Accountability

I have not updated this in … (sigh) … a while.  I struggle with keeping in touch with anyone, IRL or on the internet.  I’ve been burned by so many people, those who call themselves family, friends, partners, etc., that I think I’ve just decided it’s not worth risking most of the time.  Really, who cares about people so long as I’m making it by, right?

Thing is, I met someone awesome (my current partner), and he’s convinced me that maybe people aren’t all that bad – I’ve just had a significant run of bad luck when it comes to them (and by significant, he pretty much means most of my life – from age nil to now).

He’s impressed at how I’ve handled things, but says I shouldn’t have had to do that alone.  He’s heard all of the stories about my ex (the significant and emotionally abusive one that got me out to CA to begin with), and they make him angry.  He’s even impressed at my bad luck at work with the rude and genuinely horrible people who work there.

I’m certain, based on his reactions, that my experiences are not the norm – I just don’t know how to bullshit people, and thus I don’t work in regular society where half the people are fake and you can only get shit done by effectively lying to everyone around you about how you feel or what you see or how much you like them or whatever.  My bullshit filter is set to kill and my trust levels are permanently set to ‘we’ll see how the next year or two goes.’

That being said, if I’m going to learn to build a life that isn’t ENTIRELY free of people who can hurt me or abuse me in some way, I probably need to get to a better place emotionally, as well.

The social anxiety and depression have been bad, though I’m happy to say they aren’t effecting my school work too much.  I’ve had three semesters in a row of very difficult writing classes where I’ve been required to share my opinions on the writing and style of published authors, as well as my own original works, raw and unedited.  I’ve even had a number of things published under my pen name (which I will not share here for reasons of privacy), and it feels as though perhaps my voice is worth hearing somehow.

To that end, this will be the last long post I write in a while.  This is for a number of reasons:

  1. I don’t feel that giving myself a platform on a blog is helping me emotionally the way I would like.  For that, it seems, I need fiction and PbP roleplaying.  Even playing D&D is more cathartic, though my character is nothing like myself in any way except that he can sing (probably because I can sing come to think of it).
  2. I feel as though the pressure to update semi-regularly is more detrimental to me and my mental health than just posting small, insignificant updates would be.  This is for me, and this has not been working for a while.  Time to change shit up.
  3. I need a place to hold myself accountable without stressing myself out about visiting it every day (or even every month – year?).  This is my platform so this is it.

Any support will be welcome.  Any nastiness will be banned.  I’m not in the business of being arguing with strangers on the internet – you deal with your own shit, don’t put that shit on me; I will no longer tolerate it.

So here goes.  My next post will be exactly that.  An accountability update.

Thanks for reading my long-winded note about how pretty much nothing to follow will be long-winded.  ^_~  I hope you have a lovely day!  ^_^

Self-Abuse

I have a serious boyfriend, right now.  I’ll be moving in with him and his two kids at the end of next month (though I’ve pretty much been living with him for over six months already, I hadn’t officially moved in – I still have my own apartment, with a lease and my stuff is all there and I pay rent there, I just haven’t been there much).

I bring this up because about four years ago now, I broke up with someone to whom I thought I would get married.  In fact, I was still so in love with them at the time of the break up that I could not date anyone for a very long while.  I couldn’t trust anyone either, though, because that relationship was so manipulative and abusive emotionally and mentally.

You might ask why I stayed in a relationship like that or how I could love a person who did that to me.  I know why now, but I didn’t see it then.  At the time, it just seemed normal – nearly every person in my life who did something to help me in any way was abusing me emotionally, mentally, or physically – including both of my parents.  So I did not see what was going on in that relationship until it had gotten so bad that when I left it I had no friends or support or really anything to fall back on.  I’d been isolated and torn down.  I had to start all over again, picking myself up, finding a job (because she’d told me over and over again that I didn’t need it, she’d support me while I was in school, whatever I needed that exceeded our expenses I could take out in student loans, and not to worry about any of it), and attempting to rebuild my self-esteem.

I didn’t see it at all because I had always thought of abuse as a physical thing – something that left a bruise or a wound.  I hadn’t realized that emotional bruises and wounds counted on the same level.

My parents were very good at teaching by insults and threats.  If I wanted something, I had to go out and work for it.  If I went out and worked for something I wanted (like figure skating) that did not in any way help my family, I was selfish.  If I fell asleep on the couch after lunch one day because I was exhausted from say working a full-time job while in high school so that I could afford to train 30 to 40 hours on the ice every week and consequently getting 2 to 4 hours of sleep every night for weeks and months at a time, I was lazy.  If something upset me for any reason to the point of tears, I was a pathetic crybaby.

I was told to walk it off.  I was taught to hold it in.  I was encouraged to disappear.  If anything happened to or near me, it was my fault.

Add to this the fact that I was the eldest and only female in a group of three siblings, the only one of the three to graduate high school, the only one never to be arrested or charged with a crime, and, now, the only one to attend college.  Add even more to this the fact that everything I ever seriously wanted to do wasn’t good enough.  I wanted to draw at age 7 – ‘No one can make a living doing that. Get your head out of your ass.’  I wanted to perform – ‘You’re not that good and you never will be.  Look at your brother, he’s a natural.  You’re just okay.’  I wanted to write – By this time, I didn’t show anyone anything I wrote, but my mother found a notebook of stuff, read it, then punished me severely for writing about things like horror and fantasy and science fiction because they weren’t Christian, by her definition of the term.

I’ve heard my whole life things about how lazy I am or how I have no talent or how I’ll never amount to anything that at some point it seems I actually began to believe them.  Now, as I strive towards three careers that I desperately want to succeed in (so that I no longer have to participate in careers that suck the life and joy out of me every single moment that I’m there), I tell myself these things without realizing I’m doing it.  I’ll catch myself thinking something like ‘I’m no good at this; I’ll never be any good; I’m a failure; I’m a disappointment; what’s the point in trying? I can’t even…’  and so on.

I didn’t even realize I was doing it to myself until one day I broke down after an audition, and shared all of these thoughts out loud with my boyfriend.  He looked shocked.  He could not understand how someone who he and so many others saw so much talent and promise in could think and believe these things – these lies, he calls them – about herself.  (I say ‘he calls them’ because I still have trouble believing that they’re lies.  They are, for the longest amount of my life, descriptors of myself and everything I’ve ever tried to do.)

I have been so conditioned to believe these things about myself by so many people (well-meaning and otherwise) throughout my life that I’ve begun to do it to myself.  I don’t even need someone else around to abuse me, to send me into that downward spiral of self-hatred and self-doubt and self-abuse that unravel years of hard work in a single day because that’s what I’m used to hearing.  I’m so afraid of failure now that one little mistake or one bad audition (and I’ve read about super successful actors who have had hundreds of these) or one misstep in a dance sequence or one wrong note during a vocal performance, and I’m right back to ‘failure’ and ‘useless’ and ‘pathetic’ and ‘will never amount to anything.’

A few years ago, I spoke to my father about this – he’d been drinking and was feeling particularly open-mouthed on a lot of subjects he might’ve otherwise avoided – and he told me that he was hard on me because I was the only one of my siblings that he thought had a chance.  I’m not sure what that means, really.  I ‘had a chance’ to get out of the cycle of drug and alcohol abuse.  I ‘had a chance’ to go to college and become successful at something that’s based on that experience.  I ‘had a chance’ not to make the mistakes of my parents, which my brothers were so keen to mimic.  I don’t know.

I wanted to tell him that I would have had a much better chance had he been a bit more supportive and a bit less abusive about it all, but I thought, perhaps, there was little use in giving my father ‘should haves’ or ‘could haves’ on things long behind us.  We rarely talk anymore, as it is, so that seemed a bit counter-productive, at the time, but I still feel there is some relevancy to the experience that one day needs to be resolved if for no other reason than to give him a head’s up about what not to do in the future if we ever successfully rebuild our relationship.

The trouble is that I must first learn to treat myself kindly and believe in myself and encourage myself before this is possible with anyone.  I need to turn around my own thoughts and get to a point where self-abusive thoughts are no longer the first to jump into my own head before I can allow into my life the kinds of people who go to the negative and abusive as their first impulse.

I know that I must change the language within my own mind, first, but how long this whole process is going to take, I have no idea.  I guess I just need to keep writing and acting and singing and thinking and growing so that when those thoughts come up, I can turn them around with more and more proof that they are wrong, and that I’m actually an amazing, talented person.  (I still don’t believe that, but I’m starting to believe that other people do, which is a start.)

 

Another Absence, Another Excuse

Tonight is the first free evening I’ve had in a while – my play’s run having finished on Sunday.  I’m surprised it took this long to get to a free day, in which I had few obligations to keep me away.  In fact, I had to ignore a prior commitment to make this appointment with myself.

I hadn’t intended to write anything tonight; there was no real reason for that, it just wasn’t in my mind.  But I’ve missed it.  Whenever I pick up acting or singing or dance or writing, and one of those as a result, I miss it.  I’m not sure how to fit them all into my life at the same time, I’m just not, but it’s clear that I need all four to feel completely happy.  What a strange thought.

There were a number of other things I had planned to do with my first free evening in over two months, but the depression hit about the moment I entered my room.  After setting my backpack down on my bed, I found I could not get up again – could not force myself to do anything productive or leave.  I had a birthday party invite from one of my castmates from the play, and I simply could not make myself go.  Granted, I had asked her for details and she hadn’t gotten back to me yet, but still I could have gone and I didn’t.  I told myself I didn’t have the money – but I could have.  I told myself I didn’t get her a gift and I didn’t – but I could’ve brought a card or bought her a drink or something.  I gave myself all these excuses, but I realize now that it was the depression talking.

Show runs end – another audition lies around the corner – school goes on – work never ends – and the damn sun keeps on rising and setting on the same bloody schedule every day of the year.  Here I sit, wishing that once – just once – it would stay down and let me sleep for a while.

I got quite a lot of good news this week relating to my voice training and performance, but post-show depression has managed to trump even that.  Finals are in 8 weeks, I have a lot of catching up to do and a lot of auditions coming up – I do not have time to be depressed.  On the other hand, I need to deal with this so that the stress of it doesn’t eat at my body and cause me to get sick again.


There are so many paths my life could have taken – I can see so many different endings from moments now long behind me.  I could be a mother now, married to my first serious boyfriend out of high school.  He was going to propose to me, which I only found out after I broke up with him.  I wasn’t happy and I had no idea why, but my friends and family convinced me that he was the reason.  To be fair to them he was a rather large part of it, but not the only reason.

Later, I fell for line of the wrong men – each in a horrible time in their lives, each broken in his own way, and each made me more and more unhappy.  I could have shut my mouth and landed with any one of them, but I kept fluttering away (sometimes chased and sometimes during pursuit).  I even fell for the wrong woman – who turned out to be crazier than any guy I’d dated previously.

The wrong woman led me away from my first main cage and into one of her own making.  It’s funny how much someone can love you when you’re free to fly away, how much they loath you once they’ve locked you up behind their bars, and how much they shame you for trying to or even succeeding in breaking free.  Once I was thinking for myself, I realized how crazy and controlling she was and saw how I’d placed myself into that situation, questioning nothing and letting myself feel as though I deserved it and couldn’t do better – yet more reasons for my unhappiness.  I left.

I can see, however, a life that could have led from that.  A marriage.  An adoption.  The gods forbid, a pregnancy (not hers because she was hell-bent against that, but my body wasn’t hers so it mattered far less that I was hell-bent against doing that to myself).  A house.  A lot of unhappy years at a job I didn’t like to support her and the kids – well, him now.  I can picture it so clearly now.

All of these possibilities lurk in my peripheral vision, endless futures that will never be.  I don’t want them and I don’t wish I could go back and make any one of them a reality.  The only thing I wish is that I could go back and tell this amateur figure skater that no adult knew fully what they were talking about.  That a young woman who started skating at 15 could go on to make a future for herself by following her dreams – it might be unrealistic but realism is overrated anyway.  I wish I could tell her that she was beautiful and bright and talented, and that she should ignore anyone who told her otherwise.  I wish that I could tell her that she could do anything she wanted to do as long as she worked her ass off, and stubbornly pushed against every block others placed in her way.  I wish that anyone would have told me these things – just once.

The thing is – I’ve finally realized these things about myself, and it only took a lot of years of good friends and even some random acquaintances telling me these things over and over again before I could allow myself to hear them.  I know I’m not alone in feeling this way or discovering these things later in life.  Hell, I think it’s so common that anyone who manages to read this far can post this on their own blog as though it were their own with few to no edits.  Yea, I’m that confident.  That does not, however, mean it’s a useless thing to state or write here.

Because I can see it now – a bright future doing exactly what I want to do with my life and, yes, making a living that way.  I can see it.  It only took me ****** some-odd years, and a lot of what I used to think were empty compliments – words that people just threw at one another – until I really started to hear what was being said to me.


Writing – I’m going to do my best not to abandon it in my pursuit of other passions.  I need this, too – this release.  It keeps me sane, clears my head of all of the echoes and needless chatter or screaming.  And silence is the best state in which a mind to finally get some sleep.