Morning, Afternoon, Evening, and Night.
I had all of these amazing thoughts and connections going on in my head, but as soon as I sat down to write them I got all twitchy and anxious and unable to get comfortable. I suddenly had to put away papers. Check the lint in my belly button, manage the cords behind the TV.
That’s what it feels like when you’re working through feelings. It can make you feel unsettled and well, scared. When I’m really spending time feeling what I feel and naming the feelings, I really have to fight to avoid finding a million things that aren’t important to focus on, instead of what I really need to do-feel.
Right now writing this I keep thinking I should go trim my fingernails…
I went to the ocean yesterday to get relief from the terrifying depths of sad grief. I was avoiding my sad songs, because I’ve been scared that if I listen to them, I won’t bounce back. I decided, as I am apt to do, to get an audiobook on self development to listen to on the drive through Audible.
Well, I gotta say, I found the book that was exactly what I needed when I needed it.
While listening, I’m getting called out on the habits I engage in that keep me from feeling and having real connection in my life.
I’ll tell you what book it is later, but the big thing is that the author is not making me feel like a failure for doing any of it. She just keeps saying we’re human living human lives, and it’s ok. What are those habits doing for us? Sometimes, we really need these habits to help us. But if we use them to the point they are keeping us from having meaningful, connected relationships with ourselves and others, well, there’s a problem. Additionally, she is a student of Brene Brown and she just makes me feel normal listening to her.
And yes, you guessed it, SHAME is part of this picture.
For me, the shame that keeps me from connecting and moving into deeply connected relationships comes from not feeling valued and accepted for my thoughts and feelings, and it’s old stuff, from my earliest memories. It’s like a compost pile deep, with layers and layers of shame piled on top of others, fertilizing more.
So, the thing I truly want so badly, and have wanted my entire life-deep connection with others-is blocked by my destructive habits that come from shame. And the shame comes from not feeling valued and accepted by those that I love. Through no intention of those I love, I have felt unvalued and unaccepted and rejected. It’s just what is.
THIS IS SO HARD TO WRITE DOWN.
I have had feedback about this blog in my world. And while most is positive, some is deeply NOT. I’m very sensitive, and that is who I am. So it’s exceptionally scary to write that I have just said about shame and not feeling accepted and valued. I feel like this could lead to people thinking I’m a narcissist and I just am addicted to my own self-promotion and this is just super self indulgent and who is she anyway?
But then I remember there are real, live people that read this blog, and this is what you come here to read.
reading listening to this book, I’m finding that so far the biggest destructive habits I use almost every day are isolating and numbing. I think I’ve used self-help as a way to isolate and numb, even.
I started to get a hit on this recently. I was looking at a shelf of self-help at the bookstore. A few months ago I wanted to kick that same shelf over and run out of the building.
However, this last time I was there, standing in front of the same shelf with the same books, I had sudden 100% joyful confidence in the following:
“I KNOW ALL THIS STUFF ALREADY. I AM A GROWN ASS WOMAN.
I JUST HAVE TO SHOW UP FOR MYSELF NOW. FOR GOOD.
IT’S TIME ACTUALLY DO THIS SHIT INSTEAD OF READING ABOUT IT FOR ANOTHER TWO DECADES.”
To show some self-compassion, yes, I obviously have done plenty of personal development in the last 20+ years.
But I’m heavily struck with the fact that I have deeply avoided the parts that would really help me grow out of shame.
Isolation from others-not to mean avoiding social gatherings because I’m actually an introvert and they make me a little queasy sometimes-but isolating myself instead of asking other people for what I actually need.
This one, my dear reader, this one is my modus operandi. It is my favorite tool of choice.
Just GO. Get out. Get in the car, get busy doing a project, do do do, go go go. Avoid avoid avoid! BE ALONE.
Why? Because if I say and ask for what I really need from someone, well, they could say no. And I might have to feel the feelings of feeling rejected or unaccepted by them, or feeling unimportant. And that would be horrible. But they could just as easily say yes. And then I would really not know how to handle that. I don’t know how to accept much from others. Down to the employee in the store that I could ask for help to find what I need. No, instead I’ll just walk around 20 minutes looking instead of getting it done in 2 with their help. This is their actual paid job, and it is hard for me to ask them to help. This includes teachers, doctors, nurses, waiters, therapists.
I learned early on that asking for help was not ok, and that I have to be strong and independent and not need anyone. So this is my biggest hurdle. This, to me, is what “letting someone in” would mean.
Numbing out to avoid feeling-Oh wow. I can numb out doing practically anything. I can use food, sex, television, alcohol, driving, organizing, obsessive reading of self helpery, obsessive collection of things, trying to fix things for other people, social media, activities, thrift shopping, buying craft supplies, smelling essential oils, and the list goes on. Please remember that none of these things are being called bad here. It’s just if I am doing these things instead of really just sitting with how I feel and going through it, it just grows. It’s like the compost pile ^ above, it just gets bigger, deeper and more fertilized, this feeling of lack and desperate loneliness. It doesn’t go away.
Numbing I think started when isolation itself didn’t work as well alone anymore. Together they are a dangerous cocktail (literally sometimes) for me of deep sadness and avoidance of pain. They just create more pain.
Right now I’m just naming my shit.
So I can face some of it.
Tom and I have been talking a lot the last few days.
It’s really scary.
It is genuinely shocking to me to have made this observation about my life:
I can choose.
Tom can choose.
We can choose to go forward in the way that works for each of us indiviually, and then together.
Or not together.
We get to decide how we want to develop ourselves and whether or not we want to develop a new relationship together.
And there is no right way/wrong way to be in love with someone, as long as no one is being hurt intentionally.
And then he told me he will wait until I am ready.
No matter what depths we have had to go through.
We’re both…trying…to own our own shit.
And I honestly don’t know what to do with that.
I don’t know how to let someone love me like that.
I have no instructions or perspective for being really loved.
That right there, that is what I will be working on for little bit.