Couch.

I am at the beach. I slid out of the city after a fairly intense therapy session this morning. Luckily, the sun is shining and aside from the all of a sudden vicious flies, it is lovely here. I got my act together and brought my laptop, an umbrella and all the little things I needed to write a story.

That was yesterday. Some days I just won’t put the words on paper. They tumble and cascade around my mind until I have exhausted myself and end up a mess getting nothing done. It happens at least once or twice a month. Weekly therapy has made such a big difference, I don’t say much out loud generally,  so that one hour becomes priceless.  Last night I was struck with the thought – If I had told my secrets years ago I may have had to suffer less.

The water has been so warm this past week on the Northeast coast. It being August the days are ending cooler, the sticky evenings are welcoming open windows and the beach offers solitude during the week. I stood there in the water for a good half hour. Wearing a crochet suit and feeling kind of sexy, pacing through the little waves at the edge – I just watched.

Every so often I looked away, waved or said hello to somebody passing by. A fiery brown lab splashed through the incoming tide like it was the first and last day of forever. I didn’t want them to see me, notice me devouring their every move. Not gawking or judging – I only wanted to witness their bliss without interrupting it.  Not that they could be bothered. They only had eyes for each other. Lovers, maybe late twenty somethings. The people on the beach and around them in the water are only accessories to the dance they are doing. Each time he comes up from a wave he turns and looks for her; where she is, her approving smile and careless finger grazing of the waves. Every few minutes they embrace playfully or lovingly, and then dive around the water some more. watching a dance of desire and hope. I found it wildly beautiful. Totally fixated. Then I noticed a neighbor chasing my umbrella down the beach. Of course. So I ran too. I hope it was graceful…

I have been feeling sad a lot lately. Trying to figure out the big picture of my life. I don’t enjoy the sad and I do not try to create it. When I was in my late teen and twenties I would listen to the Cranberries, Sinead and Alannis welcoming the melancholy with open arms. I never knew why, I never identified my own grief, I just believed in sad songs. They allowed me to feel something. Something visceral, that sensation deep in my body that so so very often wants to cry out, maybe even screech or wail.  Occasionally now when I am feeling dead numb I will dig deep in my iPod and play all of that angst filled music. Maybe some Bloodletting – Concrete Blonde.

I really don’t know what to do with my feelings. No idea. What I know is I cannot continue to ignore them, stuff them down with anything I can. I don’t feel like shopping anymore, hiding my sadness behind a designer dress and a big pair of sunglasses. For what? To go home, kiss my kids goodnight and pass out on my couch apparently.

I love to bounce around a casino with all of its mundane distractions, freezing air and lack of light or clocks – but eventually you have to leave and go back to the couch. But wait, is it that I need to learn how to be okay with the couch?

No – I am pretty sure I need to learn how to be patient and okay with me. I get so afraid that I have given up of all my opportunity for bliss. I gave it to my first and third husbands. Two very different men, only having me in common really.

No – it didn’t start with them, it started with the young men that raped and molested and took away my youth all those years ago. It started when I was questioned at the police station as a child and watched my mother get beat up for my words. It started when the gym teacher I trusted stuck his tongue down my throat during the last week of  school.

I brushed all of that and more continuously under the mat so as not to be a cry baby. That is what happens to the pretty girls, that feel ugly.  I guess. That is exactly where it started. I am nothing if not just afraid to be alone and unloved. Left to pick up my shit and go home and shower.

It’s similar to waking up like Rip Van Winkle and realizing that you’ve been robbed. That is the price I am paying for not knowing how to deal with Trauma. I’m still on the fence with how much I am willing even to deal with now. It pisses me off in such a fashion that it all ends up on the inside. And there I sit, trapped on a couch feeling simply unloved, ugly without trusting a soul.

As I mentioned before – this is where the weekly talk therapy comes in handy – I have to yap it out a little. On my therapist’s couch. It all seems so unreal and unbelievable in my head, cycling and churning with “What ifs?” and “What should I do next?”.  I feel like I have wasted my life thus far in a bouquet of fancy lies.

All of these emotions are new to me. I am not comfortable with them at all, but at least they are beginning to be identified. Whether or not I believe in love, passion or hope at this point doesn’t matter. I know others believe still. I am starting by embracing that. Hearing others say that there is still a chance for success, for happiness, or even for bliss. My therapist says it’s the beginning, I am doing okay and challenges me to be positive and forthright with myself.

When I left for the beach yesterday I wanted to curl up and cry. Maybe inflict some pain. I always answer that, I am fine, to a safety question. Of course, unless I cannot drive.  But truly, unless I am patient with all of my emotions and stop torturing myself over other people’s needs and happiness, I will continue to be not-so-fine.

Writhing with emotional pain that leaves me only depleted too often.

I don’t want to feel dead anymore. My reward for patience yesterday was seeing that bliss on the beach. Witnessing proof that desire and reciprocity do exist. They were my Talisman for the afternoon and helped me cope with an array of mixed emotions that seemed uncontrollable. I walked away with a grin and without damage.  Aside from the bent umbrella. ~ Leigh xxx

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