Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Empty soda cans

I had a very strange thing happen to me last night.

I've told you all how peaceful my life is now, I don't have any real stressors at all, I take care of our house/laundry/finances/dogs but there is no schedule, no bells or alarms.  I never take this quiet for granted either.  I am so appreciative..

I'm living in pure PEACE these days, and I have been since we moved here a year ago.

So last night I was lying in bed (watching Big Bang Theory I just love that show) and I got up to get water and realized I was grrr grouchy.  Pissed OFF.  And I stopped walking just STOPPED and said to myself "self, who are we mad at again?" (cos I couldn't remember who had ticked me off THIS time) and the answer?  nobody.  There was NOBODY that I was mad at.

I had this emotion, like an empty shell, just roll through me.  Like an old coke can rolling down a desert street *clank clang clank* with nothing inside.

That isn't the first time either.  I'll get all IRRITATED and have to think, and then *huh*.  Whudya know.  I'd been working on Ebay for the last hour and nothing is irritating me, I'm in my pajamas and things are selling and hmmm...

So, here is a question.  Or a hypothesis.  Hypotenuse.

My brain is so used to cycling through these negative emotions.  FOR YEARS there was more than one candidate for each one.  I mean, ask me 5 years ago 'who are we irritated with again?' and *FLIP* there goes the 2-foot list. 

NOW?  Now it seems as though these emotions, this negative energy, are all just echos of past drama.  Empty soda cans rolling down the streets of my brain.

Can you just be USED to so much crap that your brain sorta goes along as if it was still there?  Like a movie where a building is abandoned, but the machinery keeps on moving, starting itself up and then shutting down, on a schedule somebody forgot to re-program?

It made me laugh, actually.  Like I said, it isn't the first time.  Sometimes Jeff will ask me "what did I do exactly?  WHY are you mad at me?" and then I have to dig my toe into the dirt and say 'oh gee, nothing, sorry, durr Imma DORK sorry'. 

This 'living in peace' stuff - man, it's giving me insight into myself that is so useful.  I live with a LOT of empty echos.  I was running for YEARS from monsters (some real, some my own idiotic creation), *panting* and *huffing* and RUNNING and creating chaos (tossing chairs behind me!  rolling kitchen carts into paths!) and the actual monsters had LONG been gone, most of them vanquished and dead, some of them *poofed* into smoke.  My defenses were up WAY longer than I needed them to be, but I was so used to living defensively, to expecting the next punch (so to speak), the next slight, the next irritation - that I didn't stop when I got to the finish line.  I blew right past it, never saw it.

Quitting drinking, I think, is really finally letting me see that the noise in my head is all just residual echos, and has been for quite some time.  I drank (a lot) back when I 'needed it' to help me survive all of that crap, to help me cope and relax.  Then I drank because I was used to drinking.  I was using it to quiet demons and it worked so well, I didn't hear the door slam when they left.

I don't have those demons chasing me anymore, there isn't ANYTHING about my old life that is still around.  I mean, I've known that intellectually - shit, it even says so on the side of my blog, that nobody is around who worries me anymore.  Nobody who irritates me either!  But muscle memory...  I had never given my under-brain a chance to catch up to my frontal lobe.  It's been years wasted on being a defensive asshole toward NOTHING.  Shadow boxing.

I'm free.


  1. They say in the meetings that quitting drinking makes us more aware of the emotions we drowned out with booze. Maybe we programmed ourselves to be angry, fearful, etc... We can't just flip a switch and turn them off. Difference is, now we're aware of them.

    Same here, sometimes I'm just pissed off at the world and I'm not sure why!

  2. I love the soda can "picture" you drew, Gladys. I really get that, yk? But you caught on a lot quicker than I did. Maybe it's because I didn't chose "Retirement." It was foisted on me by my body which had been screaming, "ENOUGH already, TW, ENOUGH!" for years. I just kept powering through even after my first stroke, 92 lbs. of malnourished sick-and-getting-sicker, no dx., the dreary rounds of "Specialists" etc.
    Until it all came to a screeching halt. Somehow, I always thought "Dx.=Treatment" and it does. But it doesn't mean "Cure."
    I had lost my DH way too soon. Now I lost my career, my health way too soon and I was PISSED. Or so I thought.
    Actually I was scared. Who was I? Without all *this* overt stuff that had seeped in over years that I allowed to define me. The years of frantic "routine," on-call 24/7/365, the Community Boards, 5 yrs. of night school for post-grad work, "Run, TW, Run". The silence, OMG, the silence.
    I kept kicking that can further down the road. Eventually, I bent down, picked it up and put it in the recyclables. Not because I wanted to, but because I had to.
    It sure was a wake-up call for me. I wasn't very gracious or welcoming. It took me years to get to where you are now, Gladys: Good for you! (Insert "Clapping" icon)

    1. TW - as always, I love this comment. I appreciate you and your hard-won wisdom so much. It's true - the SILENCE - gawd, it can be SO LOUD, right?

      The layers of the abuse - it's just a never ending journey of discovery. HOWEVER, isn't that what life is? I think by the time we are old husks of ourselves we will be the smartest people on the planet!

  3. Gladys,
    Good for you! We learn patterns (to be angry, sad) over such a long period of time, I think it's difficult to let go of those patterns even when there's not anything anymore to keep us in them. I distinctly remember those moments of "what the frick am I mad about anyway?"

    I know that for me some of it had to do with affect emotion. We find ways not to feel for long periods of time, and then... then... when we take away the tool we've using not to feel, well, we just feel EVERYTHING. INTENSELY. RIGHT NOW.

    Over time, those intense blind-sides of feeling got farther and fewer between for me.

    Free at last indeed!

  4. Thanks Gladys for writing this. I've been having very intense "ghost" feelings too lately, and I'm not sure what to do with them.
    I identify with what Vanci said about feeling everything, intensely, right now. I was just writing to Jonsi this morning about feeling like floodgates have been released and ALL of my damn emotions are washing over me.
    And then it's quiet. And, just yesterday, I also realized I was afraid. Which made me angry and anxious again. So, i identify with what TW said too.
    Thanks all for reminding me that I'm not alone. And in our "weird" little corner of the world, I'm "normal".

    1. I think what's awesome about our "normal" is that we're a group of people who have taken our own dysfunctions by the reigns. We're in control of our own lives and we have all made the choice to nurture our Selves and those interpersonal relationships in our lives that are worth saving. That's a kind of "normal" I'm glad to be a part of.

  5. So, is there a way to get rid of the cans that occasionally rattle around, or are you okay with them making noise every once in a while? I think it's rather impressive that you're able to pinpoint what's causing it, even if the "cause" isn't really something right in front of you, right now.

    1. Getting rid of them?? I only just recognized them! Quit trying to make me Grow As A Person!

      lol - yeah. I need to do that, to do as TW said and pick up those empty cans, drop them in the recycling and get on with life without the drama, the real stuff OR the shells and ghosts.

      I do think it's HUGE that I noticed that they ARE just shells. I feel like it's a discovery I've been on the brink of for a long, long time. It's a form of PTSD I think, leftovers from another life long ago that includes slamming doors and the CRASH of pots and pans and the smell of cigars. Maybe it's the first step to not reacting to all of it.

      Although, here's a thought - will I miss my reactions? Will my reactions become 'ghost shells' - like a reflection of a reflection? I knwo the smell of cigars will always affect me, but will I just *sniff* and shake my head, or will they always make my stomach clench and have me ducking my head?

      Childhood Abuse: The gift that never stops giving no matter what.

    2. Gladys-Jonsi,
      I think that the recognition of the objects is the key. Seeing them for what they are and finding out what to do with them was, for me, a natural extension of looking at the damn things in the light and seeing them over and over again. Taking the mystery out of the unknowns, so to speak.

      Gladys, I have never, not once, I swear, missed those uncontrollable, overwhelming reactions. I've noticed a couple of times that I should be reacting (based on past history) and haven't been, but my only thought about the absence was something along the lines of, 'Well I'll be damned. Huh.'

      I did notice that as my reactions (defenses) stopped taking up so much space, I had room for better ones, like spontaneous laughter and awe and wonder at the sunset. (DH once looked at me and said, "Seriously, are you high?")


  6. I love the imagery of the empty soda can. :)