Jumping off the bridge

I love roller coasters. The speed, the adrenaline, the not knowing if you’re upside down or back to front or inside out. I love the crank crank crank as your train goes up, and the final seconds of balancing as you wait at the top for the sudden swoooosh and you’re off!

Dating, I imagine, should be a bit like a roller coaster. Some healthy anticipation, impending excitement, bit of confusion about which way up you are, but full of laughter and smiles and adrenaline. Dating, for me, is terrifying.

I don’t remember it always being so scary. Although to be fair, until I returned to the UK, I was either in a long term relationship or travelling, and when travelling, dating is less of a thing and more of a natural progression of friendship with people on the same bus as you.

But now I am so worried about what people think of me, what they think and don’t say, what they’ll do to me, that there’s no impending excitement, just terror.

Everyone always says ‘but how bad can it be?’, well actually, it can be really fucking bad. My self esteem is already at rock bottom, one unreturned message, one odd look, one seemingly blasé comment is all it takes for me to descend into hysteria. Comments like ‘you’ll be fine’ and ‘just do it’ are not remotely helpful actually.

Not that I know what is helpful. I think I’m reasonable competent at socialising once I’m doing it, it’s just getting from my room to the socialising that is the hard bit. Also, I think that superficial socialising is significantly easier than letting people in socialising.

I’m aware of how to establish relationships, I teach it in my job fairly often. But that inner me is just far too pathetic to give it a try.

But maybe it’s time to just give it a try. No safety net. Worst case scenario is pretty much already happening, so, really, what have I got to lose. Just got to take that first step off the bridge.

Well we all know what happened here

Unsurprisingly, when things started to get all too serious with the therapist I backed out, put everything to the back of my mind, and have successfully navigated the world for the last four months with no emotional input. Is that worthy of congratulations? I’m not entirely sure. Probably best not to reward my ability to become an android and a hermit in one fail swoop.

As is the way with these things, I’m acutely aware of my incompetence at life, so I’m going to attempt to try again. Be more social, be more open, let more people in, attempt dating.

Having not left the house for basically a month other than to go to work, I’m not anticipating much success. I’ll probably join a new therapy, be fine with it until it starts getting serious, panic, and revert to my happy little insular self.

But that is not the attitude to have. I’m about to turn 30. It is time to get over my shit, and move on. Raargh!

Oh god I’m so not raargh. I’m petrified.

Not a victim

So therapist lady got on her high horse this week and told me that I need to talk about real stuff or save my money. Out of June blue she then asked me what the worst everything to happen to me was. Isn’t she supposed to be all supportive and getting me to disclose at a pace I’m comfortable with? I was definitely not comfortable with this. So I lied.

In my head, in about 5 seconds of thinking time, I thought of all the bad things that had happened to me, which is comparatively not that many compared to most of the population, and are mostly trivial, so I’m very lucky in a lot of ways. Then I ranked them.

Coming in at number three was being thrown out by my parents when I was 17. I was a bratty ungrateful teenager, they were unforgiven and intolerant parents, and it was a culmination of 10 years of unhappiness from all parties. I sofa surfed amongst friends for a bit, and then ended up moving to my nans before my parents agreed to have me back. That episode was pivotal in marking the beginning of the end of any kind of relationship I had with them.

Number two’s spot is both simultaneously a shit moment and a very good decision. 6 weeks before I was due to spend my first summer in the US, I found out I was pregnant. I did not want to be pregnant. I, stupidly, thought I was too smart to get pregnant. Idiot teenage girls got pregnant. Apparently I was an idiot teenage girl. My boyfriend at the time was a couple of years older than me, settled in a job and house and already had a one year old from another relationship (he’s not as trampy as he sounds….just exceedingly fertile). He thought having a baby would be great, I disagreed. I think he sort of accepted it. I had a termination two days before my leaving party. I cried a lot. I’m not sure what I learnt from it, but I remember feeling pretty shit about it. In hindsight though, having a 12 year old now would be pretty fucking awful.

The number one spot, somewhat unsurprisingly, was the drunk night with J. I’m really not sure why this sticks in my mind. I’ve had several one night stands that I’d rather not have had, but this one just sent me fucking mental.

I did not want to talk about number 1, and really number 2 didn’t feel like that big of a deal anymore. So we talked about number 3. For about 10 minutes, until she says ‘ok, now let’s talk about the real worst thing’. God she’s good.

And so, for the first time ever, I told someone. I waffled a bit with back story, move through the event in be out 4 seconds, and carried on. Therapist lady however, was not happy to gloss over things. We went over things in detail, what was said, how I felt, what I remember, what I’d been told, pretty much everything. Then she said ‘I don’t like to correct clients, but you need to stop saying ‘slept with’ and start saying ‘raped by”. And then I fell apart.

I am not a victim. I did not run away. I didn’t get out of the bathroom. I drank too much.

I am not a victim. I just made a bad judgement call and can’t get over it. It is different.

I don’t want to go back to therapist lady.

Downward turn on the therapy front

So, I’m two weeks into therapy, and have successfully avoided talking about anything of any importance or relevance. Fortunately, or unfortunately, therapist is clued up on these tricks, and has said that next week we get serious, and I have to talk about something I really really don’t want to talk about.

Maybe I can just write a blog about it and direct her to it and miss next week.

Dear J,

We are now six years on from a night which changed my world for forever, and you probably barely remember. Six years and I am still taking the responsibility for your actions. Infact, it’s taken six years for me to even realise that it wasn’t okay for you to do what you did.

I admit, I didn’t make it clear I didn’t want to sleep with you. I don’t know if I said no, because I was too drunk from the drinks you were buying me. I didn’t try to run away because I couldn’t comprehend what was happening at the time. Presumably, I got into the car, then walked upstairs to the bathroom with you, but it can’t be sure, because I don’t remember. But I will give you the benefit of the doubt that you didn’t force me to to those things.

I must have made some sort of noise though, because you put your hand over my mouth. And you locked the door and stood in front of it.

After that night, you didn’t laugh and joke with me anymore. You left the room when I was there, and you made me feel like I’d done something wrong. I moved away from my little family of friends we had created and never went back.

Did you know, that when you were buying me those drinks, that’s what you were going to do? Did you care? Was it a drunk mistake that got out of hand?

I can’t blame you for what happened. I was an adult, I didn’t do all the things you’re supposed to do if you don’t want something to happen to you, and I allowed you to buy me drinks. I flirted with you. I knew what accepting drinks and flirting would lead to, and I let it happen anyway.

I’ve been told that you raped me. I’m not sure. I think that I allowed myself to get into a vulnerable situation and then didn’t handle it well. But I’m told that’s what I’m lead to believe. I’m told that it wasn’t my fault. I’m not sure about that either.

Whether you did, or whether you didn’t, that night has impacted my ability to function in an adult relationship now. Six years later, and I’m still scared that if I flirt, accept drinks, look for someone, i’ll feel like how I felt in that bathroom that night. I’m scared that I’m not strong enough to feel like that again.

I’m scared all the time, and I wonder whether you even remember that night? If it ever keeps you awake? If you regret the way it all panned out? Or am I over reacting, as I’m often told? Paranoid about an event which is, in hindsight, a non-event.

One day,I might write you a letter that relinquishes my responsibility in that night, accepting the views of hone internet strangers, that what you did is wrong. But write now, I just need you to know that I’m broken. Very very broken.

What would Disney do?

Here’s what I have learnt this week. That if I just don’t think about stuff that makes me a paranoid anxious loon, then I’m not a paranoid anxious loon. And I’m pretty good at avoidance, so I’m pretty good at not being a loon.

Fabulous. Problem solved. Just avoid anything emotionally difficult.

Or not.

Not thinking about stuff is easy, but it still means that I can’t entertain the idea of by functional adult relationship with a boy because none of the irrationality in my head has stopped. I’ve just turned the volume off. Which would be fine, but I do want to change.

And that’s scary.

Therapy will go a bit of the way of fixing that, so if I just think for the hour a week there, that might be enough. And when the friend moves in with his girlfriend and I can stop pretending there’s any kind of future in it, or at least pretending that I might want any kind of future in it, or whatever the hell it is I want, that will help. And If none of my friends hear me continuing to be just a little bit insane, then at least they won’t be abandon me and I won’T have to become a crazy cat lady.

So I’m going to Feel it, Conceal it, Don’t let it show.

Until therapy fixes me.

Hmm. What happens if therapy doesn’t fix me?

Doesn’t matter. Won’t think about it.

See, I’m very efficient and burying my head in the sand.

Interesting…

Tonight I went for dinner with a friend who has some similar issues to me, mainly around historical issues with her parent. She accessed therapy a few years ago and raved about so I talked about how I’d made an appointment to go, again, and updated her on the friend/boy/his girlfriend drama. And she had some very interesting ideas on it.

So, why did I get with the boy knowing he had a gf and wouldn’t leave me? Because I knew I wouldn’t want to be with him long term.

Why do I continue to go back to him, despite not actually liking him very much and knowing we’re not really compatible? Because I know I won’t really fall for him.

Why don’t I want to be with him long term and allow myself to hall for him? Because then I might have to open up my real self, and allow myself to be vulnerable, and see what happens.

Same goes for why I won’t go on a dates. Not because I’m scared of meeting them, but because I’m scared of allowing them in, to get close, and exposing the ‘real me’.

So the question isn’t why am a I scared of meeting someone, it’s what am I scared of showing them?

Interesting, very very interesting…