Friday, March 19, 2010

keep on survivin'

I'm afraid I'm not feeling very funny today, Internet. Though I'll try to inject some of my more acerbic side. March has turned out to be quite the tumultuous month and I'm definitely feeling the effects both physically and emotionally. I'm completely drained.

But that's not what I wanted to talk about. What I wanted to talk about is survival. Survival is something that I'm extremely intimate with. Now, I've never had to pull my family out of rubble or beg on the streets for food, but I've been through, in my opinion, some pretty tough shit for the 1st world. And I've survived it all, mostly on my own, and without completely losing my mind, though I think I do carry the requisite amount of baggage that comes with experiences like mine. But to bastardize Rent, it's all about finding others with matching baggage.

Anyway, so I mentioned that some upheaval is going on at my work. And as I sat in a large meeting today, listening to an important man who I've respected for just over 5 years, and gotten to see his fantastic sense of humor in the last 2, I felt inspired for the first time since I was an undergrad. And it's because of survival. We will all survive. And we will survive not only with heart and perseverance, but with a huge heaping of humor (how's that for alliteration? I didn't even try!).

But of course I am exhausted and emotional and so that made me just about cry. Seriously, sitting amongst many many colleagues and the crazy woman in the middle is holding back tears. So professional.

But survival I can do. That I have down. There's this theory (a theory, but one I tend to buy) that biological mothers emotionally detach from their fetuses when they decide to give them up for adoption for their own emotional survival. Because of this, it's theorized, the fetus feels this disconnection and learns, even in utero, and enters the world with already developed survival tactics. It's said that my foster mother called me the most independent infant she's encountered. And it's true that I've been fiercely independent my entire life. Everything I've got, I earned on my own. And most of what I endure, I do my best to endure in private.

Even when I was ducking for cover and hiding from my mom, while also incessantly hoping and trying for her approval, I was learning how to survive it on my own. Nobody knew what I was enduring so I insulated myself while plastering a smile on for mom and weathered the beatings on my own. That's not to say there weren't people in my life who didn't love me, but it was understood that they couldn't know. Or my mom would send me back.

So what I'm saying is that I've developed these skills. And they've worked thus far for basic coping. They've gotten me through heartbreak and grief and times when I abused my body or times when I couldn't afford to eat. They've helped me pull myself out of abusive relationships and given me the bravery to excise the most toxic people (person) from my life.

But after tons of therapy, I've realized that survival only goes so far. I can cope. I can insulate. I can do what it takes to make it to the next day. After 29 years of that, I'm still lacking. I have a hard time letting myself un-insulate, opening myself up to hurt. I'm tough, but I believe that the best things in life require risk.

And I don't even know if I even possess the skills to risk myself emotionally.  I'd like to open that door someday, but how? How do I remain myself and the survivor I am while letting go and allowing in so much uncertainty?

Seriously, how?

I swear I had a point about how developing the ability to laugh at yourself is part of the key to survival. But I forget the context right now. Usually, that's exactly how I deflect. I'll just make fun of myself. But clearly I've forgotten how to do that right now. oh wells. We all have our off days.

I was invited to a party tonight with some old friends, but I'm probably not going. Because what do I do when the going gets tough? I insulate. So I think I'll take myself on a date instead. Because that's not crazy at all. And who will appreciate me more than me? And it's been a long time since I've been on a date. And I fucking want to, mmmk? I promise I won't get fresh. Not at first anyway.

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