Adrift

This is what I’ve been preparing for for the last two years in therapy. So, hope to make my therapists proud, here we go:

I have vulvitis (an inflammation of the soft epidermis of my labia). At first I thought I hadn’t been clean enough -even though I have a bidet sprayer and a soap dispenser on my toilet, which I use every single time I go to the bathroom. So even though I may take days between showers due to executive dysfunction and what not, my genitals are forever clean.

Then I thought maybe I hadn’t been safe enough sexually. But then I remember I had, always wearing condoms and what not. Then, I thought maybe my last two sexual partners (Red and my ex) had somehow lied to me, hidden their STDs and my world was gonna start to spin. So I asked my mom, what could this be? Because it is somewhat irritating to pee, but only where the labia is, and then a bit of itching, but nothing insane. I’m almost fully tweezed down there, but just in case, I was trying to do a differential diagnosis myself, not at a doctor’s office, between trichomoniasis (crabs), a yeast infection, and bacterial vaginosis -also perhaps, a UTI.

Oh, wait wait. After thinking it might be due to uncleanliness, I thought it was due to masturbation. I ovulated last week and masturbated for at least a couple a days for at least a couple of hours each, and I thought I had introduced some terrible bacteria with my fingers or something (I don’t use toys). Any way you slice it, I thought I was directly responsible, guilty, it was my fault that I had inflamed labia and engorged skin all around (since there was no discharge, no odour, and no pain). So, it was a reason for concern, but not an emergency that would make it undeniably important to see a doctor. What’s a little (physical) discomfort, after all? That’s home, after all, for me.

But since the days were droning on, I consulted with my mom (a doctor). I sent her a pic and she called it: None of the above, it’s vulvitis. I of course still checked, after once again trying to make it fit what I knew about vulvas (bacterial vaginosis, UTIs, yeast infections). But no, she was right (in all fairness, I doubt everyone’s knowledge. It comes from distrust, not thinking I know better).

The thing about vulvitis is that it can come from a host of reasons, and even though I do have some allergic profiles (specific brand of ibuprofen, too much seafood, specific type of peanuts, and who knows what else), it was the LAST thing I could’ve thought would be connected to my pussy, lol.

Recently I cooked with a shitton of garam marsala and cumin; some pepper and rosemary; and no/very little salt. Because it’s not hot, just spicy, I didn’t even think I would have a stomach-ache. I don’t think I did, maybe a bit of heartburn, and some hot ass farts, but that’s it. Who (tf) knew you could get an allergic reaction to something you ate (that didn’t really ailed you anywhere else) in your pussy??!! Not me, that’s for sure.

Rub me impressed xD

My mom concurred, but once again recommended to see a doc. So I decided to tell her why it’s hard for me to do so. Once, in the third or four grade, I had a friend over for a sleepover, and I had some mild irritation in my vulva as well. Since I had a bed bunk on my grandma’s bedroom, the three of us were there in that room that night. At first, she ignored me. I tried to supress my need, but I did need some topical cream relief, and I had no access to the cream, its location, how to apply it, or anything like that. You know, because I was a fucking child.

So when I repeated myself after some time that felt like forever, she shut me down. So, again, I tried to supress my need. But I really couldn’t sleep and my stress levels were shooting up so, after greatly expressing her discomfort with this, negatively sanctioning my need and making it clear she found the whole situation extremely distasteful and unpleasant, she went for the cream and applied it.

And then I was able to sleep.

So last night I thought I’d share with my mom, so she knows what informs my reticence to get the medical care that I need, and how that’s the reason why I’ve never gotten a pap smear, but that I don’t hold it against my grandma, as I understand she’s a product of her time…But how I was really hurt because that’s the same instinct she displayed when I talked to her about what the rapist neighbor had just done to me, when I was 6 or 7. To blame me, to call me a cochina (dirty female), for going to his place to play in the first place. Thus, all urogenital concerns, my first instinct is to ignore them, the second is to blame myself, and finally, I address them…

For which she my mom said nothing, scolded me for not going to the OB/GYN, especially since I was sexually active, and that I should make that my priority.

I cried while recording that voice message for her. Was clearly in emotional distress as I shared this difficult memory with the woman that carried and delivered me.

Crickets. Emotional bids forlorn.

The thinking used to be: That must mean I do not exist. If you go deeper into that, that must mean I do not deserve to exist. Life of trauma ensues.

Now, it is true: my mom does not see me. She has absolutely zero concern for my emotional wellbeing and personal development. The way (singular) in which she supports me is financial, and I can finally see that it is mostly for her (as it would come with extreme social shunning to not support me financially if I had no other way to support myself). Now, two things can be true: I am appreciative of course for her sponsoring…but that in no way reflects a deeper, more comprehensive connection to her.

It’s money, and that’s it. I’m on my own. Some money is better than no money, but that’s it. I have expressed this need in dysfunctional ways, in assertive ways. I have pleaded with her to provide emotional nourishment, and it has not come my way. It’s time to organize my emotional backpack, pick it up, and move on. Companionship won’t ever come through this relationship.

Being invisible to her is about her, not me. Her own issues, plus the huge probability of her neurodivergence, make her a perfect cocktail of disinterest towards me. It is in no way a reflection of my stance in this world, the importance of me being here, and why I should love that I am, regardless. It is fucking big, it is fucking sad, but we’ve known that’s the case for a while now.

I find myself experiencing the sad realization that, as of now, I do not have someone with whom to lovingly share my intimate thoughts and feelings. Someone to communion with. Someone to love, and who loves me back.

I am alone.

Two things come to mind: the brother of one of my mom’s sister-in-laws went to the US by himself, many years ago, as an undocumented migrant, to make more money and send it back to his family here, who was of low SES. So her sister-in-law would share stories, and distress, thinking about her brother working at least two jobs, day in and day out, all alone. And I remember feeling scared. Immediately able to put myself in that situation, it wasn’t the gruelling day that did it for me, but the isolation. Not having someone with whom to share how the day went, someone to hug, someone to feel human with.

I was a teenager back then, and I was so sure I’d never put myself in that situation. Back then I had my grandma, but even if I hadn’t, and had I needed to travel, I wouldn’t have felt like that’s my situation, because back then I thought I had a family. And I do not.

The other thing is my Phase 3 therapist, looking a bit annoyed and asking me (at some point): Why? And me looking at her, not understanding, and saying: Because she’s my mom, and I love her. My therapist looked a bit shook. I have no recollection what the conversation was about, but I do remember her face. The incomprehension towards a love that’s unwarranted, unsustainable, and utterly draining.

The way a child loves. Because there’s no other raft to hang onto. So, if we’re honest, the best thing that I can do for my self-love is to stop loving my mom. To stop giving a shit.

The other connection my brain just made is how my abusive ex sometimes complains about the police or paints himself as a victim, knowing that when it comes to us, he got the better end of the deal as there were ZERO consequences for kicking me and grabbing me by the neck. So him complaining about the police to me is, not only tone-deaf, but also narcissistic abuse.

A while ago, two of my cousins came back from the US and had lunch with my mom. One of them had her son with her. The kid was crying and his mom ignored him. My mom said: If there’s one thing I can’t stand, is the sound of a child in distress

To me.

She said that to me. When my abusive ex does this, I know what he expects. For me to stand up for myself and say: that’s not true, they’ve been great to you, because when you’ve abused me, they had your back, not mine. So he wants that so he can deny it, twist it, end up blaming me about it. Sometimes I acknowledge it, sometimes I ignore it, but now I know I should simply just not stand for it. But then again, he’s an animal, you know? I expect no better from him. He’s nothing.

To see a technique your abusive ex used by your narcissistic mom…now, that’s a twist of the knife.

I had been seeking invisibility in all other relationships. The more stressed I felt, the more I wanted an utterly unsustainable situation around me (living with my abusive ex). Because that was home. Someone who doesn’t see me, who speaks horrible things to me (nothing worse than what I already told myself, albeit mostly subconsciously). Someone that allows me to fully not think about myself. Because that was home.

But not anymore, mfs. Not anymore.

The shot down the aircraft today, but I shall rise again tomorrow. Maybe even later, but definitely tomorrow. I shall write more on this blog because it really is a therapeutic tool for me. I shall finally be out of that financial distress in 2 days or so. And sooner rather than later, I should put fresh linens on my mattress again (I’ve got tons, been postponing it because I had to clean the room first, put more lightbulbs in the chandelier, etc.). Still figuring out how to get a long-term partner or where to meet one, but we’ll call that important but not urgent for now.

I’ve been supporting myself emotionally (and before, with even less tools than I have now) since forever. While it is true I cannot share or bare my soul in the way I like to anyone right now (I have people to share with of course, but who don’t love me), I can share after that initial processing has happened. When I don’t feel so raw and vulnerable. I wish I had someone to do that first processing with, but alas, it is what it is.

Nowadays I only have to share -even when I don’t want to- when there’s an injustice happening at the uni (forms and applications that get crossed and I gotta follow up so I am not impacted when they fuck up. Because all I ever get are perfunctory apologies while my life keeps getting into en ever tighter bind). Or with the housing corporation. Or the government. You know, the everyday adverse experience of being a brown immigrant in a hWhite country.

I gotta build up stamina. Emotional reserves. I am, after all, the one that’s got me. How does one build herself up during isolation? How does one get the most out of pleasant but forgettable interactions?

How does one live without a greater sense to connection to the rest of her species?

I feel like I am always preparing myself for better times, but this is one of those days where I wonder if they’ll ever even get here.

My Avatar braid (FUCK James Cameron) is unplugged from any tree and the strands and cilium at the end have dried up and are inert. I’m not gonna fling myself off of the world now, am I? Even if it’s hard at the moment…I must rise.

I will rise up.

After I’m done watching Turning Red (and I hope I’m out of tears as the mother-daughter reunion is resolved), I’ll make my daily green smoothie with spinach, kelp, and 2 apples. Then I’ll eat the chicken I bought with the pasta I made yesterday. Need to hunker down and study and then hopefully by tonight my mood will have picked up a little bit.

At least I made it through today. And I sent the emails I needed to the motherfucker sitting in the Exam Commission, denying me a third exam opportunity even though I have only made use of one (the first one was during more strict Covid times, and so I didn’t risk it). The faculty SENT a fucking email literally saying so: If you have only made use of one exam opportunity, you may use a third one. The only requirement is to have only made use of one opportunity. And I explained: fear of getting Covid (due to my C-PTSD), coupled with the possibility of getting long Covid (which, if it doesn’t allow me to think, fucks my entire future career, which in turn DEPORTS me out of the country since my permanence here is tied to my academic performance…anyways, you get it). He (OF COURSE IT’S A HE) said that missing an exam for a “normal disease” means I “used” that opportunity.

That’s a psychologist. 50+ years old. With a doctorate degree (on something mindless, like transit). That sits in the Exam Commission. Utterly incapable of understanding the ramifications of his decisions. So now I sent an appeal. Which will first redirect me to mediation. Which means a meeting with that asshole (hopefully online). What am I supposed to say? Defend my diagnosis?

Plead for my humanity?

People and social interactions stump me because I cannot fathom having to defend myself this often, this much. Whether is this or men that use the word bitch and defend its use bEcAuSe ThEy UsE iT fOr MeN aS wElL, I find myself dumbfounded. And yet, I cannot stay in this utter incomprehension at their inability to understand the ramifications of their actions, and move on. Always moving on. I can’t really stay with people when they’re like this, you know?

Not until I find my people. Not until I find my tribe. And it’s not a fault in me or a fault in them. I really do belong at a special tribe. The sensitive folk. And while it can be sucky to fly solo for now, life is not over.

Far from it.

So here’s to hoping things pick up.

Love,

L.

P.S.: My mom called me, to check up on me. I guess when I said nothing she picked up I wasn’t happy. I’m glad for the modicum of care, but far above any semblance of reparation. This relationship is what it is and not because she has one moment of “checking in”, are her actions ever erased.

Good thing about me, when I finally do get a sense of people (it’s only ever been superhard with those I’ve deemed super close), the knowledge fucking stays. And my knowledge of her is finally cementing, taking hold, and being integrated in my psyche. Kudos to constructive disappointment.