Thursday, December 8, 2011

No more hiding: I exist.

A few days ago, listening to Everyday Joy. There was a discussion about old patterns... The question was, "When things get stressful or hard, what do you do?"

Le mentioned that she hides. When she was a little girl, she would hide under the bed so she wouldn't get hurt. I do that too. I hide. As a child, that looked like curling up in a ball in my closet. As an adult, it looks like pretending I am someone that I am not. Hiding my thoughts, wants, desires, and opinions. In some instances, even hiding the fact that I exist.

I wrote the following at the end of November:
"About a month ago, a friend of mine posted a quote from some politician about how gays and lesbians don't exist. Above her link, she just put the words, "I exist." I saw that (I didn't even read the link), and cried. Deep tears. There was just something about her words, "I exist," that moved me.

Not too long after that, BJ came to me and apologized. After a conversation with his kids, he realized he didn't talk about me. He told stories of riding or fishing, and just wouldn't mention I was there. He apologized. Said he wanted his kids to know him. He loves me, and he wants them to know and understand that. He said he was grateful for his friendship with me, and if he can't share what he is grateful for, how will they ever know him? And he wanted to respect our friendship enough to tell people he valued it. I was upset. NOT because he didn't talk about me, but because he apologized. My reply to him, "I don't need you to talk about me. I know that my mere existence is upsetting to them, so you don't have to remind them." (He reminded me this isn't about me, it's about him and wanting his kids to know him and being authentic... but that isn't what this entry is about.)

A few days ago, I posted a link to an article about asexuality. This quote started my tears:
“When I started using the word asexual in the LGBT community, most people didn’t have any idea what I was talking about. There were unintentional hurtful comments made. My favorite response? “’Oh, that doesn’t exist.’ No one wants to be told they don’t exist.”
I have "body memory" pain that won't go away. It hurts ALL the time. Talking with doctors, they've said there is possible nerve damage. Repeated rape can do that apparently. I've never had it checked out. At this point, it wouldn't be worth the craziness that would come from an exam. And mostly, I am pretty certain the pain is somatic.

Last Christmas, my brother bought me the book Eastern Body, Western Mind. I haven't read any of it. I got enough other books, and I put it on my bookshelf and haven't thought much about it since then. BJ has had a headache for weeks. In an effort to be helpful, I picked up the book to see if it could give me any suggestions.

I opened to the page titled "body armor". It showed several different body postures and shapes. First one I noticed was BJ. I read what it said about a person with that posture. (Stuck in Chakra 3). And what it said about where he was stuck. He said it nailed him. I don't know how that helps his headache, because I got distracted.

I saw the body posture that was me.
"People with this structure are highly creative and intelligent with upper chakras that are overdeveloped. Their issues center around the right to exist."
And I sobbed again. That word, "Exist".
I went on to read:
"Without the right to be here, few other rights can be reclaimed. Do we have the right to take up space? Do we have the right to establish individuality? Do we have the right to take care of ourselves? The right to be here is the foundation of our survival and security. A corollary to this right is the right to have, especially to have what we need to survive."
I've been kind of anxious and upset ever since then. Overdeveloped upper chakras? I don't know. But I do remember being told that my constant dizziness had something to do with overdeveloped and underdeveloped chakras...and those chakra bowls dang near killed me... I also have worked so hard to change beliefs and thoughts and patterns, but that blasted body memory pain won't go away... Guess where the the first chakra is?? Just guess.

 Over and over, if I have to choose between what I want and what someone else wants, I will choose someone else. Over and over I have tried to hide who I am, what I want, what I feel, even the fact that I exist... And I can't live like that."
I kept trying to post it, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. I felt so much anxiety at just posting the words, "I exist", so I never did it.

After Everyday Joy today, I sat in my chair...thinking... I had just written the post "I'll be the violin in the back row with a HUGE smile on my face." There was a time, I would have shared that with the Everyday Joy group on facebook, but I didn't want to. I hadn't posted anything in the group since facebook had changed things. Now, when I post to the group, it shows up in my friends' news feeds, and I didn't want to be seen. I was scared.

I thought about what Joy (Jen) had said... Hiding. On more than one occasion she has said, "Maybe it's time to show up in your own life." So I did.

I shared my joyful post with the group, and what I was afraid of happening, happened... sort of.
People did see it, click on the link, and have read some of my blog. No one has chased me down with a pitchfork. One friend sent me a message thanking me for what I'd written. Two of my aunts called to chat and to tell me they loved me, and they just want me to be happy. One aunt said she supported me leaving the church, but feels sad for all the people who will never hear my wisdom. The other told me she thought I was amazing. Another friend apologized that she had had no idea.

I'm feeling a little raw and vulnerable, and once again, it has been shown to me that I don't need to hide. Yes, there are people who don't like me, who disagree with me, hate me, and they wish I would disappear, go away, maybe even stop existing... but there are far more loving, kind, and wonderful people out there.

Still... this isn't even about other people. This is about me. Standing up and saying, I exist. I'm here. I don't have to hide, and I'm not going to. I'm not going to pretend. I'm not going to wear a mask. I'm here. I'm me. Exactly where and who I want to be.


  1. I think the words, "I exist" are powerful and beautiful in so many ways.
    Thanks for so many ways.

  2. Wow. I relate to this so much. I am grateful for the insight you offer, but also that even though you feel raw and vulnerable, that you are learning you don't have to go and hide. (I do this so often.)

    I hope that you will embrace the power you have in knowing that you indeed exist and your strength is in whomever you are, no matter what any other says about it.

    Just keep being you. I celebrate your existence. :)

  3. Live. Just live. Personally I'm tired of "existing" in a world where everybody has to do the same, and be the same. I year or so ago I got an ear ring. I know, big deal, but it has been around where I am. Who gives a shit? Really? In shame I've taken it out a couple of times, then decided, I'm me. If you can't deal with that, then, well fuck off. Life is way too short. you'll be 50 before you know it. Be you. You're a beautiful person. Enjoy!

  4. "Abuse" can be defined in more than one way. I think one way of defining it is to state that abuse is the denial of someone's right to be true to themselves. That is, to exist as themselves.

    I have noticed that when a person is severely abused, they tend to hide themselves from others -- even from people who will not abuse them. That seems to be a way of defending themselves against the denial of their right to exist.

    Now, if any of what I said makes sense, then I think it is very important you are standing up for yourself, refusing to run, refusing to hide, refusing to wear a mask. That makes me think of you as downright heroic, Mellen.

  5. Carol - Thank you. And thank you for so much more than just your comments here. <3

    Sensory - hugs to you!! I'm celebrating my existence: I like those words!

    Will - I get both the shame of being different, and the need to just be different. I hope you take out the ear ring less now, and just be you.

    Paul - I LOVE that definition of abuse. I think it fits perfectly what I have been trying to describe for a long time... Everything you said makes perfect sense to me. (And I'm not Mellen - Mellen is my sister, but I don't mind being called her name. She's pretty darn amazing too.)