Monthly Archives: June 2016
Didn’t expect how my appointment went this morning. I slept in and had less than 15 minutes to leave my place to make it there almost on time. Felt groggy, puffy-faced, and unprepared for face-to-face interaction.
Somehow it all went deep unexpectedly fast. I didn’t foresee it, didn’t plan it. It just went from talking about how both my procrastination habits and my work habits are mostly forms of fear avoidance. Yesterday I had this pretty productive and good feeling day, for half the day. Then I geared into this non-stop momentum, even though I went off track. I kept on going when I needed to stop. But I didn’t know how to stop. I didn’t know what to do when did stop…(or the scary voice would let me think of what to do.). When I procrastinate I am fearful and when I work like a maniac I am fearful. I didnt entirely get before. Now I know, they both are avoidance of something. Through my talk with my therapist this morning I found that they are both ways that I try to avoid feeling fear.
When I was around 5 years old my parents took me to the lake. My brother was just a baby so my mother was on the shore holding him and I had to go into the water with only my father. I think I was scared of my father pretty much all the time when I was little. And my mother paid absolutely no attention to how I was feeling… So, when I said that I didn’t want to do things or even acted like I didn’t want to it was mistaken for me being difficult or shy or misbehaving.
So, I went into the water with my father and we were standing in water that was about up to my belly and John wanted to teach me to get in the water, to get my head wet, to swim probably. I don’t think I ever had a fear of water or swimming or trying new things. I always just had a fear of John. But I didn’t show that, or it wasn’t what he wanted to see.
So, as John tried to get me to duck my head under the water I began to get scared. I think I was scared that he was not going to save me if something happened to me. I was scared that he was more interested in me obeying him than me feeling safe or good or comfortable. So, before I could get upset (which I had long ago learned simply angered him), I frantically began to squat and duck my head under the water and pop up again, over and over. I looked like a adhd little kid but I was actually just popping into and out of the water so fast so that I did not have to look at his face or see him get angry at me, or grab me or push me down or hurt me somehow. I kept on bobbing up and down over and over…even after he told me to stop… Swimming or learning became a life or death chore, and if I did it I was safe for a moment. It was not fun. I did not enjoy myself. I did not learn in a way that I was empowering. I wanted to keep on bobbing until he stopped…until he stopped whatever he was. I wasn’t afraid of the water. But I was doing that in the water because I was afraid.
That is how I have lives most things.
Hiding if I didn’t want to do something. Acting like a terrified maniac if I HAD to do something.
So, my pattern as a kid was, when I was nervous or scared, to hide, be quiet, not to disrupt or draw attention to myself, disappear (and by consequence be unproductive… or when I was doing something active, to do it to forget what I had to go back to. To lose myself in a dysfunctional way. To escape reality.
And now know that I still do the same. Things have shifted somewhat since I left my ex, and since I have spent this time on my own and since I began to do all of this work. But the bottom line is that I have not gotten over feeling terrorized and unsafe as a little girl. And my understandings of the connections between those early childhood experiences and my current experience of everyday life are becoming so incredibly… clear.
I was afraid of ‘uncareful’ and uncaring and volatile people, and I was afraid of being or showing I was afraid of uncareful, uncaring, and volatile people. Because I was never removed from those situations and never comforted in my fear, I have carried that helpless with me.
Now, as an adult, I relive those moments where I was terrified, helpless, always felt in danger… I relive them constantly.
The experience of those childhood moments, days, that turned into years… I learned a lot of lies. And I learned to live lies.
Now I am learning my truths. But I am curious how I begin to live them.
For so long I felt unfeeling. I felt like I needed to be ashamed. I listened to others’ assessment of my behavior, to others understandings of how I act, and to my fears of what they would say, or worse what they thought they would ‘know’ about me… All of the disparaging things they would know… I rediscover that about myself all the time. That I continue to feel fearful and ashamed of a reality of me that others construct. I notice it now. And rediscover that that version of me is not the true one. It is not MY truth. Unfortunately, every time a little time passes, life drags on, and I fall back down a muddy slope in my mind, back into believing that I am not safe here, back to believing that I must defer to what others see and that any of their negative experiences of me absolutely l MUST be who I am. And THOSE are things I put my energy towards.
This will stop soon though. I am feeling that there is some more accurate truth about me. And it is not to be found in the woes and fears of others. And my energy has gone into what feels like a black hole for much too long. I am going to learn to tell MY story of feelings. Not others’ stories of my feelings.
At the end of 1999 my grandfather died. I didn’t get to know him especially well – like, I mean have long adult conversations with him etc and get to know his feelings on politics and his deepest secrets. But he was one of the people in my life that I didn’t have to worry about feeling that feeling of insecurity or impending doom around. I enjoyed sitting beside him, cuddling with him if ever I got to. He had farmers hands and rolled his eyes at ridiculous things (when no one was looking). He was so knowing and sensible and sensitive, but like me reserved himself for moments when that side of him would not provoke others who weren’t quite as reflective.
My aunt and uncle brought him to visit me in Ottawa during the months before he passed away. I saw the look in his eye, even more deeply tender. Like we were both hiding love but both swimming in it together at the same time. I wanted to say goodbye more tenderly. I wanted to share more of my experience of him with him. But I let other things, what I thought were more pressing but were simply more imaginary obligations, get in the way. I didn’t allow space for my loving expressions toward him. And of course, that meant I did not allow space for my grief…
My mother asked me to go be with her at his house during his last couple of days…to support HER. It was a few months after his visit with me in Ottawa. She didn’t just ask me to go with her. She felt she needed to use guilt me into it. Without realizing it, like I had my whole life, I said yes to my mother because I saw her approach to me as proof that I was I neglectful and unsupportive, uncaring daughter if I didn’t go with her. I look back at how incredibly scared and uncomfortable I was of being in that place – around only her and my aunt (her sister). My mother has almost always been a person from whom I felt I had to hide my true feelings. I learned she would steal them all away…or she would express her judgments and I believed I was exactly those judgments. I had to go with her and be this empty terrible person around my sweet sweet grandfather, in the moment that he would move on from us.
Until about now, in my head, the story of my grandfather’s death was one about me not feeling, being a cold, emotionally frozen, frigid daughter, who was not compassionate enough.
I am amazed to discover that that story is note accurate.
I lay in a bed on the floor of my grandparents’ farmhouse, the night he passed away. When he left us my mother came into the room. She came close to me and said he was gone. I pretended to be asleep. And she tried to cry on my shoulder…she tried to use me as her pillow…
Why did I pretend to not be there.
I pretended because I had nothing left to give her. If I gave her another ounce I would break entirely.
It was not because I didn’t care.
I pretended so I would be able to grieve, so that my existence would not disappear into her, so that I would exist. So that I would exist. Sleeping and keeping my affections to myself kept me in existence.
By going with her I pretended to be what she wanted. I pretended not to need to grieve. To not need her attention to my grief, to not feel.
That was the only way I knew how.
But now I know…I felt I had to choose. Her or me. I thought I had to choose.
The thing is, we can’t choose. It’s impossible.
I feel whether I choose or not. I feel whether she likes it or not. I feel whether she agrees, or sees, or supports me or not.
I hid my feelings out of fear of being told they were less important than hers.
Importance is neither here nor there.
Feeling is all.
He is trying to take everything I have and doesn’t care if he leaves me with nothing.
I don’t want him to stop trying to take everything I have because:
- it makes me very aware of what I have
- it makes me value what I have
- it makes me protect what I cannot afford to give
- it makes me realize what I can give
- it makes me realize that I am not left with nothing even when I give a lot
- it makes me realize the reasons why I am scared to be left with nothing
That’s what this is.
I am in a scary yet exciting place.
The negative energy I am carrying around in me…I have been too scared to leave it somewhere…like, at a bus stop or something…you know, like I would leave my wallet or my phone. To scared to let go of the anger, defensiveness, hardness… because I have always thought it was THAT much of a life saver. I have believed that I would be bare without it when I come face to face with that evil somewhere.
The belief that one must fight evil with evil, defend ourselves from evil with evil. That has made me a walking puppet. Like a cut-out soldier that marched out of my fathers’ depths at a very young age. And just marched. And that fear, that irateness, that defensiveness has attracted so many fearful, angry, sad, “ouch” people into my life. Tumultuous, turbulent relationships and situations. Because I was marching. Not being.
Let go of that, on a Spring/Summer day. Fighting evil with evil doesn’t really feel good. Even when you win. Because who wins!? You’re right back where you started. Fighting is no fun. I don’t like what I look like, what I sound like, what I feel like when I fight with the evil that terrorized me as a child. I feel scary. I feel threatening. I don’t feel like a safe place or a safe person.
Evil goads you into “fighting” it. Do you get caught up in the dare? Or are you in a different place?
I don’t know what to write about. I really need to do some just writing. And I feel like I have nothing worthy of saying.
I made japanese style eggs this morning (scrambled omelette with a little bit of sugar) and my regular berry smoothie (bananas, berries, flax, peanut butter, almond milk, kale). Before that I had already read some up-lifting things…about meditation and prayer, done yoga (starting gentle and then going for flexibility –byTaraStiles-and then a headstand), and then I doddled on youtube…Found one of my favorite channels on the scientific research being done on nutrition, and then this cool little channel called Life Where I’m From.
After that I got my ass up off the floor to take a bath.
Feeling freaked about feeling unfocused, nervous about a meeting I have about a job today, overloaded with ‘things’ to do in my home. I feel like there are always loose ends…that never, ever get tied up. And concentrating on one thing leaves me so freaked out about the other 47 things I am neglecting in those moments.
I am writing, which is good. I am not focused. But I’ll keep writing anyway.
I decided to listen to a podcast this morning about using EFT and Matrix re-integration to process personal/emotional issues…
A current Issue of mine… feeling burdensome. When I am alone, as I am staying a lot these days, I am devastated to feel like I am treating my feelings, my emotional baggage as burdensome… I’m used to other people looking upon me that way…But when I am alone, I am doing it to myself!
I moment that came to mind…of misbehavior when I was in grade 2 I think…was when I was being a ‘wise-girl’ with a friend at school. I don’t think I goofed around at school as a habit. I was a pretty quiet and ‘well-behaved’ kid generally. One morning my friend, while we were all singing the national anthem, (as we did in 1979), was getting the words wrong. This happened almost every day. He made the same mistake and it made us kids crack up. For some reason that day I decided to sing the wrong words with him, even though I knew it was out of character for me, and even though I knew I could get ‘in trouble’…hehe.
We ended up both getting sent to the corner, so to speak, which was the first time I had ever been punished in school. I remember the feeling of shame…it’s what I feel now. But is wasnt all because of that incident. It was like I was playing into someone else’s plan that I was going to be trouble no matter what I did. That was just one of the only times that I actually purposely acted out.
The funny thing is that I don’t think I really felt as though I was acting out. I think I really felt like it was an opportunity to have fun. I wouldn’t have done it all by myself, but because my friend was doing it, it was a ship I could jump on…piggy-backing on someone else’s gutsy move.
What I kind of knew in participating in that, and what I kind of learned would be reinforced, was that my fun or funniness would not be tolerated…whenever I chose.
An even more poignant moment that arose in my mind was a moment while I was still in kindergarten. Our teacher used to read us a book, storytime…and I think even by the age of 5 or 6 I had developed such strong lonely feelings that I was craving physical contact. All of us kids used to sit on the floor while my teacher (Mrs. Rogers) would sit on a chair and read to us. I had begun to sit close to her feet, and eventually sit leaning on her leg, and then eventually I came to hug her leg. I remember the feeling. How nice it felt to hold onto someone. But she pushed me away the day I began to hug her leg. Her look was one of annoyance and even disgust… I felt so incredibly abnormal. I knew I was an exception in the world. I knew I had to hide my need for attention and affection.
The tapping exercise on the podcast today helped a woman to assure her little self that she still loved her, that she was still loved, even though she was rude.
For me, it is time to tell my little Shantelle that she is still loved even though she craved attention and love and physical contact. I still love her even though she is lonely. Even though she desperately needs love. Even though she felt not only rejected but entirely humiliated and worthless for having feelings of love. For needing someone to return those feelings.
All feels great. Not all outside. All inside. It’s a safe place to be. She wants to stay there. She usually hides. But she wanted to stay this morning. Inside is a safe place to be.
I don’t have to go anywhere.
How to bring the inside out?
Words pop feelings like balloons. Yet I must write.
This morning I was fortunate enough to awaken, and to feel the petals of awakening.
I knew it was a good feeling, even though my running self looked to run away, to look away, to explain it away, to work it away.
The incredible feeling kept on. It would be drowned out by my mind for a moment. And then I made it come back. It felt, as it always does, like if I move, get out of bed, if I even open my eyes, if I pay attention to thought, it will vanish. Like it was never there. And no one believe me that it was.
I, maybe for the first time, felt the choice. I could feel it, calm surface of spirit. I could make it stay. I asked myself…how?. And the answer…
There is a choice. And the choice feels like a trick after a life like this. Making the choice to feel accepting feels like abandoning… Guilt-ridden. Like I would choose strange things, others’ eyes. Like I would say that things don’t matter that others think do. That I would say that things matter to me that others do not think are ‘matters’ at all. I feel unprepared.
Unprepared for what? Unprepared to come out into a reactive world when I give up reactive.
Can I believe in just that? Through my Fear? When I lied before. I never showed that I found peace elsewhere. I never showed that I felt happier in the woods. I didn’t reveal me. I pretended that love came from the people who wanted credit. The rest was a secret. Only for me to know. And I therefore, I thought, invalid.
Is a feeling of rest, true rest, ok? Is the feeling that ‘I don’t have to do anything’ ok?
I am still gauging my answer to that based on whether it brings me prosperity. Instant prosperity.
My acceptance makes room for excellent things. But my acceptance is not the payment of a wager. Acceptance is. And wellbeing is too. And Love is too.
Acceptance is about seeing what I didn’t see before. And about being seen like I haven’t been seen before.
Not about getting what a didn’t have before.
Acceptance in my world. My world is still wonky. And I mistakenly think that it is acceptance that doesn’t feel right. It is, rather, the ‘wonky’ into which my acceptance tries live that feels wrong.