So I set about thinking about challenging the very negative ways in which I view myself. Not an easy thing to do, when it has been going on for so long. I don’t think there is any way to really shift my thinking and what I have internalized, unless I replace it with a more neutral or positive thought. Notice, I said neutral. It is hard to swallow the fluffy wonderful, I love myself crap. Not when the hate has been there and is so deeply ingrained. I think I’d prefer to lose a finger than say I love you to myself. Not happening right now. So, I need to find something a bit more in the middle. Maybe, just concentrate on the activities I excel at, and my abilities. I think that will be the only way to get a foot in the door. If I push myself, and move in the direction of you are wonderful,yada yada yada, I get the little voice in my head what a fucking idiot, you need to actually feed yourself this bullshit. Stop, hold up. Let’s pause and go back. As you can see, it is hard to find a way in without pissing off my judgemental self. So, I guess I can come up with a couple of things I am good at, and avoid the backlash. Here’s my shot at coming up with some positives. I know it is a short list for now, but maybe in time I can make it bigger as I allow myself to see a little clearer.
I am brave. This I do know about myself. I guess many would consider writing this blog and launching it for all the world to see a form of bravery. I guess you could call it brave. I don’t tend to back down when threatened. I have been know to be quite aggressive if need be, even in the face of fear. A number of years ago we had a guy working for us. He showed up drunk, and was acting questionably. I stood toe to toe with this 6’4 200+ pound man. I held my ground and I protected what was ours. It never once crossed my mind he was twice my size, or that he was irate. I just responded and did what I felt had to be done. I chose to keep talking, and keep trying to find a way out when a stranger armed with a knife tried to rape me. I could have just shut up, and given up. Believe me, I thought about it. But instead I tried to survive using the only tool I had, my voice. I was brave that night. It is the same with the horses, 1200+ pounds intimidates most people. I do not scare easily, even in the worst of situations. The old adage about horses picking up on fear, is true. Fear doesn’t have a place in our work. The confidence I bring to our farm helps all of the animals understand the boundaries, and the ground rules. Any animal will challenge, but horses do it quite frequently. Mainly because they are so big. If they think they can get away with it they’ll try it. I use my confidence and my lack of fear to make sure they each continue to behave and to treat us with respect. This brings me to the next positive.
I can manage emergencies effectively and with a clear mind. Somehow I don’t ever panic ( I can count on one hand the times I have in my life). When it comes to this job, and the problems it entails I do not ever lose my wits about me. It doesn’t matter how bad it is, and believe me running a farm and dealing with horses can really be hair-raising sometimes. When everyone else is running the opposite direction, I will be processing and coming up with a plan all while running into the fray. It is something I do very well. It serves me well here on the farm.
I am resilient. It has been a lifetime of crap that has been thrown at me. From being a kid and experiencing the accident, the divorce, the abandonment, the rape to being an adult and dealing with two different sexual assaults, to multiple hospitalizations to the suicide attempts, the ECT, and all the rounds of medications. I am still here, and I am still fighting to survive. I wouldn’t be writing this if I wasn’t trying to live. I could have chosen a very different path. I could have given up on treatment and any help years ago. I didn’t. I have given the drugs a chance, I have stayed compliant and I have worked to be present in my sessions. yes, I am resilient. Were I not, I couldn’t keep fighting.
I am an artist. I can tap into some deep place in my soul and speak from there with my hands. I can summon all that power and unleash that creativity. Entirely self taught. I can work in many mediums, and create beautiful work. I AM an artist. I can do things that people only dream of without even trying. It is all in there, just waiting to be tapped. Very much in that same vein is the writing. I can capture moments in my life and put them on paper. I can share my experiences and my thoughts and feeling through these passages. I have found a way to let people in, even complete strangers.
I am empathetic. Despite a kind of tough quiet exterior, I am at heart very feeling. I see those around me in terms of what they are feeling. I see suffering and often feel it in my heart. I can see even the worst of people as humans. Another person struggling along this road called life. Each experiencing all the pain and fear and suffering it brings. It is at times overwhelming to see people at this level. It is so deeply moving. I think most people misread me, when I am at my most stoic it is often because I cannot take in anymore of the pain I see around me. I think hand in hand with the empathy, is the capacity to love. Those I chose to let myself love, I do so completely. This has harmed me in the past, because some of the choices I made.. But the fact remains, I do love, and in a very deep and soulful way. I see no place for shallow and fake attachments. It is probably why there are so few I count in this group. It is remarkable my heart can even do this, given all it has been through.
I am intelligent. Yes, it took me a long time to get here. I still have a little voice in my head that says you’re stupid. But, despite that I do think I am smart. I don’t think I could create art, or write if I wasn’t. This has taken a bit of a hit since the ECT, and the trileptal, because I forget things, and lose words, and sometimes can’t put names to the people I know. That feeds my little negative voice. One of the main reasons behind launching this blog was to give myself some proof that I can do it. Even if I can’t always find the right word, or if I can’t spell everything like I used to. I can still do it. Yes, I am intelligent and I can hold my own in the most brilliant of company. I just have to have faith in myself.
I am an athlete. These days I consider my polo playing my main athletic pursuit. But I do consider being an accomplished rider as being an athlete. I love my ability to sit on and control a horse. It gets far better when I can do it at a gallop and hit a polo ball all while being ridden of by an opponent. It is a thrill, and it is a place to feel aggressive and powerful. To be skillful and coordinated. Even a place to be frustrated and to push myself to get better. It took many years to get to where I am now. Years of hard work and dedication. Yes, I am a rider. I am an athlete.
I think with time this list will grow. It is my place to start. A foot in the door, so to speak. I don’t let myself think this way very often and it feels alien and strange to do. With time it will feel less so. It time I may learn to love myself. Without that little voice in my head getting in the way.