TBB is right, of course.
My sister took my parents to my nephew's soccer game, and I got a call that they were all coming back for dinner in 15 or 20 minutes, and I needed to order Chinese.
I got tight. I did it, but switching back to do that was hard. I couldn't drop my own stuff that quickly, and couldn't shove it away. I was left raw and tense, and that was clear, especially when my father told a story about a foster kid that echoed of the complaints he had against me, being unable to "pull yourself up by your own boostraps" and get focused down because your rage and pain set you apart.
I knew the story wasn't directly about me, but I also knew that it was hurting me with those echoes. It was a reminder of how unsafe my own family is because they have no sensitivity to what hurts me because so much of me stays invisible, by their choice. TBB reminded me to talk to them like I was talking to a three year old, because, according to her, my model of a three year old is more like a highschooler, and that just reminded me of how far I am from others. "We are big so others assume we can take it," TBB said, and I could feel her pain as she said it.
I ended up just walking out and talking to TBB. No one in my family went to connect with me — the kids and parents and all are more important, and either I can take care of myself or no one can help me, which ever they think. Hell, I know that my pain & distance are palpable, and few have the tools and stamina to enter it.
TBB hears the tension though. Having just transitioned as a transsexual, she assumes it's about that. For me, it's a bit different, but it's still about denied calling — the thing I was writing about when I got the call to order Chinese food for a mess of people whose tastes I didn't know.
To work with my emotions I have to bring them to the surface. And even if I know I have to leave them disarmed, because expressing my feelings is unsafe around here, I often can't get them back in the can fast and cleanly enough.
It's about trying stuffing myself tighter into the bag, and losing it. It's about the limits of mental discipline — the thing my father doesn't think I have — to stay compartmentalized and denied.
A bit of advice
given to a young Native American
at the time of his initiation:
"As you go the way of life,
you will see a great chasm.
It is not as wide as you think."
Joseph Campbell, Reflections on the Art of Living: A Joseph Campbell Companion, Edited by Diane K. Osbon, Harper-Collins 1991
TBB is right. You can't cross the gap in baby steps; the only way is to leap and have faith that whatever happens will be right, dying or what you find on the other side. Transformation is always like that.
Even if trying to stay more bottled up to do what community says they need is wrong, leaping is always hard because the other side is often more of the same.
Yet there comes a time when only change will do, when a leap is required. TBB hopes I will leap on a greyhound and give her some time in Trinidad before I do any other big leap, but in the end, a chassm is a chasm.
And you just have to jump.