It's not that the story hasn't been true, insofar as it goes. That's been my experience, my feelings, my attitudes.
But I heard myself telling the story recently (after my massage, during the energy work portion and the conversation that followed), and suddenly realized that I'm getting tired of it. That story has frozen me in time, kept me tied to that past far more tightly than I had realized. I'm not going to deny my history, but it's time to change the story about myself.
There's an interesting parallel in a story I'm reading now, The Courtesan, a historical fantasy novel, second in a trilogy about a family of witches. This sister, Gabrielle, had magic that expressed itself in an amazing talent with drawing and painting. It came from her soul, and it nurtured her. She was also incredibly beautiful. As a teen, she was raped by a young man who then inflicted on her one of the ancient, scandalous lies: "It was all your fault. You made me do it. Your magic drove me crazy." And -- being not only young and naive, but knowing the women in her family did have magic -- she believed him, and in her shame and horror, she shut down all her actual magic and has not lifted a pencil or paintbrush in all the years since. The place where her art used to be has been an aching void in her life that she vehemently denies.
Not only that, but she immediately began to think of herself as a heartless whore, a woman without honor, who used men. And that story has shaped the rest of her life.
Last night, Gabrielle suddenly reminded me of myself. One of the reasons I have not been open to love in the last few years is that I have also cast myself as a woman who is unfit for true love: I hurt those who love me, I'm too prickly and independent to be a partner, I'm not interested in meeting the needs of anyone beyond myself and my daughter. And maybe I'm not suited for long-term, intimate, living-together-or-married partnership -- but that's not the same as not being open to love.
And, like Gabrielle, my creativity went dormant when I was wounded by those I trusted and I took far too much responsibility for it.
I don't want to characterize either of my ex's as rapists. That would be taking the parallels too far. But neither of them have ever convinced me that they fully understand how they hurt me, nor took real responsibility for their part in the painful way things turned out. I do believe I have taken responsibility for what I did that contributed to the pain, and I have apologized fully and sincerely for it. At least, that's my story. I'm not fully certain what theirs are.
So. Going forward, I'm going to try to change this part of my story about who I am. I'm still figuring out what that story is going to be, how to honor the truth of the past without staying in the past.
But I am no longer content to define the lover-creator part of me as broken, frozen, or otherwise paralyzed by my past. I may not be fully functional yet, but I am moving forward, actively healing, beginning to create, beginning to feel, reaching inward and outward with trust that my passions will continue to strengthen.