acts like summer, walks like rain
The last few days, there’s been a physical heaviness–like a dark rain cloud–over me. It’s not exactly been depression, though it has manifested depression-like symptoms in me. I’ve felt soul tired in a way I haven’t before, and I just instinctually know whatever this is has to be related to my worth work, my grief over my mother (in particular), and shame. It’s something that felt overwhelming and hard to carry–but something I also know is moving out. I’m processing it. But it’s also something I can’t even put into words. It feels like a physical thing, too. So, yesterday, I looked into rolfers out here and decided to make an appointment to start the 10 series again. It’s not something you do lightly. 1) It hurts. 2) It’s a big commitment. and 3) It brings shit up and out. For me, oddly, it’s usually replaced by joy. Unmitigated joy.
My therapist said she felt like whatever this cloud was came from a time when I was pre-verbal. That it may be generational even. That made tons of sense for me. I expressed how I have always had a hard time identifying emotions–which surprised her because I am always so specific about emotions and how I feel–so transparent. I told her it took a lot of work to get there. That made sense to her.
Then, we talked about the fact that my emotions have been right on the surface lately. How my eyes were full of tears all weekend. And that led us to revisit something I said last time about how there seemed to be two mes at play. The achiever and the free spirit. And how hard it is for me to allow the free spirit to be. And how the free spirit is more me in its purest form. And how miserable I am when the achiever is running the show–as she has been.
So, we explored it a bit today. Only this time, we really dug deep. A summary:
- The emotional one–aka the free spirit–is strongly linked to my artistic, nurturing side. She is sometimes embarrassing, cries often, and is an advocate for both herself and others. She is very close to my functional adult self.
- As I described her, I was unconsciously conveying that she oversteps boundaries; can be mean in her truth; and is dangerous/irresponsible.
- Then I clarified. No–she is pure. She is courageous. She wants the best for me and for everyone. She never means to hurt anyone, but is just trying to express her truth.
- She has been told she doesn’t have a right to exist, and this just makes her fight harder–talk louder.
- She pities those who judge her.
- Then, there’s the Achiever, who I actually referred to–at first–as the Nun. She’s the mean one. She’s terrified. She is the perfectionist. She’s manipulative. She is seeking safety always and never feels safe. She is very much stuck in past trauma. She kept me alive for a long time.
- So, we’re talking about what these two parts of me need. The Nun needs information. The whole story. She needs details–to understand. She needs stability. She needs loyal, trustworthy folks who show up. She needs patience and empathy.
- The Free Spirit needs respect, freedom, and acceptance.
- Sometime during our discussion, I realized this are two archetypes that have always been present in me–since I was way little. Only now, I am changing what I call them. The Achiever is the Scientist. The Free Spirit is the Artist.
- And my therapist asked, “What if they looked at each other with curiosity rather than all the other things?”
- That sparked something big. A value for both. A driver. Oh, that felt right. Like an exhale.
- I realized today that these parts of me have been fighting for a long time. About every aspect of my life. And that the fighting has produced a lot of shame. And that, actually, these parts of my self come from the same place. They are actually twins, with different vantagepoints. Both trying to keep me safe. Both trying to find their truths.
The funny thing is that one of my exes used to say that a certain song reminded him of me because it embraced both of these parts of me. The scientist trying to explore and the artist trying to discover new galaxies. Another ex also expressed a similar thing. So, maybe, they haven’t been so far apart when I am most myself.
Understanding that the two parts of me exist and are not better or worse has helped me relax a bit and choose to think about myself in a more grateful way.
Last weekend, I worked on some self-reflection. Namely–trying to figure out my values. I came up with a bunch of things…and all of the things each part of me needs? They were on the list. My therapist loved that I did that and loved my plan to really look at my daily activities to see what supported my values and what didn’t. I’ll be doing that this week along with creating some mission statements for myself. And then doing the hard work of tweaking how I live my life based on these values. I’m feeling a lot better.