The Me You Can’t See.
I’m extremely emotional today. For several reasons, if I’m honest with myself. And I would like to be honest with myself. I’m not sure how long this will be, but the length doesn’t matter to me. My honesty with myself is my only goal right now. I think I’ve done a very good job of lying to myself about why I’m upset about things in my life. Mostly for fear of seeming weak, or broken, or unsure of myself. So basically human. But the more I teach about self-awareness and emotional intelligence, I’m truly realizing I can’t be preaching this stuff in workshops and not being honest with myself when I’m upset about things that deeply hurt me or affect me. Call it a side-affect of childhood trauma, but as a kid, I was never allowed to feel or express my emotions. I had to suppress my deepest fears, anger, anxieties, sadness's, etc. So now as an adult, I still sometimes struggle with acknowledge things that bother me. But after years of therapy tied in with the work I’m currently doing, those faucets are open widely and will not be closed any time soon. So, here goes…
First, yesterday was my stability anniversary. What’s a stability anniversary you might ask? Well, since the time of my birth, I’ve never stayed in one place longer than 4 plus years. I never made it to 5 years anywhere ever. Until yesterday. Yesterday was the first time in 36 years that I have stayed in the same place for exactly 5 years. I know to some of you, this may not seem like a big deal. But for those of us who have never had stability in our lives, we understand what a big deal this is. The even bigger deal is that I still live on my own. Since I left both of my parents houses as an adult, I have not returned. I’m very proud of that fact as well. It has not been easy whatsoever, and I definitely had help at times. But the majority of my time here, I have squarely shouldered the responsibility of keeping myself secure and stable. My life has not been easy by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ve survived thus far. Security and stability is something a lot of people take for granted, but I don’t. It is my absolute promise to myself that I will always take care of myself and ensure I have my own roof over my head, no matter what. I have learned the very hard way in life, everything comes at a cost and sometimes your peace of mind is worth whatever hardships you may have to endure to take care of yourself by yourself. Because of all the complicated memories and feelings yesterday brought up, it’s been a very emotional and bittersweet day.
Second, my mental health has taken a serious beating lately. I need to admit that to myself. I’ve been doing my best to keep working and keep things together, but if I’m honest, it has taken a toll. As much as I absolutely love the group work I do, it can be extremely emotionally taxing to hold space 4 days a week for people experiencing a range of mild to severe trauma. Seeing people who are anywhere from young kids to seniors, who look like me experiencing the levels of trauma they are, sometimes on a daily basis is so heartbreaking it’s taking a toll. I have no idea how any of these people have the strength they do to carry around the emotional weight they are. Their souls will bear the scars of their trauma for the rest of their lives in some cases. And this leads me to feelings of anger and helplessness. Anger, because I always wanted to complete my psychotherapy program and while I had hopes of completing my program in the next few years, I recently found out that that would not happen because I did not finish my undergraduate program in university. The training institute, one of the best in the world and that happens to be located right here in Toronto, requires you to have completed your undergraduate degree program, in order for you to take their 5 years training program. If I was a registered psychotherapist like I had wanted to be in addition to being a coach, I would be able to help many of my participants more than I currently am. The fact that I can now never achieve that makes me angry and brings up a lot of feelings of resentment. I’m angry that I never was given a fair shot at completing any of my schooling. I’m angry at all the unhealthy things I did trying to stay in school and none of it worked. I was forced to drop out and had to figure things out on my own. I don’t regret anything I’ve ever done because I made the best choices and decisions I knew to make at any given point in my life. But I definitely have a lot of resentment and anger for how things turned out for me. That’s me being 100% honest.
Third, today was a tough day for another reason. There was someone that I liked romantically, although he didn’t feel the same way about me. We had a function we were at together, and as soon as I walked into the door, he was there and introduced me to his girlfriend, which I wasn’t aware he had, not that that mattered. It was just that when I met him, he had said he was single with no kids like me. So my only guess is they may have starting dating shortly after I met him. Anyway, I pretended like I didn’t care, because that’s what I do especially when I’m really hurting. I keep my distance and act like everything is just fine. It’s been my defense mechanism for as long as I could remember, because for some reason, some people in my life seem to like to see me hurting. Almost like it gives them pleasure to see me crack. So I just pushed all my emotions down and got through the night, and then politely went home. And completely fell apart. Oh, not at first. I fooled myself for about an hour into thinking I was just fine. Then I sat on the couch, laid down and bawled like a baby. Not because there was any real vested interest in this person. He doesn’t know me and I don’t really know him. There was nothing there other than professional courtesy at all times. It was me and my stupid self who liked him, who had a stupid dream about him and thought it meant something. Which it never does. At least not for me. Plus, he’s not the first guy I’ve dreamed about and thought it meant something. I was crying because it was another disappointment. Meeting an incredible man, and one who is single at that is almost as rare as seeing a unicorn. Slightly less since at least single men do exist. But the good ones? They don’t stay single for long. As evidenced by my most recent experience. I was also crying because I felt and still feel like what is wrong with me? There must be something that I’m not doing or doing that is causing me to be invisible to men I like or are attracted to. I wish I had an answer. Any answer. But I don’t. So I just continue to listen to Taylor Swift and cry. Seriously.
So there you have it. This is the me you can’t see. I’ve done such a job on myself, bottling everything up and yet still expecting myself to heal. And I’m really realizing how asinine and silly and completely non-productive that is. The only person I’m hurting is myself and the people who used to threaten me with physical abuse if I showed my emotions or feelings can no longer do that to me. So I’m allowed to cry my heart out when I’m sad or be angry when I’m angry. Imagine, at 36 I’m learning how to finally feel my feelings. Trauma is a motherfucker. It really sucks. This is the crap I hope and pray I never pass down to my kids. I want to be as healthy emotionally as I can be before bringing children into this world or becoming a mother, however that is destined to happen for me.
I know this is just a moment. Just like all the others were. I know I will move past this and be okay. Whatever that means these days. Just, right now? This moment really sucks. I’m embarrassed, I feel very insecure and every time I think about my childhood traumas and the fact that I’m still dealing with them, it infuriates me and saddens me all at the same time. Because I’m not sure there will ever be a point where I’m not dealing with this stuff. I’m losing faith more and more these days that the very thing that I want, a healthy romantic relationship, will be the very thing I will never get. Ah well. I have my work. Thank God I absolutely love what I do. I think I’ll just throw myself into my work for a while. At least that’s one thing I know I’m actually good at. The rest of it? ’Tis the damn season, as Taylor says.