Monday, July 2, 2012
Reaching for the Rainbow
I’m learning that as I get older, I must prepare myself emotionally for the physical breakdowns I will encounter. There was a time when I was younger and at the top of my game, where I could go from sunup to sundown and still have energy to burn. I’m not sure when I started to break and malfunction. It seems like it happened overnight, but I know that it was a slow process.
At times, I have felt like everything was amazing and normal. Well, as normal as a life can be when you have such a dysfunctional childhood. At other times I have felt tired and defeated. I have spent so much time in therapy trying to expose all of the demons that have hidden themselves in the nooks and crannies of my brain. I have worked so close with my doctor and therapist to unravel the childhood knots that are the core of who I am. I keep asking when I will feel the normalcy that others have as their emotions.
Now, with my body breaking down more often than a 1974 Ford Pinto, I ask the doctor... “Will I ever feel normal? Will I ever have days and months strung together without anxiety or panic attacks?”
I wonder if I will ever tear down The Wall? The Wall, wow! So many times in the past listening to Pink Floyd would spell trouble for my current emotional status. Recently though, when I listen to The Wall, I feel more determined and inspired. Determined to defeat the demons that reside in my memories.
The wall on the other hand is so thick and strong that I question how to tear it down. Will I be like Pink, who so forcefully shouted “tear down the wall,” only to have someone betray me, which would encourage me to “put another brick in the wall”? How do I begin to tear it down, when it is the thing that has safe guarded me all of these years?
Never mind the fact that it has destroyed potential friendships. Never mind the fact that others often look at me with feelings of estrangement. How could they see anything else when all I have exposed is a timid, frightened child, trying to hide behind the comfort of a safe imaginary, loving leg?
Will I ever feel a normal day in my life despite my efforts to dig through the destruction that makes up who I am?
It is hard to put on a fake smile and pretend to not be offended by someone who has hurt me; Hence, putting another brick in the wall. It is hard to not revert back to the instincts of survival needed with my mom. Her goal was to go for the jugular. My goal was to put up my dukes and prepare for a long and hard fought battle.
When people ask my husband Tom, why I’m so distant and often guarded (sometimes viewed as unfriendly) he can only try to explain this vicious cycle I have with certain people. What most people don’t realize is, they only think they know me. They do not realize the real me is hidden beneath layers of masks and walls. If they knew me at all, they would understand when I’m “unpleasant” and distant, I’m in survival mode. I’ve emotionally transformed back into those years of my fight or flight feelings.
There are times when I decide that certain relationships just cannot work. The expectations that some people place on me can never be met. Why? I refuse to allow anyone to define me anymore. I will not try to be the person they think I should be. I want to be myself, whether they like “me” or not.
When someone wants you to be someone other than who you are, you can only play that part for so long, and then the real you returns. Ultimately, what I’ve learned is that even when you are playing the role they have defined for you, they still find issues with you that you are unaware of. It’s a lose-lose situation. At that point, I take my bow and exit stage left. There are no standing ovations. There are no flowers thrust upon the stage for me. The reviews aren’t complimentary, but then again, I didn’t expect them to be.
They say you should not judge those until you have walked a mile in their shoes. This, I know is one of the hardest rules to follow. I am guilty of this as much as the next guy. However, so many have told me the past is the past; Move forward and don’t dwell on the bad. I do not believe in staying stuck in the past or reliving it. However, I do not feel that I can fully move forward until I confront the demons that have me tied to the cross I bare. The forgiveness that I so desperately desire, is my own. The guilt I need to shed is also my own. I am one of the most forgiving people I have ever met, but I have yet to find the key that will allow me to forgive myself. I have yet to discover the key that unlocks the memories that plague me, even in my dreams and nightmares.
Before I move completely forward, I must grab my torment, and toss it to the fiery hell in which it belongs. I do not need to talk about or relive my past, I only need to put it where it belongs. I understand it is difficult for those people who have such wonderful childhood memories, to connect with the mission I’m on. True respect is not necessary to understand, but to keep an open mind.
It would be impossible for me to understand the path others have walked as it was not mine. It would, however, be possible for me to bite the forked tongue of malicious words and unjust judgements. I try to live by the motto that if I wouldn’t say something to someone’s face, I would not say it behind their backs. Now, like everyone else... I fall short at times. I try to open my heart to prayers and love. That is what I would hope other’s could do for me as well. Is it also possible for us to realize that we all have issues, and maybe... just maybe, others are being more loving, forgiving, patient and understanding with us than we realize?
In the end, I believe the path to any healthy relationship begins with an open mind, honesty, and communication.
As for my physical malfunctions... well, like the ’74 Pinto, I’ll keep going to the “mechanic,” following his orders, continue routine “tune-ups” and have the tow truck ready for the serious breakdowns. I’m pretty sure I’ve got another 100,000 miles or so in the ole girl.