It was an easy thing to do-people noticed my success in my current activities and so started suggesting additional activities and goals for me to do that were similar to what I was already doing. All of these things sounded worthwhile and fun and I got excited about every one; they also played to my ego, and I did not want to tell anyone "no" and so I wrestled with going against anyone else's vision of me.
I forgot about my own vision.
I forgot what my real goals were and what I, myself, really would like to do-I temporarily forgot who I really am and what I really know about myself, because I was dazzled by the visions and possibilities that people were suggesting for me, instead of considering if they really aligned with my real self or not.
I became overwhelmed, exhausted, tearful, and anxious.
I stopped appreciating the good things that I was already doing, because I was always looking years ahead at the far-off goals that other people were suggesting. I became too busy to be mindful and I stopped doing my nightly gratitude lists.
I stopped honoring the goddess of creativity and honored the god of anxiety instead.
Fortunately, by Monday I had already realized that I needed to make some major changes and to reclaim my life. My therapist and I had a good talk-I had a good cry-and it was decided that I would cancel some commitments and that I would spend the rest of the week relaxing, resting, and being creative. It helps that it is supposed to snow this week, so that I will probably be forced to stay home, anyway. (I do live in Georgia, after all.)
I went home and rested and then I did something that settled my mind and made me feel whole again-I wrote down my goals in a way that would remind me of who I really am and what is important to me.
This is actually a dialectical behavioral therapy distress tolerance skill.
When I took the class, I filled out a questionnaire where I rated the different parts of my life, with the highest ranking ones being the ones that are the most important to me and then I broke the top three down into specific goals to keep me motivated and to remind me what is important to myself. It is a distress tolerance skill, because knowing what is important to you can help ease your discomfort if the thing that is important involves some unpleasantness.
This time, I made it my own and I feel like a huge burden has been lifted off of me and like I am friends with myself again.
I know myself again.
Here are my goals, in the hope that this format might help you too:
Continuing Artistic Goals:
Feminist Community Building Goals
Relationship Goals - New Church
Supplemental Activities - ONLY WHEN I HAVE ENERGY
I have several big art projects that I am working on that I will talk about later and I actually created a "romantic relationship" list, but some things do have to be kept secret.
I am an artistic person and that is good, but sometimes it feels weird to give in to that knowledge. Children are warned against becoming too fond of art and of writing and singing, because it is too hard to support yourself with those talents and so I have been afraid to give in to it for a long time, but it is who I am. People in this culture are taught to be constantly busy and to constantly multi-task, but multi-tasking actually slows down productivity and increases anxiety. I cannot handle that lifestyle.
Writing down my goals stabilizes me and reminds me of what is really important to me and by writing down my regular activities, I am reminded to be mindful of my energy level and to honor my body. Slowly, I am learning to say, "no" to other people's thoughts and "yes" to my own ideas.
You cannot identify a rapist just by looking at him. But you know who can identify rapists? Their victims.
Their victims deserve the presumption of being believed.