I have this ongoing argument going. I’m sure everyone has it at one point or another, right. The argument between the heart and the head. This argument isn’t exactly something that can be win-lose. It’s a struggle that goes on forever. And in my case, it’s one that’s been altered by some pretty heinous things.
So, when I say heinous, I do mean some pretty nasty things. 25 years of abuse and a rape does wonderful things to the brain. The bigger problem is the abuse. Not all my abuse was physical… actually most of my abuse wasn’t. It was emotional. I’ve been made to feel like I was a horrible person, undeserving of love. Sometimes I get to feel that way. Not because I agree. Simply because sometimes the brain doesn’t want to agree with my heart.
They say that you should always trust your gut feeling. They’ve done scientific studies to show that your gut feeling is generally correct. Your head is not always the most rational.
This is where I’m running into my problem. My heart is telling me one thing, my brain is telling me another. While I wish that one would listen to the other, there’s not much I can do about the fight between the two.
For a while I’ve had this feeling that there would be a lot of good things coming. I don’t know why I have this feeling, but I do get them. It’s not really a random feeling I get because of wishful thinking. Generally the feeling comes well in advance and always has the follow through. I guess we can say its intuition or gut instinct.
Now a part of that might be tempered by real knowledge. I know that I’m finally going to be getting the job of my dreams… and full-time, complete with everything that comes with it. Of course, I’m scared about the salary negotiation and contract… I have no idea what it’s all going to look like. Now, on that end, there’s a lot of fear. Not fear that I’m going to realize that I hate it, because I don’t. That was the one thing I wasn’t sure about. It’s more that I don’t know what the scope of my job will be. I don’t know what my salary will be. I don’t know if I’m going to be forced back to a diurnal existence. There’s a lot of unknowns. Though, as a writer, I think that it’s fair to assume that I can keep my nocturnal existence.
The other revolves around relationships.
This is where things get tricky. I’ve had so many bad personal relationships, that I tend to think more negatively of myself in them. Not because I suck at relationships, but because of all the negative things I heard for years. I am better than I used to be. I recognize that these bad feelings do stem from years of being told that I’m not good enough, that I’m a horrible person, that I’m crazy… you name it, I’ve probably heard it.
Once again, my gut feeling is that this is a lot of good. There’s a lot more attached to it, but not really proper for this piece. Then we have my brain that now tells me that I’m constantly fucking up. That I’m doing something wrong even if I’m not.
And it makes me want to find every last abusive ex-boyfriend and makes me want to repeatedly punch them in the face. Because of them, I have a hard time seeing the forest for the trees. I almost always will start thinking I’m screwing something up. It’s not healthy, but it’s also hard to break out of a negative feedback loop once you’ve been put in it.
Which is why, I almost always acknowledge that I know what my brain is telling me isn’t rational… and possibly isn’t even correct. Why not correct? Well, there’s this interesting thing that happens to the brain when it receives a lot of pain, either a lot at once or over the years consistently. It can condition your brain. It can be undone. It takes many years to undo all the damage done by the pain. Thanks to studies on neuroplasticity, we know that it can be done. It’s just a lot of work.
Thankfully, I also have people who want to help speed this process. It’s because of that I’m not nearly as down on myself as I used to be. Surprisingly, this used to be worse. It’s getting better. It’s not leaps and bounds better. It is better in the sense that I can take a compliment when someone says I’m beautiful. It’s better in the sense that I’m starting to listen when people tell me I’m not horrible, that I’m a worthwhile person. Not everything is going to be leaps and bounds, most times it’s going to be baby steps. Baby steps aren’t bad, they just take more time.