Getting Brave

As I work through therapy, a lot of things have come up. One of them is challenging the overwhelming messages I received as a child that I wasn’t good enough. In therapy one of the questions asked was what I would do if I felt I was good enough.

Taking my art more seriously was my first answer.

Overall I am pretty confident and strong. I learned over the years to be true to myself, to not let even the most overbearing people erase who I am. Yet still, certain messages persist – trepidation about criticism because I have received so much of it.

I want to move on completely from my childhood. Some things are just toxic, and sometimes beneath the surface of the beautiful pond is something grimy and filled with leeches. Sometimes things don’t work.

Yet to truly move on I have to get rid of the negative emotions and negative ideas I got from those years of my life. In most childhoods there is something good to be gleaned and that is true of my own childhood as well. I received an upbringing of good manners, as well as an emphasis on academic excellence that served me well as an ambitious student. There were definitely positive things about my upbringing. However, many of the messages I received were critical, unkind, and demoralizing. My basic needs were met, and I am grateful for that, but I was not liked or even particularly loved.

It’s time to take my art more seriously. And in answering the prompt in therapy about what I would do if I knew I was good enough I actually ended up coming up with a list of over 40 items. Some of them were very big and important and some of them were very small, but there were over 40 things I would do if I could get past the echoes of my younger life. It’s time to start doing those things. I am 30, and I don’t want to spend the rest of my life stuck in the same headspace I was in in middle school. Tomorrows are never guaranteed, so I want to make the most of today.

I go through my day expecting censure and ridicule. But is that really fair? It’s no way to live, and not everyone is going to be out to criticize me. And if they do criticize me it doesn’t matter. I’m not trapped in a house with someone who criticizes me all the time nor am I economically dependent on them. If some random stranger on the internet or a local mom I don’t know that well has something to negative to say about me oh, who cares?

There are so many things on my list to go through. Another major thing I need to address is my inability to trust people. That’s pretty important. Some things on the list are just small though, but they would make me really happy. For instance, I always really want to wear glitter on my cheeks or my arms. That’s not the most important thing in the world, but it would feel so nice to do it. As a kid I loved the idea of body glitter, but when I received a bottle of it from a friend in middle school I was told even then that I was too old for it and shouldn’t be wearing it and that it was silly. It’s time to get past the point in life where I really care who thinks it’s silly. It’s my body and my money and I’ll wear whatever I damn well please. To reiterate the point, whether or not I can wear glitter is not a life-or-death issue and is not earth shattering. It’s glitter. But the idea behind this is very important. I’m not doing something I really want to do, something I would have fun with and enjoy, because of the criticism of others.

I have a lot of things I want to work through and so far therapy has been helping. I was in therapy years ago and although it helped me with certain issues, it did not help me with everything I would have liked help with. This time around it has been really productive so far.

2 thoughts on “Getting Brave

    • The question has made a big difference for me. When I first started to answer it, and I was doing that at home because it was part of my homework for therapy, I thought I would have a hard time coming up with answers. I’ve always considered myself to be a pretty independent person, and there are already a lot of areas in my life where I have stood up to pressure and done what I wanted to do. But I really let the question sink in and all of a sudden I ended up with this huge long list of things Great and Small that I don’t do because of the voices of my childhood. I cried.

      I think the question is definitely worth thinking about.

      Like

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