This weekend it was my intention to share about my family life during a rocky period in our collective experience. As I worked on crafting the story my current situation changed in many ways. I was flooded with reminiscences from that difficult time. I started to write about them and I cried. This is the first time in forty plus years since the incidents occurred that I was able to identify the pain, anxiety, loneliness and anger that I suffered during those hard years and to be able to see the hurt little boy and stay with his feelings and tell him it was natural for him to feel that way. It was the first time I was able to soothe myself in ways I had never been soothed. It brought up a profound sadness and a deep joy. Self recognition is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves and I was finally able to do it on some things that had previously been too hot for me to hold.
In this raw state I have really had to manage my shifts. Going into very charged territory is slow sensitive work requiring receptivity and a willingness to be with whatever comes up. Responsibilities don't slip away to make room for this work. I've had to move from these monumental moments of self acceptance to my normal day to day, back and forth numerous times and though it hasn't been easy it has been working out. One thing that helped me was to not pressure myself to completely shift my affect.
I can be sad and still find the energy to make lunch. I can be angry about my past and not yell at the people in front of me. I don't have to erase all emotional traces of the self study work before I can move on to another activity as long as my observer is aware of all that is going on. By not pushing hard feelings aside and letting them shift in their own time, I seem to have access to them later, when I want to slow down again and just be with them.
As I was moving through all this, I became very sensitive and I became aware of a big current fear. My fear is that I may be creating pain for others in my family by sharing about what happened. We have never talked openly about those hard times. We have had some side conversations but nothing like a thorough airing has ever taken place. It is a taboo area for some of the participants. They don't want to dredge up the past. I want to respect this and I have needs too.
My need for self acceptance is aided by the support of others. I have found it very healing to be candid about how I am feeling about things and to share the stories of how I have arrived where I am. I like to teach. I feel grateful for the many gifts I have been given and I enjoy giving back. This is a cycle of growth for me that makes personal work even more rewarding.
My impulse to share is very strong and my desire to maintain respect for my family is strong as well. At first this troubled me and I was anxious and conflicted. Then I realized there is no hurry. No one is forcing me to do this, nor can anyone stop me if I really want to proceed. There is no timetable. What a relief.
I have given myself the gift of space around this, while I have continued my self exploration. I have been writing and uncovering my personal truth without feeling like I have to publish or to do it in any specific time frame. As this process has unfolded a plan has formed.
I will try to tell my story with full descriptions of my emotional reality and general descriptions of the triggering events. If I need to fully revisit certain moments, I will allow myself to do so but for public sharing I will only give information that is absolutely necessary for understanding how I was affected. Perhaps most importantly, I will give people mentioned in the story an opportunity to review what I have written before publication. This will give them a chance to make suggestions, air any grievances and to be familiar with the material before it is available to the public.
I did not want this to disrupt our holiday celebrations which have been grand, so I'm waiting till everyone is back home to offer to email them their copies of the potentially difficult text. If they do want to look it over I'll give them a few days to read and respond. I'm guessing I'll be publishing it here by next weekend. See you then.