I started the month of August with no plan, no job, no hope for a partner in my life... I am starting September with many plans, a job that will start by October, and a wonderful partner.
I have been hesitant to write about current events, almost fearful that I would jinx them. But this morning I received a reminder- You do have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Deal with it. It isn't going away... But I will come back to that in a moment*.
This week I watched the pieces really start to fall together... It has been an ongoing process, but I am finally feeling like there a noticeable results. I have been volunteering for a nonprofit, NONVIO Philly (https://www.facebook.com/nonviophilly), building partnerships to acquire spaces for events that will incorporate community based organizations, health/well-being education, and live music. It has felt really good! Although it is not a paycheck, it feels natural to be doing the work. It has been a doorway to starting many valuable new friendships and meeting like-minded people who want to benefit Philadelphia, the environment, and individuals in general. I will be promoting a date for the first event soon!
Given how difficult it has been to get paid as a musician, I took it upon myself to this create this opportunity in which musicians would be offered more than exposure in exchange for their talents and time. I adore the venues that have nurtured me as an artist. However, I want to expand outside of environments which depend upon getting people drunk to make a buck- or which charge handsome covers that the local bands never see. (For the record, all proceeds from my shows pay my band members or create promotional materials.) So, I hope everyone will come out to enjoy a good time among neighbors, bring an open mind to hear what some good local organizations have to share, and donate a little to help us pay participating performers.
...I also met my dream boss- The details are still being hammered out, but it looks like I found a great speech therapy job! The small company is owned by a mother and daughter who are both speech therapists. They provide Early Intervention services in Philadelphia and also support good causes, such as Cradles to Crayons (https://www.cradlestocrayons.org/philadelphia), which helps provide children with the clothes and materials they need to succeed in school. I am very eager to partner them with the rest of the community of friends that I have been building!
Talking to the owner, I recalled, "When I graduated from Temple, my dream was to start a program where parents could bring their children; disabled, labeled, or typically developing. All the kids could go into one area with trained professionals and enjoy an activity together. Meanwhile, the parents could meet with therapists and counselors; get group therapy, discuss their struggles and strengths, network. Then, afterwards, the parents could rejoin their children and learn how to incorporate therapy strategies themselves."
She concurred that she had something similar in mind when she started her company. However, the problem is largely that the people who need this service most can not afford to pay for it... and while Early Intervention is paid for by the government, there is currently no funding available to create a program such as the one we have in mind. I am glad to know that my new potential boss already has this ball rolling... I can not wait to be part of her team!
The problem with "therapy" is that most people think it is something that only a professional can do- When the truth is anyone can do it! My job as a therapist is to train my clients to not need me! Most therapy techniques are simple common sense habits- The most basic one for parents: repeat what your child is trying to say. Ask him or her to repeat the phrase following your model. Simple. Repetition.
But even this therapy assignment is often met with great opposition. Parents say they do not have time. Parents say, "We did it for a little while... Then we got busy and stopped."
I know first hand how difficult it is to form a new good habit. I have been trying to learn how to play a guitar for two years, but I simply do not set aside enough time to practice drills. I make time for what I want to do- play music I am writing and performing, but meanwhile my performing suffers because I fail to take the time to become a proficient player.
It is only through routine repetition that a new pattern of behavior is formed. It takes a duration of several weeks for results to be noticeable. When we see a positive change, the behavior is reinforced, and we feel compelled to continue...
I have seen amazing positive changes in my life over August. I started September with even more positive intentions: Every September I make a list of things that I resolve to give up for the month. This year: alcohol, drugs, meat, coffee... Victor was going to be on this list as well. I told him that he should take the time to consider what he wanted, free of my influence. We already spent two months estranged. What was one more?
He decided that he did not need another month to decide... "Either we work out now or never, right?"
It is difficult to avoid old patterns. This morning* I remembered my insecurities... I caught myself feeling mournful for us, when we are still together. I started looking around for things to worry about, things to justify with my fears... I can not start mourning for our future when it has yet to be written. It is our past that I am longing for- gone, behind us... and it was not good. It was not good when we could not be honest with one another, when I did not understand that my irrational thoughts and fears are part of a bigger problem. I have BPD. It is very real, and it is not an excuse for bad behavior.
I Hate You- Don't Leave Me author, Hal Straus describes BPD as emotional hemophilia. From my experience this is an accurate description; each time I feel an overwhelming emotion, it is like a fatal wound that won't stop bleeding. In our past, Victor allowed himself to be sucked into my drama, trying to be my hero. He has been my hero on several occasions... But this is exactly why so many books are addressed to partners trying to leave individuals with BPD. If I am not vigilant in learning to moderate my emotions, it can be a never-ending vicious cycle of need that will push him right back out of my life.
They say you should love someone for who they are and not expect them to change... In my case, Victor has to expect change, growth. He has to hold me accountable for learning from my mistakes, for his sake as well as my own. -It will not happen overnight. I have made tremendous progress since I went to the hospital, but it requires practice, reminding myself every day. Luckily, I am not confronted with anxiety and distress every day. However, times like this morning, I forget that the world is not ending, the sky is not falling... and I have to start counting my blessings again, remembering how miraculous it is to have a love worth saving and a hero willing to try!
Weeks... Weeks... Weeks... The benefits of the weeks I worked to bring me to this moment were so well worth the effort, the time... I can wait. I can continue to learn. I am not loosing myself by changing. I am finding myself, again and again and again...