Sometime last week someone came and turned me upside down. They emptied out what was there and filled me up with green slime-y muck. And then they put a soundtrack in my head that went something like this: I’m not special, so not special, so and so is special, she/he loves him/her more than me, if I’m not special I will disappear…
Needless to say, the house of me was not a fun place to be.
For the first couple days, the best I could do was notice that I’d been—uh, how to say—possessed. Not to be dramatic. But yeah, pretty much.
Possessed, you say?
Well, put it this way. If there was any distance whatsoever between me and this Green Monster, it was MINUS10… which mathematically, I suppose, is still something and possibly that something was the bit responsible for the noticing, but still, did I mention that it hurts? It’s been waking me up in the night and making me want to do all sorts of things to get certain people’s love and appreciation.
Pretty much I’ve been sitting on my hands not to do anything like contact the people I want to be special-ed by. Which meant pretty much staying holed up in a secret cubby in the basement in the house of me in a spot that Green Monster had somehow not yet found.
There I sat, peering inside, trying to understand what was really happening, doing my best to be kind and
writing tapping in code on the wall so as not to keep it all bottled up in secret.
So yeah, ow.
Unfortunately, another monster did know where I was hiding. At first he looked totally harmless, helpful even, and he brought me cookies. But then he started telling me I should keep even my coded tapping to myself because, “Um, hello, having the house of you filled with green slime is the unsexiest thing ever—kind of like bedbugs,” he pointed out. “The people you want to be specialed by, most especially, will think you are the biggest loser ever if they find out.”
He wasn’t finished. “It’s so not badass. So not Sassypants or Night Queen. So whatever you do, do not write about it. Even in code.” This monster was about the shame.
The A Word or Two on Monsters bit
Monsters mean well. They do. That much I have learned. From their point of view, based on what they believe, their ideas are helpful. But acting and doing things as directed by them pretty much is never a good idea. Not that I don’t still. But, I notice sooner. And sometimes I can sit on my hands until things simmer down, or clarity arrives.
Eventually, it seems, all monsters also bring gifts. And sometimes, when all the stuff to do with them having needed to become a part of you way back when is understood, and when whatever need wasn’t met way back then is met or transformed, then they might even get promoted. Which is what happened last week to my Monster of the Monies. He totally got promoted! But that’s for another time.
Lest you get excited about Green Monster’s gifts prematurely, let me be clear: I’m barely just maybe thinking that possibly he might one day have a gift for me. Maybe. Even the possibility of that was completely foreign to me until a few hours ago, when a tall smart handsome bad-ass member of My Inner Council Inc. stopped by for a visit. More on that in a sec.
The Let It Be Said bit
After about a week of green slime, I was worn down. And this morning, the sad. Which looked like a boatload of tears spilling into my tea.
Let it be said, this is not the first time.
Let it be said, too, that it’s got nothing to do with the particulars of who and what is triggering the story this time.
The Same Story, ‘Nother Time bit
Once upon a relationship I said, “You love me?” I was putting into words what I saw in his soft eyes. Oh the happy.
And he said, “Yehhhs.” Just like that, all drawn out. Oh the love.
But then, over the years, the question would pop into my head when I was feeling insecure, and, not being very good at noticing from whence it came nor being very adept at sitting on my hands, I’d ask: “Do you love me?” Even in the middle of the night a few times. Oh the scared.
And he’d say “Yehhhs,” and it was true, but it didn’t do what it had done when my question had come from playful and innocent. Now it came from scared and insecure. And his yes was not enough. It couldn’t be.
I can tell it would be that way now too. If I asked.
So even while I notice how special all the cool kids are, and all the notice they get, and how this one is following that one and so on and so forth, something tells me that getting this person, these people, to tell me I’m special will not do anything for me. Not really. Certainly not for more than two seconds.
Oh! Hello! Clint Eastwood is here. ThankGod.
The Me and Mr. Eastwood bit
He: So, Heidi… What if it were true… what if they loved everyone else but not so much you? What if they didn’t adore you? What if they were tired of you? What if they didn’t want to hear from you again? What if they didn’t read anything you write? What if you weren’t special at all to them? What then, hunh? What then? Would you still write?
He: What would you write?
Me: About that.
He: And what else?
Me: What else?
He: What else would you write if you didn’t care who loves you?
Me: I don’t know.
He: Well, go find out.
Me: But Mr. Eastwood, I don’t want to be alone. I need family.
He: You ain’t got family, is that true? Make a list right now of people that love you. Go ahead. I’ve got time.
How many’ve you got there so far?
Me: 14. But they’re not here. They’re just in my head.
He: Well, where else is there?
Me: Come again?
He: Where else would they be?
Me: With me in person. Or responding to me in words that I can read.
He: So if they don’t respond to you in words you can hear or read they don’t love you anymore?
He: When did you first think that?
Me: Probably at boarding school. Letters from home took a long time to arrive. And when they finally did I’d lock myself in the bathroom and smell the letter and I could hardly read it for crying so hard and and and–
He: That was a hard time, wasn’t it.
He: You thought they’d forgotten you back home, huh? That you weren’t important anymore?
Me: Yeah, like they were doing all the fun things… without me. I wasn’t a part of them anymore. That’s what it feels like now when the theys-of-now don’t respond. I think they’ve moved on from loving me.
He: Where are you, Heidi?
He: Right now, where are you?
He: Not really. You’re over in their head, imagining what all they think about you. You’re not here at all.
He: For all you know they still adore you and love you to the moon, and what do you know? You’re stuck imagining horrible things they think of you or that they’ve forgotten you.
What’s around you, Heidi?
Me: My favorite picture is right in front of me. The Ansel Adams of Georgia O’Keefe looking at the wrangler. They’re both wearing black hats. They’re in New Mexico. And the sky is huge. And the look on O’Keefe’s face is filled with appreciation and twinkle and a touch of mischief. And love. She’s giving the wrangler guy, who seems quite shy, all the space in the world. But you can tell she totally adores him.
He: Nice. That’s one of my favorites, too.
Me: I want to be Georgia O’Keefe. Giving as much space as is needed and feeling secure and safe and loved in my very own space. And doing what I love to do, regardless of what the world thinks.
He: Well, you’re on your way.
He: You saw it, didn’t you?
Me: Come again?
He: In the picture. You see all of that. It’s in you. You’d not have even gone there if it weren’t. Plus, I see you doing that with your clients.
He: And sometimes even with the people you right now think you need to be loved by.
He: And when you are feeling good and secure you enjoy all the connection there is in your circles. And when other people are noticed and adored you are happy with them and sometimes you jump into the conversation. And you aren’t all second guessing everything.
He: Heidi, you are so much bigger than this, you have no idea. And this bit, right now, is important too. Do you think you are the only one ever to feel this way?
Me: I imagine not.
[Mr. Eastwood laughs. A lot, for him.]
Me: What’s so funny?
He: Oh, I’m thinking of our world and the things people do to be noticed, loved. The ridiculousness and innocence of it, especially when they don’t realize they are doing it.
Me: Glad you think it’s funny.
He: Oh, you do too. You know it.
[I look away, stubbornly.]
He: Alright then. I’ll be on my way.
And just as quickly as he showed up, Clint Eastwood mounts his horse, gives him a nudge, and they’re off.
Here’s the Ansel Adams picture I love. See what I mean?
- Havi Brooks’ (Destuckifying) Monster Manual (for you) and Coloring Book (for your monsters!) A blast. And super helpful.
- Dance of Shiva to rattle up stuck patterns and bring on the epiphanies. Believe me when I say, anyone can do it. Anywhere.
- Treasure Maps, developed and taught by Barbara McGavin and Ann Weiser Cornell. I’ve been twice. Super helpful, both times.
- The Work of Byron Katie. I think my Clint Eastwood and Byron Katie might have had a word or two over the years.
As for comments…
I can’t wait to hear your stories. Monster stories. Clint Eastwood stories. Georgia O’Keefe stories. Inner council stories. Ideas. I’m-onto-the-green-monster stories. Yes!
Ironically though, I am not wanting to hear “Oh, you are so special.” I know, weird, but there you go. And also, no advices please thank you.