Friday, October 19, 2012

Sinking Ship

Recently I have given much thought to who I am and how comfortable I am with my life. I realized I've spend a good couple of years blaming myself for things that went wrong. No, not wrong. Just different than I expected. But, as much as I tried to mask the emotions, the shame and the blame were there.

For those of you who know me, I am the last person to admit that I have no control over circumstances: I believe there are no victims, only people who allow themselves to lose. And, of course, I am one of those who never loses. Whatever happens, I have the strength of character to come out victorious because I march to the rhythm of my own heart, and I am an entire army. Incidentally, this exceptional confidence is also the reason I am hard on other people: if I can deal with adversity in my life, so can anyone else. Michael Jackson and Elvis are my favorite targets for abuse: these men had the world at their feet--talent, money, love, popularity, expensive therapists, and all the prescription drugs they could handle (or not)--and they whined and complained because, as my husband says, they were so unhappy and unfortunate...  Really? "Unfortunate"... O, let me tell you about unfortunate! That's how that conversation goes. You can already tell that I am not the best person to turn to when you're feeling blue. My answer is always going to be the same:  stop whining, have a drink, get your s&^%t together, and move on! Hard core? Hell yeah! Confident? Certainly. Pompous? Maybe. But stay a while. I will be faithful.

So the recognition that I do blame myself for things that took a different direction in my life rocked my boat. Keeping in mind that this boat is the Titanic, the epiphany was huge! Now, there is nothing wrong with shame. Those who do not feel shame we call "psychopaths." But too much shame, too much blame in an individual who thinks she is in control of her life all the time can have disastrous consequences. Namely, since she has no one to blame but herself, it inevitably leads to a feeling of unworthiness: I failed because I was not good enough, I was not smart enough, and nobody loves me.

And this is where I slip into the Eeyore coma and wallow in my own pain and misery, while at the same time I build this impregnable wall around me because I don't want anyone else to know that I am feeling unworthy... that there is a reason for me to feel unworthy. Of course, this wall that's protecting me from everybody's judgment, keeping me safe, is also making me seem more obnoxious than I already am. Because one thing that makes us human is being imperfect, letting our tiara slip a little, showing our vulnerability. If we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we also allow ourselves to be loved for who we are. But in order to show our vulnerability, we must have courage.

And you know me! The lone warrior! I have no fear. I can be courageous. I can wear my heart on my sleeve. Right? Hell no! I follow Q's motto: "Never let them see you bleed!"

Well, this is a problem.

It turns out that the thing I call "strength of character," the thing I am so proud of that allows me to overcome any obstacle in life, is also the one thing that's keeping me from being me. It obscures who I am. And, most importantly, it alienates me from people because I do not allow anyone to see me for who I actually am. So where do I go from here? One thing is clear: in order to avoid this unfavorable human condition--what D. H. Lawrence terms, "the utter isolation of the human soul"--I must abandon ship and get into a lifeboat.

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