Saturday, November 17, 2012

Keep speaking your truth -- and find your tribe

Hi folks,

OK, I obviously lied again about not posting here for a while.  :-)

But I've been a little worried that all the past few weeks' posts about being socked in the gut by a GateKeeper might be a bit discouraging for those of you with stories to tell, so I thought I'd share something my friend Sue sent me, via Chris Cade:

I think I might have to have this made into a t-shirt!  :-)

Yes, keep speaking the truth -- but don't expect the people embroiled in the situation to listen, or handle it well.  As you can easily see from my "adventures" this month, and in my childhood, you need to be rather judicious about who you share your truth with first.  The best bet is an outsider.  The best bet is someone with experience in a situation that resembles yours -- either because they've been there themselves, or because they've been trained in how to help guide you through the cobwebs.

Depending on the truth that's aching to get out, this could be a crisis hotline, a medical or emotional health professional, a support group (for those of you living in low-population areas that might not have such "in person" support groups, you can find many such things online these days -- as with the traditional models, not one size fits all, shop around until you find something that's a good fit for you), or another big-mouthed blogger who's been-there-done-that and probably has lots of resources (s)he can point out, as well as a pour-yourself-a-cup-of-tea-and-let-me-tell-you-you're-not-alone comfort.

As you know, I've got decades of therapy under my belt (and probably more decades ahead).  And they made a world of difference -- can you imagine how completely nuts I'd be now without them?  ;-)  But while those sessions were (and are) important and helpful to me, it was the support group that finally gave me the "aha!  I'm not the crazy one" moments.  Because much as a trained professional can help you see your patterns and help you collect some better tools for your mental and emotional toolbox, there's nothing like laughing with fellow survivors when you discover the latest in the "oh lordy, I thought I was the only one who..." stories.

Misery loves company, I suppose, but it's also good to be able to laugh at your misery every once in a while.  :-)

I just finished watching at TedX talk by another friend and fellow musician, Heather Dale (scroll to about 58:00 and you'll hear Denise Donlon's introduction to her speech), which is all about "finding your tribe".  Because all you have to do is look around, and you'll find like-minded people, who think what you do is the most amazing thing in the world, and will share with you and support you.  In this internet age, it's so much easier to find, too -- there are webpages for pretty much everything you can think of (some stranger than others, and I'd advise you to think carefully of your search terms, lest you come up with some disturbing surprises... ).

Because I can guarantee you, whatever you thought "I'm the only one in the world who..." about -- you're not.  Yes, you're a unique and fascinating individual, but you are never alone.  Never.

That's been some of the "fun" (if you can call it that) of reading this book about enabling family members in incest cases.  Because, while I'm still guilty of sometimes thinking "hey, I thought I was the only one who...", I've been reading 186 pages worth of case studies and summaries that tell me nope, not even remotely the only one.  Everything I've gone through has a mirror, and a context, and an explanation, AND A WAY TO GET PAST IT.  As many times as this book has reduced me to tears this month, it's also given me those same laughs of recognition that I'm not alone.  There are a whole lot of people -- far too many people -- who are walking this path with me.

And misery does love company.  Not because we like to wallow in misery, but because we know how to help lift each other out of it.  We laugh, we cry, we fight our dragons, then we set out to help others fight theirs.

And speaking of musical friends, we had Rob Lutes staying with us last night -- a brilliant songwriter, one smart cookie, and really wonderful person, so go search him out and invite him into your tribe -- and he gave us a copy of his not-yet-released new album The Bravest Birds.  I've listened to it three times this afternoon, and am about to turn on a fourth round.  Tears, laughter, dragons.  He digs deep, and it's a thing of beauty.  I'm not just enjoying listening to it, I'm being inspired -- for me, the best songwriters make me want to write my own.  I don't know why, but as someone trapped in a dry patch, I think I'll be listening to a lot more of this CD.  :-)  Glory glory hallelujah.

OK, I'm really going back into Hermit mode now.  Honest.  I mean it this time...  ;-)

Go find your tribe and keep speaking your truth!

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