I have never written into a site before, so I’m a little nervous on how to share all that I have soaked up in the past 2 months. I’ve been reading TDL and took Mastin and Jenna’s Love Immersion class (in addition to reading some other books – such as Marianne Williamson’s Return to Love and Gabby Bernstein’s Spirit Junkie). Combined with meditation, a yoga practice, and journaling, I have had a few serious AHA moments this week at completely random times.
I have never really felt connected to my childhood (though I’ve known it was fantastic as I’ve seen pictures being carted from activity to activity, Disney World to the beach)…but I’ve not felt connected to anything for at least the past 10 years. I’ve been known to my friends as serious DRAMA – and they seemed to think that was fun and entertaining. Something was always wrong – some guy treated me badly or I couldn’t decide if I should break up with a guy, I felt lost in my career- what should I do now….anything, you name it…any reason to head to the bar with a willing participant and drink (and end up causing WAY more drama, meeting up with exes, etc.). Then I was busy picking up the pieces from that hangover/crazy night out.
I’ve been in that vicious cycle for ten years. That makes me want to cry to just think about the time spent – although I have completely forgiven myself for going through what I needed to go through. I hit rock bottom two months ago. I found myself in a relationship that was so wrong for me and watching all of my friends get married and have babies (I am 32 and not saying that I need to get married and have babies now but seeing them all seem so happy and in a comfortable state of life), I hit a dead end and realized that I (ME, my inner guide) has been missing in action for all of this time. I’ve been running around seeking external approval and NOT looking to the inside.
After Mastin’s course, I can easily see (and not blaming here), my mother was very masculine and ran the show- tough love if you will. It was our accolades that got us approval/attention. I’m a first born, so those accolades could be as insignificant as setting up my stuffed animals on my bed and I still got the major praise. I got hooked. I lived for that praise and without it; I remember feeling like I wanted to die. If I came down in an outfit to head to high school and my mother made a comment, laughing about what I was wearing, I was WRECKED (like wanted to die so that she would feel horrible wrecked- I remember thinking that)…but still had too much pride to go change. So I played off this idea of being ‘different’…’hating the south’ and ‘against anything traditional’ but it was all a play against fear. It was all a defense mechanism that kept a wall up and kept me from being loving and being myself.
My dad was/is very passive and I never really got much affection, if any, from him. He was busy working and I think only until now, that I make good money and deemed financially successful, does he notice me and respect me. I remember I would be at a family gathering in a circle and as an outspoken silly person, I would say something nutty and even if the group laughed, he would just look at me with utter embarrassment (wonder why I am afraid to ever ask questions or speak up in a group even though I AM outspoken). He was taught from his parents to lay low, be quiet and never really show your true emotions (my mother too).
So, there ya have it- I was raised to do the right things, dress the right way and act accordingly to get ahead in life. It worked for my sister and my brother…they are low key, not really affected/bothered by my parents input and just kinda did their own thing- which just happened to be in line with what my parents planned for them. Not me- I needed that attention and without it, I felt lost…I needed it from them (or her) or I was an untethered person out there alone in the world. My mother always did tell me I would grow up to be someone amazing that did amazing things- so add pressure to the desire to please her.
As a first born with a BIG personality, that desire for approval has been the driving force through my career (in sales, I live for the pat on the back even though I am not even sure I like sales) and in every relationship- being with someone for 4 years simply because he was a good person and I felt adored. I got my constant approval- but it didn’t fill me up. What all this comes down to is that I have been afraid of being vulnerable….of being myself. Alcohol has not been my friend during this inner struggle and that has also kept me back with added guilt and drama. I see all of this so clearly now. I don’t have any blame, nor anger about what all I have gone through. In fact the man I dated when I hit that rock bottom- I am so thankful for him….I would never be here without that experience.
It’s terrifying for me to experience vulnerability/intimacy (except with total strangers, I am good there- and explains why I’ve been dating men totally wrong for me…it’s easy to open up to them. They are not a threat because it’s not REAL). It’s those close to me and those wanting to get close to me (and that I want to get close to) that I guard my true self from. I am trying each and every day to be more loving…and therefore more vulnerable, feminine and allow some shifts in my relationships/life to occur. I did this over Thanksgiving and just not being in the defensive made all the difference in the world with my family. I am starting to envision things that I want in life…and I know to get there, I have to be vulnerable, slow down and live in the moments that I am given. It’s hard. I feel more comfortable with a massive to do list, running around like a crazy person and at the bar full of drama and issues, but I am trying to give that up. It has officially exhausted me. I am committed to letting God take the wheel and know that He knows who I need to be in order to feel peaceful, happy and whole. And as Mastin said, all the drama I want in life is in being real- there’s certainly nothing boring about that. So- thank you Mastin/Jenna/Daily Love team. These past few months have changed my perspective on life and I hope these new patterns will reshape my entire life. I know I am built for bigger things and I think I’ve always known that…I used to feel connected to God but it’s been way over a decade. I don’t know what those plans are yet, but I am ready to find out…scary or not.
There’s a quote I love- “Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart”- Unknown.
Thanks guys. With love.
A TDL Reader