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I sometimes feel as if I am divided into myriad parts and pieces, like a puzzle once built and then torn apart.  I remember my Mother used to have one particular puzzle where the pieces were cut into many odd shapes, and once it was assembled, it was a fantastical garden.  That puzzle reminds me of myself.

There’s a piece of me that’s desired by one person, another piece that’s needed for my work, yet another that’s needed as a mother, and another that’s needed as a friend.. and on it goes.  But somehow, I am missing someone who wants all of me.  I feel like I am only wanted in bits and pieces.  It’s an interesting feeling, and not necessarily pleasant.  I wonder if I will ever have that.  I really don’t know.  Perhaps it is only up to me to want all of me.

Tonight, I read through some pages written by a lover, pages he sent to me, not necessarily wrote to me, or about me, but about himself.  I was mentioned in them, as I was such a large part of his life and world and heart – or so it seemed at the time.  I miss that feeling of being such a large part of someone’s love, even if I was fooling myself at the time about our future. 

It just makes me feel that much more fragmented on this cool spring night.

Sometimes you must step outside your comfort zone to know its boundaries.  It is not unhealthy.  I have always believed that you need to know both ends of a continuum – you need to know an earthly heaven and an earthly hell in order to understand where you fit, to know your place in your own life.  That place will vary from day-to-day, from year to year, and can change, grow, twist and evolve with your circumstances.  And when change happens in your life, that is when you need to test the strength of the walls of the house of your soul, to push against them, to climb out of the window and see what it is on the other side.

Sometimes, the walls dissolve completely.  Sometimes you find a new house,new rooms.  Sometimes though, where your spirit lives simply expands to encompass new knowledge of your own soul.  You keep that which you thought was a part of you, because now you no longer just think it is a part of you, you know.  And even though that part of you may not look the same as it did when you first found it, it is still something you recognize, something that you must now adjust, and adjust to having, as a sculptor crafts a block of clay to reveal the form that lives within, shaving, trimming, carving, tweaking, until it is gently and restfully complete. 

It feels not unlike a birth.  Once a seed is planted, it grows and changes within you.  Sometimes it is comfortable and sometimes it is not, and there comes a time, finally, when you must push and struggle and show infinite strength to bring that fully grown seed into the light of reality. 

It happens over and over again in this life.  And in the next one.  We must recognize the joy in the process and the joy in the pain, and never, ever deny any of the truths that we know about ourselves, no matter how much we may doubt, dislike or distrust them. We cannot put pieces of ourselves aside when they are inconvenient or uncomfortable.  We must only learn how to accept the flawed perfection of ourselves with open arms, open minds and open hearts.

Since I gave up my therapist last year, I’ve had to serve as my own – often.  At least I have a degree in psychology, and I don’t charge myself $110/hour.

An aside about therapy:

Let me say that therapy can indeed be beneficial, but I do also feel that it’s challenging to find the right therapist.  I believe my therapist helped me during my off and on visits over the years, but when I went on the current therapy hiatus, I felt like I was telling her about my life, but I wasn’t getting anything accomplished, wasn’t solving anything.  Not that I’m sure what I had to solve.  But I kept asking for specific assignments and it never seemed to work out somehow.  Nothing was changing – no, that’s not true, things were changing, I was changing, but it wasn’t therapy that did it.  It was me, and the support I was receiving from those who loved me.

Aside over.

I have continued to think about my experience yesterday with my friend’s opinion on my work, to think about it in the larger context of myself as a person, who I’ve evolved into over all these years. 

Even with the sexual abuse, I stood up for myself for a long time.  I didn’t worry about speaking my mind, or saying I didn’t want to do something.  Or that I did want to do something. I didn’t think that if I declined to do something, my love interest would leave me.  I never expected someone to be that harsh or that shallow.  I didn’t need people so much.  I didn’t need anyone’s approval.  I felt confident in myself, my ambitions, who I was.  I stood up for myself and for other people.  When something was wrong, I called it wrong.  When I knew the right thing, I did the right thing.  No, I wasn’t perfect – far from it.  But there was a quality of strength about me that I loved.  Independence.  Hopefulness.

Now, not so much.

Is it age?  Or is it my 25 years with Pat?  Unfortunately, I suspect the latter.  I was still assertive (though somewhat shy) when I met Pat.  When did I lose it?  When did I start feeling used, cowed, like I wasn’t deserving, smart enough, good enough?  I wish I could remember.  I know it wasn’t always, but I know it was a long time ago.

Now that I am on my own, I catch myself displaying similar feelings in a new relationship.  If I criticize him, he will stop loving me?  If I don’t acquiesce to something he wants, he will get mad at me?  If I want to do things he doesn’t, he won’t give a damn about me?  If I go do things he doesn’t want to, he won’t even care that I’m gone? 

Wow, that’s a sad statement of how my marriage made me feel these past few years.

I don’t suffer from these thoughts constantly or consciously.  They only pop up once in a while.  But they do pop up, and it’s almost automatic.  I guess 25 years of conditioning is still somewhat in play.  I wish it wasn’t.  But it is.  I wish I had the old me back.  Or at least the updated me.  But wish in one hand…

It reminds me of my tendency to drop things and feel like they’ve fallen into another dimension.  I’m working to change that, to remind myself when I put something down absent-mindedly, to look at it, and take the extra 10 seconds to put it in its proper place.  I need a similar awareness of my own automatic responses.  I can do it.  It will only do good things for any relationship I’m in.  And it will be good for me to find myself again.

I’m looking forward to it.

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