Throughout my life, people have been telling me "do not let it get to you". But have they not considered where all of this started? I realise that no-one in life has taught me how to defend myself. I have received nothing but protection from the things that hurt me. Ever since I was a baby. I would not play with the other children at nursery. I spent the whole time crying into my mum's lap. I could not bear to look at anyone let alone play or interact with them. I found the prospect too overwhelming. I was too sensitive. Where did all of this come from? Why have I hurt myself more in my response to situations than the situations themselves?
Along the way, I have found tools to help me process whatever it is that I am going through. Mindfulness has helped. It encourages me to notice my thoughts and feelings without judging them. It enables me to step outside of myself and perceive situations from a more detached standpoint. Allow myself to take a moment and process them first before deciding on my response.
Situations where I have felt socially obliged to respond in the heat of the moment (like on the phone, or in a busy office) have not worked well with me. Precisely because they do not allow me the scope to practise Mindfulness. That is OK. Some people process slower than others. After all, it was the choice of those other people to put me in those situations to begin with. They were the ones taking that risk with me (Read More: 17/02/2020 + 02/04/2020). That is something in life that I cannot control.
How will I not let something "get to me"? Thoughts and emotions are like liquid. They are difficult to control. The reality is that they cannot be controlled. Only contained. Mindfulness enables me to contain them.
This week, I have been feeling odd since it is the 2-year anniversary of my breakup with Avi. I am still not over him. I still have feelings for him. It is understandable. I am doing whatever it takes to help me feel OK about the situation. However trivial it might seem. I must resolve it in a way in which I feel most happy. What he said to me was true: "in order to make him happy, I must first make myself happy". Throughout my life, people have been telling me that, only in slightly different wordings. The hardest lesson was having to hear that from the one person who I wanted to make happy. Realise that I had not processed everything that had happened before. And to lose him having found him after so many years.
I let him see into my soul. And he disappeared. Why is that?
The reality is that I do not know how to protect myself. No-one has ever taught me how to do it. People have always told me to "let things go". To not "let things get to me". But I still do. Because I am honest enough with myself to realise that the more that I try to push those things away, the more that they will come back. I let them do their damage out of my honesty in wishing to confront those things. The thing that I need to do is learn how to confront those things without doing myself damage. Keeping in mind what I want and including that in my vibration. It sounds easy, but it is not. It is about putting into words what I might be feeling or thinking. In a way that shows assertiveness, clarity, kindness, honesty, literal trust, transparency and sensitivity. All at once. All of those wonderful qualities that I possess. How can I show those qualities without letting others take advantage of them? In a way that enables both them and myself choice, freedom and control?
It is OK to ruminate. It is OK to have anxiety. I can still be myself. Anxiety is an intrinsic part of me. It will never go away. But I can still learn to manage my emotions and thoughts. See them as something not so negative.
Lately, I have been thinking a lot about nature versus nurture. At the beginning of this month, my mum told me that my grandfather sold his house in order to deliberately put himself at a financial disadvantage. Deliberately selling his house to put himself at a financial disadvantage? It is a difficult one to get my head around. I suggested that he might have been playing the Eternal Victim. Because the alternative (believing in life, and life subsequently dishing out disappointment) would be much worse. I can relate to that. The thought that not setting yourself up for disappointment is a means of protecting yourself. But the other extreme is actively bringing about that disappointment to retain a sense of control. Perhaps, by deliberating bringing about a financial loss, my grandfather was protecting himself from disappointment? Disappointment that he perceived to be inevitably "out of his control"? I might never know for sure.
I begin to wonder whether this anxiety is something that I have inherited. That has been passed down to me through the generations. I already talked about my great-uncle (who I did not know before) who suffered from Schizophrenia and died in a mental asylum somewhere in the far reaches of the Scottish highlands. It might be a greater cycle that I have become part of.
But there is no point (and it is perhaps unhealthy) judging my background. That would be one step closer to feeling ashamed of who I am. That is not good. The best way in which I can deal with my anxiety is to accept and embrace it as an intrinsic part of who I am. I care. I must learn how to manage and live my life to the fullest with anxiety. However unconventional! Not wallow in self-pity. It is like any hereditary condition. Depression and anxiety are not limited to one person.
We might not be able to change who we are. But we can change our relationship with who we are.
During the years in which I lived in Stockwell (2011-18), I adopted a giant teddy bear, almost as big as me. I found him discarded in a skip outside my block of flats. I took him inside, cleaned him down and named him Clive. After the house in which I was living. He kept me company at night during the years in which I was hiding myself away. I felt lonely. He still sits under my bed now. Why am I writing about this? Maybe it was a sign of my "rescue mentality". I seem to be concerned about "rescuing" others when I do not give much of a thought to rescuing myself. I do not know for sure. I might not be completely selfless.
At Marling school, the bullies used to tease me for my toy collection. The words of one person (about me) were: "his mind has been addled by Wycliffe". This was their perceived explanation behind my actions. I took those words to heart. When the school yearbook came out, there was a "most likely to" section. This possibly should not have been allowed. In this section, it was written that I was the person "most likely to go mad and kill all of his family".
When I grew up into adolescence, I saw an old schoolfriend. I told him quite simply and plainly: "I do not like the person who I have become." I saw myself as "damaged". Did I not consider the possibility that I was only "damaged" because of the way in which I saw myself? I had internalised the trauma. Perhaps I should have stayed at Wycliffe and not gone to Marling? On the other hand (and more likely), this stuff might have happened anyway, regardless of which school I attended. Alternatively, had it not happened, I might not have acquired such a rigorous training for the big bad world. And I might not be as better off as I am now, having had that advantage of training. The training that almost broke me.
Still, the teachers told me to "rise above it". What did that even mean? It meant nothing to me. No-one taught me how to defend myself. If anything, the teachers penalised me even more for attempting to defend myself. This was a form of Victim Blaming. Back in the '90s, the connection between bullying and mental health was not a talked about subject. Most of the teachers were ill-equipped to manage abuse. My Spanish teacher (who was a great saviour of mine) was an exception. I remember her talking about it in assembly. She said: "the circle must be broken". So true.
The incident of throwing a pencil case at the bullies is a classic example (of which there are many). The teachers put it down to bad behaviour on my part. When they were the ones who were telling me to "rise above it"! Now I realise that they were telling me to not engage with the bullies. By throwing my pencil case at them, I might have been thinking that I was "protecting myself" but I was doing it in a way in which I was engaging with them. Encouraging the cycle to continue. Even now, I would do the same. I would always wish to respond to it somehow. It is not in my nature to deliberately not respond. But I must find ways of responding to something that safeguards my happiness. The way in which I had responded to it was negative. I must find a way of responding positively to a negative situation. Lately, I have been telling myself this more and more. I have the power to define a situation by choosing how I respond to it.
In retrospect, the teachers' advice of "rise above it" did absolutely nothing for me. It was a vague, intangible phrase that did not mean anything to someone who takes things literally. Or break it down into a meaningful instruction. Clear, detailed instruction is something that I was lacking.
Last night, I thought about my nursery days. I imagined what might have happened if Avi & I had been brought into proximity as children. I can picture it. The creche full of toddlers. Avi crawling up to me and touching and feeling me. Me responding. Him suddenly backing off and playing with the other toddlers instead (for no apparent reason). Me crying hysterically and being removed from the creche. Having spent all of 5 minutes in the creche to begin with. What happened between us as adults might have happened to us as children. Just in a different way. It is kind of sad. I seem to be crying over something that has not actually happened at all. Or imposing a situation as a child onto a situation that I have experienced as an adult.
RQ says that I am long past the days crying into my mum's lap. But am I? I am a big kid. Am I not behaving in exactly the same way? I find it difficult to trust people. Maybe that is a symptom of finding it difficult to trust myself. No-one has ever shown me how I can trust myself. That there is an alternative. That things can work out OK, sometimes. Or maybe they have and I have simply never managed to take that advice onboard. Or allowed myself to.
I am starting to wonder if my problems might not have begun with me. That I found myself in them from the beginning and that I could not see past them. It is impossible to suddenly live someone else's life.
I think that the relationship with Avi has affected my relationship with Rob in a big way. A big part of me is still pining for Avi. I suppose that this is natural. It is in my nature to project. There is nothing wrong with that. To some extent, humans look for patterns and order in everything. Maybe I do that more that to a greater extent than others, for better or for worse?
RQ understands that it is hard. Life can be strange sometimes. Sometimes, we have to move onto something new and allow ourselves to do so. Not saying it is easy, though.
Abundance Mentality. Recognising that something has worked out in a certain way because there is something else out there that is better. When one door closes, another door opens. It is like what I realised on 05/08/2020. I had to feel my inner pain in order to heal it. My problems did not begin with Avi. They began long before I met him. Avi was there as a soul contract (a qualifier) to create the perfect set of circumstances to draw that pain out of me. The loneliness that I was feeling. When Rob & I got together, I was already in a bad way. My Self Esteem was at rock bottom. I craved stability and security. Was it not natural that I might cling to someone or something (such as a sham marriage to JR) that might provide me with that? Naively (and again, not blaming myself), I felt like if I were in a marriage or relationship of some sort, my future might be safeguarded. But life has taught me something else.
It is OK for me to have these thoughts and feelings about my ex (last night, I was Googling articles about how to move on from your ex). Like I said to him on 07/01/2020, I had a lot of care and affection about him in response to the care and affection that he was showing me. The things that I have written only evidence the love that I felt for him. Sometimes, when two people are in love, it can go horribly wrong. Everything can explode. Someone can end up getting hurt. It is because the energy is not flowing in the right directions. Something needed to intercept and change that.
It’s not that I’m afraid of things not working out,
I can be hurting so much that I might feel love for someone in a way that feels painful. Or that my love for someone might feel painful to them. They withdraw. I have done that before. I have withdrawn from people when I was beating myself up for feeling a certain way about them.
Part of me wants to tell Rob that I still have these thoughts and feelings for Avi. But the other part of me is saying that I should not let Avi defeat me.
Inside I am crying because 2 years ago today, I told Avi how I felt about him. I remember how those words changed everything so dramatically. It is almost like I am still there right now and wanting to stop myself. But I know that I cannot change the past. There is nothing wrong with what I said. Perhaps he did not understand where I was coming from. Or he perceived my love for him as a "weakness" that reflected poorly on me. It might have been a judgement. Now I know that I cannot hide from my past or judge it in some way. I only need to ensure that I can change my future in a way in which I want it to be.
Believing in myself demands a lot of strength. That is OK. Especially with what I have been through. I am entitled to take breaks whenever I am not feeling strong. "Let's Stay Inside" is the mantra that I have quoted since my teenage years.
I might feel inclined to judge myself because I have not been through poverty, homelessness, divorce or any of the other atrocities that might have happened to other people. I look around me and I see people who have less and seem more happy in themselves. But there is no use comparing myself to anyone. No-one can compare one person's level of pain against another person's. It is relative, not universal. It is about how I process and respond to whatever life throws at me. That is what I must get to the bottom of.
It is better to find someone for the right reasons, when I am ready, than throw myself into someone for the sake of "safeguarding my future". But feeling "ready" is a process. It takes time. It will not happen overnight. I must be in a healthy mindset in order to guide myself towards the right person.
Then again, I must realise that the right person for me will understand that it is OK to not be OK. And for me to understand that about them as well. After all, is helping and enriching someone and feeling helped and enriched in return not the foundation for a healthy, long-term relationship?
[26/03/2019, 18:01:46] Avi: I don't know how to feel about you needing to get your head together 😉
Rory spent the first few years of his life in an ice cave, carving out his palace of wonder. He's a bit of a love doll, but he who melts the ice shall have their reward.
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I have been recommended to acknowledge and process all that I have been though, where it all started from how it has affected me.