Sunday, November 05, 2006

Can you see the flower's singing?

No? It is clearing its crimson throat, preparing to raise its head to the sun and sing the nectar forth...

One of my primary goals when I entered therapy two years ago was conquering my attention-aversion. I've come a long way. I no longer cringe when my boss or colleague praises me in front of others. I am learning how to accept compliments with fewer attempts at deflection or self-deprecation. That feeling of needing to hide is diminishing in intensity. I've been putting myself out there--dating, writing, recording--and accepting the attention and feedback with as much grace as I can muster. Some days are better than others.

Recently I identified one of the triggers for my attention-aversion: the words "special", "talented" and "gifted". Most people associate "special" with good feelings. They like feeling special. Not so, me. When someone tells me I'm special, I feel suddenly wary. I find myself wondering, subconsciously, what they want.

I was at the local pub on Monday night, eating my favorite burger and sipping a beautiful microbrew porter. A commercial came on, and the voice-over actor said "What makes you special?" My reaction was immediate and vehement. My internal critic said "Nothing! I don't want to be special!" It shocked me. But I did not have time to examine it as I was in a social situation, so I marked it for contemplation at another time. I mentioned it to CD, and he reiterated that I was special, that I had such a gift for self-expression. I think he thought he was reassuring me, but his words made me choose to shy away from exploring it further. A few days later, in a chat, someone asked "When are you going to do another story? You have such talent!" Something in me cringed. I wanted to ignore his comment, but remembered to acknowledge it with a "thank you" instead.

Thursday night, talking with B, "special" came up and tears flooded my eyes--I felt suddenly, inexplicably sad. Trigger. And something about B's receptivity made it possible for me experience the trigger and trace it back. In that moment, eye-level with my psyche, I found it. She used to tell me I was special. Often. And like most children who fall prey to sexual predators, I blamed myself. I knew that it was something about me that made her want me. That something "special". And from that time forward, that word has been tainted, and any attentions ascribed to my being special or different or talented or gifted prompted instant withdrawal, an entering into "turtle mode".

Saturday morning I had conversation with B about what happened Thursday, abuut my understanding that I'm ready to process my aversion to "special", to lay it to rest and reclaim the word. And so I resolved to do so. But it was not enough. More was to come.

I rose this morning from dream-awareness, from that alpha state, cognisant of an internal dialogue-loop running in my mind "You've been renting space in your soul to a sexual predator for 26 years. Stop this."

Late this morning I spoke to CW. He's in Colorado Springs again. We talked for a while.
I commented to him that I'd noticed a change in him the past couple of weeks with regards to how he and I interact.
He asked what I meant.
I told him he appeared less bothered by my insistence on my independence, on my need to continue exploring and growing outside our relationship. He said he'd read some articles on gifted adults and it made it easier for him to understand and deal with me.
My knee-jerk response was "I'm not gifted."
He laughed. Loudly. "You most certainly are."
Remembering my conversation with B, remembering my intention to reclaim "special" and its related words, I stopped myself from arguing or withdrawing, and listened to him.
He said, "I stumbled across an article titled 'Can you hear the flowers sing?' and it made me think of you. I remembered you stopping us in the middle of the forest and saying 'Smell that? Can you smell the fungal mats growing?'"
I grinned, remembering his bafflement.
He said, "I have a better understanding of the challenges you face, not only with resolving your past, but in the present. I remind myself that you're not being intentionally perverse--that you are pushing at the boundaries that stifle you."
It was my turn to ask what he meant.
He said, "Social boundries, sensual boundaries, metaphysical boundaries. You are one of the most aware people I know. It makes you very sensitive to things most people don't sense. Including me."
Part of me was relieved that he seemed to have come to a place of acceptance. Part of me was wary. And then he said something that triggered me. Again.
He said, "Deny it all you want to, Kay. It won't change the fact that you are special--no--that you are exceptionally gifted."
Tears. Fuck. I cried and blabbered to him about my conversations with B, and the connotations that "special" carried for me. I wished very strongly that he was there to hold me. I wanted to press my face against his chest and breathe him into me. But he was in Colorado. So I forced myself to calm down and have a coherent conversation.

Later, he IM'd me a link to the article he'd mentioned, challenged me to read it and disagree that what it said applied to me.

And so I read it. The title resonated very strongly with me. The line in the article "no one else hears the flowers singing" resonated even more strongly. God, I know what that feels like, to experience the world differently than most. Sometimes it makes me despair, when I am excited by something I see/hear/taste/smell/feel and the ones I am with give me this dumb look and I try so hard to help them sense what I am feeling but they cannot. I think sometimes that is why I enjoy photography so much. Because sometimes I can get others to see not only what I am seeing, but how I am seeing it.

Anyway. Given some more time, I think I'll be laying another demon to rest, perhaps even embrace some more of the abandoned gifts that my shadow has been holding in safe-keeping for me.

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Blogger kujmous said...

Some have common sense.
Some have UNcommon sense.

6:28 PM, November 05, 2006  
Blogger kujmous said...

I watched the show "Heroes." I see many similarities between the super-powered mutants who feel that they need to hide their powers and yourself.

Don't be scared, Sweety.

3:37 PM, November 07, 2006  

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