Friday, October 15, 2004

spit or swallow.

they are gone again, my feelings. or at least i don't really know what they are. them and me, we've lost touch. it's both mental and physical, that loosing touch. i can barely tell you how i feel, at least anything that goes any deeper than something as basic as a current physical state.

it's a recurring issue, and has been for so long, and i am tired of it.
tired. tired. tired.

i seem to need this though.
why would i let this happen again and again and again?

i feel my body a little. her and me, we've had a bit of a troubled relationship as well these past few weeks, even more so than usual. we've lost touch a bit, if only in parts.
some parts of my body i can feel well when i concentrate on them. others i don't feel at all.

yesterday afternoon, i got some more myo from chris, and he knocked me out again, if less so than tuesday.
he was careful this time, only working on my arms and elbows, but it had startling effects. at one point, i felt a strong tingling on the outside of my left leg, besides the mean pain on my arm. i told him so, he changed pressure, and suddenly i could feel the tingling very strongly leading across my breast aiming towards the leg, like a string, really.
i could feel the tingling in the leg strongly then, too. but i couldn't feel a connection between the two. in the middle of me, there was a blank. chris explained that the meridian i was feeling there was the one influencing the stomach and gallbladder. in order to tackle it, later in the session, chris pressed points on my legs as i was supposed to press a certain spot on my ribcage. at that point i felt a wave of tingly warmth washing over me, first in the shoulders, the the chest, my abdomen and my legs. but still, my whole middle felt little. very little. it felt the warmth and tingling, the waves of good stuff, as if from far away.

why, i don't know.

chris asked me whether i had any stomach problems, and i told him that not really. and with that, i lied. or something like it.
i might not have any medical problem with my stomach yet, no ulcers, what have you, but we're not on good turns, my stomach and i.

we've always had an issue.
i barely feel it.
blame years of holding it in.
blame years of not wanting to feel things.

they are connected the two, i think, stomach and feelings. "gut feelings" are called that for a reason. i've felt them, too, my intuition speaking through my stomach. it's been in extreme situations, most of the times, but even then i sometimes managed to ignore what i was feeling, what my stomach was telling me.
i believe your emotions are kept in your stomach. feeling happens there, radiating to your heart and the rest of your body. you store things there.
however, i personally think more, and feel less. my head rules my body. i can barely feel things in my stomach.
and i hate that.

in gyrokinesis, that awesome class i've recently taken on, most of the movements come from the pelvis and the lower back. pretty early on in class there's an exercise to slowly get you ready for the characteristic arching and bending. during that exercise you put your hands on your stomach, release it, and start rotating your body around your stomach as you keep it cupped in your hands.
and i don't like. i can't do it. i hate resting my stomach in my hands, letting control of it go. moving myself around my stomach. this is not the way i like things.

it's not that my stomach is awful.
from a purely visual perspective it's pretty nice, i'd say. it's flat but curvy. pretty female looking. thankfully, it's never been huge, as all my weight always gets to hang on my hips and legs first, and always has. with all that recent weight loss, it's looking nicer then ever, i'd say. i've got good muscles there as well, ever since i did callanetics, all those years ago. i like the lines that the muscles make on my belly, and i like the look of the softness around and below the bellybutton. i like my bellybutton piercing.

but i don't like to feel my stomach.
i don't like to feel the softness that i just decribed as pretty looking. even now, sitting at the computer typing, i hold my belly in, trying to make it disappear, to keep it under control.

i can touch it, sure. i actually touch my belly a lot, i pat over it it when thinking about something, or i rest my hand on it, just because, or pat it when i check it in the mirror. i realised though, that it's more checking whether things are in check, under control. the way i touch my belly most of the time is anything but loving.

i don't like to feel it from the inside.
i don't like someone touching my stomach, either. well, that ain't true. i love it, just like i love any kind of touch. but i can't really let myself like it.
in reaction to stomach touches i get ticklish, or repulsed, and i push hands away when someone caresses my stomach. dirk coming up behind me when i do the dishes, starting to gently caress my lower stomach makes me uncomfortable and agressive and inevitably bitch at him about not patting me as if i was pregnant. truth is, it makes me feel vulnerable if he does. it feels too intimate in a way. yes, that is a scary sentence when written about stomach touches by the person you've been with for that long. and i know it.

it's my loss that i can't enjoy that kind of touch. and i know that as well.

fact is, that i love touch. i'm human like that.
and i long for touch, including belly touch.
i know i love it. on rare occasions, i've let myself enjoy it, after all.

i could deal with stomach touch during abhyanga with silke, but that won't happen anymore, for oh so many reasons. at least not because of anything relating to the abhyanga itself or what it did to me.
i also remember one specific occasion when i let myself enjoy someone's touching of my belly. he was someone who could read bodies very well and had offered massage. i was sitting in front of him, with my back to him. he was massaging my back, massaging spots on my body that had never been massaged that way before, like the sides of my ribcage and it made me purr and melt away, just a little. his hands kept making larger circles, leaning me back a bit, pulling me closer to him, getting to my stomach, and i remember doing the usual thing, firming up my stomach, closing my body up, which he noticed immediately. he kept going, telling me to relax. i tried, and couldn't. he kept talking to me, touching my back and my belly and just my whole upper body, pulled me even closer so i'd feel safe and i struggled with wanting to relax into the sweetness i was starting to feel glimpses of, and wanting to remain in control. it was so hard to relax, as tempting as it was. it was hard to let go. but i breathed as he moved his hands, as he kept talking to me, and i breathed some more, as he kept talking to me, gently, and i let it happen and i zoomed out of my head and let go and started to feel what he was doing, gently circling my stomach. it was so intense to let myself be touched in a way i usually hate, so intense to let go, that i could not hold myself up much longer, and melted into his embrace, resting my head on his shoulder as his hands moved over my stomach and breasts and arms and shoulders.
it was lovely and strange to let go, for once. it was the first time in ages back then that i really felt true physical lust rising up in me, like a bubble in heavy water.
it says something about how fucked up my sex life, my relationship to my body, my mind is and has been, in some ways, when it takes that little to turn me into a moaning, will-free woman with nothing but a few stomach caresses.

it truly was the power of touch.
i was just a little bit drawn to that person before that, from a physical point of view, and he wasn't someone who turned on my head either, just from spending time with him. but his touch reached me. pretty instantly, too. through his touch, he touched me, the real me, not the physical me. and the effect was wonderful and disastrous at the same time.
generally speaking, the way to get into my pants is not through telling me to relax as you touch my belly. it isn't. my belly is not my most erogenous zone. it's the one i control the most, protect the most, and if i let that control go and offer it to someone, there's a chance that something special might happen. it was something that happened in that certain situation because that man had realised that it meant something, that i couldn't relax, that i was holding back for a reason, and he didn't gloss it over but walked that path with me and that made it all well and let me be.

looking back, it's scary shit.
it shows why i fear letting my stomach go, why i fear touch, why i fear feeling it.
i fear to lose control.
it's as easy and as difficult as that.
that man's touch made me his, for those moments. i was, seriously, out of my head, just feeling, feeling, feeling. i couldn't stop anything anymore then. he had dissolved all doubts i might have otherwise have had, all those second thoughts about him and me and what was happening there. but i didn't.
again, this say so much about how fucked my sex life otherwise is.

i fear to feel, and to be, as a result, out of control.

through my stomach, i got them in check, my feelings.
when my stomach is firm and pulled in, it's far easier to pretend that i am alright when i am anything but. less hard, because i can make myself ignore what's happening inside there.

and i work hard to keep it that way, stupid me.
i go to "purely ab" classes at my gym three times a week. that's 90 minutes of making me feel less, every week.
even though i know that once i get a taste of intense feelings, like during that massage, i seem to long to feel less. i have for years.

when i was 13, an older but less experienced boy from school had fallen in love with me. besides me hanging out at his band practise and us watching videos, we kissed and we made out, somewhat, and one afternoon, he told me he wanted to have intercourse with me, even though i had told him in advance that i was far from ready to do that. he was a little forceful then, wanting an orgasm brought on by me, and so i gave him a handjob even though i really didn't want to, not feeling ready for that either. i lay beneath him, him kneeling above me, and i wished i could dissolve, somehow, i wanted to get out of that situation, doing something i didn't feel good about at all, something i was forced to do. he soon came, on my thigh, and with that came the eternal worry of 13 year olds being sexually active who aren't ready to be sexually active.
it's all over scarleteen, and i was much like all the girls there, like the girls who still email me questions describing exactly what they did when, who was wearing what kinda shorts, how much time passed between what, their letters always ending with the eternal question "am i pregnant?" (often spelled "am i pregnate?").
i was especially un-ready back then, because i didn't do a thing about it. i was worried i was pregnant. i didn't get my period. i didn't know back then that i had pcos, which over the next years would get me used to a non existent menstrual cycle. i couldn't talk about it with anyone, or i thought i couldn't. i didn't talk to any of my galpals, not to the boy i started to hate the minute i lay beneath him then, didn't talk to my mom, hadn't been to a doc i could talk to. i carried the worry around, all alone, and just thinking about the possibility of being pregnant gave me hot flashes of fear and embarrassment and guilt.
i don't know when i got the idea, but at one point i thought that if i just hurt myself enough, if i just hit myself in the stomach hard enough, it would go away. today i'd say it was a combination of hurting myself physically out of guilt and actually holding the false belief that it would make a possible pregnancy go away.
so i started punching myself. i would bend over, pull my stomach in without making it too hard and would punch myself really hard with my fist, all over my lower abdomen, aiming to get in as deep as i could.
i bruised myself. for weeks my lower stomach was covered in bruises ranging from dark purple to light blue to yellow. i was happy that they were there. i liked the pain and the numb feeling i got from the punching, and the bruises were the reward.

it lasted months. at a certain point i realised that if i had gotten pregnant, it would be obvious by now. so next to the punching and the bruises that were kinda hard to hide in a household where you couldn't look the bathroom door, came the constant examination of my stomach.
i never thought about taking a pregnancy test. i knew that my real risk had been low. i never thought about telling someone.
months later, i finally got my period again, and while i stopped the punching, even then i couldn't really talk about this with a galpal. or anyone for that matter.

this is an episode from more than a decade ago, a typical fearful teenage firl kinda thing, but it shows the start of a pattern i still have today.

my biggest worries, my biggest problems, my biggest fears, i keep to myself. i lock them up inside me, swallow them down, keep them in my stomach and try to keep them under control and not feel them.

at 13, fearing pregnancy, i punched myself. later in life i would eat, or not eat, calming the worries in my stomach with food, or the satisfying feeling of hunger. or i would overexercise, to the point of total exhaustion, so i would only feel my sore muscles. there came a point when all those worries i couldn't talk about made my life stop, when they made me so depressed that i couldn't get up anymore, that showering seemed like an expedition to cross antarctica.

i'm not depressed anymore. at least not in the "jumping off 'the gap' in sydney harbour is a really interesting idea" kinda way.
but 4 years down the road, i still haven't been able to change that swallowing problems down thing. i should learn to spit them out.
but right now i can't. and i only can't because i don't really want to. because i am too fucking scared.

i am well aware, from a consciousness point of view, that once something you think is horrible and unbearable gets out, it becomes manageable, something to work with, something to address. it usually becomes small.
but i still can't. i don't feel safe in spitting my worries out. i can't write down the things that might happen if i did, just because that meant already dealing with them. i know that things rarely turn out as bad as i imagine them to. but still.
and this is all so childish and un-grown-up and sad.
what quality does a relationship have when i don't feel like i can voice anything, anytime? what does it say about me when i just don't feel ready to trust?

i keep secrets from everyone.
from dirk, my parents, the people around me. that's why i don't have any superclose friends anymore. i also keep my secrets from myself by not writing about them here or in my paper diary. when they hit me in the stomach, like this morning, i get paralysed by them until i can force myself into doing something totally unrelated. hello, ocd. i am the mistress of self-deception and issue-ignoring. yes, that's me.

"what pink elephant in the room? there's no elephant, no. i can't see one."

but the hiding of fears creates new fears. the hiding of worries creates new worries. the hiding of concerns creates more concerns. it's a downward spiral, this one. i know it.
but i can't seem to get off.
every once in a while, every six months or so, i get to the bottom of the spiral, freak out for a day or two, spill one tiny little thing that i've fucked up, promise that i'll get better, work harder, do more, thereby relieve the pressure, and then it's okay again, until six months later.

i'm getting there right now. it's so strong a feeling that even i can feel it in my stomach. i'll snap, and will snap soon. i'm so tired of this.
i'm so tired of this six month rhythm, so tired of it all. it's so hard to hide your thoughts, feelings, emotions. especially when you know it's stupid and pointless and just a bad idea.

however, the other option, the being open to yourself and those around you, those that love you seems to be even worse, from the spot i am in right now.
i long for understanding and closeness and openess, yet i am the one saying no to the understanding, closeness and openess by keeping things to myself. i sabotage good relationships all by myself, and then i am unhappy with the result.

stupid, indeed.

and all just because i don't feel the love.
can i not feel the love because it's not there or because i can't feel it for all the reasons described above? who was there first, the hen or the egg?

spit or swallow your problems and worries?
doesn't seem like such a hard decision, really, especially if you've had as much experience with the latter not working as me.

unfortunately though, right now climbing mt.everest seems much more doable than choosing the first.

"i just wanna feel real love,
feel the home that i live in.
'cause i got too much life,
running through my veins, going to waste."

"feel" · robbie williams

"super paranoid,
i'm blending, i'm blurring,
i'm bleeding into the scenery
loving someone else is always so much easier
but i hold myself hostage in the mirror
but if you could hear the voice in my heart it would tell you
i'm tired of feeling this way
god, won't you please hold me, release me
show me the meaning of mercy
let me loose
let me fly, let me fly, let me fly"

"barcelona" · jewel

p.s. and no, i am well aware that this wasn't a discussion of oral sex, despite the title. sorry for that.
in case you're wondering, i'm either using flavoured condoms anyway, or with a long time partner and after all appropriate testing usually choosing the latter.