This might seem like a weird way to kick things off, but I wanted to begin with a little humour.
Last weekend I revisited one of my favourite comfort films, Terminator 2: Judgment Day (obviously) and I can't stop thinking about how funny this scene is and how perfect Arnold is. If I watched it alone, I probably would have kept the scene on loop for a while. In any case, this really has nothing to do with what I'm about to get into, but another scene from the film does.
A couple years ago, I woke from a horrific dream. I was in an elaborate library that looked like a ritzy art gallery. I was walking up an exquisite marble staircase. I remember feeling accomplished and content. Then I remember the heat and the screams. I turned around and there was straight up fire coming at me. It was like a nuclear bomb was engulfing the library. I took a cue from everyone else and turned to run up the stairs, but then I stopped. I guess I knew that I couldn't outrun the fire. I turned back around. I closed my eyes. And that was it. It may not sound like much, but it was absolutely terrifying. If I remember correctly, I was crying when I woke up. I thought of that dream last weekend, during Sarah Connor's apocalyptic vision. I hadn't thought about it in so long, but suddenly it all rushed back to me.
I know that dreams are mysterious, but I do believe that they hold some significance in terms of what we store in our minds. Maybe I just really love Terminator 2 (I do) and my mind was telling me to watch it? Or, maybe it was telling me to stop running from things. Side note: I just remembered that I was in a house fire when I was a kid. I totally forgot about it. It was one of those after school special don't play with matches moments and it was fucked up, actually. A little girl was lighting matches in my babysitter's basement. I don't remember much else, but I'm pretty sure a cat lost its life in that fire, which is so sad. I can't believe I never think about that anymore.
Isn't that weird, the way the mind works? So many things that we're able to tuck away, then suddenly they pop up and catch us by surprise.
I've been thinking about this lately, but more in the ways we hide our pain, cover it up and avoid actually processing it. Case in point, the house fire. That probably legitimately traumatized me. But how do we process trauma? There isn't a clearcut way that I'm aware of. I suppose talking about it is a good place to start, particularly with a therapist? Who knows. I do know that I've been on a marathon run away from some things and I'm desperate to stop. It's just harder than I thought.
I certainly have lost my way. I haven't felt like myself for quite some time now. Part of it is hormonal, which I may get into another time, and part of it is, well, I don't know. Trauma? Depression? Anxiety? I know that's all there, but it's hard to dig down and get to the bottom of it, especially when I smoke it away every night.
I've been using weed as my comfort blanket for several months now. It's been somewhat of a necessity in terms of physical pain, but has also allowed me to block the emotional pain.
At first I wasn't smoking every night, but it just kind of happened, especially around the time I was visiting Ben in the hospital a lot. It was scary, and I didn't want to feel it. I would come home, sit on the porch and have a few puffs just to calm my nerves and stop the tears from forming because that was some heavy shit. I still haven't come to terms with the fact that he's gone. His birthday was last week and it was extremely difficult. Not just because he is gone, but also because I forgot. For some reason I thought his birthday was this weekend, and I felt some shame and guilt about that.
It's also been tough to process everything and pick up the pieces because his mother is still staying at the house. She's been here since September, with other family members coming and going, but it was different before when Ben was still alive. She is staying downstairs in his suite, and I hear her constantly. Sometimes it's like I hear him and it's triggering. There are a lot of really gross feelings lingering: anger, resentment, guilt. I won't get into it all too much, but it hasn't exactly been easy having Ben's family around. I will take responsibility for some of the discomfort, because I didn't establish boundaries when they arrived. I guess I didn't anticipate that they would be staying this long, and also it felt awkward to have those uncomfortable conversations, especially given the circumstances. Those factors made it easier for them to take advantage, not necessarily intentionally, but it happened.
It's tough to get to know people during such a painful time and I've been trying to remind myself to have compassion, for myself and for everyone involved. What I've come to realize is that we are very different people who process things differently, and there has been some conflict. Conflict I really didn't foresee continuing on after his death, and I've been struggling with it quite a bit. His dad and brother are coming to stay here in about a week, and they are all expecting to leave at the end of the month. While I look forward to April and reclaiming my space, I also fear that it'll truly feel real once everything is packed up and they're gone. He will be gone, officially.
So, yeah, I've been smoking some weed. Haha. And the thing is, I don't think there's anything wrong with it, even every night if that's your thing. I just know that I've been doing it to avoid something that I must face. I have to grieve and I have to feel this pain, or I doubt I'll be able to carry on with much. I doubt I'll be able to accomplish the things I wish to achieve. I owe it to myself to allow the pain to come and allow it to pass. I don't know how long it takes, and I don't know if it ever fully goes away, but I think I want to find out.
As we enter another seasonal change, I know that it's time to make some other changes and time to take better care. It's time to work on myself some more. Time to work on setting boundaries, because I'm starting to see how a lack of doing so has made other areas of my life almost unbearable. It's time to cut back on the hormones (or stop altogether) and time to pull back the security blanket. It's time to allow myself to feel things, no matter how uncomfortable. It's time to turn around and face the fire.
And it's time to listen to some Dinosaur Jr.
Thanks for reading, friends. I hope you enjoy this video. It always makes me laugh.
I'm finally doing it--pulling my insides out and splattering them around for all to see. Here we go!