Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Truth of the Matter

Her: “Who told you that you were a big woman? You seem pretty normal sized to me. You might want to consider letting go of that idea, especially if it isn’t serving you.”
Me: “I wish we’d had this conversation much earlier.”
Him: “Why?”
Me: “Because I somehow had the idea that you would be critical of what I believed or thought if my ideas weren’t based in science, and it kept me from telling you things about myself.”
Him: “I tried to disabuse you of that idea. More than once, in fact.”
Her: “I don’t believe in THE truth. I believe in MY truth, and that my truth is going to be different from others’ truths, even if we’re recalling the same situation or moment.”
Oh Jesusfuckingchristonastick, invisible audience.

So it turns out that reality IS what you make of it, and over the last couple weeks that’s become so apparent, it’s like someone has taken a baseball bat to my reality and beat it repeatedly until I saw stars through the cracks of what I always believed to be true.

I’ve talked about this a lot, but it turns out that I’ve actually been injecting meaning into conversations that wasn’t there, because finding proof of the reality I had built was much more important than hearing the truth of what the other person was saying.

I recently sat down with a woman who asked me to tell her my story – my life story; what had brought me here, to this point in time. What I told her was basically what was in the book I’ve been writing, in the same way I told it in the book -- a book that I now could care less about publishing.

She listened, quietly and respectfully, and said, “You did a great job. Now, I want you to tell me that story again, but I want you to retell it so that, ever time you chose something different, you claim responsibility and credit for it instead of claiming you were a victim that was forced from one part of your life into another.

“For instance," she said, "Instead of saying, ‘I was drowning in depression and felt like my only option was to move to Panama,’ what if you said, ‘I chose to break a pattern that wasn’t working and move away, and because I am adventurous and resourceful, I knew that it would work out and I’d be able to take care of myself, because I’d done it countless times before.’?”

I thought a long time about it. She sat patiently and waited.

The new story that came out was jilted, lumpy, and hesitant. It took me four or five times before I could say it with any sort of fluency. I could actually feel the new pathways trying to form in my brain; trying to pull out of the paths they’d been in for so long -- paths that had cast me as an unwilling player in this game of life -- and reform me as a courageous woman who had managed to make a monstrous change despite deep fear; a woman who somehow knew under all the other chatter that the unknown held much more freedom than the predictable.

That new story has freed me, invisible audience. Not only that, but many subsequent conversations have made it clear how deeply I had subscribed to the reality of the victim, even as a braver, wilder part of me would sneak out every now and then – but with more and more frequency – grab the reins, and yank them to a new, thornier and incredible path, away from everything that had ever been and into uncharted territory.

Now that I can own my story, I can see that that person was me.

I have realized that I took the words out of peoples’ mouths and twisted them into stunted little beings that would better fit into my idea that I was worthless. I realized that I have discounted the many, many ways I have been shown that I am loved and sought signals of my mundaneness in others’ eyes, looking right past the sparkle that came over them when they looked at me. I refused to see the magic, invisible audience, because there was no way to explain it, and it didn’t fit into an idea of reality that I’d picked up from others; a reality that has nothing to do with how the world actually works for me.

I have a magical existence. What I need shows up when I need it. The people I love show me that they love me in the ways that they know best. When I keep that in mind, I see huge, fragrant gardens where before I only saw dead, barren landscape.

All because someone helped me see that my story was writing my reality, instead of reality creating my story.

Love and choosing your own reality kisses,