not sad tears, mind you but happy tears.
not sad tears, mind you but happy tears.
not sad tears, mind you but happy tears.
i’ve had a bad habit in my life of letting my bring-me-down emotions, my dirty dozen, control my life. fear would breed fear which would breed more fearand and so on. anxiety would breed to more anxiety which would lead to even more anxiety and so on. anger would breed mor anger which would breed to even more anger on so on. this pattern, would entrap me and i would seemingly get caught in an inescapable vortex, spiraling out of control heading for a nearly inevitable visit with depression.
a couple of months ago, i found myself swimming in anxiety, an 8 out of 10. I simply noted how anxious I felt. I stopped and spent 15-30 seconds with my anxiety, not giving it any more power. i went forward with my day. a few minutes later, i noticed the anxiety had left. cool! another time since, i left my anxiety behind by acknowledging the anxiety, spending a few seconds with it, not giving it any more power, and moving on.
You might remember my brush with my “friend” from a few weeks ago. i did the unthinkable act of expressing anger to a friend. that would have been unthinkable, just a short while ago. they ended walking out on me. i convinced myself i had done nothing wrong, which is true since all i did was express an emotion, a perfectly legal and legitimate act to take. i’m not giving the situation many spare cycles; they walked out on me. they haven’t tried to contact me btw. unfortunately, i don’t think i’ll hear from them ever again. their loss.
a couple weeks ago, i was dealing with one of those emotional dropouts, you know, when every seems to be going well them boom! the bottom drops out. Where the hell did that come from? while doing a brainstorm with a friend on how i could handle something like that, I doubted any good would come of it. One of my suggestions was to just be with the drop, not giving any more power. I moved on from what seemed be a lame exercise.
later that day, it finally dawned on me the parallels between how I handle anxiety and how i proposed to handle the emotional drop outs. because of the discovery, maybe the brainstorm exercise wasn’t so lame after all. a few minutes later, another revelation happened. Why can’t this method be used with my dirty dozen; anger, sadness, anxiety, fear, frustration, feeling judged, feeling less, abandoned, lonely, criticized, rejected, and stressed? would that be a dream? yes it would. if it would get an upper hand on my dirty dozen, it’s worth the old college try.
last night, i had another one of those most enjoyable emotion dropouts. i tried my new method. i acknowledged i dropped out, had a few moments with it and tried to move on. Is mostly worked, not as well as my try with anxiety, but i still felt i recovered more quickly. and after going through the process, i felt less controlled by the dropout. i went to bed hoping to held by Mary to finish my recovery. she laid there in sound asleep. i didn’t get my hold, my recovery completed before falling to sleep, though.
today, i went cross country skiing for the first time this year. even though I had skied for over 25 years, today i just couldn’t stay over my skis. after brutal wipeouts, and, god forbid, taking my skis off do go down a couple of hills, i had myself convinced that i had skied the last time for the year. i noticed how frustrated i was. i acknowledged i was frustrated, spent a moment or two with it and moved on. the energy quickly dissipated and i went on with my day. The topper? by the end of the day, i actually had a fun and good time. the frustration which would have sunk my day many times before, became barely a blip on the screen.
maybe there is something to, for lack of a better term, not fighting my dirty dozen. when they show, i treat them like the obnoxious guest at a cocktail party. i’ll give ’em a nod from afar, and move on to people i’d rather talk to. in the analogy, that will make for a much more pleasant cocktail party and for life, a little less tumultuous journey. the would be a good thing.
have you ever noticed the spinning cycles of depression which seem to be there whether in cycle or not? I surely have.
sadness leads to sadness which leads to even more sadness. sadness seems to become an all encompassing self-fulfilling struggle.
fear leads to fear which leads to even more fear. fear seems to become an all encompassing self-fulfilling struggle.
last week, i developed the idea of roaring or standing up for one selves. people who didn’t learn to roar, like me, sometimes run into troubles standing up for themselves in adulthood. after these discoveries, i decided i was going to locate my roar, to stand up for myself. here’s a couple of my roars.
long time no write. i must warn you, i’m feeling down.
today’s my birthday. i feel reflective.
i feel down, way down.
uncertainty rules the roost, both in the near term and the long term.
in the short term, i’m having some interpersonal problems. a co-facilitator, someone i could trust, had three violations of my trust in one day. you might try to say well, it was just one day it’s okay;. it’s no biggie. it’ll blow over. don’t. they were totally uncalled for and hurtful. in an tempt to practice fairness, i got waylaid, bushwhacked, cut off at the pass, tanya harding-ed. i really want to resolve this, like by tomorrow. tomorrow is our meeting. i don’t want to go to the meeting where i’ll let here get away with some half-ass contrition that leaves me unresolved. i don’t want to go because it’s would scream there’s something wrong and i fear she may try to rush in to fix it with some half-ass contrition that will leave me feeling unresolved. i want more than an admission of wrong, i want an apology for the wrongs done, for the hurts the events have caused.
oh, sure i’ve been trying to get something lined up with the group coordinator. she’s been on vacation along with we just crossing paths, leaves a potentially short window in which to get things done. i do recognize about 5 potential outcomes and i have an action plan for each. doing that gave me incredible peace. i know and trust the coordinator to allow me to speak my peace and would stand by my side until i feel resolved. just that it’s dragged out so long and has the potential of dragging out even long kicked up the uncertain, uncomfortableness, and serious anxiety producing levels.
i have a support group that go to every second wednesday. today happens to be that day. i really want to go to the meeting to get support for were i am at. on the other hand, it’s my birthday; i can miss a day. on top of that, to top it off, there’s uncertainty of what Mary has planned for the day. normally, that wouldn’t be a problem if i were in a healthy state or even a depressed state. just finding myself in what feels like a transition state, takes this one tiny happening and adds it to the fires of uncertainty. i still can’t tell you what i want or will to do with this evening.
uncertainty begets uncertainty.
all this short-term uncertainty have got me asking the three deadly questions: where have i been?, where am i now? and where am i going? being this mixed state has caused me to look at these questions with a little too much cynicism, pessimism and lack of optimism. in the past, i see opportunities missed, wrong decisions made, and unfulfilled potential. in the present, i feel lost, unresolved, inadequate, and afraid. with the future, i feel mostly afraid, afraid of what lay ahead, afraid if i can handle it and i finding myself asking the question, “how?’.
as the beetles say, they say it’s your birthday. i wish it wasn’t. all this uncertainty and the anxiety it generates casts a pall on the day. i know it doesn’t always happen, and i know it’s not likely not happening today, but i would like a day full of happiness, joy and peaceful and gentle reflection.
what do auto accidents, breaking up with a girlfriend/boyfriend, feelings of frustration, loss of a job, loss of a bet, dealing with a fire, depression, medical conditions, breaking and arm, spraining an ankle and the list goes on and on all have in common? at some level, they all to some degree represent a loss of control.
my dad’s contributions
parents always make contributions to their children whether good or bad. These are formative instances with my dad.
one time i asked my sister, 10 years and 1 day my senior if she saw dad as a good dad to her. she emphatically said yes. she went on to describe many of the things he did. he must of been taken over by aliens by the time i came around because that was not the dad i had.
i don’t think the alien came from a foreign planet or even a foreign nation. no, the aliens came right from his own house. you see i believe that the 5 children that came before me had made him a worn out and tired man. the routine repeated on a daily basis: wake up, get the kids up, get yourself ready for the day, eat breakfast, go to work, come home, sit in your chair, have dinner, go back to your chair and often fall asleep, wake up, get ready for bed, go to bed , repeat. that with six little hellions and soon to be seven, could wear anyone down.
discipline was often by the hand to the rear as if i needed to clarify. it happened often enough but not often enough. with one exception.
something had happened. i can’t precisely remember what, but i seem to remember it had to do with a broken window. dad would line up the kids walking back and forth as if that would extract a confession. in modern times i think we would have preferred some good old fashion waterboarding. whom ever got found guilty or claimed guilt would stay behind to receive their punishment and the rest of the troops were dismissed (my dad was a marine.)
this day, knowing that i had done the deed and being far too truthful, i fessed up to doing it. dad came and stood in front of me. he had an intense look of frustration and anger that burnt into my memory. I can envision to this day.he pulled back his foot and kicked me in the shin! it hurt and i reached down, grabbed and nurse my shin, now in pain.
i felt traumatized and the kick left a bruise. i said to myself, at a time where i must have been about 12, and vowed that if he ever laid a hand on me while i have this bruise, i would ride my bike across town to the police station, about a 20 – 30 minute bike ride away and report him. fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, he didn’t lay a hand on me in that time period. being from a different time period, i wonder if it would have mattered. good came of the happening that’s the last form of physical abuse i ever remember on any of us kids.
fast forward probably another 3 years or so, dad still held sway over us kids. dad had done something to me to piss me off. we stood face to face, at a comfortable distance in the hallway. in someway, verbal or non verbal, i expressed my anger. he answer in a louder volume than talking but less than yelling, “you can’t get angry at me. i’m your father!”
no wonder i lived in a house of emotional cripples. those rare times we could recognize an emotion, we weren’t allow to express them. not to mention the main expression of emotions from my parents was happiness by my dad, during an up part of a football game. negative emotions were strictly verboden.
with all of this as a backdrop, is it any wonder i struggle with authority figures. i had poor modeling. if i get out of line, i get kicked in the shin. no wonder i struggle with something so simple as asking my boss for a day off. i live in fear of what may happen, the proverbial kick in the shin.
so, my dad was not the perfect dad. whose is. i just wish he had been more of a teacher so i be a little less frightened and feel a little less clueless of the world around me.
in this day, i am called to compassion. my call for compassion is not only for me and my brokenness due to these events but also for my dad’s inability to handle these situations, because of his brokenness.
my dad’s inability to handle just about any situation points to a high level of brokenness. he didn’t deserve that. i find that sad for him. he obviously lacked the tools to handle parenthood. not having those tools not only crippled his ability to father children but also the ability to participate in healthy relationships.
finally, i get a healthy serving or two of self compassion, myself.
i get it both for the physical expression of anger and frustration and the lifelong impact it had on me. that feels sad. i can rap myself in love and comfort my inner child for a serious and unnecessary overreaction. my proverbial shins are safe from kicks.
i also get to comfort my inner teenager letting him know that the expression of emotions including bring-me-down emotions are perfectly normal and perfectly acceptable. i can rap myself in love and comfort my inner child for a stifling of acceptable emotions. my proverbial emotions can and will be expressed.
through me and my expression self compassion I can move myself closer to healing those old childhood wounds.