I’ve been moving through a bout of pretty intense anxiety these last three days, but instead of trying to actively combat it or control it, I’ve been allowing myself to sit in it with the intention of trying to identify where it’s stemming from.
While lying still and turning inward I realized that a big part of why I’m experiencing anxiety right now is because I am actively digging into and working through a bunch of shit.
There’s really no other way to put it. I’ve chosen to dive head first into a gigantic pile of shit and now I’m covered in it.
I also realized very clearly for the first time that a lot of the frustrations I’ve experienced thus far in life and my relationships have been brought on, in large part, to a fear that I wasn’t even aware I subscribed to.
It’s a fear that I have never noticed before because it came about when I was very young and as I grew up it just became a part of who I was. It’s a fear of letting people see the emotional and tender parts inside me. The parts where my most vulnerable and “real” self exist.
Being teased and feeling alone and judged as a young person created a shell around the core of who I really am. It was a shell that I needed to survive when I was younger, but now that I’m an adult, this self-made shield is keeping me from forming close, intimate relationships with most of the people I would desire to do that with.
Save for a couple of girlfriends and my immediate family, I don’t ever really drop in to a state of being truly in the moment with the people I’m with. Despite best intentions, there always feels to be a mask that distorts or changes the words I say and emotions I express to people who I would like to be close to.
But this is the very reason that I am experiencing pain and anxiety in close relationships. The shield that once served to protect me – the shield that has remained in my unconscious until now — has been needing to be retired for sometime now.
I know, without doubt, that I am an amazing woman blessed with compassion, passion, intelligence, beauty, wit, health, charm and a hundred other positive traits – and so it’s time to let down any shield that might protect those things from being exposed to other people.
The reason this is so important for me is because of the other thing I realized in meditation this morning: I naturally tend to lead with my sexuality.
Now, I don’t believe that this is, in and of itself, a problem or a result of any defect on my part. I love my sexual nature and curiosity and the way I’m able to experience energy with other human beings. But with this self-realization, I also see that without balance between the area I’m currently weak in and the area I feel a strength in, there will end up being a gap — a deficit.
And this is where a large part of my anxiety and frustration is coming from these past few days and at times in my past relationships.
I fall into my sexuality easily with people I’m drawn to because it’s a place I’ve always felt naturally comfortable, but without being able to express the other dimensions of myself in the same comfortable way, I end up contributing to a kind of self-censorship. When this happens, I build up a secret reserve of frustrations, unmet needs, unexpressed ideas and trapped emotions.
In my last relationship, I would often have to write letters to my boyfriend when we needed to discuss emotional topics. A year into our relationship I discovered that when we would try to sit face to face and talk through how we were feeling about something, I would often lose my ability to focus and end up struggling for words. I would stop and edit and filter the things I might be about to say and it would frustrate him beyond belief. He’d tell me to just spit it out and just say what I was feeling, but I often couldn’t.
I was so not tapped into my intuition and gut – and so used to editing my core personality to fit into what I thought sounded “normal” and “not overly affected” – that I was literally unable to speak freely.
This pattern of behavior was, no doubt, learned while trying to figure out how to make the kids at school like me; to figure out how to fit in and not let their hateful comments and cutting humiliations affect the face I showed to the world. I couldn’t let them or anyone around me see that what they said was affecting me, so I learned how to put on a poker face. I learned how to appear stoic in the face of intense emotions.
I’m sure there are many people who would say that leading with my sexuality is a mistake or a bad habit or a result of some trauma, but I disagree. Completely. I love that part of me. I just realize that I need to also learn how to co-lead with the other equally amazing parts of myself.
And I feel truly lucky because I don’t have the problem of not believing that I am all of those other wonderful things. I just simply wasn’t aware of how much I was shielding them from view.
So now it’s going to be like other things in my life that I’ve wanted to learn. I have to begin stretching muscles I didn’t know I had, doing the work even when I don’t want to, and committing to a change for myself.
† It means staying present in my body and acknowledging all of the emotions that come up, even when they are uncomfortable to express to myself or another person.
† It means trusting that the words my brain forms in the moments where I find myself needing to express myself are the right words and the words that best articulate what I need.
† It means being impeccable with my word and using the most accurate words to express what I need or answer other people’s questions.
† It means building a self-discipline of remaining mindful and present so that I am best able to respect and honor my own needs and desires.
That was a mouthful.
Time to down dog 🙂