or...thoughts on self-perception. also a further excavation into self-judgement.
I've been turning this over and over for the last three weeks. I've started to write this and walked away. I've considered whether I needed to share it privately with my course-mates, or only with select individuals. In the end I settled for writing it here. Doing anything else is only fuelling the very feelings that I need to talk about.
I no longer believe that I'm intrinsically evil simply because I'm female. I'm still wrestling with all of the repercussions of how that belief has defined me. In the wake of that shifting and changing, another core belief surfaced. I have this perception of myself as "other". It has historical trauma roots like most things that I continually face. It's not just one root. This is almost as strong of a core belief as being evil used to be. They are tied together.
I was other the very first time I went to public school because I lived in the cult up the street. I was other because I already knew how to read. I was other because there were crafts that I wasn't allowed to do.
I switched schools two years later - and I was other from day one. It wasn't anything that I did or didn't do. I lived in a different city and I hadn't started in kindergarten with the rest of the class. The next fall the family moved out of the cult building into a house - and the friends that I had had there, well once again I became other.
When my self-harming behaviours escalated out of control in high school, I was the other that every one was terrified would succeed in killing herself. Even before that I was the other not allowed to see my peers outside of school hours, not allowed to go to parties and I had long ago learned that it wasn't safe to bring friends home.
It happened again when I went to college. It happened when physical health problems kicked in. It happened when I moved to a new country. It happens every time someone asks me "so what do you do all day?"
It's been a pattern in my life - a pattern of reinforcement. I have a mountain of evidence that says I'm other, different. I feel like the girl in the corner. She learned to hide there and watch people. Occasionally she will dart out to share a crumb of herself before running back to safety, to watch and see what these people do with the crumb. I hate this. I get it. I see where it comes from. I want to be open with people, and not in my defiant - here's who I am, you can take it or leave it, see if I care - way. I still believe that if people really knew me, they'd run away or try to "fix" me. That's usually what happens.
I don't trust that people are generally good or have good intentions. "Good" intentions are what shattered my personality. "Good" intentions kept people from calling CPS and allowed them to believe the deflections from my mother.
I'm rambling. Yes I'm learning slowly that there are places where I don't have to be the girl in the corner. The lies still surface, even in those belonging places. All week I've felt like the girl in the corner who can't stop crying. The one who's so broken, too broken. I want to stand up and scream that my heart feels shredded and I can't even tell you why. I'm using every self-care tool that I have - it's the only thing that's keeping me from disappearing into the madness.
Part of my self-care is that I've begun learning how to belly dance. It never fails that I walk out after a class feeling grounded and connected to my body in a way that I've never been before. I walk out sore, of course, but centred in myself and my emotions. I can step back, look back at the part of this entry that I wrote this morning when all of the emotions were all up in my face and recognize that I don't always see myself as other. I have kindness for myself. I can see that yes I am broken and that brokenness doesn't define me, doesn't have to define me. There is a me that is bigger than the brokenness of my identity, a me beyond the horrors inflicted upon me by others, and a me that is becoming this kick-ass woman that I truly love fiercely and passionately.