PINS AND NEEDLES

“In the pines in the pine where the sun never shines and the shivers, and the cold, wind blows. Little ashley, little tia, where were you last nigght!? In the pines, in the pines, where the sun, never shines. And the shivers and the cold wind blows…”

My aunt used to sing us that tune when it was bed time. She’d read us a story and then put us to bed while scratching our backs with her fake nails. We didn’t know they were fake nails back then. Just knew that it felt good.

Not sure exactly how this story relates, but I also remember the look on my mom’s face the first time I got mad at her and said “I HATE YOU!” She looked at me and it was the worst look I’d seen in my life. I don’t remember what the argument was about. Just remember I headed back to my closet, where I was pretending I was in Monster’s Inc. My plastic Fisher Price kitchen was in the front of my plastic red desk. As an 8 year old aspiring arcitecht I’d decided that the kitchen would make a perfect blockade to help create a cubicle in the back half of the closet. I probably got the idea from when my dad would take me to see her. She worked for hallmark back then. I guess it makes sense why she still always stays up late watching those sappy christmassy hallmark movies.

I bet I got the dramatic exclamation point from some of the books I was reading at the time – Junie B. Jones and Judy Moody. The characters were vivacious and the books – always riotous. I loved them. Which reminds me, I was also reading Captain Underpants in those days. As you can see my love for satirical books that provided a break from those chicken soup for the preteen soul years, ran deep. And in a weird way they probably led to the development of a somewhat cynical/sarcastic sense of humor that characterized much of my pre teen and young adult life.

If I had to describe my inner demons in a nutshell, I’d use the metaphor of pins and needles. I’ve found the experience of frequently being in opposition with my own mind to be like the unpleasant tingling sensation that occurs when there is a restriction of blood flow to your limb, causing that limb to feel like it may just sever itself off at any given moment.

There have been many days during the COVID-19 era in which we’ve lived for almost a year now, when I’ve found myself introspecting about years past. From the flowery, rosey times to the not so pleasant pins and needle-y times.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I envy those of you that can live in your innerworld without becoming so preoccupied that you forget about what’s going on around you. If I am not overthinking about it, or replaying it in my head, I am usually unconsciously humming the lyrics to a song I heard recently.

An unquiet mind to the nth degree. I’m a highly sensitive, very nostalgic person with lots of mood swings. US WOMEN MAN, we’re all the same.

Lately I’ve been working a lot on reconfiguring my risk and reward pathways. As I was researching EMDR and psychotherapy I stumbled across and article that challenged my beliefs about trauma and stressful life events. To date I had never fathomed the idea that the word “trauma” could be used to describe memories other than the Traumatic events are marked by a sense of horror, helplessness, serious injury, or the threat of serious injury or death.

The most gruesome, catastrophic events that one would witness first hand, and therefore become a victim to the mental agony and aftermath that would plague one’s mind for an unknown period of time.

Sometime after my Judy Moody years I started believing that I needed to earn the right to exist. My self-worth became contingent upon arbitrary things, such as my weight, my grades, my friends, my salary, certain material things and aesthetics. The aesthetic I put out on social media. My own perceptions of how I believed other people judged or misjudged me.

Idk. But I did get one great piece of wisdom in the midst of one of those unquiet moments.

You’ll stop caring so much what other people think about you when you realize how seldom they do.

Read that again.

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