There is a fishing pier in Deerfield Beach, which is not too far from where my Mother used to live. Let me see, it has to be more than 20 years now. Or, wait no. It’s been more than 22 years since I’ve walked on the pier or fished the sides. It was raining the last time I was there. The sky was gray, like soft cotton, and the rainfall was steady and heavy at times. However, nothing was steady enough to stop me from this moment. I was young (of course) and I was in the midst of something unexpected.
Everything was empty. The boards on the pier were wet and slick. Beads of rain were dribbling down my face. There was something otherwise perfect about this. The rain, I mean. The emptiness of my surroundings, the absence of people, and me, just there, just for the moment.
I wonder if I knew this would be my last time in Deerfield Beach. I wonder if I knew that, somehow, life was about to change. My choices would take on a new direction; in which case, certain aspects of my life would deteriorate and others were about to form.
I can see where the disconnection between me and my understanding of others took place, which is not to say that I was a victim or villain. Nor am I a victim or villain now. However, I am part of everything. I am a connection to my history, which has runoffs and bridges where my emotions and systematic beliefs attach to old data which may or may not be accurate.
There is something about this memory of fishing on the pier. In fairness, I can’t say that I remember whether I was catching fish or not. I cannot say if this was nothing else but an adventure. Or, maybe this was a connection between me and something more cosmic, like, say, this was a moment between me and my creator or me and my true self. Either way, everything else was stripped away at the time.
To me, this was a moment where I let the rain wash away my thoughts and fears. It was safe to submit; however, at the time, I only knew how to think about myself. I was afraid of being excluded or left out and unwanted. I thought too much and perhaps this is true for many of us. We think too much. Perhaps we all have our own crosses as well as our own doses of narcissism to bear.
Maybe it’s true that oftentimes, there are no victims. There are only volunteers. And maybe, just maybe, there are times when we’ve volunteered to be both the victim and villain.
In fairness, my upbringing was not one that walked the paths of a usual childhood. I was neither poor nor wealthy nor popular or unpopular; but more, I was somehow lost in the faceless sea of being in the middle. Or, at least this is how things seemed to me.
I am someone that understands social, personal and intimate violations. With regards to intimacy, every relationship has its own level of intimacy.
Whether our connections range from infrequent occasions with each other to everyday, life is complete with its own unique brand of intimacy. Although levels change, in this case, intimacy measures our levels of closeness or familiarity with one another – including ourselves.
Before going forward, I offer this as a display of transparency. I was never comfortable being me. There are memories which I can clearly recall and, in my mind’s eye, I can see violations of boundaries that range from mild to severe.
I suppose my shutdown to others was more out of personal protection than anything else. This was my defense mechanism. This is how I learned to train my thoughts and keep myself safe.
However, not all thoughts are accurate or true.
Not all threats are real; in which case, there were times where I responded without properly assessing myself. There were times when I struck first and times when my behavior took a wild approach in order to further isolate (or protect) me.
There are times when I built walls instead of bridges. I closed down in such a way that there was a median between us, a barrier, an invisible line yet there was a piece of me that wished I could let this go.
My actions would often contradict my wishes and I never understood why.
There was a piece of me that wished there was nothing to be afraid of – that I could be me and that my associations with pain and pleasure were not linked to subconscious programs. There were things in my life that I wanted to step away from but, mainly, I wanted to step away from the old contracts that stopped me from being free.
I write this honestly, openly and truthfully. I expose myself here for one reason alone.
The reason is to assist recovery and to promote transformational growth, encourage thought and empower change.
Like all of us, I am a work in progress. Like you, I have invisible layers that we need to shed and be free of – so this way, we can be happy.
I am a person with faults and mistakes and neither of us are free from wrong or wrong doing. This is life and since this is life, into each life a little rain must fall.
In fact, as a side note, I am writing this to you in the middle of a decent rainfall. The blacktop on the roads are wet and the double yellow line down the center is somewhat bright as are the white lines, which act as a boundary on either side of the road.
The sky is gray and the grass is green. The colors are bright yet the sky is somewhat muted. And yes, it’s safe to say that spring has decided to show its color. All has returned – the leaves on the trees, the red breasted robins, the tulips and the warmth of the sun. It’s all back now.
I am afraid. But then again, I have always been afraid. I am afraid of the dark or not knowing. I am afraid of shame and humiliation. I am afraid to be the last one who gets the punchline and worse, there are times when I fear the punchline is me.
There are times when I am afraid to be alone and there are times when my loneliness has nothing to do with the crowd around me. There are times when the anxiety machine is in the red. There are times when, admittedly, I am fed up.
I want to run away. I want to step out or just step away from the freakishness of everything. I want the ideas to stop. I know that I say this often but now is the time to say this again. There are times in life where it seems like we’re losing the same way that water loses to a drain.
There are times when no thoughts are good thoughts. And again, I say this honestly and openly. I say this in spite of the possible judgments or the supposed assumptions that come with honesties like this. I offer this in spite of external judgments because I know there are people who can relate. I know there are those who have felt equally as lost. As for me, I’m not claiming to be found, healed, reborn, or anything of the sort. Instead, this is a humble offering or lifeline, so-to-speak. This is for those who cannot seem to get away from themselves or step out of their own way.
As a means of realization, I suppose my walls went up a long time ago. I suppose my rationalization of why I had to be the way I was or why I needed to defend myself is something that links back to old remnants of fear and personal injustice. And I am not alone here.
We all have our own connections to our cognitive past. We have thinking errors and connections between ideas, experiences, feelings and behaviors.
There is a challenge to feelings. What I mean is feelings can be uncomfortable. There’s certainly a challenge to empathy because this leaves us open and vulnerable. Yet, there is a contradiction to empathy and narcissism. Or better yet, there is a contradiction to us as we are. We are a swarm of this. We are a compilation of concepts and lessons, beliefs and trained behaviors.
We are more than one part. We are more than what seems to be on the surface level. We are layers upon layers of thought and memory. We are a grand collection of experiences and in relation to our experiences, we often create a personality that becomes “us.”
Our challenges can range from social discomforts to anxious thinking about the past; or, this can be how our future can be predicted by our past.
Our thoughts can struggle with the perception of “self” and mislead us with an inaccurate perception of our worth and value.
I want to address this here. I want to address cognitive dissonance. I want to address the rationalizations we use and why we use them. I want to open the mind up for inspection and see where this came from. But more, I want to offer this openly and in a relatable way because rather than shame or point fingers, my goal is to light a spark and inspire change.
What is it about me?
What is it about you or us?
What are the obstacles we face?
And why do we create them instead of rid them from our minds?
I go back to the memory of fishing from that pier. I was alone in the rain and soaking wet. There was no pressure. There was no struggle or fight. I wasn’t bothered by the rain nor was I sad like the sky, crying with all of its might.
There was no one around to protect myself from. Of course, this was more than two decades ago. This was before most of my crucial life’s decisions. This was before I chose directions that would forever alter my path and deviate me from my true self.
I say this without regret; however, I expose this truthfully to regard my emotion as well as accentuate my personality. I will include my disorders here, not to excuse or to narrate this as if I am mentally or emotionally disabled. This is neither for accolades or pity.
Instead, I open this as an opportunity to understand the connection between thoughts and decision. More so, I open this as a chance to create a sense of connectivity between us – to share this in a way that simplifies us instead of complicates everything.
It’s not so difficult to see why we act the way we do or why we defend ourselves. To each is their own science, which means we all have our own pathology.
Our actions can often clash with our beliefs. And why?
Why is this? Where does this come from?
Why do we do things which we know we’ll regret. We know that at some point, we are going to have to pay for this. But still, we go forward, regardless of the price.
For now, I am calling this journal entry I have found (it!)
as if to say Eureka! or have the Eureka moment when realization is found and change can occur.
And . . . .
if there’s a reason for everything then understanding the reason is enough to help us change. Understanding self allows us the comfort to improve the things we want to change most about ourselves. This begins at the roots.
And for the record, I don’t mind the rain so much. Although the sky may appear sad or somewhat dreary and dark, there is something calm and hushing about a rainy day. It’s almost as if Mother Earth knows and she sees. The streets are empty. No one else is around, which makes us safe.
It’s as if heaven rains down to cleanse us from the dust of our own crazy lives
(and make us clean).
I don’t mind the rain. I don’t mind the lullaby from the sky. Not at all.
In fact, there’s something quiet about the rain and gentle like the soft touch of a grandmother sweeping her hand through your hair –
so you can sleep.