Notes to Self

June 22, 2012

Eyes, Fragile

May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty.

I can’t remember where I found this statement, but it gave me goose bumps and a chill up my spine.

In high school I seemed to attract older, skeevy men. The guy from the recycling plant (which I walked past every morning on the way to school) who ended up following me and my friends around for several years. The weird freaks walking around in the middle of the day that insisted on walking me home… And my father commented to me about this ‘attraction’ I possess as if it were my fault. And I believed him that it was. Something inherent that was wrong with me.

In later years I noticed that I could be one of eight people in an elevator and the weird person would talk to ME. And it’s not like I solicited the conversation. I figured maybe I had a kind face/eyes that made people comfortable around me.

I now think otherwise.

This makes me sad. Sad about all that has happened to me in my life. How little I loved (love) and respected (respect) myself and how little I felt (feel) loved and respected by my parents.

As a mother, I worry about my daughter and all the creepy men out there. Of course I think she is an incredibly beautiful little girl and is sure to be a drop dead gorgeous young woman.

However, the above statement gives my fear pause as I realize that if I can keep her from being damaged, then maybe I can keep her from being a victim.

My gut feeling is that Self-esteem is fragile. But that, I believe, is because I always had so little of it and whenever I would venture out of my comfort zone (and inevitability felt shot down or like I didn’t belong) I felt that I ended up lower than when I began.

But maybe self-esteem is not so fragile if it is developed early enough and has a strong enough foundation.

Maybe little girls can grow up to doubt themselves only rarely and believe in themselves unconditionally.

Maybe mirrors are not enemies and buying a new pair of jeans is not a journey into all that is wrong with me and my life.

Maybe those of us without the well-established self-respect can still impart this in our children.

Maybe we can learn from our children and use our most primitive desire for their well-being as a stepping stone for healing ourselves.

Maybe we can become un-Damaged.

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June 19, 2012

The Top Down Approach

This morning I was able to get up before my daughter did.

I went downstairs and as I entered the kitchen my eyes were drawn to the muffin pan and cooling rack that still were still unwashed and cluttering up the counter.

It occurred to me that I should actually see this as a good thing, because even though, in my perfect world, they would have been washed by now, the fact that I have dirty muffin pans means I am “doing”.

If I didn’t make her homemade breads with flax meal, whole wheat flour and black strap molasses (to boast her iron intake), then I wouldn’t have pans to wash.

If I didn’t make min-quiche’s for her (so she gets egg and vege’s in the am and I may not have to scramble an egg every morning) then I  wouldn’t have pans to wash.

If I didn’t make her risotto with ground chicken thigh or turkey or chick peas and a variety of vege’s and brown, wild and arborio rice, then I  wouldn’t have pans to wash.

So instead of seeing my dirty dishes as a shortcoming and failure, I should see them as a victory and be proud that I am doing.

Therapy Week 4: What my parents taught me

Filed under: I asked "Why", Them vs. Me, Therapy, Why must you insist on.... — Tags: — me2self @ 12:42 pm

It is amazing how the more you look at something the less appealing it becomes.

Take a quick glance and it isn’t all that bad. Keep uncovering the layers and it’s a pile of shit.

I finally figured out that my internal mantra goes something like this:

Whatever I do is not good enough.

I’ve done it wrong.

I always do it wrong.

I have failed.

I will always fail.

Therefore I am no good and I, as a failure, deserve nothing.

Ergo I am not worthy of anything.

This, I believe, is my fundamental negative thought. I no longer have to actually say it to myself, I realized it has become so second nature that all I have to do is sigh and it encompasses all the dialog.

I realized how often my parents criticized me, told me what I was attempting to do wouldn’t work, that I didn’t approach it properly and I don’t think things through. How I didn’t know enough to accomplish that task or how since I didn’t ask for help I would have to go it alone (and of course end up with nothing of consequence because I wasn’t doing it their way). My way or the highway. Phrases like “you always____”; “you never learn”; “why must you insist on ____”; “tell my why you ___”; “you know what your problem is _____”; and “I don’t understand why you must ____”.

My parents didn’t teach me to be proud of myself or to believe in my potential. They taught me I don’t have any.

My parents didn’t teach me that goals are something positive and rewarding when achieved. They taught me I will never be good at anything so why bother.

My parents didn’t teach me self-respect or that I am beautiful inside and out. They taught me that I am only as good as my worst mistake.

At the ripe age of 36, I am left with more self-hatred for being so fucking stupid and believing the things they were telling me. But then, as my husband likes to say, we all do the best we can with what we have at the time. I guess an 8 year old doesn’t have much with which to work. Not sure that really means a lot to me right now – maybe some day I can also shrug and say those words and not feel the anger and sadness in the pit of my stomach.

So what’s next?

Mindfulness.

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