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    « Lick It. Bite It. Suck it. (part 3) | Main | Lick It. Bite It. Suck it. (part 1) »

    Lick It. Bite It. Suck it. (part 2)

    Please read Lick It. Bite It. Suck It. (part 1) before engrossing yourself in the following literary departure.

             With a gaggle of beautiful woman dancing on one side of me and a group of friends from college on the other, I was a man in the middle. Not so much physically, but mentally and emotionally.
             I was having a conversation inside of myself between a guy who wanted to dance with these women and guy who was very self-conscious about doing so. The dialogue between these two parts was loud and incessant. When that happens, I’m not really present, because the noise in my head is so loud that it takes me out of the flowing moment and into the restrictive confines of my mind. And my mind can be like a bad neighborhood: I shouldn’t go there alone.
             For the rest of my time at the Gypsy Bar, I swam between having fun hanging with my buddies and getting caught up listening to the obsessive chatter in my mind. I didn’t dance at all that night, and that frustrated me. What was this about?
             One of the problems was that these two parts of me that were in conflict, I’ll call them Dancin’ Boy and Self-Conscious Guy, weren’t talking to each other. They were just talking to me, and I wasn’t facilitating the conversation very well, if at all.
             Imagine, literally, that there are two people, each with an agenda, each convinced they know what’s best for me, yelling in each of my ears, and I’m paralyzed. Instead of encouraging them to talk to each other, with me listening and acting as facilitator, mediator, and final decision maker, I’m just dumbfounded by their constant cackling. I’m not moving the dialogue along at all. They’re each very stubborn and myopic, sticking to their guns, and unable to hear each other, if they’re even aware that the other exists at all. Like a negotiation that gets bogged down because neither side has the least bit of interest in what the other side is saying. When I get stuck in the middle of that internal madness, I get taken out of life, and I detach from the moment. Life becomes a melodramatic soap opera happening between my ears, instead of a beautiful circus occurring all around me.
             What I need to do is get these two parts talking to each other. But before I can even do that, I have to identify who the hell these parts are. How can I negotiate a dialogue if I don’t even know who the participants are or what they want? The real trick is to be able to do all this while it’s happening, so that I can resolve this internal conflict in the moment. Sometimes I can do that, and sometimes I can’t. That night at The Gypsy Bar, I couldn’t.
             Starting when my heart got broken about a year ago, I’ve gotten in touch with a very wounded little boy inside me. This kid is literally stuck at a time in my life where everything hurt. This is one of the by-products of unresolved emotional trauma. Parts of us get frozen in time. These parts see the world, and every experience, through the eyes of a traumatized kid. To them, every situation is just a reenactment of those traumatizing events. It’s like he’s watching the same movie over and over again, not realizing that the projector is busted and that there’s a whole world happening outside the theatre. According to this kid, life is a movie that hurts, and it’s playing twenty-four-seven.
             I’ve been aware of this kid inside of me for many years. But like a son I abandoned, I never really got to know him. I never spent too much time with him, or listened to what he had to say. I just knew he was there, and I usually ignored him, because I was afraid of all of his pain. I was afraid that if I got to know him, I’d be crippled by his story, because it was so heartbreaking.
             Like a bad parent, I used to be able to tune this boy out. He was my neglected son, suffering quietly, struggling to find his voice and make it heard. This kid needed my attention but wasn’t getting it.
             But now that I’m in touch with him, I can’t tune him out the way I used to. Just like a son who I once neglected but now have a relationship with. He’s a part of my life now, and I can’t just ignore him. Not for long anyway.
             That’s the “bad news”, but it’s really the good news, because it means I’ve got to deal with him now. And by dealing with him, I help him heal. And because he’s a part of me, when he heals, I heal. That’s the payoff. The payoff that’s worth the awareness, the challenge, the struggles, the pain, the change, the everything. I want to heal. At any and all costs.
             So I’m aware that this boy is with me now, all the time. The problem is that I can’t let him run the show. If I used to be a neglectful parent, I don’t want to overcompensate and become an over-indulgent one. I have to listen to this boy, pay attention to him, help him, develop a solid relationship with him, but I can’t let him lead me. I’ve got to lead him. Which is always a challenge, as you parents of external children well know. Just like parenting a kid outside of yourself, parenting one inside of you is a learning process, and not a linear one. There are setbacks, stumbles, giant leaps ahead and giant meltdowns.
             When we come to understand the little kid still inside us, we come to know that we’ve also developed powerful defense mechanisms, actually other parts of us, to protect him or her, because we weren’t doing such a great job. We were neglectful, after all. As we get to know this kid, we get to know the protective parts of us as well. These protectors have a job to do, they only know how to do it a certain way, and they don’t like us messing with this kid. Think of it like your son or daughter going out and finding somebody else that will protect them because you just ignore them. When you come back into the kid’s life, there’s going to be some conflict. There’s going to be resistance and turmoil and pain and change and all that fun stuff.
             That’s what was happening to me at The Gypsy Bar. I had parts inside of me that each wanted something different. Parts of me fighting for air time, and I got caught up in the battle instead of trying to resolve it.

    Please join me tomorrow for part three.

    ©2009 Clint Piatelli. All Rights (and a classroom of neglected eight-year-olds) Reserved.

    Reader Comments (1)

    Looks awesome! I do welcome the tabs placed on the top!

    January 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlegally blonde

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