Entrapment

Are you living the life of your dreams? Do you awaken each day excited to be alive and pursue your passions? Are you mostly peaceful, joyful and bursting with love? Are you feeling appreciative of the opportunity to explore this beautiful universe while bringing to life the boundless depths of your most creative and loving potential?

When we are children, the world is wide open, full of infinite possibilities. We are eager, awe-struck and excited, embracing the next fun thing. Life is a big adventure, yay! Jumping up and down with joy, skipping, hopping, fully expressing our hearts. Fearless, curious & inquisitive, we don’t want to miss a thing and we are in a hurry to be grown ups so we can do even more fun things 🙂

Remember playing, chasing, laughing, exploring, pretending with wild abandonment? I do! Remember running barefoot, collecting interesting rocks/fossils, catching fascinating creatures, crickets, anoles, toads….watching tadpoles wiggle in the rainwater of the ditch in your front yard? Climbing trees. Picking clover blossoms and stringing them into leis and halos, then sprawling, flat out on your backs in the cool grass, squinting up above, describing the shapes you see in the clouds in the big, blue,  sun dappled sky? Watching the hawks and vultures spiraling slowly, scouting… you imagining something gruesome and dead, like maybe a cowboy stranded in the desert as their next meal 🙂

Blowing dandelions and bubbles, feeding the horse in the big meadow near your house, sugar cubes and carrots. Spontaneously dancing and bursting into song. Playing in the daily afternoon showers and surfing  in the warm squishy mud. Swinging on the neighbor’s epic tire swing like Tarzan and yelling, trying to imitate his loud, crazy yodel. Going to the park and spinning on the merry go round as fast as you can, swooshing down the tallest slide, swinging as high as you can, your feet reaching for the sky till the chains are jerking at the tipping point. Spinning in circles and trying to run and falling down cuz you’re so dizzy, big bellied laughing hysterically till your sides hurt. Rosy cheeks, hair all tousled, feeling giddy, supremely happy and free. Batting balloons in the air back and forth, playing catch, hopscotch, marbles, wrestling and trying to do karate, gymnastics. Splish-splashing, in the hose, sprinklers, slippin’ slides and kiddie pools.

Riding bikes on the dirt trails in the woods,  popping wheelies with your fancy, sparkly banana seat and handle bar streamers. Jumping rope, skate boarding, hula hooping, jacks, board games, hide and seek, truth or dare and Simon says. Making funny faces together in the bathroom mirror and cracking up. Scaring yourselves chanting, “Bloody Mary” in the mirror with the lights off. Playing dress up. Makeshift sheet tents, hiding and grabbing the ankles of passersby. Maniacal.

Pretending you’re a survivalist like the boy in My Side of the Mountain, gathering monkey grass berries, leaves, sticks, acorns, pecans. Building “fires”gathering “food”using banana leaves to meticulously tear into strips and weave into plates. The fresh, green smell, the gentle  sun warmed air, the delicate yellow, cabbage butterflies flitting, the grasshoppers, cicadas and katydids singing as the sun set and the streetlights signaled the end of an adventurous, thrilling day.

You didn’t want to go to sleep, there was too much to see, discover and do. The whole world was a gigantic playground, and you could be, do, have anything when you grew up, you just knew it. Look how much fun you had right in your own yard and neighborhood. Being grown up was gonna be even better because then you could stay up late, eat what you wanted, do what you wanted, be what you wanted with no one else to boss you around, heh 🙂

As time went on things changed. I became aware of what was expected, the comparing/competition began and the pressure to become what my parents and society said was appropriate and desirable increased as I became a teenager.The world became incrementally smaller with more things to consider and be wary of. The older I got , the more boxed in I became with never ending rules and conditions to follow. There were arbitrary boundaries and expectations of which I complied, or else suffer the unpleasant, heart wrenching consequences.

You can’t do that, it is not reasonable and practical. You won’t be able to make a living doing that. That’s weird, what’s wrong with you. You look different from everyone else, you need to look more normal, like this. You’re getting so fat, don’t eat that. You better eat that meat, what about the starving people? You need to be more like so and so and wear make up, dress like this. You shouldn’t feel that way, don’t cry, don’t get upset. Act excited, can’t you act more happy?  Why aren’t you more upset, you should be ashamed of yourself, you should be remorseful, why aren’t you reacting  like you should? Do as I say, not as I do. Do your homework, make straight A’s, practice your music, win the competitions, be in this pageant,  wash the dishes, babysit your brother, do the laundry, be in this musical. You don’t do enough, you’re so lazy, you need to come to work with me to see how it is to be me, maybe then you’ll be more appreciative. You need to get a job too. Something’s definitely wrong with you, you’re mentally ill, just like your biological mother. You have to make good grades, perform perfectly, behave perfectly, look perfect and achieve what we say is the perfect way to be because what will people think? And I’m just doing this for your own good so you will have a better life than I have had. I am hard on you and punish you, yell at you, slap you, push you down and hit you till you are bruised because I need to be a good parent, I need to make sure you learn the right ways. It hurts me more than it hurts you. You need to win, excel, look good, be good, so you can beat out the competition and have a better life. The end justifies the means. We’re better than those people, “scum of the earth” was an often heard phrase.

I was bombarded with the beliefs… life is hard, people are cut-throat, money doesn’t grow on trees.  “What a spoiled, unappreciative brat you are after all we do for you,” juxtaposed with, ” You are so beautiful and wonderful , we’re so proud of you.” Confused much?

According to the adults, since I was no longer a carefree innocent little child anymore, I had to be taught the ways of the world or else I would not succeed. I needed to learn in order to protect myself and survive. The people in life became less friendly, less accepting, full of fear, resentful, angry and controlling. Unpredictable, labile, overreactive, Jekyll and Hyde. Walking on eggshells became my modus operandi. I began to lie about everything because it didn’t matter what I did, I still got in trouble,  I couldn’t figure it out. The walls getting higher, pushing in on me, felt like I was climbing  fences, worming through mazes, jumping hurdles, all made up by people with influence over me, all by stories/fears in their heads and the unresolved, unhealed pain within them from their adverse life experiences thereby creating pain driven living.

My beautiful idyllic childhood view shrinking until I’m in a deep hole with barely enough space to move with a pinpoint of light way up above, the air stifling, heavy and stagnant. I am a miserable failure, not able to get anything right, ashamed and afraid, damned if I do and damned if I don’t. Trapped. Turns out I am “scum of the earth.” I  thought getting more grown up meant even more freedom and fun?! I am so confused and shell shocked, what to do?

What happened? I believed what I was shown. Conditioned away from the truth I carried in my heart from birth and allowed to guide me as a child only to have it reined in, lassoed and hog tied in conformity and self preservation as a teen/ young adult.

We get lost 🙂 Or not, depending on what we are born into 🙂 I suspect we all have adversity which changes/shades/distorts the lenses of our perceptions.

Then we are grown ups and try to make sense of everything again, eventually finding our ways back to our logical hearts, by diligently breaking through the walls, busting our way through. Or if we are on a fast track,  sometimes we are gifted with dynamite in the form of uncomfortable challenges which show us where we are living in illusion. We are confronted and made aware of how we are imprisoning ourselves with lies. I don’t wanna follow these rules anymore, it’s not true, it’s not how I want to live and be. I am miserable though I am trying to make the best of it. I search and I see now and I am unable to wall myself away from truth again. Once I’ve seen the light, how can I go back into darkness. The misery decreases and freedom increases depending on how truthful we become. Truth=freedom=love=my best life guided by the logical heart.

But it is scary, because we are afraid to go through the difficult work it requires to change. It is safer to stay with the familiar. It will be too hard, what if it doesn’t work, what if I’m wrong. Or subconsciously we associate happiness with impending doom because of the deception of others. We were ecstatically happy because we believed our partners or parents loved us, were capable of being loving, only to find out they were lying or incapable. Trust broken, and now not knowing what’s safe to believe in, being ecstatic becomes associated with devastating pain, topsy-turvy hurt. Every time happiness is imminent, there is a reluctance and fear, that it can’t be real, waiting for the next shoe to drop. We talk ourselves out of it, saying we are not worthy and we will try compromising, deferring, acquiescing, making excuses. Keep trying to fix it with desperate temporary measures. We stop believing in love, we don’t trust ourselves, or others, can’t figure out where to turn. Stuck. What is the most loving thing to do?

Are you truly living/loving when you are suffocating, your blood cut off by the tourniquet you keep tightening by staying in situations that are mostly based on lies, rationalizations, double standards and conundrums which hurt you and those you are in relation with. Spinning it until you’re convinced that this is the way it is and you just have to accept it, because some things never change. Or just don’t think about it. You’re making things too complicated by being honest, by wanting something more free and loving.  It’s easier to lie. Choosing the path of least resistance, or so you think.

One thing I do believe is… the truth can not be escaped. Eventually it catches up to you in various forms. Either you take responsibility and change, or stay stuck for as long as you want. Why not stop, look and listen, now. Step up and believe in yourself again.

Why not love yourself and do what brings you lasting relief so you can be the happy, loving, playful, fulfilled, joyful person you knew you were destined to be way back when. Is it really loving of you and the world to cage yourself in a prison of lies?

For example, this is what I’ve seen in my recent experiences over  the past few years. There are married people where they’ve been together for years and they are not honest or happy in their relationships. They say, “But I love my wife and what about my kids, I don’t want to go through the hurt, I love them.” Is it really loving to cheat on your spouse for years and say you would be upset and devastated if she were doing the same behind your back?  You make excuses and say you love her, “But she doesn’t want what I want and I can’t be who I really am, I’m not satisfied.I probably should never have married.”  You even dread going home, more days than you wanna admit.

So you try and escape, compromise, cope by doing the exact thing that is most harmful and perpetuates the cycle. Because in the deception, you feel guilty and don’t love yourself. You try and find relief through sex/relationships outside the marriage with partner after partner. Trying to get by, thrill seeking, ego boosting and to find love somehow, to ease the pain. It is an addiction and a harmful coping measure which becomes an endless cycle. “What she doesn’t know won’t hurt her. It helps me feel better so I can be a better husband.” You just need the release, it isn’t hurting anyone you tell yourself. And also you have unresolved pain from childhood traumas and haven’t fully dealt with them which also drives the escapism. You are running away from love. You feel like “scum of the earth.” And unwittingly create the drama which fuels the exact thing you are trying to relieve.

Is this really working?

Eventually it catches up somehow, someway and we either face it, work on it, break through to the truth, and freedom which ultimately requires radical self love, discovery and healing.  Doing whatever works to heal self, staying true to self by communicating honestly what you desire and need. Getting reacquainted with the real you, your logical heart.

Right now, I am facing my own entrapment. I chose a profession knowing it was not my first choice, but would be practical and something to fall back on, which I am also well  suited for, but it is not fulfilling my need for greater creativity. I told myself I could always pursue the creative outlets I was truly passionate about later on. Well here it is 22 years down the line and I am trying my darnedest to break free. I’ve made significant headway in being truthful in other major aspects of my life, my relationships are on track. Now I can focus on being honest by finding and doing what I love which also serves others and is valuable enough to get paid for. It has taken me over working myself  to the point of burn out though to realize that it isn’t working. So I am waking up, gaining clarity, making room for more of what I am wanting, by loving myself enough to take a break, get creative, take a chance, yay!

These wake up calls are an opportunity to blast through, surfacing, breathing sweetly. Ahhhhh…look, there’s a clover patch, and dandelions, sunshine and cicadas, yay! Time to play again! I have a choice. I can be honest and free to love…  that eager, bright eyed child  who was always ready for the next adventure. She’s still in here, just watch me! Ha 😀

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Michelle Miyagi
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