Anyway, he explained that stress is akin to the feeling a lobster experiences when it has outgrown its shell. It becomes uncomfortable and the smallish shell limits the delicious lobster (yes, I am only marginally Jewish) in its movement until it goes down under a rock, sheds its shell, and waits for the new one to grow. During the time it is waiting, it is raw, unprotected, so it must use the protection of the rock until it is ready with a shell that is hard enough to give it security.
This is how I came to the revelation last week that I am a lobster. A delicious, succulent lobster. I could be worse things, I suppose, though my brother refers to them as the cockroach of the sea. Anyway, I realized a little too late about the lobster thing and thusly, I did not go under a rock as soon as I should have. I mean, I did, I withdrew from sex for the most part, discontinued sending out naked pics of myself, and I stopped dating other people. I even pulled back on my creative endeavors. But really, looking back, I think I probably should have just gone off in the woods for a while to figure it all out. It would have been better for everyone involved, most of all, me.
While it felt like my stress was about sex, (as it was brought on by the recurrence of my sexual abuse trauma), it wasn't. It was about love. It was about what I am willing to settle for. It was about what I don't ask for. It was about just going along with shit that kinda bugs me. I realized that to an extent, I am still allowing things in my life that I am not all that cool with. I could easily blame society, my mother, (like I did in last week's post), or my boyfriend, but as is always the case, my decisions, my values, my drive to be me is my responsibility.
As soon as I realized, with great relief, that I wouldn't have to stop having sex with people, I started pinpointing what I needed to change. It is funny to be in the position of writing a blog and creating images to inspire people to love themselves and stand up for themselves while being a person who sees that she has not been doing as well as she could with it. Is this irony? I think so, but after that Alanis Morissette song came out a couple decades ago, I became deeply confused as to the meaning of the word.
I came to see that in some way, I still behave like a victim, though I have long since been one. Because I was looking at the world through that lens, the actions and words of people dear to me were suspect. If I was the victim, then those people? Those people were the abusers. Those people? They were the destroyers. After all, "love" and "beautiful" were once used to manipulate me. They were once used to take advantage of my vulnerability. It is reasonable that I grew to not trust these words. I think "ironic" fits here pretty perfectly, Alanis Morissette be damned.
This is why I have had such a hard time believing people when they say that they love me, or when they tell me that I am beautiful. I see myself as a victim, so I perceive those messages as set-ups. It sounds crazy, even as i write it. But if I am going to cop to anything, craziness is something I can do. Victim, I have no desire to see myself as that, even subconsciously.
It makes perfect sense that I have chosen a casual sex lifestyle. I am quite capable of having sex without love because I was made vulnerable to such great pain when I wasn't. I wanted love so badly when I was 15 that I was willing to have sex, sex I was not yet ready for emotionally, thinking it would guarantee me the love I needed so badly. Now, I see that I am in a place where I would rather have sex without love; that when people I am having sex with tell me they love me, it has almost no effect. I am grateful for this, because this was what jarred me. It is what started to weaken my shell.
I was being told that I was loved and I had almost no emotional reaction to this information, except for suspicion and doubt. These experiences were wearing on my shell from the inside. Fissures and weak spots began forming. My shell began to limit me in ways that made me feel constricted and unable to operate comfortably. I became almost paralyzed with fear. Then, when I thought I could go no deeper into the darkness, my shell broke and crumbled away and I could breathe, I could move. I felt release.
But I have to grow a new shell back. I have to grow a new paradigm for my life.
This type of paradigm shift does not happen overnight. This type of subconscious de-programming takes focused, daily habit to turn it around; a re-training of sorts. So, I have started to develop a new daily habit to get myself out of the victim mindset and in to the champion mindset. Yeah, I am going to be the champion of my life. Utterly victorious in every way. I figure, why go half-way? Why be regular when you can be a champion?
When I look back on the week that my shell was cracking, I realize the pain led me to see something about myself that was holding me back. I could have stifled it, acted like it wasn't happening, or otherwise pretended not to care. I could have lived my whole life in a shell that was one size too small. But that is something I trained myself out of long ago. I know the rewards involved in going through life trying to be a better version of yourself. I also know the pain involved in repeating the same shit over and over again. The pure agony in feeling like you can never have different results, because though you don't want to, you keep making the same mistakes.
This shift has made me feel free. It is also terrifying. I am now committing to holding myself to a whole new standard. I will also being holding other people to a new standard. I hope they are ready for it.
I hope I am ready for it.