I need to surf. I need the water. I need hurricane season. I painted the waves I am craving to catch right now. I need. I need something, always.
Especially a house on the beach. A house on the beach where I get to sit and look at the ocean would make everything okay. I will be happier.
Today I know that a beach house would only enhance my quality of life. It wouldn't fulfill any need. I do not NEED to surf. I want to surf. I want to use surfing as a coping skill. It wouldn't be my only source of pure joy. I would still walk through days of dark emotions, fleeting thoughts of old self soothing behaviors, and anxiety.
I attach absolutes to so many things, that even healthy habits can turn into obsessive compulsive thoughts. "I feel like this because I haven't skated in a few days".
"I FEEL LIKE THIS BECAUSE" a sentence I have been trying actively to pull back into my mouth as I hear it start leaving my lips. Like a nervous tic. In that moment my neck and back get tense, and I feel the clump in my throat as I start to play detective trying to figure out WHY I am having the thoughts I'm having. Why I am feeling the way I am feeling. That detective work creates a dark hole of imagined possibilities on why I am having an off day. Most days it creates scenarios that are not factual. Giving my anxiety room to attach certainty to any "clues" I believed to have found explaining what potential threat will arise. Manifesting in creating fake situations that can be why my anxiety is heightened. It makes me terribly sad for my inner child who felt this all the time in her home growing up. She was taught that she should expect the worst, that she was not deserving of safety, or protection, honesty, or being respected. She was taught that her body was all she was good for. That all men were abusive and unfaithful. That she was never good enough. not worth being loved or respected. she was a burden.
Walking on eggshells. My little body picking up the tense energy as soon as I woke up. What was going to go on today? Are we going to have enough money to make it through the week? What kind of fight will break out?
Always over analyzing the situation. Some of my first memories were ones that I could remember sitting in my bed, even as a 4/5 year old analyzing what possibly could have happened or WHAT I DID to make the house more tense than usual. Questioning if one of my parents seem off. Thinking as hard as my little innocent brain could about what I could have done to cause an uproar. Typically when I randomly felt "off" and the "energy was off" it was. There was always a large fight to come, water being turned off, or a huge catastrophic event that would change the course of my life.
I didn't know/realize until recently that I carried this behavior created from my negative core beliefs into adulthood. In active addiction, there was typically something that was always going to go wrong soon or anxiety/panic how I was going to get my next fix. I know in that time period those moments/events were mainly caused by my actions. The drugs completely changed my character. The disease itself took hold of me so deeply that I forgot about that little girl. I just held so much guilt and shame for the person I had become. Who I told myself consistently that I wouldn't be.
I've had to work tremendously hard at forgiving myself for the actions and pain I caused others in active addiction. Almost mirrored in the way that I would people please everyone around me as a child. People pleasing my parents to avoid conflict in any way. People pleasing friends at school in fear that they would find out the "bad little girl" I was and wouldn't want to be friends with me anymore. The guilt I carried made me believe I was unworthy of saying no to people and was incapable of standing up for myself. No matter the circumstance, I felt I deserved to be treated that way. Conditioned from such an early age, that love is conditional. I felt it was karma. I had to be exactly how my "friends" wanted me to be to avoid conflict, and overcompensating for the actions I took to obtain drugs to self medicate while I was chained to my addiction.
Now, I am learning how to forgive myself for the brutal punishment I inflicted on myself. I would never treat a friend the way I have treated myself. I am loving and kind and forgiving to my friends. I am self sacrificing for those I love. I have never been able to show myself that kind of love. My love for myself was always conditional based on a scale of what I believed to be "good" or "bad".
The only way to stop the hyper vigilance of what my brain interprets to be a threat, monitoring every word that leaves my mouth or anyone else's around me, is to retrain the conditioning of the conditional love I have for myself. If I loved myself unconditionally, my nervous system can relax. The heightened fear that attacks my body from the uncertainty of the unknown stems from a time that I craved parental love, and wasn't sure if I was going to get it. Making the love for myself conditional. If they were okay, I was okay. If they seemed to love me, I can love me. If they are happy, I am happy. Emotionally kidnapped to everyone else's emotions but my own. I repeated that destructive behavior over and over in personal relationships. With employees, co-workers, anyone. I convinced myself it was a burden to be my friend. I always needed something to fill that feeling. Some form of validation or reassurance that I was being "good". I couldn't find my own joy. I didn't feel joy if I didn't believe to be making those around me happy. I wasn't okay if I thought anyone was mad at me.
That hyper vigilance started this cycle of needing reassurance especially from those closest to me, to make sure my brain didn't start to go down a spiral of trying to figure out how they were feeling. A self fulfilling prophecy of repeated anxious thoughts, wasting my entire day and self peace. I needed to distract myself from my own head. Now I am sober and have healthy habits/hobbies. Even with those healthy hobbies I can use it to distract myself and avoid the emotions that will eventually resurface. Sitting on my board in the middle of the ocean, taking in the sounds and enjoying the sun beating down on me. Knowing that when I get home I will still feel the pit in my stomach wondering if my partner was mad at me. Convincing myself he was mad at me. Monitoring the tone of his voice, trying to analyze if there was any tension that might cause an argument. Even if I know within my soul I have done nothing to cause anger or resentment. Connecting the dots like when I was a little girl, picking up clues to support my fears when I do not even know it to be true. I have exiled myself from all of the toxic people and situations in my life- yet still feel the pit in my stomach waiting for it to happen.
I do not NEED for anything. I do not need to surf. I do not need new clothes. I do not need a degree. I do not need to loose 20 pounds. I do not need a little beach house. I need to know that I will be okay with or without those things. I have made a lot of progress in this area, but like the yarn in this canvas I feel it to be embroidered in my subconscious. It's something I have to be actively aware of. Something I need to force myself to believe that I can choose. Sometimes it feels like I have the whole recipe to make a cake but I don't put it in the oven. Or pull it out too soon and it's still kind of runny. The secret of beating the anxious thoughts that prevent being in the present moment, yet not fully believing in myself enough deeply that I will be okay no matter what unfolds before me.
Feeling deserving of a beach house with a garden in the back, gate leading to the ocean. Kids running around in the sand as I bring out a picnic for lunch. How can I enjoy that vision, that future if I hold fear that one day it will all disappear? Proving that no matter what beautiful blessing that I achieve in this lifetime - if I do not continue to work towards fully believing I deserve it, I will never be able to truly enjoy it. Moving forward depends on me, telling that little girl that she didn't deserve to live a childhood that was uncertain. I was worthy of love. I wasn't responsible for the emotions of my parents. It wasn't normal what happened to me. My worth isn't measured by my looks. My worth isn't measured by what men think of woman. I am worthy of boundaries. I can say no. I wasn't suppose to feel unsafe in my own home. That not all uncertainty is bad. There is magic in the uncertainty of life.
you can now purchase + view + touch this painting at the grand Bohemian gallery downtown charleston sc
14 x 14 x 3. hand made canvas using plaster + oil + sand + concrete stucco + yarn + leather. Set in a hand built maple wood frame crafted by connor robinson.