Rewiring Childhood

I haven't done anything artistically significant (by my own definition) in a while. Some might argue that working as a concept illustrator on Arrow for the past 2 years and and playing a show this past weekend are artistically significant, but by my impossibly high standards for myself I am doing the bare minimum. I spend most of my time in a state of introspection. I am working on healing my mind, body, soul and spirit. This is no easy task because for years I abused myself and have been subjected to the abuse of others. We all have, to varying degrees of course, but not one of us has come into adulthood unscathed. 

The ways in which we abuse ourselves are fascinating because the root is often not apparent. The origins of our self abuse stems from our childhood. Since many of us don't remember much from our early years, it may be hard to figure out where these destructive thought patterns which feed our destructive behaviors and toxic relationships came from. The point of discovering our dysfunctional origin is not to lay blame and absolve ourselves of responsibility, but rather to challenge those things that were said and done to us so that we can break the grip they still have on our lives today. We are essentially rewiring our brains by doing this.

I'll give you an example. My entire sense of self worth has come from the idea that I am intelligent, creative, artistically talented and capable of doing anything I set my mind to. This has hammered into me by my parents and affirmed by my teachers and peers. Even the kids who didn't like me and were super cruel to me still conceded that I was smart and talented. I may not have had friends, but at least I had a sharp mind and I could wow people with my artistic talents. As a result, I began to equate admiration with affection, but I rarely connected with anyone on a deep personal level. I never felt loved and accepted for who I was at my core. I derived my sense of value from my abilites and how much people admired me for them even if they didn't necessarily know me or even like me. I never learned to let anyone in and what intimacy really is. 

Now it's time to rewire. I'm beginning to see how years of placing my sense of self worth in my abilites isn't sustainable. In this stage of my life having a chronic illness and a host of mental health issues has diminished my ability to be this highly intelligent, extraordinary artist, who's a creative force to be reckoned with. I'm having to learn to derive my worth elsewhere and that's an uncomfortable place to be. I'm having to be compassionate with myself which is something I never learned in my childhood. I have to rewire that thought path in my mind that tells me "I have to exceed my previous achievements to have value." I'm working on changing that thought pattern to "I am enough as I am right now and I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be." 

Nobody ever said anything like that to me as a kid so the thought had never occurred to me. The first time I heard it something along the lines that my worth doesn't come from my talents and abilities, I rejected it. I'm still having a tough time believing it, but I'm determined to change and grow. Change and growth takes time though. I have been making a concentrated effort to not do anything spectacular(by my old standard) yet still affirm that I am just as valuable, loveable and worthy of connection. Rewiring is hard work.

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