Sunday, February 28, 2010

Using the story

Those who do not have power over the story that dominates their lives, the power to retell it, rethink it, deconstruct it, joke about it, and change it as times change, truly are powerless, because they cannot think new thoughts. Salman Rushdie
Sunday, a day to relax. To recoup. To regroup and refresh.

Yesterday we finished the interview for my part of the documentary as well as some shots of Ellie and me and me just doing things. Ellie has become a part of the film story, which she always was in real life.

And she's a ham.

It's as if she knows the camera likes her to look extra cute and so she prances and preens, smiles and leaps around just for the camera.

And I am tired.

One of the questions the director asked was, "Why is it hard for you to tell this story."

It isn't.

And it is.

I had several answers -- don't like to look dumb. don't like talking about how I hurt the people I love most. Don't like not having control.

And, the answer that surprised me, "I don't like being a victim."

And I was.

CZBZ posted a comment yesterday that rang so true my heart reverberated against her words humming through cyberspace.

"OH Louise! I remember when we first met in cyberspace. We were each struggling with a serious life crisis, letting go of excruciating self-blame and moving into personal responsibility.

I watched you grow and you've watched me grow and hopefully, we'll remain part of one another's life for years to come.

It has been inspirational watching you restore your life while maintaining concern for other people.

Wanting to help.

Wanting to share.

Wanting to show people how to avoid similar mistakes in their own lives.

You know, a lot of people would crawl away, never thinking about what happened. Erasing it from their memory. They would be fearful of being so open and honest.

They silence a part of themselves.

I encounter this quite often (perhaps you do, too). People fear admitting to others that they made a mistake. Well gee, human beings make lots of mistakes. It's not the mistake, it's what we do afterwards that defines our character, don't you think?

Not that it's easy to admit we were foolish or idealistic or naive or maybe been stoopid---speaking of myself here!

But denying we are those things (or did those things) is like erasing a part of ourselves."


I can't deny I did those things.

I also can't deny he victimized me.

And, in the end, I have won my life back. I have restored myself.

The Director said, there will be those who judge you.

Reality is, no one will ever judge me harsher than I judged myself. And no one can restore my life, my happiness, self-esteem, belief in myself and my being One with myself and the Universe.
No one can do that for me.

I must heal me. I must use the story to create a better world. In telling this story, in all its gruesome and not so pretty-me moments, I am not allowing myself to be victimized. I am not letting the story use me and abuse me.

I am free.

Nameste.

6 comments:

nAncY said...

i think that restoration is impossible without Love for other people,

and you certainly do accept this Love and share it freely.

everyone has had something that the world can use to make them feel stupid or a victim. the thing is, that evil can not take a heart that stays open to Love.

we can feel the hurt, but, we still must stay open hearted, or else we also shut ourself off to the healing power of Love.

Maureen said...

What kind of people would we be if we did not find it difficult to tell our stories, to show our vulnerabilities before people who know nothing else about us?

I read your story and see a person of enormous capacity, who suffered and endured but who also made a conscious decision to survive and has come to thrive.

The power of your telling is that it shows others that we don't have to cede ourselves to our victimizers or abusers, that we can and do own our own stories and can reclaim ourselves by acknowledging the complexity of our emotions and experiences, that we honor ourselves when we use our histories as testimony to our resilience.

M.L. Gallagher said...

Maureen!nAncY! You are WoWs!!!!!

thank you.

S L M Moss said...

The other part of it is that when we erase, deny it and do our best to forget about, we put ourselves at risk of repeating the cycle. I am learning that if we do not take it out, look at it honestly, acknowledge our part and responsibility in it, we will just make the same mistakes again - in one way or another.

Thank you for your courage, your power, and your wisdom.

Love & Hugs,

CZBZ said...

Hi dear Louise! I was taken aback to read this entry and frankly, couldn't write a thing. Your reply had to sit with me for a few days...

"And, the answer that surprised me, "I don't like being a victim."

And I was."


Nobody wants to admit to being a victim. These days, being a victim is 'out' and like society usually does things, we go to the extreme, denying anyone is victimized without their permission.

Would that life were so predictable and safe. In other words, "Don't think 'victim' and you won't be one." Such a silly notion...a rather infantile way to defend against vulnerability.

The fact is: we are all vulnerable.

I was so happy when people started opening up their private lives and talking about abuse, bad relationships, how they had been traumatized by a supposed 'beloved'. I was relieved that finally, people were being honest.

I was also impressed with their willingness to bear the 'shame' of being victimized. This change in self-disclosure has been a long time coming.

And now, once again, we are back at square one with people being ashamed of having been victimized. As if we need to silence that part of ourselves (or as you wrote "erase" that part of our lives) or suffer condemnation from a society that denies reality. Cuz reality is: people are victimized even if they are the epitome of mental health and competence.

At first, I did not want to see myself as a victim, either. Such an ugly word, victim—spit through the teeth like rancid tallow. It was easier to blame myself and therein feel empowered than to tolerate the agony of objectification and callous disregard. As long as we 'blame' ourselves, we avoid feeling powerless.

At least for me, it has been crucial to be painstakingly honest about my Victim Self. The one that prefers believing in a just world. The one who sees the good in others and believes they wish no harm. The Pollyanna Me that views the world as a trustworthy place with all God's chilluns playing checkers without cheating.

Admitting to being victimized is hardly a task for the weak. The more we deny our vulnerability, the more susceptible we are to either being victimized again OR victimizing others.

Love,
CZ

P.S. I really liked this comment by Maureen:

“The power of your telling is that it shows others that we don't have to cede ourselves to our victimizers or abusers, that we can and do own our own stories and can reclaim ourselves by acknowledging the complexity of our emotions and experiences, that we honor ourselves when we use our histories as testimony to our resilience.”

M.L. Gallagher said...

Ah, CZ, have I told you I love you?

Hugs.

L