Gratitude Challenge entry #9

This entry is a review of my recalcitrant logic and how I plan to undo the damage of my self-betrayal. It is going to involve change, lots of change. 

Humiliation got me into this mess, and, although I can recall a billion events that involved me being ridiculed and mortified, none of them logically helps me understand why I so drastically altered my behavior in order to feel safe. Perhaps, that instance/event is still buried, recall or not, I need to move on. 

In addition to cheerleading myself into the girl who mastered everything yet achieved nothing via my warped sense of obligation, I have developed some other attributes that also need to be addressed and then dismissed. They just happen to be expectation and responsibility.

Obligation, Expectation and Responsibility aren’t necessarily bad attributes, however, when they are used as a defense mechanism they can seriously f*#k a person up. I took them to an extremely rigid level and by doing so I was announcing to myself and the rest of the world that I was null and void as a viable human being. What should have been mutually beneficial social partnerships, more times than not, have resulted in indentured servitude. 

Here is where I have been struggling, I am aware that I need to make some changes. Some of those changes are going to be difficult but I am already taking the necessary steps to change them. Other changes are not so easy (thanks responsibility). You see, like it or not, I did take on certain things in life ( like the pets) and they are a ton of work. I have grown attached to them and so I am torn between re-homing so I have the time, energy and freedom to pursue my dreams or keeping them and continuing with the Sisyphean task of trying to manage both, which by the way has left me exhausted and unable to create anything this week.

My other big stumbling block is expectation. My expectation was that I would sacrifice (willingly) a percentage of my time, freedom, hopes and dreams allowing mutually beneficial relationships to indirectly pursue their side goals.  The trade off would be that one day the tables would turn and I would have my chance. There has been no sign of that happening and since I am soon to turn 50 I have been in a panic. At an age when most people are well established in their area of expertise and contemplating retirement I am venturing out to build my career dreams and honestly I am scared shitless.

Mutual future plans and goals have also been a constant battle and I now find myself at a crossroads. I am not certain that I even want that mutual goal any longer, partially because my part in it has become so altered from my original vision that I am overwhelmed at the prospect of trying to reclaim it. I also have a nagging fear that even if I do reclaim it; it will go horribly wrong anyway because I will be working my butt off negating the already established perceptions and trying to coordinate and take care of the animals I should re-home. It also doesn’t change the fact that this mutual dream was based on the fact that feeling thwarted in achieving my childhood dreams I settled for a modified version because it got more support. I realize that once again I sold myself short. 

I have recently been trying to rectify the situation by trying to push myself into the artistic and handmade business that I have always dreamed of  having (this comes with its own dilemmas and set backs), while simultaneously trying to ask for help and support (I suck at this) and let go of previous obligations that have no benefit for me (because it wasn’t my circus so let someone else barrel up those monkeys for a change).

At this point, I am trying to push so many boulders up the mountain that I am fairly certain the damn things have rolled over my exhausted corpse and I am trapped in some sort of purgatory where I am still trying to push those behemoths uphill as I wait for an epiphany to reveal the correct way to handle the situation (which is obviously, you are dead, roll over and die already).

My childhood goals seemed so easily attainable; I wanted to be an artist and create beautiful things for people to enjoy. It should have been a win-win for everyone. It also should have been easily achieved since I exhibited remarkable talent as a child and training/education was literally handed to me on a silver platter. So, how did it go so wrong….? Well, it is a hindsight is 20/20 sort of thing. As a child I had no idea that I was talented, I also had a weird suppressive cycle going with my parents.

They simultaneously encouraged the development of my talents and  dismissed them as unimportant (they did this with all three of their children and not surprisingly it was a repeated offence from their own childhood). To this day, all three of us still utilize our talents but then gift the creative products to the masses all the while feeling a crippling mix of guilt, shame and defeat. I should mention that none of us can take a compliment to save our lives for in our heart of hearts we know we are but lowly worms and therefore compliments are met with suspicion and shrugged off with self-deprecation.

My father once told me that he tried for 30 years to break my will and with all the bravado and bluster that I could muster I staunchly denied that he had any impact on my life. The truth is that my parents may actually have broken me and  I have just kept myself too damn busy to deal with it. 

Today, I am truly grateful for the small steps I have taken to achieve my goals and I am grateful for those Sisyphean tasks that are uncomfortably pushing me one step closer to making those difficult decisions that need to be made.

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