As I head into the last half of my life, I realize I have missed so many opportunities for spiritual growth.  Huddled and hunkered down, gone to shelter to save myself from emotional pain.  Wanting to please others, wanting to be LIKED, wanting to be accepted, I have withdrawn in order to avoid the opportunity for not pleasing, not being liked and not being accepted.

I think this all started when I was pretty young.  I loved to daydream, and the daydreaming became a kind of mental fantasy, acting out stories in my mind, I still do, sometimes it helps me fall asleep, writing these ideas in my head.  But I also withdraw. I pull away to feel comfort, to not feel pain.  It is so much easier than facing the criticism, the disdain, the derision of others.

I don’t actually think I am terribly likable.  I think I complain too much, I think I am too self conscious, I think I have low self esteem.  I think I laugh to loud, or swear too much, or am afraid someone will predate me.  Find my weakness and exploit it.  Tell me my clothes aren’t good enough, or my hair isn’t good enough, or judge my body, or judge my character.

I know I have a strong integral character, and I like my clothes I have now, it has not always been so, but with financial stability comes better clothing.  I could never go naked, too vulnerable.  I do laugh loud, and I do swear too much, and I talk too loud sometimes too, worse as years in echoing classrooms have damaged my hearing.   I don’t think I complain as much as I hurt though, and my pain makes me irritable, and sometimes my need to withdraw from interacting with others makes me both irritable and when it doesn’t come when I need it, hostile.

Now I am battling physical pain.  I don’t talk about it alot, but every minute of every day I am in physical pain.  My hands, my feet, my neck, my elbows, my lower back and knee.  The arthritis in my hands make it hard sometimes to knit, to draw, to weave, to pick up small objects.  Sometimes shaking a persons hand or even getting someone to grab my hand to help me up or down, is excruciating.  My Tom has learned to just provide a hand, because if he squeezes, its brutal.

My go to phrase is that someone treats me poorly because they don’t like me, not because they are not very nice, conscious or aware, having a bad day or just a plain and ordinary asshole.  I think much of this leads back to a childhood of being constantly bullied, blamed for things I did not do, and told I was equally responsible for my brother’s harassing and inappropriate behavior.  Maybe so, but even my sister has apologized for the treatment I received at the hands of she and my brother, because she knows it was not deserved in those times alone, while my mother worked.  I wish I could go back and wake my dad early on in the situation, because the time my brother held me down for over an hour drooling into my face and I woke my father, that kind of harassment stopped.  And when I finally told that he was calling me a cunt everyday, that too stopped.  I wish I could have woken my father when my brother followed me around the house being a shit, or left me alone to fish or hunt for hours, while I tried to handle a 6 year old alone when I was only 12.

So I withdrew, fantasy was more fun, books were easier, day dreaming was more comfortable.  Art is easier, knitting is easier, reading or dicking around on the internet is easier.  Anything feels easier than pain.