Sunday, April 26, 2015

Don't Fear the Reaper

My ex once told me of this poem he saw on the Muppet Show, but he had the actor wrong. He said it was Vincent Price. I've used the phrase "count them and compel them and quickly dispel them," ever since. 

What amazing thinking goes into such a simple turn of phrase. It uses a few simple words to let us know how to deal with those lurking monsters inside our head. These monster comedy muppets entertain us right into a healthy mindset.

Simply start a list of the little things that get in our way of boldly embracing the magnificent adventure that awaits us. Start with the most recent or the first things you remember. Whatever works best for you. 

I started with my family treating me like a hot potato. I lived with 10 different parent/guardian combinations in 16 different places by the time I reached 17.

As a child, the longest I ever spent in any one place was either the house my parents had after I was born or the trailer my mom had when I was in junior high school. Both places lasted about three years. I lived with my sister Cokie the longest, though my mother "parented" me at the longest stretch. In those six years, she changed husbands three times and had two live in boyfriends. 

I'll stop there and take a really long breath. Counting just people and places nearly exhausted me. I haven't even talked about the violence I survived. I wont this post. It's enough to see the sheer number of conflicting experiences in just one counting book. 

I knew these parts of my story and yet counting them up, just numbering them one by one, puts me on the road to healing. No wonder I stress and feel unsteady when change comes to my adult life. I can handle a move, but I must be extra careful about reminding myself I'll be okay. 

So I've counted my fear experiences. Now, how did I compel them? First, I thought about the situations where I had choices. I'd say my own choices had little influence until I turned 15. With my mother having her breakdown and abandoning me, I could voice my wants and needs. 

My sister Cokie and I chose an apartment near her friends and close to my high school. She had more control over my life and that helped me. Of all my caregivers,  Cokie provided the calmest, most stable living arrangement. Later, when I graduated high school and got accepted to UNLV, my sister and I moved close enough to walk to classes. 

Knowing where I had control and where I didn't, helps me accept the facts of my fears. That feeling of hot potato dissipates. Who *I* truly am has less to do with my family perception and more to do with how I choose to think of myself. 

Counted and compelled, now it's time for some good old fashioned dispelling. I choose MY perspective over my family's story. I claim my right to a consistent, stable adulthood. 

Making "new and interesting" mistakes on my own, while still taking lessons from the past, leads me to feeling powerful. I reject the notion that I deserved erratic, unstable living arrangements. 

Counted and compelled, then quickly dispelled.

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