Switching on the news, I heard a woman who had lost relatives in the Malaysian air crash, screaming. Then I heard of the North Korean restriction on men’s hair styles, which I found upsetting: it is devilish in its simplicity of enforcement, and total control of self-expression. I just about stopped listening to or watching the news. Putin invading Crimea, or NATO blustering: I don’t want to hear it. And then-
I identified this as the Heart of my Problem. Rather than overcoming or living with anything I don’t like, I avoid or flee it. So I skulk, a recluse in my living room. This is so much my natural response that I do it without immediately noticing, or realising there is an alternative.
And- with emotional sensitivity, one can learn to control it, to feel the emotions fully but not act on them impulsively. So I should listen to the news, to practise this for half an hour every evening and the World Service for when I wake in the night.
I found myself scunnered and stymied, moving between badly misdirected self-care leading to stagnation, and panicked, imperceptive and loveless challenges to myself so that I try to sprint a marathon, and immediately give up. I was frightened of it, with no clue how to proceed. Over breakfast, David said something which brought this up for me, and I thumped the table in distress (as I said, I was away at the weekend) and I had to explain: “You triggered something in me. No, that’s not it; you said something completely unobjectionable, which because of where I am at the moment I found reminded me of my overwhelming problem.”
So I took this into the HAI room of love, and over the next hour something shifted for me. In part, it is a question of perception. I can care for myself, either by withdrawing to heal, or by challenging myself to build strength. I have always self-cared: knowing the pleasure I got from helping others, I got a job doing that, which is looking after myself. I can make my self-care more conscious, less festooned with Shoulds. I can examine it. I can learn to do it better.
This is a new way of seeing myself, a growth moment, which is not a lesson learned but a skill to practise.
D with his glasses on. I suppose a case could be made that they are striking, and if fashions move within a particular social circle I would not know, until they spread- but I would call them wrong for him, and for his face-shape, and when he comments on me looking at him, others agree. He said U chose them for him, which seemed fair as she had to look at them (though she need not any longer, now) and he only had to wear them.