Is that your leg over there on the other side if the room?
You stepped in something, didn’t even see it coming but it all just blew up. Debris everywhere.
On the surface it was a harmless (though slightly rude) comment about the state of my tub. You said “Looks like your shower could use a little bleach.” It caught me off guard; I didn’t realize right away that you had hit a trigger.
Oh but you did! Boy did you ever.
By the time you left a few hours later I was feeling slightly off about this whole thing but couldn’t pinpoint why. I thought it was because we’d seen each other three times in barely over a week. That’s kind of a lot for me, maybe I just needed some space. The next morning though I was restless, edgy & anxious. I went for a run, trying to avoid the panic that was setting in. I ran until I was out of time but it was my fastest five miles maybe ever. It’s good to know I can still out run the demons. I hadn’t realized they were still giving chase; they’ve been quiet for some time now.
It was something but not quite enough. After work I didn’t go home. I didn’t want to be alone in my head. It was still a little messy in there. Not quite okay, feeling a little off, but I couldn’t put my finger on the source of this sudden angst. So I hit the Self-destruct button. Hard. Drinks. Flirting with strangers. 3 am drunk texts to the wrong person and all that implies. It wasn’t smart. Sometimes I’m not smart. I panicked. After a slap on the ass and a “thanks for the good time..no,no don’t get up I’ll just see myself out” I walked home, tired but at least able to breath.
Why? Did I just need to prove to myself that I wasn’t cornered? Then it hit me, like a ton of bricks, like Wylie Coyote’s anvil falling from the sky: that comment, the one about the grime in my bathtub, it was all a little too familiar. You said That needs to be cleaned (and maybe it does). It might have been a simple observation but I heard “You’re not enough. You need to be better.” the same way I’d heard it for years back in another life. In the subtle digs and little bits of criticism slipped in an otherwise innocent conversation, in the undermining of everything positive that had transpired, in the blatant accusations that I was always doing something wrong and falling short just by being who I am because, well, it was never enough.
I knew there would be some murky waters and hidden dangers getting back into this whole dating with the prospect of a relationship thing. I thought I was ready for that. I’d done some scouting and prepared myself, stayed vigilant but still this one caught me off guard. Even as the body parts were flying as the explosion ripped through the ambiance I couldn’t tell what it was. Now, though, that one’s been found. It’s marked and identified. Forewarned is forearmed.