Friday, September 20, 2013

Robbed of Personal Power - Beyond Your Story

I talk a lot about your story up until now and how you should not let it define you.

We all have had people in our past who have taken away our personal power. It might have been parents, kids at school that made fun of us or people who have abused us in some way.

In the words of The Bloggess, depression lies!

 I've been right in all these places. I've been told I was fat, even though I was beautiful. There was a man who told me that he loved me, then choked me until I blacked out. There was a man who, when he saw me walking around the college campus without him, told me that I was fat and that he was embarrassed to call me his girlfriend to his coworkers. Girls, so insecure with themselves while in my presence, that they systematically tore at my self esteem over years until by age 17, I didn't think that I was worthy of even drawing breath, anymore.

A picture of me at 17 - suicidal and believing I was horribly fat, ugly
and not worthy of drawing breath, anymore.

There are so many things that float around in our heads from these situations in our lives. They come back to us as we are driving down the road. They replay to us as phantasms behind our closed eyelids in the shower or before we drift off to sleep. These are horrible stories that we repeat in our heads and they hold us back in our lives.

"Oh, I can't do that because my family was . . . "

"I don't deserve to be happy because I'm too fat, too intimidating with my intelligence, too ugly, too . . . " any number of things.

All of these things that you tell yourself in your head, no matter who told you that? They were wrong.

A conversation my local grocery store with a cashier led me to make the statement, "I don't know why people are so mean to each other."

In my younger years, I was (to borrow a phrase from TRAPT) "a little piece of heaven raising hell." I was beautiful. With a dancers' build and modeling contracts, I still didn't think I was worth a damn. And because I let my past define me, I was angry. So angry. I watched this TED talk, recently, and I really know how this woman felt.

For years, I was so hurt. It started with my heart being broken by a good friend / high school romance and it built from there. But I never really allowed myself to feel the pain from that betrayal. I didn't see the outside influences on him. His parents, etc. Only my own pain.

I still had to go to school. I still had to care about getting good grades and getting into college. I had to pretend to care about so many things when, really, all I could think about was the fact that I felt I had lost the one and only person who had understood me and that I was alone in the world, again. I couldn't feel that pain or honor it.

Parents and well-meaning peers told me to "get over it," so I hid it. I "sucked it up" and it became tighter and smaller and it morphed in my heart into a black ball of anger that followed me. Situations and years came and went and my anger just knotted in upon itself and I raged.

I raged! And the more I raged, the more I found to be mad at - righteously (I thought). Patriarchy, sexism, racism, genocide, cruelty, the Native holocaust. Ani DiFranco sang "I'm not angry, anymore," and I screamed back at her. "Fuck you, Ani. I'm still angry!" Hundreds of personal and cultural and worldly slights to be mad at until I spun myself out of anger in exhaustion some time in my late 20's - right around the time Hubby and I started dating.

During my period of rage, I pulled back from any vulnerability. My anger made me strong. It made me goal driven. It gave me scholarships and grants and awards and accolades far beyond my schooling and years. It gave me fire and it gave me drive. It made me hard.

When I did form relationships, I was so terrified of being hurt again, I kept everyone at bay. Even those that knew me for years only had an illusion of intimacy. Two year relationships only scratched the surface of "knowing who Bri was." I couldn't be authentic because of my fear, so I sought out other broken, hurt and furious souls, like me. There was no way that these relationships were going to last, but at least the two of us could find comfort in someone who was just as broken as the other was, for a time. And if my partner was broken, too, they wouldn't judge me for my damaged self.

I'm not quite sure what has changed me. Maybe it was Hubby or age. Maybe becoming a mama has softened my edges. Maybe moving back to my hometown has made little Native me want to "bury the hatchet." Maybe picking my art back up, being in therapy, admitting to being in pain, finally getting medical attention, and regular writing are all contributing to my change of heart and mind.

Or maybe it's because I'm 32 and I'm finally ready to start growing into the woman that I'm meant to be in this life, ready to step up and be the creative, the medicine person, the healer that I was always been meant to be. And you will know me, now, by the way I dance with the fire and the wolves.

There could be a hundred different reasons that I'm not the same person, anymore. But I like who I am, now. And I like who I'm becoming. I like that I am content, most days, though I still do have the yearning to grow, to explore, to learn and to create.

I used to be hard, like a scalpel. I find myself, now, becoming soft. My arms, my belly, my eyes, hair, skin and smile. All soft. And I'm okay with this. I'm reclaiming my personal power. I am strong. I've moved beyond my story and am writing a new one.

And, the one thing I want to tell you, my readers, about all of this. I am not special. I'm just one girl, out here, in the middle of the corn fields of Indiana. Trust me. If I, with all my faults and foibles can move from a place of hurt and anger to a place of peace and calm joy, you can too. There is nothing special about what I've done. All it takes is the effort to try.

You, my readers. You are my pack. So, if your heart is aching. If your spirit is downtrodden. If you're angry or alone or misunderstood or feel like you're forgotten - know one thing. There's one soul, out here, who's been exactly where you are and has come through it to a better place. There is hope. There is a way. And you can find it!

Oh my lovelies, I hope this entry finds your heart in a place of joy. If it doesn't, I hope that joy finds you soon.

And please remember that we are all visionaries. We just have to figure out where we excel.

Love to All My Relations,


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