Posted by: Marie | April 7, 2011

(530) What happens at the bus barn . . .

Post #530
[Private journal entry written on Sunday, October 31, 2010]

Well, it’s Halloween. I’m staying home this evening, staying down in the basement so I can keep working on my ever-growing “to do” list, LOL!!

A couple of days ago, my regular aide on the school bus needed the afternoon off. My substitute aide turned out to be “Larry“, the guy I had talked to a while back about going hiking someday in the near future. I am glad we got the opportunity for a conversation before the kids got on the bus.

I apologized for not calling him to go hiking. He half-jokingly responded that he thought I was mad at him for some reason – he didn’t know why I would be, but he figured he had done something to piss me off. I assured him that was not the case . . .

Photo by Martin Chen

I explained that I had initially talked to him about it as a way to encourage myself to keep working out to build up my fitness level. I figured that, if I had someone waiting for me to call him to go hiking, I would be more motivated to keep doing time on the treadmill. I knew I wanted to reach a certain speed/incline tolerance while keeping my heart rate below a certain level before going hiking. There is less oxygen at the higher altitudes, so I needed to be in decent shape before tackling that effort with someone in really great shape. Otherwise, I’d embarrass myself by not being able to make the first mile!

I continued with my explanation . . . that I was having trouble sticking with my fitness plan because I was dealing with pretty heavy effects of PTSD. I was hoping he would know what PTSD is and would already have an idea of how debilitating it can be. But, no, he had never heard of it before. So, I explained it to him a bit while trying to not sound like a victim. I didn’t go into much detail about the trauma . . . just told him I had experienced some trauma earlier in my life.

He didn’t have much to say in response. He just nodded and said, “Oh . . . I see.” That left me feeling a bit strange about the conversation. I really don’t want to make it seem like I’m holding onto the role of a victim. On the other hand, it would be nice if he, as a potential friend, either already had some knowledge about PTSD and what healing from that involves, or showed more interest in learning more. I would have gladly answered any questions he had, but he had none. He didn’t even seem to really absorb what I was saying.

Maybe he felt uncomfortable with the topic. But, I kept what I said very vanilla . . . I don’t know how anything I said would have caused him to be uncomfortable because I didn’t really say much. More so, it seemed he didn’t really want to know any more about my experience (past or current).

So, I’m left with a funny taste in my mouth. I guess he might not be such a great source of support. I don’t know.

I did ask for his phone number so that I could contact him to go hiking even after I resign from the bus barn. He gladly gave it to me. I figure we can still go hiking . . . maybe after spending a day with him, I’ll have a better feel for if he would be emotionally supportive of me, or not. Either way, a day of hiking would be nice.

He did say that I don’t really need to wait until I get my heart rate down and my endurance level up. He said he would be glad to take it as slowly as I needed – he would just be glad to be out and about in nature. He also said that I could call him even to take a 15-minute walk around the lake on the edge of town. That would be all on level ground and I could easily do that right now.

I do like that he didn’t insist I come up to his level of fitness first. Instead, he said he would meet me wherever I am right now. I think that says a lot about his character. So, maybe he would be a good support in that way – just maybe not emotionally.

Hummmmm . . . I’m still figuring out all of this relationship navigation, LOL!

Larry did mention that he would be by himself over the Thanksgiving holiday (Nov 25th), so I invited him to join my family for dinner. He said he would let me know, either way, when we got closer to the date.

——————————

Speaking of resigning from the bus barn . . .

Last month, I felt so uneasy about turning in my letter of resignation that I delayed doing so indefinitely. But, this week, I had a family with three daughters ask to start lessons and I didn’t have room for them in my schedule. So, I told them I would resign from the bus barn at Christmas break – which would open up my afternoon schedule – and I could start lessons with them the first week of January.

So, I guess that means it is official – I’m resigning at Christmas break. I emailed my resignation letter to my boss today. He should get it tomorrow morning.

And, guess what! My gut feels okay with it this time. I have no idea why my gut was screaming, “No way!” a month ago and now it feels calm. Whatever. I just gotta trust that my gut has its reasons, LOL!


Responses

  1. One thing I’ve learned through my years of therapy and education is that most people know exactly nothing about the more complex forms of psychological and emotional wounding, and that disclosure often makes about as much sense as saying, “I have to work up to that, because I have Sjogren’s Disease.” It’s an interesting task coming up with an appropriate disclosure, and also knowing when disclosure isn’t necessary. I tend to go by a rule of thumb of “Do a lot of other people have this issue?” In the case of sticking to a fitness plan, tons of people have that problem, so it’s something where it would probably make sense just to say, “It’s a challenge to stay motivated, so I’m having to take it slow.” On the other hand, disclosing to a doctor that all touch must be explained beforehand due to PTSD is completely necessary in order to receive the right treatment, and it’s not something everyone needs in the same way many PTSD-ers do.

    I generally reserve disclosure until I know someone a bit, and have a sense of how open-minded they are, and what they can and can’t handle. People who haven’t experienced trauma often have trouble understanding it.

    …and that’s why, when I wrote the personals ad that brought the love of my life to me, one of the things I said in it was ,”If you had a happy childhood, you’ll probably bore me and I’ll probably freak you out.” :-)

    • Hey, David –

      Yeah, I guess this is one part of this journey I struggle with a lot . . . knowing when to keep it to myself and when to share. It is my nature to share openly about what is going on with me. But, maybe it is not to my benefit to be so open right up front.

      I guess I am looking for people in whom I can find support. I really don’t want to closely associate with people who can’t handle, or who don’t really want to hear about what is happening with me. Maybe I’m just being selective in whom I’m willing to invest . . . which might be a good thing, LOL!

      As always, thank you for sharing your wise insight!

      – Marie

  2. How much disclosure is tricky. Also some people are uncomfortable with feelings (I’m told this may more often be the case with the male of the species). Maybe he doesn’t know much about engaging with emotional stuff.

    I hope leaving the bus barn and moving to music teaching went well and continues to go great.

    • Hey, Evan –

      I find myself often looking for attention from men who are emotionally available. I always try really hard to find the ones who are emotionally available, but I’m learning that I haven’t yet figured out how to tell the difference. Someday I’ll catch on . . .

      Thank you for the well-wishes!

      – Marie

  3. Here’s how I would play it, but I understand that your gut may have led you in a completely different direction. If I was interested in hiking with him (and trusted him enough to head to the woods), I would. Then, once I knew him a little better, I would decide if he was someone I wanted to share more of myself with or not. I like depth and honesty in relationships, but too much too soon scares me. Also, I believe that some friendships serve other purposes, even if they don’t provide tremendous emotional support. Like having someone to exercise with.

    I’ve always been amazed (and impressed) with how much you were able to share with Edward so quickly. Its taken me a lot longer to open up about any sexual issues with my therapist, and even now, I can barely get the words out.

    Thanks and best of luck.

    • Hi, AJ –

      I think my super-direct approach is a personality thing. I can’t imagine being any other way — not being direct seems like a burdensome waste of time and energy. So, I’m still finding the fine line between allowing my natural personality to come through and honoring reasonable social constraints.

      I appreciate your kind words . . . I trust you will be able to open up when you are ready. And, that will be soon enough.

      – Marie


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