Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Therapy Exercise Part 1

This is part of my therapy. You do not have to read it. I’ve wavered between posting it and not posting it, but I’m practicing having courage, and being brave, and being fearless and all that shit. So what, I am vulnerable. There I said it. Move along.

This is a process of figuring out my shit. The things that scare me most are part of that. Part of the therapy plan is to be aware of these things so when I get there I can recognize that I’m reacting to one of my issues. Sounds so simple.

I have two big fears:
1. Being trapped. (Part 1)
2. Being abandon. (Part 2)

PART 1: TRAPPED (Otherwise known as Trust Issues)
The fear of being trapped is a funny fear. Certainly not funny, haha, but funny in that it manifests itself in a variety of strange ways and is the cause of strange reactions and actions. This fear is not to be confused with the fear of small spaces but I’m not a fan of those either. Here are some examples:

A. Always know your exits. In any room, party, bar, store, person’s house, relationship, plane, job, situation—I always know what my exit will be (I almost wrote “is” but “will be” is more true and totally more fucked up.) Do I know my way out? Where is the nearest exit? Who do I have to jump over to get there first?

When I was young in love, I used to have a break-up plan at the very beginning of any relationship. I always had an escape in mind, just in case that one moment came when things got too intense or too challenging or too much love was present, and I would use my emergency exit and flee, check out, bail. It was so mean and heartless and shitty of me. I feel very bad about the callus and careless way that I treated love (and wow! payback is quite the bitch.) I was just so freaked out and so un-ready for it that I had to bail—it was my best defense mechanism. No one can trap you, if you leave first.

My default was telling myself that certainly he would get sick of me any day now. He was better off without me. Better leave now, just in case. Some of this is healed as my self-worth grew. Some of it I grew out of. I don't feel this way anymore. History is important.

At a therapy session in NYC, I accidentally said this to my shrink and she flipped out. I was always so terrified to be loved (read: felt unworthy of love) that I would plan a way out. Just in case. I worked through this last time around the couch, but it’s worth mentioning. I no longer plan a way out of a relationship, but I do still look for exits in a room, and have some anxiety about small spaces. I like escape routes, if only for the comfort of knowing.

I'm good/better at recognizing my flight responses and keeping them in check.

Re-read and replace “job” for “relationship.”

B. Traveling. Trust issues with going to remote places with people I don’t know well. Boats, etc. Three or more examples:
   1. I will not go to a wooded park with people/a person I don’t know very, very well. This one is common sense too, but can get weird at a work retreat or when meeting friends at Central Park (too far off the beaten path.) I get all skeevy and can’t settle in. In my mind I think about how fast I can run barefoot through the rocky woods to escape Bigfoot or whatever. Why am I always barefoot? Because who besides RuPaul can run through the woods in heels?
   2. I will not allow someone to drive if I don’t trust him/her. (Cabbies in NYC were a different story although not always…I usually took the train or walked.) I have friends that I’ve never driven with. When I am in a car with someone new/untrusted, I find myself in a mini-panic-attack trying not whiteknuckle the dashboard while tisking and saying undermybreath “Ohshit.Holyshit.” Once, I made a friend pull over on the freeway so I could take over. True story. I know this is a control issue too but come on…don’t act like you have never driven with someone and feared for your life. And as a matter of fact, I love to be driven around (by someone I trust. It is one of my greatest simple pleasures.)
   3. When I met D, we'd had one official date, and he asked me to go on a boat with him and his friends. I freaked. Hell no! I was suspicious of him for asking me to do something so crazy like that so soon. Then, he asked me a few weeks later to go to a wedding with him. Wow. I just wasn’t there yet. Not enough trust to be trapped on a boat or stuck talking to some lame-os at a wedding. Too scary.

C. Breaking bread. There are some people I will not eat with. More people that I will not invite to eat with me in my home. Eating is a big deal for me. I do not take it lightly. How is this a trapped thing? Well, I love to cook and eat dinner and have parties and friends over when I can. I will not feel trapped in my own house at my table with some stooge criticizing every bite or shoveling in copious amounts of food that I prepared with love. Some meals/invitations are sacred—cooking is an act of honor and respect and should be treated as such. I will feed anyone…but I won’t sit and eat with just anyone. This is weird too because I have had hundreds of people in my home for food. I am just a little weird about it. It’s a special thing for me.

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