I moved today. It took me most of yesterday to pack and most of today to move and unpack (still not quite finished). I find this astonishing, given I hardly own anything.

Moves are stressful. Probably for everyone involved in it: me, friend, daughter. But things went pretty smoothly.

One perk: I made dinner, just something kind of thrown together from the few bits of food I had taken with me. I dreamed of making a grocery trip today, and was just too wiped out. It tasted good.

Since the “incident,” I haven’t been cooking at all–just trying to heat something quickly and get out of the way. But, also, what tastes good to me, familiar and homey and comforting, is just so different. Not that they disliked my cooking in the end–I always expected them too and they didn’t–but we had a different experience of the same food. My food is a change for them, something new to try.

It doesn’t actually feel good. I probably cook like no one on earth at this point: it’s some kind of weird mish-mash of cuisines. But I recognize it somehow.

I had rice and vegetables made out of some kind of sweet potato I forgot the name of, hominy, and green chilis, with cumin seeds. I liked it.

So I had some observations today. The first one was about daughter. She went to yoga class and I guess was particularly judgy today. She said one woman in the class had some kind of strong body odour–not like didn’t take a shower, but food or something. Onions or something like that, I presume. So Daughter said she felt superior.

I have speculated about this on blog, but I did not honestly believe real people felt this way. I suppose I have felt that way in the past, perhaps, but that was before I began to realize if you want to sit down and count up my faults and short-comings and errors in life, I’m not superior to anybody. I looked back at the mustard comment back in the early spring, and I thought there are genuinely things my friend’s family feels they must do, or they will be inferior to someone.

Some things have to do with social class, but they have no idea that working class people have their own rules for how to live, and the professional class falls short frequently. I have never thought of myself as superior, but there is this odd feeling I have, which is probably the same as the feeling my friend had over brown mustard, which comes up when my friend or her family seem incapable of doing what feel like adult tasks to me: wiping crumbs off the counter after fixing lunch, for example, or taking your bathroom trash straight out to the bin instead of leaving it in a sack next to the kitchen trash for the gremlins to do for you. It’s just kind of disbelief. I had not realized not everyone realizes this is my own stuff, and not everyone does things the way I do, or even agrees with the way I have been taught is best.


Something else is that, during the day, I felt suicidal–mostly in the midst of unpacking. I have realized this comes on sometimes–this kind suicidal ideation anyway–when my degree of emotional overwhelm is too great. It’s communication, and basically a request for help. I hurt so much I would prefer to be dead than keep doing this. Well, sometimes it doesn’t take a lot to bring my emotional temperature down. Sometimes I need to eat, or sit down for a minute, or have a cup of tea. It happens when I am shut down inside, so I don’t realize how overwhelmed I am getting or what might help.

I have been thinking a lot about dysregulation. It plays out in a few important ways I was thinking about today–dysregulation and mentalization. One of them has to do with shame. I feel shame when I run up against a boundary–something that isn’t okay with someone, some behaviour or trait or preference of mine. I feel huge amounts of shame because of the dysregulation, but actually what needs to be understood or done about the situation is simple: someone doesn’t like this about me at this moment, and I can make some choices about that. I can stop doing it if I think that’s reasonable, or I can stand up for myself and insist I ought to be allowed to do it, or I can continue to do it, but not in front of that person. But the reason it is so horrible for me has to do with the problems in regulation that come from being abused and neglected as a child.

Last thing: When we reach out to others in moments of uncertainty, we expand our knowledge and experience base by quite a lot. Two heads are better than one, because we have lived (at least) slightly different lives and learned (at least) slightly different things. It is instinctive when we enter a situation we aren’t really sure how to approach to think of pulling someone else into that same situation with us to get a good look at it.

We might only notice ourselves wanting attention, and not realize the attention has to do with wanting a second opinion. We might not even get that second opinion the attention is supposed to lead to. But I think that’s instinctive: I am uncertain, so I want attention, because the person able to lend me attention will contribute their brain power to signalling what might be done about it.

Part of the disorganized attachment is just that: I feel uncertain, so I want attention, but now I realize that’s not socially acceptable or the person I thought to be most likely isn’t available just now or whatever. So shame follows.

But there is the problem with dysregulation, so it’s not just, well, maybe later or maybe not this time, but something more global. Like I ought never to have been born.

There’s more to this, and I probably ought to explain better. The point tonight is just sometimes I want to reach out because I am feeling uncertain about something. It’s not always connected to some great trauma. I just want someone to enter into my experience so they can help me understand and respond better.

I think there are times when it might help me simply to acknowledge: I feel uncertain right now.





One thought on “Uncertain

  1. desilef August 27, 2017 / 8:30 am

    Sorry it’s been so hard. What you wrote here reminded me of something I’ve been hearing a lot lately. The old notion of how people react to danger or stress – Fight, Flight, or Freeze – missed out on maybe the number one most basic response since birth – to seek out connection, a friend, an ally. So I can see how that instinct is thwarted when there’s no one there. And also how we can get into trouble by choosing someone who’s not really an ally. The desire to connect, that’s the normal natural instinct, not shameful.

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