Even the most pleasant boat-rides have those ups-and-downs, doesn’t it? Just the rules of the water, I guess.
This first half of the day felt like that: I went to church in the morning. Up. In the pew nearby, I saw someone who really hurt me. Down. I looked around many home and garden shops today, and got inspired. Up. I didn’t find anything I was looking for. Down. I went to the pool for a swim, and made a personal achievement. Up! Some idiot tries to hit on me, and actively tries to disrupt my swim 75% of the time there. Down, down, down.
On one hand, now that I’m home for the rest of my day off, I think that this was a wasted day. On the other hand, it feels like it was a well-spent day. Wasted or well-spent…wasted or well-spent…up or down. It’s really hard to say. I should eat lunch (even if pretty late), but I don’t want to waste what precious time I have left before I have to work again. However, I just went through an unhealthy phase of doing just that; is it worth the risk of falling back into that habit where it can become something worse?
I really can’t say. I don’t want to decide.
Meanwhile, I sorta binge-watched almost all of Fr. Mike Schmitz’s videos through yesterday evening to earlier today, and he made one on learned helplessness. This is something victim/survivors struggle with a lot, feeling like we’re forever going to be the victim. It’s comfortable, isn’t it, or familiar? I hate it, I hate it so much…and yet I want to take that victim-mentality, chose the pessimistic explanatory view as Fr. Mike talks about.
If I were to apply the realistic explanatory view he then offers as an alternative, I guess I’d say, “Some parts of today sucked, but some parts were really nice. Some parts about my life, my past, were horrific, but there were good parts, too, the ratio of good to bad shifting more towards good in these past 6 months or so.” Sounds reasonable. The tug to choose the pessimistic view is weaker, maybe because it was “emotion countered by reason;” that’s what my doctor would say anyways.
…Want to know a secret? Apart from it being comfortable/familiar and not having to face the scary unknown, one of the strongest tugs towards pessimism and the victim-mentality is from this: there’s a part of me that believes that if I don’t act pitiable, I’m not worthy of love or compassion. Now, I’m not sure if this comes from all the invalidation, from my father acting as pitiful as he did when he wanted to emotionally-manipulate me, or from mother constantly accusing me of “wanting to be the victim.” Doesn’t really matter which of those it was, I guess; I still of course absorbed all that as truth, and hated myself if I ever want compassion or help of any kind, that familiar feeling of being a burden.
Another of Fr. Mike’s videos addresses acceptance as an alternative to self-pity and resignation, which I find very close-knit to this problem. I don’t want to have these needs and limitations, but I do. I wish I wasn’t abused, prompting many of these needs, but I was. I wish I had all the answers, but I don’t. I wish I was stronger, more secure, holier, completely over all this bad stuff…but I’m not.
And that’s okay.
Today wasn’t perfect, but it still was a good day. I’m probably going to be looking into swimming trunks to go over my suit to hide my legs from creeps, but I had a good swim. I got into the zone, I was praying and meditating, I just lost myself in the water enveloping me. He tried to disrupt it, he partially succeeded (made me angry, on my guard), but he didn’t take those things away.
As I was listing what my abusers took from me, what they owe me, I was thinking to myself all the things I gained, or was given, back. I don’t have my virginity, didn’t “have a childhood”, but there were some things about my innocence and integrity I kept and nurtured all the way into adulthood. I learned many lies about myself, my body, but I’m learning the truth bit by bit.
There were very real downs, but there were ups, too. The ups don’t cancel the downs, and the downs don’t cancel the ups; it just is what it is.