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My Art Therapy Journey

Posts tagged Therapy

In my lifetime I have been told I am miserable.

I’ve heard it from more than one person.  I’ve heard it from people in my family…and I’ve heard it from people who have no way of knowing me, for instance, my daughter’s step-mother, because she has always refused to speak to me or acknowledge my existence…beyond, of course, assuming that I am miserable.

Whenever I have heard this I have always been speechless.  It always has hurt me is such an unreachable place I don’t even know what the feeling is that it brings up for me.  It’s so unexplainable and I’ve never been able to understand being informed of my misery, lol.

I still can’t really understand it.

But I’ve been dealing with a lot of things lately.  Coming back to life gradually, in bursts.  So I’m looking at my past and my history to what has brought me into being born all over again.  This privilege I get, that sometimes I have to work at accepting because of the pain it also brings with it.  It brings with it the reality of my life.

And so I run into the past.

I don’t run toward my past.  I run into my past.  (And that is a very big distinction.)

As I move forward, my past is there.  It greets me, and I can’t move beyond it without acknowledging that it is there.

And so I’ve been thinking about times  in the past I’ve been told or heard that I was miserable and the turmoil and confusion that has always caused to erupt from inside of me.  I could never figure out why I was hearing that because inside of me my heart was not miserable.  I didn’t feel miserable…but I eventually started believing that I was, indeed, miserable.

“You’re miserable.”

“You’re a miserable person.”

“You’re a miserable excuse for a person.”

I didn’t understand.

It did hurt though.

It hurt A LOT.

And I was alone for so many years and nobody ever told me otherwise.

I still couldn’t figure out why that must be what I was.

Because even though I probably should have been, I wasn’t.

However, I experienced my confusion about being miserable as…miserable!

Well, I’m happy (not miserable) to say that something has occurred to me over the past day or so.

I’ve realized that the people who have ever told me that I was miserable were possibly, themselves, miserable in some way.  However, I would never say this to another person.  I couldn’t imagine telling another person they are miserable, even if they were inflicting (or projecting) misery onto me.  I can’t even imagine ever saying it which gives me some sort of faith that misery is not what defines me.

It still hurts so much that people who were designed to love  me when I needed them most did not love me enough to be able to see past their own pain.

But I’ve been in therapy for the last couple of years with a therapist who treats me with dignity, and even though receiving respectful, compassionate care has been the most excruciatingly scary, I’m beginning to take some breaths of respect and compassion for myself.  It hurts, but this is the part about running into my past I’m talking about.  It takes me back to all those places where history got it wrong.  My life has been given grace to correct itself.

For all the times I could never reply, I am hitting “Reply All.”

“I am not miserable.  I am not a miserable person, and now that I love myself I have no excuse to believe that anymore.”

So to my brother and to my mother, I hope this finds you well.

And to my daughter’s step-mother, I would still sit down and have a cuppa with you anytime your heart will allow.

I’m my own person now.  I would love for you to get to know me.

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This evening I came to a crossroads.  I was at Old Navy trying to use up a coupon set to expire today.  The intersection between me and me was in the changing room.

I will try to explain:

The summer stuff is on clearance, so I decided to try on some $5 shorts to preemptively save some money and beat the rush for next summer.  (Or maybe I decided to try them on as a plea to the weather for it to stay warm a lot longer than September usually allows around here. )

Anyway, I was standing there.  Having tried on the shorts and seeing that they fit me, the debate began.  The “What now!?” debate. Should I buy them?

I’m always much more relieved when things actually don’t fit so I don’t have to go through the list of scenarios that might arise if I do buy something vs. if I don’t buy something.  I walk tall out of the changing room because I’ve escaped (or won?) the battle once again.  But not tonight.

Tonight started up the “Will I regret this later?” thing.  The “What’s the return policy?” thing and the “Can I  justify this purchase to my husband?” thing. ( There are these questions among others….I’m the person occupying a changing room concerningly motionless for at least 30 minutes, lost in debate, before facing the world again.)

So, shortly before closing tonight at an Old Navy store in Midwest USA it dawned on me…the acceptance between me and me.  The understanding is this: I have no idea what size I will be by next summer, and more importantly than even that… I have no idea who I will BE by next summer.

I stood there looking at these shorts…shorts that I would wear today.  I looked at my hair…the color, style, length so suburbanish.  I looked at my body…a body that’s begged to be covered in far more tattoos.  I looked inside me…changing.  But changing into what…into WHO?!

I was standing there in the changing room actually changing before my eyes!

I realized my need to live and be present in the moment, and maybe it’s something that I’m acquiring now that won’t change about me later.  Maybe it’s the beginning of becoming who I am…who I am meant to be!

My size has changed in the last quarter of a year so that a lot of my clothes don’t fit me anymore.  I’ve always been a jeans and t-shirt sort of girl, but now that I’m faced with needing to pick a few things up I’m finding myself drawn to wanting a more definitive style.  A style that says…”This is ME.”  Recognizable.   One with personality.

And I’ve thought, “Wow, this would be a lot easier if I knew who I was.”  I could go into a store and know what to look for.  I would know my style and go right to it.  I could streamline things and do a way less psychotic seeming mix and match.    Then I think about being 32 and still figuring out this stage most teenagers are in.  I think about being the mother of a teenager myself, now, and I get really freaked out about the state I’m in.

I’m 32 going on 13!

(My teenage daughter is 14.  She’s already ahead of me.)

 

So…I didn’t buy the shorts tonight.  It’s only the beginning of Fall.  Winter is still to come and next summer is a long way off.  (Anyway, didn’t I write a post a while back about my irritation about the 2013 calendars being for sale already?)  I said, “Nice knowing ya,” and gave them back to the woman putting away  clothing people had tried on that didn’t fit…

Sometimes things fit and you’re not sure if you want them to fit…in a life way.

Sometimes you get to choose what you’re going to wear like you get to chose who to be.

I’m in a state of evaluating and making decisions.

The cool thing about this  life is that, at least to some degree, it can be changed. It’s an evolving creation.  A malleable gift.

It feels like this process of finding myself is a gift that got inadvertently pushed under the Christmas tree skirt only to be discovered once the festivities have passed. I feel like I am unwrapping (and being unwrapped) and shaping (and being shaped) all at the same time.  And some kid (me), after thinking she was forgotten and left-out, is finding the experience of life redeemed.

I know this song is about other things, but now it keeps popping in my head now…

 

 

It is scary to unravel in the light.

Light means awareness and awareness means seeing what was once in the dark.  Sometimes things in the dark, once revealed, are not so scary anymore.  Like the classic monster in the bedroom…that isn’t.  But sometimes there really is a monster in the bedroom.

More children’s books should probably talk about this so it can help us grow into adults that can face reality.

Monsters exist…and not just in the dark.

Sometimes the light in the room is flipped on and the monster is real and tries to eat you alive.

This particular revelation of the light is dark…I don’t mean for it to be dark, but I’m scared and angry at the monsters.

It is beyond-words scary to come to life sometimes.

I have travelled in the dark.  I guess I battled fear  in the dark sometimes  too, but I could look at the beasts lurking around me and tell myself they weren’t real.  They were just my imagination playing tricks on me…just a shadow that couldn’t hurt me.

I sometimes find reality to  be unappealing now that I’m learning the truth.  But I guess the greatness of light is that reality can be changed into something better.

There are also good things….good feelings.  Gifts.  Flowers. Laughter.  Love.

And still, always there can be Hope when the feelings don’t feel so good.

I just think it’s important to say that sometimes it’s not all rosy.  There is a lot that makes me want to shut my eyes again and say, “I’m not here.  I’m not here.  I’m not here and neither are the monsters.”  Oh, but to believe the lies.

They are there.  Here.  Me, the “monsters,” my life….it all has existed through all this time.

*

Yesterday I walked into the kitchen with my toddler, preparing to make her breakfast.  I flipped on the light and…  This is what started off my day.

I am rewriting the story, or in this case…maybe the song.

It was not so Itsy Bitsy.

It also did not go up the spout again.

This is a picture of the ceiling in our “breakfast nook.”

Yesterday a piece of the ceiling was removed

The other day when I noticed our ceiling coming apart, I realized we had a leak.

What you see is the floor to our second story and pipes that transport water from upstairs.

Nobody could figure out where the leak was coming from.

The plumber came and took a guess.  He dismantled our toilet…

…but his guess was wrong.  We then had a bad leak in addition to no toilet.

He wouldn’t reinstall our toilet without charging us $750 dollars to fix it because it hadn’t originally been installed “to code,” even though that’s not where the leak was from.

I told the plumber to leave.  Without re-installing the toilet, thank you.

My husband had the friend that helped remodel our house come over to find the source of the problem.

They fixed it while I was at book club.  All better.

This morning my husband took a shower.  And I took a bath.

…When I fell into the slip-and-slide on the breakfast nook floor.

It’s still leaking.  We think we know it’s from the shower.  But the leak is a mystery.

***

THIS IS A PICTURE OF ME.

I have a leak.

 

It happens sometimes after I put my daughter down for a nap.

 

The water comes from someplace deep inside my soul…and leaves a path that is hard to trace.

 

I’m not sure if I will ever find the true source of tears.

 

 

And if I do…if it will be repairable.

 

The questions and concerns grow as I sit…exposed.