+ This Is How I Learned To Say No : Human +
Writing Prompt: No
Date: 26th Jan 2022
[font=”Georgia”]This is how I learn to say no
Take your pretty words and go choke
People talk shit say they’re gonna get better
I hold my breath I can’t hold it forever
This is how I learn to say no, oh[/font]
EMELINE – This Is How I Learn To Say No
++In hindsight vision is always 20/20. We as creatures become so easily enveloped by our own universe that everything and everyone that exists outside of it’s vacuum becomes invisible. We become so focused on our desires and driven towards our ultimate goals, drowned in our personal dramas and wallowing in our self-pity that events that are happening around us that may actually matter or benefit us in some way, go unnoticed because we are too consumed by our own bubble. Myself included. Most of us eventually get that wake up call. The one that jolts us awake back into the true reality going on and forces us to behold the whole picture in its entirety for what it is and makes us realize in the grand scheme of things how very small both we and our problems truly are. There are those select few that never do become aware. They’re called narcissists and that is a discussion for another time. I digress. My becoming aware started as I stood at a monitor backstage at Countdown watching Eoin’s match. I could have done my pre-match stretches anywhere but I knew how important that match was to him and what his frame of mind was. Eric was shook when he got back to me about what had transpired and I could hardly blame him. His own half brother willing to drop him from a balcony all because of a woman. Of me. Vanity suggests I should have felt flattered. A manipulative type personality suggested I should have used the exchange to my advantage. Yet as I stood there, in tree pose, holding my balance and watching the monitor I felt…out of place. For the first time in a long time I took a look around my surroundings and opened my eyes and ears. I was minutes away from probably the biggest match in my career so far in FIGHT and my psyche chose now to shift into a different perspective. As I glanced around the backstage area of the arena, shifting my eyes from colleague to colleague I became increasingly aware that I knew OF them but I didn’t actually KNOW any of them. I knew their reputations, their style in the ring, their personality types but if you asked me Bam Millers birthday or what brand of hair coloring Lycana, Jinxie or Tara used, or if Enforcer is juicing, the truth is I couldn’t answer. The truth was I couldn’t be bothered. I was too consumed by my own personal issues to actually get to know the people around me or at least pay attention to them. As I watched the different cliques and groups chatter amongst themselves they looked complacent and satisfied, if not fulfilled. I was not. I was empty. Void. Whether I liked them or not was a moot point. Their general moods and demeanors were obvious to me as foreign. They all had something I didn’t and in that very moment reality hit me like a ton of bricks. My legs gave out from under me, causing a scene. Some stage crew helped me up and I dusted myself off just in time to see Dave chomp down on Eoin and I winced because I knew that was the final blow. Failure++
///////////// Atlanta, Georgia – Medical Offices – Psychiatry \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
Elizabeth: He gave all he had, for me. He went out there and bled himself dry, for me. He convinced himself that he had to win and bring that strap home, to be good enough for me. My head started spinning. I could see all those faces with names, the strangers I knew but didn’t know, staring. I could hear their scoffing, laughing and whispers as I made a scene. I closed my eyes as tight as I could trying to block it all out but how can a mere mortal stop progress? I’m many things, dare I say a warrior on my best day and a hellion on my worst but at the end of the day I am still, just a human being.
Dr. Boerio: Self-awareness is very sobering I know. What you experienced is not unusual though. There are numerous cases of individuals who have suddenly had a moment of actualization which prompted the same response you had. Don’t stop now though. Please continue. We need to process this. My schedule is cleared. This is your time.
Elizabeth: I just stood there, terrified. My cue to get ready was up, Eoin would be coming through those curtains soon and I wasn’t ready to see the look of defeat and forlorn on his face or to have him make a bigger scene because he saw me in the flesh after what happened in his apartment. I tried. I tried so hard to suppress it but I just planted my feet firm on the tile covered concrete floor, clenched my fists and shoved them to my sides and screamed at the top of my lungs, “NO!”. In that moment there was just silence. I think they could all feel my energy in the air. Anicka was nearby and she is sensitive to such things. I saw her facial expression change to concern. Those whom I had worked with back in OPW, whom I was more familiar with, immediately paused. We had worked together more frequently, traveled together more often, and even though admittedly I didn’t know as much about them as I should, they still recognized something was wrong. Then again I don’t know how.
The last time there was a BloodMoney shindig, I was leading up The Cure which was a shitshow in and of itself. Jesus Christ what was I fucking thinking. That whole God damn setup was a fucking joke and a failure from the get go. Do you know the hardest thing about it for me?
++Boerio was the best therapist and psychologist I ever had. She just got it. Intellectually we were on a similar level. She understood some of the finer nuances of my linguistics and also understood and encouraged the subtle changes in personality shift, accent and tone due to my personality disorder. She didn’t try to supress me or regulate me. She worked with me. I was so glad when she decided to go into private practice as it meant I was free to behave naturally during our sessions. Was it expensive traveling back and forth? Yes. But quality mental health care is precious like gold and if that means I have to charter a fucking plane to get it and pay out of pocket to make sure I don’t end up on the news because I got fucked up on acid and threw myself off a fucking balcony onto some poor bastards car, then it was worth it. I sat in the swinging chair suspended from the ceiling and dangled my legs, wiggling my toes like a toddler. I laid my head back and took a hit from my joint and tried to keep my train of thought on the tracks++
Elizabeth: The hardest thing…is admitting it’s all my fucking fault. The Cure. It was Scotty’s half brained idea to begin with and HE couldn’t make it work, how in the hell did I expect to make it work? We were a joke BEFORE I removed him from the picture. We were a joke AFTER he was removed from the picture a second time. You know, in all honesty, I think he’s one of the lucky ones. He got out. I hear he’s wrestling in Mexico now. I acted like Enforcer didn’t even exist. He deserved recognition and to be included and I fucked him over.I was so close with Dolly and Eoin that whatever impact we could have made was a moot point. Jayson was in it for himself. I make no apologies for what happened to him. I hope he’s buried up to his neck somewhere in paperwork at some thankless government desk job forced to wear a suit and tie. Stripped of individuality and personality. A drone.
Dr. Boerio: And what about more recently Elizabeth? What have you realized now that you have had time to process the episode that happened at Countdown? Have you realized anything else? You are still only scratching the surface, go deeper. Be honest with yourself. Let’s try the self-talk technique. That has always been very effective for you. Do I have your permission to record from here on out?
Elizabeth: Yes, go ahead. Let me mentally prepare for this…
Dr. Boreio: Absolutely. You do what you need to do for this to be as effective as it needs to be. If you need music, Alexa is always available. If you need to move freely, there are no restrictions. I am here to observe and in the event of an emergency, step in to help you help yourself. Just like last time I will move to the observation corner, record and make notes, maybe drink some hot coffee brandy and do a crossword to make things seem natural and less awkward. Do you remember the hand signal if you are in distress?
Elizabeth: Yes. May we begin?
Dr. Boerio: Yes.
++I watched as the middle aged woman moved to the observation corner and I continued rocking back and forth in the hanging chair. It was such a calming and soothing feeling being able to just relax and sway carefree. Between the marijuana and the gentle motion it didn’t take long to slip into that mirrored-self state of mind++
Elizabeth: What? What was it? What did you see or hear that night that brought all of this on? Since when did you of all people care about camaraderie? When did you crave companionship? When did you suddenly give a shit about the people around you when you know damn well they don’t fucking care about you? I mean how many so called tag partners did you run with, get to know and trust? You build a platform with them and you end up being successful and then suddenly, you have a fucking slit throat! You’re standing there yet again like the fucking idiot that you are, your eyes wide as you clasp your neck, your warm blood squiriting across their cheshire grining two fucking face. They walk away with your replacement, their next meal ticket and you can either turn the other cheek or you sew that fucking wound up and become the villain they want you to be.
Why does the concept of Family and Friends have weight on your conscience now? You haven’t known such things in thirty eight years Elizabeth!!! You’re envious of people whose opinion of you is that you were the lowest of the low. You were garbage to them! Beneath them! Brandon Moore is out there talking about how he’s a fallen star and he’s had more push, pull and spotlight than you ever fucking had! He used you to elevate himself and he couldn’t get the job done. Paul has shit all over you since the day he met you all because he got a bug up his ass. He thought lording his win streak over you would break you. Did it? So what if he used smoke and mirrors a W is a W and the chapter is closed. What do any of them have that you wish YOU had or that YOU need?
++Silence. I had lurched forward in the chair and was looking down at the wine colored shag carpet. These sessions were always intense and draining but I had to do this. I couldn’t slip back down the rabbit hole again. I didn’t want to. My worst enemy was my own self and my biggest hurdle was myself. So many conflicting thoughts and beliefs. Jumbled ideas and concepts filling my head and making things hazy. This was only half of the battle though. I slid off the chair and stood, wringing my hands and beginning to pace back and forth a bit. I stopped in front of the main desk, a sprawling cherry antique piece and looked down at Alexa. My personal feelings about AI and their usefulness versus their dangers was something I kept to myself, lest I was deemed a tin foil hat wearing nut job. Still the convenience technology like Alexa, Google Home and other similar mediums provided could not be denied. I placed my palms firmly on the edges of the desk and closed my eyes and quietly sang to myself++
“Done being sorry for wanting the things that I want…”
++My almond shaped nude colored nails started to dig into the wood of the desk as I continued to sing song to myself. Music was the vessel. These were the words to the answer I asked myself. This was the only way I knew how to verbalize how I felt. My volume began to raise as I continued. As the word “broke” passed my lips the intensity became more angry and bitter with each subsequent word until I slowed, pausing, deliberately++
“I broke my back carrying baggage for strangers…who…only..ever…“
+My teeth gritted as I uttered the last words. My knuckles were white as I held a death grip on the desk++
“…did me wrong.”
++As the “g” sound dissipated my jaw unclenched and I exhaled deeply as if it were the first breath I had ever taken. My fingers loosened their grip on the beaded trim of the wood and I backed away slowly, taking deep breaths and centering myself. As I opened my eyes, I found myself staring at Dr. Boerio who was holding a glass of wine. I sat down on the edge of the tufted couch and dangled the glass between my legs and looked up at her, seeking her crone like wisdom++
Elizabeth: I don’t want what they have because the truth is that each and every one of them is just as fucked up and damaged as I am. They all just go about it differently. The fact that I don’t know them isn’t the issue the issue is that I forget that whether we are friends or not, when the cameras are off, the shows aren’t live that they are people. Some of them are just as awful and terrible a person offscreen as they are on screen. And I have no desire to get to know them. I don’t need them in my life. But others…have never done me wrong. They have made assumptions about me just as much as I have about them and we were both proven wrong and there is no true bad blood there. I have spent my whole life running from…everything. I’ve spent my whole life being told I wasn’t worthy of love, or friendship or I was too damaged and fucked up to ever have a normal life and yes, I’m pretty fucking damaged. I also know at my age that recovery is pretty slim. I’ll be on medications and in therapy for the rest of my life. I know we are already tossing around the idea of shock therapy.
It isn’t what they have that I want. But there ARE things I want. There ARE things I need and I’m too old and too late in the game to continue to keep denying myself and keeping up a premise that doesn’t even matter anymore. Crusades are fools errands. Why would I want to change a business I have mastered? When I got out of my own fucking way…well I won. I do know this, while I don’t need to try to get to know all of my colleagues, or their coat tail riding friends who come by for a cup of coffee and a quickie paycheque, I also need to stop being a monolith. So…that’s a goal right? Make a friend? A real friend? Because I…I think that’s what that void is. I would really like a friend.
Dr. Boerio: I think that is a fantastic goal and I am very proud of the progress you made. I know that it is exhausting for you when you do these deep sessions. I think there is more to that emptiness though. Eoin. I think now would be a good time to switch from self-talk therapy to our usual CBT/Psychodynamic session, is that alright?
Elizabeth: Yes. I think I can continue for a bit more.
Dr. Boerio: Good. If you become too tired, let me know. Elizabeth, personal relationships have always been a struggle for you. We’ve established that. What I want to help you to address is your relationship with Eoin, how you really feel and what you want to do about it. You admitted in numerous of our past online sessions that you have found yourself relapsing into that borderline cycle. While I’m proud of you for recognizing it, I also know that you lost control. I want you to tell me if you are ready to acknowledge the things you did wrong, how you can fix them and the steps you want to take to attempt to repair your relationship with Eoin.
++I felt my stomach drop. It always did. This was such a familiar conversation. I had lost count. Jon, Bel, George, Hunter, Tom, Johnny. The list was long and there were some big names on it. The content was always the same though. That was the monster that was Borderline Personality Disorder. It was paranoia, being afraid of being abandoned. It was pushing them away and then screaming they were abandoning you. It was lashing out and cutting them down with your anger and words and then acting like nothing even happened. Demon thy name was BiPolar. It was mood swings and making everyone around you walk on eggshells. It was crying fits for no reason. Stretches of depression where your hair became tangled and matted, where you couldn’t even muster the energy to shower. Then you had so much energy that you were up three days straight and you drove everyone around you bat shit crazy because you were talking nine million miles an hour. Dissociation was the name of the succubus that made me numb and unresponsive. Thirty-eight years of these demons, ghouls and poltergeists. They were friend and foe. Strength and weakness. I kill the glass of wine and looked up. There were none of the guilty tears this time. None of the sheepish looks. No outrage or blame shifting. I inhaled, confidently and swallowed hard++
Elizabeth: We both fucked up. My communication skills are fucking awful. I’m still holding on to negative shit men did to me in the past and I let it get to me. I didn’t give him a fair shot. We started out on even ground and then shit went sideways and I went into fight or flight. He’s damaged goods, just like me and I knew it. And how fucking ignorant was I to forget that? How fucking ignorant was I in general to act like NONE of the people around me mattered? That I spent so much time trying to keep my guard up, let people get in my head with their petty shit, and now look where I am? I have a strap and who did I get to celebrate that win with? That. That. Right. Fucking. There is what cracked the facade. Who fucking cares about wins and straps and being the best, or making a mark, or being a new status, or forgotten stars or Peter fucking Pan if you have to do it ALONE! And the fact that it is my OWN fault is what hurts the most.
I stood there like some fucking CUNT and watched him give everything he had to prove his worth, to win a belt, to win me over and that makes me a fucking horrible human being. He BLED to prove his loyalty and I let it happen because I can be a selfish fucking BITCH and that…cannot abide. He is one of the only people, outside of Eric and Dolly that’s stuck by me, been down for me and this is how I act. He needs to be honest and I…I need to be more flexible. Trust comes in time. For now, flexible sounds good. I don’t even think it can be fixed at this point and if it can’t…well then I guess I have no choice but to chalk it up as one more learning experience, another failed attempt at a long term relationship and accept it. But I’m getting so fucking tired of meeting up with acceptance. Just once I would like to hang out with contentment. That fucker never comes around.
Dr. Boerio: If you will it dude…
++That look on her face. That shit eating grin. She knew I was a deep believer in Dudeism. I had Eric to thank for that. Being around him had introduced me to a lot of ideals and tenets that helped me in my mental health journey. I identified as an eclectic pagan and in the time I had been around him he had really expanded my spiritual knowledge. I smirked. I knew what she meant. I had to make a call or two but I knew where I had to go from here. She silently nodded and I excused myself. Outside her home, as I stood on the street I flipped through my contacts until I came up on one with a symbol instead of a name. I sent a text and changed apps, ordering an uber to the airport, as I waited, a chime sounded. Jacksonville. I dialed the number and waited a few seconds until I heard an older Irish voice pick up the other end++
“Sorry to bother you, and you don’t know me but I wanted to give you a heads up that I’m about to be heading your way on a charter. What’s your poison fella? And are you a Cuban type of man or a man of fine tobacco?”
???: Well, the elusive Elizabeth. Considering you’re doin’ the offerin’ lass I’ll take the finest Irish Whiskey you can procure and I think I’ll try me some of those fancy French cigs of yours girl. ETA?
Elizabeth: Uber is 15 out. Flight should be one hour, one and a half tops. Keep it mum.