The compilation of all the voices I've heard in my life. The echos in my head. I, like many others, have gotten SO used to hearing the things said to me that now that nobody in particular is saying them, "I" say them... in my head. I've picked up where "they" have left off. Echos of others, in my voice, in my head. The "my" Voice. "The-my".
I felt myself almost totally crumble the other night. A rattling experience. I like to be in control of myself. But, I'm trusting that if I crumble I won't literally "fall apart". I used to be expected to always be in control of my emotions. Don't show them. "Don't cry." "Quit acting like a two-year old." "I'll give you something to cry about!" "Don't be a baby." Many of us have heard those things.
Sooo many years of conditioning. Everyone has their idea of what mold I ought to fit into. How I should act. How I should dress or coiffe my hair. How I should talk; what I should say and shouldn't say. I've been told I'm too wordy. Not social enough or too outgoing. Too intense. Too detailed. The list is endless and spoken by everyone. My parents. My siblings. My grandparents. My friends. My husbands. My boyfriends. My bosses and co-workers. The number of those that actually accept me for who I am are very, very few. I'm slowly learning to trust those and then myself around them. Can I be who I am and not told to stick within a guideline to be accepted? To be embraced? Must I, really? I'm sorry... but I'm not (sorry), because I've gotta be me. If I don't honor that, who will?
This is something I've come to learn about in the last few years. Acceptance. Of myself, of others and all our needs. If our needs don't jive, fine. I can accept that but don't try to make me fit into your mold of what is acceptable and I won't do that to you. It seems to be a hit and miss thing but I've got to be steadfast with it.
Driving down the road tonight I realized how much, throughout my life, others have wanted me to fit in an idea of what they thought was normal, acceptable. I know that I've always liked to be just outside that norm. One foot in, one foot out. However, in the interest of having friends, being accepted, being loved, supported, etc., I've usually submitted to fitting "in". I thought of how singers, for instance, are noticed and advance in their careers... by standing out, by being original, having a different sound or look or approach to perfoming. These oddities, these differences are admired. Encouraged. I imagine that their self-esteems must be really high to take the obvious number of bashings they must've received before getting their wierdness or strange or out of the norm behavior accepted and applauded. I want that feeling. Being applauded, loved and accepted for being ME and how I am. Strange or not. Fitting the "norm" or not. For what I know and for what I don't care about. "All any feeling wants is to be welcomed with tenderness. It wants room to unfold. It wants to relax and tell its story."** That's all I want, too. For me. To be welcomed. To have room to unfold. To tell my story or my feelings and to be heard and accepted without conditions.
I try to present myself, find my strength, feel some confidence. I assert myself, not selfishly but with consideration and damn it if someone doesn't like it, is threatened or offended or whatever and I'm told I'm wrong. Self-righteous. Conceded. Disrespectful. Or reminded to color within the lines.
I wonder if it is that I want to be loved and accepted by those that "I" love and accept but see that they can't return it in kind, for whatever reason. I had two parents and two brothers. My mother and my oldest brother had all kinds of criticisms, judgements and rejection to offer. No hugs. No acceptance. No warmth. My father and my other brother never really had anything bad to say about or to me (well, Dad sure gave me zero acceptance and THE hardest, most miserable time about my grades every report card but not much else other than that) but who did I cry over? Who did I NEEEEED love and acceptance from? Why couldn't I have accepted back then that my mother and oldest brother's needs didn't jive with mine and forget about it?? Because she was my mom and he was my big brother and I loved them. But look how I've hurt myself with this. I've learned how to let go of every other kind of relationship that wasn't blending well but those two were key players. Tough nuts.
This song by Alanis Morissette says it, "Perfect" (3:33 min):
What is profound for me in the book, "Women, Food and God", is on page 132... how the Voice, even though it is clearly not my friend, it was "created" as protection. The voice "usurps your strength, passion and energy", "is merciless, ravaging, life destroying", "makes you feel so weak, so paralyzed, so incompetent that you wouldn't dare question (it's) authority", yet... "...it kept you from being rejected by those you depend on." "...it's intent is to keep you from being thrown out of whatever it perceives as the circle of love."
Tomorrow I go see my hypnotherapist to see if I can re-program some of the messages of The Voice, "The-my" in my head. I want to make friends with The-my. She had good intentions, but I think she clung onto things we (me, myself and The-my) don't need anymore.
From page 139, I choose to "live as if"... live as if I'm smart enough, live as if I'm pretty enough, live as if I am good enough, live as if I'm good and loveable and acceptable... just as I am.
** Women, Food and God —by Geneen Roth