Sunday, March 18, 2012

Soul Cleanse 20: Embracing the Stillness (Work in Process)

How does one act when it is peaceful;
When the term, “No drama” really does apply?

How does one act when everything’s cool-
When you don’t have to lay next to someone,
Keeping open one eye?

How does one act when it all makes sense-
When you can say, with certainty,
“I know he got me.”

And yet, having all these things,
How does one free herself
From the patterns that be?


Soul Cleanse 20: Embracing the Stillness: Work in Process

Every once in a while, I read the Soul Cleanses I’ve written.

Some of them still bring tears to my eyes, especially the ones that focus on the things I was going through with M. It’s been a long time since I’ve dared to type that initial by itself that hasn’t been related to the Love and Loss challenge or the Erotica challenges I did last year.

The Love and Loss challenge also served as Soul Cleanses as well, to really take a look at behaviors, how Love is…and in my cases, mostly, how Love isn’t supposed to look. I wrote about experiences I thought I had forgotten about, but the moment the opportunity took to tell the story, I recanted them as if they had happened yesterday.

Is it a testament to the power of my memory? The power of my suppression? Or the power of my delay to see how those events have shaped my behaviors towards Love and Relationships in my present?

Perhaps a combination of all three.

But the stories that hit me the most still remain a tie between talking about my experiences with Person T, Person R, and M, and it was only just recently that I really sat down and recognized the similarities.

At first, I thought there was no way my situation with M could be interwoven in my situations with Person T and Person R.

However, if I had to do a comparison, in terms of emotional erosion…in terms of how their actions inspired a reaction or lack of terms of how some of the old behaviors, mechanisms, find ways to resurrect even now, I have to put her in the same category. I have to own that my relationship with her was an emotionally abusive one, whether the majority of it could be put on her illness or not; it doesn’t change how her mood swings affected her ability to treat me with respect, as her lover, friend, even a human being.

So what does this backlog have to do with “embracing the stillness?”

When one is in the midst of chaos, you want it to go away. You ask for peace.

When one is in the midst of sadness, you seek glimpses of happiness.

When one is in pain, you want it to be where you don’t ache anymore.

You see all types of guides on how to deal with chaos, sadness, pain; less, however, on how to embrace peace, happiness, and pleasure if it is not your norm.

I have to admit that despite wanting no drama, happiness, and pleasure in my relationships, perhaps I got so used to receiving the opposite after time was heavily invested, that I came to expect the opposite….

So my initial expectation got buried under the acceptance, tolerance, coping, making due because to expect something better did not only see highly unlikely but near impossible.

When the relationship with M ended, I realized at my core, I still wanted love, happiness, and peace, mixed with wanting romance, trust, acceptance for me for who I am (past, present, and future).

However, I was no longer in “a seeking relationship place”.

As a result, I didn't look and that's when the opportunity presented itself.

I did shove it away…a couple of times, as a matter of fact.

I can’t quite pinpoint the moment when I broke from my trepidation and decided to take the risk.

Then, there was laughter. Intimate pleasure I hadn’t experienced in years. The reopening of a relationship with the opposite sex that wasn’t solely friendship. A smile that got dissolved began to reappear. Yes, the core had presented itself, and yet…

I couldn’t give myself permission to just be happy. I clung to it with the anticipation that it’d be taken from me. I fought not to feel too deeply but just enough to where it was believable, to where I could pull back if I saw any similarities to what I’d been through before.

But it wasn’t fair to the other person, for the other person loved passionately, intensely, wholeheartedly, without restriction. Performed in the same way. He didn’t do things half-assed; it was all or nothing. He didn’t do “friends with benefits”; it was either “just friendship” or “a relationship”.

I couldn’t allow myself to enjoy the peace, to be happy there were hours, days, weeks, and months where there were no arguments. No jabs at each other’s sore spots because one person said too much truth or just wanted to win the battle. I kept having a first aid kit ready to cover and stitch up scars that were sure to occur.

But it’s not right to the other person, who’s been so understanding.

He knew of my war stories because he is the one I confided in. I kept asking him, “Knowing what I’ve been through as a person, are you sure you want to do this? Dealing with me in a friend capacity will probably be way different than dealing with me on this other level.”

He said, “Yes,” without a moment’s hesitation, every time.

And gentle. Some may perceive overly gentle. Taking his time, being so attentive in our intimate moments. Being patient.

Yet, some of those fears…still resurfaced.

The apprehension on those days when I didn’t feel up to it. The backlash as a result of saying “no” when asked for the “cookie.”

But these things aren’t justified as it relates to this other person. If I’m not in the mood, there isn’t a big debate about it. There isn’t one trying to persuade me or force me. It doesn’t get to the point where feelings get projected to where I end up feeling guilty for the refusal.

These ghosts used to haunt me heavily at the beginning of the union.

Sometimes, in a small way, like when I would pull away when he tried to bring my face closer for a kiss.

Sometimes, in big ways, where I would insist on having an argument when it was better for both to just walk away. Or wince for a blow that would never come.

Now, not as much.

If I say, “They are gone completely,” I’d be lying.

However, I have made steps to recognize which behaviors are associated with past trauma as opposed to things going on as a result of the present.

I have taken steps to try to eliminate the triggers. If they can’t be fully eliminated, to either adjust my reaction to them or put positive images in place.

It has been quite the journey. Not without its’ setbacks. Even on my best days, I have moments when I backslide. It makes me human, and I am continuously learning.

I am learning to be thankful for different, to cherish the things I’m not used to.

I am learning although a person may express anger, it doesn’t always has to come across as violent or disrespectful of self. It can be conveyed constructively.

The hardest lesson for me to overcome when dealing with my triggers is this:

I am learning that two people can have a disagreement and have it be about the issue at hand, rather than bringing up past events that have no bearing.

He is very proficient at distinguishing; I, on the other hand, lose focus on rationality if it triggers an emotion similar to a negative event.

I am learning to Embrace the Stillness.

And the Stillness is wonderful.

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