Tuesday, May 01, 2007

making amends to ourselves

i awoke at 4:44 this morning knowing that was probably all the sleep i was going to get last night. liam was snoring and my mind was whirring away already. it's that time of the month for little sleep, but also a fertile mind. it's a trade off i can live with. yesterday i blogged on the daily examen and after i did i began to do some research on it. i found out that i had spelled it incorrectly "examin" and so my google search was lean - but i did find a beautiful exercise on the "small boat big sea" website that i sat with last night. it's a postmodern church in australia and the exercise begins half way down the page here:

Small Boat Big Sea: Bells

i think the exercise is meant for children, but i enjoyed it and was struck by how much of my day i truly did remember when i sat down to really think it through. as part of my recovery i sent an email to my friend at the end of the day or at the beginning of the next. far too many times i can't even remember what i ate for meals - so i was skeptical that i would be able to review my day.

the thing that stuck out to me the most was a conversation i had with hope. she called in the middle of a painting project i was doing. when we replaced the washer and dryer i took that opportunity to quickly paint the little closet that is my laundry "room" - more like a laundry hallway - two doors pass through a space large enough to hold a washer and dryer on one side and a hot water heater and an electric panel, and under that i tuck in a little shelf i store pantry goods on (which of course i had found at the curb...)

i got the walls painted but was waiting for the patch to dry on the ceiling so i could paint it too - and i thought "well, while i'm waiting i can take a quick hour and paint this sad little shelf". hope caught me at the end of the priming stage - there was this tiny little red dot of some mysterious substance that WOULD NOT be covered in primer. it kept bleeding through (no it wasn't blood) and i knew that when i tried to use my off white paint it would keep poking through. i remembered that i had a quart of kilz primer in my back room for another project and while i was chatting away went to grab it and gave it a good shake, opened it, got a small brush and touched up the red blot.

this whole time hope is getting filtered running commentary amongst our conversation. as i wash out (try to wash out) the brush i realize too late that this is OIL primer and not the latex i had been working with. i now have white oil paint all over one hand and no mineral spirits in the house. this is not the point of the story, but the backdrop to explain that hope said something like "hey, you're really hard on yourself and have a lot of negative self talk here" (i can't remember her exact words) but all of a sudden i heard myself. i realized she was right. i verbally beat myself up all the time.

it's subtle - i used to be 100 times worse - standing at the mirror and saying horrible things to myself. i don't do that anymore - but i didn't realize how much i did this other running commentary, criticizing myself, berating myself for mistakes made or dumb decisions.

the day before at church i was speaking to a couple of the women who would have been my mom's age about menopause. one of the women said she had been getting acne as part of her 'stage of life' now and i said "oh, don't talk to me about bad skin - i have the worst skin of anyone i know". both of them looked at me like i had a hole in my head. i used to have lovely skin - peaches and cream my mom called it. kids, hives treated wtih hydrocortisone for decades and rosacea, adult acne and scarring due to all of these things. without makeup i say my face looks like a road map.

these women were incredulous - "you have lovely skin" they said - i challenged them. for about five minutes. i said, "no i have lovely make up, not lovely skin..." i really feel like every time anyone looks at me in conversation like they are staring at the road map of my face. one of them had been at a going away party for a mutual friend the evening before and i said "when you gave me a compliment for my earrings last night i thought i had caught you starring at my face and you covered by complimenting my earrings". she looked me straight in the eyes and said "i thought your earrings were beautiful, and you are beautiful. your skin is beautiful and i have never once thought what you think or been distracted by it."

i think i might be dealing with a bit of a self image/loathing problem that i hadn't recognized. i guess because my self loathing used to be at 100% the 50% i've been living with seems non-existent. but it is still causing me a lot of damage. i am still so broken in this broken place.

anyway - back to this morning. laying in bed i recalled my examen time yesterday and thought about my day and realized god had answered my prayer to recall any amends that i had forgotten to make. i had forgotten to make amends to myself. i didn't know what that would look like, but i needed to take some time to figure that out and that step 10 and the daily examen will help me to keep my own self-loathing list short and checked.

so self, i begin today by saying sorry. i have beaten you up (both verbally, emotionally and even sometimes physically) far too often. loathed the very existence of you, the reflection of you and the inadequacies of you. please forgive me. i know this is broken and somehow we need to find a better way. together i think we can do it.

7 comments:

anj said...

Here is something I love - when the Spirit teaches us what we want to learn, and it comes from such a place of beauty and authenticity. This post has that fragrance all over it. Thank you for letting me start the day with that fragrance too.

Deb said...

This is something I need to work on as well. Thanks for the nudge.

I wish you could come to my Wed. night womens AA meeting. It's a small group of women who I've grown to love. I'm sure you would love them too.

Chantay said...

Self-examen, huh? Sounds interesting. I could probably use a dose of that myself.

Candy said...

So interesting to read this today. Just yesterday I was taken to a fresh place of forgiveness for myself. Like you I'm so much better than I used to be, but not where I want to end up. Thanks for sharing.

Sarah Louise said...

You do have lovely skin.

I'm glad the Spirit is helping you make amends with yourself. I think I need some help in that department too.

bobbie said...

thank you anj - i love to think of it as a scent - beautiful!

oh deb, i'd love to go to a meeting with you too! maybe before you move to NC! :)

hi chantay - thanks for stopping by my blog. the examen is a wonderful tool, i'm not as experienced with it yet, but hope to be one day!

hi candy! yes, i think forgiveness is a process - i suspect it's that 70x7 thing playing itself out.

sl- thank you dear friend - what a wonderful compliment. i know that forgiving myself was a huge step (not done with it yet, but just acknowledging it is huge) - hope you find healing there too!

Connie said...

Wow, this is amazing revelation and growth...quantum leap, paradigm shift, second order change...a vast nudge forward from the Holy Spirit. Bless you.