I had a dream last night—lots of them, actually, it was a busy night. In one of them, I told someone, “I need to get home to my son.” The son I needed to hurry home to was Sam: it was his image I saw in my head when I said this.
I realize how much of a change this is for me. As the “host” part, it’s not really been my job to look after the parts. It was my job to get through the day, to keep shit together, to be able to conceal what amounts to a kind of disability. In doing this, there was often an attitude of just slogging through things. Head down, teeth gritted, just keep moving.
But I wasn’t the nurturer. Charlie is the nurturer. I got through things.
It’s growth, but it also represents an expansion of myself. I am not heartless. I am not lacking in empathy. I am not unable to nurture. I never was those things.
But that wasn’t my role. My role was important, and someone needed to do it. Someone needed to get through the day. I did that.
It’s strange as someone whose sense of an “I” is so reductive to try to explain what my experience of myself is. It’s not the same as other’s experience of me, because they are trying to knit what they see into a coherent whole. I am trying not to see things, or I was.
I was, for many years, not seeing when the parts leaked through or when they took over entirely. Or, I did see it, but I saw only the result. I saw only the action or the choice involved—not the feeling inside. There was often a sense of “apparently.” “Apparently,” this is me, but I feel no connection to it. “Apparently,” I like doing this or I wouldn’t keep doing it, but I feel no joy in it.
That kind of thing.
For a while, this more nurturing approach has still been an element of getting through the day. It’s been another tool in the toolbox. I need to space out the stressors or life after that becomes really unmanageable. I need to attend to this feeling or that thought or otherwise tomorrow it’s going to be tough to function.
I still do this. A few days ago, Sam was out chatting. He said, “I have to eat more dinner. Someone is bugging me.” Someone is me. I had one name at home as a child, they used a completely different at Yuri’s place, I go by a different name now. It’s too confusing. I am mostly “she” or “someone” for him.
My friend thought I was being kind. “No,” Sam says, “I will get hungry and not sleep. Then I’ll cry.”
I want to sleep too.
I’m still mostly focused on getting through the day. I’m also focused on healing. Whatever seems like it will help me heal I try to do. There’s not always any care involved. I just want to get better: it’s a goal. These are the steps toward a goal for me.
But as life gets more manageable—and it is manageable right now, there is very little I need to do other than try to heal for a few more weeks—I can step back from trying to get through the day more. I can see a little of what life is like when getting through the day doesn’t take everything I have.
This is what I mean when I say I will disappear. I am not going to need to organize my life around getting through the day. I am going to be someone who exists for something aside from getting through things.