I have been crying a lot today. I have also been eating potato chips with Country X ketchup (which is kind of more like barbecue sauce) and watching Gavin and Stacy clips and SNL. I think a part of me is getting that I can feel really bad and later not feel bad.
The sad part of me really wants to be seen. She wants all of that sadness and despair to be seen and to matter and for someone to care about it. I think it does not quite feel me yet. Kind of. But then its sense of me-ness kind of slips away. I have a feeling it slips away when the pain becomes too great. It gets shut down then, and it’s hard to think something is you when you can’t feel it. You can’t even feel that echo of, “Oh, I felt that way when this happened.”
I have been thinking about the sense of aliveness that comes from feeling seen and cared about. I see some of the kids in my classes going through that. The Boy’s sister is one of them. There is a boy in each of my class 4s I see going through that too. Friday, one of the boys—Angry Boy, I have mentioned him before—was acting up in the class. He made noises at one point, and I could see that wave of pleasure go through him when I reprimanded him, like”Oh, she noticed me. I got her attention.”
The other boy just kind of goes insane. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s like he’s been taken over by Happy Baby force and starts playing in whatever way he can. Today, he saw me and started wrestling with the boy next to him, grinning the whole time, like he’s so happy he doesn’t know what to do with himself.
C has gone through this too. Last year, I remember seeing it. I have pictures in my mind of times she just began to play. I didn’t know she was going through anything. I just thought that was her personality. I hadn’t known her very well before I really started to take an interest in her and give daily support to her. I did know her, but not very well.
When someone notices you and pays attention to you and responds to you and this has not happened very much before in your life, then it’s like the lights coming on.
It’s Happy Baby that feels so shameful, and it is split off for that reason. Problems in performance are shame-inducing for me, but Happy Baby is more so. I have never really felt it before. I have never felt, “Oh, I am doing something I like, that resonates for me, and I am happy.” There was too much anxiety at wanting connection with myself, at wanting to do things that feel good to me. I know that’s hard to grasp, but I know this happy feeling inside me feels like a good feeling.
The thing is I didn’t recognize the thing that felt good as being the trigger. I noticed what came after it. So, in the past, I might have thought done something I enjoyed and then suddenly thought about how much time I was wasting. I never would have realized the cause being the feeling of connection, which sensitized me to noticing the anxious thought of having work to do, or shame about spending too much money on internet vouchers, or whatever. I never would have thought doing things that feel good to me might be where it all started, because there is no real part of me thinks there is something wrong with watching SNL for example. I don’t think there is something wrong with cheering myself up when I am sad either. In fact, there is not really anything tying the things that feel good together in my mind aside from the sensation of feeling good. I mean, I would feel just as ashamed about having a nice conversation with someone or giving C’s friend CW money last night (which I did). It’s the warm bubble inside that feels shameful.
Human beings look for patterns. I have a suspicion my mother was so reactive and so sensitive, that the only commonality to what seemed to make her angry was that bubble of happiness. There was no other pattern.
Last year, around this time, I felt very happy because of C, but it was less in my body. There was much more a sense of hope and optimism, like a positive distortion of my thoughts, rather than a feeling inside.
So I was crying and feeling sad and bereft and then watching comedy clips and feeling happy inside. Part of me was taking note of this—I think just seeing that feelings come and go. They don’t last forever. They always lasted forever before, probably because I didn’t feel like one person. In some way, it was like I was stuck being whatever feeling I had forever even when the feeling went away, because the sense of being that person ended with that emotion.