Posts tagged with "self-evaluation"

Level 8

Shawn and I go deep once a week, usually with a decent amount of psychoanalysis mixed in with our Magic matches. I realized I still need therapy, but in a different form from what my therapist could offer1. I need to work with someone who isn’t restricted by time limits when I’m in the middle of extremely time-sensitive events, and it’s vital that I work at my own pace, since it’s easy to rush things (that should be dealt with very carefully) when it costs $180/hour. He also stretches me out in all the right ways, and I’m learning that physical comfort is often just as important as emotional validation.

Shawn admits it’s all pop-psychology since he has no formal education, but he’s specialized in people and relationships for so long that it’s no less effective. Sometimes, it’s scary to work with someone who functions at such a higher level of understanding of the world. I recently heard Jon Kabat-Zinn say, “Buddha was not a Buddhist”, which I started repeating to Shawn when trying to relate mindfulness with modern religion. He finished my thought by saying, “and Jesus was not a Christian”, an idea I’d only come to after a lot more research and reflection. He was able to reach the same conclusion by examining patterns in his existing knowledge; an extremely profound and impactful concept to me, which I was still trying to fully grasp, was applied common sense to him.

That means I’m occasionally confronted with how narrow-minded I can be in comparison. It’s messing with things I take for granted, like my ideas of right or wrong, parts of my world-view I’ve held for so long and without question. Sometimes, I realize the person I was until that very moment would have done things I’d now consider embarrassing (being judgmental/intolerant/hateful), based on ignorance, parochialism, or naïveté. Thankfully, I’m also getting better at accepting my past self(ves) by understanding all the influences that have led me to think a certain way. It also helps knowing that the truly important thing is that I have the power to change now, and that it’ll affect me positively for the rest of my life.

Shawn used to say I was a wizard stuck on level 7, always on the cusp of levelling up. I had enough wisdom and intelligence and other attributes to be a much more powerful character, but was still a mage who couldn’t start his main quest, due to a very low stat in his relationship score. This was holding me back because relationships are a huge part of my needs; ironic that I’m also so bad at them.

I’ve learned a lot in the last few months though, through a new awareness of deeper parts of myself, and a view of the world that’s getting more objective. I’m applying these things by pursuing healthy interests, which currently means building my relationships and practicing unilateral virtue. While the latter has been both empowering and humbling, it’s also drastically shaken my understanding of my relationships, my needs, and my past. I can tell I’m only beginning to figure out the dynamics of people and how they function, but Shawn says just coming to that understanding means I’ve finally reached level 8, and with that foundation, I can begin the next part of my journey.

Then he gave me a high-five. My therapist never did that.

  1. Not that he was bad in any way. It’s just that the nature of openness tends to get more complicated when money is involved. You know someone truly cares when they listen without having to get paid, and it’s easier to be comfortable with that. []

the loving dominant

My relationships function best in a one-on-one context, when I’m giving a single person my full attention or vice versa. I see myself as the dominant most of the time. But power flows from the bottom up and I’m a pleaser too, so I frequently assume the submissive role cause I enjoy it (need it?) so much. Knowing that I can make people happy is something I thrive on.

At heart though, I’m a very dominant person, and I never realized I was missing an outlet for those tendencies until Shawn handed me the remote as we were about to watch Game of Thrones. He read me well enough to know that I enjoy taking care of little details, and he’s even more of a pleaser than I am, so he gave me control, even though I recognize that he’s the more dominant person1.

Over time, I’ve become the one to do the talking, to decide what we do, to make the small choices that remind me I have wants and needs as much as anyone else. Shawn’s a person I respect, and he’s naturally “better” in the ways that are important to me, so being in control when we hang out has been really fulfilling. I’m getting better at speaking out about things that bother me and thinking of myself and being stronger in general.

  1. I highly value intelligence, so it’s natural for me to submit to more intelligent people, and he’s way more intelligent than me. He’s also a lot stronger of character. []

a quiet moment

I took a break from guitar. Not a conscious decision, just days that were busy enough that I didn’t think of picking her up, which means I don’t even know how long I’d stopped. All I know is that it was long, cause I feel the strings vibrating through every piece of wood that touches my body now, one of those sensations you stop noticing after enough time.

I haven’t had much to say either. Nothing seems important. At the same time, I’m trying to move away from this social media overload, where so many people speak only cause the power to do makes them believe they should. It’s making the gaps between my entries longer and longer, and I wonder if I’ll eventually stop writing altogether.

getting dressed

All I have are memories of lives I lived so long ago that I feel like I’m watching them in 8mm. The friends and the lovers, the love and the hate, the cycles and the patterns. I’m only now sorting out the meaning of each one, maybe cause I’ve finally grown enough to understand myself and my relationship with the world at large. It’s com­fort­ing to see how far I’ve come when com­par­ing the per­son I am now to each per­son I used to be.

But such progress came at the cost of my innocence; we aren’t always ready to learn the harder lessons, and surviving sometimes means we change in ways that prevent us from becoming the people we’re meant to be. I’m trying to take back that innocence now, cause I know my happiness is at stake.

Lisa-time, me-time

Our reunion ended on a cliffhanger, where *Skins SPOILERS* Tony gets hit by a bus, Sid finds Cassie, and Angie breaks up with Chris. But finishing a season means we have the chance to start something new (or resume another show), and we tend to alternate between comedy and drama, sweet and savoury, while surrounded by kitties in the little nest we make for ourselves.

girl and cat

Cats warm their balls in your hair and make eye contact to show dominance.

I didn’t realize how hard it was to go a whole month without her until I saw her again. The time we’ve spent over the last few years has made me comfortable enough to let my guard down, and it’s good to be reminded that we’re capable of such things every now and then, especially when still dealing with trust issues and emotional trauma.

The things we share are often small and simple, as they’re mostly about pleasures and we’re easily pleased. Actually, it’s more like she’s easily pleased, while I’m pleased when others are happy. It’s a dynamic that works really well for both of us. I love myself when I’m with her cause she appreciates me in all the intricate ways I want to be appreciated, and that gives me a lot of the validation I need in my life right now.

amour de soi

The last time I saw my therapist, I said I hope I’d never see him again. That would mean everything was okay.

It’s been about two months now. A lot of the healing I’ve been doing lately has been about not blaming myself for the past. Tragedy and pain are easier to accept when there’s a reason. Often, it was easiest to deal with both if I was that reason, even though it wouldn’t leave me feeling very good about myself.

But sometimes there are no answers, nothing to point the finger at when things fall apart. Looking back on old plans and important people, given the knowledge I had at each stage in my life, I realize I would have done everything exactly the same, every single time. Understanding that has given me a sense of self-respect again, and helped me come to terms a lot of things I found difficult to get over.