I’ve been very excited about celebrating One Billion Rising with a dance party at Neskaya. Tena Clark wrote a song “Break the Chain” and Debbie Allen choreographed a dance to it. There’s a great video of people dancing to the music, and more than one teaching video to learn how to do it. Yesterday I was watching it and found myself getting all excited. Partly it reminded me of Journey into Courage, and the joy of giving those performances. Then somehow the excitement went over into fear. At first I was upset and angry at myself. Then I thought about Peter Levine’s concept of “over-coupled”, of how two emotions can be so firmly welded together that you can’t have one and not the other.
I was able to be OK with the fear, and really glad that I was going to my friend Randi’s for lunch. I knew she would be welcoming and safe. Driving up, blue sky & white snow, I thought about the book Beverly recommended, Difficult Mothers, by Terri Apter. I’ve been reading it, and now I thought of the effect of the envious mother who can’t bear it when her child has a success. This creates a pattern of sabotaging successes, which I certainly have. I get sick or do something stupid, or crash in some way. I saw that my excitement in doing One Billion Rising was the sort of thing that would have produced a cold glare and “Don’t think you’re so great.” My fear was compounded by the low grade foundation anxiety that I had forgotten something important or done something wrong. So I played good mother to myself. I imagined hugging an upset little girl and telling her “It’s OK, I forgive you your failures, and cheer your successes, and no matter what you do, I love you and I’ll never leave you.” The fear faded instantly. Big surprise! It doesn’t usually happen that quickly!
Then I thought about how my relationship with Diane fell apart, and how she played my mother’s role. I ask for help and she disappears, I show her an unpleasant truth (actually I sent her a link to the first video of One Billion Rising which starts with women being abused in different cultures around the world, and then standing up out of it) and she responds coldly and dismissively. I realize how my long struggle with depression through the winter might have been rooted in that. I was only a little sad about losing Diane as a friend, because it was clear that if she couldn’t handle me asking for help, and the reality of abuse, then there was no way we could have become the kind of friends I was hoping for. I didn’t spend any time thinking about what I should have said instead, how I could make it OK, or ruminate on how stupid I had been, so I didn’t think I was affected by it. But in fact, a very deep wound had been triggered. Now I can have compassion for myself for being depressed most of the last few months.
Writing this down, and then posting it activated the fear again. I’m doing my best to bring compassion and comforting to it. And I remind the little girl “Mother is dead. She can’t hurt you any more.”