The creator of all this

I have a fifth thought this morning, which seems at least moderately worth pursuing.

In accepting that the parts exist, I am accepting the bits of my personality and my past that are buried in those parts. That much is obvious. That’s not the thought.

The thought is that I am also accepting the individual who created them. They are evidence of that individual’s resilience and creativity.

The circumstances of my growing up demanded I have no authentic needs or feelings of my own. I must present a front. Not necessarily one that might please the rest of society, but one which did not betray the reality that my needs as a child were not being met—all kinds of need: the need for protection, the need for protection, the need to be emotionally responded to, the need for warmth, the need for privacy and autonomy, the need for consistency, the need to know what to expect, the need to express myself, the need to be liked for myself.

This was confusing for a while, because the front I presented wasn’t necessarily one that would live up to my expectations or the expectations of the larger society either. I mean, I am not the perfect wife and mother. But I was fine. Fine was very important.

Anyway, the circumstances of my growing up seemed to point out that the problem was me. I needed to not be me. I needed to be an “apparently normal” person who did not have needs or feelings or an authentic personality which expressed those needs and feelings, including the need to be helped to cope with the trauma I had suffered. So this person could not know about the abuse either.

But that person is not me. I thought it was me for maybe 40 years. I am the individual who created that person.

And yet all the needs and feelings and evidence of authenticity persisted. I created other people to accommodate them. I have 13 of them the last time I counted. I was very creative. There were lots of needs and feelings and evidence of personality and I created a place for all of them.

That is me. The creator of the whole emotional landscape. I did this.

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4 thoughts on “The creator of all this

  1. ridicuryder May 31, 2015 / 8:21 pm

    Ash,

    You always sound healthy and wise to me…even when you are on an emotional roller coaster or are crushed by sadness. The ingenious authentic you…who operated behind the mask you wore for years is feeling some sun on her face. 🙂

    It’s wonderful to be appreciated….

    Mark

      • ridicuryder June 1, 2015 / 7:27 pm

        I play around the edges of foolish states. Sometimes I dive right in! Pursuing wisdom without knowing your fool can get a little dry….

  2. desilef May 31, 2015 / 10:47 pm

    Beautiful post!
    Well, I am back from Senegal and something happened that isn’t like your experience but maybe there are parallels. See if this is interesting:

    A woman who was with our group was suddenly possessed by a spirit. Her friends carried her into the ocean and when she came back she was still in a trance, wandering with a plastic jar begging money for the spirits.

    The way possession (for lack of an accurate English equivalent) was explained to me is that the spirits are everywhere and it’s not uncommon for one or more to reside inside a person. When this causes problems, the marabout or other spiritual authority doesn’t do what we would call an exorcism because the goal isn’t to expel the spirit but to create an alliance between the “person” and the spirits inside of her. (It almost never happens to men.) The person and spirit(s) come to agreements about under which circumstances it is permissible for the spirit to come out and when they should allow the person to go about daily life. So they can come out during ceremonial rites but also they will come out at times of stress.

    Several hours before this woman became possessed, a drowned child washed up on the beach. The men gathered and covered the body and prayed and carried the child right away to the cemetery. The women (even the mother) were not allowed to see the body or go to the burial. The men explained that women are emotional and that won’t be permitted. No crying, no tears, no shouts. Women repeatedly told me they are not allowed to show or express feelings. So while people said there was no connection between the death of the child and the woman’s state of possession, I still had to wonder whether the spirit took over because she could not repress feelings of grief but also could not express them.

    I very much like the idea of “alliance” – and I think maybe that’s where you are going. It’s an alliance rather than, say, a ceasefire or peace treaty, because alliance tells us that the spirits don’t just create difficulties. They bring positive qualities and strengths.

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