Sunday, November 09, 2008

Who Am I Now, pt. 2

I've been thinking more about this and truly appreciate everyone who has taken the time to comment on my last post.

I find myself thinking that part of the problem is the definition I have of survivor of abuse. The image I carry in my head that I don't even consciously know I do. And I'm thinking that maybe what I need to do is redefine that label—just as I've redefined other major labels in my life in recent years.

Part of it is trying to decide where to put my energy and focus. Trying to figure out what my sense of responsibility is telling me to do—and how that fits with where I would put my energy and focus if this wasn't part of my life.

I find myself looking for change in all sorts of areas of my life. I took off the slipcover on the couch so that it went from dark green to lightly patterned beige. I'm looking for curtains for a couple of rooms in my house—after being perfectly happy with just blinds for the past couple of years since I moved in here. I'm rethinking how I fix my hair and the clothes I wear. I adopted my dog just a couple of months ago. I find myself even changing what I choose to eat.

In other words, it's not just the question of being a survivor—and how I define that and how “visible I do or don't want to be. I seem to be redefining myself—and my living space—in lots of ways, without knowing why or where it's taking me.

I catch myself thinking: I can't, I can't. I stop and remind myself that probably I can—no matter what it is—that I have been very successful in the past in a number of areas.

I catch myself scolding myself for some mistake made in the past—and have to remind myself that it wasn't a disaster and was part of the learning process.

I find myself calling in my mind to people who have helped me in the past—wishing they could give me answers now. And I remind myself that mostly they listened and I figured things out myself. I remind myself that the choices I regret most are the times I didn't listen to my instincts—especially when I listened to the advice of others instead.

So I'm changing. That's a good thing. I'm just not sure where it's taking me—or why it's happening now. In terms of the question of being a survivor, I suppose I need to stop thinking of it as all or nothing and perhaps ask myself instead: How can I incorporate this identity into my writing and life in a whole new way? What options haven't I thought of? How can I use the positives to give me greater confidence than if none of it had ever happened?

Bear with me as I explore possibilities. I hope that each of you are having epiphanies of your own as you make your journeys—and discovering reasons to smile and laugh and know your own strength and capabilities.

Sending blessings and safe and gentle (((((((hugs))))))),


Kahless said...

Hi April.

Not sure what to write as my mind is blank. So I will just say hi.

therapydoc said...

Hugs to you. Nothing I personally like more than change. So refreshing.

Marj aka Thriver said...

This all sounds very healthy to me. I've been making changes--adding more color and beauty--around me, too, these days.

It's part of my Survivor-to-Thriver thing. Even when I don't FEEL like I'm thriving, I've gotten to the point where I know I DESERVE it!

Thanks for inquiring about me. I finally got a new post up today.

Hugs to you, my friend! (((((April)))))

April_optimist said...

Kahless, Thanks for stopping by.

Therapydoc, Change is what we make of it. I have a mantra that I use when change comes up: What good could come of this? I often get such interesting answers!

Marj, So good to see you here!!! And yes, we DO deserve to thrive!

Tamara (TC) said...

I have been going through a lot of change myself and can say, for me, it is very exciting and also mildly frustrating. Like you say, you can't see where it is leading, that is the frustrating part. Yes, many times I have wanted someone else to figure it out for me but as you stated, that doesn't usually work out all that well.

Hang in there and just enjoy the ride while you find out what new and wonderful places you are headed in your life. I wish you lots and lots of luck on the journey.