Illegitimate

What does it mean to not belong? It never mattered how hard I tried. I didn’t feel I was part of the family. Mine. Two brothers. My middle brother finally admitted to me a couple of years ago that he hated me as a child. From the day I was born. The odd thing- I had felt his resentment as I was growing up. Sadly, it only made me want his attention more. I adored both of my brothers. But I never belonged. I was the outsider.

Feelings

Belonging is a bone-deep craving you never escape. You dress it up or down depending on your personality, but it’s the snark as you reply to your coworker. Do they make more money? Get more time off? You hate. And you don’t know why.

Keep On

It keeps you on your toes, always jumping higher. Or you hide. I’m not an expert on the whole human race with its quirky ways, but I know how I feel when I’m relaxed and authentic. When I’m in my element, I smile from the inside. Finding these pockets of authenticity didn’t come naturally. Most of my life has been a walk through a jungle of emotions I couldn’t name. Confusion. Chaos. They call from the trees above. Tangled vines surrounded me and jungle snakes dropped in front of me, even preventing my progress when I tried to do something different. Stick with the familiar, the snake seemed to whisper. Yesterday’s action might be the answer, but I’d never change and I didn’t want to stay tormented forever. Daily life is difficult. Working through the jungle, untangling the vines was tough. How did I get here?

It’s Complicated

To most people, there are paths. Yes, life has problems, sadness, grief, breakups, and pain. There is a source for that pain. Emotionally healthy people can say, “I had a car accident.” Period. In the jungle of messed up folk, such as me, or those who have feelings of not belonging, a car accident is rarely just a car accident. There are tangled vines of doubt. “Was I speeding?” Guilt and shame. “I can’t face anyone tomorrow. That was stupid to rush this morning. I was going too fast.” This torment continues. In the case of my mom, who is 82, she is still chewing on thoughts from her childhood.

Understand

I created a story in my head as a child. I didn’t know why my brother pushed me away when I was three. Logic was not involved. Only a small child’s fear. And when he ran instead of playing, I didn’t understand it wasn’t about me. I wasn’t an adult who could reason this through. And my adults didn’t know to explain. I learned twisted patterns on how to relate to life, problems, and men. I expected difficulty and avoidance. Vines and snakes. And I got them.

Resolution

There’s a way out of the jungle. The vines have names as well as do the snakes. If you put signs on the trees, you create paths. An amazing thing can happen with this jungle. It might not be the family you were born with, but it becomes a world you create. You belong. Name the emotions you feel when they come to you. Don’t ignore them. Go deep into the jungle. If it’s sorrow, put a big stamp on it. SORROWS! Journal, write, talk to friends, walk in nature, play music, whatever helps you. We are legitimate.

Thank you for being my friend!

You might want to read Belonging or My People or Memories of A Childhood

Painting by Julie Gray

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Rebuilding the Brickwork Of My Mind

We are afraid we’re alone.

I’ve spent years lugging around baggage. I have issues. Pain. I was injured, and I’ve hurt people in return. “Look, everyone. See my pain.” I didn’t do a lot of workshops or therapy sessions, but I donned the clothing of the wounded, shamed warrior. My name badge if you dared get that close read, Unworthy.

Recently, I’ve started to doubt the wounded me story, ripping it away like it was ivy growing unrestrained on the side of my house. But by now shame was buried in my mortared joints. I had so much to learn. And much to unlearn. These are not the renovations you see on HGTV with quick before and after snapshots.

As I told a friend recently, our families in their generation believed they would be safe if they stayed within their safety zone. Their life mottos: Don’t color outside of the lines. Keep your clothes clean. Go to work on time. Follow the rules. Do your duty.

In most lives, there’s a sense that we aren’t doing enough. And we feel that life is complicated. It’s so freakin’ tricky as we think we have to do everything and we are alone. My mental training was built on struggle framed in the guise of independence, strength, endurance, and survival. Go Go NIKE! Just Do It!

As I told a friend recently, our families in their generation believed they would be safe if they stayed within their safety zone. Their life mottos: Don’t color outside of the lines. Keep your clothes clean. Go to work on time. Follow the rules. Do your duty. This was the way of their life, but it can’t work anymore. I cannot conform because it isn’t who I am. And I was shamed, blamed, misunderstood, and told I needed to change because I was broken. I did not fit. Who told me this? The ones who refused to change. The generation who tried to keep me safe. I learned fear and paranoia.

What if I’m not broken? Do I enjoy my day? Could I? These are my new questions for rebuilding my thoughts. Instead of the repairing, I am living.

from Circle of Stones by Judith Duerk

I wouldn’t dream of telling you to believe as I do. I am saying, and you might not be broken. And if I’m not broken and you’re going not to break, we could learn to love our lives.

You are not alone. It appears we are, but there are so many who care. We aren’t isolated from each other. We don’t compete with our coworkers for our meals. There’s no lack. Also, I believe we have access to a collective. Maybe my words fail in the description. It could be a group we belong to, and we draw energy from when necessary, anyway, I imagine a gathering of friends on a beach. We’re sitting around a fire laughing and sharing our experiences. We belong to this family. Someone has our back. Maybe your group meets at the local bar and drinks shots. Or has pie at the cafe.

I honor you. Namaste.

Queen of Hearts

I think of winter as silent and cold, a time when nature forgets. In the winter, seeds are dormant. Ever been there? Oh, I have. Silent, still, and unmoving. I was young and didn’t know much about life.

Growing up, I didn’t develop well emotionally. I had been asleep. It sounds cliche. Melodrama really isn’t my thing. But, there was a moment when something inside came alive, and the circuits connected. I awoke. That was when I recognized the brokenness surrounding me. And I wasn’t doing anyone good by living in denial. As it says in Genesis, 3: 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Well, I wasn’t naked, but my family wasn’t as perfect as I thought either.

“Images of the Goddess help to break the hold of “male control” that has shaped our images not only of God, but of all significant power in the universe.”

-Carol P. Christ, from: Rebirth of the Goddess

There’s a shame in my family, and it needs to be cleansed. I’ve been trying to heal through journaling, genealogy, therapy, talking with my family, prayer, and meditation. I sincerely hope to trigger healing in others. Hopefully this is helpful for others because I know I am not alone in this sadness.

We’ve had multiple decades of men in battle. Like bricks stacked upon each other, fathers and then sons have waved goodbye to families who wept for them. Women, whether they were mothers, sisters or wives participated as they could. For a family member, waiting would be agony.

Soldiers gave up personal freedom, hopes, and put their personal wishes aside for the call of duty. With their life on the line, and having to overcome fear every day, all they knew was to be strong. Survival was important. There wasn’t time for hope. It was mud, blood, guns, and keep yourself from freezing to death in the winter. Pay attention to their surroundings. Don’t get killed. Hoping and dreaming, that was for later. So, love was put to sleep. Remember the 1950’s? Duty was Queen. And she had no heart.

Generations of war created a lineage of patriarchy and abuse. Hearts were cold. There’s generational rape, molestation, child abuse, and years of silence. Shame. Try taking this history of pathology and develop a healthy person. Here I am, as well as my parents. I took my underdeveloped self and tried to create a healthy marriage with another. I say underdeveloped since I had no idea what love was. In my family genealogy, love has been asleep for a long time.

We know duty. Survival is our best skill. After that, we start having issues. And as most therapists will tell you, a person will gravitate toward what they know. Which is why people return to the same type of relationships over and over, like a reoccurring nightmare. Or you marry someone like your parents. We’re not only comfortable with the familiar, but it feels right. They fit you. They plug that void you need to fill. We call it love. Funny. Is it really love? Maybe.

I’ve been asking this question for years, what is love? Someday I might know the answer. I know what it’s not. Love is not pain. It is open and giving without holding the other person back from their potential. Love is not bullying, pushy, or brutish in it’s giving. Love is a gift. If anyone tells you otherwise, they are lying. If their “LOVE” comes with strings attached, then it is not loving.

Love your people today.

Arna Baartz -Artist (painting reposted from thegirlgod.com)