My dear friend, Alexander Watson, sent the song “Happy Talk,” sung by Shezwae Powell, from the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical South Pacific. It’s a reminder not to listen to the inner imposter who tells me I’m not good enough to fulfill the many dreams I have.
Alexander also keeps reminding me that I’m allowed to succeed. Being allowed to succeed is counter-intuitive to me. There are so many ways I was set up to not succeed that I began to take it as a given I never would. Despite the many things I could point to as successes, the overarching attitude I had was I would never succeed.
This has been changing for me, slowly, over the past few years. Instead of seeing only the failures, I concentrate on the successes. Sometimes that’s getting out of bed and getting showered. Other days it’s about writing something I’m proud of. Little steps take me as far as big ones, so long as I’m patient with myself and keep up the reminders that each moment is an opportunity for success.
Survivors of childhood trauma usually have diagnosable mental illness. (A cold’s an illness, so is depression.) And we are hardwired to believe we’re no good, despite evidence to the contrary.
What works for me is finding things to be grateful for. If it’s a really horrible no good day I look to remembering the things I often take for granted. I have a place to live and stash all my books, and it has hot and cold running water with indoor plumbing. I have food in the fridge, clothes to wear, and books to read. There are friends I reach out to who listen and hold my hand while I take the next step. I am always and forever grateful for them.
It’s not easy and there are days when I would rather sit in the gray fog, but I’m a busy woman with dreams to make come true. One more thing to be grateful for.
I’ll end with Ella’s version of “Happy Talk.”
“You gotta have a dream
if you don’t have a dream
How you gonna have a dream come true?”