Note: This is a guest blog by the wonderful Jennifer Pastiloff
Confessions. Part 1.
1. I like to feel safe.
I have a yearning to feel safe.
The pop psychologist in you will say Well, Jen, that is because your dad died when you were young and all you ever want is to go back to feeling safe because that felt very, very unsafe.
Probably this is true.
Regardless, I do things to stay safe.
Even if they make me miserable sometimes such as waitressing at the same restaurant for 13 years because I was scared to leave.
I married a man I love deeply but who indeed makes me feel very safe.
I am not talking about the “I will protect you because I am so tough” kind of safe. Although he keeps a golf club by our bed. (Yes, I too am not sure what that could ever ever do.)
He makes me feel safe because he loves me unconditionally. Except when I am a slob, which I am quite a lot. Then he still loves me, he just gets aggravated. I get that.
He checks my car to make sure it has oil and gas. He waters the plants. He puts his hands on my forehead and tells me not to worry, that everything will be okay.
There it is!
Those used to be my fantasy words.
Perhaps they still are?
I have said aloud many times throughout my childhood and teen years even. All I wanted was for someone to tell me: It’s going to be alright.
My husband does that.
And he means it. He believes it. He believes in me.
He makes me feel good. And sexy. And beautiful. And talented.
So yes, I am being honest. I like to feel safe.
So here is my confession which I thought I would save for my book.
2. I suck my thumb.
I have for over 35 years.
There must have been years in adulthood when I stopped. But lately I notice I have been doing it again – usually when I don’t even realize it.
It’s like nothing I could ever explain to you, the feeling of safety it gives me. The feeling of relaxation. The feeling of being high. The feeling of it’s going to be alright.
Psychologists say the habit is a comforting gesture that mimics the feelings gained from breastfeeding as a baby, sending a rush of endorphins to the brain.
So what do I do?
It’s not like I walk around with my thumb in my mouth but it is indeed a comforting vice I allow myself. And, perhaps the reason I have been doing it more lately is directly related to the lack of judgement from my husband, from the safety he provides. Perhaps I feel more stress and it is my way to make me feel slightly better.
We all have something.
Some drink wine. (I have done.)
Some over eat. ( I have done.)
Some starve themselves. ( I have done and done again.)
Some over exercise. ( I have more than done.)
Some have too much sex. (Not so much.)
Some sleep too much. ( I have done.)
Some shop with money they do not have. ( I have done.)
Whatever it is, we all have things that make us feel safe – even if they are actually causing us to stay in a dark place, albeit a safe one, because it is what we know.
Better the Devil you know….
The point is that I am confessing to something I observe in myself. This yearning to feel safe.
Is it crippling me? No. Not at all.
Are there things that I am doing that I could change? Yes. Many.
For example, I have already had braces and I hated them. I do not need buck teeth in my 30′s.
I can also attempt to find these feelings in other ways. Maybe I can get that same endorphin rush through exercise – except this time without feeling like I need to exercise 4 hours a day. (Yes, I did that.) Maybe I can get that feeling through meditation.
Maybe I will suck my thumb and like to feel safe until I die.
Most of you won’t know. You will like me anyway.
3. I have many more but this post can only be so long to keep your attention….
You will go on and do the things that you do to keep you feeling safe or alive or relevant or scared or lovable or whatever way you need to feel to keep on keeping on in the world.