Taking Responsibility

4

Image Source Recovery Warriors

“Hello, it’s me
I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet…”

 

So like everyone else in the world, the return of the Queen to the music scene has me clamouring over tables and chairs to get access to her newest album, 25. The most hilarious part is that I don’t have cable at my house, and as I’ve mentioned before, you’ll never see me reading the latest issue of people, because really, I couldn’t care less.  No, seriously, I couldn’t care less.

My point, you ask?

Well, it kind of puts me behind the times.  I’m not the uber techy (I don’t even have Twitter. And I actually know what MSN is.  Yeah, I’m old school.), so I actually don’t read much online either, in terms of actual news and entertainment media stuff.  So I actually tend to find things out by the grapevine, or through Facebook or Instagram because, come on, doesn’t everyone find everything out from Facebook and Instagram?!

Yeah, I’m not that old school…

So, even though I’m Adele crazy, I have limited knowledge on the up and up.  I found out about Hello from a friend’s Facebook page, and almost tripped over my dog when I got up and did a happy dance with her return.

I’m not coordinated either.

Moving on.

So back to the hilarious part.  I knew Hello would come with an album eventually, but I kind of assumed it would be like every other artist on the planet where they’re all like, “Oh, and I’m releasing a new album…”

And we wait.

And wait.

And wait.

And then start growing a couple of grey hairs, or a moustache because it’s Movember…

And look!  Eight to twelve months later it’s here!  But it’s kind of a waste because by this point the radio has eaten up every song that would be on the album and played it so many times that we’ve heard everything and are sick of it except for that one song that every album has that is so pointless that we all sit there after listening and say, “What in the world was that?  Excuse me while I either fall asleep from boredom or find the cat in heat that clearly was outside my window…”

So Hello came out and I was hooked, but I let my guard down because you know the album won’t be released until my 447th mental breakdown in the recovery process occurs (yeah, that’s more than one a day!  Good math!).  Then Friday, I was heading to my weigh in (joy!) and had the radio on in the car to the news, and they were interviewing Adele, and suddenly they were all like, “Yeah, your album has been killing it, breaking sales records, etc etc…”

WHAT?!

IT’S OUT?!

It had apparently been out for a week…

I’m going to say that I totally planned this, because you know, it’s Black Friday, and I was totally waiting to buy this for a sale price.

Cough, knew it all along, cough.

Cue me running into my house after the weigh in and purchasing on iTunes.

I know, it’s not the physical copy!  I buy Adele in physical copy, because it’s Adele…  But I can’t wait!

And it downloads. And it buffers.  And I pull my hair out. #firstworldproblems

Then it begins:

 

 

“Hello, it’s me
I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet
To go over everything…”

 

Those poignant notes, the first few lyrics… they mean something different to everyone. I guess that is the wonder of music, literature, poetry, the written word: it’s something that is incredibly individual and personal. To one person, it might be a sad breakup song, to another it might be a reverent acknowledgement of a new beginning.

 

“Hello, it’s me…”

 

This song tugs at my heart strings. And I don’t hear the voice of my ex when it begins. I don’t picture his face. I don’t think of the times we had, or how we ended.

I hear myself.

 

“Hello, it’s me
I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet”

 

No, I’m not self-absorbed. And no, I don’t have multiple personality disorder. And no, I don’t hear voices talking to me. You don’t need to cart me off to the psych ward.

Yet…

Okay, but seriously:

 

“Hello, it’s me…”

 

When I hear this song, it’s like a wake up, and the voice is muffled. Kind of like when you wake up on Christmas morning, and there’s a blanket of snow covering the ground, and all is quiet. The world is soft. The voice is soft.

 

“To go over, everything…”

 

When you have an eating disorder, your voice, your true voice, the person you are at the core of your being is shunted away. It’s buried. It’s thrown under the carpet and shoved away like a vile creature. It’s beaten. It’s bruised. It’s ripped, torn, and shredded. And it retreats. It falls into the corner and hides, tries to protect and preserve itself from further abuse. It lets itself become small, tender, raw, and accepts the abuse. It accepts it, because it’s resigned to it. It knows it will not win the battle, and it succumbs because by conforming it may be able to spare itself from further harm, further lashes, further shreds. It’s just trying to survive.

Why is it weak? Why does it give up so easy? Why does it run and hide and not put up a fight?

 

“They say that time’s supposed to heal ya
But I ain’t done much healing…”

 

It knows it’s a lost cause. It knows it cannot battle, because the enemy, the one doing all the harm, the tearing, the shredding, the bruising, is you. How do you win a battle against yourself?

It could try.

 

I’m someone.

You’re no one!

I’m unique.

You’re weird!

I’m special.

You’re worthless!

I have my own beauty.

You’re ugly!

I am struggling, and I’m scared/upset.

You’re just weak!

I’m tired.

You’re lazy!

I have my own individual skills.

You’re stupid!

I don’t know.

Because you are pathetic!

I feel alone.

You deserve to be alone!

I am enough, as I am.

You are nothing!

3

Image Source Recovery Warriors

 

“Hello, can you hear me?”

 

It cannot win. Each retort is another barb, another lash, another whip. And these whips, these lashes cut deeper than anything anyone else could say or do to harm you… because you truly believe them. You truly do. You feel them. And if so much hatred exists for yourself, your core self knows there’s no point in putting up a fight. It retreats, it hides, it shelters itself. And you experience that phenomenon, that loss of self, that celebrated and yet detrimental numb. The ED numb.

But the human body, the human soul is not airtight. It’s not a vacuum. And we are all science gurus, so we know that something has to fill that space. Something has to fill the place where your true self once was. If we were all mason jars, that extra space would be filled with air. Air is harmless.

Yeah, the soul isn’t quite like that.

 

“I’m in California dreaming about who we used to be
When we were younger and free…”

 

So what fills the space?

 

“I’ve forgotten how it felt before the world fell at our feet…”

 

The eating disorder. The behaviors, the thoughts, the obsessions. An eating disorder isn’t like a virus- it doesn’t float around in the air and fill the space of someone that has beaten themselves down in the same way that chickenpox infects the cells of someone with a compromised immune system. You can’t “catch” an eating disorder simply because you feel like shit about yourself. There’s a whole gamut of things that play into that including genetics, family history, existing ideas and rituals surrounding food and body image, a period of weight loss, and a multitude of other things. But I am saying that you’re not going to find an eating disorder in someone that is completely and one hundred percent okay with who they are, where they are in life, and where they come from (if that person actually exists…).

The eating disorder is a behaviour. It’s a way of thought. It’s a mental illness. But it’s a symptom of a greater issue, a bigger insecurity.

 

“There’s such a difference between us
And a million miles…”

 

Now let’s be clear here. I said it before- you’re the one that beats yourself down. You can blame the media. You can rant and rave, and say that if we didn’t have unrealistic ideals being thrown at us left and right, messages of how we should look, behave, feel, think, value, etc spewed at us constantly, we wouldn’t think so lowly of ourselves. We can say, if we didn’t have our parents telling us what we should look like or do, or if we hadn’t been abused as a child, if we hadn’t been neglected, we wouldn’t have the problems we do. There wouldn’t be eating disorders. That it isn’t our fault that we have this negative cloud that consumes us, that everyone and everything else is to blame.

These things aren’t to be minimized. Their impact on us is real, and they do affect us. Humans are not machines in terms of energy use and calorie burn, so why would we be machines when it comes to emotion, thought, and feeling. We are creatures that are based off of relationships and interaction, both with other human beings and with the environment around us. The media affects us, as do the words and actions of those we interact with on a daily basis. They’re meant to.

However we can’t blame everything on them. If you do, you’re looking for a scapegoat. You’re looking for something to blame for the fact that you feel so horrible about yourself. Is it because your core self is already so bruised, to add another responsibility, another fault to it is just too painful and might cause it to actually break?

Possibly. It’s a very real possibility.

Think of how loaded the statement is:

“I am resposibile for the way I feel about myself. I cause myself pain. I hurt myself. I think that I am the scum of the earth, and I take every opportunity to push my own nose into the dirt. I am responsible. I feel this way. I hold these values, and it is I and I alone that upholds ridiculous standards for myself. I whip myself. I beat myself. I lash myself. It is I and I alone. This is my burden that I have put on myself.”

If you try and shift THAT to anyone else, who would blame you?!

 

“Hello from the other side
I must have called a thousand times…”

 

But read it, and read it carefully. For every word of it is true. People can hurl things at you, but you don’t have to adopt them for yourself. You do have a choice to accept the idea of a perfect body, or a perfect life, or an ideal path and purpose.   The choice exists.

 

“To tell you I’m sorry for everything that I’ve done
But when I call you never seem to be home…”

 

That doesn’t mean that the choice is easy. And that doesn’t mean that it is your FAULT that your life is where it is. Fault implies judgement, and it implies that at some point you made the wrong decision. When we are young we learn our values from others because we are impressionable. Nature AND nurture. However, once we are older, and we have the ability to think for ourselves, we do have a choice. The choice isn’t easy. But the choice also isn’t static. Because we decided we value one thing, we don’t have to always value that thing.

2

Image Source Recovery Warriors

For me, one of the most crucial points to progression in my recovery was realizing that I have choice, and that though these thoughts and feelings about myself were someone learned at some point, it is my choice to maintain these thoughts and feelings, and values. This realization, the realization that I am responsible for myself in both mind, body, and soul, is huge. It puts the onus on me.

It’s a tough one to bear. It’s a tough load to carry.

1

Image Source Recovery Warriors

“Hello from the outside
At least I can say that I’ve tried
To tell you I’m sorry for breaking your heart…”

 

“I am resposibile for the way I feel about myself. I cause myself pain. I hurt myself. I think that I am the scum of the earth, and I take every opportunity to push my own nose into the dirt. I am responsible. I feel this way. I hold these values, and it is I and I alone that upholds ridiculous standards for myself. I whip myself. I beat myself. I lash myself. It is I and I alone. This is my burden that I have put on myself.”

 

But it is only through this acceptance of responsibility that we can begin to shift our perspective. We are no longer the victims of society. We are no longer the victims of someone else’s opinions. We are no longer powerless. By using the media, or our upbringing as a scapegoat, we are taking power away from ourselves. We are giving into the belief that we are weak, that we couldn’t resist. And if we give into this belief, this utter sense of inevitability, of powerlessness, we are only further stifling ourselves, our core selves.

We are swinging back the bat for another beating.

“Hello, how are you
It’s so typical of me to talk about myself I’m sorry…
It’s no secret that the both of us
Are running out of time..”

So we must accept responsibility. Acknowledge the part that all the other people, and the media in our lives have played. But accept responsibility for who you are in this moment.

“I am resposibile for the way I feel about myself. I cause myself pain. I hurt myself. I think that I am the scum of the earth, and I take every opportunity to push my own nose into the dirt. I am responsible. I feel this way. I hold these values, and it is I and I alone that upholds ridiculous standards for myself. I whip myself. I beat myself. I lash myself. It is I and I alone. This is my burden that I have put on myself.”

 

“So hello from the other side
I must have called a thousand times
To tell you I’m sorry for everything that I’ve done…”

 

By taking responsibility you are taking back power, and giving it back to the self that you so abused, so hurt, so tormented. You are giving it a break, apologizing, allowing the wounds to have air. You are lifting the rug you shoved it under.

 

“Hello, its me…”

 

Can you hear it?

 

“I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet…”

 

It’s your voice.  It’s still there.

 

“Hello from the other side
I must have called a thousand times…”

 

It’s on the other side.  It must have tried to call you a thousand times.

 

To tell you I’m sorry for everything that I’ve done…
To tell you I’m sorry for breaking your heart…”

 

It’s sorry, AND you’re sorry.

 

Hello.”

 

Wake up.

1

Image Source Recovery Warriors

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Taking Responsibility

  1. This is such a thought provoking post and so beautifully written (and it includes an Adele song so OBVIOUSLY it’s amazing;) Really, though, I love your perspective on taking responsibility, but not blaming/beating yourself down. Accepting that whatever factors influenced you are out of your control but you do have a choice of what direction to take RIGHT NOW.

    Like

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