Everything is therapy-speak right now, or some gigantic big sign from the universe or some weird coincidence slash that thing where you buy a kind of car and then all of a sudden those cars are everywhere. Which is also the case when I bought a car in 2018.
Late last night/early this morning I had a long phone conversation with a friend who was having a rough time, and after I did my best to listen and hear what she was saying instead of just trying to rush in to offer solutions (I’m not sure how well I did), she told me that she’d read what I’d been writing here, and that when she had faded out of my life for a while, it was because I’d been drunkenly aggressive with her too. Of course that was horrible to hear, but I also felt really glad that she was able to tell me now. From all the thinking and reflecting I’ve been doing lately, my explanation of sorts, is that I spent so long not having any confidence that people would find me attractive or want me that I started to force myself to fake it until I made it – and then that faking just becomes more and more pushy with more alcohol shovelled in. Confidence becomes cockiness becomes aggression. Nothing excuses what I did, but all I can do now is apologise and continue to work to make sure I don’t do it to others.
It’s… interesting to be on the other side of the table on this one. Back in 2014 I slept with a guy who I’d talked to a fair bit on OKC and I’d met once before, friend of a friend, and of course because it’s Wellington we’d had lovers in common, etc. I’d been really up front with my hard limits (not in my butt and not being pinned down while sucking cock cos that’s a flashback trigger) and we’d had some delightful sexting in the middle of the day etc. Then when he finally came over, we drank and drank. When we got to bed we were drinking spiced rum straight from the bottle. He basically immediately went to sit on my chest and shove his dick down my throat, but to his absolute credit, he stopped immediately when I told him to and apologised. It was fine, it was just a momentary lapse, but it was a lapse. And in the morning, fingers in my asshole. Afterwards, I felt fine about him, I would have slept with him again, but it stuck with me. I carried it with me, and when I’d see him post on Facebook I’d find myself seething.
One night a couple of years I came home from a party (and obviously on the H.A.L.T scale I was Angry) and sent him a message to say that I wanted him to know about how he’d pushed my boundaries so that he didn’t do that to anyone else again. He was amazingly receptive, said that it must have been hard for me to carry it for for those years, said he was really sorry, and of course we talked about the role alcohol had in it (not using it as an excuse). I felt so much better after telling him, have absolutely no issues with him now and I was really impressed with his reaction. Looking up that conversation again now the shoe’s on the other foot and all, I can quote him
“I took consent seriously then but now I take it Extremely seriously because it’s so easy for one small misunderstanding in communication to be a massive problem for another person”.
Boy howdy. Why didn’t I learn that from him in 2018? I guess I just hope that I can use my positive experience talking to him about his mistake as a model for how to go on as I keep on unearthing the mistakes I have made.
Today started out okay. The exterminator came and the rats have eaten some of the poison baits so I was really happy. The chapters of This Naked Mind that I read today covered the myths of drinking to loosen up and lose your inhibitions and have sex. Yuuuuuup. And fucking speaking of being read, bloody Jo nearly made me choke to death laughing then crying at this tweet:
Geminis: Definitely not texting exes in the new year— Astro Poets (@poetastrologers) January 6, 2020
Also Geminis: I wrote this 3409 page poem for you, would you like to help with the footnotes?
When I went out to pick fresh beans from the vegetable garden, I found a dead rat. Cue my texts to a friend:
“Now I am crying coz I found the body of a rat I wanted dead and now I feel awful and honestly Keith brains are just dumb”
“That poor rat was consuming poison that made it want to drink more which killed it even faster and honestly Keith I think the subtext has rapidly become text“.
But it wasn’t all dead rats. Elizabeth who I mostly just know on Twitter came over and let me win at Bananagrams a couple of times. She said that I might be wanting to hang out with people who aren’t my standard drinking buddies, and she’s absolutely right. Not that I don’t love my drinking buddies, and not that I don’t think I’ll be okay not drinking with them, but it’s also nice to create new activities and new spaces for myself, and a game where I get to focus on words was perfect. Again, I am super lucky to have found such a supportive crowd. I’m lucky to be filling up my calendar with nice things with good people.
And! I found a counselling appointment! I got their soonest one which is…. January 22. Fucking hell. And it’s a $270 consultation. I’m hoping we’re going to be compatible. Her list of specialities includes:
- anxiety and mood difficulties trauma,
- stress and burnout alcohol and other substance use
- sexual behaviour and intimacy/relationship concerns
- adjustment to loss and life changes.
So those sound a little familiar. I am really relieved to have found someone, and also extremely lucky that I know I can afford to go see her (I can’t afford not to). Fucking hell, I just have no idea how I’d survive without all my privilege. But I am surviving. My heart is still so sore at the damage I have done, and there is so much work ahead of me. But I’m starting to have a little more hope. And that feels nice.