Maybe I am getting somewhere. Who knows.
Today was the last day of exams for C. It’s not for us, and it’s not for her cousin, but it is for the kids in her year.
So she was going to her village to stay with her grandparents until I leave for the Capital City, when she will go with me and then on to her parents’ house for the rest of the holiday which would be about 2 months long at that point. I guess 7 weeks.
Anyway, departures are hard. Separations are hard. I know that. They are hard for me and hard for her. They don’t always go smoothly when we both need them to go smoothly because of that—as last year didn’t go smoothly at all. I had uppermost in my thoughts the idea that I cannot lose my mind. Go insane on the inside as much as I need to, but keep a lid on my expression of that or it will scare C something awful.
I won’t tell you about my morning—it’s not that interesting. But around the time I started to think she ought to be finished with her exams and checking the text messages I had sent (I always send) in the morning, she hadn’t, and I began to seriously lose my shit. I was sitting at my table, trying to check my Class 4 exams still, and I began to lose my shit.
I hated myself. I had been periodically during the morning. Generally feeling I am a hopeless case. I am not important to anyone, etc. I don’t matter. I never will matter. Because I am broken.
I wanted to connect with her. I really, really did. And I called. Maybe not at the precise point. I am not sure the sequence is important. I might have gotten myself a bit together again to call. Nonetheless, her phone was switched off. Worse and worse. A logical part of my brain said maybe she’s just busy and she hasn’t had time to charge her phone. There’s one outlet in the room for the lot of them—there must be 30 girls in there, and many of them have phones.
Other parts of my brain said it doesn’t matter. I am still a hopeless case, and it went from there.
(Hours later, I realized, this is despair. The despair part of the cycle where connection begins to feel hopeless to ever obtain is this. My mind is just telling me I feel hopeless in the words I had at hand when I was six.)
I catastrophized. I said to myself I’ll never see her again. She has switched off her phone because she has decided that the best way to cope with the separation is to deny it altogether. I don’t know where her village is and probably I will feel too insane tracking her down again. I am going to get on a plane, fly halfway around the world, and it’s going to seem iffy to come back for someone who can’t pick up the phone to talk to me. And who makes me feel like a stalker.
And then something hit me. I felt the feeling inside me at that moment, really felt it, and I knew that is the feeling she has. When she gets tears in her eyes and looks like Pouty Toddler, this is how she feels. “I want you.” That’s the feeling, and it hurts. It really, really hurts. Whatever she is doing is because of that feeling and her decisions about how to cope with that feeling.
I might feel treated badly if I did, in fact, never see her, but she isn’t doing this to treat me badly. She does do that thing where she decides I am not important to her and she doesn’t need me, because that need feels very frightening to her, but basically this isn’t about her regard for me. She always has regard for me. Sometimes she just can’t keep her shit together, just like I was struggling to keep my shit together at that moment because of my pain.
I don’t really know what the implications of that might be, but I immediately felt like an asshole, for being so focused on my pain and being so intent on getting a response from her so that I didn’t need to feel that pain. I had this very clear idea in my mind I feel like I don’t matter, but I matter to her. Always. I am a continuous person to her—it felt like that, anyway. And that continuous person matters to her even if she sometimes treats me in ways that signal to me that I don’t—and my feeling that I don’t matter was being triggered at that moment by things she has actually done before. I was catastrophizing to some extent based on an extrapolation of her past behaviour. I wasn’t completely making shit up. I am perceiving the message conveyed by her behaviour in ways that it would normally mean, but there is some other ongoing thing happening in her perception of me.
I am not making that very clear, I think. But I saw in my mind this gap between what her (imagined) behaviour might mean and her actual view of me. I saw it as two separate things. Me in her mind (valued) and me as I imagined myself in her mind (worthless). And ;they were different.
Somehow, it grounded me. I don’t know why.