Tag Archives: adult children of alcoholics

30 Days of Brené Brown — Day 7: #authenticity #projection #honesty #relationships

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D’oh. Good lord, today’s quote … it may as well just be a smack in the face, a push off the edge and how Divinely Timed for me, who is (and I kid you not) literally struggling with ‘being seen.’

Gah. Here:

Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.(page 49)”
― Brené BrownThe Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

Deep breath.

Ok. 1,200 words. I could just do one: “No.”

That’s chickening out.

I have been to psychics, I have been with mediums, I have friends who see things and with others who are clairaudient, I have friends who are Reiki masters, I have friends who are non-predictive palmists, others who read tarot cards. I also have friends who are Christian and who think that all the aforementioned people are nuts and charlatans, but of the aforementioned friends, not one of them thinks the Christians are uncool. We all see the irony don’t we?

All of these sensitive friends, all of them, have told me in no uncertain terms: WRITE THE BOOK. If for no other reason, than to simply get it out of my system. I am leaking this story, my story. I have been explicitly asked to not publish or publicize my story because it would hurt the requestor.

In my at-times black-and-white mind (funny, I can be beige or gray with others but not always with myself) I get caught up (it’s a distraction tactic) in the logistics: Where do I start? How would I publish it? How would I market it? What about the cover art? What genre?

Really??

Really. Yeah. I know.

Do you do this to yourself? Do you have a Big Thing you want to do and then sort of sabotage it by thinking about stuff that’s sooooo far into the future that it becomes overwhelming and you give up before you even start?

Me neither. It’s so nice being perfect.

Anyway, this story is leaking out of me. In dribs and drabs. In tendonitis and in sciatica. In back twinges and in ankle pricks. I suspect it’s leaking out of me because it doesn’t belong there in the first place. While it’s “mine” because it has happened to me, it’s not mine to own or take care of or… hide / protect.

Ripping off a band-aid, right here:

Being the (adult) child of alcoholics does shit to you.

When you are young, and things happen right in front of your face, you’re told it’s something else. When you hear something happen, an exchange, say, of valium being called ‘candy’ and then you find one on the floor, that little yellow pill with the “V” stamped out of it and you pick it up and try to put it in your mouth but your mother slaps it out of your hand because it’s dangerous, but you think it’s ‘candy’ um… yeah.

It’s times like that when 2+2=46,896,sock,424,spatula,090,843,banana,324.0111 repeating.

Your surfaces are spongy. Nothing feels firm. Predictability? Only thing that’s predictable is the unpredictability. Rage? Predictable.

Back to Brown. This resonates with me so soundly because I do a lot of this: I show up, I am vulnerable, but even here, I do tend to be careful because I don’t want … basically, I fear and feel for my father. I fear his anger, his rage and his penchant for withholding and I feel for his attachment to my mother. But when that is the outcome, that someone can be so angry with you for being honest and for not holding the toxic and steaming bag of shit anymore, which is clearly theirs, is it better to keep holding it (in)? Even at 46? Is it better to suffer, more, because they can’t be vulnerable, because you feel pity for their sadness or avoidance? It’s a behavior classically aligned with Stockholm Syndrome.

mine. no, not mine. theirs. my art. their shit. check.

mine. no, not mine. theirs. my art. their shit. check.

My gut tells me to give back the bag of steaming shit. My friends say to give back the bag of steaming shit, or at least don’t hold it anymore. Drop it off, so to speak, where it belongs. All the books (oy! ALL THE BOOKS!) I’ve read say to give it back, don’t just let it go, but give it back.

And I’ve done that, from time to time. As a Troubadour of Truth, I’ve sung said, “This shit is not mine! You take it!” but inevitably, it gets stepped on and then eventually tracked back into my life. These days I just do my best to not let it soil others or project it on to others, innocents. It’s hard and I don’t really have a handbook, so I’m winging it.

As children of those worlds, we work hard to keep the illusion alive, that all is well, because to allow for the truth would absolutely be too much, it wouldn’t add up because to a child there are no “bad ideas” until they are stated as such. Children have a fantastic capacity for … a fantastic capacity. Their ability to believe and honor an unstated code in order to win or curry favor for safety and survival is unmatched by any other being on this planet, in my opinion.

I have considered emotional divorce. It works sometimes. I have had the long talks, the patient couching of content to paint an alternative picture the truth. It’s exhausting and tiresome. There’s pride too, a part of me that doesn’t want to come from a sad story, that wants to (as I said) keep the illusion alive because it looks nicer and prettier from the outside. No one wants to see the bag of shit. But it’s there, stinking up my self-image at times, stinking up the reality. You can’t ignore a bag of shit.

So it’s this authenticity Brown is speaking of, in my parlance: to see the bag of shit. In her more eloquent parlance, to show others ourselves in order to be seen and then (as far as I’m concerned) a help or advocate for those who might not be ready to be seen. To tear off the band-aid, to show others that not only can it be done, but also that it is eminently survivable. But in my limited framework and penchant for rueful revenge, how do I show up? How do I be my ‘person’ and tell my truth without blaming others and without going Stockholm? How is this done?

Bluntly: if you have a truth to tell, an authenticity to show, if you can’t become brave, then you remain a coward. That stinks and so does the shit. 

I have cut out a lot of cowards. Life is too short to hold a steamy bag of someone else’s shit.

For reals.

Thank you.