Purveyor of Pleasure

Pleasure is my business, my life, my joy, my purpose.

Tag: overthinking

Struggle

I’m feeling small and sore from beating myself up today. I’m thinking a lot about what it is like to practice gratitude and self-compassion, and trying to practice it. I’m wondering what I will be like on the day I find myself much closer to the non-perfectionist end of the perfectionism spectrum and am able to marvel at the change that has occurred.

I’ve been trapped in life-paralysis for so long, waiting (not consciously) for some external force to knock me back into reality, but I’m realizing the messages I’ve been getting: the only way through it is through it; do the fucking work.

All of my life my self-worth has been connected to my accomplishments. I was told “what matters is that you do your best,” but then what was considered “my best” was also dictated to me. I was praised for excelling and giving disapproving and disappointed looks when I didn’t meet the acceptable standards. This wasn’t so bad, as I often excelled, but I also became terrified of not producing perfect work.

I have been struggling. The last year and a half has brought many things to light as I’ve worked to excavate my own self, my own darkness. I haven’t known how to ask for help. I still don’t know, as I don’t know what will help, but admitting it is a step. I have been struggling with so many things that I haven’t known what to do or where to start.

As I’ve been struggling, though I’ve also been working and I’ve been healing. I’ve been doing and changing and growing. I feel stronger and closer to that person that I want to be than I ever have felt before. I’m simultaneously nearing the end of one path and beginning another.

But, still, most days I’m struggling. I can find the strength in it and I can give it a positive spin, but I’m still hurting. I’m still feeling small and sore and there is still a part of me that is whispering “you’re wrong to feel this way” and “you’re not good enough” and “you don’t belong here.” There’s still part of me that is paralyzed and living in a state of constant fear of being found out. That part that thinks that some day everyone will realize I’m not really as interesting, intelligent, awesome, skilled, attractive, insert-positive-opinion-here, etc. as they think I am, that I’m really just unworthy of their time, energy, and love.

I know the things I would tell a client or friend who admitted this to me: everyone experiences this to some extent, some less than others, but you are not alone. I would tell them that part of themselves as their best interest at heart, it thinks that it is helping, that it is somehow keeping them safe against the threat of shame and judgment, that it really just wants them to be happy (even though its tactics are not useful). I would encourage them to feel love and compassion toward that part, to thank it, to engage with it, to work to integrate it. I would encourage them to hold themselves accountable, but also cultivate self-compassion and imperfection. I would encourage them to sit with their feelings and find where they’re rooted in the body. And so on.

These are all things I’ve told myself and am working on, but there are some days when that paralyzing part is the loudest voice inside of me. There are many days when I just break down and witness myself being paralyzed. Today was one of those days. I’m reminding myself that it’s okay to be imperfect. Telling myself to lean into the discomfort and embrace vulnerability. To fake it until I become it. To do the fucking work. To Breathe.

Spiral Out Not Down

Sometimes pleasure is really difficult to access. The more stress and overwhelmed I am the more I get away from those things that make me feel good, and, ironically, from those things that resource me. My unparalleled attention to detail combined with my overactive imagination and my tendency to over think gets me in trouble more than it helps.

In the last year I’ve been gutted, split from clavicle to navel and opened up so I could see what was inside. I’m still figuring out what I found there. I’m still figuring out how to integrate that knowledge, what to keep and what to discard. I always strive for change within myself and know I can be better, stronger, faster, but I am never satisfied no matter how far I’ve come.

Of the many relationships in my life (romantic and not, sexual and not) there are very few in which I feel truly seen, truly appreciated. There are some in which I feel suffocated by the projections bring placed on me by the other. There are some in which I am able to catch glimpses of recognition. Mostly, though, I don’t allow myself to be seen. I rarely feel safe enough to allow myself to be seen, but my idea of what safety looks like is a pretty narrow band.

I’ve been greatly inspired by the work of Brene Brown lately. I’m trying to allow myself to be more vulnerable, to open up more, but it feels so… open, exposed, and like the weaker position. I know it’s not weaker, but it is a less strategic position. It feels like a less powerful position, because if I just lay myself out there than the other person can poke at all my vulnerable exposed flesh and organs. They can do as they please, without reciprocating unless they feel like it.

I try too hard. I try to be what I think the other person wants more than I try to be myself sometimes. I’m not being inauthentic, but I am not authentically showing all of myself when I do this. My own fears and insecurities bubble up and I think I have to hide some part of myself or another in order to be liked, in order to be okay. Part of me knows I don’t need to do this, but part of me worries that if I show all of me to someone they will run away screaming.

Like anyone getting a Masters in Psychology I can trace this back down to childhood. I can point to the wherefore, but I can’t always identify it in the moment.

I keep reminding myself to expand when I get in this state, rather than contract. While there is a time and a place for contracting it doesn’t seem useful. I need to push past my level of comfort and allow myself to be open, be exposed, be real. I need to stop overthinking and just be. I need to confront the parts of me that tell me to contract, to shut down, that tell me I’m not not interesting enough or not worthy of the attention. I need to recognize that I am interesting, that what I have to say is important, that it isn’t selfish to talk about myself, that other people want to see me. I’ll get there eventually.

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