More than anything, I fear being forgotten. The explanation lies deep in my infancy and toddlerhood. But the tendrils reach to my every interaction today. I construct relationships – professional, social, sexual – in part to medicate against this fear. I organize my communication, my requests, my demands, so they easily can be attended to. I remove as many barriers as I can to disappointment. I satisfy myself with the barest evidence of my not being forgotten. Truly, it doesn’t take much to make me feel safe in this way.
Or so I tell myself.
But. Time and again, I manage to eke that experience – of feeling forgotten – out of situations in which, to others, it might seem strange – or impossible – to do so.
I’m committed, in other words, to revisiting that experience, even as I’m committed to avoiding it.
As I get older, as I learn more and more about the workings of my mind and body, I get better at recognizing all this as it happens. I wish I could say I have gotten better at avoiding it. I can’t, though. Instead what I can say is this: as it happens, I see it all more and more clearly. I have gotten better and better at seeing just what it would take to extricate myself from the excruciating dynamic – what my partners could say or do, what I might be able to say or do.
Sometimes, this all works, and I’m able to extricate myself, my relationships, from the zone of danger to which I’m drawn like a moth to a flame.
Other times, not so much.