What terrifies me?
I am terrified of the madness that I have experienced and currently hold at bay. There have been too many times I can recount where I simply felt that I had no control over my actions. I had slipped into the full role of observer, watching myself exercise anger beyond bounds.
My mother was taken away whilst screaming that she was the beast. We don't speak much of that time, but when we have, she describes not knowing whether her memories were formed of experience or imagination. I assure her that she never pulled my hairs from its roots, while shivering inside at the possibility of like impulses raging inside me someday.
She is "sane" now. Stabilized by lithium, she seems normal enough. But I also hear about the trouble sleeping, the sadness that occasionally overtakes, the ups and downs that are "normal" for other people - that will always carry an undercurrent of worry for us. Did you take your pills, Mom?
I have these tiny pills. Smaller than a baby aspirin or a birth control tablet, they are my security. So many things happened at once around the time I started Lexapro; it would be easy to claim that my stability is unrelated to these bits of compressed powdery substances. I had built for myself a sugary fairyland of idealistic hopes and dreams, then I proceeded to rain down on it the warm waters of my own tears, and wreck the melted rubble with increasingly frantic tantrums. My fairyland of dreams had become a nightmarish, syrupy quagmire of bitterness and blame.
It is easy to look back at those times and see the desperation for perfection. The smallest flaws wounded me. These days it is Flar who says the water heater doesn't provide enough heat for a proper bath in our giant tub. Those days it was I who fretted and cried over the tepid waters that were supposed to be my relaxing escape. I laugh a little (but cringe inside) when I see Flar teaching others the "proper" way to fold and roll all the different categories of towels in our laundry. Oh, I still follow precise steps, but I've managed to leave behind the demands that others do the same.
When Camel said it was over, I grieved. Long and hard, railing and wailing. Hiding the depth from my Mom, at the time ignorant of my poly life. Leaning on Knight, leaning on Belmikey, unsure of how to act around Flar. They saw the damage wrought by the pairing; why could I press so hard in some directions and not others?
Praise be, I at last pressed in the highest direction.
"Are you bi?" "Yes, but not practicing."
The question could more easily have been "Are you sexual?" "Yes, but not practicing."
There was a time when I had addictions that almost everything. I carefully managed any kind of contact with alcohol, aware of where that would lead. I avoided illicit drugs, but I still have my dependence on caffeine. I weaned myself away from sudafed but oh, I notice the wonderful boost when I need it for congestion. I was addicted to relationship, to NRE, to sex, to pain, to passion.
I am shot of that. But do I overreact in my avoidance? It is so easy, in deciding to follow God's much simpler plan, to choose for my intimate relationships to be non-sexual. But my marriage bed has for so long been at best cuddly, at worst cold. And that is not what He meant for me. I fear the cold, but I fear the dissonance more, so I don't talk about it. When I approach with trepidation, conversations about improving, fixing, healing our marriage, my fear is mirrored back. He remembers the passionate, angry fights. He remembers it as hate turned toward him. Why should he want more, when there is this comfortable, almost-ease that is enough?
Terrified of the madness.
Living with the aftermath.
Listening to the whispers that "there is more."
Opening up once more to the cleansing tears.
Title quotation by John Dryden (British Poet, Dramatist and Critic of Literacy, 1631-1700)