I went back and started reading my journal for 2018. Found a lot that was very interesting.
June 16, 2018
The talk with Erica was good. I have been really puzzling over why other people see what I am doing as HUGE and I don’t see it at all. She said that’s why neglect is so devastating. What you do, who you are, is disappeared. I’m an unpaid servant. My work is not valued, and I “earn” only a grudging existence. I am invisible to myself. I’m not taken care of, only exploited, so I don’t take care of myself.
Elizabeth said that I talk a lot about my mother. I puzzled over it and then realized that I’m still trying to make her cruelty real to myself, so I can accept how much, how deeply, I am wounded, and can accept how much time and energy and work it’s taking to heal — and I am healing. I can drop the judgement of myself as weakling and coward. Erica says I sound “alive,” Elizabeth says I sound more grounded. I can’t hear it myself. I can’t see how much I have changed, how much I have healed, how much I have done with my life.
My inability to hear the change in my voice is part of the lack of mirroring that’s given me a totally wrong understanding of who I am. This is why witnesses to who I am, accurate witnesses, are necessary for me to update my belief about who I am.
Here’s this woman — she’s intelligent and caring, she’s been through some extraordinary experiences. She’s learned a lot. She has compassion and wisdom, tremendous gifts to give to the world. And she has no idea, no idea at all who she is, or that she has anything worthwhile to give. She keeps trying to prove that she deserves to live by “getting everything right,” by making someone happy who can’t be made happy, by somehow living up to her own impossible expectations of herself.
“Here’s this woman…” is how I start the process of taking a big step back and trying to see myself objectively. It often leads to feeling compassion for myself.
I do think, possibly, that at least for a short time I have been able to drop my unreasonable expectations of myself. Not giving myself a hard time makes life easier and more comfortable. I don’t need to know that I’m wonderful, I just need to know that I’m OK, and that what I’m able to give is actually worthwhile.
At this time I was dealing with a lot of pain and grief about selling the house. Asking myself again again if I couldn’t hold on until Lynelle has found another place to live.
On the other hand, part of me feels that going ahead with Cheryl, going ahead with Doug, instead of stopping them, is behavior conditioned by my parents. I “should” stand up and take charge. It’s easier to go ahead with what was decided, and that’s being lazy… Writing it down, I see that that’s nonsense. Of course it’s easier, that’s why I’m doing it. I’ve got to allow as much as possible to be easy so I will have energy for the hard part which is all the deep emotional, very early, stuff that’s coming up. Oh. That’s why this is so hard. That early stuff is non-verbal, physiological, felt sense, very hard to get at.
Cheryl is my realtor, Doug the contractor who’s doing the work to bring the house up to code — it didn’t matter until I tried to sell it — and I was thinking that I could stop them and back off until Lynelle found a new place to live. Deciding to do what was “easy” is a total reversal of my usual pattern.
I started reading Ram Dass “Still Here” and found it very comforting. He talks about conscious aging, accepting being in a wheel chair, not pushing himself to walk again… I realized I could focus teaching circle dance on dances that are easy for disabled people. Like the ones I taught last Sunday. That really eased something inside. It’s really OK if I don’t get back to my previous level of fitness.
Ram Dass, Still Here is about his life after his stroke.
Wednesday, June 20
Erica thought I had done very well with B’s horrible telephone message. She thinks I’m staying conscious, allowing space for odd differing thoughts and questions, really being present for the whole process. That was good to hear.
I saw Nancy for my last PT session. She says I’m doing very well, and to keep doing it. I’ve been judging myself as failing to live up to impossible expectations: that I would do the soaking-massage-icing routine every day, that I would do the exercises as prescribed. Actually, what I have done is to build the exercises into my day, when I’m walking, or going downstairs, when I’m just sitting around, to be aware of stretching my foot any chance I get.
I’ve been saying to myself “I’ve been doing the best I can, and it’s good enough.” and trying to believe it. It’s amazing and painful to see how harshly I’ve judged myself for most of my life.
The PT was for my sprained ankle.