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11 Jun 2018

Natchez Falldown Ankle.

Written by sally @ 11:20 am — Section: sally

“Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?”
–Mary Oliver, “I Worried”

Several years ago, I broke up with my boyfriend because we weren’t able to communicate effectively (i.e., at all), and though I loved him, I thought it was the right thing to do. I had limited, careful, rational thoughts about the situation. I was fine. I felt fine. I had everything neatly taken care of: the relationship wasn’t working for me, and so I remedied it! GREAT.

Then one day, I was at a bar in Natchez watching my coworkers do karaoke and also, some truly upsetting dance moves, and as I left, I fell off the curb, twisted my ankle, and landed in the street. And I started crying, as one does when they are physically hurt, but then…I didn’t stop crying. I cried for hours. I went to bed. I woke up and cried some more. For the next three weeks, every time I thought about falling down, or if I said the words, “I fell down,” I started crying again. At work, at a bar, at home, falling down = total meltdown.

Things can’t be a pattern until they happen again, but here we are again: I broke up with someone, I had limited, careful, rational thoughts about the situation, and then last week I dropped some chairs on my foot. And BAM: it was Natchez Falldown Ankle all over again. While I guess it’s good to know that I do have feelings in there somewhere, this isn’t an effective way to human. I need emotional Dran-o, or better yet, a daily feelings fiber pill. Metamucil for Feelings! (Feelamucil. Mirafeel. Feelalax? I’m still workshopping here.)

I like to talk about how rational I am, but being this way doesn’t benefit me. I just end up coming across as cold, remote, and distant. And then when I try to say I’m sorry, I was an asshole, it’s insincere, because why would anyone believe this cold and distant robot who has never displayed anything along these lines? After all, the Elliott Smith School of Bottling Up and Exploding is not an accredited institution.

I went for a walk yesterday and picked up an embarrassing self-help book in a Little Free Library. I am now in the Reading Self-Help Book stage of life. (“Someone is staring at you in Personal Growth.”) The name of the book isn’t important (because it is embarrassing), but I recognized myself in a way I hadn’t before. I don’t think of myself as someone who is afraid of commitment or intimacy, because I’ve been married twice! I’ve had a million boyfriends! But oh: I’ve been married twice. I’ve had a million boyfriends. Cue the sad trombone and the Natchez Falldown Ankle-level tears and the Oh God Realization.

Reading the DO YOU HAVE A FEAR OF INTIMACY? checklists both in the book and online has been like falling down in the street AND dropping chairs on my foot AND an old-fashioned punch in the stomach. It’s so clear! Why didn’t I realize this before? “Put off or repulsed by people who treat you with the love you deserve”? Ugh. Yes. “A desire to be close to another, only to pull away when the closeness is reciprocated”? As the internet would say, it me. “Feeling uneasy if another person starts depending on you for emotional support”? Yep. “Doubting you can be really close to anyone because little things always annoy you too much”? Big check. “Holding back your feelings in previous relationships”? Hello.

Well. Here we are. I’ve never felt so exposed (which is of course extra scary for MY KIND).

Not much else to do but head back to therapy, read some things, and try to be better. (I will also obsessively revisit every relationship and reread all my journals looking for clues.) You’d think an allegedly rational person like me would’ve figured this stuff out already, but I guess I was too busy thinking I was right all the time. Oh, universe! You got me good. If you need me, I’ll be over here watching this video of Dean Jones singing “Being Alive.”

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