i started this blog back when because i was curious as to whether i was "polyamorous" or not, and also because i was a mess: fresh out of a breakup from hell, finding myself smack in the middle of another relationship that i was neither ready for nor desirous of being in, grieving and yet unable to grieve for all my trying to keep it together in public and act like i knew what i was doing and was fine. i had gone off the deep end and was trying to hide it.
had no idea what i wanted, except that it wasn't what i'd had previously and it wasn't what i had at that point, either.
had spent most of my life into adulthood looking for someone on whose head & shoulders to place the burdensome laurel and robe of the authority (responsibility for my desires, dreams, aspirations, decisions, direction, determination, etc) i should have been taking for myself, and sporadically finding man after man after man who (mostly unwittingly and unawares) took on those articles and the roles they represented. i would spend most of my energy and time caught up in the cycle of idolizing, pleasing, nurturing, self-sacrificing, caretaking, becoming unsatisfied with, resenting, repressing, exploding, offending, displeasing, freaking out, crawling, grovelling, making my way "back into the fold", apologizing, making amends, pleasing, idolizing, self-sacrificing...you get the drift.
recently i discovered that i'd held the unconscious belief that if i was "good", if i took care of a man/men, if i did what i saw the equally frustrated female role models in my life do, i'd somehow (magically?) eventually be rewarded with what i wanted and needed in life: approval, achievement, validation, love, fulfillment of my desires, etc. whack thing is: it obviously never worked for those female figures in my life, either. guess i thought i'd somehow succeed if i worked harder, harder, harder; held out longer, outsmarted circumstance and fate....
mess, mess, mess.
a month or so ago, i bottomed out again. found myself looking to Z with all my frustrations. realized i was basically always looking to him (before this, i was looking to other men/another man - there's always been a man) for permission to do what i felt i wanted to do; to follow my natural curiosity, to follow a lead or desire, etc. bottom line was that i was looking for him to grant me permission to do things that a child would be afraid she'd get in trouble for.
i realized i'd given this guy the keys to my will. i'd handed my authority over to another person. i'd been doing it all my life. no wonder i stayed mostly unsatisfied. no wonder i only ever got tiny tastes of things that tickled my fancy, and usually with plenty of deceit and track-covering. no wonder i didn't know what i wanted - i was afraid to go explore and find out.
always waiting for permission. and i was passive-aggressive about it, too. i was usually more afraid than not to even mention things i wanted or feelings i believed were taboo or "wrong". i somehow expected whomever my current authority figure was to more or less read my mind, do the work to decipher my hints, and to present me with the keys to get out of my own prison of fear and belief and let me go, give me their blessing to go about my way, preferably with the assurance that they would be only steps behind me if i stumbled, lost my way, found myself overcome with fear, made any big mistakes, etc.
oh, christ. daddy. where the hell did i get all this bullshit? who installed this OS and why am i only becoming aware of it? and what's it gonna take to comb through it and find what's worth keeping and chuck what isn't? how much discomfort and fear and anxiety am i going to have to go through to root out bullshit beliefs that are holding me back and helping maintain periods of my own misery (and my lovers'), and how much more to identify/design new habits to create new beliefs that will keep my keys in my own hands and responsibility for myself on my own shoulders?
plenty, i'm sure. all of which will be absolutely and completely worth it.
so i start spending more time on my own. start doing things that, although stepping outside the lines makes me uncomfortable, also satisfy my curiosities and leave me walking a little taller afterward. i start speaking my most honest thoughts and feelings - with tact, but without regard for controlling the outcome, letting the chips fall where they will.
i do more research and come across a few very helpful books on female authority and desire (specifically these, both of which i highly recommend for anyone who's curious or having the same issues):
**Women and Desire: Beyond Wanting to be Wanted (Young-Eisendrath)
**Female Authority: Empowering Women Through Psychotherapy (Young-Eisendrath & Wiedemann)
i read and read and read. i identify. i self-examine...a lot of self-examination. i write and write and write.
i spend time alone and with people other than Z and J. i spend time alone and sober when i feel like i'll jump out of my skin with anxiety if i spend another minute alone or without a drink. i make myself put my finger on exactly what's making me shake with anxiety. i wait, and wait, and occupy my hands and mind with various crafts and writing (lyrics, poetry, journalling), again putting my fingers on and giving names to each emotion i'm feeling and each physical sensation as it arises. i'm asleep relatively early and up long before the sun, and getting back into my early-morning routine of rising and readying slowly for work, listening to easy music and puttering about some, injects a good amount of feeling in-control of myself and my day, my time, back into me and my stream of consciousness. i have hot tea in the evenings and occupy myself again with some craft until i've steadied mind and heart and hands and breath enough to let all wander naturally to doing what they want to do, until i feel no compulsion to rein them in for the supposed sake of another's feelings, of a relationship, of my own self-worth reflected in another's eyes. i get steadier and i come back under my own wing, and i go have a beer and read and write and converse a little after work, and i come home to my own home - not empty now, but filled with my own presence and evidence thereof - later in the evening, with less and less anxiety now as i ready myself for bed and unwind. put myself to bed, missing the presence of Z's warmth for a bit before i fall asleep; maybe overwhelmed with loneliness for a moment or two before the edge is taken off by drowsiness and sleep. i sleep hard, or maybe i'm racked with dreams and fitful waking, but i wake in the morning, manually remove my mind from whatever it's in the habit of chewing forcefully upon, and set it about readying for my day. i keep myself occupied, but i let emotions come and pass and i deal with it as they do. i name them. i take a break from my day if they get overwhelming, go off by myself, and deal with them alone when i must.
with all this work, i've begun feeling again that i'm in control of me, of my life, of my choices, and that i need no one else's permission. for anything (that doesn't directly involve them, of course).
things are a LOT better lately, over the past few weeks. i FEEL better. i'm clearer on what i want and what i don't, and the lines and gulfs in between. i see that i'm clearer on what those close to me want and don't also, and the lines and gulfs in between.
i do think that Libras can be/come sponges, "soaking up" a lot (to too much) of those around whom they spend a lot of time. a Libra woman may be more so. and of course, it may have jack to do with the astrology too, but i'll put my stock where i like.
eventually we are saturated, and in order to stay healthy, we have to dry out, whatever that takes and however it's best done on an individual level.
at this point i can feel empathy with those i'm close to, and when they are sad or despondent, i can sympathize, but i don't get too far down into it and wallow in sadness with them...or not for more than a minute. i don't try to commit sympathetic emotional suicide at this point; i make sure my own footing is secure and my grip is strong and my mind is clear, and i try to help by sweeping away the irrelevant and the piteous and by reaching in and offering a lifeline, to be taken only if someone truly wants to pull themselves out of the muck and mire. yes, i have an ear to listen when someone needs to talk it all out, but i keep check on myself and try not to absorb or get absorbed.
i'm probably over-cautious, hyper-vigilant, at times right now. but i also feel it pays to be. i don't beat up on myself when i slide backward into conditioned thought and compulsive response or action, but i notice it. i name it. i remind myself that, at all times, i'm the one who holds the keys - and the ONLY one. everything i do is by choice, and if i've slidden back into circumstances or action or thought that cause me to feel helpless and victimized in any way, it's because i've made the choice/s that got me there. all i have to do is stop, realize, choose my next step and my next direction, and go.
freedom is one choice and one beginning step away at all times.
there: a lot about me and what i've been doing.
and, of course...i regularly come back here and read, gaining insight and vicarious experience through the blessing that is online blogging and sharing.
peace, err'body. happy holidays too!