Two weeks ago, I completed a large assignment of 21 fruit and vegetable illustrations. It took me about 3 weeks, instead of the month that I estimated it would take.
I couldn’t believe that I received another new assignment the day after I finished that large project. My above illustration of pears was done a few days ago; it is one of 4 new illustrations I’m working on for Tillamook Dairy Company.
Now I feel compelled to share some puns about pears.
My love for pears is appearent. And I’m also a pearant. I’d love to go to Pearis. Perhaps I should write a pearable about pears.
I’d better move onto another pearagraph because I’m sounding like a pearrot.
Okay, those weren’t very good puns. I’m a bad girl.
This leads me into what I really want to write about – Good girl vs. bad girl syndrome.
For me, that syndrome represents an extreme or “black and white” way of thinking. Ridding my life of judgment and criticism has been my goal now for the last 3 years. Yet it’s hard to wipe out associations that are lodged in my subconscious because of what I heard so often when I was growing up.
“Good girls never accept a date at the last minute. Good girls don’t travel. Good girls don’t live on their own before marriage. Good girls are virgins.”
I learned early on what I needed to do to be a “good girl.” I was unable to express myself. And I lived with denial in order to keep any angry feelings shoved down.
Lately, there are things my former husband has done that upset me greatly. But because of our children, I won’t share any details on my blog about it.
I know that I haven’t been dealing with it in a healthy way because of obvious clues. I made an emergency visit to my dentist because I was suffering with intense jaw pain. It was from clenching my teeth and that was something new. I have been biting the nails on my left hand (not on the right, because I use that hand to pluck my guitar strings). And it’s been really hard for me to stay on track with my eating; for several months I’ve been working hard to lose weight.
If I were to write a Princess and the Dragon story using metaphors, I would describe my situation as one where I could feel the dragon breathing fire and smoke in my doorway. Of course, I pretended that nothing was happening most of the time even though I was choking.
A few weeks ago, I hoped that I’d find some tools to help me during my hypnotherapy session.
I told my therapist, Connie, how frustrating it was to flip back and forth between being “the bad one” and “the good one.” I wanted to find another way to think about all of this but I couldn’t find any middle ground and it was frustrating.
I was being plagued by “good girl/bad girl syndrome!”
I had expended every ounce of my energy into loving and supporting all three of my children since my separation. In the last three years, I witnessed their spectacular growth and was certain that my involvement made the difference. That made me “the good one.”
As I wrote on my last post about my song “The Door,” when I ended my marriage I had a lot of guilt. I felt like I was a traitor who shocked my husband when I ended our marriage. I received a lovely comment this past week. The words from a dear blogger friend, Sandra Callahan really uplifted me:
I am at a loss for words when I read your interpretation of the events surrounding your “awakening.” You are so gifted and talented! It is sad your ex did not appreciate these gifts as well as your sharp wit and humor. It is sad that he chooses to make choices that have a negative impact on those who deserve his love and protection. If anyone was a “traitor” in this sad story it is he. It is hard for me to think someone so full of joy and laughter endured so many years of heartbreak.
I was hopeful that perhaps while I was under hypnosis I would gain some insight. I heard Connie’s voice in the distance and quickly drifted off.
After a few minutes, I spoke aloud to Connie with my eyes closed. I told her that nothing seemed to come to me that could replace the good girl/bad girl theme. I concentrated, but still I drew a blank.
Then I said aloud, “I know I’m a devoted mom so I wonder why I feel so badly. I’m not trying to make my ex look bad, but some of his actions toward our children make me so angry. I am powerless and alone with my thoughts. I cannot express my anger because it is inappropriate for my children to know about it. Sometimes when they ask me what is wrong, it seeps out and I say things I wish I hadn’t.”
I said tearfully, “I’m only human!”
At that moment, I realized that I had hit upon something. Being human . . .
That was such a beautiful alternative. I had found a way to replace “black and white!”
Being human gave me permission to feel upset and to make mistakes. Being human helped me understand that it wasn’t about being “bad;” it wasn’t an excuse either. It helped to explain my reactions when I was under tremendous pressure.
Before our session ended I blurted out, “It’s incredible to know how much my ex hates me after spending 31 years together!”
Connie wrote something down and then said sweetly, “That’s a story you could hold onto. How does it feel when you think of it that way?”
I grinned and knew the answer to that. I loved my therapist and she was waiting for me to come up with a replacement story. Out it came with the words of: “It’s in the past!”
Connie’s voice was enthused. “Yes, tell me more about that!”
I said, “Just like grief – I remember many sad and horrible things. But when it’s in the past, it reminds me of how far I’ve come – how I’m beyond the pain and living in a much better place.”
I left our session with a huge smile. I was thinking of all the things in my past that were behind me now. And then I started thinking about all the things I had to look forward to.
Perhaps there were things I still had to deal with related to “the dragon.” My plan was to vent more to friends so as not to feel overwhelmed by anger when I was around my children. Friends sure made a difference.
My children are more important than anything else in the world to me. I am always demonstrating how much I love them and revel in their accomplishments. I do try to avoid writing about them, but I am going to share a few details because I’m a proud mom.
This past week, my 18-year-old son began learning to drive. I signed him up for a few private lessons and he drove with me on a small errand yesterday. Then today, I courageously allowed him to go on the freeway. Sharing all of this with him was very
nerve wracking exciting. Thankfully, he stayed cool and collected even though I was very hysterical serious.
On top of that, a few weeks ago he began working as a volunteer at Kulak’s Woodshed where I perform regularly. He is very well liked and appreciated – (On my Facebook music page, he can be seen setting up my microphone for a recent video performance.) Since summer began, I’ve nagged him to get a job. Volunteering was a backup plan that I hope he’ll continue doing. Well today he landed his first job! He will be working at a nearby movie theatre. I am bursting with pride and can hardly contain my joy.
My daughter and I are extremely close. Recently, she’s made many changes to her life. I try very hard to refrain from being critical or judgmental. I’ve been rewarded because she shares so many personal things with me. I always encourage her with the statement of, “Honey, I know you will figure things out and do what is best for you.” I am so proud of her courage. Recently, she told me she wants to travel somewhere with me. We are both thinking about where we will go.
My oldest son amazed me this week. He reached out and called his sister so they could “go bowling and hang out.” They had a great time together. The next day, he went out of his way to fix a TV someone was discarding. He wanted to give it to his sister. He spent over $100 of his own money and then drove over to her apartment with a friend to install it. Just thinking about his thoughtfulness chokes me up.
I’m glad I could update my blog. More is coming. I have been in a phase of productivity that is astonishing. On top of working as an illustrator, I’ve accomplished more in the last two months than I have in two years with my music and audio projects. It’s all because I’ve hired an assistant to help me.
I feel blessed. And I am very human!
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