God love Mara Glatzel. She says the things I know, but she says them in a way I will listen.
Started Ferocious Truth with her last week. Fucking head cannons everywhere. Starting with this one: “There will always be more than one version of the same story for you to pick up and play with at any one moment.”
My own personal revelations:
Tuesday: For the last 18 months now, I get knocked down to a comatose bag of guts every time I travel or even when friends I adore come to visit me for a few days. I’ve been judging the shit out of myself for that. I have been hearing my stepmom’s voice telling me that it’s unacceptable, the response my body has to these types of events. So, I’ve mainly tried limiting the negative effect it has on other people. I thought it was so radically accepting of me when I decided this year that I schedule an equal number of down-days as any trip I go on – but the whole point was to help me avoid disappointing other people when I got back and couldn’t function for a few days. So, finally, I decided to try owning my mess and I summoned the courage to tell a few people. Those people weren’t upset with me for being like this. They were worried that I was suffering and they were hopeful that maybe there was help so I could suffer less. So, I reached out to my homeopath and talked it out with him and my remedy is in the mail and we are going to start getting to the bottom of this. Massive.
Wednesday: Walked an hour at the lakefront before this truth finally started talking through my voice box.
John and I don’t “fight.” What we do instead is live quite peacefully and happily until he misinterprets something completely benign that I’ve said as an attack. And he gets super defensive and then gets really upset with me for hurting him. I remember what it is like to live under constant assault. My stepmom terrorized me. I was regularly under attack and when I responded by being hurt or recoiling, I got attacked for that, too. So, when John is triggered by something random, and he thinks I am attacking him, I go into care-taker mode and try to get us back to safe ground ASAP, trying to resolve the misunderstanding and assure him that I don’t have these negative opinions toward him or his actions that he is accusing me of. But that damage-control response is also hugely motivated by my fear that having any emotional response from me will just escalate it, so I am terrified and he is terrified but blaming me, and all I want is to get safe again because I am worried he is about to leave forever over something that was a complete misunderstanding. But all this means that I’ve been lying to myself for 8+ years about being emotionally hurt when he accuses me of hurting him when I’M NOT HURTING ANYONE. So, here’s the truth: THIS IS FUCKING BULLSHIT AND I AM A GODDAMN HUMAN BEING SO I HAVE FEELINGS TOO AND BEING ACCUSED OF ATTACKING THE PERSON I LOVE IS A GODDAMN ATTACK IN ITSELF AND I AM FURIOUS THIS PATTERN IS PART OF MY LIFE AND I DEMAND BETTER. Luckily, I finally realize that I don’t have to act on this new realization yet, I get to process it and decide how I want to bring John into it at a future date when I decide I am ready. I was worried that acknowledging my anger and pain would mean I was required to act instantly and that scared the fuck out of me, so I wouldn’t go there. Mara reminds me that I don’t have to do jack shit until I decide to, so right now it’s huge just to FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY acknowledge how bad I get hurt when that pattern happens. BTW – it happens a few times a week. But we somehow continue with this narrative about how we don’t fight.
Thursday: Rufus is dying. Prognosis is his kidneys are way worse and I’m a goddamn wreck.
My stomach basically quit working the day he was at the vet last week. I can’t eat decent food, and for a bunch of nights I was having nightmares so I couldn’t sleep. I’m shaky and I cry a lot. It’s the physiological shakiness that I’ve been attacking myself over. I have reclaimed crying – I can defend it pretty easily when I hear Polly’s stupid fucking voice in my head. But when it comes to what is happening inside my body, which, reminder: I HAVE NO GODDAMN CONTROL OVER, it’s Polly’s motherfucking voice just insisting that I am so, so bad for not being 1. in control of my own body, 2. controlling it in a way that makes it perfectly cooperative to what everyone else’s body would be able to do and 3. 100% sure all the commitments I’m making are going to get done because I’m pretty emotional and sometimes that makes it hard for my brain to concentrate on anything at all.
Today: So, I’m laying on the couch, crying about how “bad” I am. I am so upset that I am so bad, even though I have spent my whole life trying not to be bad. I am incapable of not being what Polly taught me is to be hated. And that is devastating. I am totally powerless to change that I am so, so bad. No wonder I was a suicidal 11 year old. What other conclusion is there?
Luckily, Who I Really Am spoke up a little while ago to remind me that the “bad” me isn’t the one we have a problem with. It’s the part of my that judges the rest of me that actually earns my wrath. This is already pretty relieving news. Makes enough space in my psyche for me to sit up and at least go get some Ensure from the fridge because only the judge thinks I don’t deserve nourishment and only the judge is confused about how much quicker I will “get with the program” if my basic nutritional needs aren’t met.
But here comes Mara. Telling me that I will never be anyone other than who I am. And that is like deliverance. It reminds me of one of the most meaningful exercises I did when I started recovering from my eating disorder 10 years ago. “Imagine a world in which no one’s body changes at all. Ever. No one can do anything to alter the appearance or condition of their body.” When I imagined this, I felt the iceberg of body-hatred in which I was encapsulated instantly melt and slosh to the floor in a crashing wave. If I literally COULDN’T change myself, then I wouldn’t believe that my entire life responsibility revolved around the obligation to successfully change myself. It would become a non-issue.
So it goes with being someone other than I am. I’ve been spending most of my life, desperately trying to become not-me. But, apparently, that is not possible. It’s not even an option. So, two things: 1) I can focus on something else because this goal is a non-starter, and 2) I AM NOT A FAILURE for never having become someone other than me – because it’s not possible.
I can live my life, give up that plan/dream/goal/intention of becoming not-me, and I don’t even have to accept the label of failure or even of disobedient (my attempt to reframe the label of failure because sometimes I willful fail at living up to the demands of the Polly that lives in my head).
This is what we have. It’s crazy how many different times and ways I have to learn the same lesson. But for real, getting more proficient at being this person I am, at being a person at all,