lauantai 17. elokuuta 2013

Day 292: The Stable One



I was thinking back on what I wrote in my previous post (written a few days ago) and I thought about wanting to be “the stable one” - the one who remains steady even though everything and everyone else is in chaos – and how this ideal (a model I learned from my father) has led me to suppress my emotions and feelings. I asked myself today: why did I even want to be stable? And I replied: because my environment was chaotic. And then I realized something about our family dynamics.

In my core family when growing up there were six people plus one close relative who spent a lot of time with us. Three of my family members were very open about their emotions/feelings and their extrovertedness was sometimes even explosive. The remaining two in addition to myself throughout the years became very introverted, still and calm. I believe that to balance out the family dynamics I have become an introvert, a stabilizer of the other half of the family that was running rampant. This much was clear to me before.

But what surprised me was that for some reason in my childhood my family environment has felt chaotic to me. I know that I enjoyed all that hassle as well: most of my memories of my family life are positive and lively. But overall there has been a chaos of sorts around all of my childhood, be it in the large size of our family, all the people who came and went in our house, the general untidiness of our home, the complexity of social relations in such a wild bunch of people, the different stages of life everyone was in – or maybe it's the fact that I didn't have enough mental tools to comprehend all this. Some things we never spoke of simply because I don't think my parents knew how to, and I cannot blame them for not teaching us something they did not know themselves.

To handle the chaos I have learned to become an anchor to myself, which is cool because it has taught me independence and stability. The downside of this is the fact that my model of “stability” came from a source who was doing it at his own expense, which is what I learned as well. Now I need to unlearn this trait. I do not need to suppress myself to be stable – I do not need to suppress myself to handle chaos – I do not need to fear chaos; There is chaos remaining within me and the only way to remove it is to go through it. What is Life if not a chaotic bundle of every god damn thing?

Now that I think of it, I do recall being uncomfortable seeing that people around me were having chaos within them but not speaking about it. It stirred anxiety in me – perhaps I was learning to feel the anxiety the others were feeling themselves. I remember people in my family all hiding things, and it being obvious to me that they were, yet no one was speaking up to change that. Growing up among people full of bottled up chaos has taught me to fear chaos, because I did not understand it. All I saw as a child was people being dishonest, people in hiding, people afraid of themselves. I didn't understand that they were going through their personal challenges that had nothing to do with me.

So I've seen the emotional chaos that people have within themselves, and I've seen them suppress it, and I've seen how all of this makes them suffer. I've seen them strained, stretched, pulled; imploding, exploding. I'm guessing I did not want to add up to all of that. I didn't want to be one of them. And so I acted as if my inner chaos did not exist, and at times I believed my own act. So I created a separation of “me vs. the others” - me “having to” stabilize others by being sensible, calm and rational. Fascinating indeed.

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