In healing and recovery we talk often about how this is a journey, a process. There isn't a final "I have arrived" point. Living one day at a time is a mantra in living life without addiction. I only have today, this moment, this choice - medicate or feel.
It came up today in my writing group that this creative journey doesn't have a one and done. There isn't a way to pass. It infuriates me. It digs deep into mix of my perfectionism. I want to have a tantrum because I want for something, anything in my life that I can point to, that is tangible and real, that society says has value. Mother's Day brought up all of the feelings - that I'm not doing anything worthwhile with my life. It's crap. I know it's crap. On my saner days, I can value myself and the choices that I continue to make to walk forward in healing, in becoming human.
This digging into the heart of why I don't/won't/can't value my process circles back around to childhood. To a world where the only degrees that counted were in Math, Science, and Engineering. (or if we chose full time music). It was a world where there wasn't room for my creativity, for my way of seeing the world. There wasn't room for me. What counted, what mattered were the grades I got, the tangible accomplishments that I could point at and say "there, see I have value".
There's still his metric in my head, this way of measuring what counts. Yeah society and culture don't help, but they aren't the root of my insanity around this. The root is that I still want, maybe even need my father's approval of my life, my choices. I want to be as valued as my sibling who is parenting children and working part time from home in an acceptable profession. I want to be seen damn it. I want him to see me. I strove all my life to get his approval or to convince myself that his approval didn't matter to me. My comfort with being the black sheep of the family, the "bad" daughter came from allowing his view to still define my worth.
Now I'm finding me for myself. I'm lost. I want a metric to tell me that I've arrived, or at least what arrival could look like. I want a different box, one with windows in the sides, but still a box because there has always been one. Even though I've left his box behind, I only searched to find a box less constrictive than the one I left behind. My box is getting soggy and crumpled. It's got holes in it now. I'm holding onto my tantrum because that allows me to clutch the failing walls tighter around my heart. This tantrum is the only thing holding my box together now.
I want the world outside my box - and I'm scared. Scared of what it would be like to live without a box, without needing something external to point towards that proves my value. Scared that letting go of this box is simply embracing a slightly bigger box. Scared that I'm not ready to live in a world bigger than the one that I've learned to inhabit these past 8 years. It's time. Time to let his rules and his values go just a little bit more. Time to stop clutching my box walls. Time to open my hands to receive something new.