I’ve written a bunch of things over the last year+ that have gotten published this last week and the week before. Please enjoy.
Every time I wake up, it is with a start, a panicked urgency that I must be alert, all of me “on” now. I wake with a start next to a new lover, an old friend I’m reconnecting with after years drifting apart after college. We’ve just slept together for the first time and we are in my home, in my bed. His body is soft and absorbs the shock of my body jerking awake. His arms around me are unshifted by my terror. I am safe.
I am safe, I am safe, I am safe IamsafeIamsafeIamsafe.
Breathe in, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, hold, exhale, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
“It’s okay,” he says, and my breathing settles.
I gobbled up the first three episodes of the show in one evening, only to stay up all night afterward thinking over these stories of mine and replaying parallel scenes from the show in my head. Over the next day and a half, I was in a sort of fugue state, hypervigilant and irritable, my PTSD flaring up so that every auditory sensation was overwhelming and every minor logistical setback grated on my nerves until I reached a breaking point and snapped at my sister (who was living at me at the time) in a way I hadn’t snapped at anyone since I’d been in the throes of my divorce.
I couldn’t figure out why I was so triggered — was it just the experience of revisiting those memories and experiences through the lens of Coel’s creation and on-screen persona? Or was there something more?
(I don’t title my pieces over there, fyi)
The best relationships I have in my life are those in which I have, despite the lurching nervous nausea as I did so, shot straight and asked if we could discuss x situation and how it felt for me, what I needed in the moment, what I need in the future.
“That hurt” gets built upon with nuance: I felt this, when you did that, it felt like you meant this other thing, and that made me feel some type of way.
The specificity you provide in such a situation is offering a guide map to the contours of your heart. It assumes that they love you and want to treat you the way you want to be treated, but that they are separate entities who cannot know what you want or need until you ask for it. It assumes goodwill, trusting that they want to give you what you want, and builds trust between yourself and yourself: your needs are worth expressing, communicating, and others want to hear about them.
And a new episode of Kitchen Table Cult just came out, where we talk to Lauren Hough about her book, Leaving Isn’t The Hardest Thing, which is coming out in April.
This weekend I’m spending some time with my sister, doing some self-care after a breakup, and continuing to write on the memoir. I don’t have a lot to say in general right now, but I am glad to have this oasis of quiet and company in the middle of all of the things. Everyone seems to be hitting a wall right now. I hope you’re taking care of yourself.