I’m back in Tortuga-the intentional community that just won’t let me go, and am I glad of it! I’m even back in the same unit as before, although a different room. And this time with Ragnar, who is delighted to be here. All these neighbors who want to play with him: friendly people who take him for walks while his person is away at work. It’s good.
It wasn’t easy moving out of the home J and I had been sharing for three years. But it’s become clear, to me certainly, that living together right now does us a disservice.
I am changing a lot, and J… well, J likes everything to be neat and controlled. He doesn’t understand the decisions I’m making. They seem reckless, or inefficient to him.
There’s this moment in the Runaway Bride… Throughout the movie, Gere’s character asks all of Roberts’ exes how she liked her eggs for breakfast. The answer was different each time, on the surface. Scrambled, poached, sunnyside up… The answer was always that her favorite egg dish was the same as that of her boyfriend at the time. He liked scrambled, she liked scrambled.
There is a scene at the end of the movie where Roberts tries every type of egg dish she can come up with, to learn which one she actually likes.
I feel like I’ve always been living on someone else’s paradigm. Parents, friends, significant others… My identity has always been as part of a unit. Which means changes in me that might change the dynamic of that unit are terrifying. Taking a role other than “daughter” who is “cared for” and “toes the family line”… that threatens not just my sense of myself within the family, but the entire family. Enmeshment, my therapist tells me, is what this is called.
Enmeshment. Strands of identity woven so tightly with those of the people around you, that it’s impossible to tell where some pieces came from. Apparently that scene from Runaway Bride, which is by far the best scene in the movie, is frequently used in psych courses to exemplify enmeshment and the process of leaving it.
So, right now, I’m figuring out how I like my eggs. With no regard for how J likes his, or how my mother and father like theirs. And, of course, I mean more than eggs here. Everything. I’m figuring out what matters to me. What I like.
It’s not precisely the same thing as finding yourself. I’ve been here all along. But I’ve been wound so tight in group identities, I haven’t had a chance to think or make changes.
As hard as this is for me, it’s even harder for J. He doesn’t understand what’s going on. Doesn’t fully get the enmeshment issue. Doesn’t understand why, suddenly, his partner is making choices he dislikes and refusing to give in on them. Not easy to live with.
So I’ve moved back to Tortuga. And J still lives at Church St, as do the cats, as does most of my stuff. And I still go there on a regular basis. But I can’t live with J right now. Not if we want to have any kind of chance of making things work between us.