I’ve been saying that 2016 feels like my year–I’m getting out of this shithole, I’m going somewhere I want to be, I’m pursuing my interests and what I want to be doing more authentically. I published my first book, did my first solo performance in five years, was accepted with full funding (!!!) to grad school. And yet.
I spent a week of this month in an inpatient facility, trying not to die. The place was oddly reminiscent of the Immigration Detention Center where I spent three days imprisoned when I was in Thailand back in 2014. Interestingly enough, there was even less to do. Make of that what you will. (I personally make of it that the American mental health system is just as abysmal as ever. But then, I’ve said that before, and of course, I’m not the first.)
Upon discharge, I was “fine” for a couple of days. But as with all things in life, the same issues keep showing up until you effectively deal with them. For me, this lies in a specific and deep-seated fear: What if no one ever loves me back?
I finally came out to my parents and was promptly greeted with their decision to essentially cut ties with me, because apparently, it is possible to break up with your child. This decision comes on the heels of years maintaining the skeleton of a relationship with the people I should be closest to, and all on the basis of religious differences. (Soapbox moment: Don’t join Jehovah’s Witnesses. They seem nice, but then they shun you for being gay, or having sex, or otherwise being human.)
Loverfriend and I have, for the most part, settled on a need to “disentangle” (their word.) The issue that rises like curds in the sour milk of our relationship every time we decide to do this is that I fall into this place of fear. I’m an ugly person in those moments: broken, dramatic, pushing back against what is clearly a need to focus on self-advancement rather than trying to make someone love me better, or to the same extent that I love them. In those moments, I’m 7, or 13, or 14, or 17, or 19, regressing into this person I thought I’d grown beyond. When confronted with the reality that I have not yet attained the sort of love that I want in a relationship and that finding it may be yet far off, I recede into that little girl trying to figure out what I need to do to earn affection.
It’s a melange of ruminating thoughts: Can I fuck you into loving me back? Did I need to be prettier? Listen better, be kinder, be older, be something I’m not or not yet? And I know that complex is at the root of many of my maladaptive relationship behaviors. I repeat patterns because I haven’t realized that those questions don’t matter, that the most important thing is for me to love myself, that love finds you when you love you and when you stop searching for it, bla bla bla, etc. I’m trying. But it’s a whole lot.