Creating a Monster 101
I have been invited by my publicist/agent/husband to update my blog again (I hate that word because it sounds like someone retching, but “online journal” is archaic and cumbersome) because the last entry is, in his words, “kind of a downer.” Fair enough. Life ain’t pretty, but it’s not all bad either, so I can balance. I never know where these posts are going to go and what detours they will take by the time I am done. When I write a book, I also don’t know what will happen and often I am eager to get back to the story to find out what comes next. I have a basic outline in my head and know where the story will ultimately land, but not really the journey it will take getting there. I have always admired these writers who are able to storyboard their entire process before they ever formally write a single word. I am…well…not that. I’m more of a “write it hot, edit it cold” stream-of-consciousness-type writer. That is even more the case with blog entries. I always get something out of doing it, but I never know what that is going to be.
[…here is where I cut off for a few days and then more things happened…sometimes, you just have to let the world turn a time or two to get things sorted]
For another theme, earlier this year, I made a cover for my Facebook profile, which was this:
That is where I was at the time I made this, back around May, I think it was. Somewhere along the way, I lost myself, which is easy for us humans to do. It’s not that I don’t still rock some grapes in that Carmen Miranda look, but more than my own power kind of seeped away for some reason and I have been floundering in that respect. I’m not necessarily dis-empowered, but more than I am feeling tired and disillusioned and wanting to hide.
I have never been one to particularly care what other people think of me, but then, I have also been a person who has rarely put themselves out there for evaluation. Most of my life, I have kept to myself and been a bit of a loner. When I was young, that was less of my choice and more of where I landed. As I got older, I went through periods of time of being more out there and open, but always, I would retreat back inside for a period of time, sort of like Punxsutawney Phil. I have been out for a long time now in comparison to my previous history. I made a lot of friends and enjoy being out here.
Lately, however, I have lost sight of who I am and who I want to be in the world and I have done a lot of meditating on that to try and work out what to do about it. I had some sense of the nature of things, but the core was pretty elusive. I could pinpoint where it started and why, but I could not locate my own culpability because I was lost in a sea of victimization. Because how I was feeling was caused by external forces, namely other people, I got caught up in the “it’s them, not me, so why do I feel so bad?” stuff. Anyone who is a decent sort of person is full of self-evaluation, but sometimes, it is hard to get past the hurt if you have genuinely been wronged.
I was. I was several times. Enough said regarding that part.
So here comes the next part, complete with a banner:
There is a bit of wisdom I heard a long time ago that was said to be Native American in origin. The advice was as above: “Take back your power eggs.” I even wrote in one of my books about this. We each have a limited number of power eggs that represent our own empowerment. Every time we give energy to something or someone, we give away a power egg. If our basket is empty, we have lost all of our power. At that point, we have to take back some power eggs or we’re lost.
For months, I felt whole and strong and happy and empowered. No matter what adversity came up, I felt like I could handle it with grace, dignity, and strength. I was an energy power house.
Somewhere along the way, I developed a leak and my power started to slip away from me. Self-evaluation caused me to doubt myself to the extreme. A previously healthy, perhaps even gregarious ego became anti-ego. This started, I would say, back in July. It wasn’t in full swing by then, but that was when the process started. I began to distrust my ability to choose friends, my ability to handle adversity, and my ability to trust myself on many levels. Interestingly enough, July was when I began to see my greatest successes of recent past, but honestly, that is truly correlation without causation. Although I will accept that all things are intertwined, in this case, the timing was largely circumstantial.
I began to allow myself to be defined as others saw me.
I began to let them establish my worth rather than being convinced of it myself.
I began to feel like an emotional ATM whose only purpose to others was to prop them up and make them feel better.
I kept looking to other people to validate my worth and say the right things to make me feel a particular way.
In attempting to be self-aware and question my own integrity in a healthy way, I created a monster of insecurity and, in short, a professional victim.
I began to have annoying nightmares. They were not terrifying ones, but one that were about being victimized: my kids being harmed or lost, my car being stolen, my house being robbed, my animals being harmed, being in a foreign country and allowing myself to be delayed so that I missed my flight home, being in a hotel and unable to find my room, getting home from a trip and realizing days later I forgot to check out of my hotel/return my rental car/pick up my luggage at the airport.
The nightmares were always about me being inadequate on some level or about someone else taking advantage of me or my family. I am not a person given to nightmares. For years now, I have had amazing adventure dreams that are frequent and fun.
I began sleeping less and less and was always tired in the day, but had insomnia at night.
I lost interest in more and more activities I used to love.
Life had no spice for me. Everything felt dull and lifeless.
I had a friend dye my hair red and that kicked me up for a little bit. The success of the books I wrote elevated me for a while. Invariably, I would, like water, find my lowest level again.
Early July was not that long ago, only three months, and yet it feels like I have been lost forever. When I think about how vibrant and alive I used to feel, it is like I am describing someone else.
So far, October in particular has just absolutely beaten the crap out of me. One calamity after another has befallen. I have to make a constant effort not to cringe. I have to reprogram myself not to think “Oh Lord, what today?” when I wake up in the morning. That is all clear victim mentality and now I can see it in retrospect.
For weeks now, all day long, this song runs through my head:
This clearly identifies that disconnect between Conscious Self and Higher Self that I talk about in Reuniting the Two Selves. My spirit is crying out with musical lyrics for me to hear the message it is trying to send to my Conscious Self. “I’m dead. I don’t want my love to go where it is not appreciated. I need rest. I am emotionally dead. I don’t understand why anyone wants to be with me. There is nowhere to turn that is safe. People are using me for their own needs without caring how I feel or what I need.”
So I re-read the last blog entry and yeah, it is real, but it is quite a downer.
As they say in the GI Joe cartoon, “Knowing is half the battle.” Now I know, it is my duty to myself to fix it and get back to living life. Happy harvest to me.
It’s easier said that done because I worry about creating that monster in the other direction: of being too happy, too full of myself, too successful lest it all go away, too confident less I’m wrong and really unworthy. As the classic Virgo, I am over-thinking the process.
What happens next is that I start the process of retrieving my power eggs. Some have been mishandled and it is up to me to put them back together again. What is broken will be gilded to become a fabulous Faberge power egg. I’m speaking in stupid metaphors, of course, but the real answer is that no one gets to define me and my worth except in their own mind. Then, as The Dude so articulately spake:
I can’t be responsible for what other people think, even those closest to me. All I can do is be the best person I know how to be with the tools I have available to me right now. If someone else thinks I should do more or be more, they are free to offer their advice, but there is going to be some distance on whether or not I take it. I will decide where my energy goes and when. I will not be a victim anymore.
I will also not be afraid of whatever monsters may or may not come of this shift. Bring on the monsters. Elsa Lanchester had fierce hair anyway, so screw it. I’m in it to win it and everyone else can get on board or get out of my way. Big words, I guess, but they are from the heart.
If I was lying there still and cold and dead and stiff when I got up this morning or even throughout the day, suffice it to say that the life-giving lightning bolt has stuck and I am reanimated. Now it’s just a matter of seeing what gets up off the table and starts singing “Puttin’ on th’ Ritz.”
Hey, I’m game.