July 31, 2012
Plateau, ME Newsletter, Vol. 5, Issue 31
God uses difficult people, like sandpaper, to rub off the rough edges. Learning to be good to people who are not being good to you develops character in you. Joel Osteen
I’d been away from therapy for a few weeks due to an over-stress, mini-meltdown, expense-increase, prospects-slim, uncooperative-medical-professionals, avalanche-eruption. I was going low again, but most of the immediate issues resolved in one way or another, positively, or not. Some I fought through and some I let ride.
Through the upheaval and erosion, I have now achieved a nice plateau – staying where I am, made it through another yearly review, swimming and elliptical with regularity, cooking, porching. There’s even some socializing in limited amounts. Ok, very limited amounts. There’s still more turtling than socializing but less turtling than just a short while ago. I’m even starting to consider long overdue phone call conversations - shocking, no?
Of course, on the heels of my up-timistic self-report comes strategically placed, designed to be therapeutic question:
How did you cope as a child? How did I cope? I don’t know. I don’t think I did. I just kept to myself and…oh. I see.
For me –it was radio and books, then records and books, then cassettes and books, then cd’s and books, then a music career and a writing obsession, and suddenly I’m an adult with the exact same coping skills I honed and used and honed and used as a child, adolescent, young adult, married adult, widowed adult, and alas... a little past middle-aged on the road-to-nowhere-yet, adult. Nowhere seems like a good enough direction when you can’t decide which one to go in anymore.
In the meantime, though, there is the reality of my history of disappearance. I could go places in books and music; places I could disappear into. Places that wouldn’t get me in trouble – unless I had to share the stereo. I got around that by recording to cassette and retreating to my room, where I dreamed of things I would do, and ended up doing some.
I also ended up disappearing a lot - especially from uncomfortable situations, ones where things weren’t working out the best for me. I’ve dropped out of a lot of places, and lives. And while coping mechanisms are good for regrouping and rethinking, they aren’t meant for complete avoidance. Eventually you have to get back to where you were and deal with life, life changes, and how your life has affected others.
Once again facebook is a strange blessing. I’m surprised by the number of people who have let me back in, even if I am only in the floating fringe. They’re in mine, I’m in theirs. What we get, or will get, out of that sort of relationship is unclear. I wish sometimes my fringe area would dial in for better closeness. But that would require un-retreating and un-coping, which is unsettling. Neither one can be accomplished from a plateau.
Still, for the moment, my plateau is a very nice place to be; far from the depths I didn’t like, level with sunrises and sunsets, and considering looking up, if only to gauge the climb.
Posted by jaselin at July 31, 2012 08:23 PM