I certainly did not start my life off thinking I’m so sad. Nor did I realize how the lush green fields of alfalfa around a home as a child were barely keeping those feelings at bay. Alfalfa is not to be confused with the less forgivable hay that won’t lay over when you ran through it.
Alfalfa draws you in and makes you want to play.
You want to roll down the hill like a child no matter how old you get.
As a child I was happy spending hours outside of my mother’s reach and chore list.
Eating apples, rhubarb and drinking from the hose to avoid any unwanted constraints of domestic demands.
Wasting hours on ridiculous tasks like making a giant big bird nest from moss in the creek rather than dusting.
When faced with the confinements of “our share” of work my cousin and I would run through the field of alfalfa mowing down our message in large letters: HELP ME!
Our hopes were to attract the attention of circling crop dusters.
Help, save us from our doomed fate.
We were fearless (and ridiculous). And our plight was small looking back.
I do not remember thinking I’m so sad as a child.
I still had energy, vision and ambition.
Although times could be boring I was much more curious and adventurous too.
What happened to that girl?
I’ll get into why she left below; when she did, she took all of me with her.
And when it happened, I was just left with nothing more then a feeling of I’m so sad.
HOW TO GET BACK THE COURAGE YOU LOST
Now, I’m going to offer you some shoes (idea). Try them on. If you don’t like them simply give them back.
NOTE: these are new shoes. This means you may not like the style, color or even the fit at first.
Just try them on.
Let’s dig in shall we?
Yeah, you’ve heard this shit before, but remember they didn’t come with the shoes.
So slip them on and read on…
For years I did not realize how much of my fear began the day my mom walked out on me.
Fear set in.
I thought to myself (not even knowing I thought it, really), she doesn’t love you.
If your own mother doesn’t love you, NO ONE does.
I was so sad and for so long.
Now, file this bit away because, we will come back to it later.
The second step is happening even though you may not realize it.
STOP COLLECTING EVIDENCE
Slowly my mind went to work the day she left. It was working solely to support my assessment.
Collecting evidence, piece by piece, I began to give everything meaning.
Your mind is powerful and there to protect you…. as you command.
He didn’t call back in the right amount of time: file under proof.
My best friend wasn’t available when I needed her: more proof.
This guy is sweet: file under bull shit, doesn’t fit the narrative.
They want to hang out. They said they had fun: also bullshit, can’t be true.
Slowly I began to push all the important people further and further away. The only way I could be safe was alone.
Just like “she” taught me or what my mind told me.
So began the circle of life and death. Hopeful to find love and then deny it once it arrived.
The third step then…
WHO IS APPLYING MEANING
Now, you can see how I came to my conundrum. That’s right, my confusing and difficult problem.
Who loves me?
Ironically, drawing in the rejection and pushing away the love (support, acceptance, fun, etc.) left me saying, I’m so sad a lot.
If I stopped believing people didn’t love me I would have to also accept my mother loves me.
I would have to give up that barrier with my mother, accept I was loved, and get on with my life.
No more falling short.
No more failing and blaming her.
Everything I had given meaning to would no longer be accurate.
I would be exposed as a fraud and my life too.
Remember when I said to file that bit away about forgiveness, well here we are.
I would have to forgive myself for all of the destruction I had caused.
I would have to unbox years of evidence and reevaluate my situation through a new paradigm.
There would be so much to put back together.
So much to work to fix.
A PARADYM SHIFT
A lot to change (not fix because, we’re not broken).
In the end it was a lot to face.
I made her wrong and spent a good part of my life proving it.
Now I was faced with the possibility I got it wrong.
What to the entire fuck was I going to do?
Can you imagine the unfucking that had to take place after decades of building a fortress around my heart?
Taking down a wall stone stone by stone can be an overwhelming thought, let alone a task to complete.
Pacing yourself is the next step to the I’m so sad overwhelm.
Coming to this realization brought me to tears.
Looking back now, it was not the pain or the suffering. No. Those tears wear born out of pure overwhelm.
I had no idea the work in front of me; my tears did. They were a cleansing of sorts.
I had to call my mom. But why? She left me!
I needed to forgive her as I had to forgive myself. Especially if I wanted to be saying to myself I’m so happy, more then I’m so sad.
Here I was looking at myself as a grown women carrying so much baggage no one could get close.
Nor could I be available to embrace anyone due to the sheer volume of baggage I had in tow.
I had to set this shit down.
I had to put this figurative baggage down, all of it ideally, to make room for my hand and arms to literally be able to hug someone.
That’s the trick to being present, the next step.
Things grow in the light.
What you conceal you can not deal with.
Who you can trust is as great as your willingness to be vulnerable. Support is on the other end of the phone, the question, the voiced concern.
People are not mind readers. And if you asked my mother, she’d be appalled at the idea she didn’t love me.
That I didn’t love me, but it didn’t stop all my I’m so sad feelings.
3 STEPS TO TURN I’M SO SAD INTO I’M SO HAPPY
- Be in the moment.
- That would look like picking up the phone having trouble speaking through the tears.
- Mowing down the alfalfa with “help me” even knowing you might get an ass whopping.
- Remind you are there for that girl you abandon.
- That might look like telling that little girl/boy inside you, “I know I wasn’t there when she walked out, but I’m here for you now.”
- Remind yourself when you don’t get that job you wanted that it’s not your mom walking out on you.
- Try again.
- This will be the hardest step of them all; worth repeating. You have had years to create the separation. It may take as long to repair it.
- Everyday will bring knew challenges, new opportunities, to or not to, apply meaning to something that has happened. There will be tough days and you will regress. When you do just go back to step one: FORGIVE YOURSELF.
Know I miss you. I love you. She/he loves (and needs) you. You are smart. You are kind.
Most importantly, you are able.
It may be that your current way of protecting yourself is no longer working if it is keeping you from a better path.
DESCRIBE WHAT REALLY HAPPENED
And without meaning.
If I asked you to describe the moon, what would you say?
This is important.
Take a moment and describe the moon to me.
You would probably say the moon was round, etc.
Would you describe the moon as a ball of shaving cream?
It is not.
If you asked a child, it could be.
But once a child learns what the moon is made of they will deliver that information from a place of education, not imagination.
Blaming someone else can remove you from responsibility or looking at yourself, etc.
This avoiding technique can stunt your emotional growth and have you saying, I’m so sad more often.
Now, let’s look at my situation.
What happened the day my mom walked out on me?
A women walked out the door.
Anything else I apply to that moment is meaning I have applied (e.g., no one loves me).
Could it be she could no longer handle her own life?
As a result of figuring out my part in things, I had a choice in how to change my life. The crossroads.
Life could be providing you with new options and now your “narrative” doesn’t work on your current path anymore.
Is there a way I can protect myself differently?
If the answer is yes, it may be because, the costs of doing things the same are high or the pain is becoming uncomfortable (we can discuss more in depth in another post (just comment with interest below).
Change is hard.
Is not changing hurting me?
Think of it like this: drinking poison will not kill the other person.
What scares me about forgiveness?
This might look like, forgiveness might be a sign you think what they did is ok, it is not. And forgiveness is not an excuse for things they’ve done or a reason not to be forgiven yourself.
You are your keeper.
So, may your comebacks be greater than your setbacks.
Remember to forgive yourself .
Have the pep talk: let’s start by stopping – no more collecting evidence.
Keep watch and when the urge comes over you to give that missed invitation meaning, consider you simply lost your connection.
Stay with yourself, especially when you perceive no one else will because, that is the only real power you have.
Take action/responsibility to make yourself happy and more so when you find yourself saying, I’m so sad. Write it in big letters for the crop dusters to see: help me!
There is help.
Note: more information can be found on this topic by using the search words: Narrative Therapy.
Sometimes I just take a little time to pamper myself when I’m feeling sad and that can help too.