Flickan & Kråkan

“För mitt hopp är en skadskjuten kråka
Och jag är ett springande barn”

Flickan & Kråkan

For my hope is a wounded crow
And I am a running child

A picture I drew for my youngest sister who still believes I can rope the moon.

Inspired by the song “Flickan och Kråkan” written by Mikael Wiehe

 

Lyrics from Flickan & Kråkan © Mikael Wiehe

Alice in Wonderland, Jefferson Airplane & The Lighter Side of Grammar

I just finished watching the Royal Ballet’s version of  “Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland” on the BBC, and it reminded me of how I always loved the hookah smoking caterpillar from Lewis Carroll’s wonderful story, who – in the midst of all the wondrous madness – stops to ask the very sobering question: “Who are you?” A question most of us spend our entire lives trying to answer.

One of my bosses insists on calling myself and one of my other workmates Tweedle-Dee & Tweedle-Dum, but, really, in terms of Alice-in-Wonderlandness I would say that I am a lot more like the aforementioned caterpillar, sprouting questions which at first look may come across as utter nonsense, but on closer inspection has the potential to make us look at ourselves more deeply.

I wrote in another post about question marks and exclamation points, and if I remember correctly, I said something along the lines of finding it easier to live with exclamation points that question marks, and while that is certainly true, I do still like my questions. I like the idea of knowing that I don’t know everything, and I love how one question leads to another, like pearls on the string of life.

While exclamation points can be exciting statements about yourself, a question mark asks you to look further, to get under the skin, to think harder.

That said, my favourite punctuation mark is, by far the semi-colon. Not quite as open as a colon, nor as characterless as the common comma, a semi-colon stands out as strong and purposeful, challenging us to say more.

Anyway, that’s my two pennies for this beautiful sunny morning.

All the very best and more,

xx

On the Alice theme, one of my favourite songs of all time; White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane.


Growing Into Being Me

A sense of myself

My purpose is clear

My roots in the ground

Something at last I can feel a part of

am

 

Been doing a lot of thinking in the last few weeks, well months, really. About myself. Who I am, what it means to be me. What makes me who I am. Lots of very big and difficult-to-answer questions.

I think that over the last few years I have changed a lot. That I’ve come into being. Grown into being me, somehow. It’s hard to put it into words, but it’s something to do with feeling ok with being who I am. To feel equal to other people in a way I haven’t always done. Equal on a very basic human level. Something that has nothing to do with where I come from, where I have been, where I’m going, but is tied into the core of what it means to be human. It’s something entirely separate from social status or lived experience.

The knowledge that I am no more and no less than anyone else.

I think I may have touched on it before, this sense of equality. I’m not sure.

But what I do know is that this discovery, simple as it may seem, truly has altered the way I look at myself in relation to other people.

It’s not anything to do with self-confidence or one-upmanship or anything like that. In many ways it’s about something very ordinary. It’s to do with finding an inner centre, a balance within our concept of self, in relation to everyone around us.

I’ve been trying to pin-point what it is that has brought on this change in perception, and when exactly it happened. Needless to say, this is an impossible task; it’s happened gradually over time, has evolved alongside making some very big life decisions.

I met up with a friend not long ago and we were talking about this; about our constant ongoing journey towards figuring out who we are. And what each step closer towards insight means.

The word we came up with was calm. It leads to inner calm. To letting go of the need to prove ourselves to other people. Or, indeed, to prove ourselves to ourself through showing the outside world what we’re made of. To feeling ok with being neither good nor bad, but being a combination of the two. To acknowledge inner conflict as part of what makes us human. To accept that we oscillate between our various wants. Swinging back and forth between feeling secure and insecure. To attach and detach.

And the knowledge that this instability

does not,

in any way,

change

who

we

are.

It’s simply part of the human condition.

xx

Ps. The quote at the top of this entry is from Limbo No More by Alanis Morissette

 

Lyrics from Limbo No More © Alanis Morissette

Spinning Around Like Nobody’s Watching

Been sitting here for over an hour, thinking “You really ought to update your blog!”. Only I’m finding it hard to paint in words today. Don’t have a clue what’s really going on inside of me. Maybe I’m over-tired, maybe I’m just a bit off.. I don’t know. But I feel oddly detached from my own reality this evening.

So, what do I do? Well, same as always. I put some music on. See what fits the mood, and go from there. Land on Sister Hazel’s “Everybody”. Serious makemehappymusic with fantabulous lyrics:

Like a junkie to a rush
I’d trade my mama for your touch
Oh, wait! That might just be too much
Well, I’d do anything but that…..

Stuff to make you smile. Make you want to crazy-dance around your room.

And so I do. Smile. Manically. Grin, really. And crazy-dance, too.

It helps. It really does. Puts me in the mood for living. Freely and happily.

Another line, from another song, has been on my mind throughout the weekend.
What it takes to be me. I’ve been thinking about it. What does it take to be me?
Could anyone do it? Or am I the only one for this particular job? It feels like an important question. A big one. One that warrants its own blog entry. Perhaps.

But not tonight.

Tonight I am happy to just be spinning around like nobody’s watching.

Feel free to join me. Go on – you know you want to.

I dare you!

xx

Everybody by Sister Hazel [Two videos]

Who I Am

You ask me to tell you what it is I see
You ask me to show you what I believe
You want to be invited to my dream fantasy
You wanna partake in my reality
But most of all you wanna see what makes me tick
You wanna see what it’s like to be me

‘Cause I wanna run where the angels have flown
I wanna be all there is that I can be
And I wanna solve all the world’s greatest mysteries
But most of all I wanna be me

So welcome to my world;
it’s a strange mystery
A place where everything is free
Doesn’t cost much as an entrance fee
The only prerequisite is individuality

‘Cause I wanna run where the angels have flown
I wanna be all there is that I can be
And I wanna solve all the world’s greatest mysteries
Most of all I wanna be me

Brush by my side
Maybe you’ll see
What crawls inside my skin
What it takes to be me

‘Cause I wanna run where the angels have flown
I wanna be all there is that I can be
And I wanna solve all the world’s greatest mysteries
But most of all I wanna be me
This is who I am
And you’ll see, my firend
I’m the one who searches the sky
And questions why

Michelle Citrin
from the album foursongsforyou 

GO BUY IT!

 

Lyrics for Who I Am © Michelle Citrin

Thinking I Can’t Survive What’s Below..

My favourite therapy session of the week – timewise – is my Tuesday session, which doesn’t start until six thirty in the evening. In the autumn and winter this means that it will be dark already when I get there, so there is always that feeling ofnothing exists apart from me, A., the room we’re in and the things we say. And often this sets the tone for the sessions themselves; I tend to be more still within myself, more in the moment, better able to just talk freely.

So, too, this week. Talked about how it’s coming up to a year since I first saw my adoption papers which – among other things – state that my parents wanted to adopt boys and that I’ve not yet been able to talk to either of my parents about this. I have, however, spent a fair amount of time in session talking about this and how I feel about it, so it wasn’t new material per se.

And then, about five seconds before the end of session A. made the comment “..and of course, apart from telling you what your parents did and didn’t want, those papers are also an inescapable reminder that you were put up for adoption in the first place. And that is something you never talk about.”

So I left session with that comment in my head, feeling actually quite upset with A. for doing that to me; bringing something so indescribably big up at the very end of session, when all I could do was to go home and react to those words on my own, with no one to talk it through with.

Now, I have a session on Wednesday afternoon – so in reality there isn’t more than a few hours between sessions. But sometimes those hours can last an eternity.

Spent a sleepless night, basically for the first time ever really thinking about what it means to have been given up. It wasn’t nice and it wasn’t pretty. And, no, I don’t think I was really ready to go there – not like that and not on my own, but I couldn’t stop it, couldn’t change the fact that the dam had been breached.

Yes, I know, this is not A.’s fault. Things don’t come out by chance, regardless of the trigger. Whatever my mind was serving me it came from me. I know this. But, it was still scary as anything. Because I genuinely didn’t know if I’d be able to cope with it. There is a reason why people build protective walls around things that are terrifying.

Still, come Wednesday, I was determined to not repeat my habit of avoidance, of choosing to not talk about things that scare me. So I started out by saying how I felt about A. leaving me with that comment, and then went on to spend the rest of session talking about the thoughts that had been rocking my soul all night.

I’m not going to go into detail about what I said, because it’s all kind of raw, and this feels too public a forum to verbalise the deepest thoughts that I have spent so long trying to shy away from. I mean, this was, literally, the very first time I spoke about any of these things, in fact many of the thoughts and emotions were new even to me, most of them only just starting to take form, to crystallise.

But, leaving session, I kind of knew that..

I’ve spent life hovering above bottom
Thinking I can’t survive what’s below
But I’ve known through the kicking and screaming
That there was no other direction to go

That, eventually therapy.. life.. would lead me to this point.
That I’d have to touch the sorest of sores.

xx

It’s A Bitch To Grow Up by Alanis Morissette
[scroll to bottom of page for lyrics in their entirety]

It’s A Bitch To Grow Up
[from the album Flavours of Entanglement]

It’s been 10 years of investment
It’s been one foot in and one out
It’s been 4 days of watershed
And I feel snuffed out

It’s been 33 years of restraining
Of trying to control this tumult
How I did invest in such fantasy
But my nervous system has worn out

I feel done, I feel raked over coals
And all that remains is the case
That it’s a bitch to grow up

I’ve repeated this dance ad-nauseum
There’s still something to learn that I’ve not
I’m told to see this as divine perfection
But my bones don’t feel this perfection

I feel done, I feel raked over coals
And all that remains is the case
That it’s a bitch to grow up

I’ve spent life hovering above bottom
Thinking I can’t survive what’s below
But I’ve known through the kicking and screaming
That there was no other direction to go

I feel done, I feel raked over coals
And all that remains is the case
That it’s a bitch to grow up

Alanis Morissette

 

Lyrics from It's A Bitch To Grow Up © Alanis Morissette

Precious Illusions And Letting Go of Them

“I’ve spent so much time living in survival mode..

These precious illusions in my head
Did not let me down when I was a kid
And parting with them is like parting with childhood best friends..

But, this won’t work now the way it once did..

Once I know who I’m not then I’ll know who I am
But I know I won’t keep on playing the victim..”

Yep, you guessed it.
Ms Morissette again. This time semi-disjointed lines from her song “Precious Illusions”. Let’s take it from the top:

I’ve spent so much time living in survival mode
Alarmingly true. Having spent so many years as a child and young adult living in this way it’s as if my brain has got stuck in this mode. Long after the danger is over, my body, mind and soul still react to things as if I am still existing in a permanently heightened state of emergency. My defences spike at the smallest provocation.

Did not let me down when I was a kid
And parting with them is like parting with childhood best friends.”
A highly esteemed way of protecting myself; telling myself that no one knew and no one could have known. And, if they didn’t know what was going on, then they also didn’t fail in their job of safeguarding me. Simple and bullet-proof reasoning that got me through for years. No need to think that people simply couldn’t cope, didn’t know what to do, didn’t have the guts to act. Why in the world would anyone want to let go of that idea?

But, this won’t work now the way it once did.”
Maybe the idea isn’t quite as bullet-proof as I’ve been telling myself? Maybe through thinking about what happened, through talking about it in therapy, through hefty doses of reality-checking, a tiny seed of doubt has been sown, growing into a vine of “doesn’t quite add up“. And if it doesn’t add up – then that’s a massive challenge of my own home-spun defence of those around me. A big blow that is causing the coat of armour to crack. And if those oh-so-precious illusions are let go of, what does that mean? It changes everything, and at the same time it changes nothing – because, I’m guessing, maybe that seed of doubt wasn’t actually sown in therapy. Maybe it was always there. Maybe it’s something that has merely been uncovered, allowed to surface? And now I have to deal with this more real reality.

“Once I know who I’m not, then I’ll know who I am
But I know I won’t keep on playing the victim.

Not quite there yet, so the search for who I am and how I truly feel about the discoveries I make goes on. The struggle to understand and finding better ways of coping continues.

And off to therapy I go.

xx

Lyrics from Precious Illusions © Alanis Morissette

Birthdays, Psychotherapy & London Rain

Called my little brother today. I rarely talk to him other than when I’m home and he happens to be there at the same time. We don’t really stay in touch much in between. But, today is his birthday, so a phonecall was due. It was nice to hear his voice, but, for some reason, on the phone we are quite awkward. The conversation isn’t exactly free-flowing. But, I’m still glad I called him. He’s my little brother, and fraught as our relationship is, I do love him.

My very first memory is of him. Well – technically – the more vivid bits of my memory is of riding the lift up to the maternity ward, but I do also have a fleeting memory of seeing my little brother for the first time. I was very nearly three at the time.

In other news:
I’ve finally “outed” myself in therapy.
No – this isn’t a sexuality related thing. It’s faith related. Which most of you reading this post will already know.

It’s taken me the better part of eight months to get to the point where I felt able to talk about my decision to convert in therapy. That – by the way – says more about me than it does about A. Or.. hm.. is that true? Maybe it says something about the both of us? Our relationship? Just having a few random thoughts in my head, as I’m writing this.

I have talked about this to pretty much everyone of importance in my life. My various family members, my close friends, most of my workmates, housemates.. Pretty much everyone but A.

For some reason something has held me back in these past several months. I mean, some of the reasons I feel quite aware of; the question of “Am I allowed to do this?”, the worry about intruding on someone’s turf.. [Someone meaning A.’s turf]. But I’m sure there’s more to it than just what I can see on the surface. And I’m looking forward to exploring what those reasons could be.

What else?

Went out for dinner with some of my workmates on Saturday evening. Really enjoyed it. It’s a really good, friendly gang. Got absolutely soaked on the way home, though.

That said, I kind of like torrential rain. There’s something quite purifying about it. Like being washed clean, spiritually, somehow.

It’s like Heather Nova says: “..nothing falls like London rain..”

Just love the opening lines of that song. Used to be a favourite text message to send to my ex on a rainy day.

“..I’m coming..
..I’m coming home to you..
..I’m alive, I’m a mess..
..I can’t wait to get home to you..
..to get warm..
..warm and undressed..”

London Rain [Nothing Heals Me Like You Do] – Heather Nova

Lyrics from London Rain [Nothing Heals Me Like You Do] ©  Heather Nova

Gravitation, Psychotherapy & Letting Go Of Control

Those in the know claim that gravity is the weakest of the four fundamental forces [interactions], proven by the fact that even a very small magnet can pick up a paperclip, and thereby out-power gravity. I’m not sure, but maybe this is why I sometimes feel like I’m falling off the face of earth the second I let go of even a little bit of control.

In most instances I’m actually not much of a control freak. But when it comes to being in charge of feelings, boy do I keep my cards close to my chest!

This is, naturally, something I am trying to challenge in my therapy. Allowing myself to feel the full force of my emotions, and also letting A. catch a glimpse of it every once in a while.

It’s hard work, letting go of control. It’s frightening and draining and sometimes excruciatingly painful. But, you know what they say; no pain no gain!

So, lately, this has been my objective in session. To try not to fight whatever emotion is roused within, but to let it come, if not quite to the open, at least very close to the surface.

And, I think I’m doing reasonably well. I mean, I’ve yet to cry in session – but I am getting much better at sitting with my feelings and trying to dress them in words. Also, I am trying to bring all of me to session. By that I mean that rather than sharing some things with some people, and other things with other people [thus spreading the risk of over-burdening any one person], I am trying to be as open as I possibly can with A.

That said, there is still one area which I am very much struggling to talk about in session, but I think I am nudging closer to perhaps daring to share it with her.

You see, the thing with therapy is that it’s not a 12-step program, going from A to B to C; it’s a process, and as such you’re allowed to take your time, to test the water. Dip your toe before taking the plunge.

In the last few sessions I have got really close to just go for it – to take a deep breath and let go and trust that A. will catch me. I feel like I’m at the very edge of my fear, and any session now it will happen.

Hopefully.

I leave you with this Swedish track: “Gravitation” by Kent.
(Be a bit patient with the commercial at the beginning of the clip).

August And Everything.. erhrm .. Up Until Then

It’s August, people. Can you believe it? Whatever happened to June and July? I must have blinked and missed them.. How ’bout you?

Stuff is happening here. Good stuff, bad stuff – and stuff too complex to even contemplate categorising. You know how it goes.

Went home at the beginning of July. Lovely drive up with my sister, her dog and her partner. [My sister’s partner, that is, not her dog’s partner..] Groovy stuff. Funky times. And music to match.

Also, pre driving up north I got the chance to spend a bit of time with my friend E., who I hadn’t seen in wayyy too long. A person who understands the unique and magic healing powers of good friends and a cup of tea.

Driving up north was kind of cool, and not only owing to the A/C. As we set out pretty late in the day, it should have grown darker and darker, but since we were driving closer and closer to the arctic circle, it was actually getting lighter and lighter. One of the many fantastic things about The North. Big time funkiness.

Stayed at my mum’s place, which was what I had been wanting to do. And even though it’s always a bit of a juggle getting the balance right between spending time with her, hanging out with my sisters and seeing my friends, I think it went reasonably ok. Sadly this time my friends drew the shortest straw, but hopefully it won’t be too long before my next visit. And, thankfully, I have the most amazing friends, who stand by me despite hardly getting to see me. Ehrm.. or maybe they’re sticking with me because they don’t have to see me too often. :) Nah! Not really.

Had a blast getting to know my newest nephew better, once he, my other sister and her husband joined us in our hometown.

Other happy memories include my 4-year-old niece teaching us all how to lawn-surf, spending a night at the summer house partaking of a traditional Sister’s Day meal, cuddling up on the sofa with my oldest niece, and watching my mum’s King Charles gulfing down a pound of sweets in seconds flat, only to be projectile vomiting the rest of the evening. Ok, so the last wasn’t really all that funny, but still..

That said, the truth is that being home does take something of an emotional toll. I don’t think it will ever be entirely straightforward going home. “You can always go home, but you can never go back”. True, that.

What else? Well, I’m still doing a shift a week at work. Has been a few times when I haven’t feel able to go, but on the days when I have it’s always been a very positive experience.

Therapy has shifted up a gear. I’m seeing A. three times a week now, which makes for a much better session-to-session flow. Also, I think, I am more ready to really challenge myself to delve deeper. To not come up for air at the first sign of being under water. Wow – that’s an exceptionally poor metaphor – my apologies, but let’s surf with it just the same; hopefully you still get what I’m saying.. Basically, I’m trying to avoid a deus ex machina ending to my therapy; to stick with it, rather than to look for a desperate ‘out’. [I feel my literature professor from uni would cringe at my casual implementation of one of his favourite Latin expressions.]

Last week felt like a pivotal point in therapy. Big time. I guess I have reached the conclusion that therapy is about daring to be honest. With myself. To sit with my feelings and to accept them, even the ones that I’d rather not admit to having.

Anyhow, my dears – the hour is getting late.
[Yup – that’s a lie, but, so what? This isn’t therapy.]

All the very best and more,

xx

This blog was sponsored by the word FUNKY, the expression BIG TIME and the letter BEIT. No animals or children were intentionally harmed in the writing of this blog.