I think I am officially sick of the expression “triggered.” Not wanting to trigger someone is the new T-ball stand. Make things as easy as possible on those who might get upset if they strike out, because gawd-forbid they embrace the actual physics of trying to hit a fucking baseball. Life is not a safe space. There’s no good that can come from dancing gingerly around the unpleasant issues we see in the headlines; we see in our lives. Not talking about things, not wanting to trigger victims? No. Sorry. Get triggered, get pissed, get talking about that shit. If you need a safe space, if you don’t want to deal with it, then change the fucking channel. (Or whatever the kids today are doing… hang up, swipe off, power down.) Adorable cat videos are on YouTube for a reason, my friends.
Holy shit, I didn’t have internet on my PC for an entire day. Just got it back this morning. Can you tell? Phone was fine, cable was fine, but the place where I ticka-ticka-ticka away at the keyboard was offline. Kitty needs to ticka-ticka-ticka! I had to give a lot of thought to how good an excuse that was to quit NanoPolana, and in fact, writing altogether. A lot of thought.
Plunging V-neck. Plunging. (Seriously. I love that commercial way to much. I say, “Plunging V-neck. Plunging” out of context so much I think people are starting to worry I’m showing signs of dementia or Tourette’s or something. But no… just me with a new expression. I’m like a dog with a new toy. I’ll wear it out til it’s ratty & annoying, and then I’ll bury it. But every so often, I’ll go dig it up and play with it for a while before burying it again.)
So yeah…I do a lot of self talk. Hell, I do a lot of self-screaming.
In 2013 I had the mother of all breakdowns. It was very ugly, and very painful, and I’m glad I can stand on top of that mountain today looking like a blind woman who conquered Everest.
[walks around house looking for coffee]
[starts messing with Christmas decorations]
[tells cat to stop trying to eat Christmas decorations]
[plays with cat for 5 minutes]
[drinks cold coffee… as usual]
When I’m ticka-ticka-ticka-ing away and the flow of the words suddenly stop, I’ll stand up and start puttering around the room to see if that gets the words going again. My head is a funnel of sand, and my fingers are the outlet. When my head is filled too quickly, the stem gets clogged and sand gets all over the kitchen floor because I was too damned dumb & cocky & lazy & impatient to pour sand in the garage like I know I should.
Yes, one of the voices in my head is named after my Dad. (Full-disclosure, a court-appointed counselor once asked me – because it was on a list of questions he was required to ask me – if I heard voices. When I said yes, he asked me to describe them, and after I did, he said, “I think those are just ‘racing thoughts.'”
“Yeah, okay, cool,” I replied.
But the reason I think I’ve taken a stand on the whole “triggered” issue is because my Dad was a fascist who never let me have a say on anything.
Hey look, by taking a stand, I’m not saying I don’t understand why or how people can feel differently I’m just saying, like everyone else, I have reasons for saying what I’m saying, and these are they.
After my Mom died, for a short period of time I got into the habit of calling my Dad around 5:30 on Sunday evenings. The man had dinner at the same time everyday for as long as I knew him. Unless it was some special and rare occasion where he was out fishing late in the evening or treating himself to an Outback steak, I could almost always find him home on a Sunday afternoon around dinnertime. For two years I even forced myself to watch the NASCAR race so I would have something to talk about with him. So… one day… no answer. I leave a message. The next day, Monday at dinnertime… no answer. I leave a message.
Now I’m getting worried.
I call the hospital near his house… why yes they do have him checked in as a patient. They connect me to his room.
“Dad, what happened? Are you okay? How do you feel now?”
He fills me in with some details.
“Dad, why didn’t you call me to let me now you were in the hospital?”
“Hey,” he starts, in that reprimanding tone. (I’m 36-37 at this time. He’s around 73 or 74.) “I don’t have to tell anybody a goddamned thing!” he continues.
And for, like, a minutes, I really tried to stand my ground. I was a fucking adult after all. “Dad, I was worried about you. I think I have a right to know if you’re taken to the hospital. I’m your daughter. Your my family.”
“There’s nothing you can do about it!” he went on. “There’s no point n calling you because there’s nothing you can do.”
“Dad, I’m only 8 hours away. I could be there right now…”
“And don’t start that crying shit.” Yeah. My Dad yelled at me for crying because I was upset at the fact that he was mad at me for caring. My Dad was a dick.
In 1998 I cried for an hour after talking to him once where I called him and he yelled at me for wanting him to come to my wedding.
When I was a little kid and he’d come home from work, we weren’t allowed to talk to him until after dinner. Like, we’d all eat dinner together, and he would talk to my Mom about his day, and we had to be quiet. We couldn’t ask him anything.
So… I guess not being heard is a big triggering issue for me. Not wanting to be heard… it’s upsetting to have some much to say whole being surrounded by people who don’t want to hear me. I used to try. I tried for years. I was a letter-writer. Man, before the Internet, I wrote some lo-o-o-o-o-oo-nng letters in my day. I’m talking hand-written shit. On pages of paper. Pages. (Plunging.) Front AND back.
(Really? So, like a 1500-word blog post, except easier to set on fire?)
I was the talk-all-night on the phone chick. I’m pretty sure I invented drunk-dialing. I wanted to talk things out. I wanted to understand. I wanted someone to listen. And then, after a few decades of that nonsense, I realized… people are too into their own shit to care. People are either gossipy busy-bodies getting into everyone else’s shit because their own is so unbearable, or they’re focused on their own agenda and don’t have time to get invested in someone else’s drama. But listening… listening is dead. Everyone is waiting to talk. Everyone wants to be heard. Of all the 80’s fashions we have to go through again, we’re redoing the “Me Decade” now, too. Oof.
Bottom line? Fucked up people can’t be helped other fucked up, and almost all people are fucked up a little. And the clinical, un-objective people who DO listen, usually end up saying things the fucked up people don’t want to hear… because it causes pain, which fuels depression, which leads to unpleasant thoughts. And now we’re all floating around in bubbles trying to avoid all the pricks because, trust me, when we burst it is going to be ugly. And there are already too many messes to clean up.
My parents were ghosting their family members before the parents of the kids who invented that term were even born. When I was growing up, names of exes were never mentioned. Never. A guy I’d dated for years cheated on my with a girl named Audrey in 1978, and to this day the name still gives me an anxiety attack. Don’t say it. I don’t want to hear that name.
It’s what UN-spoken that has the power. Any 12-step program will teach you that. Not talking about something because it’s upsetting is what makes that thing so upsetting to talk about. It’s all about building up a tolerance. If you break your leg, you don’t try running a 5k on your first day of physical therapy. You do little things in periodic increments and build up your strength over time. It’s the same with daily life. I had to start by being the master of my own misery. And as master, I was kicking that shit to the curb.
Does that mean I didn’t have a panic attack that was so bad I had to call the EMTs last month? No… no, yeah, that really happened. Never did that before. BUT…
…oh, what am I doing here…. No wants want to read about all this.