Thursday, June 17, 2010

not pretty

This is one of those posts that I will not want to publish when's it done. This is one of those posts that will seem to plead for reassurance. That's not what I'm after. This is one of those posts that won't be pretty or particularly well-written. But here it comes, people, so watch where you step.

I've been throwing myself into this inner work lately. Bury that anger? Sedate that sadness? Not anymore. I am emoting like a damn sprinkler. 

And it's messing with my head. On the one hand, the emotions aren't trapped inside, which, is like, hooray, right? It's a good thing. That's where so much of my anxiety springs from, this restraint and denial of what I'm feeling. So let's get it out, let's put it all out there. Hey, I'm angry at what you just said, and here's why. This is why it hurt me. I'm afraid that I'm going to say that one thing that will feel good as it comes out -- freeing! liberating! I'm voicing my emotions!  -- but then will look so ugly and crusted over with the bile of my nasty, nasty anger when it's out there, staring me back in the face.

And so I wonder if it doesn't make more sense to work instead toward the ultimate goal: that moment when my concern is only about opening my mouth and letting the love spill out because there won't be anything else in there. The more that I read this spiritual stuff, the more that I realize how the emotions that I feel aren't really "me." My anxiety is not essentially who I am. My frustration, my judging of others, my self-sabotaging tendencies: they are not the real me. Maybe I should just leap right over this emotion-spewing step because it just leaves me feeling raw and mean.

But here's the thing: I am so wrapped up in this material existence right now that not only can I hardly conceive of this ultimate goal of peace, there are moments when I don't even think I want it. Some days I don't want to change.

It feels like I'm moving backwards, embracing the emotions like this even when they don't come from a loving place, but that's just where I am right now. I want to keep getting angry, and I want the permission to show it.

But there's more, and it's not pretty. I am filled with jealousy and envy and self-loathing and self-aggrandizing. It's exhausting. Sometimes I don't want to be a good person if it means I have to give up wielding power over people to make myself feel good. I want to be desired. I want to be the most beautiful woman in the room, and I want everyone to know it.  I want men to try to leave their girlfriends for me, and I want to tell them no and eat up that power like a damn hot fudge sundae. I want to sabotage myself again and again because I like the comforting ache of defeat. I want to keep staying up until 3 a.m. and sleeping until noon, knowing that I've always already ruined the next day. I like having something to fix, something to complain about. I like having something external to blame because I can't shake the belief that inside me it's just ugly, and mean, and competitive, and so. incredibly. self-absorbed.

I've spent so much of my life avoiding conflict, sacrificing my own desires to please people and trying to be a good, unassuming person that I feel like I missed out on being whoever the hell I want to be. Even if who I want to be doesn't look so pretty on the inside.


  1. Um...are you sure we're somehow not sisters with the same mother but in alternate universes or something? I can so relate to that enraged impotent powerless awful ugly ick. I used to think that I was like Superman and that my mother was Kryptonite. Here I am, this capable, adult woman living a pretty great life but when I saw or spoke to my mother? All my power was sapped and I was left weakened and impotent. How was she able to have this power over me? And then I'd remind myself that I allowed it...but then I'd also think that she should know better and that she made me this way. She even admitted to me once that she liked that she could spin me up.

    But anyway, Brava! This is most definitely NOT a "moving backwards" post.

    If you care to read, you can find posts I've written about my mother here:

  2. Karen, I have to confess, when I read your comment, I was confused and had to re-read the post. In my mind, the post was about letting out some of the ugly thoughts in my head. I went back and revised it a bit because I realized that it can easily be interpreted in a way that I wasn't actually intending. I wanted to use my mom as an example because lately she's actually one of the only people on whom I feel comfortable enough to unleash whatever emotions I'm feeling, but I definitely see how it seems like I'm saying that she makes me feel powerless. After seeing how it could be interpreted, it didn't feel right leaving it the way I'd written it.

    For me, it's actually the fear of being mean to someone that makes me feel powerless. Negative emotions -- when I express them -- just don't feel very good. Of course, when I hold them in, they wreak havoc on me, and, I think, are a main cause of my anxiety issues. So I'm trying to find that third option: if I don't want to bury them, but I don't like expressing them raw, as they are, what in the world should I do? I'm finding myself in a sticky situation.

  3. Oh my goodness, I am so sorry I misinterpreted and thus projected my stuff on to you!

    That said I am working on a post right now about "how" I want to be in the world (versus "who"). And it has a lot to do with what you're talking about....

  4. Oh, please don't be sorry at all. I saw it myself when I re-read the post! Of course it's so hard to even convey this really nebulous stuff, but I want to keep writing, flawed as it is, because it just feels good to put it somewhere external. And I really appreciate that you're here to read it.

    I'm really looking forward to your post. I feel like I'm kind of stuck right now in this place and could really use some outside perspective. The idea of "how" versus "who" to be in the world is so intriguing to me...maybe that's also a way to forget about the stories in our past that we use to define who are now?

  5. this post makes me want to hug you. not tell you you're beautiful or smart or flipping amazing, because i want you to get there on your own. and you will. i know you will. it's somewhere on the other side of all the crap. i always heard, "trust the process," and i think there's something to it.

    but i want you to hug you, because being angry or competitive or jealous doesn't make you any less deserving of a hug.

    keep it coming, fancy. all of it. even the so called "ugly" stuff.

  6. What if it's not who you want to be but who you already think you are and so you are going back to her, that girl, because you feel like you know how to live with her and the other, becoming how you want to be in the world, is unfamiliar?

    The good news is that it is absolutely possible to let someone know how something made you feel without being mean. When I feel I must communicate with someone about how something made me feel-- I always ask myself what I want out of the situation. Do I want that person to hurt,too? Do I want that person to better understand me because we will continue on this journey together for a long time? And what do I expect from him or her? Just to receive the information or something more- a specific response that I cannot control and so I should not look for it. Once I know what my intention is and what I am hoping the outcome will be-- and have perspective about that- I know whether or not I can move forward with what I want to say. This process, for me, takes time but it means that I am usually comfortable with the choice.

    Thanks for sharing your truth. It is in our authenticity that we shine.