My grandfather Saba (who was in a sense my only real parent) used to play a card game he called pishapaisha, which it took me years to realise was his Ukrainian way of saying peace & patience. I don’t remember how you play it, and that’s not the point anyway – just that as a kid, I loved the name of this game. As a younger kid, because it sounded funny, and similar to pischer, someone who pisses themselves – and then as an older kid, because peace & patience is a magical incantation, a wish.
I’m in need of both, at the moment. Peace within a jangling mind, and patience with myself.
I have, I am reliably semi-informed, Complex Long-Term PTSD. I say semi- because I await what is apparently a necessary full diagnosis at the hands of a Proper Psychiatrist, to validate the experienced observation of a number of psychotherapists who have known me very well. Anyway, lately, I’ve been feeling as though I’d learned to manage this condition well, and had probably unconsciously started to feel as though I’d somehow “overcome” it. Ah, context is everything…
Over the last few days, I’ve found myself dealing with contention on a couple of online forums, on one of which I’m one of the moderators. It’s all blown over now, and people are getting on better with themselves, and each other, and all that, and I feel like I responded as well as I could. But for the first time in a while, my Inner Meerkat has kicked off in a way that doesn’t fade after a short while. So here I am, a couple of days later, feeling like I’m trapped within a hyperalert and anxious body/mind.
My experience as a Buddhist teaches me… what? Well, that how I got here is not as important as how I respond to now. I’m trying to sort out the layers: I feel angry, once again, with the people who landed me with my PTSD through their violent actions; I feel scared and overwhelmed and exhausted, because my system is flooded with adrenaline; I see myself looking for things to be anxious about, and conveniently finding them; I feel sad and despondent, and wish to be different from how I am.
peace & patience
Fuck the cards I was dealt. Being like this is not my fault. Being like this deserves my compassion. Though I long to be someone who makes a positive impact on the world, I need to remember that I am part of that world, and that if all I can do today is make a positive impact on myself, then I am succeeding. Craving for a state that’s different from the one I’m in just sets me at odds with my own self, which is painful and unnecessary. So let’s stop doing this, and sit down in this experience, be with it in the forest. If that’s all I’ve got, that’s a fuck of a lot.
I’m sorry if this all sounds a bit encounter-group or Californian (well, apart from the expletives) to you who aren’t me. I’m just trying to be honest. Minds are efficient things, sometimes to their own detriment. Someone who is abused when young will work out for themselves why they deserved that, and then base their life, to some extent, around that created belief… until they get to let go of it. And you don’t let go of a lifetime’s habit just like that. So here I am again, reminding myself that I deserve to feel better than this, and that if I don’t feel better, I’m deserving of my own love, not my own impatience and disapproval.
Nobody deserves to suffer.
Here, may there be love.
Actually, now that I’ve posted this and had time to think a bit more, I want to add something to it – the real reason why my hypervigilance got kicked off in the first place. It’s been exacerbated by the online contention thing, but what stirred it up in the first place was a big affirmation. I got invited to participate in a panel discussion next month on the subject of “How can we best support LGBT young people?” with some people on the panel who are much more important than I am.
And as often seems to happen when I receive affirmation or praise, my Inner Dad kicks in and engages the Self-Sabotage Device. I have a visceral fear that I will be publicly exposed for the <insert whatever the fuck it is here> that I “know I am”. I will not be good enough. I will let the side down. And so forth.
I’m so fed up with this Device – every time I feel like I have a positive place in the world, this Inner Dad tells me to self-destruct. Go fuck yourself, Inner Dad. I am not who you wish me to think myself. I belong here, happy.