So Much More

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Three days down and I can walk, get up off a chair, turn, even get my shoes on. Unless something tragic happens in the next two minutes I’m gonna declare this day a winner…Nothing? Right. Winner it is. I could give a fuck right now what’s going on in the world. In my own little world, pain has taken a holiday and that’s good enough for me.

I’m no altruist. Wish I was. But pain signals do this number on my upper level intelligence. It’s not that I don’t think about stuff; I just can’t muster the energy to care. Everything becomes secondary to controlling the pain and the automatic fear response that comes with pain. My small world becomes even smaller. The world can spin on one muscle, one joint that’s PBB (painful beyond belief).

That’s not too different from most people, I think. The pain I’m referring to doesn’t need to be physical. We get caught in those painful moments and in doing so, we collapse our world down into tiny little compartments. Suddenly the pain of a past event is more important than any sweetness offered today. So we give up on sweetness, and suckle the pain. Hold it close. We sleep with it and make love to it with every retelling of the tale. We pull it into ourselves, and say ‘this pain is part of me’. It takes over our lives, and sometimes all we are left with in the end is that pain.

Now THAT is tragic.

I have a distant cousin – one of those three times removed on my mother’s side cousins. This woman has a mental condition where she believes that she suffers from many physical ailments and it goes WAY beyond simple hypochondria. Before I was told about her condition I felt bad for her. Now I feel doubly bad. Goddess forbid anything REAL should happen to the woman. No one will believe her.

Tragic.

Yes, I am thinking a bit of myself. How afraid I am that any time I get something checked out and I get the all clear it adds a tick to that list of ‘overreacting’ or ‘hypochondria’ on my own file. I really hope that’s not the case, but you can never be sure.

July is here. It’s the beginning of summer holidays for the Dutch. From now until September people will be gone. Shops will have less hours. Even the metro isn’t running as often as it usually is. The relaxed pace of the Netherlands is gonna relax a bit more for the next six weeks.

That’s okay. I ain’t got nothing going on, anyway.

What brain capacity I did have over the last three days was used up contemplating my decision over language class. Just to be 100% certain I got all the info, I translated the last message regarding next year’s options. Almost wish I hadn’t. The ‘fine print’ that I missed just said one thing: “[Your teacher] says you are quite advanced and need a higher level…”. Quite advanced. My brain is lit up like a Christmas tree, and not in a good way. I really don’t react well to compliments on my intelligence. It just makes me feel pressured. Which I find odd, because I often bitch about not being listened to or taken seriously. Seems I never am simply given my due as a person. I’m either ignored or elevated because I’m “intelligent”.

That REALLY does a number on your head.

I am a bit puffed up over being able to handle the communication over my upcoming lessons in Dutch. And I’m VERY excited, too. I’ve been offered one on one lessons. To have that kind of concentrated learning for a few months -! I know it’s what I need to get my talking level up to my reading level. Just simple conversation with a native Dutch speaker, something my current life is missing.

And yes, there IS a part of me that would like to take my fantasies further. Keep impressing people with my progress.

Keep being the golden child.

Ouch! Did I just say that? Generally when I discuss being raised by a narcissist I talk about being the scapegoat. And I was. Before that, though, I think I was the golden child. The one who everyone pinned their hopes on. But I fell. Somewhere, sometime, I fell. I can point to all sorts of incidents that could have marked the fall, though I’m not sure which one it really was. Whenever it happened, I was never forgiven for falling off that pedestal. For not being what my family thought I could – or SHOULD – be.

That’s the REAL pain I live in. The place I always return to. The place I bemoan being in. It is my cage, my box. I hate it, yet I’m afraid to move beyond it.

Making mistakes doesn’t mean I’m not learning. Don’t know when that message got turned around on me, but it sure did, so let me yell that at myself. MAKING MISTAKES IS OKAY. YOU LEARN EVERY TIME YOU MAKE A MISTAKE AND GET CORRECTED. …Three minutes re-reading that and I’m feeling a bit better. Of course, we’re talking about language lessons. Something safe. Something I CAN get corrected on.

Real life is different. More often than not, advice is given with a sneer, with an “I told you so” or some other meaningless adage meant to put you down rather than kindly correct. That’s the final piece of the puzzle, though, isn’t it? To recognize that when that happens, when you get that pat saying or sneer, it’s probably said from a place of pain. Lashing out has become humanity’s way of reaching out.

I don’t want to lash out. And I don’t want my pain to define me.

I am not my pain.

I am so much more.

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