I get a daily reminder (on only weekdays, no weekends) of positive thinking. It usually hits my email at about 3am.
Sometimes, it’s hokey. Sometimes it is just too woo-woo even for me.
But, then again, sometimes it hits a note I really need to hear.
It’s a bit on the woo-woo side, but struck me that that’s essentially what I’m doing, and how I’m living right now. I can’t rely on my brain like I am used to, and I have no promise that I will ever get back what I used to have.
But, there has been a little, tiny, teeny dream I have had – but that I’ve never even allowed myself to consider as a possibility. I’ve wanted to be a writer and an artist for decades. But, I had no confidence in my ability to do either. And I also had a lot of different people telling me that my writing and my art just didn’t measure up. That, if I was lucky, maybe one or two people might like it, but I would never be the kind of creative genius that my role models were.
And some part of me thought, if I can’t be like my role models, why should I try?
That bit of self-hate has haunted me for far too much of my life.
I had hidden that desire even from myself. Enjoying the act of creation was not a good enough reason to create, so instead of creating what I wanted to, I created what would make me money. Hell, even that ended up not being something I could dream of doing until my body just wouldn’t let me work as a secretary anymore.
You’d think I would get the clue brick. You’d think I would only need one whack up the side of my head by the Universe’s cosmic clue-by-four. You’d think that my body being in open rebellion against the person I was trying to be would make me understand what it was trying to tell me.
But no. I was too focused on the “me” I had built around myself. I was too focused on my head and not my heart. I had created this idea of myself that the only way I can make a splash in the world is to support someone else’s talent for creativity.
And now, because I’ve taken so long to learn the lesson, I am left only with the ability to create. I can only code some things for this blog, because actually creating a full website now takes me 10 – 20 times longer than it should. It takes me that much longer because I make errors that even a newbie would be offended to have in their code. Then, after I make the initial mistake, it takes me forever to FIND the mistake and fix it.
But, I am pushing myself because I do enjoy the act of coding. I enjoy seeing a full website grow and being able to say: “I made that!” It may take years before I can say that again, because not only did I allow myself to be abused by someone else, I’ve abused myself as well.
I’m not a cutter, I don’t have suicidal tendencies (I can honestly say I have only given serious thought to suicide exactly ONCE, and that didn’t last more than a moment or two), and I don’t exhibit any of the other forms of physical self-harm.
But just like with abuse, self-harm doesn’t have to be physical in order to do damage. Long before my ex even became a thought in my mind, I had already started being self-destructive in more subtle, less physical ways.
I’ve said before that I blocked off quite a few of my more chaotic emotions sometime in my 20s. But, even before that, I had already been in the habit of doing so. I was suspended from school my sophomore year for stealing from my roommate. But the real punishment didn’t happen until I got back. Instead of choosing to learn from my mistake, accepting that I was going to have to earn back the trust of my peers, I instead chose to ignore and hide the embarrassment. I spent most of my sophomore year singing Melissa Manchester’s “Don’t Cry Out Loud” to myself, as I walked around the campus – which was normally all by myself. I felt it was the best way to deal with the fact that I had truly fucked up. Looking back on that, I can honestly say it wasn’t really the embarrassment I was hiding from. I eventually learned how to live with embarrassment. It was the anger at myself for making bad choices and disappointing my parents that I was truly hiding from. I had already been telling myself I wasn’t “good enough”, I had to go a step further in order to hide the idea that I had somehow proven myself to be “bad” and “evil.”
I had to punish myself, but it didn’t feel like I was punishing myself – it felt like I was protecting myself.
Now, I’ve punished myself into a corner. I have left no options open except that little, aborted dream from my childhood. I can only hope that if I follow this path, that it will help me heal.