I Am The Tortoise In This Scenario

The hare is so much cuter than the tortoise, though

I’ve been in and out of therapy for forever. Okay. Seven years, but it feels like forever. And I’ve been mostly in therapy during those seven years except for a few months when I thought I didn’t need it any longer and turned out to be wrong. Today during my weekly session, I proclaimed once again that I am tired of this process of working to get my head right. I want to be finished. Like yesterday. I declared that I would like to be well-adjusted now, please. My therapist, being the gentle, thoughtful, patient woman she is, reminded me that maybe what I need to focus on again is self-compassion. Recovering from emotional abuse is a process, and I will likely be going through that process for the rest of my life. That is to be expected, and it is okay.

Is it, though? I’m having a rough time swallowing that pill. Although I intellectually understand she is right and even understand that every single person is messed up in their own special way and battling for inner peace along with me, I don’t like this answer. I function best with deadlines, and the notion that perhaps I will be more well adjusted by the time I get to the end of my life, at a time yet to be determined, is a bit too open ended for me as far as deadlines go. I am working on managing expectations because I understand that is a good way to live but, damn, that is also difficult for me. And I work every day to give myself grace as I struggle, knowing that being raised without affection, positive messaging, and unconditional love causes lifelong damage to a person’s psyche. I am defensive, dismissive, and distrusting not because I was born that way but because these were the mechanisms that protected my fragile sense of self and kept me safe. They served a purpose. And now that I understand I am safe and these reactions are no longer needed, I would like to get rid of them sooner rather than later, thank you very much. It’s just not going to happen that way.

So I have been thinking about this all day, and I realize I need to reframe this issue. If I am going to be making slow progress on this, I need to accept it and relax and settle in for the long haul. It’s not a sprint. It’s a marathon. I’m not the hare. I’m the tortoise. In the end, it will all work out. Right now it might feel like I am losing the race, but if I keep plodding along, not taking anything for granted, I will win. Will it happen on my ideal timeline? Apparently not, because if it could happen just by my willing it out of sheer frustration, I would be there already. So a tortoise’s pace it is. I will know I have achieved my goal when I no longer need my protective shell.

10,000 Ways That Won’t Work

Joe on Mt. Sherman

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” ~Thomas Alva Edison

Had yet another rough day. Seems like there have been too many of those recently. So, I came here to write with a brain spinning with frustration and, therefore, too spun out to be creative. In these instances, one thing that often gives me a jumping off point for my writing is finding a quote I can relate to. I flipped through one of my books and found this one by Thomas Edison. It’s a quote about perspective and perseverance, and it perfectly fits what I feel I’ve been going through lately with my boys. I have been researching, reading, investigating, and conjecturing about every possible way I can help improve their lives as they struggle with learning disabilities. Yet, for all my effort, the results have been seemingly inconsequential.

Then I saw this quote. It made me laugh. Maybe I’m just approaching this all from the wrong angle? Yes. I’ve tried a whole heap of things to help them. I’ve felt worthless because nothing has worked out. But, just because I haven’t found the answer yet doesn’t mean I’ve failed. Like he said, I’ve simply found 10,000 ways that won’t work. That’s not negative progress. That’s 100% progress in the right direction. That’s 10,000 steps closer to my goal of finding a solution. I simply haven’t found it yet. But, I’m narrowing the field down and, sooner or later, I will hit upon what I’ve been searching for. I’ve eliminated enough variables that the solution must be getting close.

I need to stop being so damn hard on myself. I’m doing the best I can. I need to tell the little boss inside my head to shut up. I’m busy working.