I am so confused. I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel or how I’m supposed to react: a sure sign that I’m looking outside myself for answers. Lately, there have been so many things going on in my life and I’ve felt that I’m spiralling down and back into old strategies of how to respond. And the spiralling feels like it is speeding up.
I’ve been thinking of creating something and I know that I want to create with others and that their involvement and insights are what I want. And so I put out an offer to a small group of friends and they all said ‘yes’. And, after thought on their parts and their responding to what has been transpiring in their world, some of them have recognized that they don’t feel called to be involved and have expressed their choice. The adult me gets that they have to do what they feel called to do. And I know that if they had said “Thanks but no thanks” from the get go I’d feel better right now. I just feel like their choices merely reinforce what I’ve come all to often to expect for me in my world – that no one wants to play with me or have me on their team but they don’t know how to say that to me directly.
I decided to audition for a local choir and know that, given the direction of the audition and our discussion, I did not expect to be invited to the next round of the process. They sing a very light repertoire with a particular style and approach. I do want to sing with a lighter spirit to my singing but the repertoire which they sing didn’t feel like a good fit. And still I’m sitting here feeling like I’ve felt so many times in my life. – Tell me how you want me to be and I’ll do it! Tell me what you want me to do and I’ll do it! Just, please let me belong! Without strings – without worry – without feeling that I have to be something that I am not at heart – without waiting to be told to leave.
There’re the times when I’ve been told that “We’d like to invite you [to a workshop or an event or to be part of a planning team for something] but we aren’t sure if we will because you can’t seem to do things the way they’re expected to be done. We aren’t sure about you.” AND all I want to do is to strike out and yell, “Who died an appointed you god? What the hell did I ever do to you? What’s wrong about me?” followed by “Give me a chance and I promise that I won’t let you down!”
Each time that anyone mentions that no one is ever kicked out of the collective or group to which I belong, I know that I expect to be kicked out. I keep waiting to be told that I’m not a fit and that the leader [or the founding group] has decided [perhaps in discussion with the other members of the collective] to not invite me to be part of the collective next year and I wonder if I might even be asked to leave now. I expect it to happen. And I keep waiting for it to happen. I expect to feel misused and manipulated and lied to. And it’s not a comfortable place to live in.
I’m almost 63 years old with an adult’s resources and so much of my life, lately especially, has been trying to manage my 5 year old responses to things. When I was 5, my world as I knew it collapsed. I was sexually abused by a family acquaintance who told me, when I told him that I was going to tell my parents what he had done to me, that it wouldn’t matter since my parents had sent him to find me and that they knew what he was doing. And I felt betrayed by the very people I should have been able to trust to look out for me. And I learned very quickly not to trust anyone but myself and to hurt others before they could ever hurt me and that I was much safer alone. Everything became a watchful event where I did what I had to do to keep myself safe. The world, as far as I was concerned, was a dangerous and painful place where I had been devastated and betrayed and terrorized. That grief over what had been done to me created intense outrage and rage in me and I knew that I had to make it so that I would never be victimizable ever again. I’d fend people off and tell myself that I didn’t need them or, if that didn’t work, I’d do something – anything – that would turn them away from me.
Made tons of sense when I was 5 but the biggest problem is that as I got older, I knew what I was doing. I wanted to feel comfortable with myself and trust my responses. I wanted to not be on watch all the time so that I could just be in any group situation and not feel the need to hold myself apart. I wanted to trust others and feel comfortable in any group and I never did. And deep down inside where I live, I kept on running the strategies I had developed when I was 5 in order to keep me safe. I held the expectation that I would be hurt and rejected and mocked and kicked out into the cold. And, as I got older, my life began to feel very bleak.
And even now that I feel awake inside, I know that there is still so deep down inside of me a distrustful 5 year old me who is afraid to trust even the adult me to protect her. As events have happened in my world lately, what I now know has been happening [thanks to the insights of a very good friend] is that as the event unfolds, the adult me has been pulling back and the scared and terrorized 5 year old me has come forward and has been activating the strategies I developed then to protect myself now. What my 5 year old me has been reacting to is the belief, the presupposition, that what’s going on now is just like it was then and as it has always been. So my 5 year old has been using my adult resources of skill and language and strength to activate her strategies. Makes them damned formidable strategies.
There is a wonderful document which has been developed by Louise LeBrun, founder of the WEL-Systems® Institute. It’s called Evolution by Intention™. As I’ve been living with the turmoil that seems to have been my life lately, I’ve been re-reading it and breathing into my responses to it. I know that, in the last two years, I’ve been rediscovering and reclaiming the truth of ME that has always been there but which I learned to hide. I’ve been reawakening to my own genius and my own potential and giving myself permission to explore all those aspects of me that I have, too often, held protected and only expressed covertly. It’s been an eventful journey of self-discovery to this point. And I know that, as I step more and more into the truth of who I AM, it’s become scarier. Something like my 5 year old is afraid to trust ME to honour and protect her as the adult that I AM and as I am becoming.
And even as I breathe into this statement of belief about what is possible for each of us, I recognize how easy it is for me to default to old fears and old beliefs. As each event and each day unfolds, I breathe into reminding myself that my history is irrelevant as a guide for creating my future. It is familiar and predictable, yes, but it is also very sad and immensely limiting. I breathe and remind myself that all I need to do is continue to discover who I AM and not replicate who I came to believe I was as I grew up. And each day, as I deal with the events that present themselves to me, I remind myself that what others think of me is absolutely none of my business. And I know that it is all a ‘mind read’ anyway. I cannot know what they think of me. I can only guess at that AND I know that what I’m guessing is all about me and not them at all and it’s all about the old limiting beliefs, values and attitudes that became part of the lexicon of my being as I grew up.
It is still not easy for me to know that I am not alone. Yet I am reaching out to others and no longer hiding my confusion. In doing that, I am recognizing that my confusion is the gateway to my own continued evolution. I’ve been breathing into that a great deal lately.
While I cannot say unequivocally that my journey to myself is always fun and exciting and adventurous, I do know that it is a journey which I am choosing to follow. I know that who I am now is not who I will be tomorrow AND I trust myself to always keep myself safe.