December 31, 2010 Leave a comment
December 31 – Core Story What central story is at the core of you, and how do you share it with the world? (Bonus: Consider your reflections from this month. Look through them to discover a thread you may not have noticed until today.)
On this last day of the #reverb10 experiment, I thought I’d do a word cloud of the past 30 #reverb10 posts and just throw that up here. Except, after much copying and pasting, it turned out to be total crap. I use the words “just” and “time” and “like” a lot.
Now I’m watching the clock. I’ve just (haha) woken up from a two-hour nap and there’s an untidy apartment behind me and New Year’s Eve plans (albeit low key ones) to prepare for. There’s an e-mail I want to take care of before I leave as well, and the thought of trying to figure out what my central story is and then write it down in some coherent way all in the next 75 minutes…really? I don’t know if I can. I don’t know what my central or core story is. What does that even mean?
Okay. Ping. The one thing that comes to mind is a theme that’s come up in therapy many times this year, and that’s my need for acknowledgment. I’m sure a lot of people feel like the odd man out in their families, so my situation isn’t unique–I just really feel like I was cut from a different cloth than the rest of my immediate kin. I’m not even sure I’m actually made of fabric at all; if they’re cut from a bolt of cotton, I’m the leavings from some flammable wad of polyester. Both materials have their uses but they are not the same.
Being around my family en masse almost always leads to tears on my part. There is a dynamic that occurs when the whole family is together that is just so difficult for me to cope with that I usually end up feeling like I should be sitting at the kiddie table and that my ideas and feelings are completely invalid. Rather than being the youngest adult in the house, I am reduced, once more, to being the youngest child. Ultimately I feel invisible and unheard.
This feeling plays out in the rest of my life as well. I am constantly wondering why no one cares about me or what I think, when the problem is that I haven’t spoken up and made my needs or thoughts known. I forget that while there is potential emotional danger with my family when I stop letting myself be invisible, outside of my family people see me as an adult (apparently sometimes a pretty formidable one) and being visible is as easy as opening my mouth.
This is all a bit of a sad central story I realize, but there is an upside. I sing and I write. I am positive that I leaned towards these skills in my talent tool box because they make me immediately visible. When someone reads my blog or my short story or hears me sing in a choir or do a solo–I am immediately, undeniably visible. I think that this weakness and need has also been my greatest asset, because even when I don’t want to produce or create, the desire to be seen keeps me doing it. I can ignore the desire for a while, but it always comes back.
I’m working on making sure I don’t allow myself to be invisible by voicing my needs and thoughts and opinions wherever I need to do so. I’ve decided recently that as easy as it would be for someone else to swoop in and ensure that I don’t feel invisible (like a boyfriend or a normal boss), there’s not much power in that. It’s way more powerful to first acknowledge myself and then allow others to do it as they see me doing so. But I’m grateful for the passions borne of my weakness. I would never give them up for all the visibility in the world.
Happy New Year to all of my fellow reverberators; it’s been a fantastic ride!