Shame is the emotion I most often fall prey to when something doesn’t go the way I expect, or when someone doesn’t react to me the way I expect. The shame hits in the pit of my stomach, I feel uneasy and off-balance. It happens with little things, with big things, with inconsequential things, a hair-trigger of an emotion always lurking.
I had been doing a decent job of looking shame squarely in the face and telling it to fuck off as of late, and then I did something that feels so out of character that I’ve been struggling with shame ever since. I straight up asked SG to help and support me more than he already is (which was conversations when I went for stretch sessions, 2 birds, one stone). I had gotten a lot of support from him over the summer partially because I hit all the therapies hard at once and was going weekly to see him for about 6 weeks straight. Then I got to the point where I don’t need the stretch sessions as often, but I still want to talk with him about all the things going on. So, I did it, I wrote the e-mail explaining that I see him as a mentor and I need more support. I promptly fought anxiety for hours until I got the reply saying he’d be happy to support me more.
Ever since then I’ve struggled with whether I did the right thing. I take that back, I struggle at very specific times whether I did the right thing. See, there is never a problem when I’m sharing with him all this therapy, dealing with depression/anxiety and family crap. It always comes after. It will hit when I get home, that fear, the feeling in the pit of my stomach, the non-stop questioning, the confusion. What have I done? Why do I lean on him so much? Is it ok? Is he ok with it? What does it mean? blah blah blah. I am so conditioned to believe there is no such thing as a platonic relationship between men and women that shaking the belief as I find myself in such a relationship, is nearly impossible. Therapist says it’s a vulnerability hangover (one of my favorite Brene Brown’isms) that I’m experiencing when this happens and in asking for help, it’s triggering my avoidant tendencies. She asked if I ever feel the same way after therapy, and I don’t. In my mind, I hire the therapist to help me through all this crap and that is what they are there for, to listen to me pour it all out. It’s pretty easy to work through that in my head so that I don’t have a strong reaction after therapy. He’s not a therapist, he’s just the Stretch Guy and there’s a weird connection that exists between us.
I was pretty proud of myself lately in that I have been able to have these conversations with him and not fall down the shame spiral. Then something happened and it’s such a little thing that I’m pissed at the level of shame I’m feeling. I knew he was going to do something difficult for him and he kind of joked that I should check in on him. When the time came, I texted a simple, “how are you”. Four hours later, with no response I sent more of a “no really…how are you” text. That one elicited a response along the lines of “oops, I’ve been doing a thing, thanks for checking in I’m fine”. That led to a short text conversation and at the end of it all, I sat on my couch feeling like a fool. So, he forgot he said he’d let me know and got wrapped up in his day. Not a big deal. Unless you’re me.
Let me lead you through the steps of my shame spiral
Good grief, do I really think he was going to be worried about updating you when he has x, y, z going on?
And why am I so damn invested anyway?
I’ll be better off if I just find another stretch therapist. This is ridiculous.
Shit, what do people think about mine and S’s relationship? All I do is blog about Stretch Guy it seems.
I probably annoy him with my stupid requests for support
I need him, he doesn’t need me
He has people who support him and I’m not part of that. I’m not important to him.
Let me show you why that’s all wrong
Yeah, people forget all the time about details in conversations they had 4 days ago.
So I sent two texts and once he saw them, he remembered immediately that he had told me to check in on him and let me know what was up. I’m invested because I care in the same way I would check up on a friend.
He’s a damn good stretch therapist and I trust him. End of that conversation.
I talk to S and S understands why I’m developing this relationship. Because S and I are two peas in a pod. I need that touchy-feely-intuitive type to give me a swift kick in the analytical ass.
Clearly I don’t annoy him with requests for support. In the past year and a half no one made him spill the beans about our similarities. He chose to share his story with me, and continued to encourage me. Oh, and besides…he has never shown annoyance with me over any of this stuff. He’s been a consistent safe presence.
I AM important to him. He’s said it and shown it by showing up for me. Sharing with me and supporting me.
There you go, all the reasons why I need to continue looking shame in the face and telling it to fuck off. Writing about this helped a ton. I could keep it draft just for me to read when I need a little kick to get out of the shame spiral, but that wouldn’t be wholly authentic. My blog, if it’s nothing else, is authentic.