Sometime in January I decided to make 2019 a year for me, to do things for me, without guilt or recriminations. Not outlandish, or extravagant stuff, more along the lines of self care and self nurture along with a bit more reaching out to stretch some of the parts of me that have contracted into a hardened shell. The shell built itself over time as a protection against the buffeting winds of what life as a woman in our unenlightened world all too often ends up being.
No matter how hard we try, unless we become a hermit on an isolated hill away from the noise and odours of living, we will be accosted by the awfulness that is perpetrated in plain sight. Despicable activities are told and retold, pointed at, ridiculed, shamed, blamed, even supported. “Don’t think negatively,” someone who should have know better said to me when I asked for some guidance with a particular issue, “it happened a long time ago, you need to get over it, move on.” I needed guidance on how to move on from a particularly involved situation. I knew I needed to move on, but how does one do that when everything around brings the memories back? Her answer was, “Think positively.”
Positive thinking is not denial of the negativity. Saying the bad things are not present or did not happen does not make the damage they’ve already done suddenly disappear. Neither the bones broken, nor the skin and muscles sliced by an attacker, that did not mend and which cause constant visual reminders, and daily pain affecting activity are not miraculously healed and gone by ‘thinking positively’. What does that even mean when one has a perpetual reminder?!
Denying the negative will not stop it from happening, but recognising the possibility of a potentially negative outcome means it might be able to be managed, maybe even sidestepped or completely prevented with prior intervention. I think we might have stopped looking for options to deal with potential negative outcomes because to do so looks a bit like we might be victim blaming, and that is sooooo not the case. Positive thinking is not dealing with an issue after the fact, it’s assessing potentials outcomes before something happens.
I possibly need to add a caveat here: I’m older now, and more world weary. I positive-ed my way through years of trauma and abuse, believing the rhetoric that it was my fault, always my fault, like so many survivors do. Often called ‘Pollyanna‘, from childhood to adulthood, I could always find a positive spin to put on the seemingly worst times. I always believed justice and fairness would prevail; until there came a time when I saw through the veil of the lies I had been sold to further the interests of those more powerful and wealthy than others.
My efforts to find a path through the maze, one suitable to me that is, not the one I’m told I must take, have shown me it does not exist. The humanities have not made enough headway to be useful beyond a certain point. Most offerings centre around CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) which might be useful to some people, but not so much to those with long term residual trauma. No one wants to delve further into the dark depths of the truths of what we do to each other, thus there are no offerings for how to move from that darkness into something less intense.
In fact, when I asked the psychologist how she’d suggest the young girl burned with acid could CBT her way through all that that entailed, she had no answer. Last year was a dreadful year of frustration, of being aged and invisible.
Anyway, back to the original topic of my peculiar week. All of the above, and everything else that went hand in hand with it through the past few years, had a pretty sizeable impact. I took time off, eventually retired from consultancy, and wrote some books. Some are finished and published, others are still in their infancy, while some are nearing completion. It’s been a different road to travel.
My peculiar week came about through the processes I put in place in January to make 2019 for me. To keep all my ideas together, I chose an A5 hard covered note book, some thin pink and some ivory satin ribbon, and some page markers, all from various stashes. Some glue, a long handled hook and not much mess later, I had 10 ribbon bookmarks dividing the sections marked with page markers.
I’m using the notebook to record ideas for things like adventures into the outside, medical questions and updates for the GP and pharmacist, sewing and crocheting projects, the sorting and listing of items to get rid of that goes with Death-cleaning , or if your sensitivities prefer, KonMarie-ing. I’ve been Death-cleaning since I before I was 30, removing the clutter, the broken, no longer useful, or no longer pleasurable; it will continue until I am finally dead.
The notebook helps to keep a record in one place, and as long as I make the effort to use it instead of little notes, I can grab just that one thing whenever I go to an appointment.
Finding new activities and groups to get involved with is more difficult than it would at first seem. I’m hard to please, it seems. This week a number of people reached out to me, so I’m following up on them with interest and maybe a story or two about how they turn out.