Delicate, part II

The Pedant’s sense of touch and taste are very sensitive.  I’ve also learned that he has asthma (although I’ve never seen him have an attack) and that he used to get such bad nosebleeds that his parents took him to a doctor and they cauterized a couple of the veins way up inside.  He wears earplugs to nightclubs and concerts and sometimes just while wandering around downtown because loud noises hurt his ears.  He’s Aspie (or probably is), as we already know.  I strongly suspect he has celiac disease.

All of which perversely turns me on.

I think it’s the juxtaposition of his delicate constitution with his physical strength and self-assured demeanour.  And the fact that he can relate to some of my weird shit* better than most people because he’s in a similar boat.  And the fact that his sensitivities make him vulnerable, which gives me opportunities to help and protect him and possibly endear myself to him in the process.

On a slightly different note, The Pedant has been expressing more and more bitterness about his parents lately.  I guess his parents noticed his Aspie tendencies when he was younger, but didn’t connect them with an actual brain issue; they just rolled their eyes at him for being weird.  And he blames his mom for his asthma; she’s always used tons of disinfectants around the house and he thinks this caused his immune system in general to be stunted (an immune system can only get strong if it has germs to practice on).  He has this plan/fantasy (plantasy!) of moving out of their house in secret, piece by piece, and then just changing his cell number and last name and never speaking to them again.

On one hand, his rants about this seem like they belong on someone a lot younger than thirty-two.  On the other hand, I can so relate.  I have a lot of old hurt and rage re: my parents not noticing my depression, anxiety, and food sensitivities.  I feel like my mom caused some of my issues.  And I actually did move away at twenty-one and didn’t tell my parents where I’d gone (I wasn’t living with them at the time, and I came back into their lives after five years, but still).  The only reason I don’t rant about my parents more to other people is that I feel it comes off as sort of juvenile and pathetic (shouldn’t I be over this shit by now?).  When The Pedant does it, I feel uncomfortable because he’s exhibiting a trait I don’t like in myself…but I also wanna collapse in relief because he gets it.  He knows what it’s like.

It’s still difficult for me to reconcile The Pedant’s hurt and vulnerability and sensitivity with the brash, kind of assholish dude I thought he was when I first met him.

I just wanna hold him and comfort him and kiss all his boo-boos better and then fuck the shit out of him.


*I, too, have keen and easily overwhelmed senses.  Plus celiac disease, depression, anxiety, and food sensitivities.


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2 responses to “Delicate, part II

  1. Vy

    I’m younger still than the Pedant, but my partner is (i think) more or less exactly your age and we *both* still have a lot of parent/family rage (we differ from you two in that a lot of the rage stems from stuff that’s happened in our adult lives, but i don’t think that’s so relevant in this case). I think that while there are certainly immature ways to handle those kind of feelings, simply having them (or expressing them) is not inherently immature. Honestly, I think that there’s a certain amount of societal gaslighting around how we’re supposed to relate to our families — everyone tells you that family is the *most* important thing, and that nothing can trump those genetic/biological/historical connections, and there’s very, very little discussion of how to maintain healthy non-romantic relationships over multiple decades, particularly ones where you started out having no power at all and no ability to take care of/defend yourself. Or even a suggestion that those relationships take work and have boundaries and beginnings and endings just like every other relationship in our lives. It’s not unreasonable that you still have anger — or to still express anger — over an abusive relationship. If it were a romantic one that had lasted as long as your relationship with your family has, how many years would you expect to take before you didn’t feel a need to express your feelings about it anymore? (And, while I don’t want to define your experiences for you, from what you’ve told us about your parents, they certainly qualify as abusive in my books.) Or better yet — if your friend got out of an abusive relationship, how long before you would tell her to “just get over it”? (It’s so much easier to be ridiculously hard on and demanding of ourselves, isn’t it? But that’s a whole other story.)

    That said, I do NOT like to talk about why my relationship with my folks disappeared for a few years, or why it is strained and guarded now. But my partner encourages me to talk about, especially to talk about it to other people — because there is something both empowering and healing when you see, someone whose judgment you respect and intelligence you admire, when you see their jaw hit the floor because of a story you told them. There are a lot of pressures telling us to minimize the harmful effects of familial relationships. And while it does most people no good to *dwell* or allow those past events to loom so large that they stop you from doing things you want to do, it can be very helpful to shine some light on them, conversationally speaking. If only to hear some third party go “you’re not nuts. that is a really horrible story.” for me, that was revolutionary.

    • Upon reflection, I think what it is for me is that when I was younger I used to ramble to people about my family shit pretty indiscriminately – like, even to virtual strangers. I’m sure I came off weird and inappropriate, and now when I go to tell someone a horrible family story I’m thinking “wait…is this a logical time and place to get into this, or am I oversharing again?”

      So my gut reaction of “shouldn’t I be over this by now?” is less about my actual parental angst and more about the part where I’m acting like a teenager with no social skills.

      For the record, I think the comparison to a romantic relationship is not entirely accurate; I would expect someone to get over a bad romance faster than a bad upbringing because a bad upbringing can affect fundamental parts of your personality and the way you react to the world to a much greater extent than a romantic relationship ever could. So I would be way more likely to go “Duuuude that was years ago!” to someone bitching about their ex than I would if someone was bitching about their parents.

      Totally agree about the societal gaslighting (I got that all the time when I relocated to a different city to escape my parents and stupidly overshared this info with strangers I’d just met. “How could you do that?! They’re your parents!!!” etc., etc.). And I also agree that there’s not nearly enough info on how to conduct a healthy relationship with family members. It’s like we’re all expected to just let things unfold randomly.

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