Friday, March 6, 2009

Letting All the Puss Out (Originally published on 10.17.2008)

I think that’s what I’ve been doing when it comes to my family. It’s kinda like a wound that I’ve been fiddling with forever but never taken care of. I held so much in that eventually the scab just burst and the wound became infected ie my *breakdown.

*Ah, a word on that. A breakdown doesn’t always just happen in a moment. Sometimes it lasts for chunk of time before you even notice that everything is spiraling out of control. That’s what happened to me. Crippling panic attacks and horrific anxiety forced me to recede back into a shell I built years ago. I’m too stubborn to attempt suicide, no matter how many times I think about it. Anyway - back to my scab.

I realize now that it wasn’t that my childhood was bad, it’s how it affected me. I know that sounds weird but even though there was a lot of negative, there was a lot of positive too. I just took the negative and buried it in my skin until it became a sore, then a wound. I never dealt with it - I was never taught how. It mainly stems down to the one thing that hinders me yet sets me free - words. There is so much power in words. Most people don’t realize just how much their words affect someone else. My parents didn’t. But I don’t blame them. They’ve built up calluses over time so they just said things that they never thought would cripple me. But they did. I have always been hyper sensitive to what other people say. I can recall things that were said years ago to someone only to receive a blank stare because they honestly don’t remember ever saying it. For example, when I was a teenager I would crank the cranberries and sing along. One day my sister stormed in, demanded I turn it down and said that I sing too high. I’ve never sang in front of anyone else since then. I’m even afraid of singing to loud in my own room lest anyone should hear me. I asked her about it years later and she had absolutely no idea what I was talking about.

In a way I’m just realizing that just because someone says something doesn’t make it a fact, it’s an opinion. And no one’s opinion should come before my own. I’m realizing there are a lot of things I’ve never formed my own opinion on, I just adopted someone else’s. I think that’s what made philosophers. They looked around them, saw that everyone was worshipping and suffering for gods that no one sees and were like… fuck this, there has to be another reason for this shizzy. And they sat down and logically thought about the coulda’s, woulda’s and shoulda’s. But not in the past tense so I guess they would be the can’s, will’s and shall’s.

The biggest thing I’ve never formed an opinion on is myself. I took all the negatives from other people and assumed that’s what I was. So when people would say anything positive the only thing that was left ringing in my ears was a twisted version of whatever they said - something negative. My therapist said something recently that should have been a Duh statement but I never really considered it. She said “Heather, what if I said you are such a pink Cadillac?” She said it in an insulting tone but since it made no sense I just shrugged. Then she asked “What would you do if I said Heather you’re getting chubby? You’d freak out, right?” I nodded and immediately sized myself up in my head. She smiled and said “Comments only hurt if you are insecure about what is being said. You know you’re not a pink Cadillac so no big deal, but you’re constantly worried about your body so if anyone ever says anything about it you freak out. Consider that. We’ll make it so no one else’s words can cut you down because the only thing that matters is what you think.”

Duh to most people but I never really considered it. I’ve finally stopped comparing myself to other people because they. aren’t. like. me. Different face, different body frame different LIFE. How can you compare that? You can’t. So hey, I’m making progress. But it’s time to let all the pus out, clean up the wound and let is scar so I remember what’s there but don’t dwell on it anymore. WOO WOO!


Tanya said...

Not sure how, or why, but I feel like this post is a really trough example of your breakthrough. There is just so much insight that you put down here that totally gets to the root of what your friends and others who care about you have seen: that you have a lot of good in you, which you might not always see or accept; that you have control over how others' words affect you. Sounds like your therapist is a smart woman to offer you this insight, and you are even smarter to really allow it to help you feel better about yourself. Hooray.

No matter how horrid our past, it is an amazing feeling when we come to realize that we can put it not so much behind us, but in front of us and tell this bad past - "Okay, well, we've had our time together, but just want to let you know I'm letting you off at the next stop light and you are NOT along for this ride anymore."

+/- said...

i hope this one sinks in and sticks with you babe. this was a great revelation, to say the least.

btw, from what you remember, you had a pretty fucked up childhood. i think it's probably ok to admit that. we have had several conversations about your past, and i think your horrific events would haunt anyone.

i think any child of abuse can still remember some good times, but just because they are sprinkled in the bad doesn't make the bad stuff any less relevant.

and to withstand some of the things you went through, in childhood, and your teen years, you really are a [for lack of a less ghey term] "trooper". you're quite strong dear.

it's a damn shame that people don't remember slamming others for what they love, like the singing thing. i remember when i was younger i was singing "We are the Champions" by Queen, and she said "That's not how it goes. You're singing it wrong." which shut me up, so now, i too, do not sing around people.

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