Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Just Thinking and a Belated Apology

Well, I've decided to take a break from meme world for a few days. We'll see if I can hold to that with Skywatch coming up, but for today, anyway, I thought I'd try some words. When I first started this blog, the idea was to trick myself into writing again. Alas, I'm not the most self-motivated person. Tell me to write about subject X or Y and I'll probably sit down and write something, but leave me to my own devices and I'll brood about what I should say and while away my time playing computer games. Photo memes have been a great diversion from writing. Don't get me wrong. Buying my camera last March and joining these memes has been pure joy from start to finish. The camera has expanded my tiny four-room world and visiting others and seeing their creativity is a wonderful way to explore the world from my desk. Still, it has become a bit consuming. Today, I want to try to write. So here I am. Now what the hell am I going to say?

One thing, I guess I need to get out of my system is an apology to the two or three people who gave me awards which I have very ungraciously not picked up, posted or even acknowledged here. I'm really, really sorry about that. I have trouble with praise. I love it. I drink it in like water in the desert. BUT... it also freaks me out. Praise and I have a spotty history. I grew up with a genius (162 IQ) psychopath brother and a deeply wounded mother. My brother is 7-1/2 years older than me. He was pretty much God's gift to everyone's world - handsome, brilliant, charming (unless you knew him) . Still he HATED, I mean pathologically hated, hated, hated, seeing a word of praise come my way. Hated any success I might have. And he found ways to punish me when such things happened. For my mother's part (besides being oblivious to my brother's insanity), she equated feeling good about yourself with the sin of vanity. She made sure to bring you down off of any awards platform you might think of stepping onto. So I pretty much have little breakdowns around certain kinds of compliments.

A week or so ago, I sent someone a CD I made while I was in Arizona. It's a weird thing. It's woo-woo stuff... channeled "toning." I sometimes use sound when I do reiki and I had a young seven-year-old friend in Arizona who loved it and was upset that I was moving back east. That and some encouragement from my friend Saggio pushed me beyond the outer limits of my comfort zone, my wallet, my everything. I'm very proud of having done it. As I said, it's channeled. No second takes, one hour of improvised sound. Weird. Anyway, I received the kindest note from L. and instead of glowing with joy, my heart shut down and I went into a kind of depression. Thank God for therapy, because I didn't make the connection about what had sunk me into the abyss. Intellectually, I love praise more than most people probably. I salivate for it. I crave it. I hunger for it. I long for it. Maybe because even when I get it, I'm only able to metabolize a small percentage of it. Intellectually, I know better. This is a reaction that is un (or semi, maybe) conscious and instinctive. Even writing about it here, I feel myself going into the tired place.

And of course thinking, "that's right, let's write a big whine as our first venture into words for a while. I'm sure people will be thrilled and beg for more." And while I do apologize for going on at length about this, I suspect I'm not totally alone in feeling insecure about success. I suspect there are plenty of others out there with similar issues in one way or another. One of the many things about much "religious" teaching is that it totally screws people up and robs them of much joy. I personally believe that God/Great Mystery/All that Is/- whatever or however you view the Divinity (if you believe in one) - wants nothing more than to have us rejoice in our beauty and talent and creative expression. Even Jesus said "don't hide your light under a bushel." Yet much religious teaching seems to tell us to do just that. I think most of us know this in our hearts, but I also think we have a lot of confusion about it too. Maybe that's one of the reasons we like to put celebrities and others on pedestals and then tear them down. We admire people who let their light shine, but we resent them too. They are doing what we wish we could. I've been watching bits and pieces of the Olympics. What a joy to see these young people embracing their talents and their hard-won successes. I love it. My mother's voice does sometimes whisper in my ear about their vanity. Poor, sad, mother. Alas and fortunately, I only ever listen/listened to that voice in relation to myself. I'm hoping that by the time I move out of this life, I'll be able to let the love in not just to my head, but into my whole being. It's what I wish for all of us in this life... to let go of toxic shame and to both see and rejoice in our own and each other's magnificence and talent.

Well, this is already too long... It's incomplete, I know. I do apologize again to the three (four?) people who have gifted me and had their lovely gifts unclaimed and unacknowledged. It's both rude and unkind not to receive a gift and I apologize for my lack of grace in doing so. I will do so formally soon (hopefully), I promise. It may still take me a while to find them again and to work through my craziness. But I am none-the-less grateful.

For better or worse, I have a feeling this may be part one of a larger discussion. It feels unfinished as it is, but it's after 2:00 pm and I don't want to ramble on for too much longer in any case. Maybe, I'll close with a poem that touches on this subject with at least an awakening of hope. I posted it a few months back, but I'll share it here as a way to close. May we all learn to let our light shine joyfully and without shame or doubt... and without worrying about whether we are "worthy" or not. We are. Just because we live and breathe and love.

October 1, 1999

Live as big as the sky, she said
And I felt my heart awaken and take note
As big as the sky? it asked?
Can I do that?
I don’t know, I said,
Liking always to be truthful.
But we can try.

- Katherine E. Rabenau


Queen-Size funny bone said...

Blogger is a community that is non judgemental and no apologies necessary. Eveything is volunteer and suppose to be fun. Loosen up on yourself.

Lirone said...

If you've not done so before, you might want to spend a bit of time at the excellent blog red ravine - I have found the sort of writing practices they do there to be very freeing. They take you much deeper than the average meme, in my experience, even starting with the most random topic.

Good luck, anyway!

Lirone said...

If you've not done so before, you might want to spend a bit of time at the excellent blog red ravine - I have found the sort of writing practices they do there to be very freeing. They take you much deeper than the average meme, in my experience, even starting with the most random topic.

Good luck, anyway!

Snowbird said...

Hey, don't beat yourself up for not "officially" acknowledging the awards. We all crave compliments but, like you, I sometimes find them hard to accept myself. Just accept them in whatever way feels best to you. And I really enjoy reading your writings. Keep it up.

San said...

Raven, I enjoy reading your honest posts. And poetry. Yes, life is big as the sky, and sometimes hard to embrace in its entirety.

Shine on, girl! And look in the mirror and enjoy the glow!

Dianne said...

I love the image you posted! that alone is an honest and uplifitng post.

I get it about "the tired place" - I fight that doorway often.

I think you should do whatever you want whenever you want.

It is OK.

Carletta said...

Raven when you write I get all wrapped up in the words. You are such a talented person with them. I would love for you to take that knowledge, embrace it, and be joyful in your whole being - just as that diver or volleyball player (I was watching tonight) can be happy and secure in their talent.
I AM going to keep telling you how wonderfully good you are!!! Yes, I am.
I love this photo. Goes well with this post of reflecting - it's super.
In your own words Raven, "Live as big as the sky.."

Jeff B said...

My heart breaks for dear people like you who weren't shown the proper love and praise during your childhood that you should have. From friends that share in your feelings, it seems that it's a heavy weight to have to carry.

Know that I, and I'm quite sure from the other comments, the others care deeply for you just the way you are. The words you write and the feeling you express constantly show a person of great worth.

Raven said...

queensize F.B. - Thanks. The committee of judges all live in my head. I pretty much know they are a pack of liars, but they are very LOUD liars. Thanks for your kind words.

lirone - thanks for the recommendation. I'll check Red Ravene out.

snowbird - thank you so much. I just feel like I have been ungracious when people have made the effort to do something kind and I have not properly responded to their kindness.

san - thanks and back atcha.

dianne - thanks that's actually a repeat from project blue - one of the last posts, I think. I was really pleased with that one myself. I wish I had thought of using it for creative photogrpahy.

Raven said...

carletta - thank you very much. You have touched on the wish of my heart. Because of the wounds of my childhood, I'm very disconnected from my physical self and indeed it's hard for me to take things into my whole being. Thank you for that wish and for your kind words.

jeff b - thanks. My parents did the best they could. My mother in particular came from a childhood that was the stuff of bad fiction. That she was able to give as much love as she did is a testiment to the big wounded heart she carried around with her. My father's wounds were less obvious and maybe more damaging, oddly. In the end, I have much to be grateful for as well as much to overcome.

I like to think I've put down the worst of my childhood baggage. There are still a lot of echos and plenty of crazy clutter but I've come a long way. I'm pretty happy on the whole in my own odd way.