When Woosah's & Mindful Breathing Doesn't Suffice ...
Our connections Matter
With this thought running through my mind I seem to be writing something completely unrelated to what I set out to write about – ha ! I’m journaling more and allowing whatever ‘flows’ to just ‘flow’, rather than overthinking (curse the mind!) - so let’s see where the thread leads us.
Healing is rarely a linear path, but rather one that often sends us reeling back ten steps before then being catapulted forward again. I am not a novice at questioning ‘self’ – it has been an interesting few years to say the least.
However, I have of late – after being reeled backward what seemed like a hundred steps, found myself mentally, emotionally and psychologically beyond the point of exhaustion.
Being one who tends to disengage in difficult conflict-ridden situations, for the first time in my entire life I was brave enough to lay my soul bare, to truly CONNECT - to allow someone a glimpse at my inner world.
With human connection there is understandably an element of vulnerability required for a dynamic to be a successful one - And was I ever .... vulnerable, soft, mouldable and pliable and being the very forgiving, understanding and gullible individual that I am it led to a connection that led to an emotional and mental fracture in the depths of my soul and mind and an even deeper mistrust. Not only of others, but of self first and foremost.
When we are faced with certain truths regarding a situation or person (curse my belief in the inherent 'goodness' within every human I meet ;) and ourselves, contrary to belief it is trust in our own judgment that is brought into question first. When u have misplaced something that is so very valuable (your own mind/heart/soul) - believing that it is safe - only to realise it in fact is anything BUT - How do we trust future connection with others ? How do we trust 'self' ?
In my case ... when all my 'woosah's' and 'square breaths' and 'centerings' and occasional 'ffs' moments KEPT ME FUNCTIONING but did not lead to any point of mental clarity any longer, I knew I had to get myself to my therapist. But it's not always as simple as that. The mind will forever be the master curator of self protection and preservation, and if you have been functioning in a prolonged state of fight or flight everything seems confusing and rational thinking isn't always possible. It did take every single ounce of courage I could muster together in my moment of psychological crisis to reach out. Hard AF. Because this time was different - I literally felt as if my faculties have left me, and I was AWARE of this complete mental fracture and that I perhaps was not confused but was slowly led to the brink of insanity - purposefully.
If any of you have ever willingly committed to sit through the shadows that haunt you from your past in an attempt to make sense of self in present – I COMMEND YOU ! Sheesh… That shit is NOT easy. It is akin to dying a million little deaths and being reborn a million times over again… It did leave me though, with a newfound insight into my inner world – and a deeply rooted understanding that I still have a lot of work to do and will continue to do until I breathe my last breath.
I have in the past held my eccentric nature responsible. She was to be blamed for any inner turmoil and conflict, any obvious disconnection - Always, seemingly veering in a different direction than the rest of most people. I ultimately adopted the notion that my way of thinking and being and doing was ‘wrong’ (society says so) – the inner child in me internally always screaming in protest. No! My way is the right way! (Lol!)
If it is understanding and connection that was longed for most - why did past me ‘disengage from connection’ ? And why when connection was made in present, was it endured for longer than what was advisable ? Two serious points in need of exploration, clarity and understanding.
The coin has two faces – On the one side lies the face of feminist empowerment. Grounded she stands amid adversary and oppression of male dominated control - Her face aglow with strength and determination. I am woman – hear me roar ! Born NOT out of self-importance or the desire to dominate the dominator, no! But rather birthed as a result of having been given no other obvious option at the time. Protect the innocent – Her pride and dignity and voice for those whose voices are stifled and muffled – the only pilar she is grounded upon - she is mother. She is I.
(YES! I went there... this does not mean that I am anti-male specie, on the contrary!! I love me a GENTLE manly man (i hold fast that this specie does exist) - It just means that I know what I want and I deserve to be heard, understood and treated as an equal, while simultaneously being handled with care and gentleness - I am fragile .... Also, Never shall I 'cookie cutter' myself to your liking ... I am, well - me.. (lol!)
The other side of the coin shields both past and present – Acting as a barrier between the little girl desperately longing for genuine connection and safeguarding the very fragile feminine essence that is being sheltered from possible harmful intrusion.
Is it fair to blame eccentricity for guiding the course away from connection aka imminent threat/danger ? I think not –Fear of being left vulnerable to potential threat, fear of making connections that tap dry rather than fill up, fear of not being valued, not being supported and appreciated. Fear of not being understood and encouraged, fear of control and OBJECTIFICATION rather than SOUL IDENTIFICATION - Fear of hurt. I believe this 'subconscious/deliberate' misguided redirection rather to be a very cunning learned behaviour of self-preservation.
The barbed wired external shell of the anarchist sheltering a little girl who struggled with her own sense of belonging, a longing for love, intimate and genuine connection and the fear of being placed to the side. So what happened when the little girl decided to trust in connection ? That made her give, despite ? Endure, despite ? Love, despite ... She was made to believe that she was heard, understood, valued, seen.... Nope - enters control, manipulation, coercion, verbal degradation, threats of physical harm, isolation, hoovering, discard... mental break ( an assault on my soul). Such a slow, cunning, tactful decline - Almost invisible.
As someone who understands that we are all a product of past hurt and happenings. That we have all been changed as a result of factors beyond our own control and desire - I always believe that where there is willingness there is hope… As humans we do well or significantly better when we are understood. So I always understood... (Maybe too much). What happens then when we finally find what we believe to be that heart connection who makes us feel like our existence matter and that we are accepted exactly as we are.... ? Check, check, check and check. We start questioning why it is that past versions of self was ever cautious of this thing called ‘human connection’. But it is a non-truth and we end up saying yes in moments when we should’ve said no, complying when we should have protested and submitting in situations and to individuals whom, by our personal moral standard and compass, does not deserve submission in the slightest sense of the word.
Herein lies the whole conundrum - If past impacts how we relate and navigate our world and relational interactions in present, so too does it affect those whom we believe wronged us so terribly.
If one is to consider both sides with all that has been mentioned, who is to blame then but self, for holding onto the 'idea of promised changed behaviour' ? Yes we all have our own personal moral compass, our own set of standards and needs and wants based on a life lived. What is considered acceptable behaviour to me will vastly differ for another as a result of their life lived. Add onto that the social expectation of what is considered adaptive or maladaptive behaviour - what is considered according to society at large as morally ethical and right...
Morality – What one considers to be good/bad, right/wrong would be individualistically dependent on a specific life lived, and would be unique and different to each person. Nietsche so eloquently suggests that we must look beyond the differences of what is and what has been and dig a little deeper to the unseen factors that causes change… When it becomes a troubling and confusing contradiction of having to live through an idea or thought of what is/was NOT … OR what is/was lacking. THAT changes one.
The lack of what ? The presence of what ?. Context, right ? Which will be unique to each individual. And whether a person was naturally born to be predatory (lack of a better word) in nature or whether he became one by external design or influence - he can’t be anything but that unless said individual personally is morally conflicted and swayed by their own actions and has the genuine desire to embody a different way of being. To become someone that they no longer wish to be. Likewise the prey (lack of a better word) can only be the prey and can’t be anything but what it is… unless it is left with no other option but to fight for its own survival, in which case can be argued who is now prey and who is now predator ? ... ( 'We become the company we keep' )
To conclude this very lengthy rambling - It took me near half my life to be able to say 'I am mad and angry and p*ssed off - And given circumstances I feel I am entitled to do so'. Am I able to understand the psychology behind human relations and how past influences present, Absolutely. I am still p*ssed off - because I deserved better, according to my life lived, my moral compass and my expectations, wants and needs. At the moment this anger extends mostly to myself and I am working on being gentle and forgiving toward self. That might take some time.
What have i learned ?
That resilience is something that happens as a result of struggle. I have come to understand that I am much more resilient than I ever thought myself to be. That I am able and capable of giving and receiving love in bucketloads to those I choose to give it too. I know that when I love, I genuinely love - heart and soul, all in. But with this knowledge it requires me to hold myself accountable in regards to whom I allow access to my innermost circle, to my heart - OUR CONNECTIONS MATTER! I have learnt to believe when someone shows me a pattern of behaviour and to accept this as their truth, their way of being ... and to not cling to empty promises of changed behaviour but to make decisions more boldly in order to safeguard my being.
What I know
Never again shall I be controlled, entrapped, coerced or mistreated in the name of 'love' - Love does not bind it frees. I am a free thinking, genuine, heartfelt individual who now has to learn how to balance my softness and very forgiving nature with a little idgaf ;) ... I think that is completely doable (I think).
I am fragile, yes. But contrary to what I previously believed truth regarding 'self' to be - I am not so easily broken. Grounded she stands amid adversary, birthed as a result of having been given no other obvious option at the time... she is I.
Gratitude fills my heart. For the people and individuals who so selflessly guide me and hold space for me as I figure out how best to do this thing we call 'human-ing' without abandoning self, I find this hard I must admit. Love should be free, considerate of others, always. But first and foremost it should be considerate of self. From the bottom of my heart I genuinely appreciate you - u are more valuable to me than u will ever know (See, LOVE = FREE ;) )
If you would like to join a yoga session where we move, breathe and allow one another space to 'be' or figure out 'humaning' (humaning is hard, and it's ok) together, u are more than welcome to sign up, pick a class package that suits you and join when u can.
Sessions start on the 14th of February.
PS. Below I am attaching 3 Foundational Steps by @eva_bruce (ig) which I believe are great tips toward rebuilding trust in self so as to live an authentic heart guided life.