Tuesday, 13 December 2011

About Me, Part 3: All Alone

When I think about how easy it is to give up my personal boundaries whenever I travel back home, I wonder: how exactly did I survive without them intact for so long? Going home is always an experience in time travel, back to a time before I lived on my own, had career, worked a regular job, paid my own bills, had my own beliefs and priorities, had any relationship experience, had a self-defined gender identity and sexual orientation: back when I was the over-protected appendage of "The Family."

Growing up, I learned not only not to trust myself (my own instincts), but even worse, in order that my folks found as little reason as possible to get angry with me, I mis-learned that their feelings were mine (eg. parent or relative: "You don't really like that shirt", me: "Hmmm, you're right I don't."). It took many years of therapy and assertiveness training as an adult to get this skill that others around me, outside of my family, seemed to have. However, learning how to melt into a crowd without a trace did not protect me from harshly critical wors both in the family and outside. I was too slow, too skinny, to sensitive, too smart. I was learning to hate myself.

As I went through elementary school age I gradually became the little, scrawny weird kid who cried when bullied or hurt in game sports. I had no siblings, but a growing inner world where I felt I could survive. I had a few friends, not many. I read books, was fascinated with science for a while. I wrote my first book, several pages of blue paper stapled together with a story about a stick-figure astronaut who travels to the moon and back.

I mention all this to show some of the barriers to self-awareness that would later be shattered so that I could finally begin see, and then reclaim, myself.

To be continued ...

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