in therapy, my therapist often points out how i put a lot of things on myself. i worry about how my words will make someone else feel as opposed to worrying about how i will feel if i don't express myself. there are reasons for this...for one, the times i've tried to express myself to certain people i don't get the reaction i am hoping for. sometimes people claim i make no sense, that i am wrong, that what i feel is ridiculous, that what i feel doesn't matter. sometimes they have gotten mad and i, honestly, don't like how it feels when i make someone else mad at me. so i backpedal and dodge and end up nodding and smiling or not saying anything at all.
this has manifested itself in a number of ways throughout the years. i think i have a much better sense of what partners didn't like about me in our relationships as opposed to them having a sense of what frustrated me in our relationship because they often expressed it and i just took on their words without sharing my side fully. there are friendships where damage has been done, but my friend doesn't know because i'm too afraid to let them know how i've felt and so i've never been as open or honest with them. there are even things with family that i have never really ever spoken to them about and probably add a lot of complication that they aren't even aware of.
this isn't abnormal. we all do this on some level. my therapist just points out how i do it not only on these big levels, but also small levels.
you let things happen to you, you let people push you, you let your own feelings stay stifled in, she has said. she even pointed out that as i was talking about things like this my hands kept patting my chest. even your physicality suggests you taking on these emotions, feelings, burdens instead of sharing the weight with someone else. you kind of let things just happen to you instead of having some autonomy in the action.
we talked about that yesterday morning.
in playwriting class yesterday night, the prof gave me a note that she was wary to give at first. i could see her wrestling with how to put it and whether she should say it. but she did. and what she said was something akin to this:
this female character you've created really starts off as a badass and then as the pages go on, she becomes more reactive. now you have another female character who seems to definitely be more active...so this may be a little preemptive...but...i've noticed that sometimes some of your female characters are more reactive and confused and end up suffering as opposed to being active and creating their realities.
the note was fair and right. while it was sort of sad to hear--especially being someone who champions diverse, interesting and dynamic characters--it completely made sense and the play i am writing now will be stronger because of it. writing a character like she described will now be a conscious choice as opposed to an unconscious given. cool.
but what hit me like a ton of bricks is that what she was saying and what my therapist were saying were pretty much the same thing.
the note about my work is also the note about me.
this isn't surprising in the least. anyone who reads a play of mine knows that it comes from a deeply personal place often. those female characters have that affliction because, well, i have that affliction. they feel confused because i have felt confused. they feel powerless because i have felt powerless.
[this is also a PSA for actually being creative and not just writing different versions of yourself. ha. but...whatever...i have a year and a half left of grad school to get that point fully into my being.]
just make sure that if your character is getting into a mess, that she created that mess, my prof said at the end.
i wrote that down because, yes, i need to make sure that happens in this play but also because i need that to be my personal mantra. my therapist reminded me yesterday that while, yes, it is good to be cognizant of how others feel, how i feel should actually be more important. you shouldn't feel like you have to take on all these things and deal with them on your own, within your own body.
my astrological chart says i can sometimes have the habit of being a martyr.
i have a lot of things i am working on right now in my life. i am trying to become a better person, a better writer. i'm trying to come to terms with life not looking like how i thought it would. i'm trying to find the balance between letting the feelings out and not letting them dominate my day-to-day. i'm trying to get comfortable with letting certain people and things go. i'm trying to close the doors that i need to in order to open the doors that i want to. i'm trying to forgive myself and others. i'm trying get comfortable with my reality.
but mostly i am trying to accept who i am and i am trying to be more me than ever before.
and i don't think that i am the martyr, the reactive one, the one who lets other people's crap clog my heart and thoughts. i don't think that is the real me. i think all of that is a way of hiding who i really am because i've been scared to show her. i've been scared to let her be. i've convinced myself that she is unloveable and mean and complicated.
and that's bullshit.
she is the one driving this ship called charly. she is the foundation. she is the rock.
i want to make my own mess, create my own suffering...which also means i want to make my own happiness and my own reality.
i'm tired of giving that power to other people.