It’s been a couple of weeks since I came to my blogging sanctuary to release some of my thoughts and feelings. No reason I guess – it has been a pretty hectic time with quite a few challenges to face and a mixture of good and bad days. In fairness, when I wrote my first blog I didn’t know if I would be back but I found it to be such an affective release that I have missed it – I just couldn’t allocate the time to write coherently (not that my writing is coherent 😂) – but when I write I want to have mental space to let it out.
As I reflect on the last couple of weeks, what I have faced, and what I have learnt – there is easily one song that has been with me that whole time. It is one of my favourite electronica tracks ever and I have loved it since its release in 1998. It is a piece of music that I go to when I am in various moods. It is another example of music having multiple affects on mood an emotions. With this piece there is a wider range. It is uplifting; thought provoking; melancholy; still; sad; euphoric and addictive – it is about how my emotional filters translate it at the time. I have devoured it in the last couple of weeks, listened to it on repeat, ordered it on vinyl (again) and watched numerous videos – there is one live at the Sydney Opera House which I must have watched 50 times. Over the last 2 weeks – myself and La Femme d’Argent have been on a bit of a rollercoaster together.
Do you ever find yourself almost living out of your body? Looking down on yourself watching and analysing your every move, response, thought and feeling? At the same time looking at others and thinking how much you would rather be them? If so – I am your leader. Trust me – no one does those things more than I do. I must have around 3 conversations going on in my head at any one time. Each defeating the other. Each taking up emotional energy and time. Each adding filters to my brain making my translations and interpretations even harder than normal. Then when external stresses come into play you get to the point where it is hard to cope. I think I actually shut down for three days. Everything just got too much. Another poor experience with my parents left my feeling rejected (again) and unwanted. Now that isn’t so much of a problem for me – I came to terms with their lack of caring about me a long time ago – but when my own kids are feeling the same things – well that is too much to bare as far as I am concerned. Not only am I not good enough – but the kids I create aren’t either. No way will I let them feel like that – but the truth is I feel it for them – and that adds to my burden. One of my closest friends is going through the most horrendous times – dealing with challenges ranging from custody of children through to money worries and illness – and all I do is make it worse. I have to own their problems – and I have to carry the emotions that come with it. My volunteer shifts at the local food bank are full of feelings of guilt and selfishness. Work – again I am not doing a good enough job – things are my fault even when I have looked closely in the mirror and I really cannot see why (always room for improvement granted). People I hang out with feel let down by me. The list goes on.
The truth about all of this – is that those people involved in any of the above – are not putting me in a bad position. They are not saying these negative points. These are assumptions that I am making. I am deciding most of it for them. And then not giving them chance to prove otherwise. Once I have decided that for them, I have to up my game and try and do even more – so someone who might call me just to rant and get stuff of their chest ends up with a wild range of emotions and me trying to fix and own everything. It is not cool.
I believe. Actually I know – that the reason I do this is the filters I have. The endless conversations going on in my head. Let me show you how my brain works in one of those scenarios. Just not the one with my parents because that problem most definitely lies with them.
The food bank. The idea of people (especially kids) going hungry is so depressing. No child should be hungry. There is enough money in the world today that a basic like that should be taken care of. But it isn’t. And it makes me very sad. So I thought I would start volunteering at the local foodbank. I enjoy it but it has me in emotional turmoil. The battle in my head rages fierce. “You know what you are doing is not enough”, “No one here is going to want you here”, “You should be ashamed of yourself for not doing more”, “They probably think you are going to eat all the food because you are fat”, “You won’t fit in”
All of those thoughts race through my mind – genuinely. This is even before I walk through the door every time. So – what does that mean? Well it means that my emotions are already raw because I have assumed and believed what I thought – so therefore I am sad, upset and ashamed. It then means that when I made to feel welcome and wanted (as I am every time) and useful – that it almost makes me cry because of how that feels inside me. And it makes me feel tired – because I have effectively lived the experience twice – once in actual and once in my head. Any scenario I am in – I live it twice – or 3, 4 or 5 times.
My belief system has been broken and tainted somewhat. The negative experiences I have had have shaped me more than then positives. I let them do that – it sits with me – but at least I know I am the track to improvement – and I know I am making progress. I know it is going to take time – actually I am pretty certain this is something I will have with me all my life – but instead of it being the size of the moon, I want to get it to be the size of an apple. That is my goal and slowly by slowly I am chipping away at it.
Expectations versus agreements is something that my coach tells me about all the time. It is something I have started to understand – but that in itself is a long journey. It is, however, a journey that I would implore anyone to embark upon. It sounds so basic yet it is so on the money that it is frightening. If I look at some of my major challenges, disappointments or areas of anguish – I think a common theme would be the expectations that I had out of a person or scenario versus what was actually agreed before hand. I also feel that I give a lot more than most people do – and I expect people to give back the amount that I put in. That is not fair. On them. It is my choice to go the lengths that I do – not theirs – and if they don’t give me back what I put out there – they aren’t necessarily doing anything wrong. I think I am pretty intense – and when I commit to being someone (a friend, colleague etc.) then I go in big. I work very long hours. No one asks me to. In fact my boss has pretty much told me not to. But I feel I need to. So I do. Because it is something I am committed to. I commit a lot to friendships. Not always with the right people – but I have got so much better at that. I think I have almost developed a tier system in my head with friends. Tier 5 acquaintances can expect Tier 5 me, whereas Tier 1 get gold star Tier 1 me with all the trimmings. Beware entering Tier 1 though – I cannot promise I wont try and own all your issues and fix everything for you – but I am trying to stop being like that.
Again – this has been another ramble – and if anyone is reading I am sorry. Let me try and tie it all together and make at least one salient point.
I guess the point I would make would be to give yourself a break. Having a clear mind, living with your subconscious (gut reaction) and ignoring the doubts of your own internal conversations is key. Master the expectations and agreements you have on yourself – and then push them out to your wider groups. For me – that is the way forward.
The other point I would make (see there is a point to this) is that it is important to feel everything you feel. Realise it. Experience it. Then translate it and deal with it. Everyone is different. Most people wouldn’t walk into a food bank, help and then feel inadequate or worse than they did before they went in. I recognise that isn’t overly healthy – and that people are grateful for the help – no matter how small I might think it is. But what I do – is recognise how I feel. I do now at least. And instead of burying it – I confront it, try and work out why, see if it is rational, is it real or am I assuming it – and then work out what to do with it. I am trying not to let challenging emotions control me – and make me lose days on end to feelings such as worry, inadequacy, lack of confidence or rejection like I have done in the past – and like I did last week.
It is a journey. But I feel better and that I am on the right track. And I don’t think I have ever felt that before.
Anyway – I think I will close there.
Take care of yourselves people.