Tag Archives: writing

“Ripen into Your Authentic Self”

The phrase “ripen into your authentic self” was part of my horoscope from Rob Brezsny this morning and it was one of those aha things that I just love.

I’ve been having a little bit of trouble with a family situation lately.  We haven’t heard from our oldest son in over a year and it is bothersome.  Luckily with the internet I can keep faint tabs on him, but still.  This is the kind of situation that most parents dread and are confounded by.  I am no different.

Fortunately, I found a recent blog post he wrote–the sign of life I’ve been wanting.  The subject matter is one I am quite uncomfortable with personally.  However, it is not a surprising subject.  It is consistent with the kind of person he has always been.  Which makes his absence from our lives quite understandable.  He is being considerate of our feelings as well as being true to himself.

I was pleased to see that he is a fantastic writer.  And a person with integrity.  His interests are not interests I can share, but I can respect them.

I feel very proud of him.  But it is still strange and uncomfortable for me that I cannot just call him and say, awesome blog, tell me more.  I have to give him the kind of space that most parents would be uncomfortable with.  And I miss him.

It’s hard to know what to do with a relationship of this nature.

But the thing we have in common, and that all people have in common, is the desire and need to be our authentic selves.  And for many of us that takes a great deal of time.  Some people never accomplish authenticity.

I had to learn to get out of my own way to even begin ripening into my true and authentic self.  I think my son had to learn the same thing and over a year ago he made his move.

So here is to all of us finding our true, authentic selves and the peace that it can bring.

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Triggers

I have come a long way in the past three years, just about, since I walked off the Terrible Job.  At that time I was a shadow of myself.  Clinical depression, anxiety, incredible work-related stress from a toxic job environment, PTSD, unresolved grief issues…. all that and more! left me in a very fragile condition.  The moment I walked out that door was the first moment of real self-care that I had ever attempted in my life.  And that is what I have been doing ever since.

Lately, I have been able to exercise a certain amount of detachment when it comes to what is going on with symptoms of my mental and emotional illnesses.

For example, this past week I learned that other people had been invited to events that I might have expected we would also be invited to.  However, we were not invited.  Both times it bothered me but for different reasons.  And one of the “slights” hurt a whole lot more than the other one, even though that one was not actually personal in nature and was completely understandable.

That’s how triggers work.  Crap from the past that was stuffed way, way down gets unexpectedly dredged up, and the emotions are just as painful now, even out of context, as they might have been back in the day.  If only there had been a safe way to express them at the time of the original hurt.  But there wasn’t a safe way or even a known way to express the emotions.  So someone like me will place them into something like suspended animation forever and just carry them around for years and years without realizing that those emotions are just biding their time.  In an unguarded moment, they come back to life and once again you have to decide what to do with them.

Decisions about emotions sounds strange.  But that is what I did subconsciously in the past and that is what I must now do deliberately in the present.  In the past I had to stuff things down because I was overwhelmed and because I was mainly on my own to figure out these things in the trenches.  It was a way to go.  I don’t have to stuff things down now.  I have space to work in and I even have some skills.  These skills are very new but they are there.

This detachment that I am able to feel these days is a very useful skill for now.  It allowed me to sit with some very, very uncomfortable feelings for a couple of days.  Then I felt able to look at the situation and see other possible scenarios to explain why we were left out.  I acknowledged that maybe we were actually left out because nothing had actually been planned ahead of time.  Other personalities were thrown into the mix and nothing could be done about it at the last minute.

Once I got that far, I was able to talk about what happened.  That was not very satisfying but it was another chance to organize my ideas about being left out.

A day or two after that, I wrote out what happened and how it made me feel.  That was hard because I still want to judge myself.  There is still that voice which wants to tell me, you are not worthy of being included therefore you are foolish to be hurt when you’re not included.  Not a good or accurate message at all but that voice is so persistant!!!

After I wrote it all out, I felt quite a bit better the next day.  A couple days later we got an unexpected invitation from the same source and there it was:  the physical, visible, undeniable proof that my voice is a liar.  We are worthy, we are loved, we mean something, we matter.

What an awful lot of hard work it is to heal and grow in spite of the burden of mental and emotional illness.  This is why it is a priority for me.  It is very hard work and I do not have the stamina to do this while also working and being out there in the world at the level I used to be able to be.

As frustrating as it is to be working on the triggers, I am seeing progress.  I used to just get lost in my stronger emotions.  Now  I am seeing a fairly clear way through them, which gives me reason to hope.

 

 

 

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Filed under anxiety, boundaries, decision making, decisions, depression, dysfunction, emotional health, family, friends, getting along, grief, growth, healing, history, human nature, injustice, planning, pressure, progress, PTSD, self-care, Uncategorized

Fast Forward Thirteen Months

I have been avoiding my own blog. A couple people found it during this past little-over-a-year and each time it was mentioned to me, I felt a little embarrassed. What had I written about anyway? I didn’t even remember what I had called it.

I used to have a neat blog on MySpace and I called it “Gulika and the Undulations”. “Gulika” is Arabic for “pearl” and it is a word I had come across when I was trying to pick my belly dancer name. So, even though I never did pick a new name for myself, it made for a very cool blog title. And that blog is officially gone because I officially deleted my MySpace account. I must have been de-cluttering when I did that. But it was an awesome blog and now I kind of miss it.

So, I actually wrote four WordPress blog posts in quick succession last spring just before I quit my job. Probably I thought writing would help me deal with my stress and depression enough to maybe not have to quit a very well-paid job. Too little too late it was.

I did indeed quit. My boss smiled at me when he said he got the letter I had left on his computer keyboard. He said that he put it in his upper left hand drawer where the vacation calendar was kept. He said that was so I could change my mind about quitting and take it back.

That jerk.

I thought, Oh, great, now I will have to decide every single day for the next month whether or not I am really going to quit my well-paid job in a highly toxic workplace.

That smug sonofabitch.

I stewed about it for a couple days. I would NOT take it back, no matter what. And I didn’t want it sitting in that drawer taunting me either. I’ll shred it, I thought. But if I shred it, he won’t see it. He’ll just think I took it back. I’ll cut it up into confetti and leave it on his desk for him to find. Ha! Change my mind? Nah.

So, I took the letter home on Friday night and chopped it up into confetti. It looked unimpressive. I chopped up another piece of paper to add to the confetti baggy. There, that’s better. About a tablespoonful of yellow paper bits. It looked just about right.

Saturday afternoon at work was kind of quiet and I took my baggy of resignation confetti into the boss’s office and decided where the bits would go. I opened a few drawers and poured a little into each one. He’d need a dustbuster to clean it up. Then I poured the rest onto his computer keyboard so he couldn’t miss it. The supervisor saw me at my task and didn’t question me too much. I told him the boss would know what this was about and we left it at that.

Monday morning he came to work and left by lunch time. He never even looked in his office. Hard-worker that he is. Tuesday was my day off. Wednesday I found pure chaos in the office when I came in to work. The boss had flipped out the day before. Everybody was still talking about it. I knew then that my prank had struck a nerve. Ha!

Turns out he didn’t know I was the one who did it until I told him. Since he had never opened my letter of resignation, he didn’t recognize the yellow, lined piece of paper it was written on. He knew the letter was gone and he smiled about that. But he didn’t know I had chopped it up into resignation confetti until I told him. He stopped smiling and told me that was vandalism. He would begin discipline against me and I should call the union and arrange a meeting.

That made me smile. I said, “So, it’s going to be today.” I gathered up my cash drawer, my ID, my time badge, and my keys. I punched out for the last time then went and deposited everything on the boss’s desk. He smiled at me as I left. A friend told me he was not smiling later on when he understood I was really not coming back.

It has been quite a year since the day I walked off that terrible job. This year has been the beginning of real, long-term, deep healing. I still have no idea where I am headed in life. But I have to trust that healing myself will ensure that I am headed in the right direction for maybe the first time in forty years.

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