I’ve been pushing against the walls of the past that confine me, and I’m disappointed, scared and angry that they exist. It’s like I’m struggling to get out of a cocoon or a restrictive jacket, and I haven’t managed to tear my way out yet.
Apparently, this is called Day/Act/Part 2. It’s the middle.
I’m thankful that Brené Brown went first and did the research and self-application that have given me a path to healing. I’m listening to Rising Strong now, and the timing is good. God-thing good. She describes a curriculum in which participants go through an intensive three-day learning process. Day Two – the middle, the part about vulnerability and blame and shame – sucks. And you can’t skip Day Two.
She connects this to the Hero story. Act two is the part in which the Hero tries every easy way around the problem, only to climax at the realization and engagement with the hard truth that there is only way through. Act Two sucks for the Hero. Act Two sucks for us. I am in Act Two, and it sucks. But I can’t skip it. I can’t ignore or skip or evade the discomfort, the struggle and the frustrating constriction, and I’ve come too far to turn back.
But hey, at least I have a name for it and I’m not the only one.
The good news is I didn’t take a tumble down the mountain face. The bad news is my phone did. It’s just a cracked screen, but enough glass is missing from it that I’m not about to put up with months of this. The repair is $150ish.
I’m not mad about this.
In the overall timeline of me owning phones, this is the first time I’ve had to pay for a repair. I’ve not lost or broken them. My phone slipped out of my bag when I was leaning over a section of rock for balance and went skipping down a mass of granite. Oops. But that’s all. It broke, it can be fixed, the cost is inconvenient but I can and will make it up and it’ll be ok.
And that perspective is so forgiving toward myself. There was a time in my life that this would have put a dark cloud over the whole trip. Now it’s just a shrug and I go on about being happy.
I bought clothes that fit.
That is a huge statement about acceptance for me. For whatever reason I have been trapped by the size of the clothes I used to wear. I don’t want to buy new clothes, so I have a fairly limited wardrobe at present of clothes that will stretch to accommodate my weight gain. I also don’t want to buy new clothes because I’m an inch away from shopping at plus size stores, and I have not been able to accept that about myself.
I’m heading off to the desert to try to get my nervous system regulated and to begin practicing a more caring lifestyle toward myself. I need a break from my normal routine and I need space to think. As I was planning my retreat, an email popped up about REI’s summer sale. I have been needing a sports bra that is not like wiggling into a straight jacket, so I had a look and found two things that I’ve been wanting, a new bra and a sun protective shirt for hot weather. Both great for this trip, both on serious sale, both…
…in my size.
My actual size. Not my old size, not the size I wish for, but my actual size. I checked the measurement charts to be sure, thought briefly about ordering a size smaller, then got honest with myself and ordered my actual size.
The items arrived in the mail today (early!), and they fit. It was so nice to have clothes that fit. The size labels suddenly didn’t matter, what mattered was that I was comfortable, confident and excited that I had successfully ordered clothes online. And I am going to enjoy the heck outta that bra and shirt because they represent healing, growth and positive change for me.
As hard as it was to be in a relationship before I started putting focus and energy into healing, it’s even harder now. And possibly more so because I’m dating a person who hasn’t yet begun the process.
Several years ago I started experiencing TMJ. My jaw popped every time I opened or closed my mouth. It was horribly annoying. I don’t chew gum, so it wasn’t that. It was probably stress. I was told there was nothing that could be done about it, and I would just have to live with it.
I realized on Saturday that my jaw no longer pops. I have no idea how long it hasn’t been popping, but it doesn’t no matter how much I move my jaw. I am thrilled and grateful and excited and pausing to appreciate this moment of healing.
I spent the entire Summer Solstice inside, and most of it in a dimly lit room. I’m grateful that I have so much room for improvement. Yoga was not helpful yesterday, it was activating. So I stopped.
I started listening to Brené Brown’s book The Power of Authenticity yesterday. She’s a shame researcher and a delightfully authentic human. In her work she’s found that we experience shame the same way we experience trauma, and I want to heal from shame as much as I want to heal from trauma. I’m starting to understand why they often go hand in hand.
I wanted to do a yoga session and thought that would be within my bandwidth today. 11 minutes in, I realized I was getting activated on my way to a trigger, I was hot and sweaty but not in an “I’m exercising” way, I wasn’t enjoying it and was actually starting to be rather miserable.
I wanted to push through, because yoga is supposed to be a good thing, it isn’t supposed to be activating, it’s supposed to help me connect to my body, I didn’t want to be a quitter, it wasn’t even a hard practice…also I am too fat to get into some of the poses, I can’t believe I can’t do this right now, I’ll never be able to get my life on track…
Ah. The shame gremlins she talked about. The thoughts that make me = bad and wrong and not good enough.
I stopped the session. Yoga wasn’t right for me yesterday. Maybe because I was in the process of learning about shame and realizing how much shame I feel about my body. Maybe because I needed more rest (I hiked for two hours the day before). Maybe because I needed to experience recognizing what is good for me and what is not good for me and acting on that for myself, not because someone else said that was the way to do it.
I slept hard and dreamt again. While I don’t remember much of the dream, I knew very shortly after I woke up what it was about. I was processing having a hidden illness.
I don’t know if it’s because I could realize it or because it was processed, but I don’t feel hung up on having an invisible illness anymore. It doesn’t feel like a burden or weight to have experiences that no one else can see. I don’t feel a need to run around shouting about being broken by trauma, but I also don’t feel my usual aversion to humans in the context of debating whether to hide or reveal my struggles. I simply feel neutral on the topic, and that whatever I choose to hide or reveal is exactly that – my choice.
I’ve made a few steps forward in being regulated – I brushed my teeth and went to bed on time last night. The next step for me is beginning to journal.
I had a post-trauma ritual of recording re-traumatizing experiences as a sort of recorded narrative that served to reinforce the trauma rather than release it. For that reason I have a negative association with journaling. When my therapist suggested I try it, I was not interested until she pointed out that may be something I take back – reclaim as a beneficial thing instead of a negative. I think it’ll help me to sort out the dreams, the slowness and the feeling that only my lowest level cognitive abilities are functioning.
And I am not going to go buy a new journal and go through some ritual of needing a new book and a new pen and nice writing and whatever. I am using the small, blank book the stalker gave me the day I met him in Paris. That day and what happened after made my experience of enjoying myself and attracting energy a liability, and I have not been that person – A PERSON I ENJOYED IMMENSELY – since. Maybe this will help reclaim that too.