Saturday, October 29, 2011

On Fear and Need

I, fortunately, have never been traumatized enough to have triggers. I have an irrational skepticism and distrust of parents (particularly fathers), and I still quiver when people yell at/near me, but nothing akin to flashbacks and emotional turmoil.

But last night, I got a taste of it. Just a taste, mind you; I don't mean to equate it with PTSD or something serious. But it was the first time something has happened that has taken me back to an emotional state and given me irrepressible images of my past.

Essentially, I was sleeping last night and some drunk guy started pounding in quick bursts on one of my neighbor's doors. And I immediately woke up and my mind went straight to my father banging the same way on my door, as he had for decades, about to barrel his way in and rage at me for who knows what. It was like I was a little girl, terrified and helpless. Fortunately, someone else went out and asked the drunk guy, essentially, whatthefuck, and the guy made it clear his friend was sleeping and he was just trying to wake him up. [With ten minutes. Of pounding.]

But I was really scared. And I kept on seeing my father's hand on the door. I held my invisiblegirlfriend/pillow, and, per usual, pretended someone was there with me trying to comfort me. And the guy essentially left. And I, eventually, fell back asleep.


The event was noteworthy for the pseudo-flashback, certainly. But it had more relevance later when, listening to a brief meditation on fear (ok, you caught me, from Robert California on The Office), I thought back to what I had listed as my greatest fear the day before on a personality test [I took a battery of them as part of getting my goddamned letter for SRS]. Greatest fear: "Never fully living and loving." Greatest worry: "Spending my life alone." Etcetera. I was, of course, cognizant of this theme, to the point that I made a sardonic note at the bottom of the test saying "There are ~12 answers, out of 40, that somehow involve my current sense of loneliness and lack of romantic fulfillment, in case you've lost count." I'm not afraid of death. I'm not afraid of living a meaningless life. I'm not [unreasonably] afraid of being hated, reviled, or a failure. But I am acutely afraid of dying before I find and thrive in, for some substantial time, a secure, giving, reciprocal romantic relationship.

But thinking about fear, I thought: *why* am I so afraid? It's not as if there will come a point where I will be so crushed by insatiable need or circumstances so dire that I will simply spontaneously perish or implode. I have been alone, in one form or another, most of my life. I have survived, in one form or another, as well. No partner has been present to comfort me in my fear. No partner has looked upon me with desire I embrace and reciprocate. No partner has been on call to protect me, hold my sobbing body, reassure me of my worth and value. And I have survived.

Why, then, am I so afraid? Why am I so single-minded? Certainly, there are attachment models, which I may discuss soon. There are past traumas and current desires. But why is romantic love so paramount? And why, so often, does it seem to be so essential to have now?

I don't know. But I think it's important to figure it out.

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