I am in the process of finding my passion in life, my joi de vivre. Growing up, I was not allowed to be myself. I was only praised when I held the same values as others in the family. This was worsened as I was the youngest child with two much older siblings. I effectively grew up in a family of four adults. This meant that instead of developing my own personality and values, I developed a hybrid of the values of my parental figures so that I would gain approval.
A few weeks ago, I cried about this whilst Aria hugged me. It meant a lot that somebody cared for me at that moment because, in the past, nobody wanted the real me. They only what I could provide or achieve. It was incredibly cathartic. It still makes me tear up every time I say to myself “I am not enmeshed”. It’s still pretty raw and hurts to think of my destroyed personality, that I and the world missed out on something great because of narcissistic parents. The day after this happened, I woke up feeling very vulnerable, yet sociable.
“Is this a sign of me finding my passion?”
It made me feel good to think so.
However, the story is not so simple. Not long after this happened, I began to feel purposeless again. Just after finishing up with hosting Christmas and all the clean up it entails, I felt aimless, browsing the net and watching videos. Aria was busy, and I wanted her to do something for me, so I was stuck in limbo.
I had watched a video the night before. The takeaway I got was that depression is all about focusing on what you can’t change and refusing to accept you can’t change it. I wanted Aria to make a decision for me, and she was busy. Instead of working around it, I sat and waited in limbo for it to be fixed. Only when I decided to make the decision myself did I start being productive.
The next day, I had a conversation with a family member about a photo that I hated and yet my parents insisted on showing everyone. Amongst other things, she suggested that I tell my parents they overstepped the line. I realised from this that yes, they did overstep my boundaries.
What are boundaries though?
Most people think of a boundary as a barrier that protects themselves from others. It is better to think of boundaries as the area which defines you relative to everything else. A boundary is what defines your personal happiness, feelings, thoughts, integrity, desires and needs. Above all, it defines your personal truth from the rest of the world, the universe even.
My weak boundaries mean that I am not defining myself. I am being defined by others. This is what is meant by enmeshment trauma, where your needs are secondary to the needs of the family unit. I inevitably have a poor definition of self.
A few days afterwards, I went to the forest with Aria. We were having a deep conversation, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and during a lull, I decided to jump onto a mossy log and walk along it out of the blue. I knew at that moment that things were looking up, as I was deciding to do something that my parents would have told me was crazy. I realised that I haven’t been allowed to be a child. It was “too dangerous”. Every time I would go on my own path, I would get punished for it. Either I got hurt, or I faced rejection from the family unit, or otherwise.
After we came back from the forest, I decided for us to watch the Pixar movie Soul. One line in particular at the end of the movie really hit me hard.
“How are you going to spend your life?”
“I don’t know, but I’m going to live every minute of it”
“I live every minute of my life”
I wrote down this small line repeatedly to myself the next morning. Over and over. I have filled out a page in a small book daily ever since. I feel like I need to be reminded of it.
This line made me realise something massive. I have been living unconsciously all this time! My whole life I’ve been fighting procrastination and apathy. I’ve been fighting a part of myself that so desperately needed to numb out to the world. Rather than fighting it, a member of the community gave a suggestion to embrace it. This is genius! Embracing it doesn’t just embrace procrastination. It embraces the aspect of me that does not want to live. I’ve been fighting myself.
The cure? I’ve come up with a few ideas. They’re easier said than done though, but here they are:
Live an authentic life
This is probably the hardest thing to do. In a sense, I’ve been working on this the whole time I’ve been working on myself. To achieve this, I need to integrate or mend all of the incongruencies between my inner self and outer self. Enmeshment caused me to embody something that I am not to fit with the family unit. Authenticity is attempting to remedy that.
Have a strong sense of boundaries
I’ve been working on this recently. This is one step in becoming authentic, as I learn who I really am.
Live every minute of my life
Another thing I’ve been working on recently. I cannot heal anything if I am comatose, not really living life and just passing the time.
Now, for some storytime:
1st of January 2021:
Aria briefly had a moment of clarity. It felt like she knew what she wanted to do and how to achieve it. It was like the world opened up, a moment where she was finding her passion. It felt like It was her time to shine.
However, when she tried to do art, she felt an anchor holding her back. It was me. She tried to “prod” me to catch up to her. I was a thorn in her side. In her eyes, I would always criticise her, bring her down, roll my eyes et cetera. She figured it was because I hated passion itself.
I thought about it, but it didn’t feel right. I realised that I felt obligated to pay attention to her passions when she talked about them, obligated to compliment her art. She would animatedly tell me something about art or lore or something else whilst sometimes, I just wanted to procrastinate. I realised I should only pay attention to her art when I am interested. Then, I won’t force compliments, I won’t roll my eyes, and I certainly won’t criticise.
Her finding me to be holding her back was fine. Her wanting to tell me that me procrastinating makes her feel this way was also fine. However, it made me really angry that she wanted to force me to change. This was not okay.
I was also scared that Aria was abandoning me to deal with Homecave whilst she went frolicking off and doing her own thing. I feared I would be stuck doing something I hate doing for the rest of my life to make money alone whilst she got to do what she felt like doing. She assured me that she would still work on Homecave, and she would also make money. She assured me that we would have multiple streams of income.
Later on that day, I went back to the thought that I had back in the forest – I’ve never had a chance to be a child. I realised that if I committed to Homecave I felt like I would lose my childhood which I never got to have.
I am paranoid about getting trapped doing something I hate for the rest of my life. I’m scared to commit to projects fully because that is the implication. I enjoy working on Homecave, and yet I am scared of working on it. I fear I will lose the childhood I never got to have.
2nd of January 2021:
I went and sat with my anger at being forced to do something against my will. I felt like a slave.
I saw a visual of myself crying in a corner. I knew who he was. He was the aspect of me that never got listened to. I said to him “Hey, it’s okay, I am here for you” and “there there, it’s okay”. Heavy weeping ensued. I then said “I’m listening, it’s okay” to myself, which made me cry even harder. I let myself cry for a bit, then when I felt like I was done, I asked my twin “Is there anything you want to say?”
I then got images of all the times I’d been ignored, rejected or pushed away. I would regularly have ideas with my dad of projects we could do together, which he would either turn down or put minimal effort into. I would often be interested in what he was doing at the computer, and he would always be busy or tired. I would give ideas of how to solve problems or ways to do things and they would be turned down reliably.
I then asked him if there was anything I could do for him, and then said to him “Would you like some Mcdonald’s?” (Random I know, but it’s true. I really loved McDonald’s as a kid and my parents would very rarely take me) and he nodded shyly. I went and got some and he ate it slowly.
After a while, I got an image of the movie Soul, with the words “I want to live” in my head. I realised the connection. HE was the part of me that didn’t want to live. There was no point in living when everything you are is rejected. So I numb myself out to the world, live unconsciously. Procrastinate. Passively suicide.
3rd of January 2021:
I woke up in the morning with the thought that I should see Aria’s perspective. I tried this, however, I encountered resistance. My twin who wasn’t listened to did not wish to give up being angry at her yet. Pushing her away protected him from being hurt again. Aria was nice to me in the morning, and I listened to his side. Put simply, he felt that what she did was not okay as it made him feel like a slave.
Eventually, I realised that what Aria did was a niche case. She was helping someone else out in the community and I knew that what she did was out of fear. Usually, she actually wants me to have my own way. I then brought Aria into the visual to explain her point of view to the twin. She apologised for what she did. She also explained she only tried to force me to change because she was scared that I wouldn’t. To both hers and my surprise, he hugged her and said that it was okay.
I asked him what fragment of my consciousness he was. His response?