Memoir Writing – Discover Your Life – Self Loathing

*I apologize greatly for being two days late on this post. I apologize to infinity and back.*

Have you ever told yourself “I am a bit hard on myself “?  Do you remember the occasion? The little voice that says this is the voice of your Self and your ego’s criticism at war with who you are and what you do. Your ego is knocking you down and your authentic self is fighting for you.

This voice is telling you that something is wrong. Self needs something and your ego is kicking you down. Listen carefully to the thoughts running through your head when this voice pops up. There’s a message. There is a lesson to be learned.

Since Sunday I have not been writing. With a preschooler in the house I need to rise early to get my writing out of the way or it isn’t going to happen.  It especially is not going to happen when my husband is not around.  He left to New York for business on Sunday.  The catch with getting up early to write is that I am ready for bed around supper time.  I get pretty grumpy in the afternoons.  So I head to bed early and let my husband put our little girl to bed.  Only I can’t do that this week.

I made a conscious decision to not get up early this week to write because I didn’t want to be too tired to parent and run the show around here.  Got to have your wits about you with a seventeen year old girl in the house. Not to mention patience for a demanding three year old.  I even painted myself a glorious image in my mind about how grumpy I would be if I woke up early to work.  I would be laying on the couch watching movies and yelling all day long at my family.

Low and behold, I am miserable.  I lack patience.  I have not attention span.  I am grumpy and heavy and I can’t stand it.  All I can think about is writing and working.  I walk around the house saying, “Don’t be so hard on yourself Marlene.  It is just one week.  One week of a sacrifice.  You are not a bad mother.  You are just trying to cope with not writing and juggling everything else.”

Only writing can release this heavy pressure on me.  Why did I tell myself to not write?  So I wouldn’t be a bad mother.  Well, what have I got?  Not a great mother.  I would be better off if I wrote.  Quite often on the days that I write I am the happiest. I have  unbounding vitality! Well, on good writing days that is. Some days my vitality’s not unbounded but content.

The point I’m trying to make is that we lie to ourselves. Since Sunday I have been telling myself that this is the way it has to be and that I’m being too hard on myself as a mother, I’m being too hard on myself as a writer. When the reality is that I want more. I want to write even if it will make me tired.  I would be better off if I wrote.  My family would be better off if I wrote.  Why do I, or we, tell ourselves these lies?

When we hear this voice in our mind that convinces us of something, this can lead to self-loathing. What I am really telling myself is that I could be better than what I am.  Hey aren’t we all perfect even in our imperfections?  Also though, it can tell us something specific.  Like I have standards of being a mom I want to meet.  I have standards as a writer I want to meet.  I have standards of a work-life that I want to meet.  We could go deeper and evaluate these standards but for now lets just remember when was the last time we said “I’m being a bit hard on myself.” to ourselves.

When have you:

1.  Told yourself “I am too hard on myself”?
2.  You given up something you did not want to give up?
3.  Not done something you really wanted to do?
4.  Judged or compared yourself to someone else?
5.  In a world that strives for perfection what “imperfect” part of yourself do you loath?

Photo by Sunstone Creations

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Waking From A Dream

I am sleeping sound as a baby and then all of a sudden a dream with a crazy man always coming into my life wakes me up.  I am the character Robin from the TV show How I Met Your Mother and there is this guy who is insistent on being my boyfriend.  He won’t leave me alone.  He shows up at my work, I am a police officer, and asks my boss and my co-workers if he can see me.  It is a constant battle to get away from him.

In addition to this, he always brings a tractor when he comes and he parks it in the worst places.  I seem to live and work in an old character home and he parks it on the patch of grass that is on the outside of the sidewalk, by the street.  The strip that the city owns.  A bit weird.

I see me running in and out of character homes trying to escape him.  I see me trying to convince my boss not to let him in the building and my boss won’t listen.  I see cats.  Their are two cats that are always taking too long to get in and out of the doors that I am trying to get closed as I run away between character homes.

I wake up from this dream and all I can think about is the connection to being right, the ego, and shenpa, what hooks us on wanting to prove we are right.  Shenpa is a Buddhist term for being hooked.  When someone says or does something it can hook you and cause you to argue, be sad or dwell on the words or an experience.

Upon waking from my dream, my immediate thoughts go to a friend of mine who told me yesterday how her little girl always has to prove she is right.  Yesterday was a particularily rough day for the two of them.  The little girl, who is around 10 years old, was arguing about everything with her mom.  Her mom bites into the arguing but always seems to catch herself and is able to pull away.  Good job.

As I lay in bed convincing myself I will remember to write this and that I do not have to get out of bed at 1 o’clock in the morning, I wonder what gets at this little girl to want to argue.  Sure her ego is strong and developing but why does she get hooked so easily by shenpa on proving herself?

Obviously I decided that I would not remember to write this so I got up to put that thought out there.  When you are wanting to prove you are right ask yourself what you have to gain from proving yourself?  What issue snagged you and got you hooked?  Tell your ego that it doesn’t have to prove anything.  Being right or wrong only separates us more and that it can rest.

I have no idea how this concept is tied to my dream at this hour.  Maybe when I wake up it will all make sense.

Sharing

Yesterday I was at the park with my three-year old, Teela. We went to a new park and there were many kids around her age playing about. We took out her sand toys, attracting other kids, and soon she was into her not sharing mode. This immediately took me to this quote I read once.

“Here’s a test. an elderly lady behind you says to her husband, “Maple’s my favorite!” Do you like the donut enough to leave it for her?” (The Essential Yoga Sutra by Geshe Micheal Roach and Christie McNally – Sutra 2.7 – 2.9)

This has always stumped me. Do I like something enough to give it away? What a thought. The authors are trying to explain the concept of grasping and its relation to liking and disliking things. He argues that liking that donut is a ‘stupid’ kind of liking. We need to find the mistake in that kind of liking and learn to tell the difference between ‘stupid’ liking and ‘smart’ liking. Liking peace and helping others would be smart liking in a very general sense. It is harder to apply in every day life and even more so in the heat of the moment like at the park when you are three years old and sharing toys against your will because your mom says so.

Does my little girl like the sand toys enough to leave them for these kids at the park? No, her brain development is not there. The ego is strong in our young ones as they find their sense of being. In reading Eckhart Tolle’s book The New Earth he shares a story of a women who is terminally ill that he spends time with as a counsellor. She looses a ring that is very special to her. He asks her some very good questions.

“Do you realize that you will have to let go of the ring at some point, perhaps quite soon? How much more time do you need before you will be ready to let go of it? Will you become less when you let go of it? Has who you are become diminished by the loss?”

I especially like the last one. I am going to think of that question many times while I go through the process of decluttering my house and life. I think of that question a lot when I hold onto family heirlooms I have of my anscestors. I am so passionate about family history and holding onto things of my grandmothers or great grandmothers that I do feel my identity is wrapped up in it. At some point I will have to let it go.

Since Teela was in such a fowl mood (she has a head cold) we packed up our toys with the intention of leaving before things got worse for Teela.  As we walked away I wondered if I had something special and someone showed an interest in it could I like it enough to give it to them?