Permies, Aliens, and Couple's Therapy
I probably should be out in the garden cleaning it up and mending the soil with new compost and getting it ready to plant cold-weather crops, but its cold out there, so I’m in here, with you. I haven’t written for a while as some other creative pursuits have taken up my time. I started loom weaving while doing my digital detox and it has really been fun. I have been weaving about 2-3 pieces a week. Pretty soon I’m going to have to get an Etsy page or sell them at the farmer’s market (for cheap as I am a beginner and some of them are a little wonky…).
The husband and I have also been plugging along in our couples and individual counseling and I am so glad we decided to do it. I can tell you that in the beginning I was about as comfortable and enthusiastic as a cat in a bath. Or maybe a slug in a puddle is a better image (I stole that from Stuart Wilde). I was just mostly indifferent. I could not possibly see how therapy was going to help me. I was numb, I felt nothing. I hate to say it, but I didn’t care all that much anymore what happened. I just knew I was tired of pretending. I was tired of trying to be happy when I wasn’t. I was tired of trying to talk myself into sex or what felt like forced intimacy. I was tired of sweeping it all under the rug and hoping it would go away or change on its own.
For perspective, the husband and I have forgotten our anniversary two years in a row. The picture of our relationship was apathetic and lost. Some of you know the picture like the back of your hand. It came after having two kids, no free time, lots of stress, and an inability to be intimate or feel safe due to our own, separate, childhood trauma. It came from broken blueprints from both sets of our parents. It came from not enough time to look one another in the eye and then just slowly but surely drifting away from the people we thought we’d be and the people we thought they were going to be. We were both let down by it all. We were let down by ourselves and our inability to connect. We hid our joy away, afraid of letting it out. Fearful of its rejection.
We still knew two things however, one that we love our kids with everything we have, and we felt working through the hard stuff was worth it at least for them, and second, we still really like each other as people. We still respect the other person’s morals, spirit, and generally we still were feeling like friends, just not as close of friends as we had been in the past. Every time I would think about what it would really be like to leave, to be alone, to be away from him, and sometimes my girls if I’m being real, felt like a hard NO. I just didn’t know how to make it a firm YES. I was lost but more importantly I was stuck.
Now, I still have a long way to go, and we still have a lot of work to do before it’s all hunky-dory, but it feels lighter. To have told the truth and to be heard by my partner felt like progress. It felt like honesty, even if it was ugly, was better than the omissions that had been hovering for years. It was better than continuing on the way we had been going. A lot of telling the truth out loud sucked. But we are talking, we are trying to be safe so the other person can be vulnerable with us. We split the sessions and did about 3 individuals each to deal with our own childhood trauma that is coming up and we are continuing down the road together for a while longer.
So, what came up for me in therapy so far? I have lived a long time living for others. Certainly, coming from an authentic place of service because your cup runeth over is great way to give to others. But I have lived for others from a run-down, obligatory, keep-the-peace, dishonest place (subconsciously). I have been denying myself of vitality and love for as long as I can remember. I trust no one. I will not let someone in far enough to hurt me the way I was hurt as a child. I learned to be alone, it was the only way to be safe.
I grew up in a house full of secrets and pain. There was love of course, but a lot of pain that went unearthed in my parents. It manifested in many unhealthy behaviors such as sex addiction, anger, addiction to suffering/guilt/martyrdom, raging, media addiction, workaholism, shopaholism, comparison to others and either belittling them or being less than etcetera-etcetera. There was scarcity, there was fear, and I absorbed it. I lived to be pleasing. I lived to be acceptable, so I changed who I was for others. I learned to fit in, go with the flow, don’t make a sound. I went without a safe place to talk about how I felt or learning to trust anyone. I learned the only safe place was within. So, I started to hide myself away, deep within my thought life. I felt like a muted version of myself so that I could be pleasing or not “too much” for my family. I didn’t try new things. I didn’t feel confident. I desperately wanted to be popular but never had the confidence to truly get there. I began to feel dark. I covered up those feelings with the only things that made me feel free, drugs, alcohol, shopping, sex, food, attention, rage, media and materialism. I tried to fit in. I tried to do the right things. I tried to be a “good girl.”
Well as it turns out…I am not a good fucking girl. Ok, I am, but not to my mother, and not to my father, or a lot of other family members probably. And probably not to a lot of the world. I am loud, I love to sing, I love tattoos, I love myself and I don’t feel bad about it anymore. I like people from all kinds of socioeconomic backgrounds, and I don’t think money has everything to do with what a person’s soul is made of. I like talking about money and investing and I am really good at it. I love Vegans and Animal Rights Activists. I love Permaculturists and Seed Savers and radical people who don’t pay much attention to the fear mongering in the news. I love the Meditators and the Travelers and the Homeschool families. Shark Conservationists, Environmentalists and the people talking about how materialism is leading to our planet’s decline. I like Artists and Comedians who tell you the truth. I love Writers and Influencers who are showing the world how to save itself. I love Quantum Theorists and Mystics and even the people channeling peaceful aliens to come and help our poor, dying planet. I love people who are out there being their true selves despite others telling them not to be. I love the people who refuse to be small when they were born to shine. I love the people who know it is their God-given right to be happy, joyous, and free.
This world and its people will try to tell you who you should be. Your instincts to fit into the tribe will be so strong. Your ego will defend your actions at all cost to keep you in the fold. Even if your actions are harming animals and the earth. You will feel trapped in a world where no one cares, so why should you? It will take bravery and courage to change. It is okay if you make mistakes, as long as you keep following your heart. Your heart is there, connecting you to the intuition of The Universe. To God if you will. To your purpose…My purpose is not as grand as I had hoped when I was little. My purpose as it turns out is to keep growing and to keep being myself in the face of darkness and indifference. My purpose is to wake up to the Heaven on Earth that is here, not for my exploitation, but my symbiosis. I can work with the earth to cultivate a beautiful life. So can you. My hope is that we can figure out a way to do this together so that our grandchildren will have a sacred planet and way of living that is more fulfilling than stimulating. More connected than apart. More harmonious than warring. I hope that by speaking up, I give others the courage to do the same. I am committed to this path. And I am so excited to meet all of you along the way.