Charlotte (CLB)'s LJ (berkeleyfarm) wrote,
Charlotte (CLB)'s LJ

The week that was (last month)

A month ago I had a series of revelations in the space of a week that went a long way towards working on the cobwebs in my brain and the clench in my gut.

I didn't post them at the time because I was figuring out how to express #3 in a way that didn't scream "I still have unfinished business". I knew at the time that the stuff would be back again in various ways, and it has been in various ways, but the memories of that week helped me get through one recent ARGH ARGH OH MY GOD CRISIS involving one of the people mentioned in relatively short order and without radical action (like getting very drunk and/or angst-posting ;). So here goes. They're long, and you may or may not be interested, so it's all cut for your choice.

I got my hair done and for some reason traffic down and back was the easiest I ever remembered on a weeknight evening. Since the traffic on the Nimitz was so mellow, I decided to not cut over to 238/580 for the final leg. Whatever was on NPR that evening was sufficiently boring to me that I punched up the CDs instead. Time for the U2 cure, baybee.

Now those of you who have known me for a while know that I have logged a lot of miles on the Nimitz Freeway (I-880 for those of you playing elsewhere). I logged a lot of miles going to-and-fro south bay social events, en route to the airport (hello LDRs), and to/from my last job. In my recent contract job I ended up on it once a week, and had the *ARGH* moment if I passed the sign for the job I turned down for it - "did I make the right choice". And a lot of regrets for other things that didn't work out or whatever. So normally as I head up through downtown I've got a bunch of body memory things going on, and generally that Sinking Feeling in the Pit of My Stomach. Failure, regret, something like that, all of the above.

That day I was driving and singing, and all the memories came up … but not the Thing in the Pit. It was all of a piece, I remembered everything, I acknowledged them and let them go, and went on my merry way (singing at the top of my lungs, actually).

A guided meditation in my meditation group started with following a dog (the teacher's Aussie - I love that dog), went to seeing ALL my cat friends including Maya, Flikita, Fred, and Mikey (for those of you who are new here, they are Ex-Cats - funnily enough, Maya was STILL giving Maggie the hairy eyeball!), and ended up as a happy party under the stars where "everyone was there". I was carrying Benjamin and all of a sudden my grandfather was there. It was wonderful to see him, and of course he adored the B-man wildly (how could he not? But he always loved the little ones). I was, however, feeling a bit awkward explaining B's relationship to me - at the time I could only think of "he's not mine".

Then my brother and nephew and cousin and her kids and grandkids hove into view and I felt on slightly firmer ground - because of course they know I don't have kids so I didn't have to do the explanation thing. A couple of days later I figured out that "This is my friend, Benjamin" was a Correct Introduction, but it's entirely possible that Introductions are Not Necessary under those circumstances because everyone knows everything and everybody they need to sort of thing.

B's mom gave me a gift when I saw her the next day and told her about this (paraphrasing: 'you're one of his "aunties" so he is (partially) yours').

A couple of weeks later my EFM class viewed "Big Fish" for movie night - I don't know who's seen it here, but there's a scene at the end that reminded me a lot of this, and I couldn't stop crying then, either. But it was a good cry.

3. Recherche des Kooks Perdus - Feb 16-18
This is the one I got stuck on earlier, so bear with me. Here's the history, as well as I can summarize it:

I'd been burned badly on Usenet by a former friend - to the point that I effectively dropped out of a group I'd been a posted-on-the-first-day member of. My ex and another person were also very much a part of this decision - let's pick initials and call them M, J, and P (in order). Short version of the history is that J was very good pushing M's buttons (he is very good at that anyway, and at really bringing out the worst in some people), M couldn't cope, M dumped on me about it, I didn't much like it (at the time I had plenty of my own crap to deal with, but I don't like that sort of thing anyway). It got public. P got involved because she had bones to pick with both me and J. It escalated in ways that were bad in general and very bad for me in particular. I asked J to lay off M and P because they couldn't stop and he could. He refused. So I exercised my choice (repeat after me - "it sucks being the grownup all the time") and left. It was like slicing a couple of limbs off. Fortunately for my well-being, I already had the Ship, and started making connections on LJ and at St Mark's shortly thereafter.

Fast forward from 2004 to late last summer, on an off-usernetz community frequented by many of the people from that usenet group. To make a long story short, M pitches a fit - "I'm mad at you people for not making J go away". Now most of the people had told J to stuff it in no uncertain terms, so it was a real "WTF" moment. Long story short again, I become the New Target. I kept my cool in public, but crumpled in private; there was one night when I was having pretty bad flashbacks because my justice button had been pushed - I had Done The Adult Thing but was getting slimed for it.

I realized while doing a "state of the farmgirl" inventory in late January that my Fall Decline (which was ever so gradual until I more or less hit bottom the day Lucy jumped out the window and hid herself) was probably in large part due to fallout from this. It was a "dude, what the fuck?" moment, but very, very useful as an exercise in what triggers me, and the signs and symptoms I can watch out for in future.

So, on to the recent thing. I'd caught up on all my Usenet except for The Old Group, which I was still leery of - burned twice, as it were. I finally put M's new account in the killfile and started plowing through early on Sat/16. First post I saw was from P, who was taking M to task for her incredibly bad behavior. I was impressed at the extent to which P was being calm and civil (she can really fight incredibly dirty when she wants to - indeed, for years, that seemed to be her default mode) - she had been very rational and civil during the summer thing as well - and also to the extent to which M was, well, kooking out. As in, holy fucking shit, she said *that* in her "out-loud" voice? And kept going even when given a chance to reframe and back down?

My first thought was, "It's not just me; I wasn't anywhere near nothin' that didn't happen this time, so I'm not the trigger, either"; my second was, "This wasn't quite what I had in mind for the Lent Snark Diet". I quit reading and went about with my regular business (it was Hot Meals weekend so I was busy). On Monday I caught up and got some of the bigger picture. I sent P email complimenting her on her poise and we had some email back and forth. But the take-home lesson was "It's not just me, the batshit is strong in M". I knew that intellectually from the summer go-round - I had a lot of people telling me that and I thank them for that - but the realization travelled into my gut and moved in to stay. It really freed up something in me.

Definitely an unexpected, but a good result of the Giving up (or Trying to Give Up) Snark Groups for Lent - these disciplines often do have unintended results, but this one was apparently What I Needed instead of What I Asked For, or What I Thought Might Happen.

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