Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Finally Accepting the Truth

A realization that I was allowing shame to control me has also grown to include the fact that I am not as honest as I like to believe, not with myself, let alone anyone else. While I tried to ignore comments pointing out strength in character and voice that had all but disappeared, I’ve now accepted that they were right about that all along as well. I became that familiar old “wall flower” again because I was tired of lying to hide the shame that I felt.

These are hard things to acknowledge about oneself, looking in the mirror, finally listening to that voice and knowing that you fucked up.

Though I have spent the past few years fighting with all of my might to stay on top of this all, to bury it, to run from it and pretend it wasn’t so, or that it would magically change, I am now forced to look at it for what it is and to see what damage I have allowed to begin growing roots in all the wrong places. Most importantly, above anything else, I now cannot deny that I am breaking and it is affecting Makiya.

The things that I need to do, say and become have brought me to a familiar point, one that screams out at me to get busy. Once, many years ago, I reached the same point, and was forced to ask myself the question, “Never mind five or ten years, never mind next year or next month, I do not want to wake up TOMORROW feeling/living like this again.”, of course, the answer being no, the very next morning I found my voice and made a permanent change. While the place that I find myself now is much different than that moment, that question is getting louder in my ear again.

It’s funny, I know that I am not stupid or weak, I know that I am strong, courageous and smart, and that when I allow it in myself, I can also be very determined and accomplish whatever I desire. Yet, here I sit, in a position that I allowed myself to slide into, struggling to find a way to make it all right again.

As always, I do know that I WILL find my way through this, just as I am meant to, when I am meant to, but I think that for a time, the “flow” may need a little more self direction.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Next, A Trip Through Shame

Shame - noun
1.     1.  the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done by oneself or another: She was overcome with shame.

I have recently had some deep, thought provoking, revealing conversations with a few wonderful women, ones that I am thankful to have in my life. 

I interacted with these women in, what seems to me, the sequence required, the time for me to awaken and open up enough to receive the wisdom they were going to share. The first came at the EXACT moment of “impact”, the time when everything came to a breaking point for me, slamming into the second interaction, when I was simmering, stewing away in my realizations. The third was as the calm began to take over, I had reached a point where light was beginning to shine through again and my breathing was finally slowing to a manageable pace. It was then that it hit me, and hard.

What began from feelings brought up when I took Makiya to her first Music Class, progressed into a struggle to write out my emotions, which then also became something much more. A perceived difference between people, women, mothers, and a worry about being judged for past mistakes, became the catalyst for a much bigger discovery within myself; like it or not.

I had been thinking back over my life, looking at, digging through and trying to understand the giant leaps I have taken back and forth; between being a social butterfly and something more resembling the caterpillar, tucked away safe and warm while awaiting its transformation. I was trying to decipher whether I was in one of those states as a response TO my surroundings and circumstances, or was I dictating the surroundings and circumstances by CHOOSING to be in that state. What I began to realize was, at least in that moment, that I was being the caterpillar in response to circumstances and situations I had lived, in the PAST. I began to accept and admit to this to myself as I acknowledged it to be a truth about who I have become.

I brought up this realization in conversation with one of these women, who was quick to point out how damaging “shame” could be. I hadn’t thought, yet, to put “shame” into the equation, I hadn’t put my finger on it as the force that it really was, and yet as strongly as I began to feel this addition to my truth, I still hadn’t really gotten the complete picture.

A few weeks later, I was chatting with a friend, who has been discovering some hard self-truths of her own for some time. We spoke of ignoring signs and/or clues that sit boldly before us, the ones that are finally “noticed” later on, of being tired of pretending and not being heard, and as we shared our thoughts, insights and feelings on it all, I began to see more cracks in this truth I was coming to terms with.

A week later, I spoke to the other woman (that wonderful friend who has the ability to see clearly, and between the lines, when I can’t, and vice versa, at times, thank god!). I admitted what I was beginning to see as the whole truth, and with a deep breath, she responded “That is huge.” As I heard her utter those words, the entirety and enormity of it truly and fully slapped me in the face, with a WHOOSH; it WAS huge, especially in saying it aloud to someone else. I was really putting it out there.

What I realized opened my eyes to so many things, and is still continuing to do so, which I suppose, was my biggest fear. This was NEVER what I wanted it, and yet, I went ahead and created it anyways.

I realized that for all of the pride I carry in not regretting, hiding or “feeling shame” in things that I have already shared about my past, I hold on tightly to the truth about the present and the little left over bits of recent past. Those are kept close, without the warmth of sunlight or the ability to take in fresh air, they are hidden away, left to bend and twist, morphing into an ugly form of “shame”.

There are these “things” that I let slide out of control in my life, and the feelings of guilt in not tending to them have transformed into something darker and uglier. Instead of staying truly strong and continuing to speak clearly and loudly, I became comfortable in a place of denial, falsely labelling it as hopeful.

These things have caused me to feel shame, and I am finally able to admit it to myself.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The First Part of Learning the "Truth"

It had been a long time since I had felt feelings similar to those I felt as I entered the waiting room during Makiya’s first Music Class. In that moment I walked in, the last of the moms to enter the room, I was instantly transported back into my youth. I felt their eyes on me and a rush of memory and discomfort washed over me.

I felt like the outsider of an exclusive club.

Although intellectually I know that I am no longer “young”, my mind and soul feel much to the contrary. Sitting among those women, mothers, I felt like a little girl and one coming from a far different world than they. I imagined them looking me up and down, taking in my hair, outfit, shoes and purse, and my mind filled in many blanks as to where their thoughts went from there. I felt judged and looked down upon; I felt less than I thought they appeared to be.

I, of course, realized how silly I was being, but the rationale wasn’t enough to wash away my insecurities. In that half hour, as I sat waiting for Makiya’s class to end, many forgotten feelings came back to me, and I thought that I had an epiphany. I thought I had put a name to the missing piece of the puzzle about myself. What I didn’t realize at the time was that this was just the beginning of a serious revelation about my life and where I am right now.

My mind strolled backwards, remembering the different times in my life, the many faces I have worn and the circumstances that surrounded me during those times. I have bounced between being the “wall flower” and the “social butterfly”, swinging back and forth. I have spent seasons preferring the company of myself to the energy sapping game of socialization, and then, there were times that the mere thought of spending another moment alone would bring on an anxiety attack.  I wondered what the difference really was; how is it that I have been able to pull off BOTH persona’s and, yet, not truly feel at home in either?

It was obviously necessary, whichever mask I chose, to be who I needed to be in that time, but why? Was my personality a response to circumstance or were the situations dictated by the current role I was playing?

I suppose it was both.

Then, I got to wondering what had brought me back into being the “wall flower” I currently am… and I thought I finally got it.

I decided that past actions, undesirable ones, were keeping me clammed up. I told myself that because I wasn’t proud of what I had done, years ago, I was afraid to chat, make small talk, introduce myself to others, because I didn’t want them to know about my mistake or to judge me for it.

THAT I claimed as my truth.

A week later, after struggling to write through what I had felt that day, I began a conversation with a very insightful woman about it all. Even as I began to let the words spill out, I knew how ridiculous of an excuse it was; pretending that I was afraid of being judged for a past mistake! That’s all it was, another feeble attempt to ignore the truth. So, when she, unwittingly, called me out on it, putting a name to what it really was, I wasn’t fully surprised. But the name, the truth of what I was feeling, wasn’t what I expected either. 

Suddenly, it was glaringly visible, and I was instantly frozen by fear when I recognized what I was really dealing with.

It now made sense WHY I was having such a hard time writing the piece on discovering a new truth; it wasn’t true either.
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