The first thing i noticed was the amount of time i have spent dealing with conflict in the various circles i am involved in. Most of that conflict simmers under the surface. We’re afraid to talk about it. I am afraid to authentically express myself because i fear that my feedback will be heard as criticism. Just like i still hear feedback as criticism. That’s how we learn to receive it. So, as i struggle with dealing with conflict more openly, i am doing that in a new language. That reminded me of the first few weeks, maybe even months, in the US: I needed much more rest and sleep. It took me a while to realize why: I was completely immersed in a foreign language! Just like i am now!
The second thing i noticed was the diligence i devote now to looking at everything. Things that i led slide in the past, i now investigate in detail. I hurt someone with a snarky remark. First, i mended the relationship (i hope!). Then, i looked at myself: Why did i make that remark? And, yes, that’s the third thing i noticed: My gremlins are very, very active. Maybe they’ve been encouraged by this self-reflection. Either way, the almost constant self-judgment is exhausting, too. Investigating that. Digging deeper into the roots of my behavior. And all that in a new language. While also looking at things i used to avoid. No wonder i am exhausted!
And in all that i am yearning for support and understanding. Understanding that i simply have to take a break sometimes. Support to take that break. And acceptance: To be accepted as i am! As it almost always happens, i am struck that all those needs could come with the prefix “self.” I want to stop being my own slave-driver and support myself in taking time for self-care. I want to understand myself that my need for self-care is not a failure but rather a sign of growth. And finally, i so long for accepting myself as i am – with all my exhaustions and needs for rest!
This then reminds me of something else: The connections i am learning in the class and through my own research between shame and oppression. Shame usually boils down to a message of “i am not good enough.” That message is reinforced by – or maybe even originated in – stereotypes. I can never be good enough because i am a woman – i do not measure up to the male norm. Yet, i am expected to try and to never complain about how exhausting that is! Exhaustion is a sign of failure: I am not good enough at trying. More shame. More exhaustion.
This then feeds my longing for support, understanding, and acceptance again. Longing for fellow travelers on this path and getting the support we all need struggling to transform the way we act – toward ourselves and others. And acceptance of how damn hard that is! And this then leads to a healing place: The gratitude i feel for seeing the beginnings of such a support system blossom. In myself and in the circles i am involved in. It is still just a sprout and needs constant care, especially when the predominant way of living is so contrary to this more conscious and authentic way of life. Yet, it is there a little in my life, something to nurture and build on.