It’s much later/earlier than usual, but I’m having trouble getting to sleep. This post is going to be a bit more immediate and personal than most ~
Earlier D&D joined me at a favorite “watering hole” (does anyone use that term anymore?) for some conversation. As I look back on the evening, I should have seen some red flags up and waving. As the one D is connected with the floral industry, this time of the year is really stressful, trying and will wear you out. I have been told Valentines is the worst season of the year in that industry.
I was getting ready to leave and they had me stay for a bit longer, and offered to take me home. As riding in a car beats riding in the bus any day – there was no argument on my part.
On the way home, a really nasty fight broke out between D&D. I understand that there will occasionally be problems in any relationship, but this one was particularly over-the-top and embarrassingly public . It involved yelling, threats and finally the car being pulled over and one of the two getting out and threatening to walk off and leave us stranded (which, as he had the only set of car keys – was a real threat).
It was my reaction I was trying to figure out. I should have been annoyed, angry at the scene I was watching (along with a few startled people in the gas station parking lot where the threat to strand us was being played out), but I was deeply, frighteningly and emotionally upset. I was shaking, I had trouble breathing and at one point was very close to tears. I covered it over for the sake of getting D back in the car and back on the road.
After I got home, and thought about it – I mean REALLY thought about it, I had a realization of why it upset me, and why I needed to take a good look at it.
Eons ago (in a galaxy far, far away) as a junior in high school, I was accepted for a fledgling program at a college in Minneapolis. The school wanted to try introducing high school juniors to the college experience (?!) during summer school. I’m sure for some that might have worked very well. I was definitely NOT prepared for life in the city nor discovering what being gay meant without someone to guide me through the process. Let’s just say, throwing a rather confused lamb to the wolves is a pretty good description.
I finally met someone who took me under-his-wing with all the ulterior motives that entailed. However, I was oblivious to the obvious and was just glad to have someone to be around. He lived with his parents, and they seemed to be understanding of his being gay and my trying to figure out being gay. So, I packed an overnight bag, and off I went for a weekend sleepover.
He wanted me to meet some other friends that night, and we went to a party of some kind. I think it was a celebration for one of the guests, but I never really could find out – and being as young as I was, I had other things on my mind.
We left the party with a car full heading to yet another persons house. At some point, an enormous fight broke out in the front seat. I’m talking screaming, punches, threats of great bodily harm being flung about and ended with one of the two trying to put out his cigarette on the other. I was terrified to my core, to say the least. When the car pulled over and the two combatants got out to continue their rambo-esque behavior I was close to tears. I had never seen/heard or been around anything like that, and all I knew I wanted to do was get away. And that’s exactly what I did. It’s after midnight, I’m in a strange city – without too much idea where I am and I’m heading as quickly as I can away from what’s terrifying me.
I am now a long way from the school, no idea where – a long way from his house, no idea where, heading down the way to get to the major highway. I thought if I get there, I can find my way back to somewhere. I walked, dodged dogs and even had the police pull over to see what the heck I was doing. Of course, there was no offer of help from them – other than to tell me to avoid the “bad” areas up ahead.
When I pulled this incident out of my memory this morning and realized that was where my reaction to the fight came from. I could almost taste the fear and panic I had gone through, and my heart was pounding just as it had then.
And I realized that one incident had created a condition within me. I realized that when those situations have happened either with me or around me, I’m playing the tape of that night – all the terror, hopelessness and determination that I would never be around or involved in something such as that again. Now that I’ve had that “ah ha” moment, I can begin to deal with it and change it into something that become much more positive – and hopefully more productive. It’s a case of my map not matching my territory, and I’m surprised I haven’t gotten lost more than I have.
And now to sleep – perchance to dream ~