June 15th, 2011:

What’s it all about, Victoria?

When I was home for my long recuperation from my injuries, I had plenty of time to ruminate about why I’d brought this “accident” into my life. Initially, I had a cast on my right arm from the middle of my upper arm to my fingertips. My right leg had a cast from mid thigh to right above my ankle. At least the left side of my body remained strong and unbroken and I was given crutches to help me get around.

The week before my “crash” I had been in the midst of a minor financial crisis and I was blaming myself. Full of self-recrimination, I asked myself again and again: Why couldn’t I make enough money to avoid running into walls of debt? Why was it so difficult to make a living in the creative arts?  Why was it always a roller coaster ride? My rent had been overdue, although I had an editing client and the money was due to arrive any day. I was beating myself up, as it turned out, literally, because of what I deemed were my shortcomings.

I believe we all have a journey to find ourselves worthy. I had already started writing this blog when I watched Oprah Winfrey’s very last show. She pointed out that in 25 years of interviewing and getting to know people, she noticed the most difficult and heartbreaking element of people’s lives was their lack of feeling worthy. Whatever happens on our path through life, most of us hit that snag of not feeling deserving, which prevents us from allowing our own good fortune. These feelings don’t come out of nowhere, usually they are buried in our past and then, perhaps inadvertently, reinforced as we go through life.

The wonderful convolutions of life as interpreted by my daughter Heidi

My childhood wouldn’t qualify as horrific, but it had its nasty side with damaging after-effects I still deal with from time to time. Looking back on it from my mature years, I can better understand that my Army officer stepfather was not a happy man. He was quite intelligent and could be immensely charming, but when things didn’t go the way he thought they should, his behavior toward his family was abusive. That WWII generation, in my view, was not very reflective (perhaps none of us are reflective enough—we keep having wars!) and took their frustrations and blame out on others. They had fought an awful war and carried their pain inside, for the most part. Psychiatric help was not well known or generally available, and there were no drugs for post-traumatic stress disorder. It wasn’t pretty when these veterans did lash out physically and/or emotionally. Who knew what damage these men carried from their childhoods, much less the actions of war?

I have noticed men are mostly outwardly directed with anger, and women go inward. In general, men blame others for problems and women blame themselves. I was really into “What have I done again?” instead of realizing that every life has its ups and downs, and a creative life seems to have more yin and yang than the usual. It took me years to realize I enjoyed the challenge of life on the edge, for the most part. It was exciting, a great deal of the time, to get to a point when funds were low, and not know when life would improve. Somehow it always worked out and over the years I learned better skills to manage my finances and my emotional health. Before I fell, however, I had gotten so low and angry that I had slapped myself in the face several times. Looking back, I find that action immensely sad and now take pains to tell myself I love me. When I hit the rocky places in life, I acknowledge: “It is what it is,” and know that things will always change for the better. Every negative has a positive and every positive has its negatives.

Upcoming: Dealing with operations, casts, and life in general.

 

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