on protection

May 12, 2020:
My initial impulse was to name this channel mothers and children, but I overruled myself on that, out of a desire to try to avoid some of the emotional/cultural connotations carried by the use of a gendered pronoun in this context.
What context is that, you ask? Excellent question, friend, albeit one which was probably going to be answered by me anyway in the course of this discussion.
Monologue?
No. I think I like the word discussion better: even in the more or less frequent cases in which no one really comments on stuff I write here, it’s all the result of long years of often relatively heated debates within my own mind. And since I currently have decided that I am somewhat insane, but only differing so by degree from the insanity of the next person, I’m kind of just rolling with it to see where it takes me. So, discussion it is!
When on the street, I had a number of what I referred to as my street children. People broken, as I was until so very recently, who seemed to react to someone listening to them, caring about their well-being, as though no one else had done so in years.
So many people find that inner strength from external sources; religion, identity groups, mother and father figures, among many others.
Pico found it in me, before I lost any right to it by keeping him in an untenable situation. It’s taken a long time for Pico to heal.
Much longer than it’s taken me… and only today it occurred to me that perhaps one of the ways that it might be beneficial for me to frame my understanding of the process I’ve been going through recently is that I somehow, following a series of bizarre and specific coincidences, completely accidentally and wholly unintentionally – stumbled upon a way to be my own protector.
To be my own calming hand on my shoulder, granting me the courage to take another step. Pico still needed an external protector to heal, to recover, but his faith in me had been shattered and I didn’t know how to fix it. Some things helped, some caused that healing to backpedal.
Sisi has really instigated some astounding improvements in Pico’s overall well-being. At first, he started sleeping on top of my bed instead of underneath it, because, it seemed to me, Sisi had become the enemy, more so than the various night noises that spooked him before, and he could keep an eye on her more easily from up top.
But then, when they started getting along better, in conjunction with me spending so much time in bed to give Sisi a safe, comfortable body to sleep on – when he began to view Sisi as less of a threat, the other Scary Things didn’t return to take their former places of power in his mind.
This is all, of course, just stuff I’ve made up. But it seems to fit with his behavior over the week.
Everything is interconnected, nothing acts in a vacuum. Fewer Scary Things at night meant he slept better, sleeping better meant fewer Scary Things the next day and a closer relationship with Sisi, and with me.
For the past few days, Pico has come every time I’ve called his name, which hasn’t even been that often because he’s been accompanying me wherever I go on the property.
But maybe, like in physical maturation- emotional maturation carries with it an adolescent stage.
And during that stage, one cannot really face the demons of the world without…a protector, emotionally. I don’t really know, but it seems like maybe when we feel like we have a person or a place of Safety to return to when things get scary, it gives us the confidence necessary to explore enough of the darkness to see that the monsters really were just shadows all along.
It seems to me like maybe life could be described, in many cases, as a never ending series of gaining that sense of security and then having it violently shattered when some fear causes us to seek that protection, only to find it… absent. I think we always run the risk of harm, the risk of seeking an absent protector…as long as that protector is external. No one outside of our own selves can be there when we need them, always.
This has followed a somewhat somber tone, but that’s perhaps a side effect of only just beginning to put words to these thoughts… Honestly, this line of thinking grants me inexpressible optimism in the potential future of our species! Because…I think this is what I’ve found, in myself. And by using these beliefs to guide my actions, the proof, for both myself and my parents, that I’m doing something right is in Pico and Sisi and the ways they’ve both transformed just over the past week. How can we expect to heal ourselves, fix our own problems – let alone those of the world at large (which it seems like we all kind of tend to internalize in ways that are harmful, despite our beliefs that we are not capable of fixing them) – if we don’t have a clear idea of what our problems are? I’m not saying I know everything about everyone’s problems. I don’t think I’ll ever even know everything about all of my own personal problems. But that doesn’t mean there’s no value in seeking to uncover them!

May 29, 2020-
It occurred to me just now that I ought to clarify
I mean it simply as one stage in the process of growth- one in which I continually find myself stepping back into, without even realizing it
But having awareness of that tendency in myself, grants me more of an ability to react to it in a way that allows me to step out of it more effectively, more often
I would say that maybe even whenever I am not present, I slip back into that stage of immaturity, until I can balance myself again, if any of that makes sense.
I hate using the words ‘present’ and ‘centered,’ because they have some pretty heavy connotations as well, but I’ve yet to find better ones
Anyway. I was definitely acting emotionally immature yesterday!
My very word choices gave it away
Saying that I ‘need’ the active participation of other members of this server
When I don’t need it, but only thought I did because I had gotten swept up in my emotional state and wasn’t really thinking things though, and wasn’t really paying attention to more subtle indicators within conversations and such of the relative emotional states of the people I was talking to
Anyway. Just wanted to clarify some of that, in case it sounded like something icky, or like I was saying I am somehow never that way
Because I am, pretty frequently
I just am trying to not let that stop me from continuing to try to be better, and happier.
Instead, I’m trying to become more aware of it…
And use that knowledge, actively, in the process of growth.
As and when I am able to!

brooke

I spent three years living on the street in Los Angeles. I came out of that, changed. This is my story.

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