When I first encountered the concept of Radical Self Love, I thought it was about body image, being free to express one’s unique self, accepting without judgement one’s flaws and finding pleasure in the every day experience of the body.
During the writing of this blog, intended to be a 28 day exposition into my inner world, I encountered obstacles, triumphs, lessons-learned and lessons yet to be learned. Beyond body, the concept of Radical Self Love became clearer, it encompasses the entirety of who we are, not just how we perceive our outer shell, but how we live, treat, honor and care for our subtle selves, our ethereal beings and our psyche.
My main goal was to live in the lap of love, to let it flow freely from within and freely out. I wanted to take the idea that love is universal and put it into practice, changing the shape of my interactions and imbuing them with positivity, laughter, joy and acceptance.
I was not at all times successful in this, as I am only just beginning this new journey. But I won’t beat myself up over my errors. I have many trials ahead of me still. While a chapter has closed on my past, it shall forever remain a part of me. Although I strongly desire to go forward with new eyes and a new vision, the journey forward can only be made by acknowleging the journey that brought me here. Even though I acted in love to reverse my course, I still have rocky waters to navigate until I am finally on a placid lake.
Of all the challenges, learning to love my darkness is the hardest. Embracing the pain and scars and loving them into submission, removing the masks of tragedy and putting them back on the shelf, finding the strength to no longer make another suffer when I suffer, acting in love even when someone acts in hate. Telling my fears that it okay to sit up at night worrying, comforting immense loss, challenging presumptions and listening to alternative points of view. All these are acts of love and of openess to healing.
I’m not perfect and when I fall back into old patterns, I fall hard. But it gets easier and easier to see these for what they really are and to shift gears to change the dynamic.
The greatest achievement was letting go and allowing myself to give love and accept love in return, which feels magnificent.
Being part of the RSL community where women support one another without judgement was one of the most positive experiences of the journey.
And of course the kind of love that reflects the self but is given to one’s child is the greatest gift of all.
In so many ways I have so much to be grateful for. Learning self-love is a lifelong process which will take shape in many different ways, but in the end it always comes from the heart.
Two days later, and periodically my heart fills with dread and my hands start to involuntarily shake. I bring myself back to a tentative center, slowly, breathing one moment at a time. I look around at the obvious peace and quite of the home I created and eventually my muscles relax and I find my place again. PTSD.
I will live with it my whole life.
Even now as I recoil in horror from anything that invokes fear or anger, I am still forced to deal with it because of my choices.
The choices that include giving people with obvious mental illness a chance to love me. Because mental illness has been my norm, I have always glossed over the red flags that come with every mentally ill person I have ever met.
My music is born of the deepest chasms of emotion that I can fathom. My very first written work was about Madness and I recall the lyrics well:
“In the madness, in the madness of the dark. In the madness, in the madness, you’ve gone too far. I don’t want any of this, I don’t want your deadly kiss. When the sun goes down, you begin to swallow all you’ve ever known, your soul becomes hollow”
This was about someone I was friends with who had taken vampirism to an extreme, but it could have been written about any of my lovers.
To think that I, a person who detests violence and bloodshed and can’t watch cinematic horror, have been at the mercy of such brutal mysoginy.
A part of me however, enjoys drama and embraces the otherworldly. Stories of magical beings fascinate and intrigue me. I always fantisized about saving the tortured souls from their doom only to turn them into shining princely beings with a flair for artistic darkness.
Now, through the wisened sight of a person nearing their mid-thirties, I see how my predilications have seriously turned against me.
“I don’t want any of this….”
I’ve shoved my natural instincts of fear down for so long that I have accepted the worst case scenario as the only possible alternative. Suddenly, as if seeing the world from the vantage point of a child, I have woken to the meaning of fear. No longer capable of desensitizing myself to it, and appropriately so.
But this knowledge is not enough to keep me safe. I will always be near enough to hold the hand of the flame that burns me. That was the price I paid for sleeping with the enemy.
My own fire is kindled to keep my will alive, to keep my forward momentum and to heat the passion that drives me. Without it, I would not be who I am. I alight this flame internally as a guide to keep me safe.
In moments of panic, I will need to look within to find this source, either by diminishing it’s light for my protection or letting it expand to keep a barrier around me as I walk into the fray.
Two days ago, I diminished my light, but left a small window open for the cold to seep in. When I turn down my heat, I will also need to insulate the building. For this I will need to remember that love insulates me and keeps me from harm. My own love, the love of my child, the love of my family and the love of my friends. With this gentle strength it is the web of safety that I can surely fall upon when I am in greatest need.
My hands have yet to warm, my body feels cold, the rapid pulse of anxiety takes me to the edge and yet deep within, I feel the pulse of the serpent rising to meet the fear and to dash it down into the abyss. The grey eyes of fright will be scorched out and the wings of freedom rise with a new dawn. I refuse to be shackled by this fear. I refuse to give into to it’s dark demise. Like a phoenix I will set the world on fire when I rise.
I will not succumb to this madness.
I’ve picked up the peices of the torn sheet music and put them back together, hanging a bit crooked on the wall and staring into them for a glimpse of inspiration.
Some people create art for art’s sake, others make art from madness, still others take a more technical approach. I have always relied upon a Muse. As a poet’s Muse was perhaps a Siren calling from within a dark sea, I have always been inspired by mythic images from movies and books.
My greatest published masterpiece, Oberon, from my album Forest of Stone, was inspired by the dark lord of a Midsummer Night’s dream and his love and rival the Fairy Queen, Tatiana.
Eulogy, written for a dying friend was powerful, and it’s counterpart Risen From Ash and Stone even more haunting.
Writing music has been a passion of mine since as far as I can remember. I grew up in a household where classical music was the norm and I was expected to learn an instrument. Piano was my first choice. I’ve been playing since I was 7 years old.
I’ve always written music, the more bombastic the peice the more I feel. Some of my favorite composers are Beethoven, Mozart, Greig, Stravinsky, Orff, Borodin, and Rachmaninoff. It was only a natural diversion into the Gothic and Symphonic Metal world.
And there I remained for 7 good years of my music career. Managing the band I created called Eternal Embrace. 7 good years and a rotating line up of 7 superb (and sometimes not) musicians. I did most of the creative directing, most of the booking, most of the marketing and much of the writing. My art effused every aspect of my being, it was precisely who I was all the time.
And then a shift took place. I had a baby. I played live until I was 7 months pregnant and proudly. I played music to my baby in utero. Everything was primed and ready for me to bring a musical child into the world and continue on as if nothing had changed, playing music all the time, creating and doing my art. But that’s not what happened.
It was easy to do all of that before she was born, and it was also easy to do it after she was born, but as she grew and required more and more focus, sitting down at the keyboard became harder and harder. My art truly began to suffer and along with other events in my life that were taking place, my other baby, my band, began to suffer too.
As life with my guitarist husband became increasingly unbearable, I no longer had any energy to devote to my once fulfilling passion. I looked blankly at the keyboard, blankly at the computer screen, and blankly at my bandmates. While ideas continued to come, I had no energy or desire to implement them. It had staled. And then we broke up.
In July it was over officially and Eternal Embrace was no more. I was more relieved than sad at the time, the sadness would come later. I thought I would likely not play again until Sophia had grown and moved out of the house, and I was okay with that.
Then Rique died. My drummer of the past two years passed away suddenly in a freak car accident in November. I was devestated, he was the only person in the band that had not turned away from me after I left Erik. He was the only person to support me through my divorce because he had been there. After his death, a surge of creativity took hold of all of us and we wanted to get together to play a final piece in honor of our fallen brother. We talked constantly about getting the band back together for one more show…but it never happened. I was still stuck, still not willing to perform again with Erik because of all of the power struggles I knew would be inevitable. And so I just let it go.
Right now, my keyboard sits against a back wall without a power cable or a pedal. It is completely useless and represents how I have felt with my art for the past year. It’s a sad sight to see.
But there is hope. I just started to use a program aptly entitled Musescore and today I created my very first tiny peice. There are always people who want to work with me and I know I will never have any problems finding musicians and putting together something magnificent. I have all the right contacts and all the right knowledge for how to make it in the music industry.
My friend David says “You will create again” and I want to believe that is true. I know I have the makings of a true musical artist. The only question standing between me and my keyboard is “When”?
So starting slowly, I am touching my fingers to the keys on my computer keyboard. The sound of the piano notes thrill me and fills me with anticipation. Once I find my pedal and my power cable, the plug in will be electrifying. I have so much pent up energy and a great story to tell, somehow I don’t think I will be lacking a Muse, either way I know my art is always in me.
Disclaimer: This post is going to be very candid. If you are reading this and know me, please make the decision now to whether you feel comfortable with as much as I am going to reveal in this post. And if you do read it, please do so without judgement. If you’re one of my readers, prepare yourself for some Radical Self-Exposure.
I’m going back to my memories of early childhood, back into my toddler years, a key developmental stage. This was a time when my mother was a stressed out new mom going through the pain of her families abuse and trying to build a new life for herself. If I had a mirror that looked back into time, it would show me the face of compassion. I can see myself in moments of stress as a new mother and have scared myself several times with the anger that comes from both stress and sleeplessness. Going through my own pain, I can relate to the feelings of being out of control and to those of wanting to run away and hide. Because of these memories, I have tried very hard to be gentle with myself and with my daughter. I had a good mom, but I also was abused by her at times. Blame aside, she learned and so have I. Unfortunately it took 34 years…but fortunately, it has finally happened.
For the first time in my entire life (ENTIRE LIFE), last night I was with a gentle man.
I may be singularly focused on this for a while, but it is worthy of my attention.
How did I stray so far from this?
When you’re hit as a child it leaves you with certain thoughts: “I deserve this”, “I’m no good”, “I am bad”, “I need to be perfect and it won’t happen again”, “If I just ignore it…”, “I can change”, “I will love them more and they won’t hurt me”, “If I can make them see…”, “Let me disappear”. The list goes on.
I was a willful, spirited child and when my parents raised me, they raised me with their own histories of abuse behind them. It was a different age, it was known as discipline. But for a sensitive person like me, it caused me to internalize self-loathing and later resort to rebellion.
Only in that rebellion came more abuse: Abuse of the body, mind and spirit. My body has been used as a punching bag, a battering ram and a shit post my whole life. If the men weren’t abusing me, I was abusing myself. If I didn’t drown in alcohol, I would actually feel something. If it wasn’t painful, there was no passion.
Last night…no pain.
At just 16 years old I had a drinking problem and I was getting the shit kicked out of me almost every day by my first love. Next guy, surprise surprise, the biggest alcoholic I had ever met. We drank every night, drinking was our passion and when he’d fuck me and pass out it was humiliating, but I didn’t see that. Guy after that, another alcoholic, but this time I had turned the tables, I was the one in power, I controlled the damage by getting angrier. No longer on the passive side of the fight, I kicked his ass to show him how much I loved him and wanted him to change. When he left me and left all the torment behind, I wanted to kill myself.
Therapy: Hypnosis worked wonders, but I don’t think I went far enough with it. After a year in councelling, I had resolved much of what had led me to drink and my life took a huge leap forward with regards to the choices I made about how I treated my body. Age 22 was a bountiful year for me as I was modelling, had a blossoming career, was involved in theater, the the arts and music. I was finally coming into my own as woman.
I dated a younger man at the time who was actually very kind to me, we shared many of the same interests, but in the end my lover left me for a younger woman. Although, I was grateful for the time with him, he was young and I knew it wasn’t for keeps, our passion was lukewarm at best and he was too insecure to be able to pleasure me as a woman. This should have been my barometer for finding a nice man, but somehow I had missed the mark.
In my quest for fulfillment outside of myself, I continued on the dating path and tried an online affair. This suffered wildly when I met the person and we moved in together immediately. I soon learned that the internet is a place where you can say and be anything you want to be. This person used me for money and cheated on me, destroying my faith, and ruining my life. I had to flee from the scene and move back home to recover. No surprise, the alcoholism came back, the self-loathing came back along with the anger.
It is no wonder, when I look back on it, that I was out of control in my life and my choices suffered. I was in such intimate pain. My anger and rage were my security blankets. I wore it as a badge of honor. I was invincible in my hatred. It protected me and it grew.
Life, in all aspects, always moves forward. I felt my time back home was healing. I discovered things about myself that made me feel whole again. That is why when I met Erik, I felt confident that I had met “The One”. The one I would marry, the one I would have a life with, the one that I would allow to father my child. For all intents and purposes, our relationship at the beginning was good. We were both seriously pissed off at the world!! How could that not bond a couple? We were both passionate musicians and we had a mission to create music together. We also had fun and yes, in retrospect, there were vast warning signs that I ignored, but love is blind, deaf and dumb.
In all things, I am an immensely passionate woman. There is nothing I do in my life that is without depth. It pervades my relationships, but also the core of who I am. I am sensitive, creative and experiential. The very positives of my being are my acceptance of others and the freedom I give so that they may express themselves without fear. I am learning how this benefits me and also how it can work against me. In allowing others to freely express all of who they are without judgement or self-protection, I often accept abuse as part of the package deal. Either ignoring it, or fighting against it to change the situation and the person. Fearing aloneness, I have kept people around well past their expiration date.
All that changed when my daughter was born. The old ways of thinking and behaving were dying. As if a light switch had turned on, I came back to myself and who I was as a child. I discovered an inner light where there had been vast darkness. She caused me to reevaluate everything. She was love incarnate, joy thousandfold, sweet beauty, a gentle angel! I only needed her, she was perfection in all its simplicity.
Sex with my husband after she was born was excruciatingly painful. Coupled with fear and anxiety, body changes, sleeplessness and all of his lies, I froze up. My body was not open to him any longer and as I shut down physically, I felt more and more depressed. Was this all life was? Did I dry up at 30? Something told me that there was so much more. Something had to give, I needed to move on and I knew it.
I began focusing on getting my body back in shape and eating healthy. Perhaps if he sees me being good to myself, he will be good to me. I got into the charity industry through my music and began giving. Perhaps if he sees me giving, he will be more generous with his time and energy. I tried so hard, but nothing ever changed. I was doing everything I could think of to make him see me. Who was this shining person inside that kept slamming up against a dark wall? It had to end. I wanted to give my light to the world and wanted the world to love me!
At long last, we decided to open our marriage up to see other people. It was probably the worst move a damaged couple could make, but there is a reason for everything. I just wanted to enjoy my life fully. I wanted to have fun again, feel pretty again. Being a mother was amazing, but it wasn’t enough, I needed something just for me.
It was a very long time until I found someone to share my passion with in my “Open” marriage. The person who came into my life had been meant to arrive and I was meant to learn one final lesson. While I gave myself up to the inherant chemistry that we felt together, I was made crucially aware that I was an object, not of affection, but of pain. And deserving of this pain, I let the abuse happen.
As I was choked to the point of not being able to breath, I suddenly awoke to the realization that I had been drinking again and let my life spin out of control. All at once, I stopped and shifted gears. I recognized that I had burrowed down deep into the rabbit hole with just a pin prick of light shining above my battered head. With the last bit of strength I had, I reached for it, pulled and was uplifted.
In rapid succession, I leaped out of the hole and ran on the road toward an open feild of opportunity. I swam in an ocean of salt-swept tears. I battled dragons and came out as a warrior. I held my child high in the air and felt victorious!! And when I felt ready, I opened my huge heart to the world and began letting people in that deserved me.
Life has been amazing so far, all the beautiful things that have happened signify the human growth that I have acheived. Every right move, every right intention, and all of the rewards that I have received in blessing for accepting these difficult changes. It has been well worth every hardship.
When I look back on the ways I have been treated by men, I see with the eyes of a child as well as a woman. I know why everything happened and I know how it happened. I forgive myself, but at the same time it is a motivating source of pain. I allowed myself to be objectified, my temple defaced. I never treated my body as a temple until I had a life inside of me.
Last night…my temple was adored.
I think because I am no longer accepting negativity as a way of life, I am seeing people differently. I have suddenly become able to discern if a person is worthy of my time, whereas before I would give time to anyone who was interesting. Because I am channeling self-love in massive quantities and because I believe in love, I choose only to act in love and walk the path of joy. I choose only to surround myself with people who offer joy and who can be mostly happy. This has made a huge difference in my quality of life.
As I laid beneath a gentle hand and looked into kind eyes, absorbed in the moment of bliss, the dawn of my rebirth became complete. I will now never again need to be with someone who tortures me, I will never again know that kind of pain and I will never again accept fear in my relationships.
Last night…healed me.
I give credit where credit is due, I did the work, and it is I who acheived the greatness of self-love and healed my spirit, but I am so unimaginabley grateful to the person who I shared myself with last night. He may never know the depth of my sincerity, but I know that my heart, at long last, is once again what it was before I was abused, my heart is that of a child and I am free.
If the world is to progress we must push beyond our comfort zones, beyond our norms and our complacency, we must learn to see the future as a myriad of diverse elements to be experienced without the shadow of judgement.
So many moments in the day I am confronted with my own learned social boundaries and the roadblocks to progress that I put in place in my own life. Resistance to change is only natural, especially when there is often so much uncertainty and very little support, but I have been surrounding myself with teachers and guides who have been extremely helpful in lighting the way. In this case even the youngest among us can be teachers, and those who seem unlikely to have anything at all to contribute, can often show us something new.
It’s been a winding road getting to where I finally feel safe in acknowleding how different my perception is from the popular world view. My tolerance of people, my acceptance of the idiosyncracies of all human beings, their frailties, their desires, their fantasies and their own set of boundaries. I am open to the point of bringing in the world at my doorstep, but boundaries have never been my strong point. Yes I have judged, and yes I have negated, but seemingly this has been a process of releasing undesired elements from my own way to inner peace.
As I have grown older I have been able to realize that my nature is not a deficiency, but a strength, I have been able to put boundaries in place for the things that I do not find match my value system and yet open my heart and mind to those qualities in humanity which do, even if my actions and choices are seen by some as being harsh and intolerant.
I see this as a progression, not just in my growth, but as the potential for growth within our society. When each person can purge negative constructs to make room for equality within our vast social systems, new paradigms open and our collective consciousness broadens to benefit each other holistically.
It is said in certain spiritual circles that we are in a time where dramatic shifts are taking place within the vast dimensions of our psyches. That children who come into this world now have a new gift of open-mindedness and acceptance, these children walk within the realm of love whole-heartedly and move beyond judgement to free the world of drama caused by fear and deliberate mis-understanding. I believe that I am one of those people, I see this in my neice and I am beginning to see a glimmer in my young daughter.
Even as I feel that mainstream society has not been set up for my level of understanding, forcing the harshness of it’s reality down my throat and causing me to actively stand defensive, I have always fought against being bullied into accepting pre-defined roles in myself and others or seeing the norm as being the only acceptable alternative.
That is not to say I am without values toward traditions, I do so love the traditions of our cultural history. However, I am also accustomed and open to making my own traditions as well as keeping the old, just as our ancestors have in generations past, in times when femininity was a source of power and where neither genders were oppressed against one another.
As I step far away from learned behavior patterns, practical defense mechanisms and false social constructs, as I enter a world that is less tied down to mainstream beliefs and values, I find myself even more open to the spirit of love than I ever have been in the past. Times when I would have rejected the notion or been inclined to wear a veil of anger, I have become released.
I would have thought after my divorce that I may have gone backwards toward old patterns of self-loathing, disguising pain with anger and sheilding myself from a future of bliss with a mountain of hate, but it did not happen. Perhaps it is because I have a daughter who I must nurture with all the love and wisdom I can muster, or perhaps it is the age I have reached which guides me to this path, but I feel strong and good and able to love, and not just singularly, but wholly and vastly and universally. What is this pure intent but the will of spirit and the destiny of humanity that ride upon this wave of radical momentous change? And here I stand to push my boundaries so that I will continue to flow forward with the tide.
I honestly don’t think I work well in a Triad, I have trouble splitting my attention and I am such a passionate person that I become single-minded in my focus on the object of my passion. Psychologically, I don’t think I was prepared for the level of extreme passion I felt when my daughter was born. I wasn’t one who had thought about having kids since I was a little girl, I played with the boys and liked to climb trees and run around in the woods. I loved to flirt and loved male attention, I still do, but in all my years, until I met my former husband, I never really acknowledged the deep desire I had to have a child. Perhaps it was because of my rejection and abandonment issues that I never committed to the idea of marriage and a family, I honestly never believed that I would have that. Then I met a man, who seemingly wanted to share a life with me and when I fell deeply in love, I knew then that I wanted the whole nine yards of marriage, a child, a house, pets, two cars in the driveway, and a rock and roll band!
I was in love with Erik, honestly and truly, he was the greatest love of my life. Unfortunately, he has bipolar disorder pretty badly, and as the years wore on some of his quirks became dangerous behaviours and began to seriously affect us as a couple. I tried so hard for so long to cope and to help him, so much that I lost most of who I was and wanted to be.
Even though things were progressing badly, I still had hope, I still loved him and wanted a child with him. To this day I really feel that he wanted all of the same things I wanted, only in different measures. Whereas I fully wanted the family and domestic life with the added perks of a music career on the side, I don’t think he was prepared for the dramatic changes to our lives that took place after the birth of our child. Rather than accept his role as provider and father after we decided that I would stay home to raise our daughter, he began staying out late at night, shirking financial responsibilities and neglecting our relationship to the point of no return.
Meanwhile, I had fallen deeply and madly in love….with my daughter. Sophia was a dream come true. She was a joyful, vibrant child with an easy temperment and we just fit perfectly.
Because of all that had been going on and the sense of loss I was experiencing with my husband, I bonded with her more deeply than I ever have with another human being. My focus soon became entirely on her, on her well-being, and on giving her a life free from conflict, anger or pain. At the same time, I realized that I was suffering, and knew that the kind of relationship she witnessed her dad and I having would not benefit her in the long run. In a final desperate attempt to save our marriage, we did the worst thing imaginable, we opened it up to see other people. As unhealthy as this was however, it was the one thing that gave me the impetus to leave.
Since August, I have been single and raising my daughter on my own. My ex husband provides child support, but true to form, he is primarily focused on himself and his musical aspirations. I know he loves his daughter, but he came to realize that he’s not a family man and that our dreams, while similar, were not the same. He had wanted love, but couldn’t handle the responsibilty that came along with it.
Love is incredibly important to me. The love of a man is nice, but for me, the love you receive from your child is the truest love there is.
Part of being me, I have this particular affliction, for some reason I want everyone to really like me. Such an unrealistic goal I know, but I am really bothered when I find out that a person doesn’t like me. I guess I can’t handle rejection.
In fact I am going through the throws of rejection right now. Why don’t they like me? How can I learn to understand them better so that they will like me better? What can I do to get them to understand me? And the list of accomodations will go on.
I can adapt to just about any person, my listening skills are superior, I can relate to just about everything you just said. Hence, my chameleon-like ability to conform to your standards so that you won’t reject me.
How is this even healthy? Why do I even give a shit what you think?
I’ve just begun to try to root out these answers.
This is a huge issue for me, likely stemming back to my first childhood experience of rejection. Yes, I was the little girl that didn’t conform, I didn’t have a cabbage patch kid, or barbies, or charm necklaces. I wasn’t the cool kid. My parents were fringe people, artists, bohemians, they didn’t do mainstream. So I was the little girl that didn’t get invited to the birthday parties. And this is where I learned to adapt.
And while I do gravitate toward those of my own interest base, you will see in my history a disparity of sorts. That open-mindedness of my character creates room for all kinds and because I have developed the ability to adapt to all different personality types, genres, class and cultural backgrounds, everyone is my friend….until their not.
And it’s this Not that really bugs me. How can you not like Me? I’m cool, I’m pretty, I laugh at all your jokes, I get you, I will do whatever you want, I will even let you treat me like shit and handle your nasty behavior just so you won’t leave me. Oh yes, now we’re definitely getting down to the nitty gritty, and particularly describing most of my intimate relationships.
It’s just not right. What I really should be saying is: You don’t like me? Fuck it. I’m cool, I’m pretty, I have a good sense of humor, I get you but I’m not you, I have my own likes and dislikes and if you have a problem with that, than you have a problem. You wanna leave? Fine, find out what you’re missing. You wanna act like a dick? Do it on your own time. Leave me alone if you’re not going to respect my needs and try to understand how I work. I’m tired of our one-sided relationship where it’s all about you. I come on too strong I’m too blunt, too bold? You have a problem with that? Does it make you insecure? Sorry, that’s not my problem, you don’t have to like me. Later.
I’m not sure how I got to a place where everything I did was measured on someone elses idea of perfect, but I got there. I didn’t even notice how the idea of someone elses perfect had infiltrated my entire life until I was no longer accountable to anyone but msyelf.
Being single has a way of opening your eyes so that all you really see is yourself in relation to yourself. As I looked inward, I realized how long I had been struggling to maintain someone elses image of who I was supposed to be! No wonder I felt sick inside and so unhappy, whose life was I living anyway?
I’d like to think that it was just a fluke of my nature that allowed me to continuously accept unsolicited advice about what was best for me and how I should live. My relaxed, open-minded attitude served as a sounding board for the repeated, insidious assassination of my character, until there was very little left of the person I desired to be.
Suddenly, the vibrant, creative, passionate, musical person I was was reduced to a shell, an outline and eventually a minutae of what she was before.
When my daughter was born, it became even worse. I was no longer given the credit I was deserving of for any of my efforts and the constant comparison between myself and another became so oppressive that I fell over the edge.
It truly was a severe, stress induced fight or flight response, which caused me to look myself squarely in the eye and say, I just can’t live like this anymore.
Several weeks after leaving my marriage and moving into a room with my daughter, I looked around at my patchwork life, and realized that although it was not perfect, nor was it how I envisioned my life as a mother, it was good enough, in fact, in many ways it was better.
Later on, through the months, I realized that I cannot possibly compare to another person, simply because there is no comparison. I am one unique individual among many. The things that make me sparkle are not necessarily what makes another person sparkle. When I was being put in my place, kept down, competed with and forced to mute my colors, I was being abused. The knowledge of that has left scars, but it certainly hasn’t diminished me.
I am reasserting myself as a person, which was a great struggle initially. I found myself knowledgable, yet hesitant to say anything for fear of being silenced and I noticed it was difficult to express myself strongly to others, but eventually I found my voice. Sometimes I still recognize fear, the fight or flight response, and have to resist the ability to blend in so as not to be seen.
It takes great courage to be true to yourself, it is not always easy to be authentic, for peace it is sometimes easier to just go with the flow of the tide, but it’s your inner world that suffers if you don’t carve your own path. The true beauty that is meant to shine from your soul is a gift that should not be subdued for any reason.
I can’t help but feel I wasted precious time trying to live up to outdated, unrealistic standards that were untrue to my values, but when I got married I was still pretty young and really didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Life is a series of lessons to be learned and for me, this was one of the biggest.
Although this experience was painful, I am able to look beyond the damage it caused to me in the interim, and see the value of the lesson as it applies to what I will teach my daughter and how I can guide her to remain true to herself, and teach her to stand in her own power so that her light shall not be diminished out of someone elses need to control, judge or manipulate.
I now look back and feel bad for those people who didn’t appreciate the best of me, but sadly it really is their loss because I am pretty fucking awesome!
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