Today, Will requested to come by at 3pm to pick up some of his things. The time wasn’t good for me, so I suggested a different time in the morning. I didn’t hear from him and he didn’t show, but that’s not what’s bugging me.
This morning, I waited. I didn’t do any writing or anything that I would consider “productive” because I was waiting for his interruption. Anticipating it. Instead of going on about my routine, I put it all aside so I would be emotionally “ready” for his arrival.
What did I do? I played a video game on the computer. Bored out of my skull, and waiting.
By noon, the deadline I’d given for him to come out here, I was angry at myself for wasting the morning.
I got to thinking about how I’d spent this morning, anxiously anticipating his arrival. I was nervous, borderline panicky; the match-three game numbed my mind and made it tolerable. Then I considered how many other times I’d played that stupid game and under what circumstances.
I played that game in the hour before I expected him home from work. I played it while he was working outside expecting me to be at his beck and call for food that he could prepare himself. I played it when he stalked around the house, pulling up couch cushions and bitching about the dirty socks and candy wrappers he found there (but didn’t throw away). I played that game a LOT, not because it is fun or engaging, but because it allowed me to jump up from it at a moment’s notice and TEND TO HIM.
And that’s what I was doing this morning. Sublimating what I consider important in anticipation of his arrival and whatever unknown emotions would accompany him.
You know, I think I did a video about this. Yep. It’s called Interruptions Caused by Verbal Abuse. In that video, I said, “I’ve been trained to receive permission to be myself, and then to have it taken away from me in an instant.”
I would now add that I’ve been trained to ANTICIPATE having that permission taken away. That’s what I did not only today, but last night, too.
Last night, I cleaned up the house some while telling myself “If he notices, I don’t care” (and not really believing it). Holy cow, the house wasn’t even a MESS!
This morning, I agonized for long seconds over whether I should make the bed or not. He’s been telling people I cheated on him; part of me wanted the bed to look like two people had slept in it and part of me wanted to make the bed but didn’t because then he’d suspect someone else slept in it because I NEVER make the bed…?! I decided to leave the bed looking as it did when I rolled out of it.
I brushed my teeth and put on some make-up because I didn’t want to look like I was a mess. I’m not a mess, not as much of a mess as I sometimes think I “should” be, and I worried about finding the right balance between OKAY and OVERWHELMED. What do you think of this: Mascara so he’d know I hadn’t been crying but no blush because I didn’t want to look too healthy. That’s what I went with. (UGH! craziness.)
Then I sat down at the computer, opened yWriter to work on my book, and then shut it down because he would be here right as I got going with it and I didn’t want him to interrupt the process.
So I let my anxiety over his upcoming arrival preempt the process entirely.
And then he didn’t even show.
Despite the past 24 hours of self-induced craziness, I’m ready to do something else I said in that video:
“…[when] I hit that invisible wall where everything falls to pieces, I feel like I can’t handle anything, that I can’t do anything, then I’m just gonna tell myself, ‘We’re changing the training. My ideas are important. What’s going on in my head is important.’ And even if what I’m doing has gotten a little harder or hasn’t turned out exactly as I’d planned, that doesn’t mean that it’s never gonna be [the way I planned]! It just means that it’s time to learn something new. It’s time to figure out another way to get around an obstacle, and from this point forward, I am NOT going to NOT recognize when I am falling into the pattern of denying who I am.”
So here’s the good news. I did recognize the pattern this time. Next time I see it, I’m going to press on and do what I want to do, accomplish something instead of anticipate disaster.
Right now, I’m resisting the urge to calculate how much time I’ve spent in the past 18 years NOT doing something I wanted to do because I was anxious about something that he might do.