Sunday, April 29, 2012

Let's Talk!

She stood there, her bright blue spiky hairdo all roughed up from where she'd just run her hand through it. "You're shitting me, aren't you? she said.

Proud of the levelness of my tone I replied, "No, I'm not." When she quirked an eyebrow at me I said, "Just the right amount of evil genius ambiance you've got going on, by the way." Waving a hand to indicate the control room she'd built up over the previous two years, which despite it's futuristic efficiency somehow still held that aroma of Eau de Dungeon, I chuckled. "But, are you shitting me? You're so bad arse you don't need this crap!"

She snorted as her second eyebrow rose to equal the height of the first. "So bad arse that all of a sudden you turn up at my place wanting tea and a chat? There goes my chance at consecutive Most Subtly Devious trophies at the Damnation Awards. It's not fair!" I gave her points for avoiding any cliched tantrum moves, instead she stood there, simply stating the facts. "I DESERVE it! I had you on a leash so long you never even knew I was there...."

The look in her eyes, when she realised what she'd said was a lie, wasn't the huge ego boost it would have been in the past. I knew how it felt to have your world view suddenly turned on its head. So, I simply repeated what I'd said earlier when I'd been ushered into her presence. "Let's talk."

This time she nodded then followed me outside.

It'd been awhile since I'd thought about my low self esteem demon. She nicked off awhile ago, and I hadn't heard from her since. I thought it was because, even though I'd gone through that deep depression after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, I had since made so many positive changes in my life that she'd decided never to come back. Not only had she come back, but the reason I couldn't sense her any more was because we were so in sync with one another that there was no differentiating us. No I, only we. And not just we two, but we four. With both of our self esteem demons involved, Alaskaboy and I finally realised it was a tag team event worthy of a WWF Championship bout. So, a couple of months ago we started marriage counselling.

Leaning back against the artfully peeling trunk of a paperbark tree, LSED asked, "Now that you've blown the decoy's cover, who's really behind the curtain?"

I took the time to put my thoughts in order while I arranged myself more comfortably on the sun-warmed grass. "Funny you should ask, because I still don't know." I shivered slightly when a cloud passed across the sun making me realise just how chilly the afternoon had become. "Even though I've moved back home, and I'm enjoying the seasons, food, family etc, I'm feeling like I imagine a convict would have all those years ago..."

LSED's laugh interrupted me. "Oh, please," she said, "what in all the hell dimensions could you have in common with one of those poor bastards? Other than me, of course."

"After being transported far from all your loved ones; spending seven years living under the complete control of another person, that you've hated that whole time; to wake up one morning and in your hand is your Certificate of Freedom, with only your own free will governing what you will do with your what the fuck do you do?"

"Damn right I had you under my control! But only hate?" She pouted at me, "I was aiming for something a little stronger than that."

At first I kept trying to figure out how I could get Alaskaboy to admit his problems, other than that we were on the rocks and completely miserable, and once he had we could solve them and we'd be happy as clams. Funny about most problems, same as for there to be a marriage in the first place, {sings}it takes two, baybeeeeh, just me and you.

In learning our new skills, we made mistakes, hurt ourselves when we dared too much too fast, and gradually mastered the basics. Like all apprentices, we managed to ignore the sage advice of Han Solo, "Great, kid, but don't get cocky." And very cocky I was indeed on the day I typed into Google, "my husband ignores me." There it was, all those glorious pixels telling me that it was him that had the problem. A problem that I could help him solve. A problem that meant it was finally his turn to be the one to have to really work on some emotional shit. One where I could stand strong and be his rock for a change. Then, during my research I got to the part where passive-aggressives are attracted to people who are codependents, or those who find it easy to excuse others' bad behaviours, and...those who have low self esteem.

I stared into LSED's eyes and said, "Stop it."

Gone was any semblance of amused tolerance as she shot to her feet. Her eyes, and I do mean her eyes, not just her irises, changed to a blue even brighter than her hair and she tipped her face up towards the sky, roaring so loudly that it shook the leaves on the tree above. When she looked back down at me, the subtler changes in her face screamed Not Human louder than the cerulean glare freezing me to the spot. Into the total silence her roar had caused she said, "No, you stop it. I've had enough of your mewling. We both know this isn't going anywhere. You'll do what you always do. Blather on about some spurious epiphany, bolster yourself with false courage and then lock me away in an ineffectual holding cell."

I couldn't help it, I smiled. "That's the charlatan calling the phony a quack!"

As I read down the list of the behaviours that make up a codependent, gone was any sense of cockiness. I was left with the feeling of being nothing but a big ol' fakey-faker. I'd gone from thoughts of confrontation to being confronted with a clue-by-four of my own. Peeling back all those little layers had exposed the core of us both. Unable to face delving into the seething morass by myself I did what any sensible person does in this instance, I cried out for my mummy.

After we'd had a talk I felt able to go away on my own and think it through some more. I also knew I had to talk about this with Alaskaboy, preferably before our next therapy session to give him some time to digest it so we could actually discuss, not react, in the short time we have each week in the room with the expert. Trying something new I told him that I'd discovered information that might be what had us and Dr Sunny feeling like we're missing that one little but vital something about our communication/anger problems. After telling him, I let him get on with the business of preparing for his new job. Before I would have been impatient to solve it and solve it now, saying I knew it was a bad time for him but really only caring about blurting out this stuff to relieve my uncomfortableness.

The day before our next session, three days after I'd asked him to let me know when was a good time for us to talk, I couldn't wait any longer. Not only were we both at breaking point because all of a sudden I wasn't reacting the way I always had to his subtle digs--which were more like glaring neon signs to my newly opened eyes--but it was also a day off so we had the time to discuss it all. The discussion went for seven hours, with breaks inbetween to chill out or eat or simply regroup before working through the next level of crap the knowledge was dredging up.

When we turned up to our therapy session Dr Sunny asked, "What the hell happened, you two look like crap?" We explained that we were exhausted from what we've been talking about, but also eager for her help to dig even deeper. When she came up with another small but vital piece it was like a scene from countless movies where the crack in the dam finally gives way under all that pressure and a torrent of water flows forth to overwhelm the people sleeping peacefully in their picturesque village below.

There we were, Alaskaboy and I, clinging to the safety of the tallest tree watching the swirling waters rage past us, wondering where the hell all that had come from! We knew that somewhere in amongst those murky depths were the tools to rescue us from our plight, but we were going to have to get wet, chilly and bedraggled before we could make it out to civilisation. And it really is just us two in the wilderness, because Dr Sunny is going away on a ten week vacation. (Her first holiday in three years.) The two of us, hopefully working as a team to strengthen our weaknesses, teach our strengths to bend rather than shatter under pressure, and the two of us finally to become one in a healthy way.

I continued before she could interrupt me again. "You can cut the bullshit LSED, I've finally figured out who you really are."

She bared her long teeth in a way that could never be mistaken for a smile. "Really?"

"Yep! You're not for real. Just like those blunt choppers of yours are fake; fangs have gotta be sharp to really sink deep into someone." Her lips clamped shut in a thin line, as I stood up and squared off against her. "You are a phony. You're not a low self esteem demon, you've been working hard to make sure I find myself."

She shook her head. "Can we add delusional to all your other problems? Even with how easily I can use the hell dimensions to thread myself through the fabric of time, it's not possible for me to accomplish that much of a miracle by myself."

And as I felt myself relax from the belligerent pose I'd held momentarily, I truly knew who and what, they...were.

To Be Continued...