I’m loving the MITT Advanced class I’m taking but a powerful portion of the class is in the offering of feedback. It’s when we step beyond polite and tell people how we see them. It’s through this feedback I can grow.
I show up as fake.
I show up as fearful.
I show up as controlling.
I show up as invisible.
I show up as timid.
I show up as lacking confidence.
I show up as a doormat.
I show up as disconnected.
I suppose it’s impossible to be happy all of the time, but the joy I feel lately is genuine. It’s just not consistent. When I was asked a question and I was finally honest with myself and others, I keep all of my relationships so superficial that I don’t allow them to matter. I’ve had several friends reach out to hang out or get together. When it doesn’t happen, I actually am sometimes relieved. I can go on with being solitary and the freedom I dance is is slowly becoming my prison.
Control and Fear
In my fear, I push others away because I can control who I let in. If things are superficial, as they have been, no one can let me down or hold me back. I’ve been trying to make deeper connections with one friend, knowing she holds back just as much as I do and that she’s safe. When I walked in on the first day, a woman introduced herself to me. She was sitting near me and I got back into my phone. She got up and sat elsewhere and that was feedback. There was a moment when I saw a friend’s mother. Rather than jumping up to say hello, I decided to wait until the next break. I was being superficial.
I show up by not showing up. I have been going to events with friends, but not engaging deeply in who they are and seeing where I can show up in their lives in ways that are supportive. Not really. It might be a friend or two that gets my time for a while, but once I see my reliance on them growing stronger, I fade away. I have spent two days with over 100 people . . . all wearing name tags. And I never got beyond a friendly greeting with more than 10 of them.
I show up as timid while standing in the back, and not being heard. There was a moment yesterday when I allowed someone else’s anger to silence me. This is the story of my life. Every time a dominant man stood before me and made his voice louder and his body was aggressive in his beliefs, I shrunk back in silence. In my career, I’ve accepted a job I love doing, for compensation that tells me anyone can do it, I’m replaceable, and not valued. In romance, I’ve been doing my best to sabotage myself. While dating online, I saw so many men looking for hookups or real relationships and I wanted somewhere in the middle. I wanted one person to really hookup with. He had to be my age or older. He had to be beautiful, athletic and smart. If I couldn’t find him (and I didn’t), I preferred being alone. I am so great at this self sabotage that I found the most attractive man to be my partner so we could be real and vulnerable and never date. He is everything I would love to date. He’s also gay and we even connect in not liking boobs.
During the feedback exercise, I had a really hard time giving feedback. It felt like I was being asked to give the abuse I have received, only supercharged. It felt like aggressively fighting back, only I couldn’t. I stood back and would watch the person in the hot seat. I would cry with them and feel all of their pain.
Confidence is more than the way I walk and greet others. I’m good at that and it’s just who I am. Confidence in my lack means I have a million great ideas and I’m waiting for the right time to put them out there. Not having confidence means I needed someone to open my eyes to the possibility that I live my career, love life, and mothering style as someone who isn’t worthy. I live in just enough because I have not had the confidence to dream for more. I keep my dreams as little goals. At the end of the day, a dream, big or small, is still a dream and there’s no reason to stop where I have been, except for my lack in confidence.
I show up as a doormat. I stand in the back. I allow dominant men to silence me. I put others first to the point where I put myself last, even to the point of sacrifice and in terms of an exercise, suicide. I killed myself because I was so focused on saving others. How on earth is sacrificing myself for the greater good of the world? How can I be better assistance to my boys and the world if I am dead? Yesterday I spoke out about what I did during my postpartum depression with Kid1. For the first time in 15 years, I let out my darkest secret about that time. In all of these years I felt so much shame and sadness for what that looked like. For the first time, I stood up and believed I had a right to ask for the help I never got. I saw a man live out the pain of my inaction with my sons. I was the mother that stood quietly while my sons were yelled at. I kept my mouth shut when I saw emotional damage being inflicted on them. In my frustration and inability, I turned to my sons in violence because I was failing and I needed to lash out. I’m happy that I’m no longer capable of intimidating my sons because I’m no longer living in the aggression they were formed in. But it’s time to stop being that doormat because I can’t lead them while I’m still following someone else.
When I was supposed to be giving feedback, I realized that my empathy allows me to fully connect with what others are feeling, but it didn’t allow me to be in touch with what I was feeling. Growing up, my Dad taught me love meant obedience and service. He would often snap his fingers at me to get me to hustle. I had someone snap his fingers to try to annoy me because the rest of the world sees this as rude, but it was my normal. I spent my life worrying about how others are feeling and shutting down how I felt. My first day was filled with tears, and I was encouraged to not wear makeup. It was then that I remembered a time in middle school where I was often crying. That was when my deepest depression started and I used to cry. I learned how to put on makeup so it was only on the top part of my lids. I learned to let the tears fall silently so I could wipe them away and lock it away so no one could tell. Yesterday I wore more eye makeup than the first day. I cried so much my whole body felt it with paroxysms of loss wracking through my body in waves. I openly cried and the sound coming out of me was an open wail of true mourning. I gave myself full permission to be in what I felt and the sound of what I held inside of me was frightening. For the first time in years, I allowed myself to connect to the darker parts of what I felt.
When I was suicidal, crying too loudly would alert others that might have wanted to stop me from self harm.
When I was in love, my object’s feelings were more important than mine because I felt like my happiness was dependent on his (it’s always about a boy).
As a child, I had to learn to navigate my Dad’s PTSD. As an adult, I get to see that my parent’s happiness has nothing to do with me and I’m not responsible for how they feel.
When my ex left and then my church family and his family abandoned me, I had to figure it out and once the bleeding stopped, I tried to walk in grace. I had to disconnect from how deeply I was hurt. I had to put aside the pain and the anger and the sorrow. I found happiness, but there was still this pain underneath it that tried to strangle me if I stayed home alone for too long. But I got to really connect to that. I got to let it up and out of me. I was exhausted and energized last night because I got to feel what I had so stubbornly covered with a plastic smile.
So much transition, and I get to say, “YES!!!!”