It has been over two months since the Great Escape.
I can see progress.
If I ever complain about how I’m doing to my dad, he is very quick to remind me that “at least you’re not doing this like you were,” and makes a shaking motion with his hands. I think my shaky hands made quite an impression on dear dad. I shook a lot those first couple of weeks; later it came sporadically. Now I don’t remember the last time my hands shook. Progress.
When I first got here, there was one friend I was willing to see, the Bread Maven. I spoke on the phone to several people, all of whom (except this one) lived far away. The Bread Maven didn’t tell me this until quite a bit later, but seeing me the first time shook her up a bit. She told me that I wasn’t myself; I was timid and hesitant, and it was so unlike the friend she remembered. By the next time we saw each other, she was reassured, and by the next, she felt encouraged enough to tell me all of this. So, progress.
When I got here I was very happy to hide out at home, go to the grocery store every so often, and help mom out with her house projects. That was exactly what I needed at first and it gave me enough to do, but not so much that I felt overwhelmed. I was able to keep busy, but didn’t feel overwhelmed by responsibility. (Shaking hands don’t hold responsibility well.) Then, a couple of weeks ago, I kind of started a downward trend, emotionally. I was eating emotionally All. The. Time. and felt really restless. Somehow my focus had gotten skewed and helping mom was feeling somewhat dysfunctional. I’m going to talk about this more in the future, I’m sure, but now I’ll just say that in the past I’ve put myself in the role of mom’s emotional caretaker (and she lets me) and this is No Good for me. Once, however, I took my primary focus off of “helping mom” and put it back onto “helping me,” things shifted. Last week I got my driver’s license for this state and my car is now fully registered, with plates and everything. This felt like preparation for some kind of movement towards job and income, as I have also become discontent with relying on the parents’ pocketbook for cash. All of these things are progress. (But, no, I have no real specifics about any job, just a feeling that I could really use one right about now–and that it probably shouldn’t be social work).
Last weekend, I reached out, via the social networking behemoth, fac.ebook, and contacted those friends of mine who are in a relatively close geographical area. I was starting to feel strange about being so close to them, yet their not knowing. Since that time, I’ve seen three of them, which is a lot in less than a week’s time, especially if your only social interactions have been with your family and store clerks for the past two months (other than the Bread Maven). Seeing that so far I haven’t had a breakdown from all this socializing, I would say, this is progress. The fact that it has not been hard for me to tell my story over and over, and over, and over and over–and, then over again, well, that’s progress, no? And actually, I would go so far as to say it’s been healing, even, to reconnect with these friends who knew me well before I ever knew the name Mr. X. And it’s so healing to see myself again as a person who has friends, because for so long, my only friends lived far away and I never talked to them, and my entire existence was centered around Mr. X.
Progress, progress galore.
My list of woes is still woefully long. My own dysfunction runs deep, and at times I fear, is unplummetable. This new normal is not normal to me, not yet. But I can finally see that I am digging my way out, I am making strides, I am taking my two steps forward even when that one or even two steps back daunts me time and again.
I know can do this.
But seeing progress helps.