I think I will always believe on some level that someone else has a better idea about my life than I do. That someone speaking with authority must be worthy of authority, that their summation of my life and choices are superior to mine, the person who is currently living the life.
I know this comes from old wounds, from old trauma. From the feeling of being brainwashed into the idea that my thoughts are Less Than, my assessment of any situation in my own life are inferior, because I hold inferior knowledge. (Yes, even of my own life).
Do you hear how that sounds a little crazy? Imagine living in my head!
(By the way, little word of wisdom for all of you out there–the person living with the mental health struggle is allowed to use the word “crazy” in reference to themselves, but no one outside of this marvelous mixed-up brain may.)
This year, some six-plus years out from the #marriagefromheck , has been a challenging one for all of us: New Normals when I hadn’t gotten the hang of the old one, an inadequate number of hugs for those of us who need our daily dose of oxytocin, all the traveling, living, working changes due to the ‘Rona.
For me it has marked a time where I have worked hard to face the personal changes in moving from a place I spent the last 45 years (SF East Bay, CA) to Portland, Oregon, the town where I sustained the scars of childhood in a chaotic home. I’ve seen big changes within my family, lost the support of my writing group in the Bay Area, and tried to make peace with a city that through no fault of its own is tarnished in my heart. It’s been a lot.
Don’t get me wrong, there have been wonderful things too. Some of the changes my family has gone through have actually brought great peace and happiness, and I had a couple of memorable trips before the world shut down in March.
But the bone-deep belief that Others Know Better has lately been roaring loudly in my head, at times drowning everything else out.
My trauma, both childhood and from the #marriagefromheck , taught me to doubt my own instincts. If I had a different emotion than the loudest person in the room, I was deemed Wrong. If I saw a situation in a different light, from a different perspective, again I was Wrong. If this happens long enough and often enough to someone like me, a person who hadn’t yet developed a strong sense of self, we begin to question our feelings, thoughts, motivations, everything. We question all that is built into us to protect ourselves. We become an open wound waiting to be stirred.
One of my biggest open wounds is that of Self-Doubt: the Lie in My Bones that tells me my observations are not just faulty, but stupid, that in fact my assessment of the facts of a situation leads to a nonsensical 1 + G = Thursday.
Another part of the gifts of my childhood is hypervigilance to the facial expressions and body language of others. I notice every shift in position, every quirk of a mouth, even the inflection of speech, and rather than use those for Truth, I end up reading them as the table of contents to back up my deep Lies: I am A Bother. I Don’t Know What I’m Talking About. My Feelings Are Wrong. Everyone Else Knows Better.
At one point not too long ago I thought that there might be a future where these errors in thinking and feeling would go away with enough practice of the Truth. I really wanted to believe in a total healing, a wiping clean of the slate, a restoration of my bones, once again clear of Lies’ etchings.
But really, what is restoration? I love shows where an old house is lovingly remodeled, restored, renewed. What a process! First there’s the plan for the end result. Next comes demolition with the tearing out of the old. Once those floor boards and ceilings are opened up, deeper problems are discovered that must be addressed before the process can move forward, and adjustments to the final outcome are made, given the new information. But the result: improved flow, better light!
So as in the house is the restoration and renewal of my bones: the old being honored in the new. The pain, the Lies, the tears, all lay beneath the surface. They are what lovingly hold the open layout and better kitchen of my future, but they’re still there, adding patina to the renewed.
Call me crazy, (no don’t–that was a test–) but these may be the most beautiful bones yet. They hold the sweat expended in the process, the unseen twists and turns, all the choices good or bad, the broken pieces lovingly mended.
I’m still in this process. I will likely be in the bone restoration process till I die, and that’s okay. I’m learning to listen to what is True.
I write these things down so others (maybe you) will know there are kindred spirits in the process, that someone else is struggling, someone else believing that Others Know Better, or any one of a gazillion other Lies. I want to walk this learning road with you. I want to talk with you.
The Bring Your Own Beverage Conversation: What is one of the biggest lies you believe about yourself? What keeps you from accepting your own worth as a human? What does its impact look like?