I have struggled with this blog for a long time. As of this morning, I once again deleted all the entries and renamed the blog. Not a big deal since there was not much of value in what I had posted, but it’s done and here I am now. Again.
I think about writing here almost every day. Any time I make a todo list, writing here is always on it. I write in Standard Notes continuously and it has become a daily ritual that I have come to look forward to, but the idea of taking any of those writings and putting them out for people to see brings up a block in me that as of yet (in my mid-forties) I am still working to overcome. Something about the idea of sharing even the smallest piece of myself fills me with overwhelming anxiety. It stands to reason then that this anxiety is also present in other areas of my life. I have spent a good chunk of time over the last year working on this and have made progress. So, this morning when I opened SN to do some daily writing practice and journaling, my listed tag caught my eye and it felt like this was the time to give this another try.
Even when I think they are full of it, I have always marveled at people who put their ideas out on blogs and social media. Somehow they feel free enough to do it while I got all tangled up in a web of emotion and doubt. I question whether I have anything valid to say and as a perpetual people pleaser, I fear that I might say something that someone might not like. I am fully aware of the adage (and its meaning) by John Lydgate that “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” Of course this is obvious and intellectually I understand it, but as it has become evident to me, intellect and emotion don’t always go hand-in-hand and reasoning something out doesn’t always make the underlying feelings go away.
Another part of this though, is that my work I have been doing on myself over the last year has revealed to me that what I thought of as “emotions,” the patterns that have kept me from writing or publishing anything aren’t really emotions at all, but rather habitual behaviors that I use to block real feelings from coming up. What I have learned is that anxiety is not really an emotion, but a defense mechanism or something that leads to defensive behavior. When anxiety comes up it is in reaction to a feeling I am having that somewhere along the way I learned was not ok to feel, so anxiety about that feeling comes up and I have all manner of things I do to stuff that feeling back down. Recently, I had a breakthrough where I caught one of those feelings coming up and was able to be with it and didn’t give in to the old patterns normally brought on by it. In other words, for the first time since whenever it was I put these walls up, I allowed myself to feel this feeling as it came up and through. In this case, the feeling was anger and while the circumstances around it aren’t important, it was a huge moment for me to feel it in all it’s glory. I now know with certainty, that anger as most of us understand it and would describe it isn’t the actual experience of anger but rather our attempts to block the true feeling because we feel like we can’t. These blocks can come in the form of things like shutting down, self-hatred, yelling, banging on tables, throwing things, or even more dangerous forms of violence.
The big takeaways from that event were as I said, that I have misunderstood anger my whole life, but that the true experience of anger itself is fundamentally just a great surge of energy. If we are able to get around the blocks that we put up around feelings like this, and can allow them to come up and through, it is a huge source of energy that is available to us to then direct however we want or need in the moment. It can be a boon to creativity and productivity. That of course is not to belittle whatever it is that made us angry to begin with. The event that provoked the feeling could be something you need to deal with, maybe even immediately. But the difference is if you can see through the patterns, you then have freedom to act as the situation requires instead of resorting to habitual patterns that can be destructive.
If any of this resonates with your experience, I urge you to fully investigate it for yourself. I am still at the beginning of this work and expect it will be the work of a lifetime, but the benefits of it are too strong and the urgency for what it means in the world is too real to not bring it up. I’m sure I will write more about this as time goes on.
So posting this about myself is stirring up a lot of things for me. It is difficult and scary, but I will not run from it, at least this time. That could change tomorrow and I might end up repeating this whole process again in a few months, but the work will continue and every moment is a chance to start over, right?