A few weeks ago Joel and I had a pretty intense therapy session with our counselor. I probably haven't talked much about her, but she has been a huge help. I'm not sure we'd still be together without Ramona.
Anyway, my anger.
It's still here.
Well right NOW it's not, because it's not that MAGICAL ANGRY TIME OF THE MONTH, but when the calendar page flips over again, it will be. It's like clockwork for me. And it turns out I actually get the crazies TWICE a month. Since I don't get a period, I've been guessing when I'm pre-menstrual and marking my calendar based on my anger. This month I wanted to get more precise about it, so I bought an ovulation predictor kit and it turns out I'm craziest when ovulating. Which explains SO MUCH about my anger it's not even funny.
Before anyone makes any assumptions, let me just say that there is anger and there is UNCHECKED anger. In the past I have let my anger take over and it has threatened not only my relationship with Joel, but my very existence. I'm not there anymore. At all. I've somehow managed to figure out how to recognize my angry thoughts AS THEY ARE HAPPENING and that alone gives me the ability to see them for what they are: mostly irrational.
I don't ACT on them.
Which isn't to say that the SUBJECTS I'm angry about aren't valid. Quite the contrary: my complaints are often 100% justified. It's just that on a scale of 1-10, with ten being murder and one being a car fart, when I'm ANGRY ANGRY, everything is a TEN. I don't havel level one, two, three or six anger. I lack perspective and think the world is coming to an end because of whatever small slight it is that I'm angry about.
For a while I thought I was doing better; it's been a LONG TIME since I had a major blow up. But when the angry thoughts came back last month, I just wanted them to go away. My days on Effexor (while not even remotely sexual) have become somewhat of a wet dream for me. On Effexor my brain was SPECTACULAR. I never had any anger at all. Everything rolled off my back. I was easy to live with and almost freakishly calm. It was beautiful.
(Except not having orgasms part. Which would bother ANYONE.)
I miss that brain. And I think that's part of the reason I'm so annoyed that my anger is back: it was SO EASY on Effexor. It required no work on my part. None of the hard stuff. I've become resentful because I know what it's like not to have unwanted emotions. Now I have to feel them whether I want to or not and it SUCKS.
Needless to say I'm not going back on Effexor, no matter how bad my anger gets. Because while that brain might not have been angry, it was also boring and nearly as numb as my clitoris. Which obviously didn't work for me.
Instead I get to work on my anger. I need to understand it if I'm gonna take it out for dinner and a movie like Joel thinks I should. So that's what I've been doing: figuring it out. So far, I've figured out that it mostly stems from power and feeling like I don't have any. Or at least not enough.
Which is why I focus my anger on Joel - because for the first time in my life I'm with someone I'm utterly TERRIFIED of losing. So even though I'm the one responsible for it, Joel has an incredible amount of power over me. I never felt that way when I was married, so I could act/say/do anything I wanted and I never really cared if it made me less attractive to my spouse. Which is ironic because I was ACTUALLY powerless in that relationship and now I have more power than I've ever had before.
But now EVERYTHING matters. And that's what makes me feel powerless.
I had an epiphany the other night when Joel went to take Liza home. The moment his car left the driveway, I stopped humming along to the stereo and brought out my real singing voice. My LOUD voice. The one Genoa tells me "needs to be on a stage."
The voice Joel has never heard.
Because singing like that in front of him is one of the scariest things I could possibly imagine. His opinion matters WAY too much to me. So instead of singing out loud, I live in fear. I suppose it's a fear of rejection or disappointment or simply not being good enough. Even though my BRAIN knows I am enough. Joel's love is constant and kind and forgiving and even without it, I'd be okay. I KNOW all of that intellectually.
But tell that to my body because whatever it is I'm feeling, it lives in my stomach, which is ironic considering I don't really have one. I used to think every emotion was hunger and I fed those feelings all the way up to 309 pounds. Now the opposite is happening to me. I'm actually feeling the fear instead of feeding it and suddenly I'm losing weight. When I'm upset or scared or lonely or sad, I can't eat. The idea of food disgusts me even though I'm physically hungry. In spite of all the poundage I packed on with the zoloft, I'm at my lowest weight in over six years.
So that's where I am when I say I'm fine. I'm not walking on eggshells, I'm just avoiding them altogether. Because it's safe, right? Especially when the alternative is the prospect of true vulnerability, which... is a lot more terrifying than a few harmless little eggshells. So I'm quiet a lot more than I've ever been before and I bite my tongue and I try to lower my volume so I don't offend the neighbors.
But every time I shrink myself, I lose a pound and my anger gains it. My anger is getting FAT. She's gonna be an expensive dinner date when I finally get around to taking her out.
Of course none of this is Joel's fault. He's not perfect, but he's also not responsible for my fear of not being good enough for him. The words I put in his mouth are MINE, not his. I hate to even admit this, but sometimes the words aren't even mine, they're Dave's. Or my mother's. I load the dishwasher and hear Dave telling me I'm doing it wrong only it's in Joel's voice. Or worse, when Joel tries to help me with the kids I hear Dave telling me what a fuck up of mother I am. Or my own mother criticising my mothering, which was the first thing she did the last time we were alone together.
This is all my baggage. My shit. I know the only person I have to be good enough for is myself. I have to silence all the other voices. I have to sing out loud and not give a shit if I'm completely out of key.
I know I'll get there, but sweet Jesus on a pogo stick, it's no fun at all.