I have been meaning to write for hours, and I am just writing in my head basically. Nothing on the paper. It seemed like it would feel good to write, but now it doesn’t. That’s the problem. I don’t actually feel good about anything, and I was expecting to.
C went to her village yesterday. Exams are over. They will get their results in a few weeks. She doesn’t plan to come back, but she will meet me and send me off to the airport. That’s the idea.
After my insanity of the early afternoon, she came to my house. It was very, very brief, which I expected. I imagine it probably didn’t have to be brief, but that she thinks it will be easier if it is brief. I don’t know that it is.
Anyway, she knocked at the door and I opened it. She said not to latch the door—she was going soon. Whatever. The door bangs in the wind. I latched it. I had bought her a broach—a nice one from the shop downstairs. I had been wanting to give her something when she left. Maths Ma’am had said she would help me pick something out, but then she was busy. But I had been thinking about these broaches from the shop. It was in the shape of a heart, and I liked that, because I always tell her she is in my heart and I am in her heart.
I had been on the point of wrapping it when she came, so it wasn’t wrapped. I put it in her hand, and we were about to walk into the kitchen and I felt like I had forgotten something. I said that. I said, “I wanted something else.” And then I remembered. I wanted to give her money. I got my wallet and gave her 3,000. That’s not like giving a kid 3,000 bucks, but it’s not like giving her 20 either. She can buy maybe two pairs of shoes with that, or a jacket and a shirt. It’s probably about like giving her a couple of hundred. Emotionally, it might feel about like that.
Then I gave her some food and things—apples, 2-minute noodles, biscuits, some juice, milk powder and processed cheese for her grandmother. That’s more or less tradition. People come back to their villages, and they are supposed to bring something. Now, a kid in high school with no money of her own can’t do that, but I think it’s nice for her to have something to bring back. She didn’t really say anything. Just thank you. Oh, and she wanted a recharge. As usual. Sometimes I find the recharge request weird. I just gave her 3,000. She can buy whatever she wants with that. But she wants the recharge from me.
I told her to call me when she got there and hugged her a lot and she left.
Meanwhile, I had gotten a text shortly before that about a going-away party for me and some of the other female teachers who are leaving the school. It was to be at six. So when I hadn’t gotten a call from C by then, I called her—she must have arrived by then, and at the party, it would be loud and I wouldn’t be able to hear C. She answered and said sorry. She had had a lot of work to do and she had been busy. It sounded from her voice that she had been. There was a rushed quality to it. And she sounded very sad.
I went to the party then. The party was okay. VP Ma’am didn’t hit me, so that was nice. I had a nice moment with National Language Ma’am where I had this little bit of pleasure wash over me as I thought she is talking to me because she likes it.
Then I came home. I sent a few texts to C, about feeling different now that she is in a different place, and how she is still herself. I am still here and I still love her. I was thinking about how chopped up you feel when you are in parts, and how transitions can feel deadening in a way because you feel like a different person. The gap between things can seem really, really profound and as though the past and the future don’t even really exist. I have no idea if this hit the target for her or not. I am just trying to think how she might be feeling and validate that. It’s all I can do actually. She isn’t in front of me to see her face. But I told her your feelings are okay. Whatever you are feeling right now is okay.
I fell asleep then.
I woke up in the morning very early, and lay in bed for a long time. I was so tired still. There was this huge weight off my shoulders, because it felt that C is okay now. She is with her grandparents, who I think are not overtly abusive to her. They might treat her like an object, but they don’t brutally beat her or anything. I feel pretty sure of that, although I have no real information. She doesn’t have to keep it together to perform—just social interactions. She doesn’t have to try to concentrate or study or write things that someone else is going to judge. I felt a lot less worried and a lot less responsible.
After a while, I sent her a text saying good morning, as I always do. Then I felt like saying some other things, and I did. I said I miss her, but it’s okay for me to miss her. That’s part of life. I said I am telling her so that she knows she is important and valued. I said I would call her later and I like hearing her voice—it makes me happy. I said she could call or text me at any time. I am not busy. It was all fairly cheerful. Then I said have a nice day.
Immediately after that, I got a text from her, “If you don’t mind mom would you left to texts me.”
Translated, that would mean, “If you don’t mind mom, would you stop texting me?”
It’s weird when she does this, because my heart gets ripped out. I feel so rejected and so ashamed, and I also feel so hopeless and so unwanted. I felt like an object, someone to hand her 3,000 bucks and a nice piece of jewelry and who can then be discarded.
And I also feel like that is not what she actually thinks or feels. I feel like I had unwittingly pushed her into a disorganized state where she wanted to both reach for me and retreat from me, and at the moment when I indicated the conversation was over (have a nice day), she didn’t want me to go and she didn’t know how to keep me from going. I know what that disorganized state feels like, and it seemed to me like what she probably felt. She was expressing it in this very polite, adult way I rarely hear—I get the little modes a lot more, sometimes the Teen, sometimes a very defended part she called Karma one time (I don’t think this part is actually named—I asked for a name and she gave me one.)
Actually, this could have been Karma. I haven’t talked to her that much.
I cried. I was texting her. She couldn’t see my face. I could constrict her access to what I really felt and not reveal everything. I asked her first why she felt that. I said I cared how she felt and I didn’t know she didn’t like it. I also said it hurt me, but I didn’t think she intended to hurt me, and I asked her to help me try to understand. Inside, I felt utterly worthless, but that is what I wrote instead.
Then I began to think about the voice—that’s a kind voice, isn’t it? If you don’t mind, mom….It’s not the Teen. C isn’t annoyed at me for being so needy. That’s Karma. Karma finds a way to reach for contact when all of the other little parts are too afraid and ashamed to get it. This makes Karma vey off-putting—she doesn’t show her vulnerability, and there is always something off-putting about it. In the past, this finding a way to keep contact when she is ashamed to go about that in a vulnerable way has created a lot of disruption, as I react to it.
Anyway, I named that. I said I was about to do some other work when you sent that message. Did you know if you sent a message like that I would worry about you, and I wouldn’t go? My attention would stay on you, because I think C has known me long enough to know that. Rejecting me is a great way to keep my attention without showing any vulnerability, because I always interpret C’s rejection as fear. I have since I have known her. I may or may not be right in that interpretation, but C would know l do interpret it that way.
She didn’t respond to any of that, and after a while I just felt overwhelmed by the storm inside me and also just my awareness of how difficult this is for her. I felt just kind of stunned. We talk about someone pushing and pulling you, and we never connect it to an actual emotional, lived experience. We think of it as behaviours, but never how the person feels as they engage in those behaviours. It was hitting me she feels real things. The disorganized attachment she is in the midst of has an emotional basis to it. Her feelings are real.