This morning, there was fog. 72F and fog. Seems fitting – I have been in fog for a couple of years now. Clouds at my knees, it would seem. Things not appearing quite real, hazy, not allowing my eyes to discern their dimensions, or stability. Dare I lean against this structure, can it support me or does the mist hide its flaws and degradation? Even in the fog, I can discern the necessary details if I will take the time and get close enough.

There are people in my life who cannot support me, but the fog clouded my judgment. I did not take enough time to see who they really were. I suppose that’s my fault, but there are a lot of them out there, usually narcissists and sociopaths who aren’t capable of solidity. They will remain in the fog, soggy and miserable.

I have to say, though, I am in a less dense fog than ever before. These days, I am still prone to be trusting of those who are not worthy of my faith and loyalty but I would like to believe it doesn’t take quite as long to gain clarity these days. Some of my strategy is to just stay the eff out of most places where I might attract them. That works reasonably well for me – best defense, no be there. Those are words to live by.

I missed a meeting on Tuesday night, one that I knew was coming up, one that I regularly attend on Tuesday nights. I remembered it earlier on Tuesday, but after I finished work it went totally out of my mind. I woke up after it was over, very embarrassed because I was the Zoom host. It’s my account, and I feel that I have a lot of the responsibility there.

The Earth did not stop its rotation because I missed the meeting, nobody died, and the city was not in ruins. But I was ashamed, and frightened, telling myself that forgetting that commitment was a sure sign of cognitive decline and early onset dementia.

I have continued to process this, which is a good thing and a bad thing. It’s a good thing because I can really observe my thoughts and reactions to this occurrence rather than indulging in some distraction to hide from it. The bad thing is I can really observe my thoughts and reactions to this occurrence. A lot of mental energy has been expended on this, but I suppose that is just how I roll. Or don’t roll. Whatever.

Anyhow, I did pick out a couple of waypoints in this most recent journey into the heart of me. One is the shame. That is always to be expected when I have made a mistake. I appreciate that perfection is a myth and everyone makes mistakes and yadda yadda yadda, but it feels like crap, and it feels as though I am a fuck-up. The old tapes begin to play (and yes, they have now been digitized and reside securely within the confines of my cerebellum) and I am back in childhood and being told that I will never amount to anything, that I could have done better, that I just didn’t try, that I should not be trusted with important things. That since this has happened before people should know better than to expect anything more from me. Rewind, and repeat.

Wherever those patterns came from, my reaction is to immediately agree – yes, I am a fuck-up. Yes, I will never amount to anything. Yes, I could have – and should have – done better. My therapist says these are thoughts, not facts. That I can reframe thoughts by articulating them more positively and not indulging in negative – and abusive – self-talk. So, yeah, I get that intellectually, but the bias is incredibly strong and then…there’s the fog. That’s where it arises because I suppose I don’t really want to see clearly at that point. I am deep into it before I realize that I have a choice about entering.

The other unfortunate part about a shame spiral like this, at least for me, is that it comes down to waiting for the blow, waiting for punishment, waiting for retaliation, waiting for withdrawal of … love, respect, affection, trust. Withdrawal of safety and a sense of well-being. This is big. This is close to my core. Is this not what makes me who I am? What will I be without it? Who will I be without it?

So. It is time for more coffee, I think. And time for my medications. I promised that I would do better with regular doses. Some days, I eat the bear; some days the bear eats me. Some days I call myself names and wonder why I am doing any of this. Some days I write about it all and chuckle affectionately at my errant typing skills. And some days, I wait for the night as though tears in the sunlight are somehow not valid.

Britteney, hold on.

Published by annzimmerman

I am Louisiana born and bred, now living in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Fortunately for me, I was already living in NC before Hurricane Katrina decimated my beloved New Orleans. An only child, I now feel that I have no personal history since the hurricane destroyed the relics and artifacts of my childhood. As I have always heard, c'est la vie. My Louisiana roots show in my love of good coffee, good food, and good music. My soggy native soil has also shown me that resilience is hard-wired in my consciousness; when the chips are down (or drowned)...bring it on.

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