Thursday, 20 December 2018

A Crisis by Any Other Name..........

Midlife is when the universe gently places her hands upon your shoulders, pulls you close, and whispers in your ear:
I’m not screwing around. All of this pretending and performing – these coping mechanisms that you’ve developed to protect yourself from feeling inadequate and getting hurt – has to go. Your armor is preventing you from growing into your gifts. I understand that you needed these protections when you were small. I understand that you believed your armor could help you secure all of the things you needed to feel worthy and lovable, but you’re still searching and you’re more lost than ever. Time is growing short. There are unexplored adventures ahead of you. You can’t live the rest of your life worried about what other people think. You were born worthy of love and belonging. Courage and daring are coursing through your veins. You were made to live and love with your whole heart. It’s time to show up and be seen.  - Brene Brown.

The preceding was an excerpt from a piece on what Brene Brown termed "mid-life unraveling" - she made the distinction from the more oft heard, "crisis." The highlighting is mine.

She defined a crisis as:  an intense, short-lived, acute, easily identifiable, and defining event that can be controlled and managed. 

None of which holds true in the "unraveling," which is why she coined the phrase.

The article overall I found impactful. Hits me where I've been living. I would have to say right off the bat, the age references that she cites should be taken with a grain of salt. Much the same way that "seasons" are presumed to be contained within human designed calendars (with no hope of delineating them perfectly) I would assert the "midlife" experience, will be seasonally perfect, for the individual. She did say that once it starts, various aspects of it will continue through the remainder of ones life.

I certainly would concur that like so many aspects of the human condition, this would be another, that garners little or no empathy in our western world society at large. I've worked for years in health care (where there has been a high percentage of females in the workforce) - the discussion around "mid-life" crisis - which they address as though it only occurs in men, completely lacks any (well understanding to begin with, in many cases) empathy or compassion.
The discussion continues as if women don't experience the mid-life existential crisis - I would say they most certainly do (albeit perhaps the manifestation may vary)

Of course there would be many manifestations for someone going through this stage of life - the stereotypical being, the acquisition of something like a "red corvette."

Likely with moves towards more gender equality and it's impacts on social "norms" - there will be some women clambering to ease their soul with that same Vette; of course they would say, they were standing in their power.

For me I'd say I've been feeling waves of this for quite sometime. I feel more acutely now, the directness and impact of the "universe" & its message. I suppose that makes sense, as the minutes of increasing light, will soon be tracked; each one marches me closer, to my sixtieth birthday.

I'm becoming increasingly aware, that I have perhaps done more to avoid getting at what my armour was created for than heal it. I choose to see that as continued progress. None of this journey is linear - I'd be hard-pressed to say what it is, but I'm clear what it isn't. To be fair, I have put considerable energy & resources into "healing" as well. Ironically - some of these "healing" avenues, can just as readily become part of the dodge. It has not been "black & white" all one or the other; but I can safely say, all the armour has not been jettisoned.

It hurts to think about the "lost potential." For what it's worth, in the mishmash of it all, that I've not allowed to see the light of day - it has always hurt, that I so severely stifled my potential. I can no longer be concerned about what anyone thinks about my existential angst, or wait around for any form of support - I grieve a self-imposed life of mediocrity. It matters precious little at this point, the origins of  my pain - it just plain hurts. The beginning, the middle and the present. Has it been all pain and suffering? Probably in truth no, but I perceive that I was so often not "present," that I didn't ever really allow myself to enjoy nor have a felt sense of "having fun."

My go to methods of avoiding myself are - eating, compulsive spending, & the online abyss.... (none of which involve recovery paths of complete abstinence - so some kind of moderation is being called for - I am far more familiar with "all or nothing" so therein lies the "growing edge") - that I can name them in no way implies my life has (or ever will be for all I know) be restored to manageability. As I name them (in black & white as well as witnessed) ... my awareness of their pull is increasing - the idea of living stripped of armour is terrifying while the prospect of a more complete connection has its allure. This doesn't begin to recognize the more nebulous ways of being (in "relation" to others) which are every bit as much "addictions" as the more tangible examples. 

I am an addict (I believe I have virtually stripped that of any remaining stigma where I'm concerned) - it has (& is) costing me everything I've ever had, to reckon with the truth of this. Years ago, some quipped in "recovery circles" - you only need be willing, to change "everything." I didn't give that much credence - thought they were just being melodramatic. Well here I am 30 odd years later, and I guess they meant it. I certainly don't give a flying-fuck anymore, what anyone else thinks about this.... judge as you will, bless you and your ivory tower. I suppose I could locate myself in the position that nobody could take anything from me that I haven't lost before - therefore I perceive no threat in this. It's not as though I "can't be hurt." I've already said I hurt... but no one can hurt me anything like I've hurt myself - so go ahead, take your best shot!!

I feel the growing urgency - for me. I might not be, "over the hill," but I'm getting steadily closer to realizing the summit. Who the hell knows what time is left. I wouldn't know if it matters to humanity one way or the other, if I reach my potential. One wonders how effectively potential might be realized; while proceeding to grieve, that I never grieved.  To try and forgive and make amends for a life throughout which I,  so thoroughly abandoned myself.

I'm grateful at this moment for the forum of my own blog. I can certainly do without any suggestion that "this to shall pass," "turn it over", "love & light" etc. I have a sense of the power of each of these, beyond their trite appearance - but seldom if ever, is it helpful to receive them from someone more intent on appeasing their discomfort, than offering anything of substance (like just listening).

"Time to show up & be seen" is it? Overdue more like it. Is this business of "you're right on schedule - exactly where you're meant to be" true; or an attempt to soften the reality? (i.e. well actually, you're fucked but.....) What schedule? I've got an iPhone and a laptop both with various calendar "apps" - I've not received any download providing me a timetable.

Maybe that's what this agitation is about.... This is the universe transmitting my own personal "schedule.." the increasing urgency, directly due to the fact that there is a pending "dead-line!!!"

So I'll be seen alright! I don't know the exact way, shape or form.  I won't be following anyone around waiting for them to explain it, nor grant permission. Maybe I'm just cutting my teeth (while I still have them) to become an "armour-less" cantankerous old man.

R. O'Neill (December 20, 2018)

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