My Phobic Fight

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Last night I got in a big fight with myself.  I’m still achey this morning.  In the after-fight there is exhaustion.  Just like when I used to fight with ex-boyfriends, I want to say sorry and express love, but it feels too soon.  My silence isn’t resistance to forgive, it’s just that silence feels so good after the agony of harsh words.  Misunderstanding is its own affliction.  

I go about my morning rituals.  Cleansing my face, brushing my teeth, stretching my body, eating my breakfast.  I continue on with the familiar, but quietly.  

The argument started over a bug.  Not just any bug.  Last night I felt an anxiety that I get only when a cockroach is near me.  It’s not that I see the cockroach and then get upset.  

I get upset before I see anything.  I feel anxious, I feel nervous, I feel my throat close up a little.  I have the urge to move -- to practice my knee strikes, or my elbow strikes, to text an ex-boyfriend.  My feet itch until I start tapping out a rhythm. My legs take turns bouncing.  I am clearly nervous.  I look around with very wide eyes.  I feel danger.  

And then I remember that all of these strange perceptions always take me to a cockroach.  And then a cockroach appears.  This has gone on for years.  

It’s like a gift, if you can call it that.  

It’s a phobia.  But it’s so strong that I feel it before my logical mind recognizes the tiny particles of material that make up a 6 legged fast winged insect.  

A phobia is a fear that’s taken on a large amount of real estate in your energy grid.  I’ve heard fear brilliantly described as one of two things:  it is keeping you alive, or it is keeping you from living.  Phobias are the latter.  Odd and powerful, they paralyze you to the point where you feel like you can barely live.  

I could tell you about my ongoing neurotic cleanliness.  Everything from sealing up all cracks, to old wives tales of bay leaves and lavender, to Combat and Raid.  I try everything.  While living in Key West I learned that no matter what you try, they will find a way into your home.  Mi casa es su casa.  I try hypnotherapy.  I try lots of wine.  I try sobriety.  I try laughing.  

But the cockroaches don’t actually represent cockroaches.  Not the way I have wired my fear control room.  Roaches trip the wires.  And then my fear gets cloudy.  

I am a mindful being.  I am spiritual being having a human experience.  I am prayer.  I am forgiveness.  I am grace.  

But I have some very seriously stress inducing memories that still live in me.  

While I try not to get to caught up in labels or identify as a victim, there are some truths to my experience that are important to recognize.  I was abused for a good part of my early childhood. Most details are just parts of the story, they are for me to climb through and forgive.  And I do just that.  I forgive a lot.  I feel inspired by that young girl.  I used to clench my fists and my eyes at those memories.  Now I open my hands.  

I’ve been told I have PTSD.  I don’t like the word diagnose.  

I was gang raped by a group of boys when I was 14.  I trusted one of them, he was my boyfriend.  He dominated me, he degraded me, he controlled me.  He told his friends to use me.  They did.  This happened multiple times. I do not know how many guys there were.  They were fueled by each other.  High on testosterone.  And power.  They tried to make me scream.  They seemed to think that proved manhood.  

I still clench my jaw when I think of this.  I can open my hands.  And I let my eyes fill up if they need to fill up. I find no weakness in my sadness.  But I do find a lot of sadness.  

Sometimes I resent when people get angry when they hear my story.  Partly because I didn’t have that matured anger.  I didn’t know how to fight them off.  I didn’t have self defense.  

But I did survive.  Not just that I am a breathing and living being.  But I actually got bigger after all this.  

My head exploded and I got insight into the kindest places in the universe.  What are the kindest places in the universe?-- I can tell you.  They are in you.  But the path is awful.  

I think for everyone it’s no picnic.  It’s painful and hard and who likes all that hard work dismantling your ego? 

But for me, and for my people, people who have been kicked when we’re down and naked. People who have been manipulated and controlled til we feel powerless. People who have become addicted to what gets us out of the present moment.  Yes for us it’s plain disgusting.  It’s the excrement.  It’s the cum and the tears and the blood.  It is a haul of uphill with a mountain on your back.  And you do it because it’s a non-negotiable.  You’ve made a commitment to kindness.  So keep climbing.   

Back to the fight last night.  I saw the cockroach.  My girlfriend killed it.  I got quiet.  Real quiet.  I stayed awake because I didn’t want to hear my thoughts in bed.  I followed my cats around and watched them pace the kitchen floor.  I paced with my eyes.  I got on my yoga mat.  I felt my breath.  I got in bed.  I read physics.  Until I finally had to close the book.  And my mind brawled it out.  

Self-sabotage.  My Saboteur.  The wild panther that lives inside my heart and guards me.  The one who promised me there will be death if anyone tries to put anything inside me that I don’t want there.  My death or theirs.  She’s not a soul.  And she’s not human either.  She’s a wild animal.  A wild wild animal.  The kind that has never seen a human being.  The kind that would terrorize a village if she could.  She has no concept of right or wrong.  She lives to serve.  She is a protector.  She trusts me and only me.  And I love her.  

Wait, is this getting confusing?  A wild panther who lives inside me who I call Saboteur, who is trying to protect me but also sabotages me.  I didn’t say life was clean.  Self sabotage is a very bizarre side of self love.  Self sabotage serves.  The stories you’ve been telling yourself.  

So she’s there going wild.  Other parts of me are screaming.  Other parts are quiet.  Other parts are mad and quiet.  And all I want to do is call in something more peaceful.  Some part of me that can witness even this madness and pull me back together.  I needed a harmony-maker.  

But when I tried to do just that.  When I looked for peace.  All the other parts got even more fire and raged into a swirling ache.  The words ran together and became the flames.  The embers burned.  My body filled with the smoke.  

Cockroaches are the secrets.  Roaches are the unknown.  How long will this go on.  How many more times will this happen.  How many more men will there be.  How many more times will they use me.  How much more pleasure will I give that keeps taking parts of my beating heart and my breathing lungs.  When will I be free.  How trapped am I.  How many lies have I been told.  Why can’t I find a bridge I trust.  Where is the way out of this dark confusing smoke.  

After breakfast I called up my new friend, Jeremy.  He works at the pest control company.  He is sending over Shane tomorrow morning.  

Seal up your cracks, clean your house, don’t leave out spills and messes.  Cockroaches carry disease, and where there’s one, there’s sure to be hundred.  And no one needs that.