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.

 

Edge of Reason

“Nancy, don’t be like that.”

I cannot count the number of times that I have been gently scolded with those words. I am not allowed to express anger, not allowed to vent rage, not allowed to speak my mind if what I have to say might upset somebody or be construed as not nice.

This is not just an echo from childhood inside my head. I am fifty-two years and still being scolded.

Nancy, don’t be like that.

But I am like that… and there are times when I should be like that.

PRIME EXAMPLE:

When my husband left me, I could not afford to continue living in the home we shared, so I moved. And then I moved again. So to be very clear – this was MY home, not his. And everything in it was MY stuff, and yes… it was old stuff: a mix of antiques and used things that I had slowly gathered. It was my home and I liked my stuff.

By then, we were getting along okay and doing the co-parent thing, so when he volunteered to watch our daughter at my place so I could go out for a birthday drink with a friend, I said okay.

I came home to a house-full of smiling people, including my parents, all waiting to see the expression of joy on my face when I walked in the door and saw a big red bow on the couch of a brand new living room set. Yes, while I was gone, my ex-husband redecorated MY post-divorce home to HIS tastes.

I was angry, demanding “where’s my stuff?”
Mama scolded me. “Nancy, don’t be like that.”

I felt robbed. My stuff was GONE… replaced with huge fluffy contemporary furniture, all neutral beige, the fabric in the living room matching the fabric on the dining room’s padded chrome swivel chairs.

I bit back the tears and ran to my bedroom to see if he redecorate that room to his tastes, too. Sigh of relief to see it unchanged. Thank goodness I had moved the little antique horse-hair couch out of the living room or it would have been gone too, hauled off to the dump with everything else.

I took a moment to compose myself before I had to go back out and say what was expected of me, to thank the man who stole my stuff.

END EXAMPLE.

I picked an example that doesn’t matter anymore, one that clearly explains how I am “not allowed” to feel what I feel. I have to swallow it down, quench those emotions, let things slide, never seek resolution, restitution, just let it slide… hide those feelings, keep them locked inside, let it slide… again and again and again and again and never say hey, we need to set some boundaries here, this is unacceptable… or can we sit down and talk, try to reach a mutual understanding? No… supposed to let it slide. I am not allowed to be angry. No matter what, I am supposed to let it slide.

I can’t do that anymore because I don’t know how to shove down “inappropriate” emotions without bingeing. I can’t do that anymore. It is not an option.

I guess I am out in left field, learning to deal with emotions as they come. Nancy, don’t be like that?

I am coming to the conclusion that there are no “inappropriate” emotions, just inappropriate ways of expressing them.

Thanks for reading… it really helps to write.