Written in writing group on April 24.
I remember how it used to upset me when people talked about “being grateful for the gift of life.” I felt like the “gift” came to me smashed, it wasn’t a gift at all. And my long struggle to “prove I deserve to live” also suggests that I didn’t feel it was a gift but something I had to earn.
That’s all changed. It was just a couple of weeks ago when Alice said she liked the honesty with which I wrote about myself in the Residents’ Biography book. I talked about my alcoholic parents and having been traumatized as a baby. I remember someone in charge asking me if I wanted to take anything out, or if I was really comfortable with everything. I said I was fine with how it was. But nobody else wrote about anything negative.
The second thing was being introduced to the work of Nic Askew who filmed people in black and white and somehow got their real selves to appear. Then there was something I was typing up from a month ago where I said something about “trying to be who I really am” and it was so clear that “trying” was not the way to get there. So I just relaxed, and it was the most amazing thing. I was able to experience myself as the person I really am and not Mother’s shadow that she projected on to me. It’s been clear for a long time that the person other people see is not who I experience myself to be. But that’s all changed.
Another piece was having the music to a dance pop into my head. That was actually weeks before these other things happened. The music was St. Francis’ Canticle of the Creatures, sung by Angelo Branduardi. By “creatures” is meant all created things: Brother Sun, Sister Moon, Water, Fire, plants and animals. The dance to it is simple and joyful and I started doing it, and it made me so happy. So I’ve been so happy for almost two weeks now, and looking back my life looks like a great adventure not a dismal waste.
I think of the things I’ve done, and I feel good about them. I wrote a book expressing the two sides of the brain on left-hand pages and right-hand pages. The right hand pages are linear and logical with footnotes and bibliography which is the left side of the brain, but our experience is that it’s the right side of the body. The left-hand pages are much more creative. I also created a slide show which involved pictures I had taken of megalithic monuments and sacred sites in the Celtic countries. It was a lot of work because I had two slide projectors and a fade-dissolve unit to crossfade the slides, music, and a script. I had a career plan of taking the show on the road and selling books at each showing. But I never got there. Severe depression rooted in early trauma sabotaged my ability to carry it out.
Then I was part of Journey Into Courage.
And I built Neskaya.
Note: going back to look for the day Alice talked to me, I discovered that the previous post was “Choose to be Happy” in which I show how that attitude is not helpful. Made me laugh.