I finished Reconciliation and I am proud to say I have reconciled-ish with my Little Dragon. During the course of listening to the book I began to despair because I c ouldn’t figure out how I was going to make things up to my Little Dragon. She was, in a lot of ways, irreparably damaged. And I allowed it. I’m slowly unpacking the guilt associated with that. I did what I had to do to protect myself in the maelstrom of narcissism and gaslighting. There were times in my life when I wanted to leave everyone behind, when I wanted to divorce myself from the dysfunction that is my family but I didn’t have the backbone to go through with it. At those times I didn’t know why I had to leave I just knew I needed to.

Master Hanh said something in the book that was a tender light-bulb moment. In recognizing my inner child didn’t trust anyone because everyone had hurt her, hurt me, no one protected her or championed her when she needed it most. None of the grown-ups or semi-gr’ups even noticed me because I had perfected the protective art of invisibility in plain sight (If they can’t see you they can’t hurt you…). But now, I am grown. I am aware of my Little Dragon and I have vowed to pick up her banner and tout it to the world. I think (hope) she has accepted….

Upon accepting the responsibility of shepherding my inner child I have been treated to bouts of her pain. The pain I have been avoiding because, well, it hurts. When I feel safe, mostly when I am alone driving in my car I am treated to the excoriating memories of what drove me to abandon her. I have always believed I am ugly. Not uncommon for girls raised in my time, but it was reaffirmed by comments like “No one likes fat girls,” teasing mercilessly at school, my father singing to me “Rolly Polly, daddy’s little fatty. Rolly Polly daddy’s little girl.”, being told my hair hung in in greasy strings in my eyes. My favorite was “you’d be so pretty if you just lose weight.” (her list went on and on a continuous loop at times) Reliving her pain would push me to tears which I would have to quickly correct because I was driving in close quarter traffic. I don’t know if she was expressing her pain or trying to get even for my neglect but I didn’t stop it. She has settled down and I’m trying to be sensitive to her expressions in me now, as I write this, to be true to her voice as I am as true to my adult voice.

Since I offered this white flag my heart has been at peace. Yes, I still think I’m ugly, but I know a person is more than looks even though I have been told through my adult life that men don’t like fat women….or women who can’t cook or clean….Or maybe just the men I’m interested in don’t….I dunno. I’ve given up on that. What I am happy about is I am a person my Little Dragon can be proud of. I am a good person and I will be a good shepherd to her and raise her in the unconditional love I’ve never had. Maybe that will open the floodgates for this self-love everyone keeps talking about.

Back to the Work

Taking the time off from working on what needs still to be done in my head was an excellent idea. I didn’t realize you can take a break from things like that. Well, I guess you can stop anything, even if it’s good for you, but the dedicated unceasing work is what has gotten me so far so fast. (Fast by the world’s standards, it’s been a long slog from where I’m sitting). But now, it’s back to the work. From the start of December I’ve been distracting myself with books I’ve listened to before (Harry Potter, Elantris, 14, Dragons Blood Omnibus), shopping and, of course, eating. It’s no longer and option to let my brain stand still with old stories, spending money I don’t have and eating myself into a coma. Standing still is a mixed blessing though. About 23 years ago I walked the Honolulu Marathon, and in a lot of ways getting my life back has been akin to that long hot day in December 2000. I did fine until mile 16 or so and then it felt like I was walking through amber. I kept putting one foot in front of the other then something in my brain snapped and said it was never going to end, I was never going to survive and I might as well give up now. That’s when I pulled out the Extra Strength Gu Gel with double the caffeine and choked it down with a few sips of water. I finished: I have the shirt and the medal to prove it too. So, instead of doing the Gu Gel at this 16 mile marker in my emotional marathon I did more of a rest and now I know why I didn’t rest in 2000….I wouldn’t have wanted to go back to it.

I have therapy on the 17th, so I’ll make that my official back-to-the-work day. I bought the physical book of Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown so I can use it as a text book and make my own notes and how I want to apply his lessons. I got it with another book called Deep Work by Cal Newport in a packaged deal from Amazon. I’ve started my writing again, I get up at the same time (4:30ish) on the Saturday I have off during the month and write for about five hours and I try to do basic edit or input edits in the evening or on Sunday. It works, but if I can get more work done in the same space of time then I will. It too is a physical book but I might splurge and get the audio book as well so I can listen to it on my way into work during the week. From those books I want to write my New Years Goals so I can break them down into S.M.A.R.T. goals for monthly direction. But again, I need to get back to the work!

Though the work was at rest my mind was still aware of what I was doing right and very aware of what I was doing wrong. My eating spiraled a little more than usual but not to pre-apocalyptic levels which is good, but it was more out of control then my normal stress-eating. I couldn’t get full no matter how much I ate and I couldn’t easily talk myself out of buying the extra bag of oreos no matter how hard I tried. As I explained in An Act of Christmas I need to stay true to my ideal of Christmas and be more productive in doing what I can do to help in the world. Next Christmas will be more of what I want and need it to be by starting this month toward my Act of Christmas 2023. With the new year I feel calmer and more in control. The two packages of oreos remain on my shelf unopened on top of an unopened box of Godiva chocolate a patient gave me for Christmas. It could be I’ve just been too tired to walk the 20 feet to the shelf to get them but I’m counting it as a win. I’m cringing now at the money I spent on me over the last month but I feel it was for things I needed and wanted and not spending money I didn’t have on online police auctions every time my mother irritated me. I think what I’m trying to convey is that I’m better, but I’m not at the finish line. The work yet to be done, the deeper work I’ve been dreading are the big boxes in my dream from 22 July 2022 Dream a Little Dream my closing statement was, mostly pertaining to the boxes still on the shelf:

…(bravely confront the past injuries, resolve the confusion, and end the subconscious suffering to move forward).

Dream a Little Dream,

I’ve identified the anger at my sisters is more of the anger of the child I abandoned (me) in trying to protect myself growing up. I’m not sure if that makes any sense, but the anger I feel toward my sisters feels immature and the fire from that anger too hot and plentiful to be that simplistic. I’ve started listening to the book by Thich Nhat Hanh Reconciliation instead of reading his Anger book because this realization of where the anger was coming from became apparent and more urgent as I was reading the book on Anger. In Dream a Little Dream I talked about how the boxes were things I didn’t want to deal with and still I don’t want to deal with . As my history of stuffing things I don’t want to deal with in boxes and paying an immoderate storage fee attests, I’m really good at avoiding things. The need to get passed the anger, the need to feel at peace with myself is starting to outweigh the need to just keep the abandoned child placated with cookies and chocolate. I’ve named her Little Dragon because of the fire she evokes and she is going to be my priority going forward for this year. Her and getting the first book of three ready to submit to a publisher. That’s not expecting too much of myself, is it? {sigh}