(cross-posted from LiveJournal)
Learn from my mistakes, and from others.
I have a confession to make. I recently went through a horrible ordeal where I used to board my horse. On the surface, it didn’t seem bad, but inside of me, there was a great deal of shame and guilt. It sent me into a terrible spiral of depression and stunted my creativity, blocking me from my characters, which only made my depression worse. Luckily, I have meds for the depression, but nothing can bring back that creativity.
Lately, my oldest daughter has been preparing for her first reconciliation. Yes, we are Catholic. Although I don’t always agree with the church on its policies, it has provided me with a faith that has sustained me through troubled times and restrained me from suicide. I want that for my children also. But that’s not what I want to say. I don’t owe anyone an explanation of why I do anything. My point, rather, is in the confession and reconciliation. Part of it is confessing our sins to the priest to receive forgiveness. We’re also taught to let go and forgive ourselves and do better. It’s the forgiving myself part that I have always had trouble with and which has been my bane all my life whenever I feel that I’ve done something wrong. Sure, I make the effort to not sin again, but I’m not perfect.
I realized last night (finally), that I was carrying the burden yet and this was locking out my creativity. Someone else might say “Duh!”, but I’m looking from the inside out, not the outside in, so it was harder to see the bigger picture. Bear with me. I’m now giving myself permission to let go. I should be ashamed for nothing nor feel guilty. I admitted my wrongs, have learned my lesson, and have remade myself better. I have no reason to dwell on any shame or guilt for my actions and/or words. It was a misunderstanding and it wasn’t all my fault. It takes two to tango, as my mother would say.
Anyway, my point is that sometimes we block ourselves by blaming ourselves. I’ve been doing that for years. I want to be a good person and have had others tell me that I’m too hard on myself. You know what? They’re right. I’m not going to do that anymore. I am a good person, but I make mistakes like any human. Only God is perfect. I am allowed to forgive myself. You know what’s better? I feel good about myself again. I’ve been able to cut back my meds and woke up feeling better than I have in a long time. I deserve the success I have earned, because I’ve worked hard for it. I’ll admit I’m jealous of others who have what I want, but I also realize that no matter what you have, you’ll always want more. There’ s nothing wrong with that either.
It’s easier for me to accept all this, because I’m no longer in an environment where people are competing and are jealous of others whom they perceive as better. I was the target of jealousy where I used to board, and after five years, that affected me more than I had realized. It’s taken two months of adjustment at a new barn, but I am far happier and Beau is a nice fat boy. (Yes, he’s fat! I never thought I’d see the day.) And it’s a far healthier environment that part of me was still saying I don’t deserve.
I’m confessing this because I want others to know that you’re only holding yourself back if you’re not realizing your dreams. You always have the power to change your life. I was losing my creativity because something in my unconscious was fighting me. There was something inside saying I didn’t deserve to enjoy writing, that I shouldn’t be successful. I say I do deserve it and shouldn’t be ashamed to say it. I have worked long and hard for what I have. No one gave me anything, except my husband, who gave me his love and support. I’ve earned readers by writing books they want to read, one at a time. I deserve my horse with all his athletic talent and the training I’ve put into him, and I deserve my husband and kids because we’re right together. I earned the privilege of being a stay-at-home mom too, through hard work and dedication.
Whatever people want to be jealous of, they will be. I don’t have to feel any shame in what I have. There’s a difference between being humble and being self-deprecating. What I was doing wasn’t humility. I came from nothing and have made something of myself. Nothing was ever handed to me on a silver platter.
Life is a journey. There’s only one end. Enjoy the journey while you can.