How do I go traveling and leave behind my perfect weight woven cotton soft summer blanket, my perfect fan aimed perfectly at just the right angle when I sleep. I am used to the feel of that blanket, used to the sound of that fan, used to the feel of this carpet brushing across the bottoms of my feet.
I am used to the feel of this particular coffee cup in my hands every morning. Used to the sounds of this refrigerator, the feel of this chair and this keyboard under my fingertips.
Seven weeks. How long, exactly, is seven weeks? I have to find a different inner sense of safety, security and trust in order to journey away from all that is familiar, even though I know I’m going to see people who love me and that I love in return. My three kittens tumble around my feet in the morning as soon as they hear me open my door. They are so curious; they follow me, galloping after me everywhere I go. My parakeet flaps its wings and sings with all its heart to the strangers singing back to it from outside my front door. I will miss them.
The one I most wish would tell me “Good bye. I hope you have a wonderful trip. I will miss you and will be glad when you are home” couldn’t do that, because he could not even conceive of being able to handle my absence and could not admit that to himself or to me. I understand. I do, but it’s still sad that some of us have to so struggle with how unsafe and insecure we feel in the world that it never takes very much to make us feel threatened. (I suppose the more investment a person has in denying that insecurity and making it seem invisible, the more ‘macho’ they want to appear and believe themselves to be, the harder it is to deal with the truth.)
Sometimes it’s hard to realize that how we handle on the inside ourselves all states of change, separation and exploration, was built into our body and brain before we were one year old. Without there having been patterns of safety, security, trust and hope in our lives at the time our ‘mental representations’ were forming as the basis of our ability to think – which lies where the information from our bodies connects to our minds – we will feel more anxious, more afraid whether we want to realize it or not, and more threatened than we would ever feel if things ‘back then’ had been OK.
It is my attachment to my nest that helps my insecurity. We are supposed to be able to access a ‘safe and secure nest within’ where the self can continue to interact with life and not feel threatened while it does so. If this is not the case, choices are limited, decisions are made with different priorities, and changes are very hard to handle.
When I was younger I took risks and moved around because I was hopeful, willing and oblivious. It’s harder now. But at least I know what the root source of my anxiety is, and I am willing to take this 7-week trip in spite of it.
I don’t even know if I have to move out of my home when I get back. Time will certainly tell, and there’s nothing I can do in the meantime but hope. I cannot leave or lose or change my home easily, or lightly.
So now I have to continue to get ready. Take the laundry in off of the line. Clean the floors, sort out whatever it is I am taking with me. I can do this, as difficult and impossible as it may seem to be. At 5 AM tomorrow my friend, Anne, will drive me away from here, and off I go!
This traveling might seem to be a small thing, but it is the small things that can most easily upset the insecurely attached and the severe abuse survivors among us. For us, whatever it is that makes us feel most secure means so much to us that threatening our insecure base within means that changing those things seems to change who we are. I continue to ‘work on that’!
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