Magical thinking is common for those of us who suffered childhood abuses. For me there was always the thought/hope/desire that if I got things just right, all the bad stuff would come to a grinding halt. My obedience and strong sense of responsibility as a child should have produced better results, according to the structure of my particular brand of magical thinking. My stepdad should have come to love me with a father’s pure love, and realized with sudden shock how horrifically he’d been treating me. At the very least, my mother should have seen what a good little girl I was and experienced immediate and complete contrition for not protecting me. This is what should have happened. It didn’t.
For the past week I’ve been made aware of how deep go the roots of my magical thinking, which have kept me in a trancelike state from childhood all the way up until now. I’ve no idea what’s jarred my thinking, jolting it out of its tired rut. Something has. Something keener than a vague wistfulness that things get better. Some inward stirring has occurred, and I suspect that what may have given me this jolt is hearing a unique recording of Beautiful Dreamer. The first time I heard this recording the words, “Beautiful dreamer, wake unto me…” spoke to my tight-fisted heart, luring me from a deep coma with a thrill of recognition; stirring within new desires to awaken, and remain awake; to emerge from my stepdad’s evil spell and rise to meet a myriad of new possibilities and adventures awaiting my soul’s consent to everything I’ve closed myself off from.
My emotional life has been a parody of Old Mother Hubbard whose cupboard was perpetually bare. I’ve striven hard to control my little corner of the world by attempting (still crazily, after all these years) to be the “good little girl,” the responsible one, the Cinderella-of-All-Trades. Perhaps if I did what was expected of me I could squeak by til the end of my days without too much more tribulation. But to do so I had to bury my heart, along with its deepest dreams and desires. And this is how I’ve been living. Denying my human needs (oh the shame of having them!), never letting on that it’s been killing me.
And now I awaken slowly with a delicious sense of anticipation. No rude awakening here, nothing beyond a sweet voice calling me forth to newness of life. Come away with me, the voice sings, and I rise without haste, knowing instinctively that I’m no longer responding to coercion or the heavy-handedness of grubby shame. I follow this voice with the spontaneity and light-heartedness of a child; it’s safe to follow. With eyes wide-open I take a narrow winding path leading me far away from the petty concerns of my old life, and the suffocation of my decades long trance.
The further I go the more clear becomes my eyesight. With delight I see a weather beaten sign up ahead which simply states, “A Year for Letting Go.” Every 20 feet or so are more signs on both sides of the narrow dirt path, some of which read “Co-dependency,” “Magical Thinking,” “Passivity,” and “Cognitive Dissonance.” There are baskets at the foot of each wooden sign where I willingly, and with great relief, deposit these no longer needed mindsets. The loss of these lightens my load considerably, so much so that I’m in danger of helplessly floating off into the sky. But what’s this? There is a sudden heaviness on my shoulder blades. Glancing back with a curiosity mingled with slight irritation, I see that I’ve sprouted wings. Wings! Their aching heaviness soon gives way to a sensation that my entire being is lighter than clouds as I begin soaring with the eagles.
A Year for Letting Go. Time to discard lying messages learned in childhood, time to dispel once and for all rumors of my unworthiness. This won’t happen overnight, but with every little bit of letting go of what has kept me earthbound all my life, I will experience more and more of the unbearable lightness of being—unbearable only in my first awkwardness of having sprouted the wings I was meant for all along.