Even though I consider myself a feminist, and thus believe that every single person’s thoughts and ideas are valid and should be respected, I could not apply that mentality to myself. I constantly silenced myself to avoid upsetting people by disagreeing or challenging them. I constantly said yes even when I wanted to say no because I didn’t want to make people feel bad. I no longer felt in control of my life. I was so afraid to disappoint people that I could no longer express myself honestly, and so I started to see a therapist.
Finally, I was able to let go. I could not stop talking. Every single session I cried. And yet, I still worried – does my therapist like me? Am I talking about the right things? Am I doing therapy correctly? I spoke to a friend about it who said, “Sammy, you’re paying for her to listen to you. It doesn’t matter if she likes you. Is she making you feel better and more confident about your life?”
Gah – this was the same problem I’d had at work and in my relationship; caring more about what other people thought about me than what I thought about me. I decided to try to stop caring, to be a ‘bad bitch’. I began to enjoy being listened to without worrying what my therapist thought about me. She helped me to identify cycles in my life. I realized that I use moving place as a quick fix to my depressions, but I wasn’t solving the problem. The first time I felt depressed, I switched schools. The second time, I moved back to LA. The third time, I moved to London. The fourth time, I moved to Shoreditch. The fifth time, I moved to Bethnal Green. The sixth time (aka now), I had decided I wanted to move to Greece. Yea… I had a pattern.
“You don’t have to move places to change your life,” my therapist said. “You can just change the way you think and how you act instead.”
Around that time, I started reading The Seat of the Soul. This book, like Oprah and Cheryl, changed the way I approach living. Gary Zukav states that each soul is given certain lessons that they are supposed to learn in one lifetime. Each soul has different lessons based on their previous lives that they need to heal in order to become whole. Your soul attracts certain people that come into your life to support you on your journey. Your soul provides guidance through intuition and feeling. By listening to what excites you, what makes your body thrum, and following that impulse, you will find your way.
This way of looking at life helped me to reevaluate the things that had happened to me. Instead of asking, what did I do wrong, I asked, what was I meant to learn? and what was that person trying to learn from me? Instead of thinking about what I should do, I listened to what excited me, and acted on that.
It also answered my questions about why I had different passions, skills, and mannerisms than other people. It was both nature and nurture. Gary Zukav stated that when the personality and the soul are in harmony, that is when you are most happy. My soul had become disconnected from my personality.
I decided then to trust the voice inside me, and see where it led. I stopped thinking, stopped questioning, stopped rationalizing, and just let it happen. I decided to put my hands up, and let “Jesus take the wheel.” I decided to listen and communicate whatever the feeling was inside of me, and now look what’s happened! I feel so full and happy and light.
I’m very sure that if I hadn’t been alone in this time, if I’d been living with family or friends, or had a boyfriend, I would have been sent to a mental hospital. I wanted to give up, to stop going to work, but I couldn’t. I was alone. No one would know; no one could pay my bills; no one could save me. I’ve been told mental health problems run in my family; my great grandma went to a mental hospital a few times and suffered the electric shock treatment. Now, I’m starting to think that’s not true. I’m starting to think that mental health, feminism, and witchcraft are all connected.
I think it is the patriarchal system that says that logic is more important than feelings, that money is more valuable than love, that power is more worthy than passion that has created our mental health crisis, our environmental crisis, our political crisis. Basically every fucking crisis.
For the longest time, the feelings of women have not been taken seriously, and thus we have been deemed crazy or witches.
For the longest time, men have been told to repress their feelings, to not act “like a girl,” and yet suicide is the most common cause of death for men ages 20 to 49.
There is something wrong in society. Everyone knows it, everyone has known it for centuries. We are finally becoming aware of the imbalance, and we need to take action and make changes before it is too late.
For me, I was forced into this awareness. By repressing my thoughts and feelings – by being a good girl – I had been raped, broken, and depressed. I became so miserable that I came to the ultimate crossroad, to give up and suffocate my soul or to try and live my life.
This is just my experience, I am just sharing what I have learned. You are on your own journey, you have your own lessons to learn. By communicating, we can share our experiences, we can learn from each others mistakes and successes, and we can grow together.
The sharing of experiences to help others is at the core of my love for reading and writing. It is the reason I have gone to all these literature festivals; it is the reason I decided to study Literature; it is the reason I write.
Read the next post in the series “STEM”
Read the first post in the series “Hi Again”.
Check out the full list of blog posts “How to Value Your Own Thoughts”