Why I don’t want to forget

I do not want to forget the abuse that I l have lived through because it is one of the things that shaped who I am.

It is one of the reasons that I able to empathize with the outcasts, the beaten and the down.

It is one of the reasons that I feel deeply. It is one of the reasons that I believe in kindness.

I do not want to forget because having experienced abuse is one of the things that made me who I am today.

I don’t believe that we would have been given the ability to feel emotions if they are sinful and contrary to our nature.

I don’t believe that we are given things to experience unless they aid in our growth.

I don’t believe that the Gods want us to suppress who we are, or what we feel.

I believe that life is for living, and that we should choose to live and feel.

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Fear is a cage

Fear is a cage and I have begun to leave it.

Today I completed my Open Water Diver Certification. It was the most amazing feeling.

According to my instructor on the boat trip back to the island, I had quite the grin on my face.

I can’t quite begin to express the significance of this achievement. It was something that my family had me believe that I would never ever be able to do. That I would be kept in the cage built from fear and shame.

I swum out of that cage.

And it feels amazing and relaxed.

Happy I-Suck-Less-Than-Yesterday-Day

Last year Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, invented a tongue in cheek holiday: “I suck less than yesterday day“.

And so while unfortunately I can’t watch the youtube video in the post (thanks for nothing SME) I can consider the wisdom of sucking less than yesterday.

We all have shitty days sometimes, and sometimes I think it becomes too easy to fall into the habit of allowing shitty days to overwhelm us. To stop seeing the good and wallow in the bad.

And then we tend to have days where we become all shitty and selfish and focus on all the crap that has ever happened to us.

So I think rather today I am going to find some little ways where I will suck less than yesterday today. And tomorrow I can suck less than today…and slowly climb out of this hole.

Feelings

I don’t do feelings very well…not ones that relate to me. I can empathize very well…I can feel someone else’s heartbreak or joy…but my own…those I tend to keep caged.

And if they start surfacing I generally become grumpy and moody. I imagine that I am an absolute terror to be around. But feelings are something that I need to learn to do…so I am currently trying to just feel. Especially emotions related to my past abuse…the problem is I am very good at distracting myself. I need to stop and feel…deal with these feelings.

Part of me feels that my childhood could be described using the opening line of a Tale of Two Cities:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

But that is a cop out…it is an attempt to describe without actually facing the darkness, before I step into the light.

Breaking the mould

I wonder at the moment whether this is just a calm period…an eye in the storm. I am almost scared to relax and breathe and pay attention to this moment, because what if I draw too much attention to it and it slips away.

I think a great deal of what is going on with me now has to do with acceptance. Accepting that I cannot control other people’s behavior and conduct, especially when it has become habitual.

And I have released myself from the burden of saying this is how it should be…I mean, who really knows how it should be. Instead I am simply saying this is what it is.

What it is is while I have family issues and a number of my mothers unresolved issues are being role played out on me … I do not have to play the game. I can compassionately let go. I do not need to be defined by someone else, nor by my hurt.

I am who I am, but I can choose what I want to do with my life, and from there I can go and get it. There is nothing standing in my way.

For far too long I have held myself accountable to shoulds and other people’s moulds. As I have previously pointed out, people are not things, and therefore we do not belong in moulds.

I think one of the biggest aids in dealing with this depressive episode has been mental…choosing not to wallow. Choosing to move forward. One of the best things about this choice is I can keep living it.

Real Life is Not A Fairy Tale

But perhaps they at least shared one conviction — that what you were made as wasn’t what you had to be or what you might become…
And the trick was to start small.
The Fifth Elephant, Terry Pratchett

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
The Serenity Prayer

I want a fairy tale. I really do. I wish that I could have a happy ending…a loving biological family, all of the wrongs and hurts of the past erased and magically made better, with an ending that they all lived happily ever after.

But, reality bites. This is real life. And I cannot control or really influence the all. I can only choose my own course.

Unfortunately, this might take more courage than I feel like I have at the moment. But the key is to start small. Stop letting other people influence my opinion of me and allowing them to get me down.

I cannot control or change how my family acts and behaves. I can change how I react to it. It will just take some courage.  It will be a battle, a furious and angry one at times. After all, it is a rather strong need to belong…to feel accepted by one’s family, a biological and sociological survival instinct.

But this instinct is not helping me at the moment. I am in a dangerous situation with my family. And while it is not their fault, while I do understand why things happened the way they did. It does not make the situation less dangerous or more acceptable.

If anyone else came to me and asked my advice as to what they should do in my situation, I would tell them to cut ties as much as possible. Get out of the boiling water before they are scarred for life.

So, that is what I am going to do. It will not be easy. I am going to figure out what behaviour is acceptable towards me and what is not…and it seems bizarre that I do not know what behaviour I will accept from my family, but this is real life, not a story and definitely not black and white.

I am not going to let my family stand in the way of my happiness.  I need to make my own fairy tale, and while I may have huge issues with my biological family, I have amazing in laws (who are happy that I am coming back 😉 ) and wonderful friends, and a fantastic husband.

And perhaps while it is not possible to have a happily ever after, it is possible to live happily.