To the Girl Who Wrote Poetry

To the girl who wrote poetry
Preserving me
Through the static
Thank you.

It is time

She appears
The strength
The vividness
Of a million colors
Before me
And within me
Floating, touching
dancing
As one 
Arising
And gliding over nothingness
As I collapse before her feet

Into our nothingness
So she can speak

This poem was inspired by finding my old poetry journals from when I was 13-20 years old. After 20 I largely stopped writing poetry. Until I picked the habit back up within the last year. My emotions seem to compel me to write poems. As I write them it often feels I am both communicating and listening. I am expressing and keeping in touch with myself. I believe writing poetry harmonizes and integrates the emotional and thinking parts into “Me”.

Who Am I?

I turn inside with words
Asking
"Who am I?"

I hear ricocheting replies
Proclamations of strength
Tearful helpless hurting
Screams of rage spiraling destroying
Whispers of my fears confirmed
A panicky flow of words
A loud mocking laugh
A meek voice promising a flinching kindness
A gentle confident voice reassuring love

I am all of these
I am none of these
Besides the one asking 
"Who am I?"

And the reply is - 
Choose! 

Where I Am This Week (4-26-21)

Stepping Into My Own Reality

I am starting to step into my own reality. I am starting to trust my instincts and my feelings. I am starting to show up for myself with understanding, kindness, and support. I am feeling an increased sense of freedom and joy in life.

I believe all the steps before brought me to this place, but most recently what helped lift me to this more peaceful perspective was the support of my therapist and the kindness of my friends here on WordPress. With such support I feel I was able to take a huge step forward in my journey, and that was to consciously, within my mind, say goodbye to and stop chasing after closeness with my parents. I say within my mind because I didn’t actually say anything to my parents. It was more a process of letting my dreams for our relationship go in my mind, accepting and grieving what has been and is our relationship, and turning to focus on finding a closeness with my own self instead.

I Have Everything I Need

I found myself reflecting this week on my life and thinking, “I have everything I need, now I just have to figure out how to enjoy it”. I feel incredibly blessed and excited for the future. I feel a growing sense of being capable of handling whatever comes next. I feel a self confidence I have never felt before. A general feeling of “I am fine”.

This new found feeling of being “okay” strikes me as so odd. I have spent so much time trying to convince my parents that “I am not fine” or that our relationship is “not fine”. Yet by withdrawing from that battle for their validation, I am actually starting to finally feel I am “fine”. I feel I am starting to accept our relationship for what it is, lacking the honesty, affection, and closeness I’d like, but accepting I have done my part and now it is up to them. I am good as I am, I can have a beautiful life as things are, even if they never validate or believe my perspective and where I am. Their trying to listen and understand my perspective is crucial for our relationship to grow and deepen, but it is not crucial for me to be a good mother, or wife, or person, or for me to have a good life. I am starting to not only believe, but also to truly feel this. What a relief! And what excitement!

Easing Of Sadness and Anger

And with this growing feeling I feel hints of an easing of my anger and sadness. Could those emotions have been yearning to be witnessed and accepted by me. Picked up by me, and cared for. Were they fighting to get me to see my truth, I used to think that I needed others/my parents to see my truth. But maybe me seeing my truth and believing my truth was all I needed. Now that I am starting to listen closer to and understand my emotions better, it feels like they can ease. There is less need for my sadness and anger to rise to extremes just to be acknowledged by me, I am starting to get better at perceiving my emotions gentle nudges. They are my guides to alert me to ways I do not enjoy being treated and may need to establish boundaries, and also are my guides to alert me to ways I do not wish to treat those I love. I do not want them to feel what I have felt.

Being More Present

I found myself more present this week with my children. More natural. I let my instincts guide me, I didn’t overthink each word and each action, I didn’t judge myself against all the perfect other things I could have done, merely noting different opportunities in the future. And through these more calm and gentle eyes I noticed my kids seem to love me dearly. And in the atmosphere of lightness and presence I found myself having more silly fun with the kids, really joining their world where the moment is all that exists. That moment of making a big dino pile with dino music blaring or checking out the new buds and flowers in our yard or them hanging onto my back and pretending to be baby monkeys. I laughed more freely. I loved it and they loved it too.

As silly as I’ve been I also noticed a silence from me I am not used to. A comfortableness with silent presence. I feel as if I tend to chatter a lot, out of a sort of nervous energy. I feel I need to be doing something or my mind is running fast. In the newer moments of quiet this week I took in a lot of peace and contentment in the simple things I don’t tend to notice. Such as the quiet togetherness of helping my kids pick out their clothes and get dressed in the morning. There is so much already in that moment without words.

I also found grounding myself helpful. Literally saying in my mind, “I am at the park with the kids. It’s the afternoon.” My mind tends to wander and worry and I catch it planning everything in advance. It tends to have a lot of nervous energy. I found this week, even though I tried to keep my mind in the present moment, the “future moments” worked out to. I just figured them out when I got there. I didn’t need to plan every hour out in the morning. With focusing on where I am, I can notice beauty in my surroundings or even just the peace I feel in the present. The feeling of safety.

Points On A Journey

I know this journey has ups and downs. I am probably currently at some peak after a big realization, and I will crash again before the next step forward. But more and more I feel I am carrying forward with an understanding and new strength in this journey. I am starting to feel I am okay. I am starting to see how many loving people there are in this world and rest in feeling that kindness and goodness can be found in simple ways all around me. I am starting to feel embraced by the eternal hands of God, which have been with me all along and which always will be.

I am starting to place my sense of peace through His eyes as opposed to every individual I may encounter. For I well know, from my own past feelings, thoughts and actions, how trapped in a delusion an individual can become. How fearful of truth, how distant from the truth, how cut off from their own nature, how judgemental and fragily prideful one can become. We all benefit when those confused and hurting voices are seen for what they are – lost, confused, and hurting – as opposed to voices of intentional evil or harm. As I practice finding my peace through His eyes as opposed to every individual I meet, I hope to find the stability, faith, love, inner peace, and strength to remain in my own perspective no matter how I am seen by someone else in the moment.

Fred Rogers – “The Truth Will Make Me Free”

These are the words from the video above:

“The truth is inside of us, and it’s wonderful when we have the courage to tell it.

Singing: What if I were very, very sad
And all I did was smile?
I wonder after a while
What might become of my sadness?
What if I were very, very angry,
And all I did was sit
And never think about it?
What might become of my anger?
Where would they go, and what would they do
If I couldn’t let them out?
Maybe I’d fall, maybe get sick
Or doubt.
But what if I could know the truth
And say just how I feel?
I think I’d learn a lot that’s real
About freedom.
I’m learning to sing a sad song when I’m sad.
I’m learning to say I’m angry when I’m very mad.
I’m learning to shout,
I’m getting it out,
I’m happy, learning
Exactly how I feel inside of me

I’m learning to know the truth
I’m learning to tell the truth
Discovering truth will make me free.

Are you discovering the truth about you? Well I’m still discovering the truth about me. That’s what we do as we keep on growing in life.”

Fred Rogers television show Mister Rogers Neighborhood was intended for children. And he spoke so beautifully to the child’s heart, he was often able to awaken the inner child that still lives within adults. His gentle, compassionate, and understanding presence along with his wisdom has been/is incredibly inspiring and comforting to me in this journey.

Where I Am This Week (11/23)

Being There For Myself/Being There For Others

I feel myself stepping more and more into living as myself. I more often have such a peace within and such a peace with my actions and words. However living more as my real self is a change for me, and with changes come challenges.

One of these challenges for me is learning how to interact as my real self with other people and relatedly learning to see those around me for who they truly are. I try to be in touch with my real self, and when I feel I am, I trust that her instincts and intentions are best for myself and those around me. I try to live more freely now.

This past week I attempted to express this idea to my husband, this idea that I am trying to build up a trust in myself and step into living fully as myself. I expressed my confusion and fears about how this could effect our relationship. It was honest, but unsurprisingly seemed to make him feel attacked or threatened and that seemed to send me into a more fearful and negative mental space.

This dynamic confuses me. I feel the urge to reach out, discuss, and share, so I do. But often I share my fears, and my fears often involve me “hurting someone more than I am helping” or someone “holding me back from happiness/living as me” in some way. They are my fears of what reality is or will be. But it seems, as happened during this conversation with my husband, the person I’m speaking to takes it personally. My fears seem to hurt them. If I had thought about this conversation with my husband more before sharing, I would have guessed he would react negatively just as he did. Does that mean I shouldn’t bring these types of fears up with him? Does it mean the way in which I bring them up is not graceful enough?

What Would My Inner Parent Say?

When learning how to better interact with others, I can find it helpful to reflect on how my inner parent interacts with me or would interact with me in a given situation. When I do this exercise, I see how deeply hurtful it would be for my inner child to hear anything that sounds remotely like my inner parent saying they “might have to leave me“. However I do feel slight resistance to this notion that the level of “eternal thereness” for myself should be extended to my husband. I do love my husband though, isn’t that level of “eternal thereness” just what love looks like? I do not know, being there for myself and others is new to me. I am learning.

There is a relationship where this quest for “eternal thereness” feels more smooth and natural to me and that is towards my children. I feel determined to always be there for them, just as my inner parent is for me. I will never leave them. No matter how old they are, or how lost they are, no matter where they are emotionally I will be there for them and if I am not there for them I will be trying with all my strength to get there and let them know I am desperately trying. Would I ever say anything they might hear as “I might have to leave you”? Maybe, but always I would try to make it clear I feel I might have to leave because my strength, and therefore ability to be there for them, is faltering. Always it would be clear the “leaving” is temporary, is in tune with where they are too, and I will return.

Is it true I do not feel this desire for “eternal thereness” for my husband? If it is true, is that something I should strive to change? Is it a lack of extension and expression of my love? It’s a maze to my mind.

What Are My Expectations And Hopes From My Husband?

Maybe I can find some clarity about how I want to/should feel towards him by switching the roles -What are my expectations and hopes from my husband towards myself? I want him to be truly happy. I want him to flourish from within. I want him to find and step right up to the line that is the limit to his freedom to improve the world. But also I want him to have the wisdom to recognize, accept, and make peace with that line that is the true limit of his power. I want him to look back and be able to see the ups and downs, that are life, as his beautiful story. I want him, who he is inside, to be living in every moment.

Though I didn’t clearly answer the question of “What are my expectations and hopes from my husband towards myself?”, maybe I did discover a clarity from not answering the question. I suspect the resistance I have to being “eternally there” for my husband, does not indicate a lack of love for him. It indicates a lack of willingness to self destruct for him. A growing recognition that I am worthy and want to step into my life. The real me is no danger. I will step into my life. I will live my life. I feel this is healthy, and I want the same for him. I want my husband to live, not live for me.

Well, Where Do We Fit Into Each Other’s Lives Then?

I want to be a person my husband wants to be around. A person who emotionally supports him and he wants to support, a person who is interested in him and who he is interested in, who believes in him and he believes in, who brings joy to him and he wants to bring joy to too, etc. and I assume he wants to be that person to me. I believe we both share the fear that we are not that person to the other. I believe this was the fear I communicated this week to him, and me discussing it brought up that shared fear in him too.

And there is truth to that in our past. We have relived and are reliving many aspects of the dynamics from our childhoods with each other. (I suspect my fear that my real self is a danger to his real self and happiness or that he is a danger to my real self and happiness are both strongly rooted from my childhood not our relationship). But how beautiful if somehow we each can bring ourselves to the surface of life, and fully stand before each other in the present. Fearfully at first, but then receive what we have longed for all our lives. To feel seen by someone who wants us, the real us.

I sense a growing of that difficult journey to the surface of life within both of us. There is a part of me, not the fearful part of me, that has faith. That part of me believes my husband and I both lost touch with our real selves in childhood. Yet somehow it was our real selves which chose each other, and which have carried us through our dating and marriage years together. An emotion within me seems to say, “You already see him, and he already sees you. Look to see this truth, and live this truth boldly. Then you will begin to experience it, to feel it!”.

Where I Am This Week

Interacting With Myself (My Inner Child)

For as long as I can remember I ignored, criticized, judged, or rejected my feelings. That was just how I interacted internally with myself. I vaguely recognized it wasn’t healthy, but I didn’t know a different way of being. I assumed everyone else’s inner worlds looked like mine. To me that was just the reality of internal life.

Through this journey of change I am learning to feel my emotions more freely. It can be overwhelming. I feel so much. It also seems as I have been accepting and hearing my emotions more freely my emotional landscape appears different. Anger and frustration have always been common and familiar emotions within me. Maybe shortly before my journey back to self or at the start of it (it’s not clear to me when this whole process started) my anger began morphing into a type of internal chaotic rage. That period of rage was brief but scared me. But anger and frustration seemed to be my constant companions.

I noticed over the last few months however that my familiar emotion of anger has largely faded and a new emotion seems to have taken it’s place – sadness. It feels like progress to feel this sadness, because I suspect it was sadness that was the hidden fuel of the anger. Sadness is the true face behind the mask of anger I wore and saw for so long. Even though sadness has been with me all along, I find it difficult and painful to feel and manage. I am not familiar with accepting and feeling sadness. I notice it tends to make me flee inwards. I have been practicing the habit of sitting with, listening to, comforting, and offering guidance to my sadness.

A New Voice?

When I had moments to myself this week I naturally glided into the habits I have formed to give my sadness time to express itself and be heard and understood by me. I would pick up a self help book or start working on a playlist of music to capture my journey, but something inside of me seemed uninterested. There was a push back within me towards the activity. At first I interpreted this push back to be an attempt by me to resist painful but needed action. It is common for me to fearfully flee what I truly want to approach. But as this new feeling of push back continued to arise over the week, it captured my interest. I started listening more deeply to the feeling and observed it appeared to be saying “Play, let’s have fun!”.

This is a message I have almost never heard from within. It confused me. I have spent the last couple months practicing getting in touch with my heart, my inner self. Hadn’t I found my heart, and inner self to be deeply hurt and sad? I imagined it would be disrespectful to my inner self to listen to and live this playful feeling. I feared it was a compassionless abandoning command to “stop being sad and be happy please”. I worried it would re-inflect on my inner self exactly what wounded me so much as a child. But these were my fears speaking, when I observed past them I saw the situation more clearly.

This new push back feeling wasn’t a new but familiar insensitive and dismissing voice commanding me to just be happy, it was my inner self speaking in a way I had never heard before. It was my inner self feeling and sharing a less familiar emotion – joy and playfulness. It seems by letting myself feel my sadness, by sitting with it, and looking on it with compassion it freed me to start feeling more joy. My inner self now sometimes wants to listen to happy music, be silly with the kids, dance, sit and watching a TV show just for fun. It isn’t insensitive, numbing, or disrespectful to me to feel and live these joyful and playfulness moments, it would be insensitive to me to judge, criticize, or reject them and needlessly push a serious activity on myself.

Joy and Play

I am accepting these joyful and playful feelings when they arise, I am enjoying them. When I get free time now I try to listen to what I want to do right in that moment. Maybe I do want to put in hard work for a long term project, maybe I do want to do some difficult inner work, maybe I am hurting and want to work on expressing and understanding it, maybe there is a chore I want to get done, maybe I just want to have fun. This tuning into how I feel and building up a trust with myself that I will know and respect how I feel in the moment, makes even difficult and boring task more peaceful to me. I notice I have been getting more chores around the house done this week through this listening to when I am ready to do them and not forcing myself. In some ways this all doesn’t make sense to me, but I guess I am learning to respect myself and that alone makes me happier and more efficient.

I believe what I needed as a child, I am learning to give myself now. I am learning to be in touch with and responsive to myself in the moment. I am building the inner strength to love strong enough to go to wherever I am emotionally in the present moment. To sit there, to listen to myself, to comfort myself, to encourage myself, to praise myself, to guide myself. And as this happens more and more a trust and faith builds with myself. A beautiful proclamation arises from the deepest parts of my inner self: “I am never and will never be alone again!”.

The Inner Parent

(I wrote this about 2 weeks ago. I have written a few posts I haven’t shared. I am trying to share more freely. I believe it is good practice for me living as my true self.)

During this process of getting back in touch with myself and living the life I want, I started developing an “inner parent”. This was a figure I could seek out in times of high emotion for support. At first it was challenging for me to make this inner parent real enough in my imagination, it wasn’t natural. In trying to flesh out this inner parent I found filling them in with those who have inspired me helpful (for me this was mainly Jesus and the character Alyosha from Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov who was a character modeled after Jesus).

With time and practice my inner parent figure has become more solid and turning to the inner parent in times of high emotion feels more natural. My inner parent is kind, compassionate, gentle, wise, comforting, calm, strong, motivating, supportive and sees the real me and believes in my potential. They love me unconditionally. They believe I have a good and loving heart and good and loving intentions. They look at me with pride.

When I get in high emotions I know to go before this parent. They comfort me. And recently they seem to have taken on a new role. They guide me. I think the inner parent started guiding me because I started asking for their guidance not simply comfort. It’s not something I intentionally started to do with any expectation. It just naturally arose within the moments of high emotions before the inner parent. They seem to speak to me. And their guidance rings as true so deeply in my heart. They give me clarity and peace.

For example, This week I was feeling hurt, unseen, confused, and “useless” after a conversation with my husband. I often feel I bring my full and vulnerable self before others now, and expect that to be helpful to them in some way. Often however I feel the other person doesn’t see me. I feel they aren’t interested in me, and even worse that I bother them. After this difficult conversation I fled inwards, and once I was in a calmer state this is what my inner parent said:

“The gift you bring to the table is not being seen, it is seeing others”.

These words helped me so much. They helped me see more clearly why I felt so hurt. They helped me realize that though I have good intentions, my habitual path is often not the wisest one. They gently reminded me to refocus my energy into opening my eyes to others as opposed to using my energy to try to get others to open their eyes to me. The only person who needs to see the real me is myself, if I have that I have all I need. But if I can not see others or they do not feel seen by me, I have work to do.

After finding comfort and guidance with my inner parent, I approached my husband again. When I listened with open ears I could hear him better. I found he had a wonderful insight for me. He shared that when trying to see others it can be helpful to listen to more than just their words. He said there are many ways to communicate, though I am a verbal person and often express myself and my love through my words, maybe other people’s love is expressed in different ways. This rung as very true to me! I will practice listening to others with more than just my ears.

I wonder about the nature of this inner relationship. Who is the person that flees to the inner parent and who is the inner parent? Why does their presence with me bring such peace, why are their simple words so true and good? I suspect they speak what I already know but do not see.

It does not feel like the inner parent is a part of myself. It feels like they are a separate person within. Yet this whole dynamic strikes me as interesting because I have noticed that I can sometimes find and see the beauty and goodness in the external world, and in other people, yet I can not find or see the beauty and goodness within me. I do not understand why. I suspect the inner parent figure I can find and my inner goodness and beauty I can not find are connected.

Where I Am This Week

Self-Care

I find almost everything to do with self care confusing and challenging. It feels like weakness to take an hour or 2 for myself, and leave the kids with my husband. It feels like strength to never step away. But I am starting to realize no one benefits from this attitude of mine. Inevitably I burn out and break down. In that burnt out state it is almost impossible for me to be there for anyone in a positive supportive way. How many times will this cycle of work until I burnout repeat itself before it sinks in to me that it is BEST for everyone if I take breaks to recharge. It doesn’t feel like I need breaks, but I know I do. So often it seems to me that what I feel and what I know are out of step. I am going to try to be more deliberate about scheduling breaks for myself and follow through and actually take them.

Living As Myself

I struggle to know how to be around those closest to me. I have a huge amount of confusion and fear about other people. Something within me seems to want to avoid other people completely. Well maybe not other people, maybe it’s more accurate to say my family of origin. However I do not want to avoid them, I love them. What is it within me that wants to avoid them and why? I know my self care and compassion skills are poor. Is this part of me pleading for me to flee trying to protect me? If so is it wise and loving? Or is it only a fearful and confused part of me? I do not know, but I suspect the answer to all these questions is somehow yes.

I visit my parents at least once a week with my children. This is what I have observed. I look forward to going to see them. I do not have much social interaction outside of them, especially in these Covid times. It also brings a little variety to the kids and my routine. However pretty quickly after I get there I feel a heaviness. I am uncomfortable. It’s hard for me to describe, but I almost feel like I am being erased or numbed out. There is so much I can not share there. It’s as if I am on a script that is not my own, but even more on a script where I have been written by someone else to act in the way they perceive they need me to act like. I have learned, with my mother especially, it is best I do not talk about any of my feelings which are negative, any of my opinions which do not match hers, anything positive in my life which she may perceive as competing with her and therefore threatening, any sort of personal story past a sentence or 2 because that tends to remind her of her own stories which she will then interrupt me to share. I guess I feel unwelcome as who I am, and I am trying so hard to step into my true self now a days so it’s very challenging at this time to feel unwelcome. I often leave very thrown off from my center of peace and sometimes deeply sad.

But as always it seems my main emotion is confusion. Am I being unfair to her? Is she being unfair to me? I suspect it is an issue of boundaries. She has often in the past over stepped mine, and continues too. I have rarely stood up for my boundaries, and fail to do so now. Maybe that is why I feel negative emotions when I visit and after. It is a call for me to protect myself. But not with my old and harmful techniques of fleeing myself (that’s how I lost touch of myself originally I fled myself – I buried myself) or a new fleeing of her (I love her) but rather with establishing and enforcing boundaries for myself. I am learning to stay present and love myself. In order for me to stay present I must hear and respect my needs, that is how we treat someone we love. In terms of how my mother will respond to me establishing and enforcing my boundaries I do not know. But I have faith she loves me, and therefore I believe she will try her best to respect my boundaries.

It all sounds so simple, but the idea of building boundaries feels so impossible to me. I do not know my own needs. I worry asserting my needs will make me selfish and inconsiderate. My needs will hurt those I love. Ironically and sadly, I suspect it’s actually the case that because I am not aware of and respectful of my needs I often am not aware of and respectful of others needs. This topic is such a challenge for me. In trying to become aware of my own needs I find it helpful to listen and understand the needs of those around me. It seems likely many of my needs are similar to others and likely I have learning to do in terms of interacting in a way that makes others feel understood and loved.

Contentment Amidst Confusion

I often notice such peace and contentment with my actions and words now a days. I spend less time fretting about what I did or didn’t say or do. It’s not that I am perfect, but I feel I am seeing and noting my flaws more clearly now a days. I have a goal me in mind so to say and I am learning how to get closer to her. And that is me, a person with a dream of an harmonious life with others. Where I can see them for who they are and they can see me for who I am. Nobody and everything. And all we feel is love and joy together, that sometimes hides yes, but holding faith it will always rise again.