Right now I’m feeling like all my skin has been blasted off. Raw, exposed, extremely tender.
I have been feeling anxious and fearful.
But I have been diving into these feelings like a detective with the world’s most powerful magnifying glass. And a Blood Hound who has a hypersensitive sense of smell.
With my detective hat on I go hunting for clues about my experience. Every feeling is a clue, every physical sensation is a clue, and every reaction is a clue.
Currently, I have been picking up a lot of clues about the version of me who is running things around here, most of the time at an unconscious level.
I like to imagine the versions of me that exist as being like a flock of geese flying in a V-formation.
The bird who flies at the front of the formation breaks the wind resistance and creates an upwash for the birds behind, creating a massive reduce in wind drag. The birds will rotate to the front so no one gets too fatigued on their migration.
There are, obviously, different circumstances in my life that require a different version of me to taking up the point position.
There’s the me who’s really funny and a bit of a show off. She’s great at dinner parties because she’s got great banter, a quick turn of phrase and lots of funny stories.
There’s the me who’s a great listener. She’s great for times when my loved ones and my clients want to feel really heard and understood.
There’s the me who’s all a bit Kara Thrace/Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica. She’s brave, courageous and she’s always got my back. She’s good for dealing with my high cancer risk and hospital visits. She advocates for my health hardcore.
But the version of me who’s (often unconsciously) at the front of the Tamarisk V-formation when it comes to relationships often feels unsafe, anxious and afraid.
The clues I’ve been picking up show me that there’s a clear indication that she is a younger and unhappier version of me.
When I look at her a little more closely I see where she is and what’s happening to her.
She’s 11. She’s been pulled out the school she knows over the Christmas holiday and she’s being driven to a boarding school by a family friend she doesn’t know very well. She didn’t get to say goodbye to any of her school friends.
She knows her mother is dying and looking after her is becoming too hard to manage. She feels voiceless. She doesn’t want any of this to be happening but no one is listening, no one wants to know what she wants. So she stays silent.
When I ask her how she’s feeling about all of this, she tells me that she doesn’t understand why the people who are supposed to protect her and keep her safe are sending her away and abandoning her. She feels scared, frightened and alone. She doesn’t feel like she can trust anyone except herself anymore.
This younger version of me knows a lot about abandonment, pain and fear. She doesn’t yet know how to speak so she is heard. She doesn’t yet know that walls aren’t boundaries. She doesn’t yet know that there’s an older, wiser, compassionate version of her waiting in her future who loves her unconditionally.
But she is not the me who needs to be at the front the V.
Right now I’m busy talking to her, loving her, creating a safe, fun and loving place for her to go on vacation to because, honestly, she’s tired of this tough job and she doesn’t feel like she should have to taking on the all the hard work of being at the front breaking the wind resistance.
And you? Beautiful you? Who makes up your V formation? Is the version of you that’s up at the front the best version of you for what’s showing up in your life right now?