I feel like I am drowning today. When I decide to relax and take a bath it never ends well. I feel like I am going to drown when I put my head under water and then the current pulls on me and it feels as though I will be taken under. In the accident I had at 17 my lungs filled with phlegm, I was smashed up badly, thrown forward onto the wheel with my teeth cutting my tongue in half and schrapnel lodged all through my legs, my lung was punctured and fluid seeped in. Paramedics had to enter the car from behind to put a mask over my face to breathe. It was a day until they could operate on my lacerated legs. I spent that 24 hours and more in intensive care.
Its a powerful metaphor for me about how I can get drowned in the feelings, emotions and concerns of others and how I can neglect my own in over care for them and them lose my sense of solid land and my inner centre. I am aware that their pain and my pain is not really separate though at the same time. I remember a friend on a retreat with my saying to me once, “Deborah you have a Sufi mystic heart, you feel the pain of the world”.
Part of me baulks at this. I don’t want to be some kind of masochistic person drowning in the worlds woes, but at the same time I need to be true to myself and my capacity to feel. At times it is a blessing at other times it can feel like a curse, one I am very aware of today.
And reading this back I am also aware that as a very airy intellectual person at times my feelings are mystery to me and they rise up in all kinds of strange ways. Maybe when I am in the bath its almost as if I fear I will drown in a sea of feeling that is a metaphor for all the loss and sadness I have known that has dogged me and robbed my present happiness and ability to move forward on some days.
I just had a conversation with my Mum in which I got told not to take on other people’s problems and issues, which is fair enough but the issue was a flashback/age regression/mirror one for me. Yesterday I met with my cousin and she was sharing the difficulties she is having with her son who does not want to go to school or complete exams. I feel he may be being bullied, he is a very sensitive, caring boy. But that wasn’t the issue. He wants a dog and can’t have one as his sister who is older is allergic to dogs.
This not being able to have a dog issue is one I went through after my older sister left home and I was lonely with just Mum and Dad. First I asked to be sen to boarding school, second I wanted a dog. I was told I would not be able to care for a dog. I was sharing about this yesterday with a friend in recovery and he seemed to think it was a very cruel thing to be told. At the same time I know having a dog is a lot of work, I now have one and raised him from a puppy, together we have weathered the toilet training storms and other issues and now we have many golden moments. This morning I was feeling for my cousin’s son and crying about it actually. When I told my Mum she said I needed to not get tangled up with their issues and brush it off.
While I get where she is coming from it also feels invalidating to me when I reflect back. Its just one of the many times lately she has told me not to be a certain way with sadness or have a certain feelings. I just said to her “Mum I know you mean well but when you tell me to get over it or whatever, it hurts, I feel like you don’t hear what I am feeling”. It wasn’t an unpleasant conversation, she heard me and got where I was coming from (just) and I got where she is coming from but it still left me with many questions and feeling like I am a bit of a sop to be so over concerned with others issues and feeling a little sad.
Its probably true, I probably do take certain things on board but on another level I know that my pain is not just my pain. Every single pain we go through in life on some level reflects someone else’s pain somewhere else in the world. We all suffer, we all lose things we love, we all feel sadness and pain at times.
I know that what happened all those years ago is now in my past. It did affect me and I have needed to know how and why. My parents weren’t really tuned into me emotionally at all and because of this I will still feel for a young boy who can’t have what he needs emotionally due to the influence of others because its a mirror for me of something painful I went through. That makes me human, compassionate and sensitive. In failing to acknowledge that my Mum isnt really showing empathy and then she can say how difficult children are and how difficult it is for parents. Yes, I want to say. Don’t fuck with a child by bringing it into the world if you don’t want to care about its feelings or needs.
Is it me that needs to change? Maybe its not something I need to take on long term but I still have feelings about it. That makes me human.