Tag: self-actualization (page 2 of 2)

Vlog #7: “The Road”

Vlog 7
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What a lovely day to talk about the future. There are two roads that lead in that direction, and this week I talk about those roads and which one to take – and, more importantly, the paths we should NOT take.

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I Am My Own Ex

“If you treated a partner the way you treat yourself, would you tolerate it?”

Short answer: no.

Long answer: I’d dump my ass the way I was dumped.

Long nights of contemplation and bouts of fighting back tears have reinforced that I was not abandoned out of a lack of love. It was limits of tolerance being exceeded. We often see in one another potential, our ability for growth and change, the people those we love could be given the right environment. I created the wrong environment for Eurydice. In point of fact, I made it a toxic one.

I would not be able to see this if I have just hopped into another relationship. I do not want to create another environment like that for someone, anyone, that I love.

Which brings me to the point of this post.

I no longer hate myself. I no longer want to kill myself.

I love myself.

I just don’t like myself very much. And if I could, I’d dump myself.

I am my own ex.

And my harshness towards myself, the puritanical way in which I seek justice for the wrongs I’ve committed, creates a toxic environment for myself.

This is why I need therapy. The medication merely helps me recognize and arrest the extremes of my shifts in mood and thought patterns. It doesn’t happen immediately, but it does happen. I do have awareness. I can hold onto the mast when the storms come, rather than being swept into it. I can see the storm coming. I can’t stop it, but I can weather it better than I ever could.

A little voice – my contrite head weasel – tells me it doesn’t matter.

I lost the dearest part of my heart and I will never get it back.

As I said in a rather maudlin bit of Tumblr art, I understand this. It was a gift. And Eurydice can keep it. Or throw it away the way she did me.

I just have to learn to live without it.

I love myself. I just don’t like myself. I am my own ex.

I want to like me. Even in the midst of my anger and sorrow towards this gap between who I am and who I’m trying to be (and, thankfully, the increasing distance between who I am and that thing I was), I want to make things right. I want to appreciate myself on a consistent basis. I want to treat myself the way I want to be treated, the way I want to treat those I love. I want to never lose sight of love, to base all of my interactions on love, and live in love every single day just as much as I am living my truth, naked and unashamed of it, consistently and transparently honest with myself and those around me.

I want reconciliation. I want closure. I want reassurance that love still exists, that it’s still possible, that it’s going to be okay.

I’m holding back tears as I type this because it all feels so impossible and far away.

Okay. Deep breaths. Game face. I can get through this.

I have had experiences where an ex and I have slowly, carefully, gotten back in touch with one another. Repaired some damage. Forgiven one another. Acknowledged that love does not fade, even as we as individuals grow and change.

Reconciliation with myself has never been a goal before. Because I was never honest with myself to realize the environment I make for myself or the true nature of my relationship with myself. But I have to make it a goal. I have to be on better terms with myself. By myself. For myself.

This has to be a goal in therapy.

It won’t stop me missing other people. Friendship. Intimacy. Partnership.

True love.

“Missing people is a constant state of being.” Furiosa (the person I call Furiosa in my life) said that. Or something like that.

She and I don’t talk much anymore, either.

I know the people who still do talk to me mean well. That they are trying to support me. I do appreciate the love, and the spirit in which such support is given.

But for the people who have abandoned me, no. It is not “their loss.” They are not villains or cruel people. They should not be demonized for taking back space for themselves. They should not be cast as evil beings out to hurt me. I refuse to subscribe to that narrative. Please do me the favor of not hating the people who’ve hurt me. They didn’t do it out of spite. They did it to protect themselves.

I am left with pain and loneliness. I tell myself, rationally, that is the extent of the punishment I deserve. There may be some hope at some point in the future of things getting better. Of divides being bridged. I can’t let go of that hope. I fight to hold on to any scrap of hope I can, day and night, like I’m running out of time.

Being stripped of everything else, of every comfort and every piece of Josh-that-was, this is who I am. I do not know how else to be.

And someday, at some point, I’ll learn to like myself again. Reconcile with myself. Forgive myself.

Thank you for bearing with me until then.

I wish everyone I still love could have done that. But I understand why they didn’t.

I wish they would understand me. But I understand why they won’t.

I wish for just one kind word. But, cancerous as it is, I understand the silence.

I will learn to live with it.

I have no other choice.

‘The Fix Is In’

This week I talk about one of my pet peeve turns of phrase. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” I won’t reiterate my take on it here, because I already discussed it in the vlog (which you should totally go watch, plug plug). Instead, let me turn my attention to a very different one that is still related. “The fix is in.”

This is a sports term. It has to do with the outcome of a contest being ‘fixed’ or rigged. And in the context of those contests, and any betting associated with it, it’s a bad thing. But let’s think about it in terms of storytelling. A fictional tale always has a fixed ending. While characters grow and change, their arcs are also fixed, at least in terms of their anchors throughout the tale. Authors set their characters up for either success or failure, pretty much from the beginning.

I think, as individuals, we owe it to ourselves to set ourselves up, too.

Setting yourself up for success takes a conscious effort. It’s an idea I’ve heard more and more about as I’ve worked as a barista. Beans, pitchers of milk, sleeves for cups – these are all things that can be stocked or prepared to make future work easy for co-workers. As individuals, we can, and probably should, sort our thoughts, emotions, and internal processes into helpful patterns. This takes time, and often external help, but it’s setting ourselves up for success. It’s putting in the fix. It’s giving you a sure thing on which to bet – yourself.

The alternative is setting yourself up for failure.

I don’t necessarily mean failure in an immediate, dramatic sense. Failing yourself doesn’t always take a catastrophic form. In some cases, failure is a state of being. It’s not a failure in acting, it’s a failure to act. If we do not challenge ourselves to change, to look at ourselves as complex beings and seek improvement as well as the correction of mistakes, we fail ourselves. It requires honesty. It requires being proactive. It requires deep breaths, introspection, and more than a couple hard conversations. Where did I go wrong? What mistakes did I make? How did my failures come across to others? Can I make amends? Will I be able to learn from my downfalls, rather than repeating them?

Are you up for it? Are you willing to take an active role in your own progress towards a better version of yourself?

Can you make yourself a sure thing for yourself and others to bet on?

Zone Control

Paradoxically, talking about comfort zones makes me uncomfortable.

Not because they are strange things, or because I don’t understand them. I do. I know consent is a vital, essential thing, and you cannot and should not cross into someone else’s comfort zone without that consent. When you do, apologize and back out. At least, if the offended party tells you directly. They may take other action if they feel deeply uncomfortable or threatened. Or simply slam the metaphorical door in your face. And that’s fine. At the end of the day, we must take care of ourselves on an individual, internal level. And that can mean avoiding the external to whatever degree we must to maintain or reinforce our comfort zones.

All of that is comprehensive and understandable to me. It doesn’t make me uncomfortable.

My relationship with me, my own comfort zone, and how it’s interacted with others… those things do.

Josh has been one of those people who’s stumbled headlong into someone else’s comfort zone, crashing through a wall Kool-Aid man style if the Kool-Aid man was a well-meaning but ultimately destructive doofus. That’s probably the kindest I’ve been to Josh when regarding his mistakes. I do feel that, for the most part, his heart was in the right place, at least most of the time. While it doesn’t change the fact that Josh made bad decisions regarding getting along with other people, trying to imagine him complexly helps me not want to dig up his corpse and shoot him again.

The othering of my past self is something I’ve been working on. The more I change, the more I examine myself, the more I become acquainted with everything inside of me from my Shadow to my action matching intention to (I’m getting to it) my comfort zone, the more I feel the distance between who I am now, and what I was before. And because of my actions, because of the influence and insight of those I love, because of my stubborn refusal to swim in my own fucking bullshit for one second longer, that past self, that Josh, is a thing. A corpse. A creature, an individual, that I kicked to its knees, shot twice in the head, and buried in an unmarked grave out back. Josh-that-was. He is no more.

I am very uncomfortable referring to who I was and what I did before in the first person. It fucks with my comfort zone.

When I catch myself doing it, some of the emotional creatures – the “head weasels” that appeared regularly in Innercom Chatter (which I really need to get back to doing) – start crying out more loudly. Anxiety, contrition, depression, and anger all claw and squeal for my attention, to buy into whatever it is they’re selling. The idea that I have not changed. The idea that I still need to be punished further for what Josh-that-was did. The idea that sustainable happiness, sustainable Relationships, sustainable peace, are things I will never truly know. The idea that I should just get out of the sight of everyone I know before I do something else fucking stupid.

These feelings, not invalid, come from honest places, deep and dark ones. I do my utmost to not act on them, as those actions would have consequences, while the feelings themselves do not. I keep telling myself that.

I worry that’s more of my own bullshit talking.

Then I remember that just admitting that I have these fears, these worries, in a broadcast as loud as I can make it to anyone willing to listen places me apart from a lot of people. I’m focused on the path in front of me, the one I walk by myself. I have people in my corner, as well as their own corners, shouting support as loud as they can to make sure I can hear. And I shout it to myself. Sometimes in a whisper, sometimes at the top of my voice. Whatever I need, when I need it, however I need it.

Sure, I’ll have moments of discomfort. I’ll have bad moments where I lose sight of my goal. I’ll stumble and pinwheel my arms to keep myself from falling into that threatening but inviting stream of flowing self-deceptive antiquated childish bullshit that still runs beneath all I’ve worked to build within myself.

But this is within my comfort zone. This is something I can and will control. I will continue to be honest, clearly and immediately and consistently honest, growing and nurturing the things that matter to me, reaching out to those I love, and making damn sure my footing on my path is certain and that, at the end of the day, I love myself like my life depends on it.

I no longer care if the world knows what my secrets are.

And I am not throwing away my shot.

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