Day 216: Beaten to a Pulp <Trigger Warning>
All day I was on edge. It was the first time since I have been at my current job I didn't laugh in an entire day, or almost. We got to the very end of the day. Two of us were working on the final task of the day. One of us said something that made the other laugh and I observed it was the first time either of us had laughed. We were both surprised. This particular co-worker is someone with whom I laugh every day. As we walked out we talked about how much stress we are under and how we need to plan a retreat when we have gotten past this awful stretch. We anticipate the end of August to represent a turning point.
A year ago, when I started this job, my office was given responsibility for another office (one that is staffed by four full-time people). All of the people left or were asked to leave. We recently hired replacements and we're training them. While this is wonderful news, it has created an intolerable situation during this training time. We were barely keeping our noses above water. Now we're drowning. In fact, we joke that it's OK when someone asks us to take on yet another task, "No problem. We're under water now, it doesn't really matter if you poor more on top."
This situation gives me reason to view my mood today as a simple reaction to work stress. However, there was something else going on, something I wasn't able to talk about last night, something I wasn't going to talk about tonight either. But, I promised PF I would write every day. I promised Little Intrepid I would be open and honest. I want to keep these promises.
I am going on a work-related trip the next two days. I'll be travelling with someone I don't know all that well, who doesn't know my issues. I will be going to a site where we provide services. It will be the first time either of us have visited this site. The visit is following a problem the site has had resulting from something my organization did wrong. Our charge is to gain their trust and restore the relationship.
Because of my position with my organization it's important for me to look the part. But, I don't. It takes a lot of work for me to get myself to the point that I look acceptable for this role. I don't have to do it very often. I never used to mind, before I started this healing process. I would just hunker down emotionally and get it over with. I didn't feel anything, so it didn't matter.
This has changed, obviously, and I haven't been able to handle the idea of dressing up for these meetings. I realized it would be good if I could purchase a new outfit, some slacks, a blouse, a jacket perhaps. I can't stand the idea of putting on a dress right now. It's like having alarm bells in my head. Danger! Warning!
My heart has been having palpitations all day. I have been short of breath. Finally, at the end of the day I got up the nerve to consider the idea of going shopping. I called AF to see if she could accompany me. I thought, "If she doesn't answer, I won't go. If she does answer, I'll ask and see what she's up to, if she has time." When she did answer my heart leapt into my throat. I immediately regretted calling. I felt stupid and tongue tied. But, I managed to ask her anyway.
Alas, she was not available. I felt relieved, hugely relieved, but also disappointed. I was disappointed because I really wanted to see her. Making that decision to go clothes shopping had frightened me. I wanted to see her to ask her to hug me.
I left work and as I was driving home a deep, tortured sob ripped through me. I had to pull off the road. I was barely able to see and nearly crashed into another car. Thankfully the other driver was paying attention and swerved (honking at me in fear and anger). I managed to get to a parking lot where I cried scorching tears. It felt like I was retching with grief. I couldn't even form a thought I was so lost and frightened by the pain. I cried for a solid hour, sitting in a bank parking lot, grasping the steering wheel, my head resting against the back of my hands.
I felt ashamed, mortally ashamed, of my very existence. I felt gall and contempt for my mother and for my step-father. "They did this to me! WHY?! Why did all those terrible things happen to me?"
Every time I have had such thoughts I have chastised myself for thinking them. It is irrational to ask why. There is no answer, or no acceptable answer. But I stopped myself this time. I realized this was Little Intrepid's question. It was the question of a wounded child, not the question of an anxious adult.
I didn't know what to do for her. I closed my eyes and imagined the white light. I told her to slow down her breathing. It took about 30 minutes to calm down. I felt completely spent. I went home finally and laid on my bed listening to music. It was too early to go to bed. I laid there until one of my DS's came looking for dinner. Finally, I got up and prepared something to eat.
Now I just feel hollow, worthless, useless. I am going to make this trip and do what I do. It will be fine. I am always fine. I do my job well. It doesn't matter how I feel in my body, how I feel about others' eyes on me, appraising me. I hate my parents for what they did to me. I hate that this is such a big problem for me. I hate that I can't go shopping without feeling like a prostitute or an oaf. I feel like a spotlight is on me, "What is it?" I remember kids asking that question about me. My clothes never fit me. Sometimes I had to wear boy's clothes. I hated wearing girl clothes because of what was done to me when I wore them. It didn't matter what I did, how I dressed.
It didn't matter and I didn't matter.
Now I want to say none of this matters. I'm so angry with myself for caring about this! And I'm angry that I'm so strong. I can take anything. I can handle any abuse and it doesn't get to me, not that anyone can see. So many times I wished for injuries that showed the wounds I felt, the wounds I hid. I imagine being beaten with a baseball bat, my ribs broken in a dozen places, bruises from head to toe.
Then I would look like I feel. And it wouldn't matter how I was dressed.