What is wrong with me?
For many of us is this an all too familiar thought. It is the worst kind of self mutilation and I have heard these words in my head more often this last month while here in Bali than ever before in my life. Bali is known for pulling up some of your deepest demons and I knew this demon was coming long before I arrived to the island. Feelings of fear, dread, insecurity and incompetence have been swirling in me for weeks now, waiting for the right moment to spill out of me and into the world. Waiting to shout to anyone who will listen, exactly how fucked up I am, how completely incapable and imperfect I am.
How Human I am.
Anyone who has done any sort of deep inner soul searching will tell you that personal growth is anything but pretty. It is possibly the most terrifying and painful experience you will ever have; really looking at exactly how Human you are, learning to not only accept it, but also embrace it.
About a month ago I posted this video to my facebook page.
This is a beautiful piece performed to one of my favorite mantras, the Gayatri Mantra. Roughly translated it means…
Oh Divine Mother,
Our Hearts are full of Darkness
Please help me to Embrace My Darkness
So I can BE My Light
Years ago this mantra was suggested to me by a healer. Actually, she wanted to go home, put on Gayatri Mantra, throw the curtains of my living room wide open and masturbate in front of the window. I was no where near ready to face the truths that that situation would require. I gave away my sexual power long before I even knew I had any. I was extremely sexual as a child but I incarnated into a sexually charged family.
Now, when I say “charged”, what I mean is “guilt fueled Irish Catholic”. My Father’s parents were very religious. I remember being a kid and listening to my grandmother saying her rosary in the next room as I fell asleep. It is one of my favorite childhood memories. There is something really comforting about listening to someone who loves you, pray for you. Lets face it though, the Catholic Church is not known for being open minded, so as she poured her love for me into prayer, a lot of those prayers include charged programming around being “good”, “honest”, “pure”, etc. Her understanding, the Churches understand and my understanding of those words where a little bit different from each other. While both my Paternal Grandparents were very loving with me, they rarely showed each other affection. I never saw them kiss, hug or hold hands and my Father can not remember ever seeing it while growing up either. Sex was not a topic of conversation. EVER.
On my Mother’s side there was also religion but lots of open Love, as well as not so much Love. Simply put, emotions of all kinds were openly expressed and usually loudly. I see pictures of my Grandparents hugging and holding hands but I also remember stories of their fights. With me they were much the same. My Grandmother adored me and lavished me with Love but she could also use her Love and her words as a weapon to manipulate. Love was a four letter word and sex was a duty. My Grandmother was a hard Woman who had a hard life. She had an 8th grade education and was married young to an abusive man. Sex was always something that was a “duty”, she never had a say in it and it definitely wasn’t about her pleasure. Even after she divorced and re-married my Grandfather, she still saw it as a duty, one that she did not enjoy.
When I was old enough to ask where babies came from I was told that you pray really hard for them. I have never wanted children so this literally put the fear of God in me and I immediately stopped praying. When I got older my Mother sat me down and taught me about the reproductive systems of a Man and Woman and how they come together to make a baby. I was terrified. So far, my understanding of sex was that it was forbidden outside of marriage (between a man and woman of the same race and religion), punishable by a painful eternity in Limbo, the duty of the Woman to satisfy her husband and to pop out babies. This is by no means what my parents were telling me directly, but as children we often learn indirectly by observing the world around us. These were my surroundings and these experiences set up the energetic framework of my sexuality.
Fear. Shame. Duty.
I was molested. It took me until about a year ago to admit this. It wasn’t in the older man rapes a kid kind of way so I never thought it was wrong. I just knew it didn’t feel right. It was by an older girlfriend, I was young and I didn’t know I had the choice to say no. It was always about me pleasing her, I had no say in it and it was definitely not about my pleasure. Does this sound familiar?
As I explored my sexuality with boys it repeated itself. I had no idea what I was doing. I was scared, insecure and inexperienced and they used that to push me further than I wanted to go without ever explaining exactly what it was I was suppose to be doing or feeling. And then they talked about it with their friends. I remember sitting in my closet after one of these encounters, crying, wishing I could disappear. I was so ashamed and at the same time, completely confused as to why. What was wrong with me?
As I got older and developed into a strong personality, Men often thought they would find a Hell Cat in bed, but I always disappointed. After years of living in sexual fear, I was unable to ask for what I wanted. Hell, I didn’t know I was allowed to want let alone what I wanted. And then our sex life would become strained because I wasn’t aggressive enough. They would shame me for it. What was wrong with me?
I put myself in situations where I didn’t even like the person I was sleeping with. I would just end up there, unsure of how I got there, scared and unable to say no. Unaware I had the choice. Up until my last relationship I never told anyone this. After I told him he unknowingly shamed me by treating me like I was breakable. Clearly, something was wrong with me.
I have spent the last few weeks in a Cranio Sacral Training, being witnessed as I dug through some really deeply hidden truths as well as continuing to look at my inability to receive. Cranio Sacral Therapy is all about getting quiet and listening to the clients energy field. As the healer, I do nothing; I just wait quietly and see what happens. The waiting was hardly quiet. Cycles of self-hatred, self-doubt and general grumpiness swirled through my mind.
What was wrong with me?
Why couldn’t I hear/feel/sense anything?
Iv had been DOING this for over 10 years, why can’t I get out of my own way?
Over and over and over and over, day after day I beat on myself. It finally broke me wide open on day 6 as I lay on the table sobbing, heart open, legs open, completely raw, surrounded by my classmates chanting… you guessed it, the Gayatri Mantra.
What I discovered on while on the table was a very strong co-dependent relationship with my Father. I resented, even hated, my Mother for treating him the way she did. I was blind to the way she was being treated. I set myself up in a marriage that was an exact reflection of theirs and even as I followed in her footsteps, still I fought her. Shamed her, shamed myself, while I gave both my Father and my Husband a free pass.
What was wrong with me? What kind of Wife was I? How could I leave him? He was such a good man who gave me all the stability anyone could ever want. Money, house, car; the whole nine. And I didn’t want it, what the hell was wrong with me? I never saw how he was clipping my wings. Even now, that sentence is hard to write. This whole piece would be easier to scrap and go on blaming my Mother and Myself. Hating us. Shaming us. But this week my Paternal Lineage kept coming forward and I was finally able to see how I gave up my child self, my sexuality and my femininity when I let myself step into the role of protector to my Father and created the molestation situation with the Feminine. I betrayed myself and set up a lifetime of betrayal from the women in my life because I hated myself. I didn’t even know it.
Since coming to Bali, I spent a few days with a new male friend being very intimate with each other without being sexually intimate. We shared some fears, laughs and some really awkward moments of extreme childishness. His childish acts gave me the opportunity to stand in my power and express how much I didn’t like his actions and him the chance to look at it. He not once made a move on me, despite sleeping next to me for 3 nights and this sent me back into “what is wrong with me”?
Was it me?
Was it him?
What was wrong with me?
Why hadn’t HE tried to kiss me?
Why wasn’t HE making a move?
Why hadn’t I tried to kiss him?
Why hadn’t I made a move?
Where along the line did I learn that I had to wait for him and his desire; that my desires were not valid? Or better yet, why did I think that just chilling out and not having sex was a problem? I saw that his immaturity was just a reflection of my inability to embody a WOMAN. If I’m showing up as a scared 8 year old then of course he is going show up as an 8-year-old boy, shoving me in the pool and poking me instead of kissing me. The realization of my lack of ability to know if I wanted to be sexually intimate with him let alone believe that I had the right to initiate that intimacy felt like the wind being knocked out of me.
Sitting on the balcony of his room, listening to our friend singing the Gayatri Mantra floating up to me from the room below…
Jamie, embrace your Darkness, your Fears about inadequacy about not being perfect.
Jamie, you are exactly where you need to be, experiencing exactly what you need to experience.
Jamie, you are whole and perfectly imperfect.
Jamie, you are not broken.
Jamie, your Darkness IS your Strength.
Jamie, your Darkness IS your Light.
The Gayatri video connected me to the little girl inside me who would spin in the rain, eyes lifted to the sky, arms flung wide open, singing out to the World. I have missed her. I am ready to embody her once again.
AUM bhoor bhuvah svah
tat savitur varenyam
bhargo devasya dheemahi
dhiyo yo nah prachodayaat
Just wanted to say your blog and sharing of your journeys is affecting me positively, it’s nice to hear someone else on similar spiritual and psychological journey. I was recently visited by Ganesh in a meditation, and then I listened to the youtube mantra you posted. I am constantly plagued by “what’s wrong with me?” thoughts and self sabotoge….leaving for AFrica in two weeks to attempt to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in my journey to healing and awakening. And I don’t really believe I can do it. Anyway, THANKS!– Avi
Here I am, reading your blog at 1:20AM on Wednesday morning…fascinated by what I have read. I think you have helped me more in providing real-life examples of understanding my girlfriend and her issues a lot more.
We are still together and working things out…it is a challenging process…I will tell you more about it perhaps in our own personal chat sometime.
My gosh! You have experienced a myriad of boundary-type violations…and I am amazed of how you have managed to ‘break the cycle’ of abuse and heal yourself without the help of a professional therapist. The process of regaining a “stronger” you by setting new boundaries to keep yourself healthy, both physically, emotionally, and spiritually…is a long journey to recovery.
From my perspective, you are doing it…you are discovering yourself, your strengths, weaknesses, and acknowledging and accepting (kicking and screaming sometimes) it….I feel it’s a never-ending journey. I had a few life-changing moments in my Life…now I am in another one right now….and it feels more like your next blog after this, “what’s next?”
Jamie, THANK YOU for sharing this part of yourself. In you, tonight, I have grown a little bit more in how I can help my partner feel safe and build a boundary that is strong and safe and well-tended and loved for both of us. Wish me luck.
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