Some days I leave therapy and I have no idea what the hell just happened, which usually causes me to feel worse. It doesn’t happen very often, because we’re usually pretty good at closing things up enough to not cause me to fall apart. When it does happen, it really sucks. This whole week has just felt off already and then it turned into this. And it’s snowing.
It’s frustrating because it’s like my little kid is locked in a closet, the adult is too tired to care, and the teen is taking advantage of the other two out of the picture. It’s usually not a good idea for the teen to have any sort of control, because he likes to make a right royal mess of things.
We have boiled down a lot of my issues into a simple thing, “Do I Matter?” and if you let me answer that question, I always answer “No.” This is something that happened before I was with my spouse, before college, before teenage me… this is something that is very old and very deep. The earliest I can remember is 4 or 5, and nothing I can remember is really good. Something deep in me has always tried to matter to the adults in my life, which meant I tried to make them happy. I thought that if I could make them happy, then they would be happy, and then I would matter and things would be okay. I tried my best to be more of a mini adult because that seemed to please them. Joking that I’m 4 going on 30 was normal when I was little and it seemed like that pleased them. If I could continue this, they might still be happy and then I matter to them.
The old white dude made a comment yesterday that I have worked so hard and for so long to try and matter to the adults in my life. I have. I didn’t know any other way to survive. I just continued to try and be the best, try and make everyone happy… but it didn’t matter in the end because it was never good enough. I never understood why I wasn’t good enough.
I’m trying my best right now to remain Curious and Open, which are two parts of my homework. I’m also trying to do this “I matter because…” exercise that I am calling bullshit at the moment. That’s because teenage me says it’s dumb and he doesn’t want to do it. A lot of my anger lives within that part of me, and the saying that music can calm the savage beast proves accurate here. I excelled, the best I could, in band as a teenager. It was the one place during that time where I felt like I could actually be someone and be part of something bigger than I was.
It’s interesting, I am not in an okay place as an adult. I am also not in an okay place as a child. However, the teenager in me, while he is making a mess of things, if I feed him what kept him calm then he relaxes just enough. He can breathe, he can grow. He can feel like he matters.
When I played music, I fell into it with my entire being. It allowed me to feel and express, without ever having to talk about what I felt or what I wanted to express. I loved doing marching band and I love being a trumpet player for that, but honestly that worked as a front like everything else. It was harder to hide that when I would do concert band, because there I played flute. My trumpet playing has never been very suited to concert band, it is very hard for me to be smooth and sweet with brass. With flute, it just came easily. It’s what I learned to start with. I had been playing it for 3 or so years when I learned trumpet so I could march trumpet and not flute. It was always fun when we would be working on marching music AND starting concert band, because I would be running into different sections.
So I am sitting here this morning, working on a few things and listening to different things I played in high school concert band. Be it with my band, our county band festival, or the bigger district festivals I was in. Each one means something different to me and it’s odd how you can be transported back in time to what was going on.
Maybe that’s the way in.