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Pretty Up and Pretend

Diary excerpt, 1/21

Really don’t know what to say. Except that I’ve once again gone to figure that I don’t have to talk about what’s on my mind, because I’ve somehow arrived at that place where keeping it all in is ok. Is there such a place? I never realized it before, but I actually believe that if I were mature enough, or better somehow, I wouldn’t have to write about or talk about my issues. Somehow it would all get solved inside my head, I’d deal with all my emotions appropriately and in a timely manner (I don’t even know what the hell that means), and wouldn’t ever have to take it to the degree that I dislike- speaking completely openly about whatever is bothering me, big or small. And perhaps all along, that’s been my goal here. I’d talk about all the stuff I’ve already been through, see how stupid I am for worrying about any of it, then learn to keep my mouth shut. I am seriously…disappointed is too weak a word. But definitely unhappy to realize this. ‘sigh’ I know that hasn’t been my complete motivation, but now looking at it, I can’t deny that it’s been there this whole time. Even though there has been a lot of good in maintaining this diary, and giving myself a space to be honest, I still see myself as weak for needing it, for depending on it at times. ‘sigh’ I’m actually feeling very conflicted here. On the one hand, I want to keep this diary, this communication forever, and to have it as part of who I am and what I do. On the other, I want to be past needing this, past those days where, in the middle of struggles and issues, I couldn’t wait to get home to write all about it, and lay it all down. Granted, for the most part I don’t feel that clawing desperation the way I used to, and most times I can handle things as they come. But without feeling like this is still okay, it’s getting hard for me to keep this up, aside from obligation or talking about little things (yes, nail polish). I’m seeing that I felt that way about the therapist, too. That the whole point of seeing her was so that she could point out to me what a weakling I was being, because other people don’t fall apart at the ups and downs of life. Other people take traumas in stride. Only weaklings like me end up struggling with them. The worst part is that intellectually, I know none of this is true, and that most people rather pretty up and pretend than be honest, which is hard work. Emotionally, though, I completely believe it. What I hate is that despite the progress I’ve made, part of me longs to be with them. To pretty up and pretend instead of slogging through mountains. Yet when I think about where I was when this whole process began, when all I did was pretty up and pretend…things were unbearable. I couldn’t sleep, my anxiety was through the roof, suicidal fantasies (and I actually looked forward to having them; they were the highlight of my day), tears to fill an ocean, all kept inside. Through the process of working through and talking through my anxiety and depression, it’s not as if I haven’t struggled with all of those things, but it gave me a breather, a chance to hit the surface from time to time and get some air. How quickly I forget. I know, in all this, it’s because I’m still programmed to see what I need and what I do as handicaps, and to see myself as perpetually weak and damaged. I also see that I tend to quickly form beliefs about things, even if I’m unaware of it, and those beliefs will thereafter guide my actions until I bring them to light and challenge them. It’s funny. Challenging strongly held beliefs was one of the first things we worked on together, and yet I thought that by having made myself aware, I’d stop doing it. Apparently not. But I actually feel better knowing where all of this is coming from. It’s still amazing to me.

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Just want to talk


Hello there. I know, this whole bit is a bit strange. But for once, I just want to shoot from the hip. No free write, no focused topic. Just talk. Admittedly I often feel this way, but keep myself from saying a thing because I don’t have a point of focus. The times I make free writes it usually starts with random thoughts, but I often know where I want to go. Now…it’s kind of like those weird drawings I’ll sometimes do, where I have no idea what I’m making, and the entire point is to trust that something inside me knows what I’m doing. Most of the time it ends up being for little more reason than the joy of being able to do it. 

These days I’m feeling less bound up than I used to, and yet the old habits make it difficult to do this as easily as I’d like. Still, it’s  easier now, and that’s progress I’ll happily take. It’s a weird feeling, knowing that the walls are coming down, I’m more fully inhabiting the life I’ve been given, and the pupating is almost over. I’d always thought I would burst out of my cocoon violently, yet that hasn’t been the case at all. Heh, I shouldn’t be surprised, considering I normally don’t flourish in harsh conditions. I have no idea what form this change is going to take. But for once, I’m more curious than scared. And I am so grateful to feel this way. 

Voice chats

Accepting art as I know it

Hi, all,

Yep, it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. Pardon my volume- making these with a fan in the background and dubstep in my ears is likely not a good idea, and a point for the books. Hope everyone’s having a wonderful Wednesday!

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Pain makes me a better person

Have you ever struggled with belief: belief that life truly is good, that good things are in store for you, and that one day you’ll see the work you put towards the things you want pay off?

Truly, I never struggled much with most of these thoughts. At times I’d think the things I wanted in life might be compromised by one life event or another, but deep down I knew, if I pressed and pushed and kept going, I’d see the flash of light as reality dawned on my dreams.

But there’s one belief that’s lurked in the background, with regards to what I’ve wanted most in life. The belief that somehow, it was written in my destiny not to have it, and my life would be defined by my longing for it, and the subsequent suffering my longing would cause.

Eventually I had to ask. Why is it that I can see myself easily with anything I’ve ever wanted in life, but not this, my deepest desire? And I realized- it’s because I don’t believe I should have it. More specifically, I believe the pain of not having it is better suited to me than the joy of having it.

Why?

Life started in a strange place for me. Early on I learned from my parents that I couldn’t rely on lasting impressions of good times. Things had to eventually turn bad. Pain and sorrow had to come. Eventually I believed it was what my parents wanted for me. And so I internalized the belief that pain makes me a better person. Life is stable, and things are the way they ought to be, when my soul is filled with it.

Now, this is something most people are surprised to learn about me, as I was to learn about myself. Generally speaking I have an upbeat attitude and tend towards optimism. So when I tried to rationalize the two, I then realized why, contrary to expectations for people like me, I didn’t repeat patterns of pain when it came to my relationships and my marriage.

Because that kind of suffering wouldn’t be enough. Even though time did finally show me I expected pain from my husband too.

What kind of pain would be worse than the pain of a lifetime longing unfulfilled?

Truly, when I finally had to come to grips with the truth of the beliefs I had internalized about myself over the years, and forced myself to admit them out loud to my husband, a sick pleasure came over me, as my subconscious mind said, “That’s the pathetic creature you are. The way you’re supposed to be.”

 

Not anymore.

I’ve seen what can happen when I let that go, and follow the things I want. When I help others, and don’t worry about not being enough. I’ve seen the good and the bad I can do, and believing things like this only holds me back. No one benefits from my suffering. But everyone can benefit from my blessing, if I allow myself to realize how blessed I am. I am sitting down with my book of life’s rules in my lap, and it is time to undo all the lessons scrawled in there meant to keep me bound and predictable. And the first new lesson that must be entered is:

I am blessed.

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Get uncomfortable

What’s on my mind? Seems like a simple question, but there’s too much there. Do you quantify it by weight, by size, by effect? It doesn’t matter. There is a lot, and more than I can define.

With so much of what has happened in the past several years, things around and within me, I’ve come to realize the truth of what I believe, and how strongly it affects what I do, as well as what I think I can do. And the belief I have internalized most strongly, likely as sacred a belief as believing the sky is blue, is that I am inherently and permanently inadequate.

Yet…it’s such a clash because I see myself inside and…I love her. My inner self fascinates me to such an extent that writing about it makes me feel rather silly. But she wants something of me. Her freedom. For so many years I took it on as my goal in life to protect her from anyone who would have her be different. And after such a long captivity, I was pleased when I realized she survived relatively unchanged. But she is not satisfied remaining protected. Now feeling safe, she wants to be free. And it terrifies me.

I hate the fear that has kept her bound for so long, yet…it’s safe. Will she die if she is exposed, if her spirit is allowed to inhabit my arms, my skin, my voice? She did once, when I was very small. And for her protection, I made a very diluted copy of her, the one who inhabits my body now. Maybe I’m scared for her death…and my own, should she be given freedom.

But there’s no lie that can swallow the truth. The diluted spirit that possesses me now…is already fading. While she grows stronger, it grows weaker. There is nowhere left to go. I believe her inadequate…and myself as well. If we were to merge as one…would the belief change?

To best fear, one must act in spite of fear. To best shame, one must act in spite of shame. There’s no easy path to adequacy for me. I must be content in the discomfort, breathe while in the unsureness, until I realize I’ve survived. Inadequacy comes when something is measured against something else. This time, there need be no sense of inadequacy when I’m the only thing against which to measure. A measure I already fill…adequately.