Friday, November 8, 2013

Working the Book, Step 4, Part 1

What has kept me from working Step Four?
Fear. It has many different shapes and forms, but it is fear.
Fear of the unknown. I'm not sure what seeing it all listed out would do to me.  I may find pieces of myself that I deeply dislike.  I may find pieces in the inventory that I believe are "too good" and subconsciously want to thwart myself, because if I'm "good," people can't pin things on me.  Fear that knowing myself would remove my ability to chameleon change and I'd lose one of my handiest/ easiest/ worst coping mechanisms.  (Intellectually, I know that would not be a bad thing.)
Fear of harming others.  Not myself.  Others.  Fear that knowing myself and starting to act true to myself would hurt those I love and possibly drive them away.  Intellectually, I know that if someone would run away because I started trying to get better, they aren't someone to have.  The part of me that fears being abandoned goes "NOOOOO!!! Get back here, you can't leave me all alone!"  Fear that facing the music might somehow harm my mother and cause her to go into self destruct mode.  As ridiculous as that sounds, I blame/ blamed myself for some of herself destructive behavior.  Fear that my true self is nowhere near as kind/ generous/ helping as this persona I've put on.  While I know it's actually quite the opposite, that once you remove the cynicism, sardonicism, and expectation for things to fail  (hey, those are all related!), my personality will only get better,  there's still that little nagging voice warning me I'll turn into the martyr.
Fear of myself.  I've been this version of me for so long, what if I don't like what I turn into? My brain calls that preposterous, that this change can only be positive and that if I don't like it, I can always change it again.
Fear of doing it imperfectly.  I can't exactly go at this with surgical shears.  I'm kind of ripping and scrabbling and tearing at it, resulting in imperfect edges and bad seams.  While I know humans are flawed creatures at heart, I can't be, I hafta be perfect, right? Wrong. It's like I'm this quilt, with all these rips, tears, bubbling seams and flat out missing pieces.  While I can fix most of this, there will always be missing pieces and sewing errors.  The thing of it is, an imperfect quilt has more personality, hence the love of the crazy quilt and T-shirt quilt.  I'm allowed to be flawed.  I'm allowed to be imperfect.  I'm allowed to be the REAL me, without the layers of airbrushing and learned behavior.
Fear of fucking it up, which I guess goes hand in hand with the fear of doing it imperfectly.
How is Step Four helping me to accept myself?
Interesting word, "Accept."  Part of me wants to rebel and fight back with "whaddaya mean?  I've always accepted myself.  I'm here, aren't I?"  I don't think that "accept" was right, though. That one implies complacency and a certain "well, it's here, might as well do something with it."  I think the correct "Accept" in this context is the acceptance of the path to self love.
It's funny.  All these years, I've thought I had enough self love for 3 people, and enough ego for 4.  Looking back, I realize it was a pretty horrible cover stretched way too thin.  That self love was what I was "supposed to have," so I manufactured a version and dropped it in. It was cobbled together out of the wrong bits and pieces, so it never quite fit, but I'll be damned if I didn't keep trying to do it. It ws kinda like a round peg in a square hole.  It'd fit, with enough force, but it never really worked right.  That ego was a self defense ward.  If I piled it on thick enough, you couldn't see my pain and weakness.
I'm starting to see that the real version of me, the part that's been hiding (or chained up, not sure which) isn't quite so "bad"as I thought she was.  Weak?  It takes strength to show the truth.  Imperfect?  Think of Crazy quilts. Smiles too damn much?  Might be a side effect sign of a happy soul, not a cover against a dark world.
I'm starting to be able to shuck some of the layers of armor in favor of the goodness I've found within myself.
What benefits do I gain by completing a Step Four inventory?
I can find those holes and puckers and bubbling seams and replace them with fresh parts.  Well, not quite  "Fresh."  More like old pieces that fit better.  I can find those parts of me that no longer work and find old pieces of me that work better.  It's all in there.  It's just a matter of cleaning house.

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