I woke up with this strong sense of "waiting" embedded in my veins. The physiological response is shallow breath, heaviness, stuckness. Wanting to move forward but turning my head towards the left, waiting. Waiting for someone to catch up. Waiting for them to come closer. This turns into frustration and anger for feeling obliged to wait. Not feeling allowed to go forward alone. Learning not to complain and hence feeling guilty for my eagerness, my desires. Knowing perfectly well that there is a place, somewhere else, where I want to be, where I need to be and, instead, I am asked to wait. Wanting to laugh and jump and smile but not being able to do it because the Other is sad and so I am requested to be sad and so I shall be sad, too. The Other is slow, so I shall be slow, too. The Other has other interests, so I shall sit, wait, and lie when telling that's okay. I shall pretend and feign interest in things that could not bore me more. Because the Other...
I was taught from a very early age that I should be quiet because Mother was feeling poorly with a migraine [she wasn't. She was an alcoholic] and that I should keep quiet because Father was tired from work [he wasn't. He was an alcoholic]. I mean to say: they probably were feeling poorly and tired, but the reason was the alcohol. I was taught to listen and do as asked because Mother's and Father's nerves were not at their best. And that I should not laugh, smile, dance, sing, jump, play, be happy, be merry, stand, walk, move, chew, wave my hands, breathe... because they were feeling poorly and tired.
Then, growing older I think I superimposed these feelings of being obliging, with this kind of survivor guilt I carried with me from the 1976 earthquake: I was alive. Others weren't. And how can you be happy when others aren't? How can you enjoy Life when others are so traumatised? How can you be a happy child when everyone around you is crying? I learned that sense of deep intense silent sticky desperation. I could recognise those wide pupils who look into nothingness. I could sense my Mother's shallow breathing from the street, as a siren calling me to crash over and over again.
I have learned to feel sorry, for everything. To feel guilty, for everything, even stuff that wasn't mine. I learned to wait. Of course, I learned it before the earthquake: it was all already there. I learned it when I was born, struggling to breathe, the umbilical cord wrapped around my neck*; I learned it during my very first three days on this earth when I refused food. I learned it in the blame that it was all my fault if Mother was depressed and if she was drinking because if I hadn't been born things would have been different for her. "I should have done with you like you do with kittens: you put them in a jute bag and then you throw them in the river...". This was my usual welcome back home from school and university.
Of course, time has passed and I have learned to understand, forgive and let go of Mother and Father. I see them as hurt children who did not know any better, but I also know that I wanted this waterfall of pain to end with me. I have learned to see some of these events as blessings in disguise, taking them as lessons and challenges; and also simply as "things that happened". Still, I know that I need to understand how to circumnavigate events such as the earthquake where my feeling of having been protected, blessed and kept safe seemed to have happened to the detriment of others who lost their lives.
But I am here because this morning, recognising how stuck I have been, always waiting, and not allowing myself to move on and to be happy "just because" due to Others who were suffering, I needed to openly voice the realisation and deep knowledge that along the way I have been blessed.
I have been blessed.
I have been protected.
I have felt safe & assisted by unseen forces.
I have received help, gifts, and support.
I felt seen.
I felt loved.
And that, most of the time, I am... just... happy.
And I do not want to stop recognising and celebrating my happiness. I want to move forward, I want to look forward and then take a decisive first step. I do not want to feel guilty for being happy. I do not want to pretend I feel guilty when I am happy.
I am not guilty of being alive.
I am not guilty of being happy.
I am not guilty of moving on.
I don't feel guilty of being happy.
Even if my clients are not.
Even if my parents were not.
Even if you are not.
onwards + upwards > out + about
* you might want to have a look at p70 of JS Bolen's Artemis. The Indomitable Spirit in Everywoman and the studies of Marion Woodman
Date : 1 NOV 2023
Duration : ---
Location : home
Weather : no idea
T : warm inside
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