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Natascha Kampusch, before the kidnapping

Learning about this psychological codependency issue is opening my eyes to so many new discoveries about myself. Discoveries about my worst fears and my deepest desires. It’s perhaps even connected to my choice of not having any children. And why I don’t want to get a car, a house or a pet. Feeling responsible for someone else or getting something I have to be responsible for, is a heavy weight on me. I have been writing many times about my recurring nightmare where I suddenly realize I have a cat which I’ve neglected for a long time. I start to look for it and find it, all frail and weak behind a sofa. The fur is covered with eyes and it’s staring at me – begging me to take care of it. I feel so guilty and stressed. It meows and wants me to pet it, but I’m disgusted and reluctant to touch it. But I know I have to pet it, because I’m responsible for its survival. It is my duty to love it, to take care of it. As I’m petting it, I can feel the glossy texture of the eyeballs against my palms and it gives me the chills.

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The core issue for me in my psychological codependency, is a state of crisis in the loyalty. Should I be loyal to myself or to the other person? If I make them happy by doing what they want me to do, then I feel good – even though I might not want to do it and in the end makes me suffer. At least it makes me a good person. If I choose my own happiness over other people’s wants, I upset them and they treat me bad because I’ve been a selfish person. That way I’m feeling unhappy even when I do what’s best for me – whether it’s a simple “no” or leaving an abusive person or a destructive situation. That is why I have been avoiding it – and why I’ve been loyal to the other person instead of being loyal to myself. To make them happy is to create peace but suffering, to make myself happy is to create possible abandonment and abuse – and in the end more suffering. No wonder I haven’t been able to feel happy or content in any relationship. It’s such a lose-lose situation.

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The most romantic thing I used to know, were the words: “We are one. 1+1=1”. I can see how twisted it is now. And where that thought stems from. It is the formula of codependency and losing myself to someone else. That’s when I stop working with my art. That’s when I stop believing in myself. Where I no longer matter to myself. The only thing that matters is the “=1”. I thought I was being passionate, but I was just a textbook example of a classic codependency behavioral pattern.

When I look at this now, I can see that the false calculation of “1+1=1” is not the most romantic thing I know – it is in fact the scariest thing I know. Perhaps that is why kidnappers who build secret chambers in their basements to keep the victim locked away for years, is my number one fear. Once, Johnny and I had a conversations about our biggest fears. I asked him: “which of these three encounters would scare you the most: 1. An angry gorilla. 2. A hungry shark. 3. A psychopath looking for a victim to kidnap and torture.?”

Johnny wouldn’t want to meet the angry gorilla. He said there was after all a chance of surviving a shark attack and even escape the psychopath, but not an enraged gorilla. I had another answer: “I choose death over the chance of having my life and destiny in the hands of a psychopath. I can’t imagine any bigger horror than being completely powerless and dependent on the psychopath’s will and wishes. The suffering is a long process of depersonalization and psychological torture, that has to be more horrific than being killed in an attack from one of those animals. At least then you are ripped to pieces and dead in a few minutes or hours.”

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The story of Natascha Kampusch and her life in a tiny cellar, told in the film “3,096 Days”

I am not afraid of the dark, nor am I scared of monsters and ghosts. I create horror in my art, so it takes a lot scare me with superficial horror elements. That being said, I am scared of many things – but they are all related to a psychological tension where I feel powerless and not able to feel free.

I guess that is why the only thing that’s ever scared the bejesus out of me are the bizarre stories about the Fritzl case – and the kidnapping of Natascha Kampusch. She was only 10 when she was kidnapped and held in a secret cellar by Wolfgang Přiklopil. He made sure that she was completely dependent on him for survival (he was the only one who knew where she was, he was her caretaker and she needed him to be healthy and safe in order for him to bring her food and water, so she cared for him deeply) and he changed her name, shaved her head, made her do things against her will and abused her for more than 8 years until she finally escaped (and when she did, he jumped in front of a train). She survived it. She survived my worst nightmare. I have so much respect for her.

– My friend and singer/songwriter Eva Eastwood wrote this song based on our conversations about something we had in common; being codependent and being too entangled in someone else’s toxic behavior.

All these insights are important in my process of independence. I am freeing myself from the weight of other people’s expectations and wishes – for me to be weak, strong, dependent, quiet, stupid, submissive, dominant or whichever role they’ve need me to play to fill the void in their hearts and minds. I am no longer a quick fix for their wounded souls. 

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My sexy, sexy vulnerability

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Last week I watched Iliza Shlesinger’s latest stand up show “Confirmed Kills” on Netflix and she was making a lot of jokes about sexuality and male porn fixation that I found interesting rather than funny. Especially what she said about female vulnerability and how men only think they want strong and independent women but it’s the vulnerability they really want. Think about it. High heels. You can’t run in high heels. Makes him feel in control. Makes her vulnerable. A skinny body – now that’s just oozing vulnerability. Silly, stupid blondes – a vulnerability that makes men feel smarter and better about themselves; “please help me do this because I caaan’t!”, “please help me explain that because I don’t understaaand”. He’ll be happy to help her.

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My most vulnerable looks (2009-2010)

It’s a thing now days for young girls to PLAY stupid in front of boys. I’ve done it. I’ve lived in relationships where that role playing was the foundation of the attraction. This was of course my ‘Lolita’ curse, that I’m dealing with in my art right now.

It was partly my fault – I was looking for security and a authority figure because it was a familiar pattern from my childhood and I had no idea that I could be my own authority figure (my own Goddess). My need to feel comforted during the years with daily PTSD symptoms also played a big part in my Lolita role playing.

My vulnerability has been my most attractive quality – both in my art and writing but also when it comes to men. They have loved it. They couldn’t get enough of it. And their hunger for it almost destroyed me. It mostly attracted narcissistic men or men who wanted to feel powerful. I once had a brief online flirt with an English teacher from Baltimore. He was charming and showed himself vulnerable so he could get to mine. And he did. After a while he started to be cold, harsh and unreliable – and became very domineering. I ended it. After a year he showed up in my inbox with a link and said “I’ve found a girlfriend that I can be myself with and I’ve started living faithfully to who I am”. I didn’t understand what he meant, so I opened the link and it was a blog about their sado-masochistic adventures where he was the dominate partner and she was the submissive one. He had a talent for writing so he made their adventures into little short stories. I read a few. And I felt shocked. He described how he loved cutting her with razor blades while having sex and how she loved being cut, how she enjoyed being fucked while suffering from a stomach flu with a very high fever. It was all about her suffering and the empowerment of his ego. It was so sick. I felt nauseous.

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In one of the posts he described exactly how he got his victims. How he played vulnerable to get under their skin. How he played their vulnerability like a puppet master. I couldn’t believe it. That’s what he had been doing to me! He saw me as a potential victim, during our conversations. Gross.

It wasn’t until I met a similar guy online that I realize that I have to change my behavior in order to stop attracting these abusive men. I stopped being over-vulnerable and started to protect it. I will never stop being vulnerable in my work, but I don’t have to waste my vulnerability on strangers or people who doesn’t deserve it.

My vulnerability is one of my most precious qualities and it isn’t for other people to play around with so that they can feel stronger, smarter or better about themselves. It is sexy because it is me in my most naked form,  it isn’t sexy because it makes me look weak in front of a man. Vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness. Taking advantage of someone else’s vulnerability to be able to stroke the ego is a weakness. Being unable to be vulnerable is a weakness. Not being able to appriciate vulnerability is a weakness. Judging vulnerabilities is a weakness.

Daring to be vulnerable is beautiful. And real. So fucking real.

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The danger of non-acceptance

I had a little breakthrough in my self-therapy yesterday. Psychological breakthroughs are equally tough to face as they are liberating. It means you have pushed through a wall – and acknowledged something that you haven’t been ready to admit to yourself before and suddenly you are so clear in your mind – and things finally start to make sense.

I'm not a crazy cat lady, I'm the crazy notebook lady! (self-therapy)

I’m not a crazy cat lady, I’m the crazy notebook lady! (self-therapy books)

As I am working with my self-therapy and making research and notes in my notebooks, I often return to the same conclusions, but always with more understanding or new theories which will add something important to the old ones. I gradually build a clear understanding of my own behavior and emotions – and then I can move on and hopefully change from the core out.

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notes from 2013 explaining the main movement of the ‘dance of death’

One thing that I keep coming back to is my theoriy about the dance of death (the destructive relationship, see older post here). I’ve filled notebook after notebook with theories and illustrations about the cycles of abuse and psychological submission/dominance.

The basic foundation to the dance of death is one person feeling submissive to another who’s acting like a victim that the submissive person is trying to rescue but being dominated and damaged in the process – and ends up a real victim (and the abuser won’t recognize or acknowledge the process of this dance which leaves the submissive person feeling lonely and powerless or doubting the whole experience).

A simple movement of a bad cycle going round and round but each time becoming more toxic and damaging for the person who’s trying to rescue the other (and the fantasy of what it COULD be like if the other person would change their behavior). A base for co-dependency.

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This is the first step in getting caught in a destructive relationship – and the reason why many women stay with men who abuse them (or vice versa). But there’s more. Here is a ‘destructive ladder’ I’ve found in my work yesterday:

  1. Lack of acceptance. I could not accept that the person I loved (and the victim I wanted to rescue in them) could ever abuse me or use psychological manipulation to put me down, to force me into a submissive position, to blame me for their damaging behavior etc, because that meant that I had to leave. The thought of leaving scared me so much that I’d much rather accept being treated badly. Because the abuser doesn’t want to take any responsibility for their actions or words – and their damaging behavior, I was left with all the guilt, shame and the heavy responsibility of blame. That makes it even harder to accept that the relationship is toxic and leaving the ‘victim’ I was trying to rescue is very difficult when you feel responsible. The lack of acceptance made me stay and paradoxically accept the abuse .
  2. Expectations. Instead of accepting reality, that I was being abused, I turned to my expectations that things would get better or that the person would change, that they would come around and understand what they’ve done and apologize, that I could change them and make them see just how toxic their behavior was, that they would suddenly be full of remorse and regret and cry and promise never to repeat their abusive behavior. Of course that never happened. The lack of acceptance made me stay and accept their abuse and the expectations of a future time where everything would be alright, would make it even harder for me to quit the dance of death.
  3. Responsibility / Guilt. Because I wanted my expectations to come true, I had to carry the responsibility all alone and not make anything worse by saying the wrong thing, by being confrontational or provocative, I had to adjust my own behavior and censor myself to not make the abuser angry or more hateful. Here is where I would lose myself completely to THEIR expectation of who I should be to them and the guilt I felt for being who I really was made me even more submissive and cemented my role in the dance of death even stronger.
  4. Blocking out negative emotions. Because of I had to live up to their expectations of how I should behave, what I could or could not say or do, to make them comfortable and happy enough so that they would live up to MY expectations of them (to stop being abusive and start being empathetic and loving), and because I refused to accept the real nature of the relationship, I had to block out the negative emotions in order for the ‘lie’ of the dance to go on. This repressing process of real and powerful emotions is very damaging and leads to a disassociative state, memory loss, depression, separation of the self and makes the dance of death seem natural and normal. It will take a long time to reclaim all these emotions if a dance would ever end.

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And it’s not easy to disrupt the cycle or end the endless rotation of the dance. But I did, more than once. If I’d only accepted the reality of the situation and the destructive nature of the relationship, I wouldn’t have stayed in the dance.

This is one of the most important discoveries I’ve made in my self-therapy so far.

There’s no place like home

I feel like fall is approaching. It’s windy and the air is slightly crisp. I love that. And it’s only a couple of weeks until my love will come here and we’ll get to share the wind and everything else, together. Against all odds, we have found something solid and beautiful together that doesn’t get affected by the distance or the frustration of being apart. For the first time in my life I have all the patience I need.

I’ve also allowed myself to have doubts. I am so used to being ‘slurped’ by other men in my past, I mean I was seduced by their attention so much so that I was swallowed up by it and couldn’t think straight. Like I was spellbound and drugged  by it. I didn’t get a chance to feel if it felt right or not, or to have any  doubts. I am very cautious about the slurping now. I know it’s a manipulation just to catch me, and once they have me, they are very different from what they first appeared to be. It’s creepy. The slurping effect is like buying a fancy car and then realizing you are sitting in a cardboard box that just looks like a real car.

I am all about authenticity and being vulnerable and real together. No wonder I’ve been miserable in my past relationships. Some people think that you should work hard to GET someone – to work really hard in the hunting process, but once they have you, they stop making an effort and they let go of their commitment and focus. I believe in the opposite thing: the hard work starts once you feel like you are committed, when you have built some trust together. That’s when you can create something truly beautiful and magical together. And I won’t ever let go of the commitment or the focus on the connection, because that’s when it all goes to hell.

All the doubts have led back to the same place, and it’s the home we are creating together. In each other and in the world. And there is no place like home.

The season of pain

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It’s been one of the worst summers of my life. I’ve been dealing with so many different kinds of pains. First the pain of what’s going on in the world – there is so much pain and fear right now with terrorism, increasing of rape cases, especially in groups of men, demagogues and dangerous political drama. But I’ve also endured physical pain. Emotional pain, stirred up by my self therapy (but necessary in order for me to continue my inner journey). But then there’s the pain of knowing that my second trauma is in a way still on going. I don’t talk about this in public because it can hurt people close to me, but even if I don’t talk about it, it’s still there. I’ve learned how to live with it and the pain is mostly about not understanding why. I’ve let got of both shame and guilt, they don’t belong to me. They never did. But it’s this little word “why” that keeps haunting me. To not being able to understand something difficult is not easy to accept. The heart needs closure. And to give up looking for an answer is definitely the best way to heal. That is extremely hard to do. It’s so hard to accept that there aren’t any answers and looking for them is pointless. Trying to figure out why someone hates you, why you are not good enough for them, why they think you deserve to suffer like that, why you are stuck with all the pain while they can live their lives without being bothered by what they’ve done or the consequences of their actions and the lack of responsibility.

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But when I think about it, I don’t think they are happy and living their lives without any pain. I think people who hate other people hate themselves even more. I think these people know more pain than their victims, but in order to survive they project their pain and suffering onto other people. If they wouldn’t hate other people, who would they be? If they didn’t feel superior to other people – how would they feel about themselves?

The most toxic relationships are often between an empath who’s trying to rescue a wounded soul but being the object of projected self hatred and pain. The empath becomes a victim of a dangerous dance of wanting to rescue the wounded soul but end up with a wounded soul because of the dance itself. You can’t rescue other people if you are trying to rescue yourself through them – and you can’t hide from your own pain by inflicting pain in others. It’s that  simple.

Because once they stop hating you, they are faced with their shame, guilt, self loathing – and their unbearable pain. But there is a way out of it, and it’s by facing it. By wanting the dance to end. By surrendering to the reality of things instead of hiding. Instead of escaping into numbing and separating the mind from the soul. Daring to be vulnerable is the key. Daring to be naked in front of oneself – without judging, without feeling shame.

So I wouldn’t trade my pain for theirs. I wouldn’t even trade it for their lack of pain for hurting me. But I do want closure. Whatever it looks like. Accepting that they won’t ever be vulnerable enough to be held accountable for their actions. Accepting that they aren’t strong enough to do that, and I can’t do anything about it. Accepting the feeling of helplessness and powerlessness when it comes to resolving the situation. Accepting the waste of years being part of the toxic dance and allowing them to treat me like a door mat. Accepting that I deserve happiness, success, love, pleasure and freedom, in spite what they think I deserve (which is basically nothing). Accepting that I can’t change another person or make them see what they’ve done or who they are. Accepting that the pain they have caused has helped me become who I am today and feeling grateful for being strong enough to make something good out of it instead of becoming a slave to it. I will never be a slave to my own pain. I want to cut it off and let it go. Maybe one day I’ll be ready to do that or perhaps it’s a slow process and I’m already working on it, what do I know.

Feeling hated is difficult and painful but I imagine it’s nothing compared to what it must be like hating oneself. I am finally in a place in my life where I accept myself for who I really am – and I am able to love myself without feeling shame. It’s a big victory for me – and from here I’ll be able to deal with whatever life throws at me, because I know when something is happening because of me or because of other people’s weaknesses and shortcomings. I used to take on the responsibility for everything, even for things that had nothing to do with me. If someone would hit me, I would think it happened because I was being difficult, that I probably deserved it and that it was my fault, not theirs.

Now I know exactly what belongs to me and what doesn’t. And it makes it easier to live with the pain of being hated and punished for who I am. It’s not my fault. It’s not my responsibility. It’s not my problem. It’s not my choice. It’s not my place to ask why.

Even if this has been a crappy summer, I will make the following months the best autumn of my life. The season of pain is over.

To be special and not ‘special’

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Every day I surprise myself a little with my intellect and creativity. I was brainwashed and manipulated for so many years, to believe that I am stupid and incapable. That I am ‘special’ in that other way – ‘special’ like a freak. Manipulations are tricky and even if you are a smart person and even if you are very strong, there are ways for them to break you down and to groom your mind in order for them to match your thoughts with their twisted perception of things. It’s a slow process and you might not even register that it’s happening to you. And suddenly, you stop believing in yourself, you question your taste, your intellect and the value of your experiences – or you start doubting friendships, interests, hobbies, goals, dreams and desires. You lose the connection to the things you love – and instead it’s replaced by their judgment and vision of what’s right and wrong.

Here is a list of things some people close to me have manipulated me into believing:

  • that I am not a real artist, it’s only a hobby
  • that I have bad taste in movies, literature, music and just bad taste in general
  • that I am too naive to be smart and strong
  • that my seduction is an act, that is something to laugh about
  • that I am incapable of being independent
  • that I’m too stupid to be taken seriously
  • that I’m too short and small as a person to be of significance
  • that I’m unintelligent because I use my creativity and imagination where other people might focus on logic and ‘inside-the-box’ -thinking.
  • that I can’t have sex because I demand too much of my lovers (to be connected, sensual, seductive and expressive)
  • that I don’t deserve to be happy
  • that I don’t deserve to be successful
  • that I don’t deserve to express my sexuality
  • that I don’t deserve to be popular
  • that I don’t deserve to be loved
  • that I am selfish
  • that I am egocentric
  • that I am ugly and gross when I put on some weight
  • that I have no value as a writer
  • that I am not allowed to call myself a writer
  • that I should not be heard
  • that I should not be seen
  • that I am tragic because I’ve been depressed
  • that I am difficult because I’ve been struggling with PTSD and traumas
  • that I am a problem because I suffer panic attacks
  • that I am a social misfit because I have a lot of integrity and don’t engage in social activities
  • that I’m worthless

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My art is the biggest part of who I am – it’s not a hobby nor does it make me a freak

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The list is not a collection of my own words – these notions doesn’t reflect my own perception of myself. So I’ll let it all go. I’ll never look at myself that way ever again. I’m out of the manipulations. Their spell is broken. I am beautiful. Smart. Talented. My art is amazing, not a hobby but my legacy to the world. And I am special – in a positive way and not as a freak. Well, I don’t mind being called a freak if by freak you mean ‘I’m proud of who I am  without apologizing for it!’. If so – then I’m a very proud freak!

Not wanted for who I am but for what I have to give

I am suddenly reminded of who I used to be. Other people’s coldness makes me feel like my past is starting to breathe again. My inside turns into a closed box. Inside the box is a smaller version of myself – screaming but without any sound.

Realities clashing. Still no sound. Muted rage. And I’m standing here like a time traveler.

I am reminded of who I used to be in a time where nothing was solid. Not even time itself. Time was broken. There was a glitch in the timeline. And missing pages in a long story.

I am reminded of who I was in that story.

A girl who wanted so much to feel wanted. For all the things she kept inside the box. All the wild and free butterflies of her youth. And the bleeding house inside her chest.

She didn’t know it was a misunderstanding. She was never wanted for those things. Not even for her green eyes. Not for her talent. The nuances of her smile. Not for the depth of her soul. Or the welcoming heart between her legs.

Not even for what she had to give. But for what she was willing to let them steal from her.

Butterfly after butterfly on a plate. Delicate wings with the most delicious taste of innocence. A blood house torn apart by their hunger for more than she had to offer.

When the girl wanted something in return there was nothing but silence and rejections.

Empty faces. Humiliation. Ejaculations.

Frozen leftovers. Dirty plates. Zero butterflies.

I still remember the feeling of being her. The loneliness. The excruciating vulnerability.

Unwanted memories. Unwanted coldness. Toxic words. I don’t want it.

I don’t offer myself on a plate to other people anymore. I don’t have anything to give to people who don’t appriciate me. The memories are fading along with the sense of their frigid love.

I’m not that girl anymore. In a way, I never was. It was just a big misunderstanding.

All the different versions of me

With old boyfriends, photos from 1999-2011
Since my [re]birthday earlier this week, I’ve been thinking a lot about who I used to be and all the different versions of me that I played like roles in my relationships, love affairs, at workplaces and in front of myself. I think I will create a collection of face masks, I want to explore this in my art as well as in this post.
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Self-portrait, 2011

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I don’t think I’ve fully understood until now, just how deeply we are influenced by other people’s visions of who they believe (or want) us to be. When we enter a new relationship, we also enter a new lifestyle – and a brand new self-image, mirrored through that lifestyle and the eyes of our lovers. We are upgraded in our latest understanding of love as well as our position in another person’s life. It’s a dangerous illusion of self-perception. We adjust our behavior to fit the perception. We feel like we are starting over. But are we? It’s been such hard work to redefine myself after the last break up, where I also broke up with everything I knew about myself and the world. It’s a different clean slate now than when I jumped directly from one toxic relationship into the next. It used to feel so new in the beginning of each relationship – but I was only numbing reality and adding more self-deception to myself. I wasn’t contemplating or allowing myself ask those important questions: “When I feel like I can be myself with this person – am I really being myself or am I being their perfect version of me?”, “Are we equals or am I submissive or in a strange position?”, “Is this really me or is this who I wish I could be?”
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I have been so many things to my old boyfriends and lovers. I used to be someone’s punching bag, someone’s mirror, dog, nurse, child, sister, nanny, whore, therapist, life coach, piece of furniture, toy and muse.
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Here is a collection of a few voice recordings which was part of an audio correspondence between me and a lover, a married man, in 2014. This is not who I am anymore – but it was who I once was. It fascinates me.
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They were all versions of me, but at the same time, none of them were me, not really. It is fascinating. It reminds me of the “self-portraits” of Cindy Sherman. I love her work and the way she’s exploring themes like identity and self-perception. She’s both the photographer and the subject matter but they’re not self-portraits. Even though the collection of these false self-portraits creates the most true self-portrait ever made. Identity is so much more than who we are on the inside. The metaphysical sense of self and the physical body can both separate and reconnect – match each other or be like strangers to one another. We can feel close to ourselves or lost. Weak or strong. Adrift or grounded. Like a winner or a loser. There is duality and unification. Inadequacy and perfection. We can be all that, but never at the same time. We are colored by the choices we make, the people we let inside our hearts and minds – and by the way we mirror ourselves in other people and in different contexts. We can be many things to both ourselves and to other people, but our core stays intact and will never change – and we forget about that sometimes. When we are lost in life or in ourselves, the journey back to the core may be long and painful, but it leads to enlightenment and gratitude. It’s hard to get lost after that kind of awakening. It has totally changed my life and the way I allow other people to add to my shape (but never reshape me). A very few people are allowed to be an influence of how I look at myself now. My core and my own eyes have helped me redefine who I really am – to myself alone. The rest is not important. I will always be a thousand different versions of myself to other people but it doesn’t mean anything to me anymore. It’s like that quote; “What other people think of you is none of your business”.
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Works by Cindy Sherman:
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From my diary in 2013:
“I am a starving lioness, I’m the headwind that slows everything down, I’m a tree that’s growing, I am an actor moaning, dying on stage, I’m the sun, I am the light, I am the beast who could tear you apart, I’m the sleeping beauty, a dying swan, I’m a porn star under your mattress, I am the secret you forgot, I’m the freak, a fragment that doesn’t fit anywhere,  I’m trash, I’m a glass of water someone spilled, I am a worm, I am the apple, I am the death and the shadow on your back, I’m magic, the moon and the planet you sit on when you’re lost, I’m the machine, I’m yours, I’m mine, I’m here, I’m gone, I’m the camera on the wall filming myself, I’m the cat with a hundred eyes, I’m the hole, a monster, I’m Lolita, I’m the girl in mirror, its surface and the nail it hangs on, I am a sin, and the hair in your lasagna, I’m alone, I’m the fire and ashes in your computer, I’m the neighbor that looks like a box, I’m a ventriloquist, I am the price you won at some point, I’m under, I’m over, I’m the scent of a tear, I’m a cloud, fickle and fragile, I am a roaring volcano, I’m almost done, I am dissolved, I’m everything outside myself, I am a thought, I’m an astronaut, I am the memory of a blonde, I’m a burn, I’m an electrical shock, a button, I am life.”

The dawn of a new era

I have spent months working intensely with my self therapy – to let go, to train my brain to think in new ways – a new “thinking style” and I’ve been studying and making a lot of research about this. It is so much hard work to let go and to start over. But at least now, I have cleaned out all the old and shitty thoughts and feelings that daily used to preoccupy my mind and heart, that used to make me feel lost and scared. I am not a slave to my past anymore. I am not bound to my trauma anymore. I have ended toxic relationships, I have been letting go of old dreams and ideals, I’ve been braking bad behavioral patterns and trained my brain to think in a new, healthy and unfamiliar way – so unnatural from the way I used to think. That was a big challenge. To face my biggest fears and not running away from it. To take a leap of faith. And I failed so many times. Miserably. I almost gave up. Seriously. But I didn’t – and the man who loves me, was holding on to me and made sure I never gave up. I am so grateful.

Basically, what I’ve been doing for the past few years was to break free from my prison (inside myself and in the toxic relationships), losing my old skin, my home and sense of identity, cleaning out the remains of the PTSD, building a new confidence and self esteem, reunited with my core – and with my creativity and with my art again after almost 5 years of blockages, found a new skin to live in, making myself comfortable in that skin, building a new home, a new identity based on what I found in my core – and with self forgiveness, a new self respect and starting to love myself and who I really am (not who I want to be or how other people define me), I could finally see that I do deserve to be happy and that I deserve to be loved by another person, something that the toxic relationships made sure that I never could experience before.

I’m proud of all my accomplishments  – and now it’s time to stop focusing on building and starting over – and instead just actually enjoy life and everything I have created for myself.

In only a few days, I’ll meet my new love – Johnny, who’s coming over from the States to see me. I feel excited and a little nervous. I’m thinking, if everything feels right, then I’ll probably have to move to the other side of the world at some point and that is a little intimidating. But I’m trying to stay in the present, where I  feel happy and at peace. And – if that would happen, I am pretty good at starting over. These last couple of years has been very hard, but also the best years of my life. Because I proved to myself that I am able to overcome whatever comes my way. That is all I need to remember when life feels a little scary or uncertain.

No more starting over, for now. This is the beginning of my a new life – my life, and I feel so excited.

My declaration of independence

road

I am at the end of the road on my old journey, and before I can begin a new adventure – a new journey within myself, I have to have closure on this one. I am in the process of letting go, of old behavioral patterns from a time I was abused and they worked as defense mechanisms and survival strategies which were helpful at the time but now they are nothing but obstacles and mental scars I have to heal by changing them. It’s like I am rewiring my brain.

I am also letting go of a distorted self image that the abusers created for me through their manipulation and psychological abuse. It includes the way I let them do that to me, allowing them to destroy almost all of me. Not all the way, because I am still here, stronger than ever. Stronger – but also more vulnerable and sensitive to aggressiveness and stress. I am letting go of the aggressive and passive aggressive type of people I was so attracted to in my past – and the destructive relationships that was a result of that.

I can use the things I am letting go of, as my declaration of independence. A manifesto for my future, for who I am becoming and perhaps it can inspire you as well.

I am letting go of

  • Inviting people inside who are warm and welcoming and in the next moment they are cold and full of rejection.
  • Allowing them to be superior to me and I am forced into a position of a submission.
  • Power games / power struggles.
  • That they refuse to listen to what my voice has to say and to my needs and wishes and that the relationship is all about their wants and needs.
  • Being a slave to somebody else’s mood swings or selfish wishes.
  • To believe I have to be responsible for other people’s bad behavior and feel like it’s my fault that they can’t control themselves around me.
  • Inviting people inside who intimidate me or who I feel I can’t trust because they scare me with their unpredictable behavior.
  • Worrying about not being good enough.
  • To be ‘spellbound’ by other people or emotionally kidnapped (part of manipulation) so I lose myself and my identity.
  • To be in something that doesn’t feel right, to do things that doesn’t feel right.
  • Be part of any “dance of death” with someone – in a toxic dance where I am being attacked and forced to defend myself all the time.
  • Allowing anyone to have power over me or to demand things from me that I am not comfortable with.
  • Allowing anyone to punish me.
  • To feel like I am owned or trapped by someone.
  • To obey someone’s wishes because of their intimidation or punishments.
  • To feel too scared to be able express myself and my needs.
  • Trying to heal or help self-proclaimed ‘victims’ and grown up babies (a victim never wants to be helped even if he’s asking for help, because then he can’t be the victim anymore and that’s how he gets what he wants).
  • Allowing anyone to drag me down to the dark trauma-pit again where I am sucked down because they force me to feel that familiar position of being helpless and worthless.
  • The disease to please.
  • The idea that I only deserve to be loved if I sacrifice something inside myself.
  • Doubting myself and my value.

Once I can let go of all this (it might take some time to rewire the brain), I have a clean space in my mind to begin a new adventure.