Monthly Archives: February 2013

pulling weeds and planting flowers

Few people have been able to fill the void lately. The ones who do sing to me the unashamedly erotic songs of John Dowland and help me test new decks.

Through it all, I’ve been trying to take five breaths every now and then, inhaling and exhaling a little more fully than usual. Trying not to live like it’s a friday every day. Trying to figure out if I should apologize for using your song to score the moments I shared with someone else. Trying to reconcile my old Taoist beliefs with my new Buddhist views. Trying to be happy with the person I am, instead of letting discontent drive self-improvement.

house in the woods

 

Frigid winter days are teaching me patience and vulnerability. Some are easier than others. I’ve been working with the fickle swings instead of against them. Otherwise, it’s a constant struggle when trying to impose static order on inherently unstable processes. The hard part is making plans when you don’t know how you’ll feel from one day to the next.

Jesse arranges

Back in the day when we were doing covers of Frank Ocean songs. One of the most recognizable things about Jesse’s room are instruments strewn about.

The greatest test of my progress so far will be an acoustic show Jesse asked me to play with him on Sunday. Anxiety has been getting the better of me lately, and the prospect of having only two nights of rehearsal does nothing to assuage this.

I’ve been keeping in mind that we were able to pull off a decent performance last time when I didn’t know the show was going to happen until a few hours prior; one of those exercises to foster positive experiences and combat negativity bias. Fortunately, Jesse is a great frontman to be behind, cause he commands the attention of anyone watching, also taking the attention away from nervous fingers and live jitters.

cat and girl

 

The journey of self-discovery has been difficult. When there’s a history of trauma, it’s inevitable that an uncomfortable feelings get stirred up every now and then. I take care of myself by making sure I see the important people on a consistent basis and living in those moments. The little ways to heal are found in both the experiences themselves and the time one takes to internalize those experiences.

This is how I learn that self-compassion isn’t self-pity, and that most people bring less kindness to themselves than to others. To get on my own side, I’ve been visualizing myself as a child, just as worthy of care as any other. I would wish the best for that little person, and it helps me understand that I should wish the best for myself as well.

the edge of a waterfall

There’s so much happening at once that it makes my head spin. Sometimes I wonder what it’d be like to be the one written about, to be on the other side of that lens. What would another person say about me? Would it be different from what I think of myself? And would I like what was said?

I haven’t been able to write, not from a lack of time or desire, but because I can’t keep a straight thought for long enough to get it on a page. Even when I can get myself to sit down for an hour, I just end up in an endless cycle of inspired writing and critical revisions. I’ve been questioning everything. I don’t know what I’m working towards, where I’m going to end up, or even what I want anymore. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by it all, so I have to remind myself to take everything one day at a time.

It’s no longer about resolving struggles and learning to grow, it’s about fundamental changes in the person I am and the way I define myself. When you’re unsure of who you are, nothing in the world seems stable. Maybe that’s why the good doctor asked me if I was scared of changing. I told him yes, but only because I don’t know if the person I am now would like the person I’ll be later.

tin cans and string for years

Man cannot remake himself without suffering, for he is both the marble and the sculptor.

—Alexis Carrel

I’ve been discovering that I don’t know how to take care of myself. Not in a practical, everyday sense, but a cognitive one. Consistent psychological abuse during my formative years meant I never had the chance to develop some important life skills, like how to nurture my emotional needs, how to make mistakes, and how to view myself without judgment. The poison was in the wound, you see, and the wound wouldn’t heal.

So far I’ve just started recognizing these issues in therapy, and it all makes me feel damaged and defective, likely why I’ve been hiding these parts of my life from others for so long. But I’ve been hiding them from myself most of all. It’s hard to go through the painful but necessary process of grieving when I’m alone; always easier to ignore things and keep going.

I asked Tiana to help me through this, cause now I know I can’t do it by myself. It wasn’t easy. Even the simple idea of asking for help makes me anxious. People who’ve had major roles in my life have hurt me or let me down in a very significant way, so trusting others has always been hard, and I’ve avoided being vulnerable for so long because of that.

Luckily, Tiana responded the way I needed her to, and it’s been a great comfort to give myself up to someone I can trust. To be able to cry in front of a person without feeling guilty about my emotions or how I’m making them feel. To be able to talk to someone who’s receptive and attentive and gentle and caring and appreciates my openness as well. To be the little spoon, cause everyone needs to be held sometimes. She lets me let go, and for the first time, I’ve been able to surrender myself fully and still believe that I’ll be okay. I can sigh with relief instead of sadness.

These are still baby steps though, and the whole process is terrifying. My sense of control is what makes me feel safe, even if it’s detrimental to my growth, and I’m still learning how to give that up. But I tell myself it’s progress nonetheless, which is what I need now.