Daily Prompt: Cheering Section
When I was growing up I trusted no one.
From a very early age most of the significant adults in my life let me down. Trusting that anyone had my best interests at heart was difficult for me. So, I pretty much raised myself.
Which is fine. It builds character and the like, but it meant that act one of my life was an exercise in survival.
As I recall there were a few people who tried to take me under their wing. But I was always suspicious of their motives. I was desperate for attention but always pushing it away. My experience was that nothing was about me ~ it was about what people could take from me. So, I built walls.
Thus, I spent much of my early life invisible.
Closeted away with me, and a painful lack of self-confidence and self-worth, were my many artistic gifts and talents. A few teachers at high school recognized these and tried to get me to open up, but it was impossible. The one teacher who might have been able to reach me, Mrs. Powell, contracted cancer soon after she made a connection with me and then died within months. Back in the shadows I went.
I muddled through the things I tried. Horses were my passion and the one thing I really enjoyed, however I never excelled. My self-protective bubble prevented me from reaching my potential in anything I did. I was smart, but terrified. If I did well someone might see me.
It was a horribly debilitating way to live. I always felt stuck. Always felt unfulfilled. Always felt like a lesser mortal.
Over the years I have gradually emerged from this emotional wasteland and recovered my Self.
The journey has been marked by many wake-up calls. (Check out A Life Unravelled) And I was well into my 30s before I could begin to trust anyone to have my best interests at heart and it wasn’t until my late 40s that I really felt I was beginning to own my life; that is, to thrive.
This is mostly due to the amazing cheering section that surrounds me now. People I have learned to trust and who are genuinely interested in helping me to reclaim my life.
My husband ~ who, in the 12 years we’ve been together (we finally married this past May) has demonstrated his devotion and love in so many life-affirming ways I cannot even begin to recount them all. He’s the one who showed me I was worth hanging in for.
My therapist ~ With my husband’s support I’ve been having weekly 90-minute conversations with a qualified therapist since May 2009. The best decision I ever made in terms of taking care of my emotional and mental health. With her I’ve been learning that I can step safely out of the shadows and stake my claim in the world. You have no idea how many conversations we had on whether or not it was safe for me to present myself to the world through my writing, i.e. blogging. Believe it or not, you who follow me are part of that therapy. Thank you for your support.
My riding coach ~ I’ve been riding horses since I was 10 years old. I’ve worked with many coaches, some of them not that great. Certainly most could never really reach me. My current coach, whom I began working with in early 2010, was the first to take a sincere interest in my development as a rider and who bothered to make the effort to reach me. He likes my horse and wants to see me ride him well. But it’s more than that. He teaches me in a way that helps me to see my Self. His teaching and my experiences with my horse support the work I’m doing with my therapist. The kismet of it all sometimes baffles me.
My hormone therapist ~ Just as my head was starting to come together and the emotions were coming into focus it seemed like my body was beginning its descent into middle age chaos. My coach put me on to someone who had worked with this hormone therapist and suggested I might do the same. What had I to lose? I’ve been working with the good doctor since the end of 2010. He, in conjunction with my naturopath and chiropractor, has been helping to heal the physical manifestations of my emotional trauma. It was through him, after many tests, that I learned that my adrenal glands were functioning at the level of a 70-year-old woman. I was 48 at the time. All the exhaustion, anxiety, illness finally explained. But to what could that terrible dysfunction be attributed? Early childhood post-traumatic stress disorder. My adrenal glands had been functioning on over-drive my entire life without me realizing it. My flight/fright mechanism had been running my life. I sit here trembling just thinking about it. I know why it happened, but am not ready to share it at this time.
As a result of my adrenal function being so out of whack my other hormone levels were depleted as well. Finally, I understood why I couldn’t have children. My body had not been able to support a pregnancy. I didn’t know. Most doctors don’t test for these things. I had always felt like I’d failed as a woman for not having had children. I’d even been through invitro-fertilization a couple of times during my first marriage. Finally I could be free of the guilt of not being a mother.
And where am I today with my physical health? So much better. With appropriate bio-identical hormone support the adrenal function has improved to that of a 55-year-old (I’m 50), so we’re more in the ballpark. We continue to work to improve that while my other hormone levels have stabilized. Considering I’m in menopause, this is a good thing. 🙂
Last, but not least, my horse, Bear ~ his presence in my life since 2006 has been the catalyst for so many wonderful things. He has opened the door to my heart. By taking good care of him I have been learning to take better care of myself. And, he makes me smile.
My family and a few other close friends are an important part of my journey, of course, but it is those mentioned here who, in the last several years have been the key members of my support team, have supported me as I step out of the protective shadow into the light of my true self.
Which only goes to prove that it’s never too late for a cheering section.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share this. Helps me to appreciate just how blessed I am.
Thank you for stopping by …
©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013
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