Crawling Back

Linda1I crawled inside myself this year. Allowed myself the luxury of being, simply being without considering the affect my actions have on others. I have stretched my arms, touched the four walls and claimed them, mine, just mine. This time of my own has been healing, soul and spirit healing.

Most people who don’t know me well don’t realize I am by nature an introvert. Most people see the public side of me, the side that stands up and speaks to large crowds, that leads large teams, that hustles for work, hell that writes two blogs and interacts in social media forums daily and thinks that is the ‘real’ me.

Lately I have allowed the introvert control and it has been freeing. I have lived inside of my head, explored the landscape more intimately; it has been hard but liberating. I realized just how much over most of my adult life I have spent making others happy, doing for others, pleasing others, and taking care of others; all too often at my expense. Most of my adult life I suppressed my own needs, wants and desires so everyone around me got what they needed first, if there was something left that was what I got. Oddly, this was ground into me, as ‘natural’ and thus I never realized it was part of my unhappiness.

Living alone and inside of my head has let me see the entirety of my life to now without external inputs, without distractions.

Personality Type

There is nothing inherently wrong with wanting to take care of others. Caring for others can be a source of pleasure, great joy even. A lack of selfishness can be a wonderful trait. I think I have both of these, I believe I am an unselfish person who naturally wishes to care for both those I love and my community. What I have come to realize though, is these traits can also be a source of pain and resentment where there is no balance, a fair exchange of power is critical though most of us do not think of power where our relationships are concerned.

The truth is power is at the core of our relationships whether love, family or friendship. Where we are not evenly yoked, balanced in our exchanges ultimately we fail to thrive. I suspect most of us don’t think of our relationships in these terms, we have all heard the term ‘evenly yoked’ when it comes to our marriages or love partnerships, but the truth all of our relationships are power based. I realized through this time of introspection how I failed within each of my relationships, whether parent, spouse or friend to balance power and allowed myself to grow in resentment or anger. I realized how I failed by not asking for what I needed.http://www.parsonsrocks.com/the-art-of-rock-balancing-with-photos/

Yes, the relationship might still have failed even had I asked. The truth is many of my relationships were toxic and were not going to change simply because I asked for something different, for something better than what existed at the time. The truth is, sometimes people are drawn to those they can hurt, drawn to those who are vulnerable. Sometimes relationships are established at birth, without early intervention they will not change and these have lasting effect. Friendships and love relationships though, these are different animals and we have different standards for them, at their core we are either balanced in our exchanges or miserable in our choices, I don’t think there is a middle ground.

For me, this has been a truth without realizing it.

I let myself settle into simply being me for most of this year, truly all of this year. I got through last year, through the divorce, through being scared spitless financially after nearly 6 months of unemployment and through a bad job choice and miserable work environment. Now even though I am still scared, barely recovering financially, struggling with pain issues and waking up some days to, ‘oh shit, what have I done’, when I think about the career move I have made, I realize I am beginning to find peace. By allowing myself the freedom to finally, for once in my entire adult life, put myself first I am finding peace.

Peace to choose what is needful, including fair and balanced exchanges of power with those who are in my life. Peace to ask for what I need from those who claim to love me, truthfully it is more than peace it is acknowledging I have a value that is sometimes greater than what I can give, that I am inherently of value. Recognizing I am perfectly good just as I am. My personal space, both externally and internally works for me and is built on strong foundations I do not have to modify it for the comfort of others unless I choose to do so.

alexander yakovlev, Dancer Portraits

alexander yakovlev, Dancer Portraits

I am also finding peace in acknowledging there is strength in asking for help. By crawling inside of my head and my heart, I have finally recognized strength and weakness. I have spent twenty-three years refusing to accept how damaged my body is, how many things I truly cannot or should not do. Living alone has seen me struggle with physical limitations, battle with what a ‘normal’ person might consider simple. I finally have had to accept there are things I shouldn’t or can’t do alone and have had to ask for help. It was hard at first, my pride was injured, ultimately I asked and no one turned me down. I was lifted up by their generosity of spirit.

So I crawled inside of myself, my natural introvert took over. I suspect I am going to allow my nature more time in control of my world in the future, I find I am happier this way. I have missed my interactions in the blogging world, but found I needed the time to find my footing again, find my voice and my spirit. Hopefully, now that I am finding a foundation of who I am I will begin more regular visits to you all once again and a more regular voice as well.

Comments

  1. As an introvert, I can relate to much of what you say. I think that there comes a time when we need to be alone in order to figure things out. But we don’t often get the chance as the world at large is geared towards extroverts. I think we’re made to feel that we have to be with others, that we have to have someone in our life or there is something wrong with us.

    I’m glad that you have been able to spend time with yourself, especially after the events of last year. It is tough for extroverts to understand, but for introverts, ‘alone’ is not a bad word — it’s actually essential. Alone is lifegiving in its way … I’m glad that you’ve had the time, that you took advantage of it, and that you’re discovering your voice.

    • John, I think I lost myself for a long while. Now, I feel no need to agree to anything I don’t wish to. I will not ever again engage with anyone that doesn’t respect my core nature and give me the necessary space and time. It has been difficult to finally figure it out.

  2. Oh happy day, Val. I’m pleased to hear you have found peace. There’s a lot to be said for being just you, the natural you to yourself. ❤ ❤
    It took me much, much longer to find this peace, but once I found it, I knew I'd never trade it for anything.

  3. This post sounds like my life for the last year,, Val, culminating in being emotionally battered for months by the people closest to me, who I love the most, who disapprove of what I have done.
    I finally found a phrase in one of Dipak Chopra’s books ‘Other people have the right to reject you, and there is nothing you can do about it’. and was able to give up attachment to those I love, and put myself first.without guilt..
    And I now feel that it is our highest purpose, and we have wasted our time on earth if we can’t give ourselves what we give others without thinking…
    You have all my support in doing whatever you need for your happiness.. you deserve it.

  4. “Where we are not evenly yoked, balanced in our exchanges ultimately we fail to thrive.” That is so true, and not just in romantic relationships, as you note. I’m glad you took the time you needed for yourself, and hope for all good things on the road ahead.

  5. I can relate to this. I have always been more of an introvert than anything else, though I’ve come around in recent years. Yet judging by my online persona, you’d never guess. Funny how the cloak of anonymity allows us to play different roles, much like actors stepping into character, I suppose. This is probably why I use my real name on WordPress. Kind of forces me into staying true to myself. I have always thought of you the same way…

    • Close to it Mark. My WordPress name is part of my real name, just not all of it. My writing is certainly the ‘real’ me, nothing hidden here. Likely this is more of the real me than anywhere else.

      I suspect this is the one place I let my hair down.

  6. Val, you just have to do what you have to do for your own mental and emotional well being. You’ve gone through so much in recent years, it does not surprise me that you might want to take refuge inside your shell. I think that taking a break from the blogosphere can be rather rejuvenating for whenever you’re ready to return.

    • I don’t think I realized I was taking a break at the time, it was simply part of me taking a break from everything but the absolute necessities of life. It is and has been rejuvenating. Now I realize I have only so much every single day and I have to manage it. I feel better.

  7. In life, we have to constantly reinvent ourselves. Exhausting, actually but I suppose life would be a tad mundane otherwise. Keep on truckin’.

    • So I will my friend. I think this is not reinvention so much as simply allowing myself the time to not be so overbaked by other peoples demands. It has been relaxing

  8. The only way one can find peace within themselves is to be reflective … and that’s not about introvert or extrovert … and I’ve never doubted your reflective nature. Way back when I probably said be patient with yourself and time will work it out … but don’t challenge time because it will kick your butt. Well, it seems time is working on your side. Stay the course.

    • I think Frank, reflection is also allowing ones nature to have dominance. I realize lately I have allowed much of my life to be ruled by the needs of others, this included subverting my nature. Now, lately I have simply sunk into my nature and it has been healing. You are right time has a love way of healing.

  9. How exciting for you Val. I have followed your highs and lows and rock bottoms for awhile now …what a journey. So happy for you. Travelling light means you can get to places so much easier and not have to order an extra taxi for your baggage 🙂 .

  10. It’s good to take care of yourself. I think I’ve been feeling along the same lines, Val, for I haven’t been around much in the blogosphere. I’ve had too many responsibilities to attend to, and finally it’s dissipating a bit, but I’m a loner at heart and find I’m happiest when nestled in my own cocoon with only two dogs for companionship. It’s enough. Hope you get what you need, too.

    • Isn’t it odd Monica, I find many of us who travel the bologsphere are natural introverts.

      I am learning my boundaries and my desires. Slowly I am finding what I want and what I need.

  11. Very happy for you, Valentine. We need to find “our time.” And peace within. It took me a very long time to find my “comfort zone.” Longer than it’s taken you. Wishing you continued inner peace.

  12. Know how you feel, Val. We all need to pull back into our own souls and take care of ourselves first. Otherwise we can’t care for others.

    • Isn’t that the damnable truth Alejandro? Maybe that is at the core of it. The entire thing, unable to take care of anything or anyone until self care is taken on.

  13. I’ve nominated your blog for the Premio Dardas Award. You can read instructions at https://blackbutterfly7.wordpress.com/2015/06/07/premio-dardas-award/

  14. Very much I can relate to in this post, including the need to pull back into myself and do a bit of inquiry and recharging. I’m also an introvert and tend towards a caretaker role. With some extremism in that role over the last decade, I found it can be dangerous if it becomes a one-way street . . . what you refer to as the result of an imbalance of power. The most important take-away from these experiences in our lives is to not lose the lesson. Sometimes we need to crawl back in ourselves to figure out what we have learned. “To everything . . . turn, turn, turn . . . there is a season . . . “

    • That is a very real truth, both there being a season and the need to not lose the lesson. This I think is what I am trying hard to knock into myself right now.

      • Don’t knock so hard. Just write. 🙂
        I’ve been writing the first draft of my memoir this past month. Once I get to the second draft, I expect certain repeated thoughts will rise from the pages. Looking forward to those ah-hah moments, even if I do nothing with the final piece when it’s done.

  15. First, do no harm, and that includes to yourself. It sounds as if your time alone has been productive in realizing that toxic relationships can destroy you and that there is a need for healthy ones to heal you. Take as much time as you need. We will wait for you.

    • I am grateful for the friends I make here. I am grateful for the support, truly there is a sense of community here that is energizing in a way other places are not. Thank you.

  16. Reblogged this on The Militant Negro™.

  17. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    ” I have missed my interactions in the blogging world, but found I needed the time to find my footing again, find my voice and my spirit.” …. know the feeling!!

  18. Welcome back!

  19. Val, your post made me think about Mr. and Mrs. X who moved into their new house near my son several years ago. They are in their 60’s, with children and grandchildren in the area.The neighborhood is prosperous and the couple kept their place up meticulously. Then, one day earlier this year, a large new RV appeared in their driveway, a huge box on wheels. After several weeks passed my son became concerned about it because parking such things is against community rules. Mr. X was clearly enamored of this new thing as he was often seen washing, cleaning a polishing it. Occasionally it would disappear for a few hours or days, but then, there it was again.

    About a month ago, my son was astonished to learn that after a lifetime of marriage and family, Mr. and Mrs. X had divorced! Not long after that, the RV disappeared, apparently sold because some other people drove it off. Now, Mr. X is occasionally seen tending to the yard, still as neat as ever, but Mrs. X is gone. How remarkable! All we can think is that through all the hurry and routine of regular life, the X’s never really faced the issue of their compatibility until time was on their hands.

    I wonder if it’s lonely in there, and if Mr. X now regrets his obsession with the RV? If it were I, I’d go bananas.

    Jim

    • Astonishing? Or possibly simply a relief for both of them. I know I find the idea of all my space a relief. Maybe someday I will also find it a relief to share it again. I know I do not wish to spend my entire future alone, but next time I wish my companion to actually see me for who I am and respect my need for a bubble now and again.

  20. If we’re ever to find peace for–and within–ourselves, we need to listen to our inner voice when it says, “enough is enough.” Sounds like you did that. A smart and healthy move.

    My post tomorrow also has an introvert theme and touches tangentially on some of this. I always find it reassuring to read a post with similarities to one I plan on publishing. Reminds me we are not alone, even when we think we are.

    • I think there are themes running through the world Carrie, one being the need to take care of ourselves before we can care for others. I look forward to reading what you say.

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