“I have been trying to run myself on the do-your-best-to-fit-in-with-normal-people operating system. It’s not my original operating system. It’s the one I adopted when I was abused in various ways for being myself. I perfected it in school and at work, forcing myself to do all the boring and pointless things and to make myself take up less space.
What do I remember of the original proto-version? I was dreamy. I wandered in the woods. I read fantasy. I read entries in the encyclopedia. I loved puzzles and make-believe. I wrote stories and poetry. I did math for fun. I felt connected to the wild…” ~BP
Who were you before you learned that you were too much and not enough? Who were you before you stopped singing, dancing, and asking questions with unself-conscious glee? Who were you before you learned that voracious reading instead of homework was unacceptable? Who were you before you stopped crying?
Might it be time to rejuvenate that person? Bring that person back to life? Time to say the hell with normal?
There is no better time. Normal isn’t looking so good these days.
So where do you begin? It might be a frightening prospect if you had a chainsaw family or if you were told that you were crazy or inadequate. Or if you experienced bullying or abandonment or racism. Or if you were told that your intelligence was hurting others or that you should feel guilty because you’re so smart or if you believed them when they called you a know-it-all and a show-off.
So, let’s start small-ish. Make a list of reminders and steps that you can take today. Here are examples adapted from one rainforest mind’s list.
~ Binge read with abandon.
~ Engage with creativity. Make things. Make music. Dance. Be bad at it.
~ It is not elitist or selfish to make sure that what I do is worthy of my precious time and energy.
~ Allow time for deep dives. It’s OK to be obsessive with my research and learning. It’s how I tick.
~ Spend time in beauty. Let nature hold the complexity; let indoors hold a beautiful simplicity.
~ Minimize boring work. Either ask for help, find better tools, or question whether it needs to be done.
~ Be kinder to myself. Stop putting everyone else first. Set healthy boundaries. Take time to rest. Take some of the pressure off. Stop burning the candle at multiple ends. Feel my gratitude in the present moment.
~ Notice when I feel the compulsion to get online. Am I needing self-soothing? Am I bored? Am I lonely? Is there another choice I could make that would be more expansive, connecting, and real?
~ Find and nourish important friendships. Tend those friendships with people who are truly supportive, are not threatened by me, and who laugh at my jokes.
~ Connect to the wild.
~ Let resentment or rage or terror be a sign that I’m being triggered. It may be an old response, borne of being a helpless rainforest-minded kid in a chainsaw world. Remind myself that I’m no longer powerless. People in authority are not my parents. Soothe and love my child-self. I have great respect for myself for the courage it takes to be in therapy.
~ Follow my weird. I must actualize the beauty and power inside me.
~ Get back to being idealistic, optimistic, funny, and intuitive. It’s time to acknowledge and open more to my strengths. I can find my particular rainforest-y way to make the world a better place.
~ Listen to the original cast albums of Dear Evan Hansen and Hamilton over and over. Sing with You Will Be Found.
~ Be dreamy. Take up plenty of space. Return to my glee. Say a fond farewell to normal.
To my bloggEEs: Did you make your own list? Can you share some of your list with us? Thank you, as always, for being here. I’m sending love and appreciation from my heart to yours. And thank you to the reader who provided the inspiration and the content of much of this post.
I think there’s still room in the Gifted Women Symposium in Denver, June 2, 2018. I’d love to see some of you there. And July 20-22, 2018, there’s the SENG conference in San Diego. Not only will I be presenting but Tom Clynes of The Boy Who Played With Fusion is a keynoter. Please come find me if you attend!