Last week, I didn’t write because I didn’t have much to say that isn’t more of the same.
I wish I had new adventures to write about, new people I’ve met…
So here’s 3000+ words…of probably more of the same!
I’m at a standstill in my life and it’s really beyond disappointing. I feel like I haven’t really done anything with my life worth mentioning. And sure, being middle-aged isn’t helped (these musings are par for the course).
But beyond getting through college and grad school–which were Herculean efforts because of issues and events outside of my control, I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished that much.
A medal for surviving doesn’t really seem like much to me. I have barely begun to do what I came on earth to do. And this blog has been an attempt to get to that place of true beginning.
But it looks like there’s a bit more work to do before I really begin.
Forty years of throat clearing and preambling…
And then, I keep looking back at this year alone and I’m still horrified. So many people have left, and mostly it’s been all for the best (especially this guy). It really has brought into relief how much relationships mean to me (a heckuva lot).
And although I’m tired of talking about it (my life), at the same time–I’m still stunned. Most of the people I know have become distant acquaintances…or are just gone.
Me in the middle as everyone takes steps back and back and back…an ever-widening circle that I can’t even see anymore…
Most of that widening is because of me, changing for the better, becoming more loyal and true to myself. So as horrified and shocked as I am, I’m also proud and amazed at my resilience, a resilience that today at least, I no longer resent.
Yet with all my emotional turmoil and existential loneliness, one big thing I keep forgetting is about being gifted affects me and who I connect with–and pardon me if I wrote about this two weeks ago. It’s something that keeps coming up like a persistent burp, and I don’t write about it enough or keep top of mind for my own sanity.
I just looked this up from Paula Prober, a psychotherapist who specializes in gifted adults and parenting gifted children. Here’s what she has to say about how you can identify a gifted adult:
Look for more depth.
Look for more sensitivity.
Look for more complexity.
More anxiety, more questioning, more researching, more existential depression, more ideas, more reading, more thinking, more compassion, more loneliness, more talking, more perfectionism, more idealism, more imagining, more laughing, more angst, more empathy, more creativity, more answers, more crying.
More more-ness….something I’ve fought against as others have fought against me for having it.
I have had this persistent thought about how I do not fit into American society, or this world, really…
There was a flicker of despair that came across my heart, but then it transformed into a lukewarm comfort.
I don’t have to try so hard to keep people in my life. The good ones stay. I haven’t met enough of the good ones yet.
And this isn’t meant to be some slow burn into negative thinking or “limiting beliefs”–but really, it’s not meant to be easy for me to be me, in a world that craves conformity and limits.
At least on an emotional level, being gifted for me is like this: when things are hard, they are excruciating; when things are going well, it’s ecstasy. You could say that makes me moody or that I have a wider range of emotional expression and experience.
I’m going to go with the second option.
There’s a steep price for conformity for me. Trying to minimize my feelings may make others comfortable only makes me feel miserable.
For example, I decided to part ways with my business coach at the end of the month because I felt she used my emotional honesty against me.
A lot of my business issues are emotional ones, particularly having the right mindset especially in this midst of challenges. All entrepreneurs go through the ups and downs of owning a business, and a lot of them don’t last.
As I started to be more candid about my emotions, we got in a bit of a tug-of-war about how I should see myself.
I had brought up how I needed to fire this client who wanted a lot more work for the same pay, and how it frightened me to look at the client’s reply over the last bit of work I had to do–we had a billing discrepancy, basically. I spent hours avoiding my email mainly because I had already lost trust in them.
Based on their recent behavior of work scope creep, I didn’t think they would be reasonable in my final request. And I hated the idea of having to deal with yet another disappointment this year..
But they actually were reasonable. Thank goodness.
Why I brought this up was that I didn’t want to waste time being afraid of emails with potentially. And yes, I’ve heard a lot of bad news in my life.
But considering that I am in this wide open space in my business by myself, it’s a coping mechanism that isn’t too terrible, in retrospect.
It’s OK to not be outwardly brave 24/7/365. It’s OK to admit the fear.
Before this, I had mentioned that I tend to cut people out of my life when things become untenable, when I think there can’t be a way to resolve the conflict, or if the relationship we have isn’t working anymore.
And this cutting isn’t some dramatic declaration of the end of a relationship. It’s letting things die a natural death. We just fade out of each other’s lives.
And if I recall correctly, she had brought this up as a similar pattern, which, again–considering what I’ve been through, it’s a coping mechanism that has served me well. There have been a lot of people who needed to be out of my life sooner than later.
But I admittedly have been working to wean myself off of it. I don’t want to be a surgeon and just cut, cut, cut. I want to be more preventative and not have to cut in the first place. I want to be able to better find the right clients the first time around–and yes, this can apply to friendships and relationships, too (I will get back to this later).
So she said this back to me in a way as if I didn’t fully grasp the severity of these traits of avoidance and self-preservation. It felt as if she was trying to make me feel like I wasn’t an expert about my own life. And maybe this is some “So what I heard you say was…” kind of active listening communication technique that I may have misunderstood, but it didn’t seem helpful at the time (honestly, it still doesn’t)/
Or maybe she was trying to make a connection between that coping mechanism of cutting and running–something I’m not resistant in changing by the way–and the case with this now former client.
What I felt like was that she was using my own wounds and shortcomings to slap me in the face with them to change.
In the context of that moment where I was sharing my heart and she was trying to get me to find answers I didn’t have, I felt attacked and accused–which is actually not something I feel often.
My vulnerability was rewarded with blame.
So then, I took 10 minutes or more to defend myself. From how she talked to me, I could see that she sees me as an embittered, brittle, hard person (in another coaching session, she asked me if I forgave easily, and I said no). And even if that were true–there was no compassion for me.
This tense dynamic had happened once or twice before. But in this moment, I really felt that I had been kicked while I was down. I felt really tight and hot in my chest in a way I usually don’t feel, even at my most anxious. She had been bringing up what I had mentioned as if I had no emotional awareness of what I was doing. Whether it was intentional or not, I felt insulted and not fully understood nor listened to.
Why? Because she already knew how I was feeling really beat up since four years ago around this time, I was semi-homeless. When I had first brought that up, she astutely saw that I may have some PTSD about that time.
Yet she’s a coach, not a therapist. She’s not trained to see me or my life history through a trauma lens. She basically was asking me to snap out of it. And it hurt.
So this is where my cut-and-run strategy will work again. I don’t want to invest time in training her how to talk to me. It’s not my job. I’ve learned what I needed–especially about myself and how I need to be treated.
And one thing about being gifted: being hypercritical of myself is something I need relief from, not a pile-on from someone who just met me in July.
This is where my “more more-ness” as a gifted adult definitely ends up being a wall instead of a bridge. I am emotionally expressive with my words and most people cannot handle it. And I’ve been upset and distraught over it long it.
I am not going to change who I am to accommodate people’s reticence to reach out to me. I deserve the same acceptance and love that I give to other people.
In the end, I need emotional support more than anything, and she’s not the right person to give it without it being some basic women’s empowerment stuff that isn’t really empowering.
I had started to dread our calls after that semi-confrontation, and I knew it was time to find better support.
After I decided to end this relationship (just three more sessions left), I didn’t want to have yet another person leave without at least a replacement. I reached out to another mentor in town who will give me advice on marketing next week. And, I’m already in a couple of Facebook groups about writing and owning a small business.
So back to choosing the right people the first time…
I don’t really feel rightly aligned to most people right now, and I feel that’s because I myself am being realigned.
I feel like I’ve been taken offline for upgrades and repairs and I’m just now realizing it.
The repairs and upgrades? I’m not really sure what’s happening there. I know there’s a greater process happening, of gaining deeper spiritual knowledge–but that’s about it. And I can only imagine that I’m being set up for something big because I’ve never had my life stall so badly before.
It’s taking a lot of time to realize that loss sometimes isn’t about me doing something wrong. As I’ve said here in the past, I’ve been tormenting myself about what’s wrong with me…and that isn’t really the issue.
The reframe of “loss as error” to “loss as realignment”–it doesn’t really make loss less painful. It’s just better understood.
Even when the losses are from my own hand…distancing myself from people who hurt me, firing clients, ending coaching relationships…it seems smacks of failure.
But that isn’t the complete truth. Failure sounds so final, but this isn’t about wins and losses. It’s about a process of maturation.
Sure, I’ve learned so much from the people who have entered and exited my life. And whether they have graced my life for brief or long moments–those instances have also been a necessary part of the realignment process.
Simply put–no one is sticking around right now because no one is supposed to (yet).
Temporarily, I know I’m in some crucible, the dross burning off with only pure metal left. But it’s a lonely process, and I’m done talking about those feelings.
But as a gifted person, knowing that as much as I want to connect with others but probably won’t–that’s a permanent feature that I have to continue to accept–and remember.
That’s really tough to swallow, because even though I have my own business, to be successful, it’s so important to have others supporting you. It’s hard to look at my income and think–my fates are tied to other people I haven’t met yet.
It’s frustrating to know that you deserve the support but yet haven’t received it in the way that you need and want it.
So, many times, I make do. But the “making do” looked a lot like accommodation and compromise so I could feel like I wasn’t alone.
I’ve waited around for too long. I’ve bent over backwards. I’ve continuously reached out.
But the reciprocity…
I’ve settled way too much for way too little. It’s a coping mechanism that has lost its efficacy.
But–good news! When coping mechanisms fail to work, that means you’ve grown and it’s time to choose healthier coping techniques.
This year brutally taught me that it’s better to be poor and alone than to be aligned with people who don’t have your best interest in mind.
I don’t have to settle.
I feel like I’m starting completely over with this realignment.
Yet there are ghosts from the past coming to visit…
I’m currently trying to see if a long-time friendship can be salvaged. Years have passed and there is hurt on both sides, but I don’t know if true healing can take place.
I don’t know if trust can be restored between us.
I won’t go into too much detail about how things started to unravel, but three years ago, there was a miscommunication, and then subsequent assumptions made about me about being uncaring and imposing.
At least that miscommunication has been resolved. But how it was handled later, or just communication between us…it devolved into being scolded like a child like I didn’t know about adult priorities (marriage and work).
It was some smug married bullshit, something like my man and my job come first. But it seemed like something said desperation, in a feeble attempt to relieve to some work/life balance pressure.
I remember being the last person speaking maybe two years ago and just leaving it open-ended. Shockingly, even to me–I don’t dwell on most events. I only dwell on the outcomes.
(It’s driving me crazy that I don’t have evidence for this, because from our messages, it looks like I actually shouldn’t have any issues. It makes me feel like what happened didn’t happen, even though I know it did. I don’t know who deleted those messages, but I’ll say I seriously doubt that I did.)
Usually, people don’t even try to reconcile with me, or try to reach out. And on my end, it’s rare that I will go back through a closed door. I only tried to do that with my first boyfriend about three months after he broke up with me.
So this is a bit of an experiment for me, and an apt one for Libra season–to rehash, to retread, to possibly reconcile with someone who has hurt me.
Maybe I can turn over a new leaf? But more importantly–is this leaf worth turning over?
If there is hope, it is cautiously and warily held close to my chest. Even still, I know our friendship will never be the same, because even if that smug married stuff was said in anger and desperation…I feel like there’s still some truth behind those words that she needs to embrace and own.
What’s cool, though? I don’t have to figure this out today. Or even this month. I can observe and not see this as some threat to my wellbeing.
I can be curious. And I am safe.
Maybe she’ll stick around. Maybe she won’t. But there’s a greater trust and truth holding me together as everything around me falls apart…
I think because my life has become so unsatisfactory, I have to see it running on parallel tracks.
There’s the life I wanted on one track and there’s the life I have on the other.
Ultimately, all I have wanted is security and freedom. And that’s the opposite of what I have had living here in this house, especially this year.
And I’ve been resentful and despairing and fed the fuck up. But those emotions have been draining and demoralizing.
So I’ve decided to stop looking at that track for now.
What I have is a deeper sense of self and a slowly growing trust that the Universe really does have my back, that none of these losses I grieve over and come to accept will be wasted.
It doesn’t mean I’m doing high kicks of joy yet. But it does mean I’m almost done with the internal temper tantrum.
And here’s the kicker–a lot of suffering comes from that ever-persistent question of why. And yet I know there’s a big fat why that’s holding me–even though I don’t know its name or what it looks like.
None of what I’ve experienced is for nothing–and that’s not the Universe deciding that. I’m deciding that.
But the why…why is this happening? Why is this happening to me? Well usually, we don’t ever fully figure that out.
But it is happening. So what do you do?
You learn to deal and cope while you protect your dreams and goals, letting them evolve as you do.
As I am realigned, I know that I will make better choices with the people I allow into my life. I’ll be better about remembering that my “more-ness” is nothing to be ashamed of. I’ll continue to make sure that my circumstances don’t define who I am.
I will continue to focus on myself and what I need, trusting that somehow, I’ll be provided for.
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