I entered two of my paintings to a juried art show and they were both rejected. This is the third year in a row that I have entered and failed to get in. After receiving the email with the news, I quickly moved on, and didn’t stop to check in with myself to see how I actually felt about it; I think I assumed my feelings wouldn’t be much different than previous years, so why bother to check them out? I moved on with my day, projected my lack of emotion on to others, and maintained my denial for a solid ten hours. Yay, me.
Now I am beginning to allow the feeling to settle in, to show itself. I’m starting to notice the rejection, the anger, the sadness, the blow to the ego and self-esteem. I can see how holding onto those feelings, without expressing them, causes them to seep out in other ways, such that I began to feel rejected by others today, for not very good reasons.
It is time to move.
It is time to express.
It is time to allow.
Ooooh, I’m getting really good at this. I know what most of them are, and now I’m learning to recognize the sensation in my body as it happens.
It can be something as simple as receiving a blunt reply by text, a “No” in answer to a question. This can trigger feelings of insignificance, as if I’m being brushed off, and of feeling worthless and small. In my body, it shows up as a tightening in my chest, a shrinking and rounding forward of my shoulders, and a slowing and shortening of my breath.
Being able to recognize my triggers reminds me that the stories I tell myself are all my own shit, and the other person’s blunt reply likely has absolutely nothing to do with me. It allows me to act, rather than react, and because of this, I can make mindful choices, rather than act out of unconscious habit.
This is what I think: learning my lesson means I will no longer have to face it again.
This is NOT TRUE.
No matter how many times I realize this, I keep forgetting, and then realizing it again.
Today I misunderstood a text, which instantly triggered thoughts of being “too much”. I’ve been down this path many, many times, and today I watched it happen, and it was like watching myself fall in slo-motion. It was almost like I could detect the nerve impulse as it triggered an ancient memory, which in turn, triggered a reaction in my body. The more I am able to witness this, the more (I think) I will have the ability to make conscious decisions on how I act/react, and eventually, possibly, how I feel. Whether or not this is the case, I like the idea of being in control of my emotions, rather than the other way around. Maybe someday this will happen. In the meantime, I’ll keep feeling my feelings as they come up, because if there’s one lesson I’ve learned (well, mostly), it’s that the triggers and lessons just keep on coming.
Scratching the surface, you will find I am not a snob, or stuck-up and quietly condescending, like you may think. I am curious and watching. Listening and absorbing. Waiting and reacting.
Dig a little deeper and you will hear about all the ways the things you say are affecting me. The triggers know no bounds are are frequently dredging up old stuff from the past; things I keep thinking will just fall away, and I know it’s time to accept that they will likely keep testing me; it’s my reactions that can change. it’s the jealousy, abandonment, rejection, wanting to be liked, not feeling good enough, feeling like I’m too much, insecurity and lack of trust and safety, that you’ll find.
Shovel a bit more and you’ll see that I’m just like you. And we are the same. I am you, and you are me. I know your stories and you will know mine, or you knew them years ago. I want to be seen by you and to witness your beauty and love.
Take me all apart and there is the spark of light that longs to go back to where it came from. It watches all this, and waits.