This is a piece I wrote in January of 2015 on my Divorce Blog. It decided to speak to me today. How many of you try and keep the peace worried about disrupting everyone else's world? Especially when you know you already overburden your family with your illness. Guilt and fear are a mean mistress.
Sunday evening I got a group email from Danielle LaPorte titled Swallowing your words, paying rent in hell, and maintaining appearances. Why we make (unhealthy) compromises.
"We compromise -- we swallow our words, keep paying rent in hell, and maintaining appearances, because we're afraid that we won't get what we really want if we... really tell the fucking truth, choose joy over pain, and show up as ourselves. But if we don't really tell the fucking truth, choose joy over pain, and show up as ourselves... we'll never get what we really want."
Her words have been swirling around in my mind sweeping over my thoughts & memories.
I am a swallower.
I swallow down my truth.
I swallow down my words.
I swallow down my emotions: anger, cutting words, disappointment, rage, fear, and sadness.
I also swallow down my decisions. I do not like finding the courage to speak my truth or my decision and being faced with defending & explaining them.
I have not yet become comfortable just stating, "My gut tells me this is the best decision for me."
My experience has been that if I can't properly defend my choice or if my argument is not based mostly in facts then I am invalid, that I am wrong. I did not grow up in a home being told that decisions should be made based on your gut feelings and that you can trust them. I was not told it is okay to make mistakes, that they are part of the learning process. I did not learn that facts are what you use to justify your choices to other so they will agree with you and leave you alone to live your life.
I did not grow up in a home where things made sense. I grew up in an home of alcoholics where it was best to not rock the boat, where mistakes were huge problems, where logic was slurred and irrational and where excuses were made for every one and every thing.
Learning that I am a swallower late in life has made my body very sick. Swallowing down has taken a huge toll on my body physically.
I am an enabler & co-dependent, aka a fixer. Give me a mess and watch me take action. Give me someone else's emotions to tip toe around, while ignoring my own and I sigh a huge relief because I know this game and have played it hundreds of times. Shuffle shit up, Tetris shit into the closet and close the door (and pray no one opens it), if I move fast enough and keep all of the plates spinning, then my life seems normal. From a distance, with your head cocked slightly to the left, with the sun in your eyes, it appears that my life is freakin fab-u-lous and parts are.
That is the kicker, some parts always are fabulous.
I am beginning to see that when I feel the need to weigh the good against the bad, I need to set the scale down and walk away. Nothing I want in my life should require me to make a list of whether or not the good out weighs the bad. Finding myself sitting there with list in hand needs to be a huge sign that my life is completely out of whack and that I have made several, bad compromises and swallowed too much down.
What do I fear will be the outcome if I said and did what I need to do? I am afraid I will upset the world, that I will send those I love into a downward spiral from which they will never recover. I am afraid that I will have to explain myself. I am worried that without my assistance, the people I love's worlds will crash and burn. I am afraid I will be blamed. I am afraid I will be deemed unworthy & unlovable. I am afraid that I will be judged selfish & ungrateful. I am afraid that I will find out that I am nothing special. I am afraid that if I only focus on me, then I will have no one to blame when I fail.
I am afraid I will fail and everyone will tell me I should have just "made do".
The problem right now is that things have been churning and burning for long enough that I can feel the bubbling up that means an eruption is near. I wish that I could push it all back down and take the time to deal with one swallowed issue at a time, but that is not how the science of this works.
So, some shit is about to explode up & out of me and it is never pretty like volcano erupting on Discovery Channel, unfortunately, it is much more like projectile vomiting from a horror movie.
The only cure for swallowing is speaking my truth and while I am taking small unsteady steps that direction, I have decades of unconscious habitual swallowing to rehab. Each morning I wake up with the clear thought in my head that today I will speak my truth, all day, not just when it is easy. Some days I speak my truth all day and it feels really good. Some days I swallow so much you can hear my guts rumbling from two rooms away, but each day I wake up remembering that it is a new day. Each day I start again.
All I know to do is to keep showing up.
I know that the only cure for the vomiting is to say what I need to, without fear.
It is my truth and if I want other's to love and accept me, then I have to love and accept me too!
For more of Danielle's insight & inspiration, head over to her web site http://www.daniellelaporte.com/