There is no “real you”. You are what you do. You may like to imagine what you would do in a particular situation, acting courageously, morally or with a particular ruthless self-interest, and just as you think of the clever retort too late to make it, you do not live up to your fantasies. The fantasy is a reassuring falsehood, not an underlying Reality which shows you have value. Your value is in your reality, not that falsehood. If you value the falsehood you will never match up to it, and never value yourself.
And- you have potential you deny and devalue. You need to accept it in order to discover it. Fortunately, you are what you do: shadow motivation, the strength of the parts you deny, will bring it to your attention, and the conflict you experience with that will end. The lies you were told and the suppression you suffered will melt away.
I can use any statement of fact or morality to beat myself up, and you are what you do is no exception: what do I do? Right now, nothing, so I am the coward equivocator who hides away and tells myself false stories in an attempt to console myself as I fritter away my life. Coward. Failure. Fool.
The answer is to see the truth in another way. You are what you do. All that courage and creativity. I fought till I broke, and I am still fighting though in a different way. I am still fighting in two ways:
the slave driver, for whom nothing is ever good enough, who will never accept me stopping to rest unless I fall over exhausted.
the creative explorer, seeking to understand.
And the thing which makes all their energy barely achieve my survival is my fear. My fear means that routine actions like going shopping can be terrifying.
My existential terror consumed me.
I made a mistake!
I cannot rely on myself!
I know I cannot rely on the world.
Therefore I shall die!
I have inside myself a terrified child. Argument is useless for consolation: I explain it is a small mistake, and a small loss, but even if she recognises that it does not lessen her fear. How to get her to see that? Don’t be so completely stupid! It is completely unimportant! Shut up and stop whining!
This does not make her feel better. However, even when I attempt to explain kindly, she discerns my intent. It is clear to me this is unimportant, and necessary that she accept that.
She says, You are seeking to manage and control me! Don’t try to manage and control me! I don’t trust you!
Trying to manage her will not make her trust. I can’t make her do anything, by force, reason, or trickery.
Only Love might help. There is the fear. The fear is a faithful reaction. I allow the fear. It passes through me, and the sharp insistence it needed to be heard against my “reasonableness” lessens. After, there is tiredness. Ruefulness. I need to understand, and my “reasonableness” is not sufficient for that. The fear is hypervigilant because it was not heard, and I was hurt. My reasonableness, never accepting my fear, was wrong.
I seek balance.
I tried taking Norethisterone, and it made my feelings more intense. I had a great high on Tuesday, and a horrific downer on Thursday after coming off it, and my terror on Saturday arose from it. Yet the fear is there, controlling me, all the time, and I must alleviate it, or live with it. “Feel the fear and do it anyway”- or something like that.
What I do not do because of fear may be more of a determinate than what I do – whether out of fear or not. I have been performing music for over fifty years, and, aside from an occasional case of butterflies, I have done so without any immediate fear. Of course, for many years I did fear being on a stage as the person – the woman – I am now. The night I faced that fear was so much more gratifying than the hundreds of times I had performed before. My ego has certainly been boosted, at any rate. I am more who I am, then, by feeding my ego than I am by allowing fear to eat away at myself.