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Good morning Anita. Its a beautiful morning here in VA as I have the back door open listening to several birds singing. So quiet and peaceful right now and I wonder what the morning is like where you are.
I am so sorry that you still get the feelings of shame so often. Dozens of times a day you said. When I was going through my worst times, which was my late teens, I had almost constant feelings of shame and disgust with myself. The only breaks from this would be during my exercise period when I could clear my mind and then in the evening, watching tons of TV. Although I felt out of place in the military, it did help me a great deal with building some self confidence and self esteem. My sense of shame was not as intense because I felt I was doing something for others. Maybe I wasn’t such a bad person after all. The shame bug doesn’t hit me as much anymore as I have been healing. Your are right though; its never going to be totally gone so its better to accept that fact. Expecting to feel good 100% of the time is just going to lead to disappointment. Learning how to accept it and react with more self compassion when it does come back is the key. At least thats what I getting from the mindfullness book.
Well I’m going to head out on a bike ride right now before it gets too hot. I look forward to the next letter from my best girlfriend. Hope you have a wonderful day.
Hi Anita. How was your day? Thank you for sharing your experience at Disneyland. I was not deployed at the time so when you were enjoying your magical 3 days, I was only 25 miles away living in Laguna Hills. That will be 30 years ago in September. Wow!! I went to Disneyland only once but have been to Disneyworld in Orlando 4 or 5 times. Disney is another thing that brings out the inner child in me. I also love to watch figure skating so I go to see Disney on Ice whenever it comes to town.
I have so much more to say but I better finish it tomorrow. I am getting sleepy and can’t get my thoughts together. I’ll be off work for the next 3 days so I’ll be a lot more rested and have plenty of time. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org I’m glad you wanted my email address. It made me feel special. Until tomorrow….
Good morning dear Anita. I feel so blessed right now to have met you. I also feel alive right now; more alive than I’ve felt in a long time. I promise to let you know if something you write bothers me so we can clarify. I hope you’ll do the same if I write something that made you feel bad. I wish I had time right now to write a long letter but unfortunately its a work day. I’ll try and write tonight when I get home (I work a 2 PM to 10:30 PM shift) but if not, I’ll be off work tomorrow because of the holiday.
I wanted to know if you would feel comfortable if I gave you an email address to use. I have one that I don’t mind posting here so we can talk more privately. No pressure, but I was thinking this thread will be up to 100 pages in no time. I’ll be thinking of my best girlfriend at work today and hoping that you are having a peaceful day. Tell you more soon.
Hi Anita. Your making me blush again. It makes me happy that I had a small part in making you feel very lively yesterday. I really think the reason I’ve felt so joyful the last few days is that for one of the few times in my life, I have felt an emotional connection to someone. I’ve never been a people person. Because of the protective walls I put up, I’ve never let people get too close. My friendships were more superficial as I was too scared of rejection to really open up and have a deep, emotional connection. You are the first person I have felt completely safe with so as to tell my whole story. In the past 10-15 years as I started telling certain people my secret, I would only tell part of my story. I wouldn’t tell them about the deep feelings of shame, humiliation, and self loathing that I’ve lived with. The thought of telling them that was too scary as it would expose myself as timid and weak. I feel safe letting you see the real ME!!
That is so sad that your mother punished you for no reason. She was probably so miserable (misery loves company) that she couldn’t stand to see you looking happy or joyful. You deserve to feel joy and happiness without guilt. I hope in time your inner child will feel safe with me. We are best girlfriends after all.
I’ll tell you more about how Jim and Jamie coexist in my next letter. I thought about you a lot at work today. I hope you had a nice walk and a peaceful day.
Good morning Anita. I have had the same feeling the last few days. Alive, joyful, even euphoric. I’ll explain and tell you much more tonight. Got to get ready for work but I’ll be thinking of you and hoping you are having a wonderful day.
Hi Anita. Thank you again for your kind comments. I agree in that the Jamie photo is much more magical. “She” is my fountain of youth in a way and more of what I feel like on the inside. I also like her better. Jim was scared, cold, and regimented whereas Jamie is much more fun, compassionate, and loving. I’m actually glad that she is more of who I am now.
Wow, you’ve moved around more than I have. I was born and raised in St. Louis, MO and still go back occasionally to visit my sister. I started moving around when I joined the military in my early 20’s. You mentioned Los Angeles. I lived in Orange County, CA from 1984-88 when I was finishing up my military time. I was married for a few years back then but it was not a happy marriage. I’ve never gotten remarried.
I’m sorry you are struggling with an eating disorder. You mentioned a recent “torture” that triggered it? I wish there was something I could do to help you with your struggle and lessen your pain. I hope our friendship helps you as it has helped me. When we communicate I feel like we are best girlfriends in a way. I like that feeling. Hope you are enjoying your evening and I’ll talk to you soon.
Anita you are making me blush!! Thank you!! I thought I would change it up so you could see “Jim”. Again a good picture from about 12 years ago in my late 40’s. Have to go out for a few hours but I will write back this evening. Lots I want to tell you.
Dear Anita. I wasn’t sure what your marital status was but I’m happy to hear that you have a husband. I hope he treats you well. I thought it would be fun to put one of my “Jamie” photos as my avatar. This is my favorite one although I have to be honest in that it was taken about 12 years ago when I was in my late 40’s. I’ve always felt and dressed way younger than my actual age (this is a prom dress). I guess I do still have a lot of my inner young self that wants to be expressed.
You wondered what I like to do. One of by biggest passions that started in childhood and continues to this day is riding a bicycle. I love bike riding! Yesterday morning it was so nice out and I went on a 35 mile ride through the quiet countryside. Those 2 hours I spent riding was exhilarating and peaceful at the same time. My mind clears, I take in nature, and I feel like I don’t have a care in the world. I really feel like this passion is what made it possible to live with shame all these years. Instead of feeling bad all the time, I had something that could make me feel good for at least a few hours a day. This was a much healthier way to block out the pain rather that turning to drugs or alcohol. I’ve seen people a lot older that me still ride a bike so I’m going to keep doing it as long as I’m physically able.
At what age did you leave Israel? Do you like living in the US? I hope you are enjoying your day Anita. I took today off work because the weather is still so nice. Talk to you soon.
Hi Anita. I am so sorry what you went through. I had no idea that you had been physically abused also. I just can’t imagine having a parent that would do that to a child. I may have felt rejected by society but my loving parents were the bright spot that made my early life bearable.
That was such a beautiful image that you had. Either you as the adult and me the child or me the adult and you the child. Walking hand in hand with the unconditional love a parent and child should share. Both of us feeling safe and secure no matter what kind of clothes I was wearing. Thank you for telling me about it.
Isn’t that amazing that we both felt the need to hide and run in panicked circles. I still keep going back to the opening I missed as a teenager when my mom sat me down and wanted to know my truth. She knew something was wrong and was ready to listen with compassion. Opening up at that time could have possibly saved me years of pain. I have such regret that my “fear of rejection” took over in that instant and I crept back into my hiding place.
We are at opposite side of the country. I’ve moved around as an adult but have lived here in Virginia for the past 20 years. We’ve had a hot, humid month of June but today was beautiful. Much cooler and less humid after the thunderstorms last night. I hope you are having a nice day Anita. You are in my thoughts and I’ll write again soon.
Who is this child beater that your mother holds up as a model woman. How sad that your mother thinks that abusing children, physically or mentally, is worthy of emulation. Is your mother still alive and part of your life?
Good morning Anita. How are you doing today? You seemed upset the other day. I can certainly identify with your hurt. I was the one who went through school sitting in the back, never raising my hand, afraid to speak up because I thought no one wanted to hear from me. Praying that the teacher wouldn’t call on me and put me on the spot. I was the wallflower in high school, with such fear of rejection, that I could barely talk to a girl, much less ask her out on a date.
There is a recurring dream I’ve had all my life. In the dream I am by myself but wearing girls clothes. All of a sudden I hear people coming and I panic; looking for somewhere to hide. I’m can’t find anywhere to hide and I’m running in circles, terrified of being seen. The humiliation of being caught would be too much to bear. I get in such a panic that I usually wake up at this point. In real life I would wear girls clothes in public and walk around with my head held high and a smile on my face. This would be my way of proclaiming that this is ME and I’m not ashamed.
You make a difference Anita, a big difference!! Just from the way you help and support me and others on this site. We can’t change what happened to us, but we can learn to look at ourselves with greater compassion. Thats what I’m hoping to learn with time and practice. Hope you have a nice weekend.
Good morning Anita. I wanted to finish my thought from last night. There is an oldies TV station that shows episodes from the first TV show I can remember watching as a child. Its the Superman series from the late 50’s and I can remember being 4 years old and watching it with amazement (I really thought he could fly). My mom made me a Superman outfit and I would wear it as I ran around the house pretending to be Superman. I would jump off the furniture as if I could fly. You should see me when I watch the show now. I get a big smile on my face and watch it with almost the same intensity I did when I was a little boy. I guess we both still have that inner child that wants to come out and play. Enjoy your day!
Thank you so much for your words of wisdom and heartfelt support. It really makes my day. I agree with you that even if our lives had been happier, we can’t relive it. Its still the past. But I find myself reflecting more since I turned 60 and it would be nice to get a feeling of pride and fulfillment instead of feeling ashamed. I let FEAR run my life and made the same mistakes over and over again. Never learning a lesson and growing.
Thanks for the offer of the mood log sheets. I do have some from a book called “Feeling Good” by David Burns but I’ve never used them. However I would love some info on finding your inner child. I wan’t to tell you about what makes me feel like a child when I write again this weekend. Hope you are doing well.
Hi Anita. Sorry I can’t always respond right away (I still work full time) but I was thinking about you. Thank you for your kind words and it makes me happy to know that you enjoy hearing from me. I’m so glad you had that moment of self love. That is wonderful!! There was a quote in the book about that very thing. I think it said; a moment of self compassion/love can change your entire day. A string of such days can change your life. I don’t think I’ve ever had a moment like that yet. Sometimes with rational thinking I remember some positive things I’ve done and think; maybe I’m not such a bad guy after all. But then it doesn’t take much to fall back into the negative thinking patterns again. I have another book that is about CBT and keeping mood logs. I haven’t tried that however.
I think the thing that bothers me the most is the regret that I let all those years go by before taking any action. I did a good job of masking my unhappiness and was very stubborn about looking for help. My life could have been much happier and productive. I can’t go back and change it, so I have to find a way to forgive myself and let it go. I think that is another thing that connects us. The fact that we both waited until middle age before seeking help.
Hope you are having a nice day Anita. Take care and talk to you soon.
Good morning Anita. I’m sorry you had a rough day yesterday. I hope you slept better last night. I know what you mean about subjugating yourself to others. Because my self esteem was so low I didn’t think I was worth standing up for. I’ve let some people manipulate and use me like a door mat. I hate arguing because I can’t say no and always end up giving in. Then I beat myself up for it later. We all want to be liked and accepted but I wanted EVERYBODY to like me so I became a “yes” person, always agreeing with people, afraid to speak my mind.
I think we all want to feel connected and I’m glad we can talk openly with each other. I’m determined to keep at it. I don’t want to go back to the scared, introverted, isolated person I was for many years. I hope you are having a much better day today. Bye for now.