A letter to you

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Young and naive, confused and alone, the cycle would go on for years. Absorbing my surroundings like a sponge, memorizing words of hate to use decades later in my own personal attacks of those whom I cherished. The chaos continued and here began my addiction of escape and coping mechanisms that allowed me to merely exist in this world- floating through my constant cloud of depression that became so normalized that I had a full out battle with my ego when I later tried to give it up. The safe haven of darkness that was so familiar and cozy- ripped out from under me was enough to give me my first of many mental breakdowns.

It wasn’t until I chose to start doing this increasingly difficult work, that I was able to finally begin to make sense of it all. The process of questioning, unlearning, rewiring and digging up the roots that ran so deep within me and had grown into enormously miserable yet thriving plants of despair and flowers of hopelessness flipped it all around for me. The new self-awareness and hyper sensitivity of becoming a completely different person gave me the much-needed perspective to make sense of it all.

They say that at birth we come into this world having the cumulative trauma of four generations embedded into our DNA, a shockingly simple realization for me now. At the almost age of 30, I squeeze the murky water from my childhood sponge to see its contents spilled out in front of me. Even as adult children it’s difficult for us to remember that our parents are merely humans, like the rest of us. We create unreachable expectations for those around us and collapse to the ground when they aren’t met. I understand that you came from different backgrounds and generations. I understand that you had good intentions all along, but they never matched your expectations because they didn’t align with your values that you had inherited from someone else without question. I see how you did your best, even if it meant showing up empty- because no one ever modeled self-care to you. I know that the invisible line between love and co-dependency is easy to cross- and I’m even more familiar with how that mindset sends you spiraling into the darkness of a victim mentality. It’s easy to be a victim; to be miserable, to blame the world and everyone in it for your mood swings, depression, resentment, self-loathing and failures. That style of life is a much more instinctual pick versus the one where we take responsibility for our problems, reflect and question ourselves and what we put out in this world. The ego is here to protect us and keep us alive, but it also loves labels and identities and it works overtime to construct the resilient pride that refuses to let go of what no longer is working, for fear of its necessary ego-death. Many of us will never be able to admit that we get what we put out.

It’s one thing to finally look in the mirror and realize what you’ve been projecting onto others; seeing the damage you’ve caused and the effect it had on everyone around you- but it’s a much more difficult road to learn the healthy way to behave and think- let alone apply it in real life. Many of us choose the long road of denial- something I had difficulty finding my way out of thanks to those coping mechanisms I mentioned earlier. Material things, escaping with drugs and an exploding social calendar, even romantic comedies were a way to keep my head in the clouds- not noticing how it would bring about the crumbling of many un-sturdy foundations when they didn’t match the fluffy Disney-like happy endings I fantasized my codependency would lead to.

I know that it seems much easier to keep pointing the finger, stonewall and run away than to do what seems impossible- heal. But the healing is exactly what you will be preventing from yourselves if you don’t use this experience wisely- Spirit will only give you so many opportunities for growth before you can no longer live with the regret. Blaming will only lead to worse problems that never get fixed because you are denying yourself the opportunity to take responsibility and make necessary changes. Criticizing, judging and using hate filled words to air out the pressure of pent up resentment is just a mere projection of what is inside- anger and sadness. It’s hard to let go of the entitlement that comes from refusing to accept, or even fathom the idea, that other possible perspectives exist or the fact that other people having opinions and feelings too. The incessant pain that you try to squash with distractions will never dissipate because deep down you know that acknowledging it means admitting defeat and the fact that you can never take back the hurt you caused others.

I close my eyes; my mind’s eye settles in the darkness and I fixate my sight on a little girl-myself. She’s small and seems helpless, with tear-filled eyes she looks up at me. Her hand in mine, trembling with fear and sadness. She is hurt but she knows she will be ok. We walk together to the other side of the room, where two other children are standing. My mother, young and frail looking- scared to death. Her only known purpose is the family she raises- the struggles of motherhood and not knowing how to express her love raveled in a nest of depression and loneliness. My father is thin, with a sad boyish face. His eyes long for more, yet he fears he will never reach it so he constantly and subconsciously does just that. Neither of them feels worthy or deserving- the affection they received only showed glimpses of what true and unconditional love was, so together they would struggle, blindly, until they could learn to love themselves first. My younger self and I forgive you; we understand and we accept what has happened and what is happening. Regardless of the immense pain and trauma that it has caused to resurface, I am grateful for this because it is making me look at what I was running away from for two decades. As Freud said “one day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.” That is the only thing I am certain of.

I am the daughter of you two beautiful beings and I will never stop being that, I am not here to choose sides- I see the pain behind both of your experiences. I just wish you the best of luck and I hope you find your way back home-wherever that may be.

 

Love always,

Mabelyn

 

 

 

 

 

transcending your anger

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As a regular human being with mood swings and annoyances, I have to deal with what I would call unnecessary emotional flare-ups every now and then. Today it was anger. I worked what felt like a 24-hour day where some beings were behaving ridiculously, then my podcasts refused to play, and my body felt like spaghetti noodles and due to this pasta-like body of mine, I was unable to go to the gym, which was a promise I had made to myself pre-limp fish syndrome. So naturally, I felt lazy and useless, started complaining, spent my walk to my vehicle talking more smack and then got mad at myself for flaking on my gym session, then topped it off by getting mad at someone else for not waiting on me hand and foot like the princess that I thought I was in that moment.

While I believe it is completely normal and ok to be angry if you have a legitimate reason to be and I think it’s important to express and feel your emotions, I don’t like to succumb to a bad mood just because life doesn’t go as expected. As someone who is trying to become the best version of themselves, I don’t want to spend my time choosing to be pissy or grumpy when it is easily fixable.

I realized on my way home I was in a funk and I had two directions I could go in; A) stay mad, curse the world, run over the bicyclist next to my car, and then blame him for sending me to jail or B) get over myself and spend the rest of my evening transcending my unwanted anger into something productive, creative or relaxing. Luckily, I chose the latter.

I began by getting comfy and taking my dog out for a walk. Nature is such an amazing and healing gift that we all have access to and I can definitely vouch for its therapeutic effects. Not only did I get a chance to leave what seemed like smothering surroundings due to feeling overwhelmed, but today was also a full (ish) moon and the temperature was mild, perfect for an evening walk. In other words, it was beautiful out. I was able to figure out my podcast situation and turned on an episode which helped me with my tendency to ruminate in my negative thoughts and stories my squirrel brain creates, while also educating myself on a topic of my interest. By listening to someone else, it allows me to focus my attention on them rather than having my thoughts snowball into a catastrophic avalanche of make believe.

Once I finished my walk I slowly noticed myself going back to feeling yucky so I decided to be productive. I pulled out my laptop and got to work on my website and business. Even though I felt slightly better for walking my dog, I knew that I would definitely feel better after working on something beneficial to my career. Basically, a task with a fruitful outcome.

Music also helps my anger to dissipate, and honestly what I listen to is always different. My playlist of choice will be dependent on the time of the day and whether or not I have obligations to tend to. If I have to go somewhere and be expected to act like a sociable human being or stay awake then I will play something to pump me up. If I am able to go home and plop then I can put on something soothing to help me relax while the anger melts away. Lately, I’ve been listening to this Focus playlist on my Spotify app, especially while I am working or in the mornings when I’m starting my day.

The last remedy I used to release my anger was the art of writing, journaling, blogging, or whatever you want to call it. I’ve written in journals since I was a child and I know that getting my feelings out on paper allows me to be really vulnerable, honest with myself and helps me to see the situation more clearly. Once I’ve written (or typed) it out, I’m able to get out of my head where I would otherwise be replaying the same nightmare over and over again. I also think that by sharing my experiences and vulnerabilities with others, that it allows me to create connections and in turn form a sense of community. I know when I am feeling “some type of way” that I usually will go online and google said mood and find articles or blog posts that will help me to cope or flip the emotion around to something more helpful. At the very least, I am able to find new strategies that I can implement in the future for when I am ready and able to do so. Because let’s be honest, sometimes we just want to feel sorry for ourselves.

So where am I now? Well, my anger is almost entirely gone, and I know most of it was completely made up in my head. But I also remembered some important truths. I realized that I can’t spend my evenings squawking my beak about pointless or negative situations that I have no control of.  While I can’t dictate how others behave, I do have power over how I react and I can choose to restrain from taking part in any undesirable behaviors that hinder my growth. I saw my unpleasant mood as a teacher, and rediscovered ways that can help me become stronger and happier in my day to day life. For me specifically, I was also able to take into account my Buddhist practice. I believe that every action or cause has an effect, so if I spend my time saying or doing something hurtful, then I can surely expect it to come back and bite me in my sore rear.

I hope this post was humoring to you and you leave here feeling better than when you came. As I mentioned before, these ideas to help transcend anger and bad moods are better suited for mild conditions of ungratefulness, as well as feeling spoiled and irritated. I do have some experience on getting over depression and other more severe mental health issues which I can share if you are interested. Please comment below if you have any questions or if you would like to share your ideas on how to get out of a funk.

 

Love always,

Mabes