“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”
― Robert Frost
I hate to cry. In fact, as a young girl, crying was the worst option. Crying led to one of a few things; it could lead to a beating, to humiliation, or it could lead to being left alone and feeling abandoned. In the past year and a half, I have been working on being more comfortable with my feelings rather than just hiding them away.
I feared my own feelings for most of my life. I never felt that I could be allowed to be angry, sad, jealous, whatever. Not that I want to feel these things, but I needed to learn what they were so I could put them in perspective. Learning to be easier on myself for human failings means knowing not only what I am feeling, but what circumstances could be contributing to my mood.
Last night I broke down in heaving sobs talking about feeling emotionally abandoned as a young child and how this has led me to have great difficulty trusting people. Perfectionism dogs me at every step I take. Each mistake is welcomed by my inner critic as further proof that I am a loser and not deserving of kindness or love. After being criticized for not being perfect so heavily, I now take even the smallest criticism too much to heart.
That inner critic is of course my mother. I lived my life trying in vain to get her approval.
I hear her voice in the small screw-ups, in those moments of indecision where I try not to act in a foolish manner. The days that I can be myself, and not feed in to the endless stream of criticism are victories. Since the accident, my mental state varies from day to day. I now need reminders of what needs to be done in order to get through the day. My emotions can be stormy, and I have coping mechanisms in place to deal with that.
That does not always quiet the inner critic, who wants me to be perfect at all times and settles for nothing less.
One of these days, I will be able to tell my inner critic to go fuck off. Until then, I have a song that I play when I beat myself up a bit too much.