“Deprivation is an experience of lack, of not having enough- a complete absence or inadequate supply of time, energy, money, or sustenance. Although similar to neglect, deprivation is about a shortage of what you actually need in order to survive or grow. If, in one or more areas, you have not received enough to allow you to feel that you can make it through your life, you have been deprived. If deprivation is your theme, you will tend to cope by perpetuating the lack, not trusting that life or the people around you will provide for or share with you. Your default behaviors may be overspending, overextending, excessive generosity- or the opposite, hoarding- so that one way or another, once again there is not enough for you.” -Daphne Rose Kingma
“What a weary time those years were- to have the desire and the need to live, but not the ability.” -Charles Bukowski, Ham on Rye
I’ve read the book The Ten Things to do When Your Life Falls Apart, three times now. Twice straight through and once, chapter by chapter. It’s that worthy of committing to memory. Then I bought it on audiobook. And that’s when it happened. That first quote slammed into me like a high-speed sucker punch.
I pulled my truck over during the morning coal mine race without warning, to the shoulder. Rewind. I can’t drive, listen and talk to myself.
“What did she just say?” As if I hadn’t heard it. As if memories of my life and its lack weren’t running scenes in my head and heart now…lack of food, Christmas presents, children teasing me for being poor- laughing at my shoes…Hours spent creating homes wherever people would let me, not because my mother trusted me, but because my mother was lacking. I lacked a mother.
“Well, I think she just said you were deprived and so now you perpetuate lack.”
“Right, I got that part. I mean, did she say that in the book? Did we buy the abridged edition? Check and see.”
“No. We never buy abridged.”
“How did I miss that?” I insisted. I had already written the blog. I had already figured out my theme. I had more than one. How did I miss this theme?
“Well, I imagine that those memories and the emotions you’ve saddled them with…suck. It’s a no fly zone.”
This isn’t to say that I didn’t suffer the other themes. I did suffer abandonment, abuse and rejection, but they aren’t my themes…They are byproducts of lack. Abandonment is a lack of people who should love you, or when you have the people, but they lack the ability to love. We lack self love and often abandon ourselves first. Abuse is a lack of love- we don’t love ourselves so we stay with the abuser. We don’t love ourselves so we abuse others. Rejection is a lack of acceptance for ourselves by others and for others by ourselves. We are deprived and therefore we deprive as well. As within, so without. There’s nothing overly complicated about that.
Unless you realize that your entire life was in such a state of lack that you have been creating it ever since. Even then, it’s really not so complicated- but what we attach to the realization- the emotions and memories- anger, guilt, low self-worth, pity, feeling as though you have no right to feel as if you lacked, after all- other people lacked far worse than you did…those things tend to muddy the waters. In the ocean of life, lack is the rolling of waves, but the emotions which build them, are the tides crashing onto the shores of our hearts.
“It’s not about feeling good. It’s about feeling what you feel and being good with it.” -Melissa
I spent a long time having these fantastic epiphanies and telling people how to live their lives in the best way. I gave really good advice, I was always right, and I never went into what I called battles, unarmed. “Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.” said Marcus Aurelius in Meditations. I wasn’t being a good man, or woman as it were, but I could put up one hell of a fight. There’s nothing authentic about that. The only thing authentic about me was and at times, still is, my fear. The rest is just bullshit I’ve used to try to look justified. My biggest fear was not that I would be wrong- it was that I was right and at some point the Universe would call me on my game and I’d have to play for real. And so it did. Being inauthentic is a lack of authenticity, it’s a lack of self when we believe that we as a self, are lacking. It’s really that simple. Unless, of course, you complicate it. And, you will- I do…still. As in last night. As in today. It’s just not every day anymore.
The ways in which I have and continue to perpetuate lack are not so much in number as they are in habit. They are concretized behaviors that my ego insists retain some comfort feature that we need to survive. I have mastered the art of lack. It’s a strange occurrence that happens on this crazy ass journey of mine- the occurence of stillness. Not so much of my mind really, but of my self completely. I’ll realize something, like my overspending, and then I’ll stop spending altogether. I’ll be so afraid that my spending is creating lack, which it is, that I will stop spending anything, anywhere. I will starve during the day and not eat. The lack of a full stomach? Sure. It’s lack, right? I’ll watch the refrigerator dwindle down to nothing until my kids are looking at me like I’ve lost my mind and they are going to start eating the jar of olives left in the door- haven’t those expired? Now there is lack in my fridge. Lack in my house, my children, my life! Holy Crap! Stop the madness you fricking loon! But I’m not crazy and if lack is your thing and you’re just now realizing that, don’t worry- you aren’t crazy either.
I’m always searching for balance, or my concept of what that may look like. I think that balance is nothing more than my ability to remain upright without falling over. It’s a refrigerator with food on the inside and a running grocery list on the outside. It’s bills paid on time with a bit in the bank- even a skimpy bit. Balance isn’t about being right- it’s about doing right. Balance is making sure that as within, so it is without and that both are without lack.
Here’s the best thing about being authentic and at last, honest;
Authentic is when you say, this time it’s different, and the Universe adds, yes. Yes it is. And then, you stop doing what you’ve always done. Maybe you slip once in a while, but it’s ok and you don’t panic. There’s nothing panicky about authenticity. There’s a steely calm to it. I’ve created the biggest mess of relationship lack you’ve ever seen by dating people I’d never date if I were trying to actually have a meaningful, lasting relationship. It’s not their fault. It’s nothing against them- I should probably apologize to all of them right now as well as forgive myself. The thing is, now that I know I do this, I can’t anymore. The cliché, I’d rather be alone than with someone I don’t want to be with, at last is true. All those times I vowed to never settle again- guess what? I can’t settle. Me- the girl who couldn’t be alone and probably hasn’t been since I was four, is alone…and ok with it because, dare I say, It’s better than settling for less than what I want.
Can you hear the angels clapping? The champagne corks popping? The trumpets sounding? Even the Big Guy is nodding his head in approval…
There is nothing easy about being you- not because you don’t know who you are, but because you’ve spent your whole life trying to be anything but. You’ve been a relationship, a student, a child, a parent, an employee, an athletic star, a childhood tragedy, a victim, a perpetrator, a failure, a success, a car payment, a mortgage, a title, a tragedy, a banktruptcy, an expectation, a sense of lack…
You’ve been a noun, buried under layers of descriptions that do not come anywhere near your true essence. “Admirable in form, and moving like an angel in action, like a god in apprehension” Og Mandino
You are love. Love is not a person, place or thing. Love is not a noun. Love is action. Not “an” action, but action itself. Love is you surrounding yourself and another person. Love is how you enter into a place, not the place in which you enter. Love is you grateful for all the “things” in your life. Love is how you do “you” in the presence of people, places and things.
And there is nothing lacking in love.