I’ve been very lucky, really. As the world I know crumbles apart I can see how #blessed I am to have the best genuinely wanted for me, even now. I wish everyone had that.
There’s a sentence floating around in my mind: what’s been is as important as what will be. Nobody can take what’s been away from me because it’s already been. Besides, those in the what’s been are also part of the will be and here’s why.
Love isn’t a switch that flicks on and off but a stream that flows consistently, changing the shape of everything inside you over time. Anyone who’s lucky enough to have had one of these streams run through them for long enough becomes full of beautiful shapes—intricate, winding tunnels, smooth curves, deep spirals, and so on. Think of Vix. If he lives a thousand years, the shapes that formed inside him in his youth will influence the shapes that form over the subsequent centuries, even if the source of the stream changes many times. By the end of his life the shapes might be unrecognisable, but if they hadn’t been what they were they can’t become what they will.
Yes, I do know.
I’ve been shaped in some beautiful ways that I’m grateful for. I’m full of deep spirals and pretty swirling patterns. I don’t know what’s going to happen now or what will happen to those shapes. All I know is that my life needs to look completely different in a year’s time. I need to have focused on being healthy, which is the kind of request someone who cares about you would make. Wherever my path takes me, I hope it’ll make the what’s been proud and the what will be happy. Maybe those two things will even be the same thing in a new form, or maybe they won’t.
I’ve figured out one of the differences between you and me, Fenn. It’s not that you don’t have intense negative emotions—you feel angry and anxious and scared and rejected just like anyone else. The difference is you don’t see bad emotions as a bad thing, but rather information about yourself and the world that is potentially useful. You have what self-help told me is a “growth mindset”, which helps you to view all experiences—positive and negative—as a chance to learn and improve. I’ve always been a bit avoidant, but now my mindset is stuck in avoidance mode. At a certain point life turned up the volume on my mental illnesses, and it hasn’t been pretty since. It’s nobody’s fault.
Until recently, I’ve unquestioningly tried to avoid things that might bring up negative emotions or trigger obsessions, and I would automatically act based on fear—sometimes even at the expense of my values. I did this because I already had so many negative emotions and often it feels like I just can’t afford any more. You always try to act based on your values, whatever the cost to yourself, and that’s the real reason I wanted so much to be like you. It’s not because you’re funny and kind and brave. It’s because you live confidently and consistently by your values, even when it hurts baaaaad. You often make mistakes— sometimes you speak without thinking or forget important things or take a joke too far—but you don’t beat yourself up about it for ten years afterwards. You feel bad and apologetic and all that, but you don’t create more pain for yourself than is strictly necessary. You’re extremely empathetic, but you’re also realistic about the effect you have on others and what’s expected of you. You naturally want to give a lot, but you don’t think you owe more than you do. When you’re like me and you think you owe everyone everything, you lose the ability to prioritise and manage even a small number of relationships. You don’t know what to give to who, and it gets so overwhelming you end up giving nothing to nobody.
Fear has gotten in the way of my values too many times, and that brings shame. I can’t be there for people as much as I’d like, and I avoid things I know I should do because the cost of not avoiding can be very high in the short-term. My brain isn’t like yours in that way. It DOES create more pain than is necessary, and I don’t want to go through that all the time. Nobody wants to do something that has a good chance of giving them an anxiety attack that could last for hours. Nobody wants to expose themselves to something that has previously sent them into a fit of despair—especially when their whole life is perpetually hanging by a thread that even the slightest knock might snap. I’m steeped in the shame of being too afraid to live in a reliable, consistent way, and if there’s one thing that breeds more avoidance it’s shame.
Avoidance is my curse, and I battle at least two forms blasted at me constantly by two separate forces. There’s the avoidance that comes with Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria—mixed with obligatory social anxiety (duh)—and then there’s the deadly “compulsion” variety of avoidance lovingly enforced by the insatiable sadistic tyrant that promises to keep me safe and then stuffs his filthy diseased fingers in my mouth and makes me choke—my old pal CROW CD. Yeah, the one who tells me I can’t do x until y is a flying pig, and if I do z before w is true, the universe will explode. He says I MUST avoid certain things until the circumstances are just right. He even sometimes manages to convince me that things that have ALREADY HAPPENED (!!!!!!!!) will magically be different if I do x, y, and z just right. He pretty much says, “You’re a wizard, Harry.”
But newsflash: I’M NOT A WIZARD AND I CAN’T WINGARDIUM LEVIOSA ALL THE DAMAGE AWAY (that’s the only spell I remember the name of).
What’s a “Harry”? Hahaha, sorry. Harry Potter is the last person I expected to talk about. Anyway, he’s such a c-word (crow).
Who, Harry? No, the—are you even listening? Of course I’m listening! I’m just listening confusedly. Well, that’s something I have plenty of experience in, I suppose.
You came to me now for a reason—I wondered if you did when I first found you. Because I’m slowly clawing my way out of the deep, dark depths of chronic avoidance and blindly hand-patting my way to whatever path leads to freedom. You’ve come now so that I’ll have a constant reminder that bravery and doing things that are important—even if it’s hard—are things I value and need to fight for before I lose them. One day what’s been might look at me and think, “Wow, she did it” and I’m full of love knowing this would bring genuine happiness and relief.
How lucky am I?
You’ve come to help me and I appreciate it so much, but the question is: is keeping you in my head going help me to be healthy in the longer term, or is it going to do the opposite? I need to socialise more and it makes sense that you would be able to help me socialise—filthy, disgusting extrovert that you are—but is using you as a tool healthy or unhealthy? Does it matter how I do it, as long as it works? I don’t want to put on a mask or be something I’m not, but if you can get me into a mindset where I genuinely find it easier…that’s not so bad, right? I can make a solid case for both sides, which means I might need to consult my favourite professional. Because I want to be healthy—it means a lot to me that this means a lot to anyone. But I’ve become attached to you again, and I feel that you help me.
Whatever happens, I’m writing a new book for you, and I’m probably going to write several more in my life because I’ve realised I made you for a good reason. I never really cared if any of them got published. It’s weird to think I didn’t even try most of the time, and I probably won’t try this time. Maybe I’ll put it online, but maybe I won’t.
You understand, don’t you?
Of course I understand, Dane. I’m happy that you’re getting firmly on the path to accepting and helping yourself, and I’m happy that you’re getting to making yourself healthy—with or without my voice in your head.
Thanks, Fenn <3 :) <3
I’m hoping that if I can develop a growth mindset it will help me expand my thinking in unpredictable but good ways. I don’t have to fit into a neat little box, and my relationships don’t have to fit into neat little boxes either. It’s like you and Vix. You’re best friends, but it’s not really a “normal” friendship, and that always totally fascinated me. Even though I’m not 97% asexual like Vix, I’ve always related to the idea that he could love you as more than a friend while also just loving you as a friend—I dunno if that makes sense to much of the world, but it makes sense to me. I think there are so many more ways of loving people than society makes it seem like but we shut ourselves off to them because they’re not tidy or easily defined. A lot of people try to act like what’s been never was, but I truly believe that if I’ve loved someone once, I always will—always. And I don’t mean that in a creepy stalker way. I just mean I can’t help the shapes they made inside me, and the shapes they made will affect what all future shapes look like and I think that’s beautiful and special and something to be grateful for. I love my love shapes.
Am I making any sense?
You’re making enough sense for my eyes to be stinging. You mean my eyes? Well now, they might be your eyes but I think they’re my tears. Aw, you softie :)
My mind has been swapping between rapidly growing and rapidly shrinking for a while, but I hope the growing wins in the end. I might need to live an unusual life. But as long as I’m healthy and I’m well enough to live by my values, maybe that’s okay. Maybe the stories we tell ourselves and each other about how we should be are all just as imaginary this conversation. And if they’re all imaginary, why can’t I just make up whatever story makes me and anyone involved happiest?
When you ruthlessly and unavoidantly strip something down, you can see what’s really there. You might strip down a relationship that seems great and find nothing but rocks, or you might strip down a relationship that’s in pain and find a beautiful glowing orb that can never be destroyed, even after a thousand years and one of you has been dead for centuries.
You’re not planning on killing me in this book, are you? No way. I almost killed you once but I couldn’t do it. You’re too important to me. You’ll live at least as long as I do—maybe longer :)
Okay now, these are definitely my tears.
Thanks for being here, Fenn. Thanks for helping me see the positive in things, as you always do. I’m so lucky to have these shapes inside me, even if sometimes they get filled with gooey black sludge that can’t be helped.
Well now, don’t give me too much credit! I think I’ve mainly just helped you eat pasta, which—to be fair—is a thoroughly important undertaking. Speaking of pasta…you hungry? Bitch, you KNOW I’m hungry. HAHAHA. You’ve been watching too much rectangle, Fenn! Pasta, pasta, pasta, pasta, pasta, pasta, pasta.
Okay, okay—let’s not starve to death then :)
Good plan! :)