I despise when I find upon waking that the insecurities which plagued me in the night have followed me to the morning. The discomfort has not vanished before my morning cup of coffee. The steam warms my face, anxiety still just below the surface. I look out over my backyard, listening for the birds, crickets, traffic, the morning sounds, and I long for a reset button. I see the dew on the grass, everything looks fresh and washed. I want to be washed, for soap and water to have the power to make my discomfort dissipate. I want the solution to stopping the feelings to be simplistic, rudimentary even. Take this pill, pet this dog, get 8 hours of sleep, say this prayer and voila, "Look! They're gone. All better." My insecurities have a nasty habit of sticking around.
It seems that so much of the ick of life requires talking to get rid of it.
You have needs? You're going to have to tell someone. Ugh, needs. Who wants to need anything from anyone? Not sure why but other people suck at guessing that shit.
Feeling scared? You're going to have to tell someone. You may need to ask someone to be with you in it. Gross! Who wants to do that?!
Isolation, inadequacy, vulnerability, hurt feelings, the solution always seems to lie in opening one's mouth.
For someone as highly private as me, that's problematic.
My ego has warned me about what a terrible idea opening my mouth is. It has cautioned me against speaking. I have listened.
My ego knows (hell my mind does too) that we are *****this**** close to ceasing to exist if we share those nasty parts of ourselves with other people. Those less than palatable parts of us that we don't even like, need not be mentioned. No one else needs to be burdened with them. If we tell other people about them, well you might as well go crawl in a hole now, because no one else is going to put up with that shit. Certainly, no one will want to be around you anymore.
So, I don't do it. I don't talk. Why would I? I hate talking about me. Ideas, yes! Theology, yes! My kids, yes! Goals, dreams, fitness, yes! My emotions, fuck you, back up! Who do you think you are? I'm pretty sure, my "fuck you, back up" vibe is always on level 10. People are pretty aware of that and since they like their heads to remain on their shoulders they don't ask. They back up. And if you don't ask me; I promise I'm not going to voluntarily tell you. All of this further perpetuates my ability not to talk, and increases my isolation.
I have insulated myself against vulnerability. I have cast myself as a resilient individual. I tell bits and pieces of my life story so that people know I am one thing, and that thing is strong. I weave the story so at the end the conclusion they draw about me lies far away from my possible emotional response to anything that ever happened. Why would we talk about that anyway? I make sure they land in this place of awe, where the hearer has only one possible conclusion. "Shannon must be a beast, she's unbeatable. No way I could have survived what she has."
Because if the hearer is convinced that the predominant thing I am is strong, than they don't ever have to consider how sad I must have been. If they're overwhelmed by my power, than they never need consider how weak and afraid I could be.
I have lived these years thinking I am one thing, striving to be that thing, because being that thing meant surviving. That was the path: be strong, stoic, unshakable.
Now there's this awareness on the edges of my consciousness that I'm not nearly as stoic as I think I am. I have far more emotions than I would like to admit. I am even quite possibly, (still not ready to admit this, ***take a breath Shannon*** whew) sensitive. I deplore sensitivity in myself! I hate being that way! I deliberately avoided ever being friends with females because I knew their capacity to wound me emotionally was far greater than my male friends. If I didn't talk to them, they couldn't hurt me. And if they didn't hurt me than I wouldn't end up crying in my bedroom about someone's comment about my house, my butt, my kids or my cooking. <~ All of which I still think is stupid and a waste of time, when I could be being a productive member of society.
But emotions have come for me, like it or not. I was very comfortable 10 years ago with my emotional map. I only ever felt two things: happy, or angry. I knew how to control and channel those emotions and where to put them. Now all this freaking spiritual work, all this therapy and step work, has me experiencing emotions for which I barely have names. This part of my personality, this sensitive little flower wants to be heard now. God, she annoys the shit out of me. Getting all offended when she gets ignored. Unsure if she should talk to that group of people because she doesn't fit in. If you yell at her, she's probably going to cry. If she thinks you were going to yell at her, she will definitely cry. This little flower part of my personality has more emotions than my daughter has dress up accessories. And I have no idea what to do with her. I have tried shutting her up. It doesn't work. I have tried returning to the two emotional map I had previously, but my awareness has increased to the point where that is no longer possible. I have tried placating her with running, lifting, chocolate, alone time. She just cries, gawd it's irritating! She's there when I go to bed at night feeling scared and less than, she's still there when I wake up in the morning wondering if she'll be loved today. I find her irritating, and completely unlovable. I'm convinced that she's the part of me that makes me weak. She's the part of me that will lead to my love, my kids, my friends to rejecting me. She is the crack in the facade of my strength and I'm scrambling to figure out how to fill that crack.
Wisdom tells me that filling the crack is not the path. The crack is how the light gets in. Wisdom tells me that although it feels like these emotions are going to make me break into 1000 minuscule pieces never to be whole again, that only by breaking will I ever be whole. Wisdom tells me that the delicate little flower part of me isn't trying to destroy me (IT STILL FEELS LIKE IT!) but rather she's trying to expand my capacity to love. But I have always believed that annoying people are the ones who need things. My role is to be the helper, to support those needy little fucks. Which led me to never needing anything myself. I'm supposed to give, not to take. Especially when I have no idea what I need and taking doesn't even make any sense to me. This little flower part of me has taken warrior Shannon by the hand and is trying to show her the way. Warrior Shannon is throwing an epic 3 year old level tantrum about it.
Somehow after all of my years on this planet, the most terrifying thing I could do is open my mouth and share something uncomfortable I'm feeling. That is still the place where I feel more at risk for danger than anywhere else. The little flower is promising me it'll be worth it.