Ignoring my alarm at the Helmlingers after the late night for Scales’s birthday I’m not sure what time I actually got up. Arie had decided to sleep at her Grandma Marmi’s which I thought was pretty rude and inconsiderate since she’s the one who invited me over.

However, this was a rare chance for Cullen to get undivided quality time with me and I’d say he definitely took advantage of it. I think we played with trains first and built a decent sized though not really functional track. I think it was almost breakfast time by this point and Cullen walks in with a couple pairs of sunglasses and has me wear one of them in all kinds of different ways. We took a couple videos to see ourselves make faces.

Cullen just could not wait for me to be done so we could go play with the blocks next. He kept asking if I was done with my food yet then done with my tea yet again and again. I didn’t mind at all since he’s so cute and was a sign of how much he wanted to spend time with me since he could have played blocks with anyone else without waiting for me.

We build a pretty sweet castle if I do say so myself. We built it around a doll and Cullen wanted pictures with it. I think he wanted to reenforce the castle theme so before the pictures he ran into his sister’s room and came back with some kind of princess scepter thing and held it for the pictures. Once we captured the moment, he now wanted to switch to playing castle by dressing up. He kept bringing me different kinds of princess shoes from his sisters room which couldn’t reach past my big toe and felt like they’d break if I put my weight on them. He then decided that I was the King and he was the Queen and we did a little walk around the house before turning back into normal people again and he had me pull him around the house on a little plastic turtle.

All I can remember next is having a cup of tea while the family showered and got ready for the day. At one point little Cully was running around noodie holding his towel in the air and giggling. I tool my turn to shower and when I came out I decided that it was time for me to head home, but Arie had gotten back while I was showering.

I told her it was too bad that I didn’t get to see her this morning because she wasn’t home and both her and her brother latched onto my legs saying to stay just one more night. I was honored of course and tempted, but something in me was ready to get back home maybe to try to get closer to something resembling a normal week. I also knew I had a lot of cooking to do that would be thrown off if I didn’t get back in time to eat it that week. They took me to the ground and piled on top of me to keep me from leaving which made me feel so loved and happy, but I told them that I could come back soon. Arie pushed to know when and I told her maybe in a couple weekends from now.

The drive home started out just fine, but then fucking Bonnie Raitt had to go and ruin it with her song “I can’t make you love me.” Whenever I hear that god damn song all I can hear and see is Carly’s heart crying out to me over our years together and how she gave everything and would have done anything and I just couldn’t or wouldn’t do the same in return. I cried for the first time in a while thinking about how I wasn’t there for her and treated her so poorly.

I think the connection I made was that I also wasn’t there for or treating myself well at all because I was trying to be who I thought I should be and spending every ounce of myself towards an imaginary future. For years, and especially at school I was:

  1. Putting massive amounts of pressure on myself every day.
  2. Witholding and depriving and delaying so much of the rewards of my work that I developed fear and stress about spending any money on.
  3. Having an all-or-noting mindset. Not allowing or forgiving myself for any mistakes, and thinking and telling myself terrible things about myself if I did make any.
  4. Comparing myself to everyone around me, only seeing the strengths they had which I didn’t
  5. Probably more that I can’t think of right now

In short I was abusing myself terribly. One side of me was demanding, unreasonable, conditional, and abusive with what had once been the real me but had been beaten down into this overwhelmed, stressed, scared, lost, insecure, identity which eventually fully believed all the worst about itself that the abusive thoughts would tell it. I was killing myself, and eventually I broke myself, my spirit, my worth, my will to live,

If you saw a parent treating a child the way I was treating myself it would have been both heartbreaking and infuriating. I cried more thinking about it and wondering how many people I met in group therapy treat themselves similarly, and wondering if anyone else around me does also.

Something got me thinking of my trip back to school and if I’ll have some opportunity to tell my whole story. I immediately knew that there were parts of the story in my past that I would be ashamed of and want to avoid or minimize in sharing. Then I started thinking about how much our holding back from each other keeps us from really helping one another in times of need.

If we don’t own these problems and let them show, but keep them to ourselves, how are others and young ones going to recognize or feel safe enough to let their problems show to get the help they need? People like me don’t really get the help needed until after reaching the very end of our rope… otherwise the buildup of pain finds escalating outlets for relief through unhealthy attention seeking, isolation, substance abuse, workaholism, shopaholism, violence against themselves or others, reckless endangerment, suicide, homicide, mass killing, and probably even some if not many human atrocities. I don’t think anyone chooses to do these things for what they are. I think that there is so much repression from teaching and inability to find healthy outlets that pain builds up to the point of desperate and extreme behavior.

I know that is a relatively simplistic view, but after feeling the raw power of being completely under the control of my illness, how it possessed and enslaved me in another realm of consciousness, I believe there is enough power in these things to make it possible.

My conclusion was that if I ever get an opportunity to share my story with an audience of friends and loved ones at school I will not hold back, or hedge, but claim and own all the mistakes and weaknesses and flaws that I’ve recognized. I think that will be the most healthy for myself to not let those things influence me with shame, but also is the only way to really help others who may not recognize if they or anyone close to them is in a similar pattern.

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