Sunday, March 21, 2010


Today I was going to finish writing a post I started yesterday about discovering how to truly dance with life. Yesterday I was watching "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" on Lifetime and reminiscing about youth, innocence, self-discovery, soul lessons and how the good things in life always come back to be one after they separate. That was yesterday (and a post that will have to wait). I acknowledge that I’m a little dark this week, but moodiness accompanies a lot of writers (and sensitives). The cotton candy side will re-emerge, I promise.

Right now, today's a little different. My body feels like crap from the cold that is running through my veins and that post suddenly doesn't fit how I feel because of something else I just read. Strange how a piece of writing can affect you so deeply that you need to explore a different piece of your psyche. Strange how you identify with it so much and see its truth that you have to write about how you've experienced it yourself. Being highly sensitive, according to Elaine Aron's research, means we're more cautious. Slower to "open up," to trust. Yet it also means we're more adept at seeing through illusions, facades, or as some would say "lies." For me, my life was built around them. Trust is not something I do easily and not just because of my sensitivity.

My parents lied to me when I very young. At least my Mom did. She had me believe that my younger sister was truly my sister, instead of just my half-sister. I know I was only four and how do you explain that you've been having an affair with the neighbor because you've fallen out of love with your abusive husband to a child that young. She lied to my biological father about it too, as well as the world. My sister was born with his last name and he was listed as her father on the birth certificate. She still does. She always says to others that her girls are from her first marriage. The truth is, I'm the only child she decided to give birth to from that marriage. I guess one reminder was enough.

I suppose my biological father lied to himself. I didn't get to know him very well. I threw away the last letter he sent after we'd moved to Colorado. My Mom says I mutilated the last gift he gave to me, an Annie doll, but I don't remember. I suppose she's right because I no longer have her. All I have is a montage of bits and pieces of very early memories and my Mom's reflection on who he was and wasn't. Perhaps that reflection is a lie too. One of his brothers, my Uncle John, might be able to provide more answers. But his family only calls once every five years to try to say hello to me. I suppose this is their attempt to deceive themselves into thinking we're still family. We used to get together on weekends and holidays and my Aunt Ann would make "hamburger pie" at their home in Naperville. After the divorce, it was nothing but a sporadic birthday card or a phone call to ask how old I was now. The last time they called was when I was still living in Florida full time and they had just moved there. I was leaving. Our DNA matches, but the truth is we're strangers.

My adoptive father's family tried, but they knew I didn't belong with them. My sister had his genetic traits, and I had my father's. It was obvious. Beneath the outward appearances of acceptance, I knew they really didn't regard me as being a part of the family. I was different, an outsider. I wasn't supposed to be there. Of course, neither was my Mother. When your step children are older than you, it makes it kind of difficult to have a comfortable, open relationship. When my brother was born, he was the lie that outwardly said their marriage was still ok. There was nothing wrong, really. The truth is, there had been for years, and I was just another casualty of my Mom's bad choices. And she wonders why I'm not married.

Truth is I'm not married because I like men, but I never allow myself to truly love them. Or anybody really. I don't feel. I don't attach. I learned very early not to. Truth is, when I date someone I get claustrophobic, sometimes even before the first cup of coffee. I don't like to compromise and I'm about to break off a ten year relationship because I'd rather create my own world than settle into his. The truth is that I'm no longer the twenty-something year old that is in love with him. I still love and care for him, but I'm ready to move on.

My sensitivity allows me to see past the words that people say. The fake expressions. The "show," so to speak. The culture that everyone goes along with because they don't want to be ostracized from the group, but then bitch about when no one important is listening. My former boss in the beginning never stated "we really don't think you can do this job because you're female," but rather said "we doubt that you want to do this job." This, even after I had gone through the entire drawn out process of resume submission, tests, un-paid shadowing, two interviews, sending a follow-up letter and was now back for a third. When I stated the truth, when I revealed what I thought was really going on, she got mad. Really mad. Maybe this is why we had a love-hate relationship. She knew from the beginning that she couldn't pull her political facade with me. When someone states the truth, the facade dissipates and the reality is that all the laws in the world can't erase the misperceptions or inequities that are woven so deep within our culture.

Life experience. Sensitivity. Is there a difference, a distinct line? Does experience heighten a genetic trait and the way you respond, making it even more difficult for one to stop building walls? Walls that are often invisible even to their creator. Walls that become part of the deception, the illusion that everything is "ok." Truth is, life can be ugly. Really ugly. Truth is, I still don't trust myself fully because I don't know how. Truth is, we lie because it's too painful to be authentic and we want others to believe that we're what they want us to be.

Sometimes we lie because we don't really know ourselves. We've never taken the time to discover what lies beneath the hairstyles, the make-up, the clothes, the degrees, the titles, the house, the car, the job or who we associate with. Deception exists to conceal what's undesirable, what's missing, and what's destructive.

We don't want to acknowledge that reality is a two-part deal. Without a hell, there can't be a heaven.

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