Sunday, February 15, 2009


I've always had trouble focusing. For as long as I can remember. I used to think I just wasn't disciplined. But I realized a few years ago that I was, in fact, OVERLY self-disciplined. To the point where I believed I could be punished for negative thoughts.
I believed I was a bad person. I didn't think well of everyone all the time. (In fact, I often had some REALLY NASTY thoughts about certain people. {In most cases, they totally deserved it.}) I couldn't quiet my mind. I couldn't cry at will while doing a dramatic scene. My emotions were buried, and I was a tightly-wound individual. I was BAD!!!!!!
Sometimes my emotions would explode out of me. Most often, though, I pushed them down. I ate a lot, then threw it up. Or I ate very little. I punished my body into submission, but it would always rebel and grow large again. And I was BAD, because I couldn't keep the weight off.
My brain, however, would NEVER submit.
I also prayed a lot. I still do. But a lot of my prayers were apologies. To God. Over and over and over until I felt better. I still do this, too, but not nearly as much as I used to.
I was always told that I was "too sensitive." And I was sensitive. You have to be, when the people in your life are unpredictable, and you never know from one minute to the next whether you're going to get a hug or an insult. Whether some slight, real or imagined, is going to blow up and cause WWIII. Being sensitive to others' feelings becomes a survival mechanism. Unfortunately, it also becomes a way of suppressing your own feelings, because they are not allowed. Nor are mistakes. (And I wondered why I couldn't access my emotions on stage?)
You learn to put everyone else before you, whether you have known them all your life or for 5 minutes. Their thoughts, feelings, opinions are what matter, not your own. Especially if it's a man. Or a boy you like. Don't disagree with him, 'cause he won't like you anymore. (Not that he did in the first place: why should he like YOU when there are so many other prettier, smarter, cooler girls around?)
So I accepted a lot of crap from a lot of people, for a long time, because I didn't know any better. I thought this was how everyone felt. I thought everyone was terrified to get up in the morning, to go to school or work, terrified of any misstep. I thought everyone had panic attacks, and times when they wanted to just end it all. Just drive that car off the bridge you take to work every day that goes over the river. (That way no one else gets hurt.)
And it's hard to let go of all of it. Even though I know better. When I've eliminated the Debbie Downers from my life, and left the career that had me shaking in my boots and dreading to go to work every day. When I know how worthy I am. When my kids come up to me and give me spontaneous hugs and kisses. When I absolutely, positively, DO NOT want to die, because I don't want to miss a minute of my kids' growing up. When I have a new career that I LOVE, a kick-ass husband, and the best dog in the world.
Sometimes, I feel UNworthy. I still have trouble focusing. And I still apologize to God. For what? Beats me. I've never told ANYONE about it, and I'm thinking I should let my therapist in on it. Because I still stuff my emotions down with food. Or exercise.
I've been listening to the song "She" by Elvis Costello (mainly 'cause Hubby is trying to learn it on guitar) and I just love it SO MUCH.
The last lyrics are:

"She may be the reason I survive
The why and wherefore I'm alive
The one I'll care for
Through the rough and ready years
Me, I'll take her laughter and her tears
And make them all my souvenirs
For where she goes, I've got to be
The meaning of my life is She"

See, when I was in my early 20's, I honestly believed that men weren't really capable of love. Not real, deep love. Like? Sure. Lust? Absolutely. But true love? FOr anyone? A lover, a child, a friend? Nope. No way, no how.
Then I met some men who were. Capable. Some had wives or girlfriends, and became true, real friends to me. (And still are.) I watched them with their partners and their families. And I learned. And this song just kills me! Because loving someone is loving them the way they are. (Unless they treat you like garbage.)
'Cause I also thought I wasn't lovable because I wasn't perfect. But it's the IMPERFECT parts of us that make us even more lovable, don't you think? There's another song, by Gershwin:

"The way you wear your hat
The way you sing off-key
The memory of all that
No no they can't take that away from me"

(This was sung at my dad's memorial, and everyone laughed, because my mother is famous {infamous?} for LOVING to sing but not being able to find a note with GPS.)
Ok, I'm starting to ramble. Suffice to say that it's probably better to get stuff out on paper (er, computer screen?) than hold it in. Or vomit it out.
So that's what I'm doing.


Charlotte said...

My sister and I joke that I'm a "crap receptacle" because it seems to be my life calling to take crap from people;) I do really relate to your ramblings... Esp. the part about OCD. I think I've told you my husband suffers from severe OCD and I have some OCD tendencies myself. So if you ever are interested in disucssing that further, you've got a listening ear!
PS> Love your Valentine's ode to your husband!!

azusmom said...

Thanks, Charlotte! I just might take you up on that!

neversydiet said...

I'm sorry - are you and I the same person? What an excellent post. I'm going to look up "she" on youtube right now - I've been feeling drawn to music lately, too. Also, I'm not a journal person (shocking, considering I'm a writer) but I recently got one (the cover says "Medicated and motivated!) and it IS therapeutic to "vomit" all your thoughts up! I also list three or more great things that have happened to me that day, which is incredibly empowering and refreshing, versus focusing on the negative and stress.
Hey, question - have you ever heard of the Feingold Diet? Any thoughts?

azusmom said...

I've heard a little bit about Feingold, but haven't really looked into it. It sounds like it couldn't hurt, though! I've been trying to ease the processed stuff out of my diet, anyway.