i went back to the dentist today, for a filling. my therapist wanted me to make a point of asking for at least one break. in the spirit of developing new patterns wherein i do not power through pain and discomfort.
after, nanette asked if i'd asked for a break and i told her i wasn't entirely sure. i think, rather, that it was offered and i took it and i told her that i had been told to take a break. so, that i was supposed to take a break was communicated. does that count? is that enough? can i check this off the list?
i told two people i'd been sexually assaulted and might need to take breaks. i told the dentist things might be easier with a stress ball. her assistant gave me two and asked which i preferred. the stress ball helped.
the filling was mercifully quick. the dentist was mercifully good at her job, and good at communicating what she was about to do. there were no surprises.
i remember, she told me when i told her.
that's your mouth protecting you, the assistant who cleaned my teeth prior told me when i told her the x-rays the last time had been a horrible ordeal. i wanted to weep when she said this.
you did so well, she told me when it was over. i wanted to weep when she said that too.
on the way back from memphis, i overnighted in roanoke. the hotel i though i'd carefully chosen because the room access was internal rather than via a balcony looked like a murder den. as in, i was afraid to leave my stuff in the car. it looked that dirty and unsafe.
it took a series of escalating horrors for me to accept that i'd have to blow the 60 bucks and stay elsewhere, but i did it. i hauled my wreck of a self, gasping i am safe, i am safe, i am safe, to a hotel one exit up, where i took one of the hottest showers of my life and burned off all my skin.
my therapist always wants me to say how it feels to be in my body and i never know. it's not that i don't have words but that i do not know. but i'm getting better, i think, because i've started paying attention.
at the dentist, when i let the stress ball go, my fingers shook violently with the adrenaline.
at the hotel, the anxiety sat on my chest, like when fezzik used to settle his 15 pounds on my chest and fall asleep so i'd awake with a start, convinced i was in cardiac distress.
this will not last forever. i think i do believe that. i certainly get on my soap box and tell other people that. but it's alarming how often shit happens and i feel it.
yesterday, i went to get a massage. i always see zana. i only see zana. only zana is allowed to touch me.
when a man i've never seen before came to collect me for some 90 minute thing i'd not booked, i was like I BELONG TO ZANA!!! after the confusion (there was another caroline) was cleared, i sat back in the waiting room, breathing deeply, trying to know the feelings, trying to calm myself, alarmed by how activating the prospect of someone other than zana touching me had been.
these are discrete moments. localized. i'm not like this always.
E came over for pie and early supper and hanging out last friday. her boyfriend joined us and sat between us on the couch. it was fine. everything was fine. she realized before i did that a man was coming to my home, and, realizing that, she checked in. and everything was fine.
the trouble is not knowing where it begins and ends, so it can happen whenever. i guess the good thing is that i have people around me who can carve out space to settle into.
the relief that came from being in memphis was of not having to care for myself to the degree that i have over the last year and a half but 2021 most especially.
in the first half of the year, solidly five things occurred for which, in non-pandemic times, my mother would have been on my doorstep as fast as she could. but she couldn't. and so i made it on my own. and saying that now feels incredibly self-indulgent. maybe i'm being melodramatic. the temptation is, as always, to police one's self, to distrust one's self, to detached from what happened and how bad it was and i refuse to do that.
shit happened. the six months after were hell on earth. and we (because i'mma throw claude in there for good measure) are getting through.