Looking back and thinking forward

Month: September, 2011

Reality bitten

Scrambling to find self worth. Is that what we all do as children? At first trying to find it in the eyes of significant adults in our lives or through the comments they make about us, around us, to us, with us. What about their actions? Do those affect how we perceive our own importance or worth while-ness? These are some of the questions I consider about how I have come to be who I am right now at age 62. For, after all, I am not the same person I was even ten years ago. I am surely a culmination of the tweaking of my self perceptions of me over the years. 

At times I mourn the time I wasted on believing other people's realities. Was I so needy of their acknowledgement that I readily and willingly gave up the truth of who I was, succumbing to reinforcing their stereotypes of me in order that they love me? Do we all do that? 

Even as I think about this stuff or write it down so that I can see it in black and white in front of my eyes, I know that unlearning early emotional memory – early childhood brain washing – is almost an impossibility. And yet, I barrel forward receiving gifts of validation along the way that help as I stumble and scramble to discover a different, kinder, gentler reality of my self: that I am just a regular human being like anyone else, with flaws and failings, as well as strengths and accomplishments. With all kinds of feelings that all human beings have: anger, jealousy, love, and longing … on and on. And that, at the same time as feelings and flaws are so universal to all humankind, mine are perfectly unique to me – my genetics, early childhood experiences, and interpretations of others beliefs about me.

As I read memoir after memoir I discover traces of my self in all of them somehow. I cannot imagine that mine would be unique. Are any of them? For most of them tell tales of overcoming challenging early childhoods, resiliency and courage to understand, forgive and move on. They buoy us forward in our own quests for self actualization. I think about the purpose of my memoir. Indeed, part of the challenge of writing one is in the definition of its purpose.

Is that what I want to do? Give others strength and courage through my own life stories? Do I want to write to understand me more? Or do I feel the need to tell my story so that I no longer feel invisible, unheard – an individual with a mind of her own? 

The complexity of it all is awesome, overwhelming even, and in this early morn I mourn for the young girl I once thought I was. 

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Therapy reflections


This morning I sat at my desk thinking about the bewildered and hopeful faces of young freshmen wandering through the campus, and faculty rested and refueled after a summer of travels, family time or, perhaps, research and writings. I suppose it should not seem strange at the end of a busy summer, as the skies cloud up and a hint of fall is in the air, that I should feel a sense of renewal. After all, that should come with the spring, surely? Having hibernated and drawn oneself within, there is such a blossoming outwards and upwards in those glorious spring months of April and May. And yet, renewal is in the air for me these days. Not just because a new semester and academic year has begun.  

The renewal seems within me at a deep, personal level. The external features or characteristics of my life have not changed in any significant way. We are settled in our new home, the garden is flourishing, and work is pretty much the same as it has been these past few years as head of a teacher education department. Professional aspirations and ambitions seem to have balanced out to an even, comfortable keel, and I quite enjoy what I do. 

The change is felt as a shift within me. A slightly different way of perceiving myself. More peaceful, accepting, less fearful, less needy for external acknowledgement or validation. Mostly, though, I am feeling less to blame for everything and everyone. It is as though I have climbed out of an abyss and reaching towards the top there is a gentle light – compassionate and soft – that beckons and welcomes me to a different world, a kinder reality about my Self. 

It manifests itself in different ways. For example, feeling more comfortable in certain people's presence- especially those with whom I felt anxiety in the past. Or, observing more keenly – becoming more aware about how other people's behaviors are not about me, and that I am not the cause for them to react in the ways they do. At times I have more ease knowing what I desire or need. Being alone does not feel lonely any more. And, I must admit, I am embracing my age more graciously – no longer starting with fright at my older self reflection in the mirror – even smiling at the odd aches and pains that rise up unexpectedly to greet me. 

It is a strange sensation, unknown territory for me. I navigate it carefully cherishing each moment as I become more aware of the changes in me, for I have no idea where they will lead me. That in itself is a shift too. For, I do not feel as anxious to know where I will end up.

I think I will just hobble along as the shifts change and changes shift, and hope that when I arrive, I will know that place – almost – for the first time …