Sunday, February 24, 2013
Whenever I need motivation to clean, I put on Hoarders and wait. Within a few camera sweeps of trash and clutter and I am off. Cleaning and organizing. Straightening up my own little messes. It was while doing this that I thought of another kind of hoarding. I was reminded of that old childish game we seem to all play at one time or another. When we gathered in dark spaces and put out our hands to touch the Planchette of the ouija board. Watching with our breath held as it magically passed back and forth until it gave us the answer that we had already preconceived. We took no responsibility for the outcome. We could surely not to be blamed. No matter that our finger prints were all over the game pieces. It was not our doing. As we leaned in together and each unburdened ourself of the abuses we had suffered at someone else's hands. Oh, it is heady times. There is that adrenaline rush when drama comes knocking. And of course we answer. How could we not? We have a game to play.
Instead of looking forward and asking some ghostly presence of our future, we looked back at the past. We categorized and cataloged every wrong done. Every roll of the eye or vague status update.
We laid out our reasons for our bid at martyrdom. Twas a lavish production. As tales were told and retold, editing our fault out and adding a double portion to our nemesis. We polished our words until our place as victim was assured. The only mistakes allowed to lay in peace were our own. Barely mentioned and quickly forgotten. These were not tales of what we had done, but rather what had been done to us.
I puzzled all of this as I went along straightening here and tidying there. And I saw them, my flaws. The faults that were mine. I had done some hoarding of my own. Every mistake made, every ill placed word was there. Preserved in formaldehyde sitting in glass jars covered in soot and dust and blame. This is what I had spent a lifetime collecting. I tapped the glass and the cloudy liquid gave up it's treasures. The image of my own errors. My own actions reflected back at me. Every time I should have granted a pass, given pardon, and had not. Times I had chosen to hold on to a thing. To plow through the past as if hunting for truffles. And then I would chew on each until there was nothing left but a dry husk. A morsel of the most bitter nature. I had gathered every flaw and fault that was mine.
I had sucked the very marrow out of their bones. pulverized their feeling and weaknesses to a fine dust and stored them all here. As I gazed on my collection of the macabre memories, I realized I was not meant to be the curator of deeds long dead. I must let them all go. Each and every one. The largest and smallest and the deepest wound, that which came first. So to move forward into a future not foreshadowed by some mystic apparitions, but by my own making. I must push past blame and anger in order to live in peace. Life is not a game were we pass over people as if pieces on a board. No, we are here to help each other. To make our shared world more. I did not know that. I had no one to teach me and I was a poor student. Oh, I have heard variations on the theme, but I was not ready. I was too selfish. Too busy making sure that I got what I thought I needed. Only to have gathered all that I did not want. It occurred to me, that just as we must crawl before we walk, we must look outward to see inward.
mistakes are not to be collected or buried like treasure. They must be released or they gain power over your happiness. They interrupt your sleep and haunt your days. Apparitions we ourselves conjure up. Let it all go. It is not meant to be held on to. We cannot live in the past or in a cupboard full of pickled mistakes. They cannot sustain us, nor preserve us in any way. sail on.
Posted by Chele at 7:12 PM
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
It's Just Emotions
Today I did something I almost never do. I melted down. I cried the ugly cry as Edgar placed his paws on my cheeks and licked them away. Which, eventually made me laugh and helped me calm down. I am learning so many new things, new skills that I have yet to master. Growing up being told that my emotions were not important and that I was property, not a person really affect how, as an adult, I expressed myself. I am getting better at it. More secure in myself and also more able to identify and control my feelings. When you grow up with anger as a constant companion, yet never being able to let it out, it ferments. The more anger ferments the stronger it becomes. The more it rules your life. What was once a feeling of unfairness and then fear mixed with helplessness becomes rage. A wild fire that will burn through life if it is not quenched. After I dealt with that fire, tapping out embers here and there, I had a void. A hollow place where it had lived almost my entire life. It is hard to let go of something you have carried through childhood. Like a ratty tatty security blanket. Other emotions were foreign to me.
I had to learn the balance of becoming rightfully upset by something and that dark thing that had dwelled within me for so long. A growth. A tumor that sapped my joy. It fed on my dreams and shut out the world. Which left me more miserable than before. My protector was also my prisoner. Keeping me locked into a life of empty days and lonely nights. So, what did I do when I finally laid it down? Well at first I hid. Being emotionally naked is it's on kind of vertigo. Up is down and down is up and everything around you is moving way too fast. Completely normal things would send my into a fit of anxiety. It was as if having been repressed for so long, my emotions had decide to all be heard at once. I was happy, sad, angry and then happy again, in the span of an hour. It was exhausting. That kind of exhaustion that only comes from too many tears and raw hurt. In short, I was a mess.
There really is no "Welcome to the world of feelings" guide. There is no coin they give you for passing 30 days without a melt down. Or 60 days without hiding in your dark room in the fetal position. It is all fly by the seat of your pants, make it up as you go along. There is no grand party or acknowledgment of the great accomplishment just staying in your own skin for the day. As much as I wanted to blend in, I also wanted to stand out. To take my place in this world. As soon as I was able to find where that was. I was really between gigs. My children were raised. The job market did not appeal to me. So what was I to do? Who was I now? Homer gave me the answer. Watching as this dear man faded away, I saw someone to emulate. I would write it all down. I would let it all go. And then I would learned to be someone new. Someone other than victim, wife, mother. I would be friend.
It was a daunting task. I loved talking to people about themselves, not about me. Too many mine fields there. But to be known, I would have to allow all my secrets to spill out. Let the chips fall where they may. Once I had done it I felt....clean. Healed. There came rushes of feelings. All of them new to me. I am still learning. Still identifying and cataloging them. I am no longer in fear of them. I am learning to trust myself. Feelings are normal.
Now, I try to help others with their own feelings. Not in an attempt to hide who I am, but by sharing it. I have come to believe that all that I have experienced enable me to relate to others. It is a beautiful thing to take so many jagged little pieces and make something lasting and worthwhile with them. I rarely become angry anymore. I hardly slip up and cave in. But I still do it and I always will. We all do. It is okay to express a proper measurement of indignation for the circumstances. It is not okay to go bat shit crazy over nothing at all. I used to get into arguments over parking spaces, places in line. Anything really. I pushed people away and laid out a thick layer of hate tinged anger. I had a perpetual "do not f' with me" attitude. Silly, foolish me. I continued to feed that beast and then ringing my hands as it kept coming back for more. You see anger never gets it's fill. It is always starving, waiting at the pantry door growling for more flesh. More of my life gone.
I know now, that they are just emotions. And like the songs says "they are taking me over". And that is okay. I love and am loved. I have hope and faith and a deep passion for the possible. The world is not as scary as I once thought. It is magical and delightful, hard and bittersweet. And I would not trade this journey for the world.
Posted by Chele at 1:36 PM
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
The Giver, The Taker, The Maker
As I go along in life I must choose. What do I take with me? What have other people given me and is it enough? What I do not let go of, I must drag behind me. Words and deeds weight me down until I can no longer move forward for the tremendous boulders that have only grown larger for their distance from their inception to the present. Like some kind of ever growing snow ball made of memories of things long gone. At some point I must realize these are not my treasure. These are not my legacy. People have been hurtful to me. I could probably name each and every large stone that had once been a pebble. Oh, it is so, so easy to play the victim. To be the one wronged. As if there was some kind of penance that I wished to have paid. I would gather my hurts around me and show them off as if they are prized processions. And compare. Goodness how I'd compare. Have you seen this one here? My mother gave me that in the Summer of 1998. She called me fat in front of my entire family. Well, do you see this one here? My ex husband flirted with my best friend and she flirted back. I will never trust again. The air of triumph dripping from every word.
It is as if there were some great contest, an award to be given for the biggest martyr of all. I have spent many hours listening to the back and forth of crimes. Real and perceived. It took me so long to learn that there is no winner. Bad things happen. The rain will fall. It is not what happens to me, but rather what I do with it. Do I use it to move forward? Adjusting my coarse as need be, or stop where I am, refusing to move until some penalty has been paid. Someone owes me something. And I will not be cheated out of it. Too much had been taken from me already. As if there was some kind of bank of woes that paid out with interest for everything I endured. Now part of this is simply being able to cry out. To finally say "this thing happened to me" as if I would never be quieted again, I continued to bemoan every and all slights that occurred. Oh, it is tiresome to think back on it all from where I am now.
Whatever it is, let it go. I do not say forgive. I cannot ask that of you. I do not say forget. That would be a lie. I say let it lay where it was given to you. Do not lift it up. It is not yours to carry. It belongs with the giver. There are those people who go through life stealing love and money and years from others and smugly walking away. They hand out little stones of hurt and hate and they are gone. Whomever holds out their hand to grab hold of the token of pain becomes the taker. They lift up this black thing handed to them and they carry it like a badge. With each retelling of it's birth, it grows. Hard and cold, with no purpose at all but to sway the back of it's keeper. We are not meant to be beast of burden. It is why we will be brought to our knees by the weight of it all, if we choose to keep these cursed gifts. There will come a day when you can go no further with your ill given gains. A decision must be reached. To stay and be the caregiver of all your troubles or to leave them unattended. They need nothing from you. Stop feeding them.
Again I will say it, I will always say it. It is what you do with what you get. What you keep and what you make. This is your life. How glorious is that? Oh, please do not look at the pile of dirty clothes in the corner or half eaten crusts of days old pizza. Look far beyond where your physical body now sits. Close your eyes and grab what you have inside yourself. What do you want? What do you need? Are these thing attainable? Then Make a plan. How will you get there. Do not lay out the things you do not have or why it cannot be done. There is nothing to be gained from counting the negatives. Time goes so fast in this world and it is all moving past us. As long as we are breathing, the world is full of the possible.
I have had set backs. There are things that I wish were different. But wishing and wanting, crying and complaining will not bring me any closer to my own dreams. Remember all things given are not presents and all things taken are not wanted. Most importantly be a maker. Craft a wonderful life. Be kind and give grace. Forget how to count your woes. Count your blessings double. The greatest thing I could wish for you is that you love and you love and that you remember that you are the maker.
Posted by Chele at 12:12 AM
Saturday, February 9, 2013
Bad things are going to happen. People are going to break your heart. It is part of life. It took me a long time to understand this. Having grown up in isolation, I was used to being alone. I had great issues with trust. I had closed down so much of myself. I had folded myself over so many times I was unrecognizable, even to myself. Especially myself. I am forever learning how to interact with others, who just like me are trying to find their way in this world. Growing up and well into my adult life, being around other people was stressful. It felt like one big test that I was bound to fail. Having not been allowed to express my own emotions had inhibited my ability to understand other's feelings. I was tense and distant. I did not wish to be, I just had no idea how to interact. My dream most of my life was to buy an island and just disappear. So stressful was it for me to be part of any personal exchanges, I would rather hide then partake. I held myself apart and became more and more miserable for the effort.
I could find no meaningful solution to this back and forth of my inner self. Forever playing a one way game of hide and seek with the world. I would spend weeks virtually alone. It would start out with some small hurt. A misunderstanding, a misplaced word by family or friend and I would be filled with hurt. Vulnerable and distant, I was miserable. I would take my cue and cut off all communication. I did not want to talk about whatever it was. I simply wanted to be left alone. I would nurse whatever the perceived trespass and play the martyr's roll. Vacillating between anger at the villain I was building up and scolding myself for ever letting them into my life. I should never have tried to build a relationship. I would always be alone. I was stupid to try. Down that rabbit hole I would tumble, free falling into depression. Locking out the world was my only defense.
Then, as time passed, my logical side would rehash whatever drama I had created in order to retreat into myself and realize that I was overreacting. That shrunken hippocampus had struck again. So, I would venture out or more often, someone else would barge into my world. I had a handful of loving, caring individuals who would simply not allow me to stay hidden. I owe them a lot. I still get that urge sometimes. Hurt feelings lead to that timeless ritual of disappearing. It is so hard and easy all at once. A picking away of a never healing scab. The desire to mark down all my faults and mentally flog my soul. Habits are hard to break. No one who walks life's path has an easy journey and one is not promised.
I am getting better. At least I hope I am. I have tried to stop thinking like a victim. When someone does something that causes me pain, I step back and stop thinking about how it affects ME and focus on the real issue. What is going on within them? It was the key to escaping my self made prison. I had to acknowledge that I had banished myself. That most perceived slights were nothing at all to do with me. There is great comfort in that. All my life I had tried to be smaller, to blend in, disappear. But I had been mistaken. I had it in the the wrong order. While listening to someone's harsh words or observing their hurtful deeds, that is the time to remove myself. No one is doing anything to me. They are usually just expressing their own hurt. I am very aware of pain and once I realized that that is what they were expressing, I could be there for them, without the need to try on whatever they spun together, to see if it fit me. It had nothing at all to with me. Or at least not insert myself into the position of whipping post.
Life is all about relationships. Like that exercise "the fall of trust", where you fall backwards and your team catches you. That is the secret, you must build a good team. This may be an obvious thing for you. You may have always known this. You may be one of those people who knows everyone and you float on a river of friendship. I am learning to float in that water. To allow others to play a part in my life. I am learning, that how you view the world, is exactly what your life will be. I have learned to listen without automatically projecting my own low self esteem into the scenario. I see the great treasure that friends are. They are absolutely necessary to getting through the hard times and to be there to revel in good ones.
Posted by Chele at 4:23 PM