I am making myself unlovable, again. Maybe it’s all this fresh air and freedom. But I am curling into myself like a snail shell, pulling what’s tender from out of reach. Except I am also mutating so that my tough exterior is also sprouting metal spikes that are tipped with a lethal poison that can go airborne and suck all of the moisture out of the air until everyone around me is choking. I look around to see how everyone is faring. They all seem fine. Except they seem concerned because I seem to be choking.
My Someone uses what we learned this winter and says that I am telling myself the wrong story. He says that I need to tell myself the story where the people around me love me. I balk and tell him to cut the therapy bullshit. I am becoming unlovable.
I have visions of becoming a lone wolf, wandering around the country with a scowl and an agenda to right the universe by brute force. There is snow and a few scenes Mary Shelley created. I anticipate difficulty and get what I expect. I unravel the scenario until, miraculously at the end, I find true happiness where the world doesn’t braze my neck as I am fevered and aching for love. The world just becomes a Soft Pillow with no work of my own. And I will lay down on it and be lovable once again.
My scenario requires that every creature is not also hurting.
My scenario is impossible.
So I play out my God Daydream, where I am a small furry animal caught in a hollowed out gourd. In it, this God character– usually looking like a combination of Mark Ruffalo and Patti Smith– pokes their pointer finger through the hole in the gourd, peaking their large, aged, squinty eye in effort to catch a glimpse of my pink nose and my baby rodent eyes. I put out my little clawed paw, which can grasp only a few grained lines of His/Her hand print. I become less afraid. I am sought after. I am coaxed. I am carried from the gourd. I can never imagine what happens after the gourd. Only that someone cared to carry me from it.
“That’s just what she does sometimes,” Matt said to me a few weeks ago. He and his partner had a fight. “She makes herself the most unhuggable she possibly can, and then practically dares me to hug her.”
“And what do you do?” I asked.
“Well, I cross the room and hug her.”
I replay my God Daydream with what I have. I don’t have Mark Ruffalo/Patti Smith God. I have a Someone who says he likes me and wants to sit across the table from me in my gourd. I am not a cute fuzzy rodent creature. I am just my scowling self. Sometimes my Someone says the wrong thing or gets mad, and it makes my fever aches of unlovableness flare. Sometimes my friends who love me don’t know what to say and I feel alone and cry into the phone. And then my gourd is filled with these friends who sometimes get it right. We all sit at the table. It’s getting crowded. It’s harder to be comfortable with all of these gourd people.
Somewhere inside, in this secret compartment, I find them: Soft Pillows. I pull them out. There are more. Everyone is provided with a Soft Pillow. We sit on them. We lay down our heads. We wrap them around us like armor. And then, we leave the gourd. No giant finger to carry us. It takes a lot of work, with the bulk of the pillows and the number of people. But we each stand on our own legs, and walk ourselves across the room to where the hugs might be. And I can picture our exodus this time. A group of people in a sharp, Picasso lined outside, occasionally howling. Hobbling along trying to make the world into a Soft Pillow.