Working on accepting the hard to accept
The warm air felt almost otherworldly as I took my bike on a long overdue ride. I had to get out of the house, there was nothing wrong other than the confinement of the last few months. The clearing of the mind was almost an emergency order as all of my inputs were meeting sturdy dead ends, and lack of continuity. As I have said before, at times like this it is sometimes necessary to get it out, whatever it is, and look for clues to things along the way. In recovery, that little bit of information, that truth of your own words has helped me tremendously. Time for some truths, and consequences.
Since I have a penchant for the big picture, let’s go there first and get it out of the way. Last Fall, as I was cleaning my body of the antidepressants that I had poisoned myself with for a few years, I knew something very big was coming. Not on a personal level, but on a world level. I spoke about it with my wife, and my sponsor, I even said as much to my brother during that time. I felt emotionally, and physically sick, I remember saying that I couldn’t say what the big thing was? It wasn’t war, it was too confusing of a feeling for that, but it was big, and coming at the end of Winter. Over the months that followed I couldn’t really function creatively, I couldn’t give my attention to something without that feeling of being distracted by that big thing still hanging around, looking over my shoulder kind of feeling. I imagined I was changing, that the growth in my acceptance had sunk in deeply, that I was getting better at all of this life stuff, that emotional maturity. Whatever the cause, I was, and am still, stuck. That creativity part of my noggin I accessed before has apparently shut down as well.
How do you write that story? When under that cloud how do you share the smaller emotional pieces, the helpful insights, the recovery? In looking back over the few pieces that did get published, it dealt at length with the unity, and commonalities that we all share, the human endeavor, and how we really needed each other. That looks just like the over the shoulder feelings, that doesn’t capture the personal growth that went on during that time, the painful throes the political politicking, the weight of other aspects of life. As much as I knew something was going to happen, and as much as I knew that I didn’t know what it was, I knew deep down we must be human beings first. That larger presence in my psyche created an apathy of sorts towards the little parts of life I so like visiting. It created a magnifying effect on the bad habits, and disingenuous parts of our lives we pay too much attention to. That in turn led to a lot of stories in draft form, dead ends, and interrupted trains of thought. I see the entirety of communications differently than others, everybody is complaining, victimhood is a marketing tool as much as anything else, and I didn’t feel the need to be a part of that timeline of thought.
As it became clear as to what that big thing was, all of the past over the shoulder, distracting, and confusing parts fell into place, this is what it was… I expected my creativity to peak during this time, the words to flow like water once again. There I go expecting things again… The words are there, the thoughts are there as well, but the whole operation is being sidetracked by the crisis itself. In being an introvert, and someone who needs downtime, alone time to recharge my internal batteries. I am married, and even though it is just my wife, and my two cats, the always on is still happening. My wife is working from home, and that never leaving is keeping the valve stuck open, the battery draining all the time. This is something I am just now noticing after having spent over half of my lifetime with her. It’s not unbearable at all, it’s just noticeable. In the meantime everyone else is also home, the problems that are growing in everyday life for others mirror my own regular existence bringing up other deeper questions of self with an existential bias.
The existential thinking loops back around to that humans needing each other, and here I am back at the beginning again. Call it writer’s block, or lack of imagination, but it’s really just the low self esteem connected to the overall apathy. What am I doing this for? Nobody wants to hear your stinkin thinkin… What makes you think anybody cares? Knowing that all of the latter is just mental games themselves I get stuck on those aspects, then begin creating another piece about self esteem, the thinking process, the not caring.
When this all began a few months back, the staying home part, the businesses shut down part, the realization that this was the big thing I was feeling last Fall; All was right in my world again, just as the world was going off kilter. I understand that everyone is going through divergent times, this is not just me. Yet, just like everyone else, I have to figure out the next indicated steps, the ways, and where to, to balance the plights of life here in the present. I still must work on those things that bind me, challenge my day to day existence, and overwhelm the sensibilities. That bit about emotional maturity, and acceptance crawls back in, and the work begins again. Yes, it’s hard to accept the foreboding grasp that had ahold of me during the Fall and Winter months. I am not some psychic or medium, I am not a town cryer, as imaginative as I am I wouldn’t know whether to believe me or not either. I have these intuitions, they are mostly spot on as my wife of half my life can attest. How do you write that story? How do you communicate that part that is taking up so much room? Tolerance and patience seem to be my stronger areas, there was that other one though.
Acceptance keeps finding its way into the sentences, the thoughts roll out like a confessionary. The hard to reach places open as the heart aches as much as it lightens, the cleaning out of the mental hallways of the accumulated muck has to start somewhere.
Writing is our only meaningful form of interaction with the Universe. J. Takashima.
I have said it before about as many times as I have heard it. Recovery is about better thinking, better decisions, and a greater understanding of the roles you play in life. For myself recovery has revealed the best, the worst, and the things that even after all this time require diligent efforts to change. Acceptance of myself, and the searching for better thinking brings up the program, in itself it is not a point of contention, but the fellowship part of it has mostly has been difficult. How do you belong, when you feel overwhelmingly as if you don’t?
It was just another meeting, while these days it was done online, with cameras and computers. The subject was acceptance, something I wanted to share my insights on. My share sucked, the people looked as if they didn’t know what the hell I was talking about. A few pieces went together, but it was a mess. I know this, I am cognizant to it all, I was just being myself, but I couldn’t get those thousands of words to fit into a few minute share. Self conscious about the experience, I withdraw, I pour out my self esteem, and I regress into my holes of self pity, depression, and hopelessness. The practicing brings me back to those things I could do better, and this was one of them. In sharing all of this with my wife I realized one of my problems was something I do, which is called Skip Thinking. It is, in essence, jumping all over the place in thought because the segues are easily visible to me. They just aren’t easy for others to see, to understand, they literally don’t think the way that I do. As someone who prides himself in endeavors of communications, this is my Waterloo.
I am, what is more commonly called a gifted adult, and the extent at which these gifts extend is called being profoundly gifted. It was never diagnosed early, or developed, which led me through all means of addictions, and mental illness self diagnosing. Understanding this is quite easy for myself, because it is my truth, my undeniable truth, something easy for me to accept. What is difficult is the seemingly primal need to be a communicator, and with that a need to validate my experiences, explain myself, and end up missing those parts of communications altogether. Understanding even the basic pieces of giftedness is difficult for most, and impossible for some. I see this, I feel this… In a sense it is like being able to see others, and finding others aren’t able to see some folks, know the differences they carry. In an eerily similar vein to that which an alcoholic can’t see while in the throes of the disease.
What is Giftedness? “What’s difficult about all of this is that many people don’t want to see themselves as gifted because it sounds like a question of superiority, and they don’t want to believe or feel they are better than others. But while it’s healthy not to see oneself as “special” and therefore “superior”, it is also necessary to recognize and honor the way one’s mind works and when one’s level of intensity are different as compared to the norm.” Jennifer Harvey Sallin
The subject of the meeting was acceptance, and here I am at the one of my main frustrations, my main sticking points on self acceptance. Sometimes called meta-thinking, the structure of my synapses fire off, and construct things differently than the norm. The communication aspect of all of this leaves me feeling the urge to explain myself, explain my thinking, even blame others for not seeing the simple connections. I shut off from the outside world because of these misunderstandings. The feelings of superiority aren’t there, the thoughts of intelligence were never brought up. I must be broken, have a mental illness, or some condition that is more acceptable than what is being presented. I didn’t begin to discover this until I was almost fifty, schools didn’t even know anything about this when I was a child. Society has a good way of making the different feel out of place, and that’s where I stayed in a drug and alcohol infused world of trying to cope with things. Antidepressants, and prescription cocktails didn’t alleviate the existential, the depths, and breadth of my mind. When I found myself though, I didn’t like the verdict, seemingly terminally unique, and poised to go through more than just recovery from alcoholism.
I wonder why I find myself here? I am trying to better my thinking, not conflate it with more information, more stuff. I am finding that the more I understand the very basic differences that I produce, the more the directions are simplified for that next indicated step. In this case an understanding of who, and what I am. After I spoke with my wife about the practice of Skip Thinking, I went to search the term, the what, and why of it? I do this when things become apparent, I told my sponsor that when things become apparent it means it’s there to guide you, a parent?… When I started to discover these aspects of my life and personality it was just the same. In being told I was too sensitive, I researched “Too Sensitive,” That is where I discovered an aspect of it, I am highly sensitive, a hallmark of my later discovered personality designator. That from the Myers – Briggs scale, an I.N.F.J., one of the rarest personalities they discuss.
As I do my research though, it is not the amiable, the desired outcome I would like to see that hits the truth buttons only. It is also the morass of problematic areas that coincide with my being. Like a complex key fitting the lock perfectly, all of these things are deeply considered. Not only are they considered, they are tested, debunked, and thrown away often. Only to have the same results, the same search for answers, and the same message find its way back to me again and again. From Elaine Eron, to Kazimierz Dabrowski and his positive disintegration, to gifted blogs written by those educated in such matters, all saying the same thing, complex, different, sensitive. The very things that are often taken as sum negative, a sum not tough enough, a sum that doesn’t belong… Something not so much accepted by those preaching acceptance.
I know the reason why my share sucked, the words I used were not the groupspeak that is used in the meetings, in the fellowship. I could toss together a few sentences and share them exactly the same every meeting and I would be applauded. But I don’t care for repeating the words of others, that is like cheating to me, I didn’t give it any thought of my own kind of feeling. So when I do use my own words, my own observances, they are met with a big question mark? Didn’t you read the book? That’s not what the book said verbatim, that is not the words we expect you to say. Yes, I have read it all, at length, and these were my thoughts on it, not just a collection of other people’s thoughts on it. I understand that the minds of others doesn’t always have the wherewithal to fathom some of the things I bring up, and know as well that some can understand, they just have their own thoughts and beliefs about it.
These are the things that are difficult to accept, the pieces that grind away at me. In these parts, the acceptance is the hardest, and most repetitive areas that I have to continually work on. Toss in the part about my natural tendencies to dwell on those extra thoughts about life, the thoughts about the entirety of our beings, the end results, and the unnoticed assemblies we incur; How do you write that story? How do you even talk about it with anyone when there isn’t anyone in your life who is seemingly able to truly comprehend this? Who will even listen to you? Who make it clear they are trying to get away from any conversation once it goes beyond the small talk… I get it, I have to learn to communicate better with people, understand what I get wrong, and shorten my synapses while speaking even further than they already are. That is acceptable, and something I am working on every day. What is not acceptable is where that leaves me? I still have all of this inside of me, the writer, the creator, the woodworker, the lyricist, the scientist, the inventor, the artist, the sculptor. I have used these gifts and many others to communicate those things that are felt deeply. I have also used them to allow me my piece of mind, to allow me to speak about something beyond a soundbite.
I don’t know what will come next in the big scheme of things. I do know that we are all changed in varying degrees from this all. I know what I will have to work on, the knowledge found in the truths have their consequences. Acceptance is hard work, and in matters of self, and being true to one’s own self these pieces are sometimes needed to clean out a corner, straighten up a room, and find the hallways of thought once more. Everyone has a lot going on, a lot of changes are in order these days as much as any. When they asked me to change everything, I never knew how deeply that change would occur, or what the future would hold. This is the truth that I discovered so far in my search for a better way of life. This is the reason why I will keep practicing the practicing, looking for answers, and turning the soil, personally, and outwardly, as we all are digging in.