Pan.dora's Box

(skipping all the preamble that Pan.dora is brought to earth to punish Man...)  As a wedding present, Zeus gave Pando.ra a box (in ancient Greece this was called a jar) but warned her never to open it. Pand.ora, who was created to be curious, couldn’t stay away from the box and the urge to open the box overcame her. Horrible things flew out of the box including greed, envy, hatred, pain, disease, hunger, poverty, war, and death. All of life’s miseries had been let out into the world. Pan.dora slammed the lid of the box back down. The last thing remaining inside of the box was hope. Ever since, humans have been able to hold onto this hope in order to survive the wickedness that P.andora had let out.

“Pan.dora’s box” now means anything that is best left untouched, for fear of what might come out of it. https://www.greekboston.com/culture/mythology/pandoras-box/

By finally diving into my brain and working to process trauma that I've pushed down and ignored my entire life, I've opened the box. For the first time in my life I'm really feeling on a daily basis. Doing therapy for the last several years has slowly opened my awareness to my behavior and why I behave the way I do, but it's been this deep subconscious work that has unleashed the emotional parts. So much anger and sadness as I move through the feeling of worthlessness that I chose to work on in EMDR. I got to the point in EMDR where therapist thought I might have worked it out. She told me to change the thought to positive and I started the processing again. Instead of it going positive, I dove in deep to the reasons why I started building the armor around myself. The difference between knowing that I protect myself and feeling why it's there in the first place were staggering. It shook me to the core, and I've been processing it ever since. Processing comes in forms of:

  • getting really really angry at my mom while riding my bike and yelling at her in my head (I rode really fast btw) then stopping, breaking out in a cold sweat and crying;
  • lying on the stretch table telling Stretch Guy how for the first time I was able to answer the question "are both of your parents alive" at the doctor's office and tearing up because I'm sad my dad is dead;
  • saying out loud how my therapist has pointed out that there is a little girl who will always be searching for the mom she never had, and barely being able to choke the words out.
  • being told that in a meeting where I thought my behavior was mostly fine, that "everyone" thought I was angry the whole day and completely breaking down in anger and tears in front of my direct supervisor and superior.
  • wondering if I've made a major mistake in staying in this career for 20+ years, especially as my personality clashes with the way the organization runs

It's not necessarily all bad, I recently found myself feeling gratitude. I was riding my bike by myself and stopped at a coffee shop for lunch. Sitting outside in the shade, watching leaves wave in the breeze and listening to the sounds around me suddenly resulted in a wave of emotion through my body that I couldn't describe. The best I can do is say I felt at peace and like everything was as it should be. That, I think was gratitude, and I realized that now I understood those Insta posts that usually result in a major eye roll from me. (followed by: what's wrong with me that I don't understand what they're talking about?) I'm also finding myself laughing and smiling at crazy stuff my kids do, or being able to let go a little bit more and acting silly with them.

All my emotions are at the surface and it's hella uncomfortable. I've had moments of wanting to slam the box shut and hammer it into a million pieces, especially that part when I was breaking down at work. I don't like looking at myself through another lense and seeing these aspects of my personality/behavior that are holding me back. It's painful, it sucks, its scary. But. I have to do it to get through to the other side. If I don't, I won't ever be happy.