Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Inspect, Demo, Excavate, Rebuild

The verse below has been my mantra for days and days... I've been listening to this song at least a few times each day for weeks now...

Artist: 2pac
Song: Keep Your Head Up

"... And since we all came from a woman
Got our name from a woman
And our game from a woman
I wonder why we take from our women
Why we rape our women
Do we hate our women?
I think it's time to kill for our women
Time to heal our women
Be real to our women
And if we don't
We'll have a race of babies
That hate the ladies that make the babies
And since a man can't make one
He has no right to tell a woman when and where to create one
So will the real men get up
I know you're fed up, ladies
But keep your head up..."

I work at a construction company.

I absolutely HATED it for the first six months. I would come home and cry myself to sleep every night because I was the only girl surrounded by so many men all day long. And each and every one of them needed something from me. I hated being surrounded by the enemy. I hated that I was there to "serve" them. I knew it would be a difficult adjustment because of my past, but I never expected how difficult of an adjustment. All I knew for sure was that things and issues would surely resurface... I just prayed I would be able to muscle through the memories, triggers and emotions...

I forced myself to stick with the job because I needed the money. I promised myself I'd relocate to wherever the money was because I desperately needed a stable financial situation to pursue writing. I went from working three jobs every day of the week and carrying a full load of writing courses to a regular Monday through Friday work schedule. I needed something new. I needed something challenging to make me feel alive again. I needed routine. I needed stability. I needed time to rest.

This job offered all of those things.

But I also knew I was being tested.

I was dumbfounded at the irony of it all: Of course this was the only way I'd confront my worst nightmare - by working for a construction company... and you know the stereotypical image/actions of construction workers. Of course this job was my fate... and I was the only girl at it's center.

Life sure does work in mysterious ways...

Today, though (just about a year since my initial start date), things are the exact opposite. I adore everyone I work with. I do struggle some days - especially when I have nightmares and flashbacks - but I recognize I am just adjusting to having some kind of life again. I recognize that being around men all day long is helping me to know myself better:

I am becoming more aware of my surroundings.

I note when I am secretly snapping on the inside because I suddenly feel overwhelmed, angry or drained.

I feel myself suffocating at times and know when I need to leave the office in order to breathe.

I am learning how to communicate.

I am recognizing the characteristics which make me feel safe and endangered.

I am letting others get to know me again.

I am learning how to be objective and fair.

I am learning that not everyone is out to use me and hurt me.

I am learning to trust my feelings more, regardless of how crazy I feel for letting myself even feel them at all.

I am recognizing my boundaries in certain situations.

I am learning about men: All men are NOT the enemy. All men are NOT sure and determined. All men are NOT careless, hurtful and vengeful. All men are NOT cold, hard and angry. All men do NOT hate all women.
I don't work in a normal office-type setting. Instead, I work on location at different job sites. These job sites are breathtaking estates in rich and famous neighborhoods. I am right there in the heart of it all - the jackhammering at the opposite end of the wall, the crane lifting full grown imported trees overhead, the custom designed underground tunnel being dug out of Mother Earth, the roof being thrown to the ground for a third story add-on... I'm the one manning the satellite office for not just one project, but dozens of gazillion dollar estates owned by my employer's most lucrative and prestigious client. I have a pretty amazing job despite the insane levels of stress and ridiculous deadlines we are always up against.
It was the aforementioned jackhammering in my ear that made me realize:
My life is a construction project.
Before any initial work begins on a project, preliminary interior and exterior inspections of the entire property must be completed - you have to know what you are dealing with before you can proceed. Then, demo can begin to remove the necessary existing structures. Excavation begins to further dig - or remove - the "bones" in order to... rebuild into a beautiful, customized, strong, healthy, new structure withstanding the forces of any future complications.
First, I must inspect my life:
I must look at my past from as many different angles as possible. I must look at each situation's advantages and disadvantages. I must consider the history of the original foundation and existing structure prior to beginning any kind of work. I must research, organize and confront the facts before I can proceed. If there is no history or foundation, then there is no future.
Second, let the demo begin:
This blog site is a record of my personal demo on my life. These raw, painful, hurtful, numbing memories are evidence of the removal of my outdated structure. These stories are the demo-ing of my mind, body, heart and soul. I have to cut away here, chop away there, knock down this and drill away that in order to make room for the new and improved. And even this is not that easy... sometimes, when I demo, new problems surface. Unexpected setbacks were overlooked during the initial inspection because they were hiding too deep and too far within the structure. They only became visible after removing this door or tearing down that wall. They were hiding in the cracks of my frame, beneath the surface. They surprise me, freeze my plans and force me to pay attention.
Third, excavate to the core:
As painful as it is, I have to dig even futher beneath the surface. I have to chisel away inbetween the tiniest and most fragile of my bones in order to attack and destroy my dirty little secrets. I don't even know what's hiding anymore... it's been so long since I've rapidly shoved everything deep down, covered it up, and walked away only to never look back... until now. And why am I looking at it now? Because my dirty little secrets are molding from my nonstop tears. The mold is spreading inside of me like wild fire. It is a different kind of cancer I have - Cancer of the Core. My past has created a tumor consuming my heart and soul. I have to dig and dig and dig until every pebble of my molded tumor is removed. I have to scrape, jackhammer and bulldoze until my core is visible, clean and healthy.
Last, it is time to rebuild:
Rebuilding is even more difficult than continuing with what you have. You know what the existing structure consisted of, including its strengths and weaknesses. And after completing the demo and excavation, you stare at your fresh start, fully recognizing that you are building over in a new time - in the future of your past. Different requirements must be met in order to pass an inspection now than before the demo. Rules have changed. What used to be acceptable before may very well be null and void now. The noise from the hammering and machinery has stopped, but the work is just beginning. You don't want the tumor to return. You don't want to leave any secret hiding places for your shame and guilt to grow any more painful mold. You examine your Life's blueprint and finally realize:
You will always be building.
This is precisely what Life is about.
As angry, ashamed, pained and alone as I am, I take great comfort in knowing a few small truths about my Life:
I will ALWAYS be inspecting, demo-ing and excavating my life because: IT TAKES A LIFETIME TO (RE)BUILD A LIFE.
I am fascinated with my deep pain and internal turmoil because: IT GIVES ME THE STRENGTH TO NEVER GIVE UP.
There are an infinite number of quick-fixes (one-night stands, cocaine, ecstasy, shrooms, acid, pot, pills, alcohol...) but: I DO NOT NEED FIXING BECAUSE I AM NOT BROKEN.
The love I deserve will find me because: EVERYONE DESERVES TO BE LOVED.
Dear God,
Please give me double the strength and wisdom you deem necessary... just hanging on by an invisible thread...


Blogger survivor said...

Wow! I love this post. You've put into words what I couldn't...

4/28/2006 7:20 AM  

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