Someone on Twitter asked me a question.
She read my blog post where I talked about a dude speaking inappropriately to me on Twitter. She asked me how sticking up for myself made me feel.
That is a complicated goddamn question. And I didn’t even know the question was complicated until someone asked.
My initial reaction was to respond standing up for myself felt good. Which is true.
I did feel good about standing up for myself, but that certainly isn’t all I felt. Not by a damn sight.
One thing that triggers a severe anxiety spike is confrontation.
Doesn’t matter what kind of confrontation. Confrontations make me want to run away, scream and hide, and perhaps vomit.
For five years, I was a boss with a staff of 14 people. Confrontations were going to goddamn happen. I hated the being boss confrontations.
For any single work confrontation I’ve ever had, if I had been given the choice to avoid the confrontation by having a finger chopped off, I would be typing this post with my nose.
If I am in a position to defend myself, then logic dictates I am in a confrontation.
So, I am anxious as fuck which feels terrible. I can say defending myself feels good, which is true, but it’s also one of my worst case scenarios.
I thought about why I immediately gravitated toward giving a voice to “it feels really good to stick up for myself” feelings and wanted to push aside the “I want to crawl into a hole and die” feelings. I mean other than the obvious. Don’t we all want a happy ending? Not in the hand job way. Not that there is anything wrong with hand jobs.
I shoved aside the negative feelings because I feel angry that I can’t just will anxiety away.
Then, I reminded myself I’ve never been able to will away anxiety.
I can try to mitigate the anxiety as best I can with deep breathing exercises, constant self talk, and sometimes bourbon, but I can’t make it go away.
I know this about me. I reminded myself I have accepted this. I don’t particularly like examining those physically painful episodes, but it’s not horrible to have the reminder I’m working on self acceptance. Part of that means letting go of self directed anger because I can’t force my brain to stop being a dick.
Also, I am never going to be able to definitively answer any sort of “how do you feel” question, because I”m not sure how I feel.
My ability to form opinions or express normal emotions was stunted due to being raised by a malignant narcissist.
The only feeling I trust completely is my love for my people. Other than that? Most of my feelings are sort of wispy and not all the way there. Sort of. They are there, I can feel them, but it’s like they’ve been worn down and stuck in a plastic bag or something. So, any time anyone asks me how I feel about anything, it makes me all sweaty because I don’t fucking know. Not for sure.
I’m really working on this feelings thing.
I’m not trying to find a way to access some of the feelings I know I miss out on. Not any more.
I’m working on forgiving myself for not being able access them. It’s exhausting and I don’t want to do it anymore.
So, how do I feel about sticking up for myself?
That’s such a hard question.
Now, I’m going back to binging season seven of Buffy.
Photo courtesy of Oscar Montero.