Before playing at Slaysh we decided to call ourselves The Jeff Band, featuring Jesse as frontman and Father as Dad. Our half-hour set consisted of five songs, Jesse charming the audience with his banter (as always), and not a single unrecoverable mistake made.
When there’s only one take, it’s easy for me to get caught up in focusing too intently and losing my place. That’s why no matter how much I practice, I’m always nervous about playing solos and carrying vamps. Nevertheless, it’s good to know I’m still capable of such feelings, and that in some ways, we’re forever children.
Slowing down hasn’t been easy. Being efficient is an old habit of mine. Only now do I understand how much passes by when you’re constantly going at full pace. I’ve been savouring every experience, holding each one in my awareness and letting it be as intense as possible.
If only it didn’t feel like I’m falling every step of the way, constantly expecting to land on solid ground. I’ve never been so unsure of everything. The book says it’s natural to experience some unnerving groundlessness when the foundation of old beliefs falls away, but knowing this is all part of the process doesn’t make it any easier. I never would have expected to be going through so much upheaval at this point in my life.
Good company has been helping me ride out the storm. People have been nurturing my sense of secure attachment by saying the things I need to hear, helping me get shit done, and taking the initiative to make plans. If only it didn’t leave me feeling even more overstimulated and distracted at a time when I’m constantly trying to remain focused and present.
There’s so much happening at once that it makes my head spin. Sometimes I wonder what it’d be like to be the one written about, to be on the other side of that lens. What would another person say about me? Would it be different from what I think of myself? And would I like what was said?
I haven’t been able to write, not from a lack of time or desire, but because I can’t keep a straight thought for long enough to get it on a page. Even when I can get myself to sit down for an hour, I just end up in an endless cycle of inspired writing and critical revisions. I’ve been questioning everything. I don’t know what I’m working towards, where I’m going to end up, or even what I want anymore. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by it all, so I have to remind myself to take everything one day at a time.
It’s no longer about resolving struggles and learning to grow, it’s about fundamental changes in the person I am and the way I define myself. When you’re unsure of who you are, nothing in the world seems stable. Maybe that’s why the good doctor asked me if I was scared of changing. I told him yes, but only because I don’t know if the person I am now would like the person I’ll be later.
Man cannot remake himself without suffering, for he is both the marble and the sculptor.
I’ve been discovering that I don’t know how to take care of myself. Not in a practical, everyday sense, but a cognitive one. Consistent psychological abuse during my formative years meant I never had the chance to develop some important life skills, like how to nurture my emotional needs, how to make mistakes, and how to view myself without judgment. The poison was in the wound, you see, and the wound wouldn’t heal.
So far I’ve just started recognizing these issues in therapy, and it all makes me feel damaged and defective, likely why I’ve been hiding these parts of my life from others for so long. But I’ve been hiding them from myself most of all. It’s hard to go through the painful but necessary process of grieving when I’m alone; always easier to ignore things and keep going.
I asked Tiana to help me through this, cause now I know I can’t do it by myself. It wasn’t easy. Even the simple idea of asking for help makes me anxious. People who’ve had major roles in my life have hurt me or let me down in a very significant way, so trusting others has always been hard, and I’ve avoided being vulnerable for so long because of that.
Luckily, Tiana responded the way I needed her to, and it’s been a great comfort to give myself up to someone I can trust. To be able to cry in front of a person without feeling guilty about my emotions or how I’m making them feel. To be able to talk to someone who’s receptive and attentive and gentle and caring and appreciates my openness as well. To be the little spoon, cause everyone needs to be held sometimes. She lets me let go, and for the first time, I’ve been able to surrender myself fully and still believe that I’ll be okay. I can sigh with relief instead of sadness.
These are still baby steps though, and the whole process is terrifying. My sense of control is what makes me feel safe, even if it’s detrimental to my growth, and I’m still learning how to give that up. But I tell myself it’s progress nonetheless, which is what I need now.