Using my notebooks of therapy research as the base for a new personal mythology in my art.
I am taking a day off, just relaxing and contemplating. The creative flow is amazing but I have to make sure it’s not adding stress to my life. I haven’t worked this hard in years. It is good to feel swept away by my creativity – and to feel a little out of control at times. To let my imagination and creativity lead me and not the other way around. This is the reason why I have never felt truly lonely in my life – because the creativity and my imagination has been my companions. The times of a deep sense of loneliness only comes when I am not creating.
Next month I will take part of a panel discussion in Stockholm about horror, but nothing is more scary than watching the Trump administration at work. I feel like I can’t add anything to the world of horror that is not already coming out of Washington at the moment.
My self-therapy work has shifted from dealing with themes of my past to solely dealing with plans and strategies for future challenges. I now have a step-by-step plan how to get out of my current situation of being broke to reaching a more successful place – and a list of necessary resources I have to use to be able to do it:
- stress reducing and finding balance within
- focus (eliminating distractions and negative energy)
- understanding my value as an artist
- no doubting or hesitating
Since I have a plan, a strategy and a list of must-have resources, I simply have no excuses left, to stay in my comfort zone of isolation. I am pushing myself out into the world like I am giving birth to my own life.
The nature of bad self-esteem
Someone recently asked me; “you already have all the keys to unlock your own success and happiness – what are you waiting for?” and I guess they were right, I do have all the keys to unlock my own success and happiness; I have the awareness, the will, the motivation, the knowledge and the focus. So what am I waiting for?
The answer is in my bad self-esteem and the way I keep doubting myself. I can’t use the keys unless I REALLY start believing in myself. The more I dig into the self-doubt and dissect it, the more ridiculous I think it is. I am talented – so why don’t I believe in my talent? I am smart – why don’t I believe in my own intellect? I am strong – why don’t I believe in that strength? I am beautiful – why can’t I appriciate that? It’s so stupid. Like it’s all there but I can’t reach it or I don’t want to – or like being able to see but thinking you are blind. Bad self-esteem doesn’t make sense unless you put it in a social context. I think people are OK with who they are and accept themselves when they are alone – but in relation to other people, they start to feel uncomfortable, inadequate, flawed and weird, especially if they’ve had bad experience with bullying, abuse, neglect or not being able to connect with other people. They start to doubt themselves. They focus on scarcity and all the things they’re lacking. They start to compare themselves to other people (a “never-win” game) and they start feeling bad about themselves. Then comes the avoidance, the isolation and the self-destructive behavior.
I know where my bad self-esteem stems from – but it’s easier to get bad self-esteem than eliminating it. It only takes one word, one action, one trauma to lose your self-esteem. But it takes a lot of hard work to get it back.
I’ve been brainwashed by some people to think I’m worthless, pathetic, incapable, stupid, weak and submissive (and by media to think I’m fat and ugly), so I guess I just have to brainwash myself back to normal. Because I’m none of those things. I have to increase the volume of the good frequency thoughts about myself and lower the volume on the bad frequency thoughts. In with the positive, out with the bad.
Weak vs Strong
If I want to let go of self doubt, I first need to define what I am doubting in myself and where it comes from. And it most likely comes from a judgment – but am I judging myself or am I projecting someone else’s judgment onto myself?
I’ve noticed that I start to doubt myself when I feel vulnerable and therefore weak. But it’s strange because I don’t see vulnerability as a weakness so why do I feel weak when I am being vulnerable? It is of course one of the most common misinterpretations that showing yourself vulnerable makes you weak, it’s why men don’t cry and why men think a woman who are vulnerable makes an easy prey and take advantage of her. But if you think about it – isn’t it more weak to not be authentic and to numb emotions because of fear of being judged as weak by others? You can’t be authentic unless you are vulnerable – you can’t make authentic art if you’re not willing to get undressed and embrace vulnerability. In fact, “vulnerability is where fear and courage meet” (Brene Brown). And a man who takes advantage of a woman in a vulnerable state is more weak because he’s going after an easy prey instead of showing her respect and empathy. To me, that’s so weak. To think you are strong because you take advantage of what you consider to be something weak. It’s also gross.
I started to think about how and when I feel weak.
I feel weak when I disappoint my parents. I feel weak when I am not perfect because I fear other people’s judgment. I feel weak when I can’t live up to other people’s expectations of me. I feel weak when I am sick or in a bad place. And when I feel weak I feel worthless, stressed, not worthy of love or happiness, I feel unseen, lonely, abandoned, unsafe and hurt. So basically – when I’m not ‘perfect’ in the eyes of others (especially in my parents’ eyes). That’s when I start feeling weak and worthless. Not worthy of love. That’s when I start to doubt myself – but since it’s very hard to be perfect and live up to other people’s expectations, I pretty much doubt myself all the time. No wonder I’m having a hard time with this.
So then I started making lists.
Lists of what I THINK my parents definition of when I’m being weak – but also how I define being weak. And I got some surprising results. Not only did I pinpoint their definition of a weak person (and it was so much to live up to in order to be a ‘good daughter’ – totally exhausting!) – but I also found that my own definition of being weak, had nothing to do with my own weaknesses. It really surprised me.
Here’s my list of what a weak person is to me:
- Doesn’t want to look at themselves on a deeper level
- Scared of being authentic and genuine, scared of meeting their true nature
- Afraid of the uncomfortable (confrontations, conflicts, difficult truths, emotional challenges, personal growth, change, bursting bubbles etc)
- Unempathetic people or people not wanting or caring to connect with other people’s feelings, thoughts, behavior or situation
- Opinions unsupported by knowledge
- Losing oneself to other people’s expectations (yes, that I’m guilty of)
While studying these lists, I can see that I don’t share the same idea of weakness as my parents, even though I’ve tried to live up to their vision of what a strong person should be and look like. I’ve not been following my own ideals. I’ve been on the wrong path for so long – but what I relief that I found this realization so I can start following a new one. My own.
I have felt weak when I’m not living up to other people’s expectations even though I don’t share their idea of what those expectations mean to me. My state of perfection is not the same as theirs. My definition of weakness is not the same as theirs. My idea of strength is not the same as theirs. So why try to live up to a perfection that I don’t even feel connected to? I don’t even like perfection. In fact, I loathe it. Look at my art. The characters are all flawed. They are not perfect. Their skin is falling off, their features are asymmetrical, they have scars and wounds on their bodies and they sweat, bleed or pee themselves at times.
I have to stop trying to be the perfect me in the eyes of my parents, my audience and any other people – because I have my own definition of perfection, strength and weakness. I know my limitations and weaknesses and I’m working on them so I can overcome them, one by one. What more could be asked of me? Are the people who are judging me doing that? Are they working hard to overcome their own weaknesses and shortcomings like I am doing? Or are they judging because it makes them feel stronger? Do they judge others because they are afraid to be judged themselves? Or do they judge other people like they are judging themselves?
I will continue to work on this theme because it’s an important discovery that will liberate myself from other people’s judgment. Their judgment has been a dark cloud on my sky for so long, it’s time to clean the sky and bring back the clear blue colors and the warm light.
“Getting to Know You – getting to feel free and easy”
The “Getting to know you” musical scene from “The King and I” (1956)
Part of my process of personal independence is to feel safe in myself. And for that to happen I have to fully reconnect with all my parts – and to define what feeling safe is to me. I sat down and tried to understand what feeling safe within myself means to me – in this way I’m also getting to know myself better, especially my body which has been like a stranger to me during all the years I was suffering from PTSD and separated myself from my body to be able to survive.
Being safe in my mind:
Be present, relaxed, rested and at peace (through meditation and personal growth), self-compassion, trust myself, believe in myself, know I am capable of dealing with difficulties; trusting my intellect, intelligence and my wisdom, understand that my past is no longer real and it can’t touch me, not allowing other people to judge me, not allowing other people’s opinions to affect me, not taking on other people’s responsibility.
Being safe in my heart and soul:
Be Mia (always), be honest and genuine, protect my soul and don’t waste my intimacy on anyone who doesn’t deserve it, only trust the trust-worthy, speak from the core of me, express myself through my creativity and don’t hold back or censor myself, push out the negativity and toxic energy, celebrate my strength, resilience and courage and be wise about using them well, don’t depend on other people to feel good or worthy, don’t try to rescue other people or depend on other people to rescue me, only rescue myself when needed, feel proud of who I am, nurture my true nature, fill my life with purpose and meaning, let love inside, don’t be scared or try to protect the heart if the love is pure, accept myself and both my strength and my weaknesses.
Being safe in my body:
Take care of my body, live healthy, be kind to my body and treat it with love and respect, listen to my body, trust what my body has to say, let my body rest, heal, express itself and have fun when it wants to, accept my body – accept its beauty, flaws and vulnerabilities, feel proud of my body, don’t see the body as a stranger, get to know it and make friends with it, only let the right people come close to my body, don’t let anyone take advantage of my body, express my sexuality when I feel connected, don’t punish my body or let anyone else punish it, don’t self-sabotage my body, don’t feel ashamed of my body, meditate daily to keep it from being tense, celebrate my body, be grateful that I am healthy and alive, feel privileged to have a functional body.
In this way I am able to reconnect all my parts and stop being dependent on external things or other people to feel safe. If I’m going to liberate myself completely and become independent in areas where I’ve been scared to leave my comfort zone and unnecessary dependency, I have to remember all this. I have to reprogram myself so that this will overwrite the self-destructive thoughts, feelings and behavior that stems from the wound I have in my soul. It’s time to heal it, once and for all.
“Getting to know you,
Getting to feel free and easy
When I am with you,
Getting to know what to say
Haven’t you noticed
Suddenly I’m bright and breezy
Because of all the beautiful and new
Things I’m learning about you
Day by day.”
I’ve always been skeptical when it comes to self-help books – they are too close to spiritualism and it makes me feel uncomfortable. But when my job coach lend me a copy of “Heal your wounds & find your true self” by Lise Bourbeau, I got a bit blown away but how accurate she pinpointed my personal experience of my inner wounds, where they are rooted and all the negative things they’ve brought into my life. Bourbeau points out 5 inner wounds and the masks they create in us so that we can live with the wound without confronting it. It’s like having a wound on your hand and disguising it with a glove, just so you can’t see it anymore – but it’s still there and only getting worse and worse over time and you’ll end up with a bad infection.
My inner wound is abandonment (rooted in my childhood) – and my mask is dependency. It all makes so much sense now – why I’ve stayed in destructive relationships, why isolation makes me ill, why my fear of love is so overwhelming and so many other irrational thoughts, feelings and behavior. All these new insights made me feel liberated and my healing process has been steady and productive – I am moving beyond so much crap that was rooting in this wound. Even my creativity blockage triggered this wound when I abandoned myself, my art and all the ongoing projects and paintings. I’ve abandoned myself just as much as other people have abandoned me (mentally, physically, emotionally, sexually etc) – or perhaps even more.
My job coach gave me a great gift by lending me that book. I wish everyone could read it and find the answers to their misfortune and suffering. The book helped me get closure – and I started to take care of my wound without covering it up with dependency. It’s scary and wonderful at the same time – the process of independence. That’s what I’ve been doing all year. It can be a long process, but boy is it worth it!
I’ve come to a very important place in my self-therapy work. I’ve found the root to all my traumas and emotional wounds, and it goes back to my early childhood (where every bad thing seems to be rooted for all of us). It’s all coming together now. I’ve disentangled the knots in my mind and unlocked my heart. And I’ve faced my demons and made friends with them (there is no point in trying to kill them off, it won’t work).Through meditation, my own therapy work, and a little help and support from other people – I’ve found clarity (awareness) and it has been the key to an acceptance that has led me to this new spiritual liberation.
I don’t feel the need to complain about my issues anymore. I can’t blame my misfortunes or suffering on others because I can see that I was part of them too. I allowed it to happen, I invited it into my life when I accepted the unacceptable, when I abandoned myself and when I gave permission to other people to treat me badly. I don’t hate my abusers, I don’t hate myself – hate has no place in my heart and it doesn’t serve any purpose in my life. I only need to hold on to the lessons I’ve earned from going through all this, and it will work as the guiding light on my continuing journey forward.
It should never be about what happens to us, it’s all about how we react to it – and what we learn from the experience. This insight will kill any form of victimization and unnecessary suffering. What we allow is what we’ll suffer. Acceptance is the key to the healing of a very old wound that’s been neglected for too long.
The sweetness of my second youth
Reconnecting with my body, especially through meditation, is an extraordinary experience. I am exploring the sensations of pain, pleasure, touch, rest, relaxation, anxiety, tension and release as if my body was just handed to me and I wrapped myself in it for the first time. Where have I been? Where do I disappear to when I’ve been dissociative and lost within myself? Meditation is helping me heal and to stay connected between mind and body. But it’s a foreign feeling. I feel young. Like I am a teenager, discovering myself in a new, adult body. I guess I am overcoming the Lolita thing in many ways. I am so done with her. I’m growing up and I am enjoying the sweetness of my second youth.
But there are some dark emotions that goes with the sweet. There’s a lot of anger and disappointment towards myself, when I think about all the danger and discomfort I’ve put myself and my body through. I forgave myself a long time ago, it’s not about blame or guilt. It’s simply a reaction to becoming a whole person again. To understand the value of my body, mind and heart. To acknowledge what I like, dislike and what makes me feel good or bad. I didn’t have the freedom to do that in my past. My body has never really belonged to me until now. When I was I child it belonged to the Doctors and my parents for the various examinations and treatments for my eczema that I had all over my skin. In my adult years it belonged to the men. I was acting like a good girlfriend and thought it was my duty to serve them whatever my body could provide, but I never asked my body what I myself wanted and needed. And I ended up in abusive or negtlective relationships which both traumatized me and my body in many ways, and I had to split them apart in order to survive. Then the destructive disconnection followed. the self-abandonment. The dissociative states and the self-destructive compartmentalization in order to avoid any cognitive dissonance.
This new self-discovery and self-compassion is so healthy, even though it also opens up these places of anger and sadness. It’s part of the healing process and I have to go through it.
The first breath of closure
This has been one of the heaviest times of my life and I have been forced to get totally naked in front of myself, other people and in front of life itself. It has been hard. In fact, at one point, I thought I wouldn’t make it. What I’ve needed is closure and this weekend I’ve found the first real breath of closure. But I almost destroyed myself in the process. I guess this is why writers always save the biggest battle until the end of the story. Closure and overcoming something difficult means facing the biggest fear – the biggest pain. To face your own mortality and purpose in life. Are you destined to be controlled by something or someone else or are you destined to be in control of your own life? Would you survive standing up for yourself in one last battle of taking back what’s yours? Would you be able to live with the consequences of making a difficult decision? You might go a whole lifetime avoiding to ask yourself these questions, avoiding the final battle, the difficult confrontation and making the painful decision, but then you would never really find true happiness within yourself. There would be a shadow hanging over you, a lump in your throat, a heavy rock on your shoulders. And it would slowly poison your heart and soul – or worse; it would numb them.
What are you willing to endure if choosing to avoid closure? What are you willing to lose? Who would you become if you choose to avoid standing up for yourself – and who would you become if you did?
These questions are terribly difficult to answer without actually doing something about them. By taking action. By doing everything in your power to find the answers. To fight the right fight. To fight your fight. To get your life back. Your self-worth. Your self-esteem. Your future. Your peace of mind. Your power. Your freedom.
The answers would always lead you to a place where you’d finally start ruling your own world.
9:20 pm: killing heavy expectations
I’ve spent a couple of days with more visits at the clinic and making research about something that I think is the essence of most of my misfortunes; expectations. I have high expectations of myself, I expect bad things to happen when I feel vulnerable (PTSD symptom), I feel like I have to live up to other people’s expectations (that’s why it’s so hard for me to be myself around other people and why it’s so easy for me to lose myself and my inner voice), I create a dreamlike world full of expectations in my head and reality has no chance to live up to it – and I expect the worst outcome when faced with a problem (catastrophe minded).
This is a good topic for my research – and it’s a key to many locked places inside my mind. Maybe it’s even connected to my art and one of the reasons why it’s been so hard for me to work since I got a little successful 10 years ago, because I suddenly felt there were new and higher expectations of me – both from other people and from myself as well.
It’s surely one of the reasons why I stayed in all those destructive relationships – I was chasing their approval by trying to match their expectations instead of leaving when I felt like they didn’t appriciate me for who I really am. I call this chase the dance of death and now I can see how it’s deeply rooted in my behavior because I am so sensitive to the pressure of other people’s expectations. To not live up to them has made me feel worthless and not worthy of their love. And I’ve been rewarded for losing my self-respect while chasing theirs – and punished when I’ve demonstrated self-respect while going against theirs. No wonder I’ve become so messed up.
But I am not that innocent, I have high expectations of other people too, and I’m especially brutal with the expectations I have of a partner, mostly because I am so sensitive to what I’ve experienced in my past relationships. As soon as they disappoint me, I think I am close to a new betrayal. And that’s when I freak out – and things get complicated.
Trust and faith are good tools to overcome this fear of betrayal, but it’s hard to trust when you have a damaged soul. I’m doing my best. I’m trying not to expect it. To not look for it. To feel like I’m on to something. Expecting betrayal can make you slightly paranoid and leads to unnecessary suffering. I’m happy I am now aware of all this, it will be so much easier to overcome it.
I had built so many expectations before Johnny came here, what we were supposed to do, places to visit, we would be happy and enjoying every minute of the two weeks we had together. I was blowing up expectations like balloons. But reality popped the balloons when I got sick and we couldn’t do all those things or visit all those places together. I got frustrated and annoyed so I couldn’t feel happy all the time. My expectations transformed from the light and pretty balloons to the heavy weight of a ball and chain, tied to my ankle like a reminder of what a failure I was for not being able to live up to my own expectations. Johnny saw this and made me see how silly it is. I had created my own sense of failure after creating expectations where there’s no room for the unexpected or any reality. Johnny thinks the best way to stay away from expectations is to have the attitude of “engaged improv” (to be spontaneous and present). I like that. But it’s hard to change from being someone who’s all about trying to control life by building expectations (good and bad) to the relaxed and bohemian ways of engaged improvisations. But it is a motivation to let go of any form of expectations. Mine or theirs.
There are so many ways to break free, both mentally and emotionally. I’ve gone through many phases of self-liberty and independence lately. And I’m gonna continue until I feel like I can live my life without having any weight of my past holding me back.
The cool dance of independence
All I can do in this heat wave is to do self therapy work and make research about the process of emotional independence. It’s a very difficult and complex process if you have been trained, like me, to be dependent/codependent all your life – to be a good girl (and by ‘good’ I mean no attempts to be independent or going after my own wishes and needs but only pleasing others), to obey, respect others while letting them disrespect me, lack of clear boundaries, low self-esteem and virtual no practice in independence what so ever because I haven’t been rewarded but punished for it.
The lack of independence is really my problem with codependency. After many years in trauma treatment and doing this self therapy work, I have finally understood my role in the “codependency dance” and why I’ve been so attracted to participate in the dance in the first place. Without this understanding and accepting my responsibility when it comes to being part of a codependency, I would never be able to break free and become independent. It takes two to dance, right? If I’d withdraw from the dance floor, I would break the pattern and the power of the codependency dance. Independence is a way cooler dance anyway. It’s all about walking the walk like I’m talking the talk – to stay true and being clear about who I am and what my boundaries are. It sounds so simple. But it’s not. To learn how to dance you have to practice and sweat until you’ll get it right. One step at a time, failure is part of the process and practice makes perfect. All clichés but true.
I need to practice on being much more clear when it comes to letting people know my boundaries and integrity. I need to be louder when I speak up in an uncomfortable situation. I need to improve my self-esteem. I need a steady income so I don’t feel dependent on other people to help me out. I want to practice self respect in order for other people to show me more respect. I want to be able to let go of taking on other people’s responsibility and guilt. It’s not easy being an empath and prone to feeling unnecessary shame and guilt, when it belongs to somebody else, it can be such a heavy weight.
My process of independence is a very important key process in my self therapy. It’s not a coincidence that it’s happening now and not a few years ago, I wasn’t ready then. But I am now.
About pity party, love and worlds gone topsy turvy
I’ve been struggling with anxiety for a few days. There are just so many things up in the air right now, so many important processes in motion. I feel like I don’t have the strength or energy to deal with all of it, simultaneously – but I have no other choice. And then I feel overwhelmed, lose my drive and host my own pity party (see video in my previous post) and end up with anxiety. The trick is to not let it get to you – just let the change happen without making any resistance. If you are ready to change or if you are forced to change to adjust to a new situation – then resistance won’t have any impact on the result anyway. But it makes you feel in control for a while.
The more I understand about myself, the more I am able to relate to other people and understand their behavior as well as my own. It isn’t always a good thing. Especially not when they don’t want to hear your brilliant insights or aren’t interested in changing in order to become better people. It is frustrating at times. A spiritual or mental awakening is the biggest thing that can happen to a person, but at the same time it can make you feel intellectually lonely and socially misplaced. I don’t have many friends because I find myself on a different frequency than most people, but the few friends I do have mean the world to me. We share a frequency and a deep understanding of the value of life. Many of my friends have survived traumas or some kind of betrayal.
And because life’s been difficult and painful for both Johnny and me, we share a deep connection based on gratitude and appreciation for what we are able to build together. That and mutual respect for each other’s weaknesses and strengths. I am not used to being in a relationship based on respect. It’s both such a great foundation for our relationship but also the most confusing thing. Where I am expecting an aggressive reaction – he’s kind and accepting, in times when I think he’s gonna judge me for something, he’s embracing it. And when I expect him to betray me, he’s just holding my hand through whatever I’m going through. It makes my whole world go topsy turvy. I am so used to the opposite reactions. To be judged, humiliated, ignored, punished or neglected. The love I feel from Johnny restores all the broken pieces of my poor little heart. I am so grateful.
I just have to get through this time of anxiety and worries without losing any momentum. I’ve worked too hard for this. I can’t let anything come in between me and my will to live my life as I am destined to live it and not as people expect me to live it. This is the process of independence and it’s scary as hell. And I love it.
It’s been raining on and off for days now and I’ve been feeling a little low because of the monthly hormones. I’ve been thinking a lot about where I am going. I’ve never been comfortable with the whimsical nature of the unknown. I always try to tame it, like if it’s a beast, by planning, thinking, dreaming and working hard to achieve something – anything to keep the void of the unknown from getting any closer. The future is my canvas to fill with my own texture, paint and light, but it’s just that the canvas keep changing shape, so my planned brush strokes sometimes miss its target and I end up painting outside the lines where the colors fade with the nothingness underneath. It is quite impossible to tame the unknown, but I’m always willing to try. At least I have ambitions. I want to live my life without any limitations. To use everything I am in all my achievements. To never stop dreaming. I want to fulfill my life’s purpose. To love and to be loved – all the way. I want to make love without any inhibitions. I want to overcome every fear standing in the way of my curiosity. I want to overcome all the symptoms of PTSD – and to never have anxiety or panic attacks again. I know that through hard work and the right focus, I’ll be able to achieve some of these things, others will just happen naturally without my interference, because that’s how life works – and some of these things will remain a dream and a dream only because you can’t get everything you wish for. I accept that.
I’ve wasted too many years on the wrong things. On people who never deserved my time, love or ambition. On worrying. On being insecure and scared. I’ve wasted tears, heartache, headaches, for nothing. It wasn’t even important. It was just stupid and made no sense at all. I’ve been afraid to shine my light and to be who I am because I’ve been scared of being punished for it. To make other people feel uncomfortable around my rawness of strength, power and confidence. But now I’m feeling sad that some people can’t tolerate other people’s strength because it triggers their own inferiority. I wish they could be stronger than that, I wish they could let go of their insecurities and embrace themselves for who they really are. They would shine too. We all have that wonderful rawness inside. I could never go back to how things were. I could never accept being treated disrespectfully or to have my heart and head filled with darkness – a darkness which doesn’t even belong to me. I’m done being forced to carry other people’s darkness and hatred. I don’t deserve that. I never did. No ones does.
I’ve been such a fool throughout my adult life, not because I am stupid but because I’ve tolerated to be treated like one. That will never happen again. I’m only a fool for trying to tame the unknown, and I like that foolishness. It is a driving force. A foolish one perhaps, but it keeps me moving forward no matter what.
The process of happiness
It’s been difficult for me to write anything lately because I’m going through so many different and wonderful processes at the same time. Processes are abstract and hard to define since they are in constant motion, sort of in the same way the sun is dancing across the waves of the ocean. It’s easier to describe a process after going through them. The abstractions are less abstract then and replaced by substance and meaning – and a new sense of clarity. Every day I’m experiencing self-empowerment and letting go of negativity and fear in both little things and in bigger ones. I’m focused on pleasure, happiness and strength – and it takes a lot of trial and error to change my thinking style and the way I’m accepting it.
I try not to fall back in old behavioral patterns, but it’s hard sometimes. I’m still struggling with the thoughts that I don’t deserve to be happy and loved. The manipulation is rooted deeply into my system.
Why wouldn’t I deserve to be happy and loved? Because it makes someone else feel bad about themselves? Because I am not good enough? Because I am in debt to the world? No theory makes sense, they’re all stupid. If I don’t deserve to be happy – who does? Someone who’s more ‘perfect’? Someone who doesn’t demand anything of other people? Someone who’s less fortune than myself? All this is also so silly.
I understand that I can’t just change my approach to happiness over night. It’s a process, like I described. I just have to accept that today I felt happy and loved and no one could ever take that away because I don’t allow people to punish me or shame me anymore. Happiness is a choice – an attitude of the mind. If I want to feel happy I will find a way to feel happy. And then I’ll actually be happy. That’s the best part of process of happiness.
Harmony of the core
I feel so much gratitude for the people close to me. I can’t believe how lucky I am to have so much love and appreciation around me. I’m building a new family of friends and I have Johnny across the ocean who’s looking after me more than any other boyfriend whom I’ve shared my everyday life with, ever did. I’m painting my life with careful brush strokes. Every decision I make has a meaning and is pushing me forward instead of me clinging to what I already know. I’ve wasted so many years, tears, heartbeats and headaches on the wrong things. Stuff without substance. Destructive things that drained me. And unattainable fantasies and ghost hunting. Now I want everything in my life to be real, positive and to unfold naturally. I’m done forcing life in the direction I want, life doesn’t work that way anyway. I am accepting the fact that even if I make decisions and even if I’m leading my life in a non-forced way, life is still full of surprises and occasionally creates little mazes for me to find my way out of. But with acceptance comes a sense of inner peace. And that’s all I’ve ever wanted for myself.
There’s a big difference between being comfortably numb and emotionally paralyzed that I use to feel – and to be at peace. The serenity of the heart and mind has nothing to do with passivity. On the contrary – a vivid inner life of wants and dreams but with the acceptance of circumstances and reality, creates the perfect balance of ambition and stillness – and ultimately finding the harmony of the core. It is very difficult to get here, but once you find this place everything in life unfolds with a sense of ease and simplicity.
Learning how to say “Fuck it!”
I’m slowly making progress in my process of self-empowerment. I’ve made so much research about fear of failure – and fear of success that I now feel confident in my awareness about these mattes (both my weaknesses and my resources and strength) and I feel ready to embrace failure and welcome the benefits of making mistakes in order to become wiser and better at things.
“People who succeed have the courage to fail.”
– Richard Sudek
But the most important and valuable thing I’ve learned about fear of failure – and success, is to say “fuck it!” when it comes to what other people think or say about me and what I do. To not apologize for who I am or for the decisions I make in order to reach success. To not censor myself in order to make other people feel more comfortable or superior And to not feel responsible for other people’s opinions and judgment. Just “fuck it!” – I am who I am and I feel damn proud of myself! I’ve accomplished many amazing things already and I will achieve so many victories and successes in my future. The shame and humiliation of a possible failure – or the fear of being punished for being successful is slowly fading.
Building an invisible house
I’m taking big steps in my self therapy – which I will refer to as ‘self-empowerment’ from now on. I am on a different journey now than during the years I lived with the PTSD where the cruel symptoms ruled my every day life.
I might not be the smartest person in the world, I might not know much about anything really – but I am an expert when it comes to the process of losing the connection to oneself – and finding a way back. It’s been taking me about 15 years to accomplish that.
My old journey was to overcome PTSD and my new journey is all about reclaiming life and the power I lost to other people by accepting (and encouraging) a submissive position.
It all comes down to vulnerability. For a long period of time, I was trapped in various situations where it was forced on me from many directions. Vulnerability became the texture of my identity – and so also the visual expression of myself. I couldn’t see it. I was busy reliving trauma every day because of the PTSD (that I didn’t knew I suffered from at the time). But the vulnerability was the only thing I could offer men in relationships, I confused it for warmth and love – and so I attracted the narcissists, the aggressive ones, the assholes, the ‘strong silent’ men without any empathy – and the broken souls in denial with a tough exterior to overcompensate for their own vulnerability issues.
I payed the price for their repressed pain or for their lack of emotions – and I let them. I gave them my vulnerability as a currency so they could buy my loyalty, love and sexuality with it, over and over, without losing any of their own currency. I cared so much, they didn’t care at all. I risked my life for them, they neglected me and took no risks at all. I thought that love would either ‘make me or break me’ – they thought of me as a submissive addition to their lives which had no real influence on their hearts. Indifference is a perfect armor, it allows no emotional risks at all. I can’t relate to it – it’s a blind spot for me. I was an easy target for their selfish conquests when it came to what my vulnerability was worth – and how it was perceived. They were addicted to it – and it made me look weak so they could look stronger, better and smarter.
Therefore, the first step to self-empowerment is self-forgiveness. I have forgiven myself for being so careless with my vulnerability and for letting men do whatever they want with it.
And with self-acceptance – where I am accepting both my weaknesses – and seeing my vulnerability as something precious that I have to protect and maintain (which, ironically, makes it shrink) and my strengths and resources (where vulnerability is a great one if handled with care) – I have a good foundation for what I need to achieve success, happiness and self-fulfillment.
It’s not a random coincidence that my recent artworks all have houses in them – and that I registered my new website as “The House of Mia Makila”. I am slowly building an invisible house around myself – a protection of inner strength and an uncompromising integrity – an empowerment of everything I am – to myself and to the world.
About a different kind of starvation
I think it’s strange that when we talk about starvation, it’s always about the physical connection to food. But we rarely talk about how that nagging sensation of hunger, desperation and frustration can be felt in other places than in our tummies.
When we neglect our needs, we feel like something is missing – and it creates a void inside. Just like we feel when we are hungry for food. It’s a sneaky thing, the process of losing ourselves to the greyness of every day life routines, compromises in relationships, shame, fear or any place where we can’t really feel free to be ourselves all the way. We adjust ourselves to the course of life and direction or stagnation of our ambitions. But it’s easy to overlook needs or desires when life feels like a train ride without any stops. It’s easy to lose the connection between mind and body or mind and soul, and that’s when we’re slowly creating a starvation somewhere inside. You can’t feel it happening until you are faced with the suction of the void. And the void is not talking. It’s confusing. Annoying. Frustrating. You don’t know what is missing. So you overcompensate with other things. You create renovation projects and home improvement, you have another baby, you put more hours into work, you shop or try to buy yourself free of the void – for the moment and there’s a sense of satisfaction but not the sensation of true fulfillment.
I’ve been starving for many things throughout my adult life and in various relationships. For intimacy. Sex. Intellectual stimulation. For artistic growth. Self acceptance. Closure. Friendship. Relief of shame and guilt. Genuine love. Pleasure. Happiness.
The starvation made me feel angry, bitter and depressed. I didn’t know why I felt that way so it left me feeling helpless and broken.
It wasn’t until I started to listen to my inner voice – my core – and began my journey in therapy that I could see how lost I was while I was overcompensating with the substitutions or the instant satisfaction that never lasted very long.
I am slowly approaching all of my starvations, trying to feed my needs or at least acknowledge them. It isn’t easy to stay true to who you really are in this time of age when we’re constantly being hacked by norms, social stress, mainstream ideals and pre- packaged lifestyles but it is possible.
You just need to create a little space for yourself where your thoughts and feelings can float through you without any judgements or shame. That’s all it takes to start filling the nagging void inside.
This is what CHANGE looks like
This is what it looks like when you are in the progress of to changing and building a new life for yourself after years of struggling with PTSD and depressions: making research about how anxiety works so I can deal with it, making research about self esteem, mindfulness, making self-therapy notes about what I need to change – attitudes, strategies, plans, motivation, a practical plan to reach my goals and the strategies that will lead me to future success, keeping a journal just for things that I am grateful for and things that are good about me to boost my self esteem, dissecting my fears so I can get rid of them to be able to reach my dreams and desires, redefining what my art means to me and how I want to use my creativity from now on. This is what it looks like when you take back control of your life!