#MicroblogMondays - I Finally Go to the PSI Seminar

 (not a microblog by any stretch of the imagination.)

April 29, 2018 

SG invites me to a informational meeting for this seminar because he just went through it and found it useful (he says super powerful and transformational). I seriously think about firing him and on May 7, 2018 meet him for coffee to discuss said invite. Newsflash, I don’t fire him and that meeting helps me to start understanding how much he cares and how he can support me. He also becomes this annoying mosquito in buzzing in my ear for the next several months until I relent and get myself an informational meeting in December. That doesn’t go well, but I sign up for the 3-day Basic anyway.

Friday February 8, 2019

I show up anxious, scared, but determined. I’m determined to dive in, after all, to even get through the door has taken sheer force of will and fighting my ingrained survival instinct. My therapist is on-board and encouraging. Discussions with SG have been helpful, plus he’s there and I know I have a supporter in the room. S is happily’ish taking care of the kids while I spend 3 10-hr days in a hotel ballroom a few miles from home. I try to sit in a chair waaay in the back and am gently prodded to move up to the students seats as I chose the staff seats. I sit in the back row tense and taking deep breaths trying to slow my racing heart.

The seminar starts and the facilitator is amazing. He’s dynamic and engaging, and I immediately know he is the guy I need to have guiding me through the process. He eases us into the work, starting with classroom style lecture/interaction. Soon though, we move on to some practice in sharing and visualization exercises. At one point, I force myself to get up and share to the 60+ people in the room. I don’t want to, but again, determined. The night closes and I’m like, ok, I can handle this, strong emotions come up, definitely have things to think about. Later that night I have a revelation that is pretty damn profound and educational. I don’t sleep all that great.

Saturday February 9, 2019

Feeling just the teensiest bit more open to the process, I barely make it to my seat on time in the morning. I’m starting to move around a little, not quite the back row. As we begin, it becomes clear we’re going a little deeper now and I’m ready. At one point in the afternoon I make myself share again. This time it’s a bigger realization and I’m kind of having this….whoa moment. At 7:00pm something happens that breaks it all open, shows me the exact thing that has been holding me back from happiness. I start crying in the last hour of the session, graduating from tears streaming down my face to trying to contain full-body-wracking sobs while sitting in a chair surrounded by people. People around me comfort me, giving me hugs as we leave and I don’t look at SG as I walk out the room feeling broken. S takes one look at me when I come home and is worried, I try to talk to him about it without telling him exactly what happened to trigger the realization, and he starts to understand my reaction. I write for a couple hours, sleep 4 hours, get up and write more. In the morning, I ice my eyes trying to get the swelling down so I don’t look so horrible walking into the class. I’m marginally successful.

Sunday February 10, 2019

S suggests we have a family outing to my favorite breakfast place in the morning, which is exactly what I need before facing the class again. I make sure to get there early, staying silent until the doors are open and it’s time to sit down. I get an encouraging hug from SG, then sit in the front row, next to a woman I’ve just met, supporting each other. I encourage her to share with the group as she’s telling me she wants to but she’s really scared. She tells me to go first. I have to sit down and face everyone for this, but the only person making me do it is me. I start by talking about what I realized the night before and how much it hurt. The facilitator stops me from rambling at one point and starts guiding me through questions. I’m shaking, I’m crying, my voice is breaking. I get to the end and he says “What are you going to do about it?” “Change it” I get applauded and sit down. Several people share including my new friend and it’s interesting how different everyone’s experience has been. After that, I feel lighter, and open. People start randomly telling me how awesome my share was, how amazing I am, how brave and courageous and how much they identify with what I said. One woman told me she thought I was the most beautiful woman there (!?!). The rest of the day becomes easier with exercises that are pretty fun and kind of mind-blowing. SG and I get an opportunity to share with each other through one of the exercises and it’s such a connected experience that I feel all the last vestiges of anxiety and fear of our relationship fall away. By the time we close, I can hardly walk 5 steps without someone stopping me to tell me how much I’ve impacted them during the class, how different I look and what a major change has taken place from Friday morning to Sunday night. I finally go up to the facilitator to thank him and he CRIES. He tells me I’m magnetic, that he was drawn to me Friday morning as I sat there stonily resistant and what a huge transformation I’ve had to Sunday. He tells me I’m ready to go, to grab on and become the leader I want to be. He tells me people like me are the reason he does this work. The manager of the Denver area and someone who has brought this organization to several different cities tells me that my share was amazing and he says to me, “This lady is ready to MOVE.” These two guys see EVERYONE go through this training. I’m flummoxed, awed and reeling: All I did was...what?...kept getting up and sharing how learning about these concepts was forcing me to look at different things in my life; I allowed myself to completely break down among strangers and I then sat in front of them talking about why I broke down and how what I realized has affected me, my family, all my relationships. SG is ecstatic, “You did it!!” When I get home that night, I drop my bag to the floor. Look at S and beg, “Please come on this journey with me.” He stares, “Whoa, what happened?”

The realizations

  1. I’m modeled after my step/adoptive father. My mother tried to make me into how she sees him, a brilliant scientist. I tried to become him, but couldn’t live up to the expectation, and didn’t want to be him.
  2. I saw myself as my mother in a crucial part of the weekend and realized that the very person I’ve never wanted to be, I’ve become in a significant way.
  3. My dreams died the moment I stepped onto the Colorado School of Mines campus at age 18. I didn’t want to be an engineer, but it was expected of me. College is where I learned to put the blinders on, choose a path and barrel down it without stopping to think about consequences or who’s affected.
  4. In being walled off from people and developing the survival instinct to push people away, I’ve been warring with myself.
  5. The big one.... I am passionate about protecting people.

It took the fight of my life to walk into that hotel ballroom. In order for all these things to happen in 3 days, I needed to be already working on breaking down beliefs that weren’t serving me. I needed the buzzy mosquito of SG not letting me blow it off entirely, and I needed it validated by my therapist. Lastly, I needed it validated by my place of work. Because I have this one-little-thing-called-communication holding me back in my job, I asked if they would pay for the training as part of me working on a performance element. Without hesitation, my boss said yes. I asked again at the end of this training, whether they’d pay for me to travel to do the 7-day seminar in the fall. Again, no pushback, just a curiosity of what was it in the 3-day that made me so enthusiastic? (the woman who is hardly enthusiastic at work) So, they’re paying for me to travel and immerse myself into the actual change of the beliefs holding me back. Now that I’m aware of them, it’s time to break them all down and build new ones centered around worthiness and how I want to show up as a person, wife, friend, mother, colleague and leader.

 

And I thought it was a cult. 🤣 

Don’t know what #microblogmondays is? Check it out  here  .

Don’t know what #microblogmondays is? Check it out here .

Bell Let’s Talk Day

You’ve all been privy to my innermost thoughts and feelings, but my world at large has not. 

Today I posted this on Instagram and Facebook.

FullSizeRender.jpg

It’s kind of a big step for me. I’ve talked about it sometimes in that kind of forum, but this was different somehow. This felt very raw compared to what I’ve posted before.  S commented on it when he saw it “You’re really sharing a lot”. I got a little defensive and asked him how he felt about it. He said “I like it. It’s positive, you’re figuring out yourself and all I want you to be is happy.”

That says it all. 

 

#bellletstalk

Telling My Survival Instinct to F*ck Off

So, I went through this shitty thing when after a stretch appointment, I had to spew words at SG, much like I do here. I take it in, process and then get it out through writing.

The e-mail was written, and it was really difficult because in between all the prattle was one paragraph about my attachment issues, how he’s in the bullseye and how I’m struggling to soften my boundaries but feel really off-balance because I don’t know where his are. 

He didn’t write back. I freaked out and had to work through some of that in therapy.

Now, because he’s always been consistently supportive, I reached out via text asking if we could get together. I really needed to work through this anxiety crap and try to make a leap forward. Per usual, he was happy to fit me into his schedule and we met for coffee. I felt the familiar churning in the pit of my stomach as the time got closer, and realized that it has been my constant companion preceding every meeting, every stretch session. Me, reacting with fear to growing close to someone despite all the indicators that this relationship is something to celebrate, not fear.

Turns out I can’t will it away, but I can start putting words to things that I’ve been holding back. So I did. I talked about the transference/countertransference rabbit hole I fell down early in my stretch sessions. I was able to be direct (although couldn’t make eye contact to save my life) about how I figured out early on I was projecting onto him. And I pointed out that I had suspected that he was projecting onto me. While I don’t know the exact timing of him almost firing me as a client, I’m willing to bet it was somewhere in the maelstrom where both of us were projecting and frustrated by each other. And, I was able to say (without eye contact because GEEZ) that I knew it was attachment/daddy issues. (A long time ago, I think I said something similar referring to what was coming up in stretch, and I think  that’s where it started, but then I started to grow closer to him and the fear of attachment really took hold) And, AND, I was able to to talk about how every time I saw him at the gym I wanted to run out the door. (OMG I now realize I was having anxiety attacks because I couldn’t handle him being out of context)  That one he laughed, “yep, I noticed that...” 

He didn’t respond a ton to what I said, and I was hoping for more than I got. Writing this now, I’m realizing that I didn’t need a response, I needed him to be there, holding space, letting me be raw and vulnerable. I didn’t need a fix, I didn’t need his opinion on my experience, I just needed a steady presence. 

It was all put to the test the next time I had a stretch session. The absence of the churning in the pit of my stomach was noticeable. I was relaxed throughout. We had a good conversation, and it was like I have wanted it to be for what feels like a long time. We’re friends. We support each other in our healing journeys. It’s a good thing. 

#Microblog Mondays - Reflections on a Year

This definitely feels like a year to reflect on given all that I’ve been going through emotionally. Here’s the rundown:

  • Jan 1, 2018 I started the New Year with a wicked case of Strep Throat. blah.

  • In February, I jacked my neck and back worse than it’s ever been before. I couldn’t turn my head, could barely drive and had to travel for work. It took several physical therapy sessions, chiropractic and stretch to get it back to semi-normal.

  • After said neck jacking, Stretch Guy (heretofore to be known as SG), took the opportunity to push me harder to see this network chiropractor guy he knew. I’ll never forget SG asking me “Do you trust me?” I stared. “A little? 20%?”. I relented.

  • In March, I started network chiropractic 3x a week combining it with therapy once a week. After a month I added stretch back into the mix. Whoa. Where’s the time to work? We also took a big family vacation to France, the first of what I hope to be many adventures. It was fun, difficult, and exciting. I fell into depression partly because I was trying to reduce my celexa. Bad idea. I went back up to a full dose. In the starting stages of EMDR, I had to deal with a 360 degree review at work in which I was roundly attacked by a few people. They presented to me an image that I hated.

  • In April, SG offered the beginning of several things that pushed and pulled at me in different ways. An invitation to check out PSI was extended because he had completed a 3 day training, and was really excited about it. I freaked the fuck out, had the almost-firing talk with him and learned that he truly was offering this because it helped him and he wanted to help me. It led to me questioning why I was so resistant to letting him help me.

  • May was a blur of work, travel and struggling through all the therapies. EMDR was intense.

  • June found me traveling to Boston to meet my biological uncles. It was a strange trip for me and I was happy to have my brother with me to be the curious one. I mostly shut down my emotions just trying to get through it.

  • In July, struggling to make sense of the trauma coming up in EMDR and the emotions surrounding my visit to Boston, I shattered. For the first time, I reached out to SG for support outside his office and he was right there offering an ear. I couldn’t deal with my parents and a decision was made to put them on hold until September. I didn’t communicate that to them, instead just tried to fend off my mom’s inquiries.

  • In August, I finished EMDR and got shingles three days before my 100 mile bike ride I had been training for the whole season. I tried and succeeded in completing 73 of the 100 while the rest of my group finished the whole thing. I also had a fun and supportive email exchange with SG while I was hanging out waiting for S and the kids to show up at the finish line festival. One of many tiny steps toward accepting his help and support. I also had another work breakdown where after all the work I had been doing, I felt blindsided by negative feedback from a team member and my superior. After much introspection, I changed my outlook and requested to work part-time. It was the first time in my 20-year career that I made a decision for me instead of working towards pleasing a boss, or achieving a promotion.

  • September was Baby A’s birthday and we invited my parents. My dad ignored me and S and my mom acted weird. I felt emotionally strong enough to have a conversation with my mom that revealed some things and also showed me that right now, it isn’t enough.

  • In October I cut off communication with my parents. I also felt a shift to starting a transformation. I reached out to SG asking for more support and that was really hard to do, yet I knew I needed to lean on him. He happily responded and it signaled another shift in our relationship. I started working part time, and it wasn’t the super relaxing schedule I hoped it would be.

  • In November, I found the source of anxiety surrounding SG. More growth, more vulnerability, and more sharing. He shared that he himself got to a point where he almost fired me as a client. Growth on both sides! We both pushed through our respective crap to be able to support each other. I attended Soul Speaks.

  • In December, I finally caved and attended a PSI informational meeting with my therapist’s blessing. I had an anxiety attack, SG was supportive through it, and I realized I need to be doing shit that scares me the most. So I signed up for the 3 day training in February. We had our Christmas the way we wanted it and it was fun and relaxing.

Wow. What a year!

Panic

I went to the informational meeting from my last blog post. Let me paint a picture for you:

11:30am - Stretch Guy texts me to see if I’m going

12:30pm - I text back with a lovely bitmoji of pure anxiety and confirm

12:30pm - 4:00pm - A few texts w/ Stretch Guy as he tried to reassure me. A phone call with S who goes to the website and doesn’t see anything concerning to him. A short discussion with my supervisor about the possibility of this counting as leadership training. He’s on board, btw, others have done similar type training and it totally falls in line with where I tend to have weakness (relating to others).

4:00pm-6:15pm - Finish up work, drive over the hotel and wonder what the hell Wa.ze was thinking as it took me further south than I needed to go. Lame. Feel nervous but not too bad and wonder why I’m feeling nervous because I have the support of no less than 4 people who are close or know me well.

6:15pm - Get to hotel, park the car, find the ballroom where it’s being held and walk right past the talking, laughing group, down the hall, turn the corner and think, ‘oh, shit that’s them’. I approach, a friendly person asks me if I’m here for psi. I give a curt, “yeah”. By now I’m starting to shake. I find the registration table, sign in, and a nice lady I am just barely able to make eye contact with hands me my nametag. I take the nametag, slap it on under my jacket and promptly take a seat on a chair in the corner of the vestibule to the ballroom and nervously pretend to check email while I scan the group for Stretch Guy. After about 2 minutes, I have to move again, I get up, stomach clenching and wander away from the crowd, continuing to try to hide. Stretch Guy shows up, finds me and comes up to me with a big smile. “Hey, how are you?” (hug). “Not good”. “What’s going on?” “I…I..don’t know, I want to run.” “Do you want to meet some people?” “No.” “Do you want some water?” “No.” All the no’s said as I stand there with my hands cold as ice, my heart pounding, my ears ringing, tunnel vision…I feel completely disconnected from the body standing there talking to him. “Ok, want to go in and sit down?” “Ok”.

I follow him into the room, and he jokes, “sit wherever you want!” as most of the chairs haven't been claimed yet. I say, “uh, where can I hide?” He chooses a back corner and as we settle into the chairs that are way too close together (on purpose I find out) and sit down, people start streaming into the room to take their seats. He’s quickly surrounded by people seeking him out, clearly the people who he wanted to introduce me to and I’m sitting in my chair, head down, frozen. I pull out my notebook and write how I’m feeling. I try to breathe. I don’t make eye contact and just let the talking and joking float around me. Stretch Guy doesn’t forget about me, he remains reassuring and lets me sit there with no pressure to be introduced.

The presentation starts, and I decide I need to write down my thoughts and reactions so I can try to work through whatever THIS is that’s going on in my body. My reactions as they start talking: “sheep, they’re all sheep”. Next, “i’m being critical, why?” “what am I scared of?”. They pull up the graduates (honestly, “graduates” for a 3 day seminar? whatevs) and a few talk about their experience. It all seems genuine, the presenter seems genuine, and none of it is anything I’ve not been working on or different than I’ve heard before from other trainings (quite similar to Emotional Intelligence training actually)

I try to listen, a few things make me smile, especially when the presenter talks about how when he took this 3-day course way back when, he noticed that his mother, whom he had a strained relationship with “changed”. The point? He changed and was able to see her differently. I write down what I don’t want to be: (someone I work with, my mom…) I start to write down what I want to be in my career (leader, why? middle management isn’t enough, I want to change the culture, I want to develop people). A few times, Stretch Guy smirks at me, knocks my knee, puts his hand on my back reassuringly as I sit in squirmy discomfort. We joke a little bit back and forth.

The presentation is over, the predicted (I was prepared for this by Stretch Guy), push to sign up is brought forth. Stretch Guy doesn’t push me, he’s already gotten blowback from me, and he’s learned. He wants to know how I feel. I tell him that what he saw in the beginning from me was pretty damn close to a panic attack. I’ve never had a completely debilitating panic attack, but what I experienced here, has occurred more than once over my lifetime, and usually is around social situations where I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself. By the end of the presentation I had identified where my initial “sheep, they’re all sheep” reaction came from. My parents. My dad specifically, who would scoff at anything like this, any organization. He wasn’t too happy when I joined a sorority in college. My mom would follow suit, or at least not contradict the idea that anytime you are presented with someone like this, it’s a scam/cult/pyramid scheme someone is just trying to profit off of suckers. “Just be yourself” is what my dad would always say. But, I was conditioned to NOT be myself. So, how do I know how to be myself if I’m always performing?

I don’t.

Why do we condemn these organizations? P.S.I isn’t the only one. There’s Ton.y Rob.bins (whom I don’t particularly like), there’s another one called Lan.dmark, and there’s even one that looks pretty similar to this that my organization sends supervisors to for training.

I realized sitting there in the ballroom that my panic and discomfort were coming from the idea that I want to change but this “sheep” idea is so deeply rooted in my being that it’s causing massive conflict in me. I tell Stretch Guy that one thing I’ve learned over the past year and a half is that the things that scare me the most, are the things I’m supposed to do. This class terrifies me in a way that I can’t articulate. I can’t explain why, even in identifying the root cause why I have spiraled into panic. All I know, is I need to do this because I panicked.

I haven’t signed up yet, but I am talking to my supervisor and I know I’m going to do it. S is completely supportive and even seems a little excited for me. He also knows he’s next if this ends up being a good experience for me. ;-) My therapist is in and super excited that I’m even considering it. What I heard at the presentation was reasonable and transparent enough to make me comfortable with the idea of going through with it. I brought up the cult thing with Stretch Guy and said, “Ok, it’s not a cult. My therapist is the one who told me that”. He was happy to hear that, but then I was like, you know there’s also cult-like…and he admitted seeing that in some people. I personally, haven’t witnessed him do anything or say anything that gives me concern. Plus, long before he started this, he was available, holding space and supporting me even though I was rejecting the support.

I’m still feeling anxious and slightly panick-y even though I’ve made my decision that I am going to be doing this in the relatively near future…good thing I have a therapy appointment on Monday.

#MicroblogMondays - Resistance is

futile.

It took less than a year for Stretch Guy to get me here:

psi.jpg

Remember this post? It was all about how I completely went off the deep end thinking he joined a cult and was trying to recruit me and I almost fired him over it. Oh wait, I didn’t share all of that at the time…Yup. Since then there’s been more EMDR, intensive therapy, sharing, growing, letting him support me, hearing his experience, him joking that he’s going to get me there…me resisting, resisting, and more resisting. Since I’ve acknowledged I need more support and help from him through all this healing stuff, and he’s been right about everything else so far…I’ve finally agreed to go to the presentation. Therapist #3 is completely on board. She got so excited I thought she might get up and do a happy dance right in front of me.

sigh

Bring it.

Don’t know what #MicroblogMondays is? Check it out  here

Don’t know what #MicroblogMondays is? Check it out here

Soul Speaks aka. Geochick Learns to Connect

Words of essence:


Bold Brave Graceful Precious Endearing Honest Beautiful

Tenderhearted Courageous Dear Honest Loving Aware

Selfless Resilient Kind Generous Inspiring Open


This introverted thinking sensing judging engineer walks into a Soul Speaks workshop.

Waiting for a punchline?

I wish I could come up with one, but I’m not a comedienne. Well, not intentionally.

I took this workshop as a challenge to myself, as a minor investment in time and money to see what the next leap into personal development holds and deep dive into the core of my being.  I knew it would make me squirmy and uncomfortable. I also knew that all my personal shit is so forefront in my mind that I was liable to share too much and risk a vulnerability hangover. I was right on both counts.

Two women run this workshop and to describe them to me Stretch Guy (yes, this is one of his pushes/suggestions) used words like loving and powerful. He told me I’d feel safe. I just stared at him wondering how these words like loving and powerful fall so easily from his lips. I never use those words. I’ve just now begun to understand what “grateful” means and been able to use it without sarcasm. I’m constantly in awe of how these other strong feeling words are so natural to Stretch Guy, and how they never seem contrived. But I digress…

 I walked into the room and Soul Speaks teacher #1, whom I talked to on the phone glided up to me with a huge smile on her face, “I’m so glad you came!” with a big hug. Yikes. Then I discovered that most people a) knew Soul Speaks teacher #1 because she’s their therapist, or they had been doing these workshops for a while. I was the outsider on both counts. Immediately, I felt the armor come up, protecting me, enshrouding me. I wanted to be small, not noticed. A couple of people introduced themselves and asked how I knew about the workshop. “A friend recommended it to me.” “Are you excited?” “No. I’m really nervous.” During the whole opening of the workshop, I stared at the floor, at the wall, anywhere but at the teachers. Then, they explained what we would be doing. It’s called relational presencing and it boils down to eye contact; a breath, a soft gaze and holding another person’s eye contact.

 So anyway, it was a really difficult and exhausting 4 hours for me, and at the same time empowering. I know that I need to do things like this to force me outside my comfort zone and to learn how to connect with people. I didn’t know what to expect, Stretch Guy didn’t really prepare me for it, and when I talked to one of the teachers about it she tried to explain, but for such a simple thing, it’s a difficult concept.

 They start small, just take a breath, look into someone’s eyes for 30 seconds and don’t say anything, don’t break eye contact. That was the longest 30 seconds! Then we did it again and it wasn’t as difficult. Then we did it again and took turns talking, whatever comes up without thinking. Then we got in groups of five, sitting in a circle and took turns around the circle. The key is trying not to break eye contact while talking and move your gaze from one person to another about every sentence or so, and I found it easier in a larger group where I didn’t have to hold eye contact with one person as long. THEN, a bigger group, the room split in half and half went to another room. We did the same thing in front of the half group adding in a few steps. At the end of us talking without thinking for a whole minute while holding people’s gaze, the people in the room would shout out words that they see you embody as you stand there. And the grand finale, the entire group together and random names being called up to practice. The words I wrote down at the beginning are all the words people threw out at me as I stood in front of them scared, tears streaming down my face and wondering what the hell I just said. The things people say when in front of the group run the gamut from, “I don’t really feel like talking so I’m going to be quiet and just connect with all of you, to I’ve been doing x,y,z this past year, to isn’t this amazing all this energy in the room,” to people like me, who have all this heavy shit front and center that just comes out. The two times I was in front of the big group, I wished I could say something positive, and I guess some positive things were said about healing, at the same time it’s all shrouded in “hey my mom’s a narcissist and now I’m trying to figure out who I am”.

By the end of the 4 hours, someone commented on how much my demeanor had changed from when I first talked to people and the end of the day. She was right, I felt more relaxed and I was able to focus on the people talking rather than my shit because I was actually seeing them. That’s got to be one of the things that I have trouble with the most. I don’t see people because I’m so wrapped up in how I appear to them, if I’m acting the way they want and taking it personally if someone comments on my demeanor. This time I was able to accept and acknowledge someone telling me that they saw a positive shift instead of falling down the shame spiral of what the hell did I look like before? Is she telling me I was a total bitch to start with and now I’m ok? This is a big shift for me to feel kind of comfortable in my own skin, and to be able to accept compliments! HUGE! So, I’m happy I went, and I’ll be looking into more of the Soul Speaks training. Who knew I’d end up being so open to the hippy-dippy? Not me, that’s for damn sure.

And the vulnerability hangover? It never came…"

Struggling with Shame *edited 12/2/18

Shame is the emotion I most often fall prey to when something doesn’t go the way I expect, or when someone doesn’t react to me the way I expect. The shame hits in the pit of my stomach, I feel uneasy and off-balance. It happens with little things, with big things, with inconsequential things, a hair-trigger of an emotion always lurking.

I had been doing a decent job of looking shame squarely in the face and telling it to fuck off as of late, and then I did something that feels so out of character that I’ve been struggling with shame ever since. I straight up asked Stretch Guy to help and support me more than he already is (which was conversations when I went for stretch sessions, 2 birds, one stone). I had gotten a lot of support from him over the summer partially because I hit all the therapies hard at once and was going weekly to see him for about 6 weeks straight. Then I got to the point where I don’t need the stretch sessions as often, but I still want to talk with him about all the things going on. So, I did it, I wrote the e-mail explaining that I see him as a mentor and I need more support. I promptly fought anxiety for hours until I got the reply saying he’d be happy to support me more.

Ever since then I’ve struggled with whether I did the right thing. I take that back, I struggle at very specific times whether I did the right thing. See, there is never a problem when I’m sharing with him all this therapy, dealing with depression/anxiety and family crap. It always comes after. It will hit when I get home, that fear, the feeling in the pit of my stomach, the non-stop questioning, the confusion. What have I done? Why do I lean on him so much? Is it ok? Is he ok with it? What does it mean? blah blah blah. I am so conditioned to believe there is no such thing as a platonic relationship between men and women that shaking the belief as I find myself in such a relationship, is nearly impossible. Therapist says it’s a vulnerability hangover (one of my favorite Brene Brown’isms) that I’m experiencing when this happens and in asking for help, it’s triggering my avoidant tendencies. She asked if I ever feel the same way after therapy, and I don’t. In my mind, I hire the therapist to help me through all this crap and that is what they are there for, to listen to me pour it all out. It’s pretty easy to work through that in my head so that I don’t have a strong reaction after therapy. He’s not a therapist, he’s just the Stretch Guy and there’s a weird connection that exists between us. The phrase it’s like my soul sees your soul has been uttered in all sincerity. I don’t get it, won’t ever get it, I’ll just chalk it up to a vastly different personality. I wholeheartedly believe he believes it, and who am I to question an intuitive person? I’ve got like zip in the intuitive department.

I was pretty proud of myself lately in that I have been able to have these conversations with him and not fall down the shame spiral. Then something happened and it’s such a little thing that I’m pissed at the level of shame I’m feeling. I knew he was going to do something difficult for him and he kind of joked that I should check in on him. When the time came, I texted a simple, “how are you”. Four hours later, with no response I sent more of a “no really…how are you” text. That one elicited a response along the lines of “oops, I’ve been doing a thing, thanks for checking in I’m fine”. That led to a short text conversation and at the end of it all, I sat on my couch feeling like a fool. So, he forgot he said he’d let me know and got wrapped up in his day. Not a big deal. Unless you’re me.

Let me lead you through the steps of my shame spiral

  • Good grief, do I really think he was going to be worried about updating you when he has x, y, z going on?

  • And why am I so damn invested anyway?

  • I’ll be better off if I just find another stretch therapist. This is ridiculous.

  • Shit, what do people think about mine and S’s relationship? All I do is blog about Stretch Guy it seems.

  • I probably annoy him with my stupid requests for support

  • I need him, he doesn’t need me

  • He has people who support him and I’m not part of that. I’m not important to him.

Let me show you why that’s all wrong

  • Yeah, people forget all the time about details in conversations they had 4 days ago.

  • So I sent two texts and once he saw them, he remembered immediately that he had told me to check in on him and let me know what was up. I’m invested because I care in the same way I would check up on a friend.

  • He’s a damn good stretch therapist and I trust him. End of that conversation.

  • I talk to S and S understands why I’m developing this relationship. Because S and I are two peas in a pod. I need that touchy-feely-intuitive type to give me a swift kick in the analytical ass.

  • Clearly I don’t annoy him with requests for support. In the past year and a half no one made him spill the beans about our similarities. He chose to share his story with me, and continued to encourage me. Oh, and besides…he has never shown annoyance with me over any of this stuff. He’s been a consistent safe presence.

  • I AM important to him. He’s said it and shown it by showing up for me. Sharing with me and supporting me.

There you go, all the reasons why I need to continue looking shame in the face and telling it to fuck off. Writing about this helped a ton. I could keep it draft just for me to read when I need a little kick to get out of the shame spiral, but that wouldn’t be wholly authentic. My blog, if it’s nothing else, is authentic.

Welcome to Fear

I’ve been trying to write a post for weeks. I started it on a work trip, struggled to get words down and then wondered how I was going to edit the mess I had created. Last week I traveled again, pulled up the document and….once again didn’t know how to make what I had down into a coherent blog post. With that, I’m going back to the way I seem to write best, vomiting all over this page…you’re welcome.

I’ve been having trouble putting into words all the emotional shifting that has been bombarding me over the past couple of months. I’ve experienced joy, pain, fear, anger, irritation, anxiety and grief, often in the same week, maybe even over a day. The constant cycling has been exhausting, as well as trying to hold onto my full-time work as I waited to be able to transition into part-time work. During this time, I’ve had the conversation with my mom that didn’t really give me what I needed to move forward with her and ultimately made the decision to for-real-this time let go of my parents. Unlike other times you’ve been privy to if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, this decision wasn’t made in anger, it was made from a new place of self-care and understanding mixed with sadness. I thought I should be able to move forward with my family, until I sat in a therapy session and these words escaped my lips, “I guess I just grit my teeth and get through it”. By the end of that session, I changed my tune to “I don’t think I can see them”. That particular session centered around how Stretch Guy triggered me, how I had realized that I was reacting to him as if he were my parents, and landed squarely in fear. By the time I got to my therapist, I had been able to be straight with Stretch Guy that I had realized how I was reacting to him and apologized, so that part was relatively ok at that point. The fear though, that was something else bubbling below the surface in my interactions with him. I started talking with my therapist about fearing rejection, she effectively drew out of me that I was scared of Stretch Guy rejecting me once he found out who the real me was. Most of the time in her office, I struggled to find the words to talk about how I felt and other than recognizing fear, I couldn’t articulate. I didn’t know where it came from or even why I would be scared of being rejected by Stretch Guy. It didn’t make sense to have that kind of fear around someone I’ve been able to learn how to trust. She pointed out that when that happens, it’s probably pre-verbal. This means that the conditioning of me trying to meet everyone else’s expectations started before I could talk.

As a baby, I was taught to perform to expectations. Once I realized this, I started processing what it meant for me and how I’ve moved through my life. As I processed over the next couple of days, I saw Dr. M who noted that it seemed something heavy was hanging out in my back. He also noted that I was going through a shitty part of the healing process and advised me to not make any major decisions or changes until it passed. I followed up the appointment with Dr. M with a stretch appointment as I often try to do to reinforce to my muscles to stay relaxed. By the time I got to that appointment, I was fearful, anxious and feeling shame. Brene Brown often talks about speaking shame and how that takes the power away from shame. So, since I was visibly upset anyway, I went ahead and told Stretch Guy I was processing a metric ton of fear and it seemed to be fear of rejection, that if I’m not what people want or think I am that they will reject me. Which then led to some revealing on his part what it was like to get to know me over the past year or so. Listening to those words and taking them to heart led me to another realization.

I was so afraid of being rejected for not performing that I wasn’t anything at all. I was afraid of not meeting expectations, but I didn’t know what those expectations were so I squashed all of me, put my head down and tried to figure out who I should be. People never saw who I was, just who I thought I should be and I built up this armor of being walled off, performing academically, basically being a robot. My only emotional outlet was to get angry and explode when I couldn’t take the pressure anymore leading to more shame spiraling, further walling myself off from human contact.

I think they call this a breakthrough. It’s so different from earlier in the summer where I started feeling emotions and being able to handle them better. This staring at myself in the mirror and having a real sense of what other people see and experience.

 

#MicroblogMondays - Gong Bath

you read that right…this ISTJ engineer, unfeeling, skeptic attended a gong bath and loved every second of it.

I’ve been finding that yoga is resonating with me in a way that it hasn’t before. During a candlelight class I attend, the instructor plays the tanpura, and her playlists are intentional with the flow she teaches. There’s something about how she conducts the classes and her messages that pull emotion out of me. I’ve cried through grief, happiness and everything in-between in her class. So when she started promoting a gong bath she and her partner hold, I became curious. I’ve known about gong baths since my old days of attempting to connect with yoga during the adoption wait, but I was always resistant to trying it. Now that I’m responding and feeling more, it was time to give it a try. I made a decision at the last minute to go by myself when I realized it was the last one of the year and I didn’t have time to line up a babysitter so I could drag S with me. When I showed up with my two yoga mats, a blanket, a pillow, a notebook, and water I was nervous not knowing what to expect. I got there 15 minutes before it started and the room was almost full. Choosing a spot near the back observing how others were set up, I set myself up. Mistake #1: didn’t notice that there were thicker mats to borrow that would have been way more comfortable than my two thin yoga mats. Mistake #2: not doing any stretching before lying down on my back. I’m all comfy in shavasana after an hour of yoga, not so much after a long work day. My back was tight, the floor was hard and I found it hard to stay still. The bath started with a guided meditation followed by singing bowls and other instruments before moving to the gongs. Ok, I am a huge skeptic (I know, you’re sooo surprised), so when she talked about the gongs being tuned to the Sun and Saturn, and the journey we were all going to be taking and the forms it could take, I internally rolled my eyes and thought…yeah yeah…how is that possibly going to happen? Especially since I was sober! Well, I didn’t fly through the cosmos. Instead, the vibrations of the gongs rolled through my body causing me to breathe fast and deep and I felt like something was trying to burst out of my chest all Alien-style. The. Whole. Time. It was scary and intense and I found my mind crying out for help imagining people in my inner circle hanging on to my hands to guide me through it. About half way through the gongs, I had to roll onto my side to minimize the vibrations for a while. When I resumed shavasana, the sensation was the same and just as intense. After the gongs, rattles and drums were played to calm it down. I was spent, amazed, shocked, and I can’t wait to do it again.


Don’t know what #microblogmondays is? Check it out here.

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(And then I ran into my network chiropractor as I was leaving and that was totally weird.)