I have struggled most of my life to fit in. Conformed to other peoples views of myself. I am not sure if I have ever felt comfortable in my own skin.
I started to believe some very untrue things about myself.
Like for example if I show people the real me it will only scare them away. I shrank myself down in order to order to make other people happy.
The real me wasn’t good enough and it certainly wasn’t lovable.
I started to believe I deserved the bad things that had happened to me, like the sexual abuse and how my father treated me. I guess in a way I thought my gifts made me vulnerable and caused me to get hurt. Like I was responsible for their actions. I think that is probably very common. The people who hurt me, projected their actions onto me and I took responsibility. Not only did I take their actions on, I became them.
I became codependent to some very unhealthy patterns. I started to believe I wasn’t worthy of light or love, nor did the world want to see my own light and love.
It wasn’t until I almost stayed in a very unhealthy relationship that I realized how codependent I had become to the darkness. I was so scared of being alone and felt like this was my only chance to be with someone, that I almost stayed in a potentially abusive relationship.
Recently I have started to watch The United States of Tara and it really made me think about a few things. I started to think about my own life and the various personas I have played. My personalities weren’t as severe as Tara’s personalities, as I never really lost Derek but I did latch onto various false characteristics.
My biggest role I played was that of a monster. I reversed the role of my abusers. I guess in a way that is how I got control of the sexual abuse. I took on this false image of myself. Monsters are unlovable and they live in the darkness. They are also big and scary. I felt like this was all anyone saw me as. Someone to fear and be frightened from. I even experimented sexually in the BDSM scene, where I played the role of dominant. It was just another case of me trying to be something I wasn’t. I was playing a role that I thought others wanted me to play or how I thought they saw me as. Every time afterwards I would feel awful about myself. I finally realized why. Each encounter I was replaying the abuse over and over like a broken record but this time I reversed the role. I became the mean, dominant one who took what he wanted and never asked. Granted it was always mutual but I wasn’t strong enough at the time to stand up and say this isn’t right for me or the other person.
I was just using the person and that made me feel horrible, and just reminded me of the sexual abuse. I couldn’t stand up for myself when I was a child being molested but I certainly could take control as an adult in my sex life. I started to believe that was the only way to get a man to love me. Since being a lovable caring man wasn’t acceptable, I would take whatever I could get (by settling)… Thankfully I realized I wasn’t mean or dominant, I was only trying to play a part and it wasn’t working. It was just another false connection.
I will say that was the only characteristic where I played the part. Otherwise I really didn’t show any characteristics of an actual monster but I still felt like one.
I was struggling to find myself. I was trying to create an alternative to the real me and nothing made me happy because it was never authentic. I was raised to believe who I was wasn’t good enough, that being gay was not only immoral but abnormal. Being in the closet was the first time I started to hide. You can only hide so long before you burst at the seams.
I stopped listening to my intuition, heart and spirit, and I started listening and believing all the negative things anyone ever said about me. I was like a sponge. I took people’s negative energy in but never released it. No wonder whenever I looked in the mirror, I didn’t recognize myself because it wasn’t me. It was the reflection of other people that had hurt me.
We live in a world that isn’t always very accepting. If you are different you are singled out. After countless time of being wounded, you learn to hide who you are. I couldn’t risk another trauma. So I wen’t into protection mode. I put my gifts and abilities into a little box, under lock and key, and hide it deep within me. A life of solitude had to be better than a life full of suffering and pain.
As long as I hid in the darkness, no body could see or find me. It was my way of being invisible. Occasionally I would risk coming out of seclusion. Though most of the time the light would blind me, sending me into a panic back into the comforts of the dark.
Years would go by and I was living a flat-lined life. I was like a zombie. I was completely miserable and I started to realize that this alternative wasn’t working either. I realized as scary as the light was, it was the only way for me to be happy. If I was going to commit to living on this earth, that I had to make an effort.
I was trying to heal on my own and without my spirituality. Which are two components that I was missing in order to heal. I was missing connection and without that my life was stagnant. My previous connections always ended up in me getting electrocuted. I have since learned that I need to be careful which outlet I choose to connect to. If you plug yourself into a negative outlet, you will always get burned.
In order for me to heal, I need to reach out to people. In doing so I have learned that not everyone is out to hurt me. Sometimes when we are not able to see ourselves in the mirror, it takes another person to mirror who we are. I wouldn’t be where I am today with out some very wonderful loving kind souls. In my darkest days they helped to show me my light.
I can’t say I am quite there. I still struggle on a daily basis but it is getting easier. I am learning to embrace my authentic self and letting go of all the falsities. I have learned it is safe to be me and the only way for me to be happy. I have learned the hard way that only person you can make happy is yourself.
Which reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by Marianne Williamson:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
My hope is that by allowing others to be apart of my journey, that they themselves will have the courage to let their own light shine. We are all in this together and no longer have to do it alone.
My playing small doesn’t serve anyone. I was meant to shine, like the moon and sun above, and so are you…