Monday, October 17, 2005

"Here, can you handle this?"

To keep this post from being entirely maudlin, give me your best guess (after reading the post, of course) as to why you think I chose this picture to go with it...

I know I've blogged about this before, but it's amazing how the same stuff just keeps coming back to you sometimes.

There have been some recent examples of how hard it is to be open in blogworld about everything when the real world intersects with whatever way that happens. It opens us up to pain and possible censure, sometimes worse. But opening oneself up to another also allows for the possibility of intimacy, friendship and joy.

I have at times been so very open here on my blog that I am not quite sure how it is that I have not disintegrated into a pile of ash. But I am also painfully aware of how it is that I hold back parts of myself and my life from even this little space.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I sometimes feel like I speak in code. But it goes deeper than that - I'm pretty sure that there are not words for some of the things in my heart and in my head.

It's a frightening thing to open up. My therapy sessions are painful for me...and I'm sure my therapist. He suggested last week that it might be good for me to slow down. A good suggestion, I'm sure, but when I left I found myself wondering what that meant. How do I let down just a little bit of my boundaries at a time when they have been so incredibly rigid and high for so long?

Part of why I've held myself so close for so long, though, is that I am distrustful of attention. Most of the attention I have received in the past has been negative (or that is my perception...which may indeed prove false somewhere down the road). But the reality remains that I have believed that if people saw and knew the real me that I would be not just rejected, but ridiculed.

And this is where this blog seems to be helping me. Here in this space, I have felt such incredible positive regard both from people who know me and from those who I've only "met" online. The attention is good and has helped me think of myself in more positive ways.

And so we meet the double bind...I have found a space to be more open and have gotten positive kudos for it. Then along comes the old fear...the fear which makes me want to retreat. It doesn't always win anymore, but it still holds great power.

Twelve years ago, I wrote this poem (before I even liked poetry) and it so clearly illustrates how powerful the fear far I've come away from it:

In agony, she shrinks back to the walls of her soul
Letting the void absorb the confusion and noise -
The rustling of dead leaves on a windy day.

The fire dims to embers, barely warm - glowing.
Everything is cold - she shivers and draws closer to the corners.
Daggers are shrieked at her - hitting her walled defenses - denting and crumbling as they come.

I won't be letting down all my walls here anytime soon, that would be too messy for any of us to bear, I think. But it does mean a lot, and as I said, the positive regard has helped me grow.

A little note of interest, I have recently gone back to look at old postings and recognize how much this blog has morphed over the 9 months of it's wee existence. I've been thinking about how I feel about that...I'm pleased with it overall. Even though I am more aware of writing to an audience, I think that I am more honest and more sure of who I am than I was then.


danny said...

You chose that picture because you are sitting next to a bear that is dangerous, but you are cool with it. Which is like what you posted about, writing to an unknown audience can be difficult, but once you do it awhile, it feels more natural. Is that why?

I personally think it's alright to feel trepidation at something uncomfortable, I call it self-preservation. When I feel those awkward or tough moments I tell myself, I won't better myself if I don't challenge myself. And most of the time (not all) I push myself into the uncomfortable.

Just passing through, nice blog, I'll come back now and then.

Hippy Chick said...

As with many things, we are interchangeable...what you said so resonates with me and speaks to why I hesitated for so long to blog in the first place. But's been wonderful getting to know what's underneath, there's so much there and I hope you keep putting it out.

cutie said...

I know exactly what you mean about holding back.

I started my blog to write about things in my life that pleased me, and about things that hurt, bothered, and shamed me.

But the longer I write, and the more people that read my blog regularly, the less I feel compelled to write things that I'm ashamed of. Because I don't want anyone to know the 'bad' parts of me.

Kinda frustrating, and yet...I like the positive kudos.

Something to ponder, I guess.


Carol Gee said...

I have liked getting to "know" you, only via the web, of course. Reworking boundaries is very hard; it sounds like your therapist has been a good coach. Though I "stop by your porch" several times a week, I comment infrequently. But you always have my good thoughts.

shadow51 said...

Oh, is that a bear? I thought it was big fingers coming down at you. From a hand. "can you HANDle this?"

Really must get eye exam.

Alecya Giovanni said...

Wow. I thought it was a gorilla.

Spin, are you trying to illustrate the fear that you always have looming over you? That sense of being overwhelmed by everything around you and being so small and just little afraid of everything?

For what its worht, I think you are totally worth knowing (or reading or whatever you call blog friendships) and I think its awsome you are frighting the things you fear.

Yo may not always succeed, but its the trying that counts.

Lots of love ***


Flash said...

Hey Spins!

I think most of us know how you feel, I (like Cutie) have found myself not posting stuff that might portray me in too negative a light. I adore the positive attention & I don't want to lose it.

I also totally relate to the last paragraph.

Charby said...

I thought it was a lion!

When I started blogging I wasn't too bothered if anyone read or not, it was mine to talk about crap in and indeed I did.
I decided at the start to talk about everything and anything in my past in it, which has been pretty much scandal free I must admit.
And when I do reveal something that I feel is too much, like how I really feel about Dad's illness for example I'm always nervous about other people's comments on it. But it hasn't really affected what I write about or how I write.

the urban fox said...

From everything you've written since I've been reading, Spin, you seem rather wonderful. I expect further wall-smashing could only raise the already high opinion we have of you, and certainly wouldn't diminish it.

We are all multitudes, and we all have our positive and negative aspects. Never feel you should apologise for that, or edit yourself, as though that's not what being human is all about.

spinsterwitch said...

Welcome to my 2 newer posters (I'd seen shadow51 in an earlier comment, sorry I didn't say hello).

Thanks all of you for the wonderful comments. This has just been coming up more for me lately (mostly because of that dratted useful).

I'll tell you all a little later why I posted that picture. I've loved that people couldn't see it was a bear (it's the CAL bear, to be specific...the mascot of my grad school - yes, grizzlies do roam the state, although not around here lately).

beedragon said...

Sorry for cutting off calbear's head! it is nice to read what you have to say, and very brave of you to share it with the entire internet. i especially liked reading your poem. i can relate to the parts about the confusion and the noise, and about shivering and drawing closer to the corners. did you pick that picture because you are not running away from the bear? It looks like the bear came to attack you and you just sat there calmly and it decided to hug you instead.

writing helps me too. turns the bazillion random thoughts in my head into sentences. getting feedback from other people makes it less scary to be honest.

SwissToni said...

it's a submission for Stand By Your Statue? Statue John will be pleased

and yes.... I think I've commented before how much I think you've opened up on here over the last few months, and I find it an altogether better read because of it. I'm pleased that it has been a positive experience for you too.


spinsterwitch said...

So there were a couple of reasons that folks identified with why I posted the picture that were correct...1) that the bear is a potential menace; and 2) that I'm learning to make friends with my fears.

But there is also that it is a bit blurry...that I'm still not letting myself all the way out. Also people that I know are observing and taking the picture. And lastly because BeeDragon just sent me a copy of this that was downloaded from her cell.

ST - I would love to submit to Statue John, but I want to get a better shot of it (perhaps when we're not taking a picture into the sun). It is one of my favorite statues in the area...

Tom said...

When I started blogging I decided it was going to be warts and all, bad and good, because in the final analysis that is what I am. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent and not-innocent.

I don't regret it and nor should you.

MrMystic said...

The Bear is also a symbol for mothers, so you can guess for yourself where that one goes.

I just have one question? Have you considered trying a female therapist?

spinsterwitch said...

Mystic - I was actually in therapy with a woman several years ago (Yes, we therapists are almost perpetually in therapy ourselves). It went well...this time around when I was asking for a referral, I was asked if I would consider a man. My gut screamed, NO! So contrary child that I am, I thought maybe I should try therapy with a man.

I'm actually quite pleased with him. He practices in the same theory that I was trained in and he really tracks me. He's had some insight that my other therapist didn't get to. And he's making me (just by sitting across from me) confront my issues with men. It's good, but it's hard...and we're talking about ways to make it less difficult.

MrMystic said...

well I guess you therapists know how to choose each other.

spinsterwitch said...

Mystic - not always, no.