Tag Archive: denial


My relationship with my mom since she’s passed has been morphing from one of frustration to one of inspiration in many ways. She had this quote from Charles Fillmore hanging in every single house we lived in the whole time I was growing up. He wrote this when he was 94:

“I fairly sizzle with zeal and enthusiasm and spring forth with a mighty faith to do the things that ought to be done by me.”

My mom was always moving, always doing. Whether it was cooking, sewing, painting, or building something from an idea she dreamed, she was making it happen, even if she lost interest halfway through. In retrospect it seemed almost frantic, all that busy-ness.  I think about it now and it seems like she was keeping something at bay by never standing still, distracting herself from dealing with her pain.  She didn’t have an easy life.  She rarely spoke of her hardships.  She nearly always spoke positively though, I think she knew the power of her thoughts even when she felt like giving up.

It was just the two of us most of the time, so we spent a lot of time together. As a kid I felt like she was trying to make me into someone I wasn’t, like who I was wasn’t what she expected and I was very rebellious, very defensive.  I had an incredibly negative attitude with her and she seemed an unnerving and annoying vessel of positivity and gooey Light that I didn’t want on me.  There were times when my cynicism and attitude got to her and she would finally snap. It was a powerful thing to behold, shocking even. Then sometimes she would just break down and cry at her sewing table, holding her head in her hands for an hour or more and that was even more humbling. I remember feeling like an ass on many occasions but not knowing how to express my regret and apologize. We didn’t do that.  I didn’t intend to hurt my mom’s feelings, I was just trying to hold my ground to whatever extent I felt she was encroaching on me, but I had no filter for that. I didn’t know where to draw the line.

We never talked about things like that. Negatively perceived emotions weren’t something to be felt or expressed, they were to be ridiculed or outlawed and stuffed, deep down inside behind a locked door and never fed or visited. When an unpleasant emotion escaped into the light, it would wreak havoc on the house, stir things up, run amok through the china closet, and knock us both out of orbit for a while, but then there would be this enormous sense of relief afterward and we would resume life as usual.

I’ve spent a lot of time since her passing remembering the shitty things I said and did to her and the attitude I gave her, understandably feeling terrible about it, like a horrible daughter.  That doesn’t change the fact that I was endlessly irritated by my chipper, happy, singing, beautiful, talented, pushy mom.

In light of recent events, I can see that I was mirroring her shadow for her so she could release the negativity that she was keeping in check, so she could actually feel her feelings. I still feel bad about it sometimes when a particularly shameful memory comes up, but I understand now that in the grand scheme of things we all need someone to trip our triggers. If no one ever does, we never resolve the things within us that need our attention, our presence, our acceptance and forgiveness. It’s so important to cry, to rage, to expel our toxic feelings in a safe way, by ourselves or with someone who loves you enough not to take it personally.

My mother was and is an incredibly strong and courageous soul. She was brave in ways I can’t imagine being. She made many mistakes, which is what I used to focus on (and remind her of, every chance I got), but ultimately her ‘mistakes’ lined me up for a rich experience full of events and people to navigate through and learn from, events and people that have paved the path to create the person I am, and I like who I’ve become.

I have recently come to the realization that I chose that experience – in detail and on purpose – before I came here and that she loves me enough that she willingly fulfilled her leading part in that experience to grow my soul into the amazing tree of knowledge that it now is, and it keeps on growing me. I am grateful for every minute of it. I find myself coaching my friends on how to change their thinking, I catch myself singing the lyrics to the songs she used to sing while she was working, I find myself wanting to paint this quote somewhere prominently displayed in my home, and I find myself building things I’ve only seen in my dreams.

Thank you, Mama.

I recently made an observation in gratitude to my friend, Rick.  It started out something like this:

“Thank you for making me feel valued while we were getting to know each other. I’m grateful you took the time to ask me questions about myself and took an interest in what I had to say and share.  It’s clear to me now that I felt like your equal, like you cared about what I’ve experienced, tried to put yourself in my shoes, and were willing to try to see things through my eyes, so you could understand who I am and how I got here.  I’ve never felt talked down to, or talked AT, irrelevant, unheard or unfelt.  Even when we don’t agree, you’ve never made me feel wrong for having an opinion or experience that differs from yours.  You always speak from your heart or your gut when I ask you something and you give me honest and well-thought out answers.  You remember things we’ve discussed long after the conversation is over.  You ask me questions that make me feel like you’ve been paying attention, like what I think and feel matters to you and you are willing to mesh the answers with your experience for a greater understanding of me and of women in general. You care enough about me to want the best for me and I can feel it in how we relate to each other.  I really appreciate that in a man because it’s entirely too rare.  Your ex is an idiot if she thinks she’s going to find someone MORE thoughtful.”

Has this ever happened to YOU?  Yeah, me neither, at least not very often.  When it does, it’s definitely noticeable.  My typical experience with men looks a lot different.  It’s like my generation of women and the ones before it brought with us the, “seen and not heard” mentality of the people who raised us, like what we look like on the outside is paramount to who we are on the inside, or what we feel, or have to say about our experience as women.  We tend to automatically try to picture ourselves in some man’s world (or him in ours) before we consider whether we know enough about him to even like him as a person.  We give him value before he bestows any upon us, or shows us through his actions (not words) that he’s interested in anything about us besides getting in our knickers.  Why do we do that?  Why would someone as beautiful, as intelligent, as loving and as courageous as you, put aside everything that you are for a little bit of flattery and a slap on the ass from someone who isn’t interested enough in what makes you tick to want to know about it?  I’m not talking about your favorite color or movie or song.  I’m talking about your essence, your being, the things that set you apart from any other woman that he sees and is attracted to.  Because if he can’t tell that you’re special and unique and amazing, why would you want him in your life, or your bed or your future?  Why would you settle for someone who can’t SEE you?

I’ll tell you why.  Because we’re not accustomed to our inner selves being the main event.  We’re accustomed to generations of men who have gotten lazy and shifted most of their ‘relationship’ focus to their visual perception and how that looks sexually.  Many men (and women now) have no idea how to carry their end of the relationship once that objective has been reached.  On our end, thanks to the media and corporate branding, we females are constantly comparing ourselves to supermodels,  movie and porn stars and coming up lacking.  We judge ourselves by what our ass looks like in the mirror instead of by our character, by our capacity for loving.  We see ourselves weak and them strong.  We reject the feminine qualities of compassion, nurturing, empathy and sentimentality and strive to keep up with the boys at their own game, so we can understand them, to fit in.  We sacrifice integrity and honor on the altar of sexual attractiveness, to get a man, and then we’re all ass-hurt when he wanders off with the next fantasy girl.  It’s not just on them.  Both genders are in denial here.  We, because we think if we can just reel him in close enough with attraction that he’ll eventually see who we are inside, our worth as a partner, and love us, and they because they think loving someone has anything to do with whatever’s in their pants.  And we’ve allowed that to be the status quo for far too long because many of us would rather be in a relationship with someone who marginally cares about us and helps pay the bills than do the hard work of developing a relationship with ourselves and reaching for the kind of love experience that mirrors the value we place upon our new and improved selves.  It’s up to us to teach them the difference between a steady piece of ass and a love relationship.  Sadly we’ve been dropping the ball for a long time.  We’re so caught up in this pay-per-view relationship illusion that we’ve been sold that we’re not in touch with what matters to us.  We sell ourselves short in three ways:

  • The Dangerous Type – We’re attracted to ‘danger’.  There’s a reason you get that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you hear from him (or not).  That’s your intuition telling you the shit is gonna hit the fan.  We turn ourselves inside out to keep him around because we think we need that feeling in our lives, we mistake it for something called Love.  It’s not love, it’s an addiction.  It’s co-dependency disguised as butterflies.  We’re addicted to them and they’re addicted to…something that’s not us.  We’re all surprised and victimized when we get burned, or drowned, or our life implodes on us because we’ve centered it around this guy.   Then we have all this drama and chaos to contend with and share with our friends so we can all commiserate about how rotten men are.  We build styrofoam walls around us to keep this type out of our lives… until we choose the same guy again…
  • Let it Please Be Him – This is the pseudo relationship where you feel kind of warm and fuzzy about a man, but not quite ‘there’.  He says and does all the right things and you like him but he’s not quite tripping your trigger and you talk yourself into committing to him anyway.  Hey, he thinks he’s in love with you (even though you barely know each other) and that might be good enough, because he’s obviously seeing something in you that you don’t.  You’re right.  He’s seeing what he wants to see, which may have little or nothing to do with who you are.  He can’t love you, he doesn’t know you.  But he wants to love you, and you desperately want to be loved, so you decide it’s ok enough and you’ll fake it til you make it.  Except after a while you’re feeling guilty because you’re still faking it, and you’re feeling obligated to make ‘it’ work because you don’t want to disappoint this sweet man who clearly loves you so much, despite the fact that you haven’t had a meaningful interaction in months.  You feel invisible, unheard, unseen, because he’s not in love with you, he’s in love with going through the motions.  By the way, you’re not in love with him either.  You never were.  You’re bored and apathetic and he suddenly notices the giant hot pink pachyderm under the afghan on your sofa and he feels deceived, oddly enough.  Go figure.  
  • Nice Guys Finish Last – Sometimes we actually find a decent guy who takes the time to get to know us and doesn’t want to rush us into the sack, but it’s imperative we sabotage that relationship because we don’t feel like we’re working hard enough to keep him.  It can’t be real if he isn’t primarily focused on macking on us, right?  Because DAMMIT, we’re mackable and he’s not playing by the rules.  Maybe he’s gay, or MAYBE he’s not ignoring us quite enough to make us feel desperately attached to him.  It would appear there’s something wrong with him, because he seems to like us better than cable AND he even has a life and his own interests when we’re not around.  Nope, too weird, he’s got to go.  A big meltdown over nothing should do the trick.  If he doesn’t get the hint, we’ll ratchet it up to every week and finally resort to cheating with a Dangerous Type to seal the deal.  That’ll show him.  Damn guys, can’t they see we don’t deserve their honest affection?  Sheesh, slow learners…

We have been trained and we have trained men to discount the things that make us shine as individuals and to promote that which he can get from half the human population.   We have lied to ourselves and lied to them so we don’t have to feel alone.  Why?  Because we pay too much attention to the messages outside of ourselves and not enough attention to what’s being said inside.  If we approved of ourselves, we wouldn’t need validation from anyone else.  If we found and focused on the things we love about ourselves, we wouldn’t need proof that we’re lovable from someone with a penis.  If we forgave ourselves for making mistakes, we wouldn’t need to prove our unworthiness by making the same mistakes over and over again.  Step up.  Get real.    Deal with your abandonment issues.  Accept rejection as a culling process, saving you from the experience of loving someone who can’t or won’t love you back.  Take care of you, as if you were your own best friend, so you don’t need someone else to do it.  Take an interest in yourself and decide who you want to be and go after your ideal self.  If we defined our values and were brave enough to live them, we would attract partners who are courageous and real enough to meet us there on common ground.  But we have to start the process and raise the bar.  We only reduce ourselves when we refuse to dare to live out loud, to be who we are from where we are in life, unapologetically.  We don’t need all the boys to like us, just the ones that have the presence to appreciate the woman we have come to be, through our own life experience.  Who we are is a culmination of everything we’ve loved, lost, learned, struggled with and overcome.  You’ve put a lifetime of work into your life story.  Give it a happy ending.  Leave the sharks to the shark bait.  They’ll get tired of being chewed up eventually and come around.  I did, and actually lived to tell about it.  Stop living the lie.  Make adjustments as necessary until you know which feelings are yours and which are cultural programming or family patterns.  Be who YOU are, not some stupid imitation of some vapid ego, manifesting itself as a role model from the tv screen or magazine pages.  You are so much more than you believe.  The more you love you, the more love will find its way to you, without your effort.  Believe it.  Be it.

…And when you meet a man who values you without your having to ‘earn’ it, who can demonstrate his appreciation for the woman of substance that you are… make sure you acknowledge him for that, so he’ll continue to do it, and pass it on to the next generation.  There are good men out there, who are worthy of your love, respect, admiration and loyalty.  Make sure you are the kind of woman who is worthy of them.  And if you can’t bring yourself to fight your way out of that generic box you’ve sealed yourself in to conform with the ridiculous illusion our culture is framed in, don’t blame the men in your life for not being able to see past your wrapper.

∞E

© girlslikefastcars2 January 2012

I know no one likes to hurt.

Emotional pain is uncomfortable, overwhelming, debilitating and exhausting.  Everyone deals with it differently.  Some repress or deny, some vocalize and cry, some try to bury themselves in work or activities or other relationships, numbing themselves until the majority of it passes, or get angry and shut down emotionally.  Regardless of how you handle it, pain doesn’t just vanish.  If you don’t deal with it in a constructive manner, eventually it’s going to come back to bite you, either in your relationships or your health.

I’m no expert, but I’m no stranger to pain.  I’ve spent a lot of time and energy fending it off in various ways and I’ve come to realize that the best way for me to deal is to confront it directly.  You’re already hurting right?  It hasn’t killed you in the past, correct?  So, if you’re wallowing in doom or despair, my suggestion is to take it one step further and marinade in it.  Not forever, just for now.  Find out the real reasons for your distress by following the pain to its source.  I promise you, if you go down that rabbit hole you won’t get stuck there.  You can get out of the pool any time you want.  You can even take several short dips, whenever you’re feeling strong enough.

Many times emotional hurt manifests physically as sensation in the body.  Get comfortable wherever you are, breathe deeply and feel into your body until you find it.  Is it in the pit of your stomach, your heart, your shoulders, your head?  What does it feel like?  Does it feel like weight, static, anxiety, pressure, pain?  If it’s pain, what are its characteristics?  Is it sharp, dull, pounding?  Constant or intermittent?  Does it feel like a combination of things?  Does it feel familiar to you?  Sit with it, breathe and channel  your breath to that part of your body.  It’s a physical acknowledgment to your being that you’re consciously nurturing the part of you that’s hurting.

While you’re breathing, search your memory for another time in your life when you felt the same or a similar sense of dis-ease.  Is your current situation triggering a memory and mirroring an old emotional or physical response?  Is this response appropriate to your current situation or does it just feel like a replay of a bad dream?  If you feel like someone ‘did this TO you’, is that accurate, or did you have an expectation that they didn’t meet?  Are you taking something personal that isn’t?  If your situation triggers anxiety or fear, where does that come from?  Try and remember what’s caused you anxiety or fear in the past.  Follow the feeling to find out why it made you anxious or fearful.

At the core of the emotion is something you believe about yourself, see if you can identify it.  Do you, in your core, believe that you are unlovable, unsafe, unworthy, worthless or something else?  Go to the source of that belief.  Remember who you were as a child, as a young adult, or a partner.  Relive having your feelings negated, being humiliated, being jilted by a lover, feeling abandoned when someone you depended on left or died.  Feel into the loss, the hopelessness, the regret, the fear again with compassion for the person you were then.  Forgive yourself, then and now, for doing the wrong thing, being afraid, being helpless or weak, not knowing better, not sticking up for yourself, not knowing how to react.

We all find it easy to empathize with others, but we rarely cut ourselves any slack.  Learn to have compassion for yourself and your own tough life experiences as if you were your own friend.  Half of our problem is that we’ve judged ourselves so harshly in memory that our psyche (the culmination of all that we’ve experienced that’s held in our memory) doesn’t trust our mind to make the right choices for us.  We think that familiar sinking feeling means we’ve blown it – AGAIN – and are going to have to relive the same situation.  But oftentimes the reason we attract the same seemingly habitual, painful experiences is because we’re not yet aware of what in US needs to be seen, heard, and acknowledged and sometimes accepted or forgiven.  Once that work is done, the psyche can release the need to keep re-experiencing those patterns.

We don’t have the power to change the past, but we can learn from it and move into a better experience by releasing old pain.  It’s well worth the time and effort.  If you’re already feeling hurt, you owe it to your future to find out why.  Empathize with that child you were, or the wife or son or daughter you were.  Forgive the people and circumstances that caused that pain if you can, but definitely forgive YOURSELF.  No one has all the answers.  We’re all here clumsily making our way through life and its myriad of curve balls.  We’re here to make mistakes, it’s all part of the process.  Cry it out, talk it out (even to yourself), write it out, and BE KIND to yourself in the process.  When you get out of the pool, you’ll have discharged a lot of residual negative emotion, you’ll feel calmer, and you’ll have a new respect for yourself and how far you’ve come.

To your Future with Love,

∞E

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