(Picture borrowed from Debbie Burns, head unicorn and founder of Debbieburns.me all rights to it are hers)
My writing mentor posted this picture earlier. It brings up a topic that I believe I would like to try and tackle. I have no doubt of how capable I am. I am aware of my strengths, my flaws, and the areas I need to work on. Still I have moments where I question my worth.
Now I could blame my past for that doubt. Claim that I am flawed because no one has ever seen my worth….but I really hate that. It is possible to both know your capability and to doubt your worth. I am a strong and open minded individual, still I struggle. I don’t see what others claim is talent. I see a lifetime of fighting. Of me trying to be half of what those around me said I was.
I struggle because this is the path I see. I stuggle because I refuse to quit. Perhaps the above is true, perhaps some can see the ability within and it will set them free…still not all of those who are struggling fail to see their own capability. I am a strong woman, I have a generous heart. I am creative, with a quick mind. I am a survivor who has learned to be more….still I have days when I don’t understand the love everyone around me has for the broken soul I am. Days when I am the one that sees too much of life and has no way of processing it.
This is just part of being me. Those who love me generally understand those days. They are quick to reach to help me understand why I am loved. And even then I understand my capability…even as I have no understanding of my self worth.
I struggle to see myself as others do. I can list my flaws innumerable. I logically know that I am not what my mental gremlins say. I am not selfish, nor cruel…not intentionally anyway. Still there are those days where I expect more out of people simply because it is something that I can do. I am a poor uneducated woman who is more than a little crazy. I am in constant pain due to physical issues. Still I show up, I do what needs done, and I move on. So on the occasion that I need to remind myself that I am not normal….well I find myself also reminding myself to be kind.
Kindness is not just for the rest of humanity. Sometimes the person who needs your kindness most is yourself. My writing coach, the Amazing Debbie Burns, gave me a couple of methods of dealing with the negative thoughts. One involves listing 100 words about yourself. You then relace negative words with positive ones. This is meant to try to get the brain to replace them when you think about self. We have to try and train ourselves to keep the mental gremlins at bay. Still after a lifetime of self abuse, it is not terribly easy to see the good that everyone else does.
So I will continue to do my word lists to help me see the bright light shining. I will start with the words I did above. “poor uneducated crazy” are all three replaceable. Yes, I have money woes but I have food, I have clothes, I have shelter. So I am content. There see one word replaced. Uneducated is not true. I have my high school diploma. I have taught myself computer programming in c#. I have studied several other things independently. So I can replace that with self educated. Now only one word remains. Crazy. Ugh it is the hardest. After all, I am struggling with mental illness. I am aware of the stigmas. I think perhaps for that I should use the word Unique.
So what words do you say about yourself that perhaps you need to change? I would encourage everyone to examine the labels we use to define ourselves, and in turn the labels we call others.
In our society there is so many choices. Things become somehow expected and so many of us end up overwhelmed. Addiction and depression drag us into deep meaningful arguments. We often feel alone during this time of year, a time when family and socializing is expected.
The problem is that we are not all social. We do not all have loving families to make us strong during the cold months. If you care for someone, please I beg you….check on them. Not everyone knows how to express that feeling. How to say they are struggling, and those that do are often hesitant because it feels like they are a burden.
Sometimes just knowing that someone hears us, that someone is on the other side of the phone….it can make a difference.
I am learning to be a new person, in order to do that I have to quiet the mental gremlins. That is harder than it sounds. I am a survivor. And I am tired of surviving. No, I am not suicidal. But I am trying to change the direction of my life. I am trying to make it where I no longer am having the string of disasters that my life has been up till now.
What that means for me? It means for to start I let my art and my words flow. I continue to put myself out there. I consider writing the memoir that I have been told was something I need to do. That will probably be some of the hardest words I write. I have shared a few of the stories.
To ease some of the panic, I will say that I don’t know if I will publish it. If I do it will be under a pen name.
Lately, I have been trying to do an exercise for my brain in the morning called ‘morning pages ‘. Basically brain vomit put in physical form. This helps me to clear the crap that weighs me down, and recognize my problems so that I can address them. It actually is helping. I used to understand the power of keeping a diary… Unfortunately people happened. Said people used those diaries against me. So I got out of the habit. I stopped listening to the internal therapist. And the result? I have a fair amount of issues that bind my self esteem in a knot. So by starting to do this at least one time each day, I am going to see so much of what garbage is buried in my brain. And I will see what I am able to start working through. I will be improving who I am.
Today I found that I was feeling like a failure because I was not juggling the numerous hats I wear as well as I want to. Today I was kicking ass as a mom, but my writing was not going as well as I wanted it to. I rocked as a friend and I even did decent as a housewife. But I was doing poorly as a crafter and small business owner. I was an amazing artist but I felt that I was not a wonderful person…. Now… Read this again. Today I was amazing but I did not feel like it. That is the place where the exercise helps. We have to change how we see the world if we want to change the way it sees us.
What’s something that you can adjust your way of thinking about? And how can you use it to make your world brighter?
How many times have you found yourself thinking about the past? I am guilty of doing it often. We are all a collection of stories, some that we do not tell. The reason why we don’t varies some, depending upon the story. Some we are ashamed of, some we think are going to be boring to the world around us.
I am finding out that sometimes those stories are more interesting than we realize. I try to be open about my history and tell my stories, but some of them do not really sit on the mind as something that I need to tell. Yet, each of them are a part of who I am. I am a unique individual who has seen some of the darkness that lives in the heart of man. I am a survivor who has learned to make do with what I have. And I am a woman who has seen both good and bad, and came through it ready to try to tell my stories. I don’t know if I will ever be able to write all of the stories of a life survived, or even if I should. Not all of my mistakes are ones that any one would learn from… Even me. Still for now, I will attempt to continue to dribble my story in small gushes to this blog, and to my poetry. Perhaps my journey will aid those who stumble across my words.
I have many stories, I think that we all do. Some of us, the ones who have been through hard moments, we hide the stories. We have been taught to feel the shame of those stories. To feel less because of them. And I refuse.
My memory is still very fragmented. I blocked more of my story out to save my mental health than I remember. Yet, I remember enough. I am a survivor. I was abused. I was raped, multiple times. And when I asked for help I was told it never happened. I was told that I was crazy.
I might be crazy, but it did happen. I have been brave before, I told the man who abused me as a child that I would scream if he came near me again. I was eight or nine. I’m not entirely sure of the exact age. He locked me in the trunk of his car and told me I would die there. I believed him. He convinced me that no one would ever believe me. The sad part is he was right. It took me until I was thirteen to gain the courage to tell anyone. To my shame, I was told it was not true.
So much of my life I have been fighting for my sanity and my life. I am in my fourties, and for the first time in my life I am not crazy. I know my truth. I will always be the person who was made from the hell I walked through. But I will not hide my truths any longer. I am not going to let those truths break my spirit anymore.