I don’t know how to explain what is on my mind today.

Yesterday, after I came home, it was really hard. I really cycled through disorganized attachment feelings very hard. I took a long walk, and while I was walking, I felt much more okay. But as I got close to my house, I began to really cycle through despair and shame very, very hard.

I bought chow mein from the shop by my house, and I ate and fairly soon after went to sleep. Sleeping through it seems much easier than dealing with it while I am awake.

I don’t honestly know what I am supposed to do about this cycling that happens. I don’t know what is going to make it better. I just hope I am generally headed in the right direction with it. It does kind of help that I have realized I think in broad strokes, and philosophically pondering the value of my life is what I do when I am ashamed, just as other people pick apart their faults or past mistakes. Differents minds, same emotion playing out. At least I can get off that train while it’s still in the station.

To me, so much of this process is about recognizing my emotions and what they are connected to, the framework within my mind they would be embedded in if I only understood it.

I came home and ate an orange—this was before I went for a walk. I was standing over the dust bin, peeling it, and I felt flooded with feelings of warmth and love. I had just come back from seeing C, and I thought distantly that maybe it had to do with that. And a part of me thought, yes, but why now? Just as I have begun to notice what prompts fear or anger in the present, I thought what prompted the warmth?

I was peeling an orange and I thought, you know, maybe it’s the orange. It really might be the orange.

There was someone—the someone I call Aisha—I don’t actually know if that’s her name. I have a lot of “memories” I am not sure are real. But I have a very strong association between her and oranges.

One thing about how my mind has worked is that things are patchy for me—they are very, very fragmented and I don’t know what really goes with what. I can’t connect emotions and events or people, because I can’t process emotions well. I was very, very little when I knew Aisha, so it would be a vague memory, but something very deep and important happened with her, and it would be something I would remember, just as I remember the details of seeing C yesterday in a very vivid way that is different from how I remember other things.

So, I was peeling the orange, and I thought, “You know, I think this is about the orange. I think the smell of oranges has a strong sensory connection to Aisha, and I have a feeling of warmth for her. The orange is reminding me.”

I went on my walk, and was coming back and saw a young cat—about half-grown, actually—and it looked kind of friendly, so I stopped and petted it and I had that same feeling of warmth. The fur was nice and soft and it was purring, and those were all nice things, and I had seen C recently and I was still feeling warmth for her, but as the warmth flooded me I realized someone had dumped orange peels nearby. It is orange season right now. We don’t get a lot of fruit in Y-town, and we are all eating oranges. I could smell rotting oranges, and they were rotting, but they were still oranges, and I thought, “This is about oranges.” Oranges have a very strong associative link for me, and I actually don’t know why. I think I probably will never know exactly why. She might have worn a perfume, or we might have eaten a lot of oranges in her house. It is also possible there was a single afternoon, when I ate oranges in her house and something happened where I got a lot of connection to her and this is about a single point in time. But this is the kind of thing that has not happened in my brain before. Shit just seemed to randomly happen and I did not know why. I tried to know, but I did not know.

Something else I realized a while ago, that may or may not be important, but you got this far with me, so I’ll tell you this too: Coffee has young associations for me. There was one particular day when I was having a very hard time, and I got a cup of coffee to muster up some comfort and I felt very young and suddenly I realized that. Coffee makes me feel about two or three.

I drank strong, black coffee when I was a toddler. I cannot think of any other reason that pairing would exist in my mind, or why I would want coffee when I felt very young inside.

So this person I call Aisha is real. She existed. She smelled like oranges and I drank coffee when she was around. And I really, really loved her.