tamarjacobson

Looking back and thinking forward

Month: June, 2011

Once a blogger …

Photo on 2011-06-23 at 07.12

I simply cannot imagine life without blogging. In fact, I have been blogging for about six and a half years. That's all. And yet, I cannot imagine the years prior. What on earth did I do with all those thoughts, feelings, and ideas? Well, yes, I kept personal journals, wrote papers, a dissertation and books, articles, columns … And yet …

Blogging is different. For me it is personal and public at one and the same time. It helps me hone my writing skills, and has given me a venue for self expression in a way that none of the other writing areas did. Feedback is sometimes immediate, but more than that, it is a place where I feel included, connected, belonging, and accepted. A virtual umbilical cord to the universe!

Perhaps because it is un-real, detached from human face-to-face-ness, I am able to let down my guard, and play at allowing myself the intimacy of connection. For, intimacy has been a struggle for me. No doubt about it. It renders me vulnerable to rejection, opens me up to hope of love, and shakes and quakes the core of who I am. When I blog I put my Self out there – dangle me in the universe – offer my frailties and flaws for public inspection, opening up and exploring me emotionally and psychologically. I am able to practice at being intimate in a safe space … out in cyber space. I invite the reader in to bear witness to my personal ethnography.

I share me … virtually.

It is exciting. Exhilarating. It feels even a little dangerous – risky. Each time I survive another post, sometimes even with the appreciation, love and acceptance of some readers who float by out there, I gain more courage to open up further.

And – do you know?

I think I just might be applying some of what I learn, virtually, in my real life … 

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Blogging back …

Lesser than …

I have been thinking about my age-old problem of trying to match up, or probably more accurately: feeling lesser than … 

Indeed, when I name it lesser than, I find myself haunted by the term. And, lately, I ponder it constantly. I have decided to explore the feeling to its core, and am realizing where it comes from originally in my earliest emotional memory. As a result, memories are flooding back as if let out of some kind of cage stored in the basement of my mind. At times, it is painful and I find myself choking down tears that suddenly rise out of nowhere at any given moment seemingly beyond my control. Mostly, though, I observe the feeling as it arises, and get to know when and how it occurs. It is as if I am conducting some type of study – a personal ethnography – on my Self. I take mental notes and silently interview me: "When do I remember feeling like that? Where was I? How old was I? How did I feel at the time? Why?" … and so on.

I even made a "Lesser than list:"

Less:

  • Intelligent
  • kind
  • courageous
  • organized
  • beautiful
  • accomplished
  • successful
  • interesting
  • attractive
  • sexy
  • competent
  • worthy
  • deserving
  • humble
  • ethical
  • moral
  • pure
  • good
  • fashionable

 … of a/an … 

  • mother
  • scholar
  • writer
  • teacher
  • administrator
  • woman
  • wife
  • sister
  • daughter
  • friend
  • gardener
  • athlete
  • yogi
  • reader
  • activist

Feeling lesser than, accompanies me in my interactions with others. It resides as a constantly, simmering, general anxiety. It does not seem to matter if I am with friends, colleagues or family members. From somewhere at the back of my mind a voice tells me that I am not as good as, and probably can never be as good as almost everyone else I come into contact with. 

It is very much like a constant competition, and makes it difficult for me to let down my guard, and trust that others will accept me as I am. Worse than that, is the fact that I am not in touch with the reality of who I have become these past 62 years.

I am amazed at how stuck I can be – finding myself emotionally at age 10, or even younger at 7 or 8! At those moments, I wish that Cher would come along and give me a slap saying, "Snap out of it!"

The more I befriend the feeling and get to know its roots and characteristics, I find that slowly, slowly, I am starting to ssnnaaaapp out of it. It reminds me of those tenacious weeds in the garden. I pull out one, and realize that it is attached to a large, complicated root system deeply embedded in the earth. In order to get it out completely I will have to dig very deep down, and who knows where it will end up? … maybe even in the neighbor's yard!

I have yet to understand and, harder still, accept, that it is not about me being lesser or more than …

 … but rather that it is okay for me to be different …

One year later

Have we been living in our new home for a whole year already? Time has flown by. All I know is my orchids have not stopped blooming since we moved here. They are very happy with their spot on the window-sill up in my study. I must say, they settled in immediately.

I have moved to new homes many times since coming to the States in 1988 – seven, to be exact. An average of about every four years or so. Each move brought with it confusion, strangeness, loss, fear, excitement, joy, and hope. Not in that order of course. Jumbled up emotions going back and forth between them all. Each time I tried to clean out the old and embrace the new. Sometimes, though, it was lonely and difficult, taking me weeks and months to discover the advantages and benefits, because each move was accompanied by a different situation in my professional or personal life journey. 

Last year was the first time that it felt like this could be for awhile – last longer than the average four years or so. And, instead of throwing out, I started to accumulate things necessary for this new life – new abode. Furnishings, decorations, and a brand new flower garden!

Am I here to stay? 

There are things I adore about our house – spacious rooms, interesting layout and decor with every nook and cranny pleasing to the aesthetic eye. I wonder how I will climb all our stairs as I become older, but for now it is excellent exercise keeping my body and bones strong, making me limber and agile. For the past year I have been thinking of bringing in someone to help clean the house. After all, it has three full storeys with three and a half bathrooms. And yet, each time, after I have worked for four hours or more, I sense that stroking and nurturing it with tender loving care reconnects me to my home over and over again. 

Not all is perfect. The windows are sometimes difficult to open, and we certainly need a few more screens so that I can open them wide enough to breathe in fresh air. The house is situated on a very busy street. A cacophony of droning and bustle of every type of vehicle feels noisy at times, although I realized this morning that I hardly notice the sounds any more, and I do so like being close to the city and feeling connected to Mount Airy. 

What I like most is that we have room for guests! Two full spare rooms and a large library with a pull-out bed. Yes indeed, we can host an entire family – with children and all. And so far, quite a few family members and old friends have already been to stay with us.

This is what I like best about our house. A warm and welcoming home – a place to share with others.

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Write for ten minutes …

Shifting

IMG_0832 Giving voice to my feelings in therapy is opening up earliest emotional memory almost moment to moment. It rises up from somewhere seemingly so deep within me that sometimes I experience something like a mini earthquake in my mind. I find myself gasping out loud when I realize this even as I take a stroll around the yard, or sit still and silent in meditation.

Discovery!

I sense a shifting in old perceptions – habits of behavior – paradigms of feeling.

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Moving reflections

Homecoming

… Is complicated. Sounds, tastes, smells, sights are familiar. Nostalgia accompanies each step I take. Have I grown? Am I changed? There are many moments when I feel like a ten year old again, uncertain, desperate for acknowledgement, and anxious. And then, when I grab a chance to walk alone by the sea, I breathe deeply, finding my 62 year old Self again, and confidence is restored.

My therapist uses a metaphor, “taking off the sunglasses,” to describe the feeling that I am bidding farewell to old realities of my Self developed so long ago, in order to make sense of my place in the family – of my place in my mother’s heart. And this visit back “home” is no exception. I am experiencing a type of closure as I move in and out of confidence through each situation or interaction with family members and old friends. Much of my confusion comes when I take responsibility for others’ feelings, moods or attitudes, and assign them to me. When I am able to separate out what is mine with what belongs to others, I am able to navigate complex situations and negotiate my relationships more clearly. I even notice physical responses. For example, at times I feel my pulse racing, and even start to pant like a small puppy running desperately after it’s mama. I realize that I have become anxious – hungry for acknowledgement.

It’s work – constantly. Emotional work – emotional awareness. Yes indeed. Confronting my emotions is hard work. Recognizing those earliest emotional memories as a past reality no longer necessary for the present – “taking off my sunglasses.”

I have had fun experimenting with that: actually removing my sunglasses and noticing the sea is quite a different shade of blue, in fact.

Lighter, not as deep, clearer – not as dark.