Declaration

I have always faced the World with Courage 

I have always faced the World with Love

I have always faced the World with Creativity.

I have indeed self-lacerated, and it is time to stop. It is time to create and bed in a new habit, time to tread down a new path so that the old one gets overgrown with weeds and disappears, and the new one gets broad and wide. I have been so hard on myself for not being Normal, for not coping with life as I should or achieving what I should, and this “Musterbation” is terribly harmful.

I am healing. Edwin Muir has a poem about how the path ahead seemed broad, but behind it was twisting wildly. On Saturday, it seemed quite the opposite for me: ahead I cannot see, I have no idea, but looking back it seems to have come straight and true to where I am now, and where I am now is a Good place to be, even if being unemployed and my previous lack of career advancement is a fertile field for poisonous weeds of self-laceration. Here is a Good place to be, for it is the place where I am getting rid of the bonds and blocks holding me back, and one of those is this habit of self-laceration.

At my party, I said I am growing and healing “slowly”- and then got frightened and angry, Aargh! NO, NO, NO- at that word “slowly”. No, at my own pace. It is the right pace, indeed it feels too fast at some times. That reflex self-criticism, “slowly”. No to that- but being angry at myself for self-lacerating was a step forwards.

I do not have much to do beyond this intense work of self-creation. This morning (Tuesday) I phoned the Samaritans, thinking I would be crying over what a tough time I have had, as an excuse for being unemployed etc; and it turned into a celebration of how I have faced the world, leading to the declaration above. I expected a painful call, and it was delightful. Chris, the man on the phone, thought so too.

This feels huge for me.

It is a pattern which has been deeply ingrained in me.

Shifting that pattern is intensely liberating.

I am still emotional. I feel plagued by telesales cold-calling, and so when I got such a call this afternoon I told the man to fuck off. His is not the easiest of jobs, and he told me to fuck off back. So we were shouting over each other: I was cursing him, saying his eyes would be gouged out and his brain explode through his ears, and then I rang off.

No, not ideal. I shout when angry because it is imperative for me to be Heard before I attend to anything else, and it is not good to have two people like that. But I think I have made a shift: I would have felt guilty and been angry with myself for losing control, and now, I am, well- Oh, OK, not ideal but no big deal either.

I can be cheering myself on, encouraging myself, rather than on my own back. And when I phoned H I thought, our relationship from now on depends on how she reacts to this. I told her, and she said, “Excellent! I’m so pleased!”

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I have such anger to let out, and it is now turned outwards. Instead of inwards at me for not being Normal, etc, it is turned Outwards, at anyone who would say that being gay or trans is less than “normal”, or that autogynephilia is a cause, rather than a symptom, of transsexualism, or that trans women are a threat to radical feminists or should be excluded from women’s space or that marriage is for one man and one woman and anything else is a threat to our entire civilisation or-

I could go on.

And I am in mourning for a life half-lived, though lived as courageously as I could, circumscribed more by my own internalised judgment latterly than the judgment of others, but with just enough condemnation and judgment from outside to keep my own merrily bubbling away. I am in mourning because I have said “No” to life because it was too frightening, as well as said “Yes” so far as I could and achieved so much in my peculiar circumstances.

All this Healing, seeing things Positively, accepting myself as I am, celebrating myself, seeing other people more clearly with less projection, all as fast as I could tolerate- it is all wonderful, and has been intensely painful, like moving a limb which has been tied down.

Now, I am unemployed. I sit around, I walk a bit, I blog a bit, and it is OK. I am healing, growing, maturing, accepting and exploring being a Healer. I move forward as I may. Because I know I am moving forward, I am happy to give the process the time it needs.

Pope, Muir, Eliot

On 2 January, I quoted this poem, and now, as an exercise, I have written a pastiche of it:

Know first thyself, thy heart, thy soul, thy mind
Then look around, see clearly humankind.
By God created, with God’s light imbued,
Creative, loving, pow’rful, by God wooed,
In touch with beauty to enrich the heart,
in nature, other people, music, art.
Mature evolved society is mine
the knowledge of ten thousand years, is thine.
The human animal is Love alive:
Our wars diminish, and our wisdom thrives.
With balance of thought and feeling, all aligned
in safe Unknowing, soon we Knowing find.
Sole judge of truth, beholding Truth unfurled,
we bring forth yet more beauty in the world.

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I am not sure whether to share this one.

Resentment is not like anger.
Anger is hot, clean, now, gone.
Resentment is cold and unending,
In the darkness at the edge.
The world turns, and from the edge,
Through a glass darkly, I see possibilities:
Dancing, singing, laughter, acceptance.
I move inwards, shivering, showing my scars
Then denying them, smiling with my mouth.

There is a power in me, I know it.
It keeps me alive in a dark stone box.
The corridor narrows and darkens,
And the light through the doorways
                blinds me and terrifies me.
Through the door, into the garden.
Stay, stay, stay, says the bird-
Stay, where there is no path
And I do not know where I am going.

The opening line is a conscious echo of Edwin Muir, “The desolations are not the sorrows’ kin”,¬†which is not¬†on the internet but in the Collected Poems, available through Amazon. Do click to look inside: more than half the book is shared there,¬†though not pp271-2, where The Desolations is. I recommend Song at p.146, an instantly accessible love poem, metrical and sweet; The Road at p. 223, because life as a Way is an image he returned to again and again, and Annunciation, also p223, because it is an image close to my heart now. Other verse I would recommend appears not to be shared, so, well, buy the book.

My ending is an echo of the first movement of Burnt Norton. Eliot wrote,

Edwin Muir will remain among the poets who have added glory to the English language. He is also one of the poets of whom Scotland should always be proud.

Should I share my verse? If I show my scars and vulnerabilities, I increase my vulnerability; and if I do not, I die, slowly. Or, this is a process of coming to terms with my own scars and vulnerabilities: to be effectual, the acceptance has to come from me- and revealing them helps.

Managing emotions

My most important desire, my most pressing need, is to manage my own feelings. It is to avoid feeling, or suppress feeling, fear and anger. I did not know what my feelings were, and when I got in touch with them around 2000, I found they were rage and terror.

I wanted to join a practice in the country, after my Dip.LP, seeking to hide away, wanting a dark, cool, harbour. I little thought it was a riotous prison that I sought, and ended up in, and indeed the partner I worked for did end up in prison for pinching £700,000 from the clients. Since then, I have probably worked below my natural capacity, though anyone looking at my CV to date would hesitate to employ me for a more onerous job. I have done the work I have done because I have been desperate to feel that I am doing something useful (and so justify my existence) and have sought to avoid anger and fear. Feeling those feelings has been too threatening to me.

This is a survival mechanism which I developed in early childhood, a self-protection mechanism which indeed protected me at that time, but is counter-productive now. Then, expressing fear or anger was a threat to my existence, it deeply upset my mother.

I do not really blame my mother. I remember weeping uncontrollably aged about nine, with my mother looking on in perplexity. She really did not get it, because she was a product of her time, starting nursing training during world war two: among the nursing techniques she learned were bleeding and cupping. She inherited her need to control from her parents, just as I have inherited it from her. Deuteronomy 5:9:

I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.

It helps to realise that this is descriptive, not prescriptive: not a condemning God, but just the way things are.

So my task, now, prescribed by Claudia Black, is to bring my loss to consciousness, feel the anger and grief and pain, and move through them. As she says in “Changing Course”, I have not gone through the healthy healing process of DABDA¬†and so must bring the feelings to mind before mourning and letting go. I mourn my loss. As a baby I was entitled to¬†proper care, including having¬†my feelings heard and validated, and not having that has deeply hurt me.

I am so excited about this. It feels like the right move at the right time, and I am encouraged by Monday’s Wisbit¬†popping into my inbox:

There been times when I thought I couldn’t last for long
But now I think I’m able to carry on
It’s been a long, been a long time coming
But I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will

And it frightens me. And it hurts.