Radiogurl a la Carte

Monday, Sept. 12, 2005
Silence Like A Cancer Grows

Note: My webspace was down for several hours earlier today so I had things switched to text-only mode. I decided to leave the title that way for a while - am thinking of doing a complete overhaul and that'll just be one less thing to change.

I was just bitchy enough most of the day today that I'd decided to take a lengthy hiatus from Diaryland. And I might still do it. A couple of reasons behind that, though one is predominant.

I had a couple of people who more or less told me that the situation with T was probably best in the long run, wasn't all bad news, etc.

Now mind you, I don't even entirely disagree. I just did NOT want or need to hear it right now.

There's a reason I've been posting mostly upbeat stuff here. It isn't because I'm thrilled with life at the moment; it's because I was trying to write myself into a more positive state of mind, rather than falling into depression and suicidal tendencies again. It's been years since I was suicidal (thank God) and don't think I'll get to that point again, but the depression was a legitimate possibility. I neither want to go there again nor do I have the luxury of wallowing in prolongued self-pity. I have entirely too many responsibilities that I can't just drop for a one-woman pity party.

Plus, frankly, I don't like the idea of bad-mouthing someone on a public site without knowing the whole story, even if I feel like they were playing free and loose with my emotions, even if I'm screaming behind the scenes. I've done it with a few members of the idiot brigade who proved over time that they were a couple of cockroaches short of a Mexican restaurant and morally bankrupt enough to run for President. In this case though, bottom line, I don't know what happened. And even though I think he chose a shitty way to handle things, I am not willing to rip T apart in this context, on this site. Walking away without a word is not kosher but I guess it's a guy thing. So if you're looking for a bash-fest, you'll have to look elsewhere.

That does NOT mean I'm happy and at perfect peace with the way things went. Far from it. I am just not the screaming-and-throwing-things kind of person, nor the kind who spends months crying buckets over things that are out of my control. I'd probably be healthier if I were, but I'm not. Instead, I internalize everything and go into automaton stage and will probably let it gnaw on me for a while before it finally gets easier. I paint on my professional veneer and use it on and off the job, and I get through the day. I find other outlets for the pain. Probably not the healthiest outlets but they work as well as anything so oh well.

But let me clarify something right now. There is no way in HELL I will be letting anyone get close to me again. If this had happened once or twice in my life, maybe. But it's more than that. By about the fifth or sixth time I know damned well it's some massive crack in my psyche that keeps tying me in with people who don't want me.

There's another factor - one that I know some of my readers will dismiss arbitrarily and call me certifiable. And this time I don't really care if that happens, because it's so integral to who I am and I've ignored the factor for so long.

I am a strongly empathic person. I'm talking the "woo-woo" variety, to borrow a friend's oh-so-technical description. If I touch someone, in any capacity, the effect is even more profound. If you don't know what that entails, I won't try to explain it to you. If you do, you'll understand that when I get close enough to someone to be really involved, it's a hell of a lot more than a surface connection for me. And just because they walk away doesn't mean I can arbitrarily disentangle myself from that particularly complex web.

It is one of the reasons that doing news tore me up. I loved what I did, but it was a toxic job for me. Furthermore, the empathic ability (for lack of a better term) interferes with sound decision making, because I literally can see and feel both sides to every story. It's the ultimate personal tug-o-war.

To give you an example, back when I was a teenager, I worked with small children. One little girl, maybe four or five years old, was painfully shy. She wouldn't play with the other kids and wouldn't really interact with adults. She didn't speak to anyone and didn't disobey, but there was absolutely zero socialization. One day - I don't recall what the situation was that precipitated this - I picked her up. Within less than five seconds of doing so, I was sobbing wildly and knew - without anything to corroborate the belief at the time - that this baby was being sexually assaulted at home. There was no outward sign of physical trauma, but the second I touched her I knew. I could feel her pain and fear and shame as much as if it had been happening to me.

I flinch when some people touch me. I can't help it. In some situations it's downright physically painful, it's so extreme. I've gotten to the point that I can generally back away before those folk get close enough to invade my space. If I can't do that, I assume a defensive posture: arms crossed tightly in front of me, every muscle taut and braced against unintended assault.

My friend M made the comment today that she didn't realize I was an empath - but while we were talking she also began making observations and realized that she missed it because I've buried it so deeply. I have to, just to get through the day. With most people I'm fine, of course. It's just those random few...

Of course the doubting element will tell me that if I am an empath I should have been able to ascertain T's true intentions through all of this.

Well you know what? I agree with you. In fact, that's the hardest part: knowing that either this person was able to get through even that line of defense, or that my sensibilities were right and I'm missing a crucial piece to the puzzle. Of the two, the second scenario is the most destructive. It's the old "what-if" conundrum times about five million.

Empathy isn't mind-reading, and to be perfectly honest I can't flip a switch to turn it on and off, anyway. I can't tell you what you had for breakfast yesterday (good grief... cold pizza again???) I can't predict the future, pick the winning lottery numbers (as is evidenced by the fact that my place is so tiny the bugs are looking for bigger digs) or tell you when you'll meet the love of your life. (We don't really want to go there now, anyway, do we?) It just means when I say I feel your pain, I quite literally feel your pain!

Before - After

In the grander scheme of things, no soul can truly be replaced. Each one of us has a place in the universal tapestry. We each contribute our own color and texture. When one thread is snipped too soon, it distorts all the threads around it. Other lives can unravel and tear. If the wrong thread is ripped away, the whole fabric of life becomes dangerously fragile.
- LeiLani, aka Radiogurl aka Bright Opal (1957 - )