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vulnerability #2

I’m going to have to bring this up again. It won’t leave me alone and I know it’s going to keep bugging me until I come to some sort of terms. Writing is how I do that. Thanks in advance for reading and for bearing with me.

I started limping for no apparent reason. The outside of my right foot had begun to hurt, and in typical fashion, I kept walking on it, recognizing the pain, but figuring it would go away if I just brushed it off as nothing to be concerned about and went on about my business. I did keep going, but the pain didn’t disappear.

H. insisted I see a doctor. He acknowledged what I wouldn’t — that the intermittent ache and inability to walk properly meant that I had hurt myself somehow and I needed tending to. Fast forward to the next day and the foot doctor’s office. An x-ray revealed a stress fracture and the treatment was an ugly, black, decidedly unchic walking boot that has now made a bruise all the way around the middle of my lower leg. I hate this thing. Not only is it uncomfortable and unwieldy, it has foiled my fall footwear dreams and plans, which royally pisses me off.

On a deeper level, I don’t like to be slowed down. I like to do what I need and want to do when I need and want to do it. Deeper than that, I don’t like to ask anyone to do anything for me. I don’t like to admit I can’t do something all on my own, even if that something is supposedly insignificant — like not being able to put my own bag in the overhead compartment on a plane, or having to resist moving a piece of furniture by myself. I am a stubborn, set my jaw, I don’t need anyone, break my own back instead of taking a gentle helping hand kind of fool. On the deepest level, I can’t explain how frustrating it is to be unable to come up with a way to blame myself for this happening. I have no idea how this fracture of stress got in my foot, therefore I have no way to berate myself over how I could’ve been so stupid to allow it to get there. It’s just there. It just is. I have to let it be.

This whole thing is a metaphor the likes of which has not hit me over the head in quite sometime.

A lesson, a teacher, I suppose right when I needed it.

This year has been an emotional one for me. Shoot, they’ve all been emotional in one way or another. But this one in particular has made me examine myself more closely than I can remember previously doing for such an extended period. What is [fill in the blank] teaching me? What am I supposed to take from [fill in the blank] experience so that I can become a smarter, more compassionate, more present version of myself who isn’t thrown so badly by situations beyond my control and ps all situations except my internal ones are beyond my control? How did I get here in the first place?

This foot episode, specifically, has let me get a really good look at how I became a person who didn’t ever want to depend on anyone else. My mind races back to my three-year-old self — I don’t remember anything before that — and my first experience of dissociation. My family was unstable. I was insecurely attached to my parents. I learned that the only way I could survive was to depend on myself and the parts of my world that didn’t constantly change (school, my grandparents, my books, my music). Out of control situations sent me inside my mind and cut me off from the external. A pretty good trick, but a wee bit disconnecting, yes? Yes. I guess that was the point, wasn’t it? My mind comes back to present day and I’m still that three-year-old, trying to get safe and having very few ways to successfully do it without cutting myself off like I did when I was a child, and certainly never trusting another soul not to let me down. Telling the world, “No, I can do it myself.” Daring it to try to tell me anything that might make things easier. Living afraid of losing the tiny shred of self-respect that I’ve held onto, the shred I was left with after the bulk of it eroded because I was let down and then was unable to free myself from the shitty situation. I cling to and claw for assurance that I won’t be hurt again. You have to make yourself available to be hurt, and asking for help is definitely making yourself available. Ta f*cking da! And how does that make me behave in a relationship with another person now? Ooofff. Lord knows I try but I might be what they call a tough nut.

So many answers are found in the questions themselves. I don’t have any definitive answers today, never will. But what I do know for sure is that the biggest obstacle to revelation is the inability to admit there is a need for one. Sometimes, when it hurts, you have to stop and figure out why. And then sometimes you have to sit down until the hurt heals or at least gets better.

The boot is heavy, y’all.

Happy Monday and lots of love and compassion and patience to all of us.

AM

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