Thursday, April 7, 2011

Psyche Slurpies

A person's psyche is a delicious thing.  So many people sip and dip at our emotional state, a tasty slurpie of indecision and floundering resolve.  Be careful who you let into your lives, and beware of loved ones already there.  Love can be a heavy thing when you have no boundaries and little self worth.

There are well-meaning folk out there who, despite the best of intentions, undermine a person's confidence with surgical precision.  It's usually done this way: you have a dream of some kind, from publishing a book to carving the Empire State Building on the top of a crayon.  Whatever.  It's your dream and chasing it is good exercise.  The well-meaning folk slip poison verbage into your ear, supposedly for your own good.  "That's nice, but you're not a kid anymore."  "You should get your head straight and give up this stuff."  "I just want what's best for you."  "Do you know how much time it takes to put together an album?  Who's going to listen to it?"  "I only say this because I love you."  "When are you going to get a real job?"  They usually don't mean anything subversive.  Their intentions are good.  They might actually love you.  But their words are, nevertheless, meat grinder poison and very difficult to ignore. 

It's the love that gets you.  It's easy to brush off the opinions of a scuzball you don't like anyway.  It's extremely hard to brush off the napalm stickiness of bad advice from a loved one.  For us insecurity addicts, we usually love scuzballs, so we're screwed.  Their advice is, by definition, the recommendation of a scuzball anyway, but we listen to it because they're a loved one.  It's a Catch 22, an eternal mobius strip without beginning or end.  At least that's what it seems like.  Throw in a generous and kindly hearted insecurity addict and they'll be a frog that boils.  You know the adage: slightly sadistic curiosity in a pair of scientists who did an experiment with frogs.  If you throw a frog in a pot of boiling water, it'll jump out again immediately.  But put a frog in room temperature aqua and slowly heat it, and it'll sit there until it boils to death.  I did that for decades and got decidedly blistered.

But I finally wised up and hopped out, slippery skinned and steaming, but alive.  As a kid, I'd been beaten and raped repeatedly, as a young woman I chose educated versions of my father to stoke the fire and keep me uncomfortably warm.  It's what I knew.  My self love was so low, my own opinion was worthless to me.  I didn't trust it, I didn't find any value in it.  Why should I?  I was the idiot who got us in this mess in the first place.  I allowed others to talk me out of my dream, all because I loved them.  Some of them even loved me back.

So recognize the truth behind all words, well-meaning or not.  No one should ever give up on their dreams.  Life forces reality on us all; we all have to earn a living so we can eat.  But no matter what you do, no matter what career you're in, enjoyable or otherwise, and there are a lot of otherwises, never let go of your dream.  It's a siren call that never goes away.  If you ignore it, there will always be that uncomfortable place of blisters and misery bubbling away somewhere inside of you.  Give yourself a break, swallow your fear and be courageous.  Chase your dream and hop out of that pot.  Believe in yourself, even when it's impossible, even when you sneer at the very thought. Believe.  Like anything else, Hope is an exercise.  Do your sit ups.

Love, R

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