Each of us carries with us truths. There are things that we believe to be true about life, the world, about ourselves. The truths we believe about ourselves are the ones I’m thinking about today.
I have a bunch of them that formed for different reasons from various sources. Experience. Listening to other people. Coming up with them in my own head. Mis-learned lessons. The thing is, not all of these truths are really true, but I call them truths because they appear true to me — I believe them.
Sometimes we, or at least I, hold onto these things with tight grips. We believe them so strongly that they shape our reactions and actions. They sculpt the way we feel about ourselves. They can shore up our confidence, or weaken our foundations. Once we’ve integrated them into ourselves — our hearts, minds, emotions — they are really difficult to reshape or let go of.
Some of my truths have been big whopping lies, or at least horrible misconceptions. A few examples from my life? Thinking my father wasn’t proud of me, that I was a failure. Believing that nothing I did was ever good enough. Believing that I would never successfully lose weight and keep it off. Those are just a few.
There are others that less corrosive to the spirit and psyche. For example, even though I sang in glee club and choir when I was younger, I don’ think I have a good singing voice. I sing when I’m alone but don’t like singing in front of other people. Unless I’m at a concert where it’s so loud that other people can’t hear me. I think I formed that opinion after I asked someone if I had a nice voice and they told me no. What’s actually true is that I’m definitely an alto and I don’t have a grand range. I think I probably sing better than I think I do. I sometimes wonder what would have developed if I’d stayed with singing groups/clubs. My control would most like be better than it is and maybe I would have improved my range. I honestly don’t know, but the truth that’s in my head is, no doubt, far apart from what’s reality.
I have also always believed that I have no artistic talent. I’m not good at crafts with the exception of needlework/needlepoint and working with sequins and beads. I have a good eye for finished marketing materials like ads, flyers, and brochures but am not effective at designing them myself.
But let’s get back to the deep, emotional but potentially destructive truths because, man oh man, those are the ones that definitely need to be reshaped and we should give them the highest priority. Thinking my father wasn’t proud of me weakened my self-confidence for years. Thankfully, we resolved that issue a few years before he died. I’d been so ashamed for so long that I was afraid to ever bring it up to him. When I did, he almost cried. A lot of pain got washed away and we both changed for the better in our interactions and connection to each other.
The whole believing I’m not good enough thing was always the heart of my eating disorder. Even though I know that I’m more than good enough, knowing it doesn’t resolve the eating disorder. That carries a certain degree of suckitude, but it is what it is. At least the more positive belief helps remove some of the emotional underpinning. It keeps that leg of the stool more balanced and secure. That’s so important. I can work on the physical aspects and, as discussed in the earlier post, the spiritual leg of the stool too.
Speaking of the physical, not ever believing that I could successfully lose weight and maintain it meant that I always felt that I was doomed to fail. When you don’t really believe you can do something, you’re already setting yourself up for an ultimately negative outcome. Sometimes I still want to fall back into that belief, so I’m working really hard to reshape that false “truth”. I have successfully lost a good chunk of weight and, even though stalled, I’m maintaining the weight loss — far longer than I have ever done before. I’m also maintaining the physical fitness effort. (Rode my bike 14 miles today and did a one hour Tai Chi class. Booyah!) In so doing these things, I’m stacking up evidence for my own eyes and heart that a negative truth can be changed. We can come to believe differently about ourselves. That, my friends, is vital to my continued recovery. Let me tell you, it is definitely the priority!
Now back to that artistic talent thing. Remember the post on pottery and the class I took? I’m ready to reveal the end results of my very first experience with “throwing” clay on a wheel.
Here’s the first pot. You can see it’s uneven both in shape and in thickness. The glazing’s uneven too. Still, I gaze on it fondly, even in its imperfections. I love the sweet little starfish that I added to the inside and the speckled sandy glaze inside the pot. I now have this little thing in my bathroom. It’s perfect for holding my earrings, necklace and ring when I take them off at night.
For the second pot, I achieved a little control which resulted in a more even pot. I’m not happy with the glazing. Detailed brush work is a challenge and it was hard to assess whether I’d evenly applied the glaze. I like the shells that I affixed. Overall, while it’s clearly not something that anybody would try to sell in a gift shop, I like it enough that I put it in the hall bathroom. I may add some small soaps. Whatever the case, I’m not hiding it away where nobody but me will see it!
My last, and best pot, surprised even me! I can’t believe I achieved the overall shape. On the second trip, when we learned to smooth and “trim”, I even managed to do that in more symmetrical fashion. I loved playing with the deeper blue speckled glaze on the outside. I think I achieved a nice, rich color. Inside, I used a lighter speckled glaze and centered a single piece of sea glass in the bottom. I love this little bowl!
I don’t pretend that I am a gifted potter after a single foray, but again, I’m not embarrassed to show this bowl. I, who have always believed myself to not have any artistic ability at this kind of thing, got a life lesson. I have enough artistic ability to have created three pots with enough success that I’m inspired to try additional things. Working with the clay, shaping it into different pots, helped me reshape another old “truth”.