I dreamt of loss last night, I don’t even remember of what. I don’t even know that what was lost showed itself as anything more than a shadow. It was a faceless lingering heaviness, a hollowness, a hand that let go, an unceremonious goodbye.
When I awoke it was still dark and I listened to the rhythmic whirring of our ceiling fan until the first streams of this gray morning’s light displaced the black.
Earlier this week, I told Vinnie that I don’t actually know who I am, apart from the relationships that I’m in. And even in those relationships, I don’t feel as though I have anything to offer, outside of giving. Feeding. Listening. Hosting. Hiding behind a camera. Outside of my relationships, I told him, if I look inward, I’m afraid I will find nothing.
When they titled the book The Road Back to You, they probably should have mentioned that the road is entirely uphill and rocky and that you have to do it barefoot and with a the weight of your life’s emotional baggage on your back.
Other Enneagram personalities have inner-critics – voices that can drown out the praise of others, that can nitpick even their greatest of efforts. In my experience as a Two, there isn’t a critical voice, there is only ugly graffiti and and the message never changes: As you are, you are worthless and unloveable.
Of course, just as the voice of the inner-critic is completely and utterly false, the graffiti on the walls of my heart is, too. And so, this is a season of learning to not only briskly walk past the corridors of ugly words, but to paint over them with new ones. To tell myself, repeatedly, you are loved. Not, you are loved, because…
You. Are. Loved.
Two nights ago, I sat out on our deck, trying to read or write, to give my emotionally raw self something to do other than dwell in this in-between place of the Enneagram process. This place where everything is open, like wounds stinging in the fresh air. This place, where, the real work comes into play and the process isn’t so much about how fun or fascinating it is to SEE yourself explained so clearly.
Sitting there, trying to figure out what comes next, now that I’ve seen where I need work…what happens? And why is it so exhausting? I felt eyes on me and half expected to glance up and see one of the children looking down on me from a bathroom window.
Instead, when I looked up, there was a hummingbird hovering above me. I’ve never seen one in our neighborhood, I can’t actually remember the last time I’ve seen one, period. We looked at each other for only a moment before he sped off into the twilight. Such an odd encounter, of course, I took it as an opportunity to think about something other than myself and all of the hard things. A quick search revealed this:
The totem of the hummingbird is the sweetest nectar is within.
What I’ve lost, is the comfort of complacency, with myself.
It’s not enough to say, oh, my core personality has a deep sense of inner-worthlessness and then simply let that just be… like an excuse for melancholy or a justification to continue to go, go, go without ever allowing for inward reflection, out of fear. The entire point of this process is to acknowledge the hard things, the things that have defined us without our even realizing, and then move forward, healed.
So, onward we go, into more cryptic dreams that acknowledge the shedding of some sort of veil, and onto more days of exhaling the words, you are loved between crunches or while brushing teeth. Onward to painting over the ugly graffiti until it becomes art.
The only way out is through. I can’t go back. But, then, I no longer want to.
The sweetest nectar is within.
Okay, this is heavy. I’m not going to tell you how good you are at all the things you do, writing, photography, music, parenting, because I know this isn’t what this is about. It’s not what you DO, it’s who you are. So you’re feeling inadequate in your core self, which is not about what you can do.
This is the “you” that calls out to God when you pray. This is the “you” that will still be there when you can’t do anymore, or even communicate. This is the part that’s still alive in Alzheimers and dementia people. This is the part that’s left after you’re buried or cremated. So this would be, like, your soul. The core of you that’s left after everything else is burned away. This is what’s left. (I can’t stress that too strongly.)
So this is the part of you that will live on after life on earth is done, or there is no earth.
it’s the part that was made in the image and likeness of God.
Is your HEART right with God, as the old revival preachers said, and do you do everything with the intention of pleasing Him, no matter the results? If you do, you have nothing to feel inadequate about. Everybody makes mistakes. Mistakes are not sins.
It sounds like you are stripping things down to the bone, and that’s good. But don’t forget to come back. If your core is right, everything else will be right.
I may do Enneagrams at some point. It is never too late to find out who you are. I’m probably going to live to be 100, my grandmother made it to 102 and she ate lard, I have a much more healthy lifestyle so unless there’s something I don’t know about, will be in it for the long haul and might as well be self-aware.
It is a good thing you explained Enneagrams to me, plus I Googled it. When you first mentioned it I thought it was one of those board games Corey plays.