Chinese Wall: (noun) An insurmountable barrier, especially to the passage of information or communication.
Lately I have been feeling like quite the failure. To me, success has been the ability to shower and leave the house on a given day. And if I can do that two days in a row: MIRACLE!
I don't suppose that it's too crazy to be feeling a bit shitty. In the last two years I have been dealing with chronic illness, I lost my job, and now my marriage is ending. Also, my daughter is not speaking to me, and I am living in a very busy city that I find somewhat frightening. I could cut myself some slack if it weren't for this stupid wall in my head.
It appears, that at some point, I have built a wall in my head. It's quite the wall too. It's big enough that I am totally aware of it's existence. In fact it's so big that I haven't been able to get around it, over it, or under it. I can't knock it down, or even deal with the fact that it is there. This wall does not let me take what I know intellectually to be true and allow myself emotionally to accept it.
For example: Someone could tell me that I am smart. I could take that information in, compare it to what I know to be true about myself, and even thank the person, albeit in a rather embarrassed way, and as I process it and file it away, it never makes it over the wall to where my self-esteem lives. Thus, I feel rather dumb. I always feel inadequate, unsure, ill suited for anything that requires intellect. Oddly enough, when I sit down to do my work, I do a good job. The side of the wall that holds that information is perfectly capable of doing what it needs to. I know, intellectually, that I am smart.
This exists in any situation that is complimentary. Any situation that requires me to take credit for any good that I do. That causes me to beat the crap out of myself for anything that goes wrong. I have such a poor self-esteem that I just bury myself in guilt over everything. I feel guilty for the bad things, and I feel guilty should something good happen to make it over the wall and I by chance feel good about myself. Feeling good about myself, in my mind is excessive pride and thus egotistical and wrong.
I think that is why I built the wall. I built the wall in order to keep my ego in check. The problem is I built it so high and so thick that I left myself with no ego at all. This has left me anxious, afraid, and ultimately: alone.
I belive we all build walls of some type or other. We build walls to success when we are afraid of where success may lead us. If success leads us out of our comfort zone we feel that sucess just may not be worth it. And what about this whole illness thing? What would you do if you woke up tomorrow totally well? So much of the infrastructure and routine of our lives is based around our illness. There is a wall that has been building up, slowly between the lifestyle of well and the lifestyle of ill.
I think that is kind of what Chronically Awesome is all about. It is sort of a perpetual wrecking ball of that wall between well and ill. It's an attempt to keep ill out of our lifestyle as much as possible. I have to admit, I am not always that great at it. That is one reason why I wanted to create a lot of programs within the foundation that required me to be active online with other members. There was no way I was going to jump on a google hangout without having showered and put my makeup on. So, for me these activities are the wrecking ball of THAT wall.
So what will be the wrecking ball of that other wall? It's a wall that has been building and building for years. "yes you are pretty but don't let it go to your head" "you really are very good at X but don't focus on it too much or you will sound like a bitch".
My therapist noticed it last week when there were several things I was telling her about that I did but I wouldn't take credit for them, so I kept saying "we". They were things about work I had done on twitter or my facebook page or even my own website and blog. That's when we started exploring this idea of the wall. That's when she told me that I am smart. That's when I told her that I know that I am, but that I can't accept that I am.
That's when I got tired of not being proud of myself.
Why am I not allowed to be proud of myself?
Here is how I know I am worthy, how I know I am a good person. I have friends. I have people who love and care about me. I have Brian, and Donna, and Amanda all of whom I do not give enough to. In fact, I just got up to go to the bathroom, I came back and there I missed a call from Amanda. That's LA Lupus Lady who is practically a neighbor and I don't spend nearly enough time with her considering how close she is. And Donna, we do a podcast and work on the foundation together. I don't feel like I am there for her enough, I just miss the tough stuff. I come in at the end and am not there when she needs me. AND part of being a friend is trusting people with your crap. I have not told them this stuff, so they have no idea why I hold back on some things. But they love me, they are my friends. I have the ladies in the hangout each week that are there to support me as much as I am there to support them. When I cried last week they thanked me for showing that I am able to be human, that I don't always have to be a wonder woman.
Sometimes we are best reflected by the company we keep. I have good friends that care about me. If I had no good qualities living in this being that I am, I would not have such wonderful people around me. And, in spite of every effort that I make to self-isolate, they are there breaking through the isolation.
I am proud of the company I keep. I am fortunate. And friendships are earned and should not be taken for granted. I believe I have earned my friends and must continue to earn them.
And finally, I have dogs. Dogs are excellent judges of character. My dogs love me. They follow me from room to room. They watch me wherever I am. They cuddle me. Dogs know.