I’ve been awake since 3:33am, after waking inexplicably from a dream about my ex where he required my reassurance that being attracted to a person who may not identify as a traditional gender wasn’t ‘weird’. Which is interesting, considering neither of us are particularly gender conforming individuals, but during our relationship we somehow got sucked into playing out really toxic, extreme traditional gender roles. Lots to think about, lots to think about.
But the closing scene of the dream was where the object of my ex’s befuddled affection was saying goodbye to him, and no-one was sure whether they were gonna go in for the kiss. I, as the sole onlooker, was both curious and uncomfortable, and thus unsure where to direct my gaze. Out of the corner of my eye I saw they were, in fact, going in for the kiss, and quite assertively at that. Somewhat taken aback, my ex seemed to lean away uncertainly and then, as the kiss continued, he let out a bizarre comedic noise that seemed to be an involuntary release of tension. Then the person left, and after a few seconds my ex said “sounded goaty”, and the person, who we both thought was well out of earshot, said “yeah. It did.”
And every time I think about it now I burst out laughing.
I have too many tabs open tonight and their very presence is disturbing my soul.
Open tabs feel like unfinished business. And that’s exactly what they are – they’re research papers I’ve identified as important but have yet to thoroughly read. I don’t have time to read them now, so leaving the tabs open is the most effective way to ensure I read them soon. But it is very disconcerting to me.
The most disconcerting part is the risk that I will accidentally close them, or use them to visit another website without realising, or close the browser, or turn off my laptop without thinking. It’s the same sort of feeling as I get when leaving my laptop open in the middle of the floor, or stretching a wire taut across the room to reach the socket. Or, I don’t know, putting an egg in my pocket. Thought process: I’ll have to remember about that…agh, I’m definitely going to forget…maybe I shouldn’t do it…no, it’s the best option, I’ll just have to remember………fuck, I knew it, I fucking forgot.
I know, by now, that there is a very high probability that I will do the very thing I am trying to remember not to do. Just ask my laptop’s screen. Or my previous laptop’s screen. Or my phone’s screen. Or the multiple pairs of broken glasses, or all that spilt coffee, or the countless things I’ve left behind in hotels after placing them in convenient but inconspicuous areas of the room.
That’s what makes the open tabs thing effective – I’m leveraging the tension. The longer they stay open the more chance I have to fuck up, so I’d better get to them quick. It has a fairly short lifespan. If I don’t clear them tomorrow I’ll probably enter the stress exhaustion phase, at which point I’ll either learn to live with them forever or just close the browser without any attempt to save their links.
Have I been holding too tightly to my own point of view?
Have I been refusing to see what they were trying to show me?
Sometimes, pain constricts our vision – sometimes our field of view, sometimes our focus.
I think I’ve fallen victim to that of late. So now I’m forcing myself to look differently. And it’s uncomfortable, and it feels a bit wrong, and I don’t like it. And part of me keeps chanting don’t do it, you’ll just get hurt again.
But how much is it hurting me to continue as I am? And can I not trust myself to learn from my mistakes?
If we become too rigid, we begin to die. If we stop using our vision, it atrophies.
Learning to open up again is probably the most important and difficult part of healing. If you don’t eventually get there then, really, what was the point?
We all have our patterns. The cycles we fall victim to. The fallen logs in the forest we’ve passed a few too many times already.
It’s frequently said that healing is not linear. Learning is not linear. Progress is not linear. It’s more like a spiral. An upwards spiral.
Progress is earned by searching through our cyclical patterns for an opportunity: To make a change. To alter our trajectory. To aim higher. This usually means reliving the same patterns an interminable number of times, in numerous iterations, before we can leave them behind once and for all. Grandiose changes rarely last, so we’re looking for humble consistency. The effect may seem underwhelming, but it’s cumulative.
We tread the same ground so that we can keep seeing what we need to change. And then we tread it ’til we change it. And then we float over it, seeing it from new angles, so we can understand how to never end up back there, or anywhere like it. And then eventually, maybe, we fly away.
The importance of a spiral is that it is not a circle. If you look at it from the wrong angle, though, or without the appropriate vision, you can’t tell the difference. That can get disheartening.
But, trust me: If you’re trying, it’s a spiral.