This morning as I drove up the highway to a friend’s house for our mentorship group, it was as if I had never been there before. I couldn’t remember the exit number. I couldn’t remember the name of the exit, even. Traffic was fairly heavy and I was worried I would be late. I am compulsively on time. I hate being late. I pulled off several exits early and drove around until I could figure out how to get back on the highway in the right direction. When I finally did get to the right exit, I almost didn’t take it. All the way to my friend’s house, I doubted myself. It was as if I were dreaming. Not as if I was losing my mind, more like trying to find this reality from The Twilight Zone.

Lately I’ve been doing a lot more writing after a few years of barely writing at all. I’ve unearthed paintings and drawings and art supplies I haven’t touched in a long time. I’ve framed some of my stuff and actually hung it on the wall where I see it all the time instead of hiding it in my basement in a bag in the “unfinished” storage-space-only part. I look at this artwork and I see the parts of myself I’ve buried and tried never to let come to the surface again. Letting the creativity come forward also brings all the feelings I don’t want to deal with. Like frustration and fear, and even loneliness. The worst one is anger. I feel like a chick that’s just hatched from its egg. “What happened to my nice, warm, safe and predictable environment?” I peep. “When did the world get so big with possibility?”

I’ve manifested a chronic pain in my left shoulder and the top part of my left arm. Sometimes the pain shoots up into my neck. “What in my life feels like a pain in the neck?” I ask myself in an effort to decipher what is happening physically. It’s a pain not easily banished with over the counter medicine. It’s making it hard to stand or sit and paint. It’s making it hard to sit at my computer and write. I think I’m beginning to get it. The pain sometimes is intense enough to cause me to breathe differently. It makes me angry. Today it’s bothering me a lot.

A week or two ago I caught the tail end of the Dr. Oz show as I was waiting for the evening news to come on. I guess it had been a show about eating and obesity. Dr. Oz was looking imploringly into the camera. “There’s one thing I make every patient I help with weight loss ask herself before we begin,” he said as he backed off so the camera could see his face and his hands.  He pointed with what I think of as a scolding stance. The wagging forefinger followed by a tight fist. “Who made you feel you were worthless?’ he said. “Think about that.” And that was the end of the show.

I could name a couple of people right off the bat. My mother. My ex-husband. A couple of teachers. But that’s not the point. At least not for me, this morning. I made myself feel worthless. I bought into other people’s opinions of me, of my writing, of my paintings. It never occurred to me to think that they may have had opinions, but that they might not be true. I thought in every case that was the price of relationship…to put up with being put down. I agreed with that opinion expressed by someone else, that I didn’t deserve more. So I stifled myself. I hid my gifts in a garbage bag in the basement. I haven’t bothered to try to share my writing. I have many intuitive gifts and have had much training in energy work and shamanic healing. I don’t often do sessions for anyone other than the people I know well.

That’s all beginning to shift and change. I am taking lots of little steps to throw myself out into the world. Little steps that add up to big changes, not the least of which is this mentorship group. I’ve gotten to watch some amazing people grow and evolve in exciting ways over the past year. They tell me that I’ve changed, too. Today I’m feeling so very, very angry that I allowed myself to think so little of myself that I dissed all my own gifts. That pain might be clenching down on the muscles in my neck and shoulder, but the anger is definitely a lit match. I feel like I’m reaching back to light the rocket attached to my ship. The afterburners are coming on. The only one I have to please is me. I’m finally beginning to see who I am. I so look forward to the ride.