Me. Crying. Sobbing, really. In a church. Because that is probably the last public space where one can sob without the risk of public shame.
And because I was tired, and cold… and I wanted to sit down somewhere warm and have a cup of coffee, but I couldn’t afford it because I was in London and I’m poor and unemployed.
Entering the “Other World”
It’s like… entering an alternative world. Slowly drifting further and further away from “this” world to enter this “other” world.
A world made up of your fears and anxieties, where whatever your monsters say is actually true.
And you cannot remember “this” world. You only know that what your monsters say it’s true. That’s your reality. That’s all you can see.
Could I have afforded a cup of coffee? Absolutely.
But that is the reality of “this” world. And I was too far “gone”. Far too far into the “other world”… and whether I could afford a cup of coffee or not was no longer relevant.
Because in that “other world” all I knew was that I was in London, and I was poor and unemployed, and I had just had to dish out 8 squid on horrible pictures of myself and I’m ugly and single…
I had been triggered on just about every single front. Every-single-issue I have gets triggered when I’m in London… Wait… WAS triggered WHEN I was in London yesterday.
Anchors help. If you can somehow tug at something that’s safely anchored in “this world”, then you might be able to come back.
And if you can’t come back, at least you’ll be able to not drift so far away into the “other world”.
Mindfulness is precisely what allows you to tug at the anchors. And remember to tug at the anchors in the first place.
So. Back to me, sobbing in a church somewhere in London. These were the anchors.
- Reminding myself that crying is not necessarily bad and is not necessarily an emotional state you “should get rid of”. And letting myself cry.
I actually did remind myself of this, in between crying and sobbing.
It’s all easier said than done, but there’s nothing like spending an entire life feeling miserable and watching how everyone wants you to “get over your misery already” to begin to feel… protective towards your misery. Life won’t always be “happy go-lucky”.
Granted, when you are in this “other world” you feel like nothing will ever, ever work for you, no matter what, and that’s what makes misery so painful.
That said, you are experiencing sadness, pain and misery for a reason, and that reason is completely valid and legitimate. And it’s your misery. You will get out of it whenever you’re ready to, and not a moment sooner.
- Saying to myself “wow, sweetie, this is really important to you”.
Nevermind that my reply back was something like “yes, and like it matters that this is important to me! Because nothing ever works, ever!”.
I still kept saying “this is really important to you”. This is one of the best ways there are to validate your pain. If you’re crying and sobbing, something *must* be important to you, no “buts”.
- Repeating the mantra “stay with the pain”.
This is a mindfulness technique that might as well be impossible, but in essence consists of “stop the thoughts, just feel the pain”.
I did. And I cried and sobbed without really knowing why I was crying or sobbing.
I didn’t have to know. Pain is always legitimate. And so are tears.
When I got really quiet, I could hear what this was all about. “Who will want me now”.
That was it.
“Who will want me now”
I’ve never been pretty, but at least until now I was young. Now I’ll be no longer young.
“Who will want me know, a non pretty, poor, brown person?”
Yep. This was it. All my issues neatly rolled into one line. 5 words.
I have no idea where to go from here.
Or rather, I do know on a rational level but I don’t know how to get there.
I’ll be something like “self compassion, blah, love yourself, blah, be your own source of love and acceptance, blah”.
Not-there-yet. No point in pretending, no point in forcing myself. Just… not-there-yet.
The core idea of “meeting yourself where you are”, which lies at the core of “mindfulness”, is fully acknowledging where we actually are, not where we would like to be.
Yes, I would like to be over with this pattern already. But that’s not where I am.
I’m noticing where I actually am. I’m giving myself permission to be here. And if I can manage it, I can give myself some compassion. Or at the very least, whish I could give myself some compassion.
And that’s what I’m doing today.