3 January 2020
First Blog Post of the Decade
Sometimes the question is “Where to start?”, but what if it really should be “Where to end?”
Can we gaslight ourselves? Can we self-manage feelings and perceptions so well that we lose track of the truth enough to harm ourselves, hopefully not others, and leave ourselves strangers to those we love? Can we think we’re doing the right thing in the moment only to find we were taking the easy, false path that ends in a steep drop?
I’m passing through a threshold into a new era even more-so than almost a year ago when I announced my new photographic career (which moves steadily along, thank you kind people!). It isn’t fun or comfortable. My first response to a lot of things is sadness, and my sadness just now is a sea anchor slowing my flow. Process is important, and I have a grip on the best next head space. It’s called reality.
As a Wise Old Crone wannabe, some unexpected consequences of last year’s efforts include the acknowledgement that some of the perceptions I tried to bat away and manage were real. That while I focused on the long game, the game got away from me. I may have been ejected or at least quietly benched. Those around me know the drill, but I am left confused and so very unsure of anything good. The bad, now, that stuff I have a very firm handle on.
There were telling moments, but I brushed them aside. I was right, but didn’t want to be. Scales have fallen from my eyes in what is a natural and human process. Fears are being shown to be mapped locations on the pictorial description of my world. “What ifs?” have become “Oh, right, ok.”
The up side is learning that the fears are a chimera, a figment, and lose power when confronted and allowed their truth. What if it’s just real, not good or bad? I already feel a lightening, a coming freedom as I move forward more fully understanding my lane. This is what healing may feel like. I have only been treated with love, even if I suffer in relationship. It’s not anyone’s fault, other than my very own. In my isolated position, I see this as a mess of my own making, the end product of a series of choices and opportunities that brought me a lot of joy, healing, happiness…until it didn’t. Have I failed myself when I thought I was making good choices? Am I really a bad choice to be turned from?
We are all broken, just sometimes so self-involved, the brokenness of others becomes unbearable, or too familiar. What if I learn to be selfish and make all of this about me? There is a lot that I have no control over, and a peace in letting go. I am glad for the chapter that is ending, but hope a new one begins that leaves me happy and secure.
Maybe this is all so hard because I’m not looking to blame anyone else for my storm, my own personal knot. Maybe it’s hard, too, because I am complicatedly simple, or simply complicated, and above the pay grade of some that I would ask to assist, those that I would shelter with until the sun comes out.
What would it feel like to be on the receiving end of me? I don’t expect that I am everyone’s cup of tea. Those for whom I am palatable, and who I trust the most, get to see the wild, loud, expressive, energetic, passionate, spunky, reactive, loving, compassionate, needy, broken, sad, happy, struggling, lonely woman trying to balance her inside needs with what is available and given. They let me blow off my steam without taking my agita personally, say encouraging and loving words that I manually etch into my memory for playback later and intentionally chose to believe (instead of the usual brush-off). I return the favor, eagerly and openly.
I worry that some think of me as a black hole of need, an endless maw of strong feelings and unbidden tears, but these friends see the cyclic demolition and rebuilding of a growing heart and consciousness, and I feel an acceptance that works as a salve to my soul.
But I get that I am a handful. And no one’s problem. And that I’m shown extraordinary (for crusty, semi-loner me) kindness on the regular, but still – something makes me wake up in the middle of the night pre-regretting the something bad that I can tell is happening but can’t pin down. I have made choices in one world that would not happen in another, and have disrespected my own dang self, gaslit my own goofy, vulnerable, jaded but still kinda innocent self, and what we have now are growing pains I will no longer avoid. Frick.
But what if others reach their capacity with me as I expand my own capacity? What if getting better at life means the ending of chapters? What if your heroes are human and of limited skills? What if you really are tertiary to the social worlds you pass through? What if love doesn’t mean like, or a healthy result? What if a world that was easy and healing becomes not so good, without any bad players or victimization? What if you need to talk with someone, but it doesn’t seem to work and then you spin out even more at the understanding of how unsafe at the heart level you feel, and how the only solution is extraction. But there’s love, so it’s all very confusing.
When people show you who they are, or who you are, believe them. Believe yourself. I say that without snark or rancor, but with a gentle passivity meant to uncomplicate things. We show and tell each other so very much. We are covered in antennae, are far more tender and sensitive to each other and our environments than we show or realize. In the midst of my being triggered, I am surprised to wonder if others are then triggered. We cycle back and forth freaking each other out, pointlessly missing targets, the debris piling up into a boundary wall.
I was gaslighting myself by not believing what I saw and experienced with a beloved friend. No one and nothing is perfect, and there was no outright unkindness or hostility to fend off, so I could bat away my observations and enjoy the vast amount of love and kindness shown (and sincerely meant, I have no doubt). I have deep, unchanging love for this person; connectedness and disconnectedness are painful for me and somehow a chasm has opened in this friendship. I will love from afar for a while, hoping for a new, better chapter unfolding between our worlds but at peace with whatever paths open up. It is the beginning of a new era for me, and I cast myself adrift in yet another way. Worlds fall apart, things are put back together again, today’s drama is a form of passing weather. But it’s my weather, and I need to give it more respect, stat.
What I perceived was that I wasn’t a whole person in that other world. I was appreciated, enjoyed, treated very well, brought into a fold, but somehow leave the fold feeling unglued, unseen, unknown, misunderstood, shushed, my language policed but felt strongly the absence of space held for me, the careful measure of concern that goes far enough to ensure that my feelings are not a management concern for others, leaving me to deal with the dregs of my situation alone – even after clumsy cries for help, after long texts saying that which I hid most. Even after offers for the help, of encouragement to share. I shared, thinking it was ok, having been encouraged. The brief response was unsatisfying, clarification unneeded, unwanted.
I suspect a capacity has been reached and an ending begun. The joke was on me – the ending had maybe begun earlier when I thought beginnings were happening. My confusion really is real. It’s all true, and that’s ok – this is the first step on a new path, maybe even with some of the same people in the future.
The worst is real, and that’s actually ok. Whatever is happening is the result of two seekers sharing some time and heart and listening to what needs to happen. The unfortunate, unadmitted disinterest I sensed was real, and I woke to find I was a bit player in someone else’s movie, found that gender issues are real and difficult to manage even among evolved, loving humans, and that maybe we are just distractions for each other for a minute.
I do feel like a broken toy, but that is passing. The truth was always there, and pain comes from the distortion of not acting based on the reals. I’ve fumbled the ball on myself, choosing to pass the win to someone else and discovering invisibility and thanklessness on the back end. And maybe I’m the thankless one; maybe some open hearts are invisible to me?
It’s ok, I’ll figure this out. There are others with whom to speak, and certified Wise Crones that are already sharing calm, loving, insightful words that are shifting my thoughts from a miasma of chaotic, jagged feelings to a more orderly, empowered, encouraged and hopeful place.
The end result is that I will love on and better, me first. I will keep my heart open and hope that someday getting what I wished for means getting what I need. And I hope that for you, too, dear reader.