Posted by: Marie | October 9, 2012

(724) Brain rumblings

Post #724
[Private journal entry written on Saturday, November 12, 2011]

Yesterday, I sent a very long email to Edward. Here’s the related email exchange:

————————————–

Hi, Edward –

Happy Veteran’s Day!

I wanted to touch base again in preparation for next week’s session. A number of things are brewing . . . here’s some of things I’d like to touch on in the session (if you have time to read it):

Stuff that doesn’t need discussion, just a quick mention:

1) This Thanksgiving marks the 20-year anniversary of my dad’s death. I’m not much for anniversaries, but this seems worthy of mention. I thought about dedicating my upcoming piano recitals to him, but I’m too irked at him right now to do that.

2a) I’ve mentioned my father-daughter pair of piano students . . . he is a cop and the mom is a paramedic . . . he is the one to whom I sent the document containing “my story”. His daughter participated in a master class a couple of weeks ago, which involved giving an informal recital for the parents. My mentor/piano teacher taught the class. She performed a piece of music in the recital because she believes we should not ask our students to do something we are not willing to do ourselves.

The Island by Martin Chen

So, when the cop came in for his lesson the next day, he took a deep breath and said, “Well, I’ve made a decision.” I thought, “Oh, yikes! He is going to quit lessons!” But, no. He had previously told me he would not be participating in recitals because he was taking lessons for his solitary enjoyment, not to share with the public. However, he was motivated by what my mentor had said – he said it was not fair to require his daughter to participate in recitals and to not require the same of himself. He has decided he needs to set the example for his daughter.

He said he didn’t have enough time to prepare for the Nov 19/20 recital, but that he would be participating in the spring recital. That tickled me! And, it indicates he is in this for the long haul – it doesn’t sound like he is quitting lessons any time soon. That is reassuring for me.

2b) And, when his wife brought their daughter in for a lesson this week, she made some comments about my history and her own history that let me know she had read “my story” and that she has had similar issues in her background. She had to be careful what she said because of her daughter’s presence, but I clearly understood she was reaching out to me and saying, “I understand and support you.” That felt good.

3) For the past few weeks, I’ve been more emotional than normal . . . my students’ music is moving me to tears more often, I’m feeling sentimental for no particular reason, sometimes I get hit with anger or grief out of the blue . . . and I suspect I’ll be more emotional than normal at my upcoming piano recitals. Historically, I’ve struggled to keep my emotions under control during the recitals – I’ve struggled to keep a stoic face. I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep from crying during these recitals.

And, I’ve decided that is okay. I’m not going to hold back the tears. I’m going to let them flow. Then, I’ll just tell the audience that I have decided it is okay to openly shed tears – and that I’m crying because the music of my students moves me and because I am so proud of them and their musical accomplishments – that music comes from the soul and therefore it is reasonable that emotion would be attached to the performance of music.

I will tell them that, in a world where people respond to tears with, “Don’t cry!”, I am choosing to model this authentic behavior because I want them to know how profoundly each of them affects me – I want them to know how powerful their music is – I want them to know that it is healthy and positive to show emotion.

4) I found a business networking group that has this description: “Every other week, we do a fun interactive activity that helps us build relationships with each other, and build our business awareness. On the other weeks we have a speaker about a topic that could apply to any part of our lives – wellness, spirituality, abundance, business and more.” That sounds like fun.

I’ve signed up to attend next week. I think it will be a good way to start socializing again – a safe way. I know a couple of the women from unrelated venues and it will be good to see them again. We are meeting in the church I attended a few years back – it was at this church I had a number of public meltdowns when I was in the midst of recovering memories of the sexual abuse. I haven’t been back there since – it will be interesting to return. I wonder if the pastor will remember me – I’m sure I made an impression, LOL.

5) If you remember, I had a conflict with the local music teachers association a couple of months ago because their unwritten rules were too strict to accommodate the creative performances my students were preparing for their ensemble clinic – so I withdrew my students, created my own version of that activity and hired my own clinician.

I had another major conflict with the association this week during a monthly meeting that ended in a big blow-up involving a number of the long-time members. The purpose of the meeting was to review the processes and rules of the various student activities.

I listened to what they said, then I tried to share what I have been experiencing as a person who is unfamiliar with the association and the activities. I tried to speak up a number of times but got talked over repeatedly. The few times I was able to get a word in edgewise, the loudest talkers were incredibly rude, dismissive and disrespectful towards me – they said my confusion was due to my minimal musical pedigree and insinuated I didn’t meet the minimum standard of professionalism.

They outright refused to specify and document the activity rules that could exclude/disqualify my students. When I asked why they wouldn’t put the rules into writing, they said a legitimate teacher would “just know” the rules and wouldn’t have to be told. The state-level president was a guest in the meeting – I was hoping she would stand up for me at some point, but she didn’t.

I hung in there (being mature and reasonable) for an hour or so. Then, I finally stood up, forcefully took control of the floor and said that it is unfair to disqualify my students after they have worked so hard to prepare a specific piece of music or to complete a project when the rules that have supposedly been violated are not documented. I said that my students and I should not be penalized just because I did not grow up in this tradition.

I pointed out that I hold leadership positions and faithfully attend meetings and activities and that I have dutifully studied the rules that ARE in writing – that I am doing everything possible to be a responsible participant and a contributing member. Yet, it is not enough to satisfy them.

I stated that my requests were reasonable and that I needed them to meet me halfway. I was in tears by the time I finished – and I was so frustrated and angry that I decided it was wise to pack up my stuff and leave the meeting immediately.

I have decided I will not go back to another meeting and I will resign as secretary, at least. I don’t care to associate with people who behave like that. I may or may not continue as webmaster. And, I am looking at a number of other options such as transferring to one of the other local chapters, or leaving the association all together and setting up something collaborative but less formal with other music teachers (voice, guitar and piano teachers) in my town.

I’ve been talking to some of the more reasonable but passive (and well-pedigreed) members of my current local chapter – many of whom are shocked and angered by how I was treated in the meeting – to determine the viability of the various options. I trust their input despite the fact they are not brave enough to speak up in the meetings.

I am proud of myself for respectfully speaking my mind and not allowing the bullies to bully me. I am proud of myself for standing up for what is important to me without degrading the values and contributions of others. I am also proud of myself for not going into a place of “poor me” and for instead being proactive and professional in the process of considering other options. And, I’m proud of myself for placing the responsibility for the problem where it belongs – on them, not on myself.

Stuff we could dig into (I’ve already mentioned this stuff in previous emails):

6) I invited a parent of one of my students to go to a game night with me. I showed up as the “real me” and had a blast. It was definitely out of character for me to do that – to reach out to an unmarried guy – because being unmarried makes him less “safe”. I’m proud of myself for reaching out when I was tempted to be self-destructive.

I really enjoyed his company and I think I’d like to hang out with him again. I don’t want to date, but I would like to be friends with him. I’m nervous about how to do that – the good news is that he is easy to get along with because he is dealing with his own major issues. We would be sympathetic, understanding and supportive with each other, I think.

7a1) I’m not willing to consider the possibility of dating (more specifically, the possibility of engaging in sexual activity or of sharing my private/personal living space with another human). This is because I get heavily triggered when I consider that possibility . . . I stop functioning and I go into a funk and start fantasizing about dying. As long as I don’t entertain that possibility – as long as I promise myself I will never require myself to “go there”, I can stay far more upbeat and functional. I’m not willing to try to change this. It is time to accept that dating is not going to be part of my life.

7a2) After binge/night-eating for 4-5 weeks straight, my gut rebelled over Halloween weekend. I ate very little for a few days, then started eating again, but without the binging. I’m discovering that one of the big reasons I feel the need to get numb by binging is because of the panic I feel when I think about entering into the dating scene. By taking that off the table, I am not feeling panicked in that way and feeling significantly less of a need to binge. This seems like valuable insight.

7b) I believe I am not ever going to be able to “stand up to” my parents. When I try to do that, when I try to go into myself to find the courage to do so, I find only a dead space. That part of me is permanently damaged and permanently inaccessible. I am not willing to put more energy into trying to make that happen. It is time to move onto something else.

7c) I am concerned that, because of what is contained in the above two paragraphs, I won’t be able to move forward any further in therapy. I am concerned that I have gone as far as I can go on my healing journey. I’d like to hear your thoughts on that.

Okay . . . that’s all for now. I’ll see you on Wednesday! Thank you for your support!

– Marie

————————————–

Dear Marie,

Thanks for the detailed, thoughtful email.

I’ll take some time and go over it either this weekend or next week before our session.

If there’s anything I should be reading with immediacy, just let me know.

Warmly,
Edward

————————————–

Thank you for your willing spirit and thoughtful support, Edward!

There is nothing of urgency in the email, just brain rumblings, LOL.

– Marie


Responses

  1. It sounds like a big session coming up

    • You are right . . . I was in great need of assurance from Edward, and he came through . .

  2. it’s interesting that you keep returning to this theme of quitting therapy… that without a “set agenda” your work is over… rather than letting your healing evolve organically…. i’ll be interested to read how your next session goes…

    • LOL . . . have you been talking with Edward when I wasn’t looking?

      Yes . . . that theme shows up over and over in my life . . . I assume that every man in the world is going to push me away sooner or later . . .

      Very observant!

  3. :-) i think your therapist and mine speak the same language…


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