Earlier today I happened to see this video:
This is a woman's story about her struggle to avoid pain through an eating disorder, alcoholism, drug abuse, and pretending. This really struck a chord with me. On some level, we are all naturally programmed to avoid pain. Some of us, I guess, have an over-abundance of pain, or we are incredibly sensitive to it, or have gotten to the point that we just can't deal with it. I pretend. I create little fantasies in my head about what kind of person I "am," what kind of life I "have," what kind of world I "live" in, etc. I create situations in my mind to make myself feel better. This is not because my life is a terrible one, because it's not. It's not because I have an awful husband or I am poverty-stricken. It's just something I've done for as long as I can remember. I always just chalked it up to having an over-active imagination, but the more soul-searching I do, the more I am realizing that my fantasies are my protection. They are my "super hero capes," as she mentions in the video. I also eat, and drink (not to the point that I'm physically dependant on it, but I know I have reached for alcohol to numb pain). I avoid people, because people have been so disappointing to me. I try to make my house, my car, my cabinets, etc, very neat and organized. Part of it is that's just the kind of person I am -- I honestly LIKE to be neat and organized -- but I also do it because it's one of the few things I have at least some control over.
I liked what she said in the video about being honest, about stepping out there into the great, big, scary, messy world....and the part about there are prizes to be won for doing so.
A few days ago I received an email from the church I used to work at. It was an invitation for a get-together, way out in the country, at a cabin by a creek. I accepted the invitation, and then yesterday (like I often do), I got scared that maybe I shouldn't go. The weather has been really, really lousy lately, so I emailed saying if the weather was supposed to be bad again that I wouldn't go. I thought maybe that would be my way out. Today was a beautiful day, and we headed out around 12:30. The day was absolutely LOVELY. We had a nice picnic, I got complimented on my pasta salad that I made. The kids played frisbee, played cornhole, splashed in the creek, floated down it on a tube. I was only one of four adults, and at one point, they invited me to play a game of boccee ball. I couldn't believe it. I honestly cannot remember the last time I was invited to play a game like that. I played, and was actually doing really well. I had a great time, though. Then the kids played with us for a while, and then got in the creek for a little while longer. We loaded up our gear and all headed home.
The day truly could not have been any nicer, and I am so excited that I went. To some people, it might not be a big deal at all to accept an invitation, then on the day of the event, shower, wash your hair, put on a little makeup and GO to said event. Then play, interact, have a great time and actually enjoy yourself. But I did. And I'm so, so, so HAPPY and proud of myself.
They are planning to get together next month to go tubing in a BIG, deep creek. They mentioned this today while we were visiting. I immediately accepted that invitation, and cannot wait to go!