In the back end of 2015 I realised I needed to face up to some stuff that I had been avoiding for a number of years. In April this year I started therapy for the relationship abuse I experienced in my teens and again in my 20s and early 30s. I had done work in the past but I knew there was more to be dealt with.
I am about half way through the process and things have not gone how I expected.
Up until the end of last year I didn’t think there was any more work to do. I had moved on from hating the boy that I first had a relationship with to understanding that he himself was a victim of abuse and, for the most part, forgiving him for what happened in those 2 years. I didn’t want anything to do with him, but I no longer hated him.
I had also worked through how I felt about my second relationship, understanding that I had allowed it to happen as a result of my first and my low self esteem. I felt I had forgiven myself for allowing it to happen. And yet I still experienced the lasting effects of their abuse.
I realise now that my whole life has been spent making choices that kept me safe. Safe from the bullies at school, safe from being left by people I loved, safe from the anger of someone I had disappointed, and safe from the wounds abuse causes. I see now that those choices no longer protect me and that what was once safe is now damaging in itself. I no longer risk the abuse I once faced, I no longer have to worry about bullies or disappointment, I am no longer in that place.
And so it is time to change 30 years of learned responses, 30 years of fear. I have to look at myself and see that I can fit into the world in a different way.
This is so much easier said than done.
Today as I hoovered my house I was running the normal self hate program about how I am rubbish at housework, how my house is always a mess and how I suck in general at life as we are told we are supposed to live. My ponderings continued and I thought about how we are told that there is something that each of us is good at; something we can excel out out in the world, all we have to do is find it.
What if this isn’t true? What if there are people in the world that are not brilliant at anything, simply mediocre at a lot of things?
Our first reaction to this would be to say that it can’t be true, that we each have to have a special talent, otherwise what is the point?
But think again… what if you were one of those people who were still seeking that one thing and constantly failing to find it? How would you feel if someone said “it’s ok, you don’t need to find it, you are perfect as you are; mediocre is ok“? What if they said it in a way that you truly believed it?
If you are one of those people just hold those words in your mind… it is ok to be mediocre…. you can be loved as mediocre… is it just me or does a tonne of pressure just fall away?
One of the overriding messages I have lived with from others is “don’t disappoint me”. To be safe I have had to be what others wanted me to be, and I had to be good at it. What if I no longer needed to do that? What if it really didn’t matter that my house isn’t a show home? What if I didn’t need to excel at anything and could just be “kinda ok” at a number of things? How much easier would it be to be the person I am, and not the person society wants me to be?
It’s scary letting go of these learned lessons. It’s all well and good having these epiphanies in the safety of solitude, but out there in the world the judgement comes flooding back.
I will continue to walk this path of healing my wounds of the past, there will be a day when I finally feel that it is ok to be me and that I am loved as I am. I hope we all find that place and can stop trying to be the people society wants us to be.