Calm and in control

I hold myself in contempt because I let myself down. I did not keep myself safe. Though that was not my job, in the cradle. “I am the one whom I hold in contempt”- this is reassuring because I am conscious of being that person, and not ashamed of it, so no longer in denial.

This does not make everything easy, but it is moving forward.

I had the feeling of being sad, and later of being content, and these feelings did not seem bad, terrifying or desirable- they just were. They seemed to fit. Then I read this, in André’s book: We put our head down and keep going, one step at a time. We can act and go forward even when we can’t be sure there is any point. Even when nothing is certain, we can still disobey the orders to be powerless that come at us in waves. We can feel those old reflexes rising up from the past and trying to control us. And still we keep going.

His picture is Christina’s World:

andrew-wyeth-christinas-world

Reading that out to Tina I feel such guilt. I do: I make myself powerless, I retreat, I stop moving. I am stuck. I hated it, when I read it last night.

Am I merely shut away, not moving? I could rationalise a case either way- yet the Prosecution and Defence would be missing the point. I felt intense pain reading that. I acknowledged and did not suppress it. Whether I am guilty or not does not matter, does not affect where I am or my circumstances, changes nothing.

Do you want to change? Am I “shut away”?

I am in that moment aware and accepting of my Being. What do I want to do next? I want to go where I have feared to go, into my feelings desires and judgments, bringing them to consciousness. I want further to integrate myself.

The tears communicate to me how strong my feelings are.

Do you see these as equivalent:

Calm = in control
Emotional = impulsive

Mmm. Not sure. What do I fear? Sabotaging myself. Being impulsive, I will foul things up.

-A risk?
-No, a certainty.

When the lid’s off, I will be hurt. Yet now what hurts me are my own internal controls. “I would like to appear calm, my feelings not apparent,” I say, and instantly see it is not true: I can see that both calm and impulsive can have advantages in particular situations (intellectually, rationalising now) and that holding my feelings down for a semblance of calm- or restraint, which is powerless if arising from fear- is self harming. Sometimes calm, sometimes expressiveness, is appropriate, and people get it wrong all the time- it does not matter as much as I fear it does. It feels like a matter of life and death.

Christina really would have been better using crutches, or a wheelchair, or even a trolley like Porgy.

I am pulling myself forward. I strive to live authentically. Unlike hers, my legs may get stronger.

A man wants to make yet another short film about Quakers, and I fancy taking part. What is my work? Excavating, empowering, expressing this authentic feeling. I strive to live authentically.

What could I say on film to show my work has value?
-By valuing it yourself.

I do not submit to his judgment of me, but I would like to be part of this.

6 thoughts on “Calm and in control

  1. I think you are right that self-hatred is a kind of frustration that we are not as wonderful as we expect ourselves to be. So in the end its a form of pride, isn’t it. Dealing with oneself is like dealing with a crazy person or small child, takes a lot of patience and realism; anger and contempt doesn’t achieve much.

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    • I plead guilty to arrogance. For me perhaps it was magical thinking- I will safe like this. I have visualised seeing the emotional being as a small child, suddenly and rapidly maturing to adulthood, for we are, after all, as close to adults as people get. Onwards and upwards.

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      • If you can stomach saccharine 19th century language, you might want to try reading Therese Martin’s Story of a Soul. Under the girlishness there is a solid foundation of humility and accepting one’s limitations with joy.

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        • I found her revolting. I can’t remember much of it, but I remember thinking her imagining herself sans ego, wanting only to serve, was completely egotistical, wanting her own self-aggrandisement in her own eyes. She seemed to me to have no understanding whatsoever of her inner drives, just to characterise them, falsely and by selective blindness, as Catholic Goodness. But it was a long time ago I read it.

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          • I can’t stand her style and she was an intense little person. But read against the backdrop of a puritanical and paranoid French Catholicism and taking into account Martin’s own struggles with scruples – a cruelly moralistic sense of self-hatred – and emotional fragility, it is a lot less naive than it seems at first glance.
            The core ideas – acceptance of one’s limits, trust in the mercy of God, not taking oneself too seriously, etc, a lot of people find liberating, precisely because it is not put in an imperative: I must stop taking myself too seriously! be humble! must trust in God!
            I’m just throwing the idea out there, I don’t know you and I’m neither a therapist nor a spiritual guide.

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