I actually had to check my previous blog posts this time to check which week I’m on.
I’ve gotten myself into a routine here. I no longer need to use Google Maps to figure out where I’m going. I know where all of the bus stops are and what times the buses come each day. I wave to the jogger who passes me by each morning as I walk to the bus stop. I go to a coffee shop every morning before work, order the same coffee (small, iced, black), and read a book (either something by Carl Jung or a book on DID). On days I have therapy, I leave my house a couple of hours before my appointment so I can walk around town. I stop in Dunkin Donuts to pick up my coffee (this time with milk and sugar) and people watch for a half an hour before finally going to therapy. I see many of the same people stopping in week after week, and they see me. A few people have even stopped by my table to talk to me, and I engage in polite conversation.
I walk more now that the weather is cooler. I walk looking ahead of me instead of at the ground. I walk past stores and buildings (the library, the Brazilian market, the craft store) and envision myself going in one day. My anxiety still prevents me from being too spontaneous. I still plan and prepare myself for any new experience, but at least I get myself to the point of letting the experience happen. Before, I was so shut off from everything. But not now.
I’m starting to feel like I belong here. While my living situation isn’t optimal, everything else is more than okay. I haven’t met one person here who hasn’t accepted me for who I am. I don’t have to concern myself with anyone being fed bullshit by my mother because my mother isn’t here. I can finally be myself. And people really seem to like who I am.
It’s almost weird to me to have people think so positively of me. At work, I’ve been receiving outstanding performance reviews. Even on days when I’ve only gotten a couple of hours of sleep the night before or I’m feeling like I want to cry, I still manage to get my work done. I still manage to make my coworkers laugh and smile. I get through it. It’s such a different experience from what I had back home. My therapist suggested that perhaps the difference is because I am not in an environment with my mother. That anxiety and fear are not there. I’m not having to run damage control on any of my coworkers because of something my mother has said about me. I never realized it before, but my therapist was right. Even though I didn’t work side-by-side with my mother, her presence there and her influence on my coworkers affected me. I was always on alert; I had to be.
It’s so difficult to be my own person when up until 15 weeks ago, I wasn’t allowed to be anything. I still think others see more potential in me than I do myself. While I have made some progress, I still find myself stuck in some ways by the effects of my mother’s brainwashing. When I receive compliments, I awkwardly laugh or tell the person they are wrong. My mother’s negative portrayal of me still resides in my head. Compliments feel as if they go against everything I’ve lived with for the last 29 years. But that’s because they do. It’s so fucked up that instead of seeing compliments and positive statements as a normal, acceptable part of life, my mind believes the opposite. Negative comments and criticism are so easily taken in because that has been my norm for so long. Anything else is foreign to me.
Things will get easier in time. Do I wish things were easier now? Sure. I wish I could up and move somewhere I feel safe and secure. But I can’t right now. Do I wish I could work a regular 9-5 job so I could earn more money? Sure. But right now I need to continue my work in therapy, and that requires a decent portion of my time during the week that I can’t give up right now. For once, I have to be the priority in my life. I can’t function in work, in school, or in life without working through all of the shit I’ve dealt with up until 15 weeks ago. I’ve accepted that.
I’ve done a great job at appearing to be alright. A person at work, who knows just a few basic parts of my struggle, told me he would have never known all that I deal with because I seem so normal. While not the best choice of words, I knew exactly what he meant. I don’t want people to know how I am feeling. I even try to hide my emotion from my therapist; I’ve rarely cried in front of her, even though there have been so many times when I just wanted to break down. I have to appear strong and put together. I don’t want people to know my weaknesses. Maybe if I appear strong, I will eventually actually be strong.
I’m taking it one day at a time.