Monthly Archives: January 2017
How many times have I talked about this? How many times have I felt like I’ve had to say it or remind myself of it, or remind myself of the feeling?
When I was little I was scared of this guy that my mother brought into our lives. I knew I was not going to be taken care of. I knew I was in danger, even.
He ended up beating me with a bamboo switch. With his hand. And trying to smother me with a pillow. All before I was 8 or 9 years old.
He was a burly guy, volatile, ignorant, young. But he should have gotten his fucking arms broken for the shit he did to me. For the way he acted towards me.
He hit my brother years later (my brother was his kid and was too young to get hit for anything before he and my mother split up). My mother called him out of the blue to discipline my brother for doing badly in school. So, let’s call him John. He came and picked up my brother and took him for a drive and when my brother didn’t tell him the truth about school he punched him in the face a few times.
He dropped my brother back off less than an hour later and I was waiting…for the worst. My brother came in the house and went straight to his room. My stomach was disintegrating into dust, or roughly cut pieces of steak. I wanted to bash my mother, and take a fucking 2×4 to my father. I would have, if I had have been in the position…
So, today at the therapist’s office I was talking with her about her comment last week that she could not understand how I felt, in particular how I felt about a situation with a guy I have recently met. She essentially said that in my description of what was going on she was confused about how I felt about things. This week we explored that a little more and so much came out about me being so incredibly terrified to reveal my emotional experience.
There is a huge gap right now between my Little self. My vulnerable self that got pulverized physically and emotionally as a little girl — and — my bigger self who is still scared and angry, who still feels that there is a threat — AND — my adult self who is learning and doing more and more with the understanding that I am and/or already know how to keep myself in a safe place (in a few senses of the word).
In my relationships with my mother and my father, there is no record of my feelings. No existence or validity for sure. I said to my therapist that… There was no record of how scared I was when John became a mainstay, no record of my reactions given my fear of him, no record of how I felt being molested at 5 years old…no record of how I felt afterwards when my mother was ‘negotiating’ with the mother of the boy who did it…no record of how I felt when my mother said she was going to leave me with John and come back and get me…no record of how I felt when I left in the middle of the night so I would not be left there…no record of how I felt when he left for the last time…no record of how I felt when my mother used me as a sobbing rag…no record of how I felt when I was molested again at 9…no record of how I felt when I had to sit in front of the boy and his mother while he smirked, while his mother said that I was ‘fantasizing’ and while my mother did not protect me from that cruelty…no record…
Which is maybe why the memories and feelings hold on. Until I make them true and give them validity. Bridge that gap between helplessness and awareness…
Little Shantelle – loves the quiet time. loves the breakfast and stretching and swimming and the not running to someone else.
Outer Shantelle – not feeling much to do because little Shantelle is not suffering terribly at the moment.
Adult Shantelle – I’m working in a bit of a daze, people…but I’m trying to stick with doing the most needed and most obvious things first. Including what you need, Little.
So…the next difficult question came up today… My therapist said that…how I feel about (my recent encounter with a guy) is not clear… How I express myself about it is…confusing. She said that I may feel happy or excited or scared or pissed off, but she’s not sure…
Embarrassed by…how I act…the fact that I don’t say…play games (?)…create drama(?)…keep someone else in the dark(?)…try to control something…act like a scorpion…? I’m being outrightly…testy… trappish…Insecure.
Gosh. If I show how I feel…the freaking sky will fall. Seriously.
Why do I feel that way?
I envision…feeling free, smiling, laughing. Reaching out to touch someone…looking warmly at them. And then losing it all.
I discovered, when I (finally after years) let go of the first man I loved…that I still had everything inside me that I had given. That the love I gave was all mine. That I had built a road behind me and it was of hundreds of thousands of bricks of love…
But why does it still feel like…surgery…like a something-ectomy when I show my feelings and I don’t get what feels equal in return…? The feelings are THAT strong…yes.
When will I feel like my love is strong enough…?
I have been working for…(I don’t like to hear it out loud) years now to extricate myself from habits, relationships, ways of thinking, situations that tear me apart… This morning I lay in bed, still, like so many mornings, feeling heavy like a boulder…not feeling like I have the energy for life. And then my reflection mechanism kicked in, as it does more and more these days. That mechanism questions my immobilizing sensations and thoughts, helps me stand back, give those reactions space and attention.
I was able to consider what situations have actually made me feel truly like I did not have what I needed to get up, to live on a particular day… The situation was always people around me who were not supportive, not perceptive, not receptive, not ‘present’, not personally responsible, not connected really, to me or anyone else. And the situation was also my thinking that I had no choice but to share time, space, even a life with them…
As I lay in bed and reflect on that elsewhere- or other-time reality…(because at that very moment I was not in that situation) I reflected on the appointment had with my therapist yesterday morning. I had come to the question, how do I ‘be’ with someone who is the kind of person I want…how do I be…healthy and content and good deep inside and still face the fact that I was so damaged…Face the fact that I am struggling still with not living a ‘damaged’ life? How do I be authentic about who I am, what I have behind me, and happy at the same time? And happy alongside someone. Not weighted down, or dependent in unhealthy ways, or seemingly bitter or scared or controlling, or ‘intense’ for no reason?
And how do I live as a Shantelle who is true to herself and everything she was before people treated her like shit, and live around family members who (may) still be shitty…to me and to themselves? How do I live happily and with momentum and optimism and free spirit and spontaneity and joy around people who are still trapped? Those types of people usually don’t like really joyful people around. They usually think something disparaging about them, or feel sorry for themselves…(I know because they taught me to live like that…And I pretend to be in a shittier (feeling) situation when I am around those people so that I don’t ‘bother’ them…).
I feel like there is an irreconcilability in my path to personal health. I believe that this is just a scare tactic…But I still don’t know what is meant to come next… Just my decisions, I guess…no matter how bold…?
What is it? That breaks hearts? The struggle to reconcile our being with the notion of us held by the outside world, what others want or need from us.
Not being corny at all here… I have been watching lots of interviews with George Micheal in the past week. (I discovered that he was much more open in interviews he did in Europe and the UK during his life, especially his more recent life). He said in an interview about 12 years ago that he finally understood how celebrities, famous artists can lose their mind in their 40’s and 50’s. He struggled for decades to come to terms with ways to deal with his celebrity, media publicity, and his intentions for his craft and his life… And I believe now that his death was, in indirect ways or not, an effect of his lack of desire to live with media as such an invasive force in his life, for the rest of his life. Not being able to separate one’s life from one’s public presence…that would really drain personal energy…Millions of people wanting to know and conclude things about you indefinitely…and you not knowing how to stop that… An artist like him whose contact and relationship with his true fans was so important to him was antithetical in many ways to his personal need for less if not no invasiveness in his life.
I hope his last years with his partner were happy, and his last years creating music that he had never created before were happy for him.
It sounds superficial, but it is not…that there are things for everyday people to learn from experiences so far away from us and so seemingly ‘unreal’.
G. Michael always struck me as a soft, vulnerable, genuine, open artist…When he sang, when he spoke when I saw him live, he spoke to every individual. There was no filter between his truth in his songs and the world. It is never entirely the same flow of energy the other way around. And a feeling person, a connected person can only handle so much energy loss through social, personal exposure.
From now on we will be enjoying his remaining work without taking anything from him. He will keep all of his beauty, even while we benefit from his gifts.
And I will continue on that road of learning how to ‘be’ in a way that the energy the flows from me manifests as genuine and nurturing an energy in return…