I AM HERE

Epiphany #3:  I AM HERE… as in, ALL OF ME is still frikkin here.

If I hid parts of me from you, it was an unconscious, automatic reaction to clues (real or imagined) as that is what I do when I pick up on vibes of disapproval. If I think you find an aspect of me unacceptable, then I will simply hide that part of me from you.

It is easy to do… childhood conditioning.

I was raised in an era when children were seen and not heard, when little girls were supposed to be passive, weak, adorable, meek, soft spoken little ladies, and oh so very nice… stand still and look pretty.

Double down if you live in a glass house called a parsonage.

I was one of five little “angels” with impeccable manners, pretending to be what I’m not… feeling more like a fraud with each passing year. And, of course, little girls are not supposed to even FEEL negative or “inappropriate” emotions, so there was no outlet if you do, not allowed to express them. Best not tell anyone if something bad happens… your own fault anyway, something fundamentally wrong with you.

It took years and some therapy to love and accept myself as I am… now I am trying to be consciously aware to override that auto-response to clues (real or imagined) so I can stop hiding aspects of myself from those who love me.

Please know that I don’t do it out of shame or guilt or even to make myself more acceptable to other people. I do it for self-preservation, to guard my precious me… I am my own treasure.

I guard my me because I have always felt like people want to change me, or make me change myself, just so I would be more acceptable to them and/or fit their own impression of who they thought I should be.

Fixing me is not your project.

I am not going to change who I am to please anyone. The only one I have to answer to, besides my own self, is God.  The approval or acceptance from other people is not necessary. I hide my true authentic self from people who may find me inappropriate just so I don’t have to deal with their bull. Who I am is none of their business. They don’t need to know all of me.

WHY would I hid parts of myself from the ONLY person who has ever noticed that I do that? The only man who has accepted, and encouraged me to be my true authentic self as I am?

Clues babe… that automatic response kicks in, it’s unconscious… wasn’t done on purpose.

What clues?  Well, here’s an example… when I briefly mentioned what I was writing a book about, he pretty much told me that my topic wasn’t very nice, that I shouldn’t write something like that. So, I just never mentioned it to him again… it became none of his business… he doesn’t need to know anything about it. Eventually, I took ALL my writing underground, essentially closing off an aspect of myself as writing is vital to my existence.

Oh yes babe, I still write. I write a LOT… even got phone apps for that, so I can write anywhere at any time and email it to myself. That’s what I did in the wee hours of the night, when pain pulled me from slumber, and I got up so my moans and thrashing would not disturb your sleep. You bitched too much about me being on the computer so I alternated with using phone apps at the kitchen table, writing to take my mind off pain while waiting for pills to kick in.

Another example? When I try to talk to someone about things that are important to me and they cut me off with “why bring that up again” or some other offhand remark, I just shut up and stash that topic off as something I cannot openly discuss with them.  After that happens a few times, I stop trying.

Suppose it doesn’t matter anyway… but we are supposedly just taking a break so I can work on myself while you are out doing what you do.  That’s Epiphany #4:  I don’t really know you.

 

Finding Me

I’ve been rethinking a few things, drawing every day, and listening to music with lyrics that echo words in my head.

I mentioned shedding insecurities in my last post.

Underneath all those insecurities is a strong, confident woman. The secret is that she has always been there. All she wants is to live a simple creative life, speak her mind, and maybe do something a little outragious now and then just for fun.

Okay, that sounds good… but it’s not exactly accurate. Maybe I should replace “strong, confident woman” with “seasoned old woman who laughs easy” as I am more weathered than strong. I have endured. Winds of changes have swept through my life, each time spinning me off into the unknown, but I’m still standing. Might be standing crooked, but here I am.

Maybe “insecurities” is a wrong word, too. It suggests that I put myself down and that is simply not true.

So, what exactly are these layers?

I don’t know. It is the shedding of things I don’t need anymore, obsolete reasons to hide inside myself. Shedding the layers is not so much about finding me as it is revealing me as I am, flaws and all.

Yes, I am flawed. If I were in OA, those flaws would be called charactor defects. I kind of feel like it is okay to be flawed, as long as you accept the flaws that cannot be changed and take care not to let those flaws harm yourself or others.

For example, I am selfish. I know this about myself, but feel no need to mend my ways because I am not selfish about everything.

It made me a bad wife. I neglected my husband when I lost track of time working on my projects. Over-simplification? Yes, but not having his dinner cooked when he came in from work because I had spent the day painting did spark the fight that ended my second marriage.

After two brief marriages to the same man spaced eight years apart, I realized that I don’t have it in me to be the kind of wife most men want or need. It would not be fair to pretend otherwise, even though I occassionally toy with a fantasy of happy ever after Cinderella bull. That’s like wondering what it would be like to be rodeo clown or an astronaunt after 30 years on my own (as in combined adult years not lived with men).

Chance or Choice?

I never took a vow of solitude, just never had a requited love with anyone willing to accept my flaws enough to consider co-habitation.

Even with the art, the need to make things is so ingrained that it doesn’t feel like a choice. Every attempt to stifold that need to get along with a man or whatever has lead to misery and resentment. I am an artist, not a professional artist. I’m just one of those people born with a need to make things. I have to live a creative life.

Shedding layers is a choice, although it is kind of like removing layers of onion skin rubbed loose by the process of recovery, brittle and dry, crumbles in your hand. Underneath is the same ol’ person you always were… just no reason to hide anymore.

Blue Man

Blue Man, 5×7 original drawing with 8×10 mat kit.