I’m starting to get anxious about the trip. I’m trying not to obsess over it, but it’s hard.
Mostly I’m stressing because B won’t be able to go with me. When I thought about the trip, I’d planned it with him. I’m afraid that without him, I’ll lapse back into the person I was seven years ago when I was last there instead of the person I am now. He’s the only one who’s been around for that shift, and I’m afraid that being surrounded by people who haven’t really known me since then will drag me back.
The person I was when I left was miserable. She hated herself and spent most of her time and energy trying to destroy herself. She nearly killed herself so she wouldn’t have to feel anything but that self-hatred. She couldn’t even consider that she might matter, that she might deserve to live and be safe and happy. She was desperate for approval and love that only came if she was perfect, but she kept killing herself to try to win that love. She was doing the best she could in that situation, but she was miserable.
Now, I’m so much better. Yeah, I’m dealing with some pretty serious depression here lately, but not like it was before. I don’t want to destroy myself anymore; I want to fix myself, even on the days that I don’t see any way of doing that. When I imagined this trip, I imagined seeing all these relatives at the wedding. Naturally, they’d ask what I’ve been up to. I imagined telling my very Republican family, “Oh, I get Democrats elected. My record is three for three, and I’m now working on getting a governor elected who defeated DOMA and defended buffer zones, and the first lesbian attorney general. What have you been up to?” (As I paraphrased it to my former therapist, “I work for the Democrats, so fuck all y’all.”)
Now, alone, I’m less certain I’ll be able to hang onto my present self. I doubt I’ll slip all the way back into full-blown self-destruction, but it would be easy to start letting my family bully me and not stand up for myself. That’s the pattern I’ve enacted with them my entire life, so it’s hard to pull the wheels out of those familiar ruts.
I’m worried people are going to be judgmental. My bridesmaid dress is sleeveless, so a lot of my scars will be showing. And I’m probably going to have to use my cane at the wedding, and I may even have to have a chair or something if I can’t stand up for long enough. Certain family members have not been very understanding of my difficulties in the past. One aunt called me up out of the blue about a year and a half after I moved to Massachusetts. I hadn’t talked to her in 2 or 3 years, but she decided to call me and lecture me about how my problems were a choice and I was hurting the family. And then there’s my grandfather, who I can easily imagine mocking me for needing to use the cane, or accusing me of faking it and being over-dramatic.
My youngest sister told me the other night that she’d already planned to run interference for me if people were being assholes. I love that kid to death. We also had a conversation about how I could just whack people across the shins with the cane to shut them up. I mentioned wanting to find a way to electrify it so I could zap them if they were being assholes, but then I’m not sure the TSA would let me take it on the airplane.
And I don’t know what to expect when I go to Florida to help my mother. Both my sisters say she’s a lot less crazy now that she’s remarried. (Well, Middle Sister phrased it as “…now that she’s getting laid,” but you get the point.) And most of the time I’m there, she’ll be at work, so I can knock out some chores and then go to the beach or kayak with the manatees. So I think that should be manageable.
But I’m still afraid of losing myself when I go back to Birmingham. I’m trying to calm myself down about it and convince myself that being aware of the potential for that problem will let me guard against it. I’m trying not to let myself worry obsessively. I’m trying to make plans to do fun stuff with people I like so I have an excuse not to spend much time with my extended family. My sisters and I are getting matching tattoos, Little Sister and I are going to the zoo and the hands-on science museum where I used to work (possibly with Mother and Fake Stepdad, too), and Little Sister and I are going to hang out and smoke some pot. (It’s medicinal!) I’m going to get together with my best friend from high school, meet her daughter, cuddle with her kitties (she breeds and shows GORGEOUS Bengals), and do some yarn shopping. I might get together with some other people, too. So I have some good things going. Hopefully it’ll make the trip okay.