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Haven for the living Princess and the Pea

People pleasing does no one any good

I have long believed that I am helping other people by telling them what they want or expect to hear. I will show them emotion that I do not truly feel, and constantly give them validation while I meanwhile invalidate myself and my own feelings. It has left me sadder, lonelier and angrier than ever, but what I have not realised until now is that, in the end, it often just hurts them as well. This is the truth that never occurs to many people pleasures. While well-intended, people pleasing really does no one any good.

Six years ago I was in a very unrequited relationship with a man I met when I started university. I made the mistake of telling him I loved him, when really I didn’t know the meaning or impact of those words. He ran with those words and they propped up all his fantasies about us. He got more and more attached to a closeness that wasn’t really there and to a person who didn’t really exist, and in the end it broke his heart terribly. I now find myself in a similar situation where I am hanging onto words and promises I don’t know whether this person meant. It is cruel to get your hopes up over something that is not going to happen. I’d rather people not be nice to me than say flowery things which have no substance. Realising what people pleasing does to both parties, I’m hoping I will be better able to speak my true feelings and resist the temptation to say things I don’t mean. I am starting to really admire people who are blunt, make it clear right from the start where you stand with them, and are bold enough to speak their truth, even if it risks offending others. They may not get credit for it but their bluntness is, in many ways, one of the kindest things they can do for us.

I’m no poet. I can’t paint with words. Can’t cast imagery or create art out of pain. All I can do is write it how it is.
I’m not an easy person to befriend. I have a constant need for validation. To know that I’m still doing things right. It’s my own flaw. A deep flaw. As ingrained into my character as a scar in flesh or a gorge where a river once flowed.
All my life I’ve been so afraid that I would drive away my friends that I would cling to any I had. Constantly trying to engage.
I would send texts after texts for fear that if I remained silent and distant that they would forget about me. Or perhaps that they would think I didn’t care.
I would over think every little thing that I did. If I were to receive a reply I would scrutinize it to the point of paranoia. “What were they feeling when they wrote it?” “Are they mad at me?”
I tried so hard that I drive people away. Ultimately I end up driving everybody away.
I have become a burden. A nuisance. I’m so enveloped by my fear of failure that I have lost my ability to consider what others might be feeling or need.
Now I’m here.

“Favourite people”, self-love & empowerment

I want to know if you can bear the throb of abandonment,

And not abandon your own soul.

I want to know if you can be your biggest cheerleader,

Your own knight in shining armour,

When no one is by your side.

Continue reading ““Favourite people”, self-love & empowerment”

Love: a double-edged sword

As I have written about in another post, one of my all time favourite stories is White Oleander. The book/film is about a young foster girl called Astrid who moves from foster home to foster home, tragedy following her everywhere. There is a moment in the film where Astrid’s social worker offers her a good foster family. Instead Astrid chooses Rena. Staggering across the yard in high heels, a low-cut spaghetti top bulging with boobs, a pencil skirt, and sunnies, Rena screams bad news. The reason Astrid chooses such a shitty foster home is because the pain of finding love and then losing it is worse than the pain of not having been loved at all. Hope is not always our friend, and the higher we go, the greater we have to fall. Continue reading “Love: a double-edged sword”

A real life Hogwarts

As I was watching Harry Potter the other evening, I was thinking how this hospital to me is very much what Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is to Harry. I’m sure all who have stayed in a psych hospital can attest to that strange feeling separation, or insulation, from the world beyond. Your sense of time changes and mental health is no longer something you have to hide. When you leave there is a distinct feeling of crossing a veil much like platform nine and three quarters. The hospital is a parallel world, and a world I’m finding I much prefer, despite the difficulties I’ve had in here. Continue reading “A real life Hogwarts”

Merry-go-round of life

Cars swirling round and round

Their whir a daily greeting

soon to be followed by the clunk of the cleaner

rattling down the hallway

Lingering, like the pong of chlorine or artificial fragrance,

Scrubbing and vacuuming floors barely trodden

Replacing towels unused

Over and over. Continue reading “Merry-go-round of life”

Blur of faces

“And you stand in your permanence, my name unwrapped on your tongue like an awkward gift when I haven’t got you one.” Prosopagnosia, Ros Barber

Cluedo has always been one of my favourite games, and a game I came to be quite good at. Over the years, however, I’ve found myself playing a different kind of Cluedo. Embarrassingly, I seem to be losing the ability to recognise faces, so have had to decipher who someone is using some quite round-about ways. This strange disability, which I’ve found difficult to talk about, is something that’s landed me in several awkward situations these last many years. There was the time I met a tech savvy man at a filmmaking workshop and he offered to fix my film’s volume for an upcoming festival we were working towards. We exchanged email addresses and communicated a fair bit online before the festival. However, as the day of the screening got closer, I became more and more anxious as I knew I would struggle to recognise and therefore acknowledge him at the screening. A lot of people can sympathise with anxiety over public speaking, work pressures or social events in general, but I have met no one else who’s had to deal with the added anxiety that comes with not being able to recognise/process faces. Continue reading “Blur of faces”

Early morning awakenings (trigger warning)

I’ve been living under a rock the last many years in terms of current affairs, but last night something kept me in the lounge room when my father turned on the television to watch the seven o’clock ABC news. The very first report was about the royal commission into institutional child sex abuse which was conducted between 2013 and 2017 (an article of the news report can be read here). I had never paid much attention to it, but for some reason it had been on my mind all week as I’ve been trying to understand the things I wrote about in my previous post, ‘An invisible scar’. There must have been something in the air. It was wonderful to hear some positive news for once: Malcolm Turnbull apologised to the survivors of child sexual abuse at the hands of institutions, and announced the government are implementing many changes to prevent it from happening again, some of which are listed at prolegin.com. Continue reading “Early morning awakenings (trigger warning)”

Daughter of Juniper Icewitch

Born of the blizzards, of blankets of white and of trembling water, she is both mesmerising and dangerous. Her world is desolate, and she is sad and lonely, especially as Jupiter Icewitch keeps her locked in a tower of ice.

One day, through the window of her prison, she spies a traveller from a faraway land. The fog is thick but she manages to make out the outline of a young girl. As the girl nears the tower, Juniper Icewitch’s daughter sticks her arm through the bars of the window and waves furiously. She then reaches into her hair of needle-leaves and extracts a branch for the traveller, dropping it through the window.

The young traveller makes her way up the tower, following a spiral stairway until she reaches the door of the prison. As no one ever visited these hostile lands, Juniper Icewitch had left the key in the door. The traveller turns the key and enters. She then returns the key to Juniper Icewitch’s daughter.

The young traveller comes from a land of flowing water and trees which reach for the stars. She is confident, popular and bursting with life. Juniper Icewitch’s daughter envies the girl, so she sprints for the door, slams it behind her and locks it. She then flees her dreary world and tells everyone a story of tragedy and triumph, of how, for years, she was locked in a prison but she managed to survive and break free. She elicits the sympathy and admiration of all who hear her tale. She is commended for her bravery, strength and dignity. None hear the story of the young traveller, who remains in that prison to this day.

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