The World of Color & Light

c-ptsd inevitable failure - I belong in the dark, not the world of colorI do not have the inalienable right to live the life I have. Somewhere along the way, I stumbled onto a beautiful life. But it isn’t a life that should have been mine. This happiness, the sunshine, and rainbows of my universe are a dream. I am a fraudulent participant. I am an inevitable failure.

 

That is at the core of what my mind tells me every waking moment of every day.

I am not sure how I got as far as I have in life. I really don’t.

Inevitable Failure

I shouldn’t even try because my failure is inevitable. That is the messaging that I started out with. Although that has not stopped me from pursuing things that I want to do, only up to a point.  And then I sabotage it in some way. It is the fear that keeps me from moving forward because I am not worthy of success. Or achievements that would lead to success. 

Sure, I did not grow up around people who considered themselves successful. All I heard was the lamenting cries of those who had made the “wrong” choices. I come by my thoughts of my inevitable failure quite honestly in that regard. It is what I saw every day. 

There were no examples of success. I had no idea what that was supposed to look like. If you don’t see what you are supposed to be someday, then you won’t know what you need to do to get there. I knew what we didn’t have, money, but that does not motivate me in the slightest. 

This sucks because money is what makes the world go ‘round. Or so I am told.

Worth

I will inevitably fail. I am worthless. The MacMillan Dictionary defines worth as “used for saying how good, useful, or reliable someone or something is.” That definition leaves a lot open to interpretation.  What is good? Useful? And to whom? 

I learned my general worth from those around me. And they thought I was pretty worthless. Because to them, I wasn’t good, useful, or reliable. I remember thinking that what they told me couldn’t be true. That I had to have some worth, something that made me good. 

When I went to school, the people there seem to think I was worthwhile. I was something else in school that I wasn’t at home. I was smart, a good kid, a rule follower; I was worthy. And then I would go home. At home, I was worthless, stupid. So it was that opposing viewpoints, that general confusion around my perception of my worth.

Opposing Viewpoints

As I write this, I realize that those opposing viewpoints may have saved my life on several occasions. It created confusion for me, but it gave me something to think about too. Not everyone thinks I am worthless. There might be something to that. 

Part of c-PTSD is the difficulty with self-perception. I see myself so differently than others see me. I learned a long time ago to hide how I think about myself from others. So it is awkward to try to defend what I know is my dysfunctional way of thinking about myself because there is no defense.

How frustrating is that? I know how I perceive myself is wrong. And you know what happened as soon as I wrote that? My brain totally went into overdrive, pushing me not to write that, pushing me to say that the way I perceive myself is none of your business. So I am just fine, thank you very much.

 

In Spite Of

When I sit and think about it, push that dusty old programming out of the way, it is shocking that I made it this far in life. I wake up sometimes amazed that I am alive. I still have moments like that. Moments that I wonder how I made it through. I almost, almost realize how amazing I am to be sitting here, writing this. 

And then the old programming starts back up again, like some old film reel, that plays all of the things that I didn’t do well. Sure, I lived, I survived, but I was a horrible, rebellious kid that didn’t help my mother. I left home, left her, just like my father; I abandoned her, all because I didn’t want to follow the rules. I am selfish, and I don’t care about anyone else but myself. 

Sigh. It is still there. That internal discussion doesn’t yet allow me to see myself as I think others see me, as perhaps I should see myself. To finally break through that old film reel that plays all of the horrible things I did, leaving out the good that I did, the good that I am still trying to do in spite of all I have been through.

Creating New Programming

Only I can do that. Only I can create a new film, new programming, and a fair representation…crap. I couldn’t even write that I would create a film that highlights all of the awesome things I have done with my life. I had to write that it would be a fair film, showing the good and the bad. That is what I was going to write until I caught myself. 

See how insidious that old programming is? 

My brain tells me that I don’t deserve to be where I am, to have what I have. It is a bit like imposter syndrome, but so much worse. Because I don’t think I deserve even to be an imposter.

Fun Me Fact

brain pointing to a chalkboard with the words Here I am, thinking that this should be the easy part. Writing something cool or good that I have done. When I was in the US Army, I was a military police person (MP). Not necessarily known for our warm and fuzzy sides the unit I was with had a community-oriented policing program. I was selected to participate in that program. One of the things that I had to do was to play McGruff the Crime Dog.

You know, put the giant head on that you can’t see anything through, the trench coat with a tail, and NO TALKING. I had a handler/interpreter. I had to mime everything and my interpreter would tell people what I thought. I had to make these huge exaggerated movements because I have a giant head on that has no facial expressions. Great.

At one event there was a very small child being held by his mom. The small child waves at me, and my handler tells me to go over to the child. Actually, my handler guided me over to the child. So I start waving and doing whatever I thought McGruff would do.

This little child was mesmerized by this giant-headed thing. He then reaches out, grabs the nose of the costume, and starts chewing on it. And somewhere a photographer appears. So yes, there is a picture out there somewhere in the world of me, dressed as McGruff the Crime Dog with a toddler chewing on my nose.

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