mars 28, 2003

thought for the day

perhaps we are all equally insane and that it is only the forms of our insanity that are different.

~ gerald g. jampolsky

Posted by rachie at 11:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

#10 & #11

lesson #10 - I could see peace instead of this. (the bits and peices of my daily experience reflect the chaos I see within. Today, I welcome a new perception of myself and the world)

lesson #11 - I can elect to change all thoughts that hurt. (picture a wall and let it represent your problem. On a wall, paint a door and hang a red exit sign above it. Imagine opening the door, walking throuh it and shutting it firmly behind you. The problem is no longer with you since you have left it behind. If we perceive things not as problems, but rather as opportunities for learning, we can experience a sense of joy and wellbeing when lessons are learned. We are never presented with the lessons until we are ready to learn them.

In my mind are thoughts that can help me or hurt me. I am constantly choosing the contents of my mind, since no-one else can make this choice for me. I can choose to let go of everything but my loving thoughts.)

Posted by rachie at 11:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

mars 27, 2003

at that particular time

my foundation was rocked my tried and true way to deal was to vanish
my departures were old I stood in the room shaking in my boots
at that particular time love had challenged me to stay
at that particular moment I knew not run away again
that particular month I was ready to investigate with you
at that particular time

we thought a break would be good for four months we sat and vacillated
we thought a small time apart would clear up the doubts that were abounding
at that particular time love encouraged me to wait
at that particular moment it helped me to be patient
that particular month we needed time to marinate in what "us" meant

I've always wanted for you what you've wanted for yourself
and yet I wanted to save us high water or hell
and I kept on ignoring the ambivalence you felt
and in the meantime I lost myself
in the meantime I lost myself
I'm sorry I lost myself. i am

you knew you needed more time time spent alone with no distraction
you felt you needed to fly solo and high to define what you wanted
at that particular love encouraged me to leave
at that particular moment I knew staying with you meant deserting me
that particular month was harder than you'd believe but I still left
at that particular time

at that particular time - alanis morissette

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mars 25, 2003

tough day

there are some days, days when there seems no reason, when I can't locate a trigger for the emotions, but there are days where out of the blue, it all hurts like hell again.

today is one of those days.

maybe it's a reaction to the thought of moving on, my subconscious trying to keep me in the past. maybe it's the news that I have to once again work out what to do with my beloved cat and the thought that I may be separated from her on a permanent basis. maybe it was the unexpected email from the girl last week. maybe it's one of my best friends back home getting married in April when I can't be there. maybe it's missing everyone at home and in the us and the uncertainty of my future.

or maybe it's just being a human being and dealing with grief and taking two steps forward and one step back.

life got tough again this week and I was doing okay. hopefully I'll be doing okay again tomorrow.

Posted by rachie at 10:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

lesson #9

lesson #9 - The past is over, it can touch me not. (If I keep reliving tje past in the future, I am a slave to time. Forgive and let go of the past and become free of painful burdens carried into the present)

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mars 24, 2003

possibilities

I had lunch with c from work today. she asked me if there has been anybody since the girl. I smiled ruefully and shook my head. how do you explain that when somebody touches your soul that deeply it takes a long time to begin to move past it?

and yet, lately, I've been thinking about it. about the propect of dating again. I miss that human contact, that intimacy. I miss kissing and holding hands and touching. I miss lying in bed and laughing and talking. I miss being desired. I miss sex.

for the longest time, I have only wanted to do all these things with the girl. it's been a long process to move beyond that need and pain. but I feel like I'm starting to. like one day soon, I'll be ready to start again. it might be casual, it might be rebound, I'm more than aware of that. but as long as I'm honest about it, I think it'll be fine. it'll be a lot longer before I can give my heart again and I doubt I will ever give it so completely. but I feel like I've taken another step on my journey and it's a good feeling...

Posted by rachie at 10:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

#8

Lesson #8 - This instant is the only time there is. (The world is not fragmented, we are joined to everything in the world as part of a whole. Past guilt and fears aree continually recycled. Holding onto the past does not bring us what we want. By not recycling it, we remove the blocks to a peaceful present - future becomes part of a peaceful present which never ceases.)

Posted by rachie at 09:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

mars 23, 2003

finally!

on friday afternoon I mailed out my application to the university. now all I have to do is wait with bated breath.

oh, and move and be really poor and things like that....

Posted by rachie at 10:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

#6 & #7

Lesson #6 - I am not a victim of the world I see. (I choose to see the world through the window of love and not fear. I project my thoughts and attitudes on the world - see the world differently by changing my mind about what I want to see).

Lesson #7 - Today I will judge nothing that occurs. (Get rid of the evaluator - a fault finder is truly dependant on our past experiences. Love finders find it easier to find strengths in others and overlook their weaknesses. Choose to totally love and accept others as they are. Apply this to everyone, including ourselves. See everyone we meet as either extending love or being fearful and sending out a call for help which is a request for love)

Posted by rachie at 10:12 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

gotta have faith

I've had a jam-packed weekend. When I haven't been out, I've been indulging in a buffy/angel-athon. One of the things co-dependants do is forget how to have fun and deny ourselves things that will make us happy and become big boring martyrs. In my great relapse/recycle of 2002/2003, I've been seriously lacking in the fun department. So I've decided to take care of that. Step one, catch up on some televisual enjoyment.

I had gotten quite seriously behind in the watching of this season's shows of both buffy the vampire slayer and angel and this past week and weekend became catching up time. I'm not quite there yet, but I'm thisclose and I've been loving it.

Buffy has been great, but I still miss tara so that's taken the gloss off it for me. There have been some great moments in this season too, and I can't wait to see what the big finale holds in store. But while Buffy has been great, Angel has outdone itself. Let's just say, I wouldn't usually be able to watch eight episodes of one show in three days. But this weekend I did.

Of course the whole cordy/connor/angel thing was all with the ookiness and could have been responsible for serious retinal burn, but the whole big "holy shit" reveal regarding cordelia negated the majority of the ooky and thus saved that for me. Doesn't change the fact that charisma doesn't have an ounce of chemistry with anybody, but that's neither here nor there.

But I'm loving the return of angelus and of course… saving the best for last… faith. So. So. Many kinds. Of. hot. I'm in lust all over again. Can't wait to see her back in sunnydale. and y'know, her own show wouldn't go amiss either.

Mmm… faith.

Can't wait to see how this turns out….

Let's just say, I have faith it'll be better than the x-files. Not that that would be hard.

Posted by rachie at 10:03 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

mars 20, 2003

being free

I mentioned that I'd been thinking a lot lately. Thinking about fear and it's place in my life. About the control I've let it have over me, both directly and indirectly. About the fear that controls people I know and love…

Fear can be insidious. Oftentimes, I've acted or reacted through fear and not even known I was afraid. It's only now, as I look back on my life to date, that I see the pattern of fear and failure. Not failure because I was bad at things or made mistakes, but failure because so often, I was afraid to try in the first place.

Eighteen months ago, I faced the biggest fear in my life. I admitted that I was gay. Up until that point, I had suffered so much fear of what being gay would mean, of how it would make me a misfit and unacceptable to those I loved, that I really didn't even want to consider it. When I look back, I even feared looking androgynous or <gasp> butch in case anyone got the wrong idea. I didn't want short hair, wanted to be as feminine as possible to dispel any doubts anyone else had. Any doubts I had.

Sure, deep down I had an inkling and I even came to the point where I thought it was a distant possibility, but I doubt I would have pursued the thought, faced it and come to terms with it if I hadn't gone through the learning curve I did. A learning curve where I learnt that I didn't have to be responsible for everyone else's feelings. Where I learnt it was okay to make mistakes and to feel emotions, positive and negative. Where I started learning to, as Dr. Phil puts it, get honest.

And then there was the girl. She loved me and it gave me that final push, gave me the courage to look in the mirror and say, "I might be gay, but that's okay, because I'm still me and I'm still lovable." I was still suffering from major self-esteem issues, but I had at least conquered enough of the fear to explore my true feelings.

The funny thing is though, while I've been pretty good at lying to myself at certain points of my life, I'm not so good at lying to other people. I'm not so good at keeping parts of myself hidden, and pretending to be something I'm not. And once I was honest with myself about being gay, it never even occurred to me not to tell all those people who mattered to me.

Maybe it's that I had enough confidence in myself and enough trust in them to know that eventually it would be all right. Or maybe it's just that losing the fear allowed me a new freedom to be myself.

As the song goes, freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose….

I think it had a lot to do with accepting myself. With knowing that I was okay with being gay. Once I'd admitted it, things fell into place for me in a major way. I became comfortable with it a lot more quickly than I ever would have imagined I could have in all my discomfort and fear.

I came out to my friends within weeks of getting together with the girl and to my parents not long after that. I wasn't at all sure of the parental reaction, part of me had felt my parents love was conditional and that deep down they disapproved of many of the choices I made. I didn't wholly trust them to accept this news and still embrace me as their daughter without trying to bully me back into being heterosexual.

And initially, it was pretty dire, from my mother at least. There was a period of twelve hours where I thought she might disown me but I came swiftly to the conclusion that if she did, that was her choice, she wasn't going to force me to choose between her and the girl. I wasn't going to be put in that position. And if she didn't love me for who I was, then I could do without that kind of love anyway.

It turned out that within twenty-four hours she was apologizing and although she still doesn't like it, and we've had some pretty bitter arguments about it, she still loves me and accepts me for all of who I am. Her love is unconditional and to have that proved to me has been such a great gift.

Of course, this is a far cry from the way some people choose to handle the knowledge their sexuality. In talking to E, who is also out to her parents, we discussed her partner and the girl who both choose not to be openly out to their families. I asked E if she found it difficult, whether she felt it as an invalidation of their relationship not to be acknowledged as L's girlfriend. The answer was in the affirmative.

I have a book on lesbian relationships that states that it's difficult, if not downright impossible to be in a relationship where one partner is out and one is not. The completely different way of handling such a hugely important matter must point to differences in the partners and where they are in their lives, as well as making the dynamics of partnerships and legitimacy and validation very difficult.

I'm inclined to agree with that. While I understood the girl's reason for not wanting to tell her family, it left me in a very difficult position. A position where I effectively had to lie to everyone about who I was, something that ultimately found me backsliding to a place where I lost my connection to myself and started to lose touch with who I am.

Now I'm not lying. I'm more than okay with being gay, I'm embracing it and exploring it. I'm fascinated with what it means to be gay in a social and cultural sense. I've hopped from one side of the fence to the other in an outpouring of honestly and it's completely changing my perceptions of the world and of the society I live in.

But while I am in this frenzy of self-discovery and discovery of the world around me, I find myself confused by people who will admit they are gay to some of the world and then hide it from the rest. As I told E, I can't imagine making this hugely important discovery about myself and not wanting to explore and investigate it as much as I can.

And I'm not good at pretending to be something I'm not. When I'm being honest with myself, I have to be honest with the world. Or I get confused about who I am. Am I the feelings inside, or am I the face I present to the rest of the world. That dichotomy, the distance between those two things can fuck with my head to such an extent that I don't know what's up or down. I've been there and I intend to not go back again.

So I don't really understand people who can and do do this on a daily basis. Who behind closed doors can make love to someone and claim to love them and then open the doors and pretend those moments don't exist. I don't understand how people can maintain the deception that's involved. And I don't just mean on a sexuality level, but on so many other levels as well. People lie all the time, they lie to themselves, to their partners, to their children, to the world at large. People lie because they are afraid and they lose themselves in the fear.

please understand, I'm not trying to judge. i just don't get how people are able to do it and stay true to themselves. and stay sane. it's so alien to my experience and my way of thinking that I find it really confusing.

Really when it comes down to it, people live in fear of loss. Loss of love, loss of approval, loss of money, loss of social standing. But all these things are external and extraneous. Shouldn't we be more concerned with loss of self , loss of peace and loss of self-respect?

Because, really, if someone is afraid of telling their loved ones that they're gay - afraid of coming out, do they really have a lot to lose? If their loved ones disown them, if their love is that conditional, is it really worth trying to hold onto that love? If a person is trying to be something that they are not, in order to please someone that doesn't even love them the way they deserve to be loved, is that really worth doing?

To have to lie about who you are to make another person happy would have to be one of the most fundamentally co-dependent things you could do, surely. And yet, how many tens of thousands of people do just that, simply out of fear? Fear that they will lose love. Fear that they're not really good enough. That while being gay is who they are, being gay is bad, because conservative society and fundamentalists deem it so, and so ergo, they are bad. And who will love you if you are bad?

Oppression and fear wreak so much damage and we continue to let it. Until we stand up and be counted for who we are, we allow the lies and the fear to continue.

And, if as I did, you risk losing that love? all I know is my experience. I found that love was actually not conditional. The way I see it, either way, I would have gained something. The knowledge that those that love me, really love me, not for who they want me to be, but for who I actually am. Or, alternatively, had that not proved to be true, I would have shed those people from my life and found a freedom to be myself that I never had before. And it happens in becoming myself, in letting go of the fear that people wouldn't like the real me, I found people love me for who I am, without condition, and I'm slowly forming a family of my choosing.

I'm not saying in any way, that any of this is easy. Being honest and letting go of the fear are the hardest things I have ever done. Telling my mother I was gay was excruciatingly hard. But I did it and it's over and my life is better for it. It gave me courage that I didn't know I possessed and knowledge that I benefited from.

Most of all, it gave me freedom. Freedom to be honest and freedom to shed fear.

And yes, I slid back into the old co-dependant ways and lost touch with myself when I was with the girl, but that was a reaction and it was a valuable lesson I needed to learn. That I can't lie about myself, about who I am. I can't lie to myself and I can't lie to anyone else either. I'm 100% me, the good and the bad and you take the whole package or nothing at all. I can't slice off the parts that you want and bundle them up into a palatable parcel for you. You get all of me, or you don't get any of me, that's the deal, so take it or leave it.

I'm not sure that I've ever felt as free as I do right now. I have nothing material, I owe far too much money, but I'm me and I have people that love me and accept me for being me. And most of all, I'm loving me and accepting me too.


After all, freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose….

Posted by rachie at 10:10 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

quickly

a couple of quick things

today's thought - 5 - I can escape from the world I see by giving up attack thoughts. (by attacking others, we attach ourselves. choose peace instead.)

how eerily appropriate is that one, today, of all days??

by the way, I plan to make an actual post tonight. I did some actual writing the other night, the first time in months aside from the blogs that I had done that and it felt fantastic!

my application is also back from the boss and she's given me a great reference, so... go me! it gets mailed tomorrow. [deep breath]

also, it's probably become obvious i've been thinking a lot about fear lately. fear and freedom. it's something I intend to explore more fully here when I have some spare time and have had some more sleep. the maternal unit and I hopefully have found a place to live for the next six months, so that's finally taken care of, which will hopefully give me a little more time (although also a lot less money...)

Posted by rachie at 03:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

mars 18, 2003

done

I have very wise friends. friends that I am blessed to have.

a good friend told me yesterday to stop messing around and get my university application finished and sent in. because I'm procrastinating out of fear. and, you know, she's completely right.

If I don't send it in, they can't turn me down, right? While it's sitting on my floor in my bedroom, no-one's telling me I am not good enough to finish my degree. no-one's telling me it's going to cost me the prohibitive £2000 to do a year of courses. my dreams remain intact.

but they're just that, dreams. and the lack of substance to them, and my inability to reach definitively for them is frustrating the hell out of me. so, enough! I'm never going to achieve my dreams if I put off taking the risks. and the reality is, I am good enough to finish my degree and do damn well at it, too. this is the first step towards my future and it's not that hard. I'm only making it hard.

[i choose to look at things differently]

so last night, I finished filling in my form. now I just have to transfer it over to the nice new copy and then have the boss here write me a reference.

it'll be in the mail in the next few days.

Posted by rachie at 12:49 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

#4

lesson #4 - I am determined to see things differently - I choose to let go of the past - my responses are determined only by the decisions I make. I choose love instead of fear

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mars 16, 2003

vagueness

I have so much to say, but no time and energy to think it out and say it properly. I don't want to go off half-assed and not think things through properly. If I have something to say, then it deserves the time to say it thoughtfully and properly. If I'm going to use words to express my thoughts, I want them to count. I want to be understood.

Or at least coherant.

I've had a wonderfully restful weekend, but still feel like I haven't acheived anything of merit. maybe if we actually find somewhere to live and get moved, all this stress will dissapate. and then again, maybe I'll just find something else to occupy the void.

I still need to finish my university application. why do I procrastinate so? why can't I get more organized?

I frsutrate myself beyond belief sometimes, and yet... in the end, the little things are just that. little.

I'll be more interesting tomorrow, I promise. or at least, I hope I will.

Posted by rachie at 11:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

lesson #3

lesson #3 - I am never upset for the reason I think. (I am experiencing fear - I choose to replace that with love by extending love to others).

Posted by rachie at 11:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

mars 15, 2003

lesson # 2

lesson # 2 - forgiveness is the key to happiness - all actions come from love, fear, or a call for help through love.

I guess the point is that it should become easy to forgive someone if you realize their actions ultimately come from their consuming fear. I'm still working on this, but really, if I'm allowed to make mistakes through fear, and god knows, I have over and over, then I can't hold someone else's mistakes through fear against them. no matter how much I hurt.

let's just say, I'm working on it. no-one ever said this was going to be easy.

Posted by rachie at 11:39 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

intoxicating

I finished a book this morning. my first foray into lesbian literature, I suppose you could say. choices by nancy toder which I borrowed from E and plowed my way through in less than a week, despite all the other things going on in my life right now.

And it was an eye-opener. not in that it imparted any knowledge that I didn't already possess, but more in that it didn't. more in that, I related so incredibly closely to the story, to the character and the emotions that unfolded through the pages. it's a coming of age story, a story of discovery, of sexuality, of honesty and fear and denial. it's a story of love and love lost and of pain and confusion. it was my story. it was the girl's story. maybe it's the story of every lesbian, every person who has ever battled with the fear of feeling different.

It reminded me of the pain, it comforted me with the fact that the feelings I've been having are normal. the confusion, the frustration, the anger, the fear that the person I love above all else doesn't love me as much as I thought she did. the fear that the person I love, that I want the best for in life is choosing mediocrity. that she will forsake all the passion and glory that life has to offer for comfort and safety.

this book asked so many questions that I have asked. questions that I haven't even put into words yet. I still know that there are no answers to those questions. none that will be given to me, anyway. and I know that there are likely no happy endings. not for me and her.

but there will be for me. I have turned a corner somewhere along the way. I feel a serenity and at the same time, an excitement that hums along my nerves and propels me forward. I like who I am right now. I love this journal and I love that I can be honest in it and not fear my friends reactions. I trust in them and I am beginning to trust in myself at long last.

being comfortable with being gay is opening so many doors to being comfortable with the rest of myself that I'm becoming excited at discovering each new thing (about me) and embracing it.

I'm letting go and finding freedom. and it's intoxicating...

Posted by rachie at 11:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

mars 14, 2003

better

I'm feeling much better. The cold is still threatening, but I feel more balanced out again and able to think clearly. I've gotten a few things accomplished today which is also good.

The cough medicine I took that had pseudoephidrine in it threw things out of whack quite some way, I was feeling depressed and foggy again for the past few days and the anxiety had started to resurface. Today, thankfully, I feel almost normal and functional again.

I had a job interview yesterday, at a car yard. It reminded me how much I never want to work at a car yard again. Sounded like a busy and varied job, but not one I wanted to do. I'm too wrapped up in my own issues and working out the university thing and aiming for that to be worried about vehicle targets and dealing with salesmen. and car salesmen are car salesmen, however you cut it. just not an industry I want to be in in any way, shape or form.

however, there is an admin job here at the college going which I plan to apply for. staying in academia while I find out if I can get into my courses at Leeds definately appeals.

on the emotional side, I'm managing. there are still moments when the emotions hit me with merciless force. there are moments I can't breath for missing the girl. missing her friendship and the way we used to laugh. I find myself thinking, when something interesting/funny/sad happens, must tell the girl that. and then I remember...

I'm not at all sure she'd be interested anyway. her attention lies elsewhere, on a path divergent from mine. I think that's what hurts most of all. even if I had the emotional fortitude to work on getting our friendship back on track, which I know I don't, yet; I'm not sure it's possible anyway. we've both changed, our wants and needs have changed and she's a different person to the girl I fell so desperately in love with. doesn't mean I don't still love her, because I do, but I'm not sure she's someone I can be friends with right now. Which is really hard for me to accept, because I just miss her so damn much.

there are other thoughts and feelings floating around in my head (when aren't there?) but I'm going to save them for later.

because it's almost the end of friday!

Posted by rachie at 04:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

mars 11, 2003

tired

I'm so tired. It's not helping that I'm feeling like my insides are being slowly eviscerated by freddy kreuger.

there is an up side to the pain though - at least it's keeping me from falling asleep at my desk.

but it's all adding up to making me feel decidedly negative about the world in general right now. I'll report back when I'm feeling a little more together.

Posted by rachie at 03:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

mars 10, 2003

choices

forgive me if this post wanders somewhat, I'm still feeling a little fragile (not least because of nasty stomach cramps) and not particularly logical, so my thoughts are wandering today.

okay, so I'm back to the question of how I let go of fear and retrain my mind to perceive things differently. I seem to be bombarded with information at the moment to try and answer this. E gave me two books at the weekend on depression - it seems like every time i finish one book, two more land in my lap. but maybe that's the way it's supposed to be. hopefully the more I read about all this, the more it will sink in and make sense and finally click.

but to start, here's some questions from jampolsky to help focus on individual perceptions of the world that surrounds us:

  • do I choose to experience peace of mind, or do I choose to experience conflict?
  • do I choose to experience love or fear?
  • do I choose to be a love finder or a fault finder?
  • do I choose to be a love giver or a love seeker?
  • is this communication (verbal or non-verbal) loving to the other person and is it loving to myself?

that can be kinda scary when you look at that list with honesty. everything we do is a choice, even when we don't realize it. I've made choices out of fear, choices that are not good for us. I've chosen pain because somewhere inside, I thought I deserved it.

It's six months next week since I told the girl I needed to back off. it was her fear that started the rot, but mine ended it. I felt so out of control, so lost and frightened, I completely freaked out over the fact that she wasn't sure she wanted me. so I ended it before she could tell me definitively that she didn't want me. somewhere, somehow I thought that would lessen the pain, taking control and getting out. i don't think it did. I was confused and depressed and desperate and I made choices. I won't say they were bad choices, I made the only choice I was able to make in the situation. I rather thing that despite the fact I made those choices for the wrong reasons, they were the right choices to make after all. I don't know that the girl would have made them for herself.

there's another thing jampolsky also lists - words we should eliminate from our vocabulary - impossible, can't, try, limitation, if only, but, however, difficult, ought to, should, doubt, words that place in a category, words that measure or evaluate, words that judge or condemn.

I really like this. these are the words we use to demonstrate our fear. words that become excuses not to stretch and grow and step outside of the box. these are the words that limit our abilities and our worlds. because really, when it comes down to it, these words are essentially meaningless because most of these words can be translated into could but won't. So, if figure that's an important step for me. stop using those words as excuses not to do things and just go ahead and do them.

finally (for now), in love is letting go of fear, there are 12 lessons that are basically rules to learn to live by. the idea is to pratice one each day until they become second nature. I'm going to try and post all 12 in the next 12 days so that I'll have it in my head what the next day's lesson is and I'll try and put it into practice. I'll let you know how successful it is.

so this is for tomorrow -

lesson #1 - all that I give is given to myself (to give is to recieve - do unto others as you would have them do unto you, without expectation!)

Posted by rachie at 02:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

mars 09, 2003

reminiscing

Something very cool happened this morning. When I was in the States, one day when idly trawling the internet, I stumbled across the webpage of a lecturere I was friends with when I was at uni several years ago. I was taking her course at the time and we became good friends but then lost touch when she went back to Australia.

when i found her email, I thought about emailing her, but my self-confidence was so rock bottom that I didn't have the courage. I thought she might not remember me or might not want to talk to me as that was a fairly weird time for her.

So I was already feeling pretty crappy about myself and the last thing I needed was to be ignored by someone who at one time had meant a lot to me. So I sat on the web page and email address and told myself I would email her "one day".

That one day was last week. In looking at doing the Cultural Studies degree, it took me back to the course we did and I took a deep breath and sent the email. this morning, I got a reply. and of course she remembers me. more than that, she was so positive about hearing from me and that she has thought of me often and wants to keep in touch. which, aside from the friendship is great in a professional sense too, because she's in the field of cultural studies and is a senior lecturer and a great referee to have.

it is a great feeling. I don't need the validation right now, but it's nice all the same.

Posted by rachie at 10:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

last night

I went out last night and met lots of new people. and got really drunk. I need to stop doing that. the getting drunk bit, I mean. it was one of those situations where people kept filling my glass so I really have no clue how much I drank. and frankly, with the meds, wasn't the best idea in the world. sometimes I can be so dense!

anyway, so, it could have been a better night. E and her partner split up the night before. which made for not such a great night for her. And rowdy pubs mixed with alcohol are never hugely conducive to meeting people and getting to know them. by the time we got to the dance (thrown by the lesbian bookshop here) I was fairly well away so wasn't particularly on the ball. I had a boogie though and had fun.

this morning wasn't so much fun though. But at least I didn't spend half the night sobbing. this, friends, is a great improvement!

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mars 07, 2003

wrong

I swear, this is either an epidemic, or is just me. I'm cursed or something. Of the two girls I work closely with at one job, one has just separated from her partner in the past week and the other is having major issues with hers. And now a friend at the other job is also having relationship problems.

maybe it's just that I'm oversensitive lately because I know how painful it is, but there seems to be something wrong with that picture because they are all fabulous women. and you know, if I can't be all in love and happy, then at least <i>someone</i> should be...

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mars 06, 2003

fear

Until I started therapy, I was never one to think much about my emotions. I had them, they were intense and often uncontrollable. I reacted intensely too, I still can at times. Often, in fact, most of the time, I wasn’t aware that I was reacting, let alone aware why. And I certainly didn’t understand other people’s reactions much of the time. I tended to take everything incredibly personally, I’d be wounded by cruel words or by silence and I’d feel as though I cause other people’s actions. It took a while to sink in that I couldn’t control other people’s reactions and therefore I wasn’t responsible for them. I was only responsible for my own reactions, which I had previously thought uncontrollable. What a weird mixed-up world I lived in!

Before Christmas, I borrowed a book called love is letting go of fear by Gerald G. Jampolsky. Jampolsky posits that there are only two base emotions, love and fear. All positive emotion comes from love and all negative emotion comes from fear. He says that we view the world through our perceptions laced with fear and this fear distorts those perceptions. Often we feel we are the cause and the world is the effect.

The upshot of this is that he believes that attack and defence (read anger) ultimately come from fear. Also, that attempts at correction are often attacks, as is criticism if it is not sought.

I have to say, I find this theory fascinating, and I have started to apply it to my own life. For instance, when the girl, (after we split), told me she was doing fine without me and learning that she didn’t need me, I had a violent emotional response. Unreasonable, irrational anger threatened to swallow me whole. After all, how dare she abandon me, refuse to communicate with me, survive without me? Especially when I was falling apart day by day.

But remembering this idea, I looked into myself, past the anger and tried to identify the fear. And when I did, what I found shocked me. Part of me needed her to be dependent on me. I needed to be needed, and she had always needed me. Being needed is how I knew I existed at one time, I define myself by my relationships to other people and being needed was definitive proof of my existence. If I wasn’t needed, maybe I would somehow fade into obscurity. Which of course, is nuts when you say it out loud, but there was my core belief. Existence for me was being needed, being depended on and in part, I engendered that dependence, even while saying the opposite.

The irony is that now that dependence has been removed, I feel a freedom I have never felt before. I realise that in not being needed, I no longer need anybody to need me and I am no longer dependant myself. Which, I guess, is the ultimate recovery from co-dependence.

So, if my anger comes from fear (which I think ultimately, it does since I have intense fight or flight responses) then it stands to reason, other people’s anger and attacks stem from fear too. In dealing with confrontational situations, I’m trying to remember this now. It can make anger and criticism a lot easier to deal with when you realise it comes from someone else’s insecurities. Of course, if I have a reaction to the criticism or anger, then my fear is involved too, somewhere, somehow.

But getting back to the book, Jampolsky advises us to learn to live in the moment, unfettered by fear of the past or the future. He suggests that we learn to put the cart before the course, that is, make a commitment to a specific goal, even when the means of achieving it aren’t there. In other words, have faith in the world and in yourself! And most importantly, he says, practice forgiveness, it is the key to love and inner peace.

Which of course, is all very well, but how do you learn to let go of the fear, how to you retrain your mind and emotions to be able to put these theories into practice?

I’m gonna cover my thoughts on that in my next post since this one is already significantly overlong…

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onward

this is the programme I am looking at doing to finish my BA. it's the creative writing degree with the applied cultural studies option. the only problem is there are way too many credits I want to take, I'm going to have trouble narrowing down my options.

I am *so* excited about this, I could squeal! I have contacted the admissions people and had a reply from the cultural studies department. although my application will be late, they say they are currently considering all the applications and it shouldn't be a problem. so that's #1 task for this weekend.

wish me luck!

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mars 04, 2003

holding

today, walking down gillygate, I saw two girls holding hands. you wouldn't have known they were lesbians, except for that one thing.

I felt joyous for a moment, knowing that I am in such a place where people can proclaim their love so openly without fear of retribution. where gay people are not fenced into being abnormal and are not forced to hide who they are and who they love from the world. as though loving someone was something dirty.

and then I felt sad that the girl and I never really shared that. that she let fear and her need for control over life, events and me constrain her to the point where I suffocated. and I felt sad that she will probably never know that honesty and that joy in being completely herself without fear.

but again, I remind myself, these are her choices and not mine to judge. they affected me and I took control and removed myself from the situation. I'm free to be myself now in a way I never have been before. I no longer have to reply on <i>anyone</i>.

and one day, I will find a new girl and walk down the street holding her hand.

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text

I've been reading a lot lately. When I was younger, I didn't put much store in self-help books. Of course, I'd never actually picked up one, but I'd picked up my parents attitudes to the self-help industry and like a good little parrot, I mimicked them. After all, I didn't need all that airy-fairy stuff, I was doing just fine, thank you very much.

I was doing so fine I ended up practically crippled with endometriosis and depression and in therapy. There I started to learn just how dysfunctional I, my thoughts, my family and my friendships were.

I started to learn I was making myself sick with my need to be strong and the self-flagellation that lay beneath that veneer of strength. I learnt that the constant fear I lived in was a reaction I didn't have to have. I learned that while taking responsibility for everything and everyone around me, I wasn't taking responsibility for myself and my own actions and reactions.

It's been a long road and I'm still travelling it. And part of that journey is that my therapist introduced me to the concept that self-help books can be incredibly useful if you can be honest enough to recognize yourself and motivated enough to put the advice into action.

I started off with Melody Beattie's Co-dependant No More. Melody laid out my life in 250 pages, my pain and my fear, my inability to make decisions, my reliance on other people's opinions, my need for control and total lack of control, my need to make peace and take responsibility for other people's actions and she let me know I wasn't crazy and life didn't have to be that way.

It took a long time to sink in and even longer to change those ingrained behaviours. I still slip back into them from time to time, I have recently - I did with the girl and I do with my mother. Now though, I am recognizing it and choosing not to play the games. I'm choosing to be responsible only for myself and to let everything else go.

Since I got to the UK, I've been reading a number of self-help books and they're helping. They help me to view things from a different perspective, to step to a different side of the problems I have and choose to view them from a slightly different angle. They give me mental and emotional tools to deal with my past and options on how to deal with the present and the future.

I plan to detail things I've read in these books here. I want to put them into some kind of coherent structure so that I can go back and remember/revise when I need to. I want somewhere where I can extrapolate things I am gaining from these books and where I can make sense of my feelings around the ideas that I encounter. This seems as good a place as any. It is rather becoming a diary accompanying my emotional journey anyway, I'd like to make it as rounded as possible.

Who knows where this journey is going to end up, but sometimes I think the getting there is the most interesting bit.

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mars 03, 2003

busy

it has been. busy. i went away for the weekend - that'll go up over on the other blog in the next few days. I have so many thoughts and so much to say lately but no time to say it. I plan to invest in a dictaphone so I can record thoughts as they come to me in the car and such-like places....

things are sorted out with the therapist. I feel much more comfortable with where I am now emotionally and I can communicate my feelings, fears and thoughts a lot better. she understands where I'm coming from and I'm feeling validated. that's important.

I've also been doing a lot of work on myself, my self-confidence and my issues with everything that has gone on in the past eighteen months. someone told me today that we expect ourselves to go through great upheavals and come out the other side unaffected. moving to another country and finding a new job she said, it's bound to take it's toll. try doing it twice in six months after losing your stability, family home, yoru best friend and the love of your life. you might find you almost lose your sanity too.

my therapist told me tonight I should be proud of myself. I am. damn proud. what I have acheived and even how far I have come in the past few weeks is nothing short of amazing. and I know this is the springboard to bigger and better things. I intend to make sure it is. I refuse to go through all this heartbreak and pain and have it result in nothing.

I'm growing and I'm changing and I'm on the way to my future. And instead of feeling scary, it's starting to feel exciting.

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