Time Warp Tuesday: Comments Please

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It’s Time Warp Tuesday again! I haven’t participated in a few weeks, but Kathy oh-so-subtly reminded me via Twitter yesterday, so here I am. This week, the subject is Comments Please, suggested by Deborah. The concept is to choose one of your favorite posts that received little to no feedback. I’m pretty amused that ‘validation’ is mentioned twice in the summary on Kathy’s blog, because that’s the post(s) I chose.

Last October, I wrote a three part post entitled Validation. Part one talks about my relationship with my mother, part two my relationship with my husband, and part three my relationship with you, my readers. Okay, that’s got to be cheating somehow, picking three posts, but they’re all the same story from different aspects. If I had to pick just one, I’d ask you to read part two, because my relationship with my husband is what will affect me every single day for the rest of our lives.

But I’ll discuss all three.

In part one, I write:

    Rachel talks about feeling guilty to complain, ‘because I’m not realizing that my own pain is real and important, too.’ I so identify with this. And it isn’t that I don’t think my pain is real or important, it’s that I’m afraid it’s not. I’m afraid no one else will take me seriously. Because it feels like everyone’s always been trying to fix me, without trying to understand how I’m broken.

The funny thing is, all my life I was trying to do the same thing. I tried and tried to fix myself without facing many of my feelings. It’s only very recently that I’ve learned I don’t have to constantly focus on one thing to make it better. I can let it go without completely giving up. And sometimes, it doesn’t even have to be fixed for me to be able to move past it. Dwelling on the same things doesn’t change them. Letting go isn’t the same as forgetting. And that’s okay.

Then in part two, I tried to explain what I wanted, what I needed:

    I just want to be able to say that I feel bad, and this is why. And have that be the end of the conversation. I need to be reassured that it’s okay to feel this way. I need to be validated. Especially by my husband. Because I can’t just do it for myself yet.

There’s been a incredible sea change since I wrote this. I can validate myself now. It’s amazing. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still want the outside reassurance, even if I may not absolutely need it. Because I am recognizing that my pain is real and okay, the reassurance is more welcome, not less. It’s a reinforcement of what I’m telling myself. It’s encouragement that what I’m doing is not just good for me, but also for everyone I come in contact with.

More welcome, but less necessary. The better I get at validating myself, the more I am able to trust myself and my feelings. And the more I’m able to trust myself, the more I’m able to trust others, which, let’s face it, is a huge issue for me. Everything builds on everything else. The more I trust, the less I stress about not trusting.

And the more I talk about this, the more I want to laugh at myself for sounding like a motivational speaker. Ha!

But it’s all true. And with how I feel now, it’s hard to imagine how horrible I felt then. I remember, but it seems so much farther away than three months ago. I love it.

And in part three, I talk about my fear and insecurity:

    But I’m still afraid. So many of you have told me to feel free to email you if I need anything, if there’s anything you can do, if I just need someone to talk to. And believe me, sometimes I want to, so badly. But I’m still afraid.

And now I’m not as afraid, but I’ve resolved so much on my own that I don’t feel so much urgency anymore. I don’t need another therapist as much as I just need a friend. It’s a completely new experience for me. I never had time or energy for friends, because I spent so much on my pain. I talked myself into believing that I didn’t need anyone else, but now I’m not so sure.

So maybe I’ll get better at reaching out one day. Maybe once I’ve got the hang of cultivating my relationship with myself and my husband, I’ll get around to cultivating my relationships with other people.

A lot has changed in the few months since I wrote these posts, but most of it has only changed in the past week. I do have to wonder what post I would have chosen had I written this a week ago. But I have to appreciate that I’ll never know, and I’m a better person for that.

I’m looking forward to the next installment of Time Warp Tuesday!

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Validation, part three: Blogging

Finishing up…

As I’ve said before, I’ve been writing since I could. I love writing. I also love making new (Internet) friends. And I love learning about myself, which I really believe you should never stop doing, as long as you want to.

In the whopping three months since I started this blog, I have come to know and love so many of you. I feel connected enough to hope and dream with you, and I feel comfortable enough to know that you understand when I have to step back for a bit.

But I’m still afraid. So many of you have told me to feel free to email you of I need anything, if there’s anything you can do, if I just need someone to talk to. And believe me, sometimes I want to, so badly. But I’m still afraid.

It’s like only two kinds of people exist in my world, ‘me fix,’ and ‘ew, cooties.’ I know in my heart that you don’t fit those molds, that no one does exactly, but it is such a huge undertaking to change one’s entire worldview.

It doesn’t even make sense to me, and it’s my explanation. Because I can’t even say that I divide all the real life people I know into those two categories. My sister and I didn’t always get along, it’s oh so true, but she has been the one person that I can turn to in the past year who will just listen, not fix, not run.

I don’t know what I’m really trying to say, except thank you for having the potential to be that way, even if I never give you the opportunity to prove it. Thank you for making me feel welcome when I can’t make myself feel welcome. Thank you for being such wonderful, amazing people. Thank you for being my friends.


Validation, part two: Grown Up

Continuing with, apparently, my life story…

It’s kind of funny, as I’m planning out what I want to say here, I realize that the seven years between moving out of my mother’s house and beginning my relationship with my husband don’t seem as real as the before and after. They somehow don’t count as much towards who I am today and I how I feel about myself. There were good times and bad, but now they all just seem more like someone else’s life.

When I moved back I lived with eight of my closest friends in a two bedroom apartment. This was where I met my future brother-in-law. We shared the sectional for a month until I got promoted to a bedroom. Ah, those were the good old days.

And seven years later I moved in with him again, while I saved up for a deposit on the home my husband and I share today. That, my dears, is quite another story. I’ll share it with you another time.

And so, we said our first ‘I love yous,’ we moved in together, and he proposed Christmas Eve, 2005.

Being 27 when your fiancé is 20 does not really make you secure about explaining how loudly that damn biological clock is ticking away at you. I knew I’d had more than my share of wild fun, but I was so worried that I was tying him down before he’d had his, and that he’d resent me forever for it. But he assured me that my fears were unfounded, so I stopped the BCP in February. But I never stopped worrying about his wild oats.

Of course, the following August brought the diagnosis of PCOS. Fantastic. And then it just started going downhill. Like Cookie said, I used the shorthand with him. I stopped trying to explain how my depression felt because he just didn’t get it. Somehow, I found a genuinely happy person to spend my life with. So every time there was a problem, it wasn’t ‘let’s figure out what’s wrong so we can work through it,’ it was ‘I’ll fix it,’ and that was the end.

But it doesn’t work like that. And I didn’t know how to say that. I didn’t know if it was safe to say that. So I just kept on moseying unhappily along.

Yes, I am going to gloss over a bit here avoid some topics altogether.

Now that we’ve made it through the worst and are back on the upslope, I still have a hard time always remembering to preface my feelings with ‘I just want to tell you, you don’t have to fix everything right this instant.’ But I try to do that, because I know if I don’t and he does, I’ll only feel worse.

I just want to be able to say that I feel bad, and this is why. And have that be the end of the conversation. I need to be reassured that it’s okay to feel this way. I need to be validated. Especially by my husband. Because I can’t just do it for myself yet. It’s like obsessively checking the deadbolt after you’ve been robbed. How long does it take before you forget to lock the door again?


Validation, part one: Growing Up

I didn’t start this intending it to become a novel, but it seems that it’s trying to reach epic lengths, so I’ll split it up for you guys.

Rachel @ eggsinarow had a great post yesterday. And in rereading it this afternoon, I had, well not quite an epiphany, more like a moment of truth with myself.

She talks about feeling guilty to complain, ‘because I’m not realizing that my own pain is real and important, too.’ I so identify with this. And it isn’t that I don’t think my pain is real or important, it’s that I’m afraid it’s not. I’m afraid no one else will take me seriously. Because it feels like everyone’s always been trying to fix me, without trying to understand how I’m broken.

When I was a teenager and living at home, my mom threw me in the hospital because she decided I was depressed and suicidal. I wasn’t suicidal, but I was depressed, although definitely not enough to be institutionalized. I spent over two months there, first inpatient, then outpatient.

When I was ‘better,’ I went back to school. For one day. I had to switch schools because I couldn’t handle how the other kids treated me. They weren’t mean, exactly–except for the one teacher who had told her class that I was in a home. That bitch–just different.

Fortunately, they’d just rezoned the school districts, so it wasn’t a huge deal for me to switch schools, even with it being the last six weeks of the year. Of course, my reputation preceded me. My favorite rumor? I tried to kill my parents with a toothbrush. If you can’t be popular, be infamous. It’s terribly fun.

After I graduated with honors and scholarships, I dropped out of college after only attending one or two sessions of each of my classes. My mother thinks I went for a good two months, but mostly I was just going into New Orleans and driving around every day. I didn’t want to go to college to begin with, anyway.

I was still depressed. I rarely slept. I had acne. I didn’t have any friends because we’d moved across the state the summer after I graduated. I missed my old friends.

So here’s what my mom did. She kept bringing me different antidepressants to try, but none of them worked. She brought me sleeping pills. She ordered me Proactiv. She did all these things on her own, never asking how I felt about it. And I never told her. I took the pills and kept the Proactiv in my bathroom. That was the one that hurt me the most. I mean, I had very minor acne, nothing like this horrific cystic stuff I get now, with PCOS and no BCP.

I got a job at the hospital, working 7 days on and 7 off, which was a great schedule for me. I road tripped almost every 7 off, either back to my friends or across the country. I quit a couple of times, for the big trips to Edmonton and Yellowknife. Then I had enough and moved back here, where I’d gone to high school, where my friends were.

My mother always had to fix things, but she never tried to find out what was wrong in the first place. She wanted to get rid of the weeds, but she only trimmed them, instead of pulling out the roots.