I'm still upside-down. Picasso-esque. And I still think I see light ahead. But I haven't exited the tumbleweed tunnel quite yet. I'm vulnerable, still. Mostly, when I get here, my intention is to get things straight for myself, in the first place. Writing it down, as if trying to explain it to someone else, it helps. A lot. I gain clarity and insight from pouring the chaos in my head into a story line - knit beginning, middle and ending to what unwritten remains - mayhem. And I really, really appreciate the comments - more than you'll know.
But I don't have the courage nor the head space to write a blog post today. A huge part of this half of my personality - yes, dramatic; the shoe fits - wants to turn on the apologetics. She wants to blog about fluffy clouds. Not blog about that, per se, but be about that. While I know I ain't about fluffy clouds even on good days. When I know deep-down that I wouldn't want to be about fluffy clouds, especially on good days. But that's the extend of it right now. This is where I was, this is where I still am, and whether I kick and scream or fight it, this is what I have to wait out - whether I want to (I don't), or not. But enough. I don't have the words to make more sense of this than I did before, so I won't try. I'm here, because I want to share something that almost made me cry this morning. And maybe when you read this, it might help you too. I hope it will. It makes sense to me, and I know I'm not the only one who gets like this. It sounds wrong, but it helps me, to know that. To know that you know what I mean when I hang out, when I feel tied up where I'm not. I'm reading a book. And it's eye-opening. I'm not big on labels and conditions, but I want to get a grip on this crap. Desperately. So while the title of this book put me off for the longest time, eventhough a very trusted close friend recommended it to me, I finally dove in. And it's - just so true. It's hard work to get deep with it, and I'm not getting that exactly right, quite yet, but when it comes to naming the feelings I've lived with for so long, when things get bad and when I'm on an almost unnatural high - it's spot-on, and I feel so... understood! The book is The Highly Sensitive Person, by Elaine Aron, and while I'm not ready, at all, to bend it to words for myself, let alone here, I really want to share this (in my edition, soft cover, Element, HarperCollins, 2003, it's on page 62-63). It's sort of a - note to self from the inner child. And it's precious. If you're anything like me, it might touch you, too... 1. Please don’t make me handle more than I can. I am helpless when you do this, and I hurt all over. Please, please, protect me. 2. I was born this way and can’t change. I know you sometimes think something awful must have made me this way, or at least made me 'worse', but that ought to give you even more sympathy for me. Because either way I can’t help it. Either way, don’t blame me for how I am. 3. What I am is wonderful - I let you sense and feel so much more deeply. I am really one of the best things about you. 4. Check in on me often and take care of me right at that moment if you possibly can. Then, when you can’t, I can trust that you are at least trying and I won’t have long to wait. 5. If you must make me wait for my rest, please ask me nicely if it’s okay. I’m only more miserable and troublesome if you get angry and try to force me. 6. Don’t listen to all the people who say you spoil me. You know me. You decide. Yes, sometimes I might do better left alone to cry myself to sleep. But trust your intuition. Sometimes you know I am too upset to be left alone. I do need a pretty attentive, regular routine. But I’m not easily spoiled.
7. When I’m exhausted, I need sleep. Even when I seem totally wide awake. A regular schedule and a calm routine before bed are important to me. Otherwise, I will lie awake in bed all stirred up for hours. I need a lot of time in bed, even if I’m lying awake. I may need it in the middle of the day, too. Please let me have it. 8. Get to know me better. For example, noisy restaurants seem silly to me - how can anybody eat in them? I have a lot of feelings about such things. 9. Keep my toys simple and my life uncomplicated. Don’t take me to more than one party in a week. 10. I might get used to anything in time, but I don’t do well with a lot of sudden change. Please plan for that, even if the others with you can take it and you don’t want to be a drag. Let me go slow. 11. But I don’t want you to coddle me. I especially don’t want you to think of me as sick or weak. I’m wonderfully clever and strong, in my way. I certainly don’t want you hovering over me, worried about me all day. Or making a lot of excuses for me. I don’t want to be seen as a nuisance, to you or to others. Above all, I count on you, the grown-up, to figure out how to do all of this. 12. Please don’t ignore me. Love me! 13. And like me. As I am.
Chicken soup for my troubled soul. Wise, wise words. Will you let me know if they touch you, too?
Curves, right? I love curves! I love soft, glowing, stretching! Colourful curves! My own feminine curves - sure, why not?! & I'll take Ireland - rolling and green. But my mind is more like a Picasso at his most cubist - upside down & all. Yes, I've got a flair for the dramatic - working on it - and as far as metaphors go, this one is a stretch, even for me ;) But I travel rugged terrain at times, & I get lost.
When I wrote about waiting for the next curve, for life to veer back to me, that's true. I don't mean I stop everything, get a nanny, a cook & a cleaner and find a quiet spot to suspend - I know full well that I need to be available for the curve. Whether the curve finds me, or I find the curve, it happens inside my life; not on a mountain top or in an attic room. I have suspended myself for about 10 years, so I know this. When you hide from life, Fabulous can't find you. I'm living proof - to myself if to no one else - that you can untie yourself, finally, eventually. But it's a ridiculous effort, and it costs, and I don't want to do it again.
But I do wait. While life goes on. I don't wait for wisdom, or insight - I know by now the truest stuff clatters onto your life path when it bloody well feels like it - much like Fabulous, quite unbidden. And it falls inside your life. It doesn't come haloed, with a free retreat (yes! The rolling green hills of Ireland, please!) to practise welcoming it, unwrapping your own version of picture-perfect upon returning home. No. It comes and you leave it where it fell - almost unseen because it doesn't fit quite yet - or you pick it up, take it in and try to wrap yourself around it - all while ironing an evening meal onto the cleaned table. High heels optional.
But still, I wait. While life goes on, because I've got an awesome 4-year-old who doesn't wait, for no man, nor his mamma. And I'm so, so grateful for that kid, because I can't adjourn myself. And he makes me laugh out loud of course, and he makes me angry, and he makes me feel clueless and fun and he makes me want to throw my hands up in despair, and he makes me feel alive! I'm living lives in my days, and although this isn't about the boy, and he's got no responsibility to keep me sane, he does, inadvertently. And he rocks. Because and solidly despite.
But I'm waiting, nonetheless. While I live, care, draw, do laundry and talk to fellow moms at the school gates, about nothing in particular. I wait for zest and juicy to come back. Yes. I know. Curves. I know life isn't all awesome and Flow and Fabulous. I spent enough time observing life from a lay-by to know that the fast lane kills. But somehow, and I haven't figured out the why or the how quite yet, I never dip to cruising speed; my engine splutters and I swerve!Not quite into oncoming traffic - not much, not always, anyway - but it feels like I'm going the wrong way all of a sudden. Like nothing makes sense anymore. Like an alien inside my own skin, inside my own daily, unchanged life.Like I said, my moods, my je ne sais quoi? I curve Picasso-esque! When Fabulous leaves, comfort leaves in her wake. Is that crazy? Pathology, anyone? Wait! Don't answer that ;) This is my life, wonky as it gets at times, and the skipping little girl-part of me doesn't want to know, she just wants to learn to deal!
So I wait and wear daily routine as a life vest of sorts. Holding on to what I know matters, even if I can't feel it then and there. Going through the motions. Trying to stay afloat while mild to moderate panic and despair wash over me, and nothing feels quite good enough to keep me grounded where I know I live. I can't pinpoint where it starts, or why - eventhough I think I know at times. In the end, it feels like everything. Like I lose the healthy filters between me and my world and everything washes over me. I feel defenseless - I don't know what's important anymore, so everything becomes weighty and serious. While I still deep-down know I don't need to quit or give up on anything I'm learning to embrace as solidly me and beautiful, I can't touch that knowledge and it takes most of my energy not to let go, to wash out; change my skin and start over again, being who I'm not - apologise.
This cycle is familiar. I'm just starting to recognise it, but the truth of it feels old, well-worn. Like it's always been like this. Not Fabulous, she's still quite new - she introduced herself when I emerged from where I wasn't. But how I lose my rhythm, my song, how I disappear - even now that I'm generally - really - quite comfortable inside my skin and my life? Old, old fabric, right there... From Fabulous into hiding. Never past go to collect salary or a soft pillow to land. Straight into that austere place where I can't quite grasp where or why I matter anymore. Until it passes. Because it does. An unmarked doorway, unobtrusive - corner-of-the-eye stuff, never there when you look for it? I don't know. Hindsight, looking back, I can never see how I came to that place nor how I left there. It just - unhappens. It dissolves. So yes. I wait until it does.
So I know this, about myself. I disappear. I go where I need to go, but I can't go out of my way. I've known this for a long time, and I have a grudging understanding for it - for no other reason than the fact that it comes and it hangs out, regardless. But I'm not okay with it. I can't stand shapeless things! Of course I've always poked and prodded, tried to turn it inside-out. Because it bites me where I'm trying to be soft! It feels like everything I've learned about being me, everything I'm learning to accept, to laugh about, to respect or to cuddle, suddenly becomes moot. Ridiculous, weird in a faulty, flawed way, all over again - until it isn't anymore. Until I'm back, re-hinged, oiled & in working order. Just like that. Everything that gained weight till it mattered becomes ridiculous in turn and I'm made to look like a fool in my own eyes till I smile, grin, laugh out loud and shrug.
I'm waiting my way up and out right now, and I think I see light ahead. About time, because I've been here for weeks. I'm reporting from the inside, and it's hard. I've been writing and rewriting this for days. But it's important. It feels important. To remember this when it takes flight again - the whole thing, as it is, not the snippets in my journal; those just reflect the quality of frustration, yellowing before the ink is dry.
This is a wart. A big one. One that's been colouring my life for as long as I can remember - now that I allow myself to really look. And I have an inkling about it. The first idea that I might not have to just accept and live with this, for ever, just the way it is. Something about the why of the whole thing. Something really changes once you start looking at yourself as essentially okay. Even when you feel like you're solidly not. Stuff that I always saw as proof for not quite, suddenly becomes the raw material of who I already am. It feels like - somehow - I just need to translate this. The little girl inside has been telling me this all along, but it's taken me long to listen: I need to find out how to DEAL.
I need to find out how to deal, because after all this time, after everything, I refuse to accept that I'm faulty, flawed, or even weird. How's that for a salty truth?! I'll go with intense. I'll give you that. Because I don't believe it's a flaw - it's a trait, and one that I'm okay with. One that I'm starting to value even! On good days, of course ;)
I'm intense, and I'm open. And I don't know how to hit the breaks. I don't think I have to change, pull up my guards - I'm learning to like myself and my honesty - but I need to learn to break - get quiet and assess. Before Picasso breaks for me and everything turns wonky. And this is new and tentative, but I think I can learn to save myself - before I fall apart. And knowing that this comes from the bottom of the barrel and I'm all naked in there, shouting anyway? As a woman in progress, I think that means there is truth in it. And hard work. Yes, that too ;) But I'm good with that - there's courage and hope in finding something to work with!