minimization and rituals.

I often joke on Twitter or in my stories that I have physical tics. I shake my head, roll my shoulders, wring my hands, etc. It’s funny sometimes I know that, I do it to release stress. The stress builds up and I shake my head, it feels good. Then I stop. It is harmless and easy and free and I don’t care who sees. It is a mechanism for daily survival. Sometimes the habits that I form for rituals are less harmless and always start off as a way to feel better. A skill to survive or remove me from the feelings of helplessness. Quell the feelings of sad, help me feel assertive and strong. A perfect example is my eating disorder. Anorexia comes with a lot of rules. For a person who started at six years old, with skewed rules of social engagement – RULES ARE SERIOUS!

It starts off insidious – I am going to lose some weight because I am fat. I will only eat small meals 5 times a day. That can either go one or two ways. I’ve experienced both a gazzilion times. I will train and eat properly for a while. Possibly exercising too much and start to want to amateur bodybuild. That way of life will take over my days and I will be compelled to buy supplements, run races, flex my muscles and go to sleep. I did that for years, and I didn’t die. Another scenario – the one that is more current and popular goes the other way. (I’m totally not dead either) I start off on a “regular diet” that still includes, food, restaurants and socializing. It’s all okay because in my head I am starting to lose a little weight and I am feeling more worthy and not as gross. Somewhere along the continuum I start changing meals to snacks and begin to lose my appetite. I always allow myself coffee however I want it, so I count the dairy as nutrition. When I was younger I would drink it black – fuck that, now I deserve to starve and have my coffee the way I want it.  The loss of weight and draping of clothes makes me feel more confident, more respectable. These feelings are all skewed and The proper part of my brain knows it’s all nonsense – when you are in it, it is more often than not nearly impossible to believe otherwise. For at least three months this year my snacks turned into gummies. The “allowed freely” food.

Bear in mind I have a houseful of people who want to eat. They enjoy having a stocked fridge of yummy things to snack on. Unfortunately, in my house I had to stop doing the food shopping. I couldn’t buy the food, I couldn’t eat the food, decide what to buy for others and it was way too stressful. My husband started food shopping. He has always helped, so the transition didn’t seem too difficult nor did it seem like a big deal to me. Now that I didn’t have to shop for food in a market,  I could keep my meals to gummies after 6pm and some real food between midnight and 1am. It’s easy to shop at C.V.S or a gas station. Real food consists of half a sandwich or generally something carb loaded because if I am awake at that time, I usually have some form of hungry.

{It’s usually for romance but 99.9 percent of the time I get Lays, not Laid}

At first a new ritual or habit may seem like it is bringing order to my life. Quieting the chaos of lists and easing the depression. It feels like ease because having the sort of control to not eat food is a major distraction from other things that are miserable.  Bigger situations that cause me sadness, anger or anxiety.  And I get to be skinny. Which by the way I am not even a big fan of skinny I just like the feeling of skinny.  It’s an emotional charge to feel my stomach growl. So powerful that after a year,  I am exhausted again and starting to change a little.

{It’s no big deal. It’s no big deal. IT IS NOT A BIG FUCKING DEAL! }

That’s the biggest lie I tell myself every day. Every single day since I can remember I internalize those words. I am now – only after lots of weekly therapy, using prescribed only medicines and sharing some of my secrets on my blog; beginning to think, it IS a big deal and recognize that I am a survivor, surviving the best I can today.

The internal demons I fight every morning when I wake up, the menacing sights I see in the mirror, the “I am not good enough at anything” feeling that stalks me constantly are most often caused by the external traumas that I have endured. That is a pretty big realization for somebody who says nothing that happens in my life is a big deal.

Starving = NBD

Molested numerous times = NBD

Traumatic birth = NBD

Drug and Alcohol dependencies and overdoses = NBD

Rapes = NBD

The list goes on and it feels redundant quite frankly.

I recently endured an embarrassing sex accident. Without going into detail too much, the couch, man, me and floor was covered in blood. It felt very emergency like and we went to the emergency room. I told them I was vaginally bleeding from something sex related and immediately became the girl with the, ” vagina/sex problem”.

Nobody said that, but seriously people do think that. That part is ok. It’s the crowd of people. It’s the questions. It’s all so personal to me and if I hadn’t been in stirrups unwillingly or been violated so many times, it may have been funny. It wasn’t funny and I couldn’t figure it out until I had 10 minutes left in therapy and mentioned it happened. He decided it was a big deal. All the blood. The reminder of violence. The pain. The fear. The shame and embarrassment. And the feeling of just shut the door clean me up and leave me alone. It will all go away. Once I go home and smoke, walk around, check my lists and my children, it will all go away.

Spoiler Alert – It doesn’t.

This week I feel like I am taking care of myself a little. All that bleeding allowed me to eat roast beef subs with lots of mayo. That’s the thing with my game of cards that I balance so precariously – I am now rewarded with food for suffering an injury that my therapist helped me know was a trauma and trigger for somebody with my past. Once again let me remind you that I am not unaware of the absurdity of that statement – it’s how my rules are working for/with/against me now. I had recently starting adding some foods to my diet, to feel less like I am dying and more like I am surviving.

I don’t want to kill myself while still trying to figure out how to live. I want to be alive for my children – that is a big deal. September is coming and I feel like it’s a chance to start the school year on a positive note.


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2 thoughts on “Secrets of the Game

  1. It’s tough being everyone’s rock and then there’s hardly any left for yourself. I still think you’re right in saying those things aren’t a big deal because they haven’t ended you. And here you’ve managed to hold onto what’s most important without any effort (taking care of your people).

    That’s what I call a big deal (taking care of your people) and you’re handling it in spite of not really even believing that you’re the catalyst. It’s taken me a while to accept some responsibility for raising two awesome people and I am extremely stubborn in that regard.

    You’re on my mind right now, and I hope that’s enough for a smile. SMILE DAMMIT~ok, better. *smooches*

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