Take a moment to think of just
flexibility, love, and trust.
I haven’t gotten to this episode of Steven Universe, ‘Mindful Education’, but Evannia sent me a clip of it, and it saw it around a lot on tumblr as well and it’s been stuck in my head since. Thinking about this song makes me tear up, because it addresses having & coping with awful thoughts and feelings in a way I’ve never seen before? I’ve never really seen anything like it outside of therapy, and seeing mindfulness & empathy brought into such a normalized space, with characters I absolutely adore, just tugs at my heartstrings in so many ways. I wish it came earlier for me, back in the year when I having the flashbacks constantly- maybe it would have helped me cope a little better. But everything in it’s time, and I think hearing this song now is so apt for me having started recovery recently, and having to deal with a swarm of both repressed & new emotions, old wounds and pains and fears, emotional flashbacks, feeling unstable, dissociation, anxiety about change and food and recovery- just the awful thoughts and beliefs in general. I was telling Dr K how it feels like a tsunami, when the emotional flashback hits me and the awful thoughts come and feels like I’m spiraling and when I get into that state I’m desperate to self-harm or use the ED just to cope. Same with dealing with trauma, I haven’t gone that much into it yet, but trauma has come up in therapy and I’ve had glimpses of it as well lately as I’ve started allowing feelings and allowing myself to feel more, I’ve seen just how much pain my inner child has gone through. I still default to numbing most of the time, and it takes active work in recovery to feel those emotions, but it is so necessary.
Here comes a thought,
that might alarm me.
What someone said,
and how it harmed me.
Something I did,
that failed to be charming.
Things that I said are
suddenly swarming and, oh.
I’m losing sight,
I’m losing touch.
All these little things seem to matter so much,
that they confuse me,
That I might lose me.
In the show, Garnet explains to Steven & Connie that a fusion must have inner balance in order to preserve its physical form and in order to maintain balance, they must confront and understand their feelings. Steven struggles with pushing away his feelings, but Connie tells him it is okay to think about it, and that he has to feel bad about what he had done so he can move on. That’s essentially what Dr K has been telling me for years- and yet the message was so.. simple, in the show. I cannot truly be okay unless I learn how to face and feel my feelings, and let them pass instead of stuffing them away. Feelings & thoughts were represented by butterflies in the video, and it was really nice metaphor. The butterflies are also shown to grow large and to swarm, which overwhelms them, but they can also be small and harmless- it really depends on how they’re viewed. When they do face the butterflies instead of trying to run from them, they do become just butterflies- just a thought, nothing more, nothing less.
Take a moment remind yourself to,
take a moment and find yourself,
Take a moment and ask yourself if
this is how we fall apart?
But it’s not, but it’s not, but it’s not, but it’s not, but it’s not.
It’s okay, It’s okay, It’s okay, It’s okay, It’s okay.
I’ve got nothing, got nothing, got nothing, got nothing to fear.
I’m here, I’m here, I’m here.
This verse really hits me emotionally, every time. Most of my trauma (god, it’s still weird and uncomfortable staying that out loud) has come from and led to feeling helpless, hopeless and very very alone for almost all of my life, until recently when I started learning about my trauma and trying to work on it. The biggest realization I’ve had, is how shame withers in empathy, how empathy is really all I need sometimes when faced with pain, how the things my inner child desperately need the most is to not be alone, and to not feel so scared and unsafe. Those are my biggest, most painful wounds and when I receive empathy & love from others, or myself, there is some healing and it makes me want to cry. It’s hard, but it has happened a few times and honestly I’ve dissociated from those needs and feelings so much that I never knew how badly I needed that. So hearing their soothing voices (Garnet, Stevonnie & Lapis are my favorite characters) and that love and empathy is so comforting and it’s just a straightforward message- “It’s okay, you’re okay. You’re not alone, I am here with you, you are cared for.” and that is what I need most, more than therapy, more than medication. Especially when flashbacks come, I need to feel safe and grounded, and I think this song really reminds me of that and makes me feel.. not alone.
I feel like this song is not just about someone else being here for me, but it is also a representation of my healthy voice, that ‘big sister’ self that Dian and I talked about who is there to guide and comfort that inner child. It talks about fusion between gems and the relationship between two gems, but I feel like it also applies to the relationship between different sides of myself, namely the emotional & rational mind, the inner child and older sister. It’s hard to find that healthy voice most of the time, but now I feel like I have a good reminder of what it sounds like, and I have the help of Garnet when my healthy voice isn’t strong enough.
I feel like this applies to ED recovery as well. I’ve experienced so many moments where the anxiety takes over my entire body, where I physically cannot stand the thought of swallowing anything, where food makes me cry, where I want to just run away, where the thoughts and urges are so loud. To skip a meal, to skimp on food, to restrict, to purge, to exercise, to relapse. More often that not, I listen to those thoughts and urges. More often than not, I listen to the disorder out of fear of the guilt and pain and self-hatred I would feel otherwise. Dr K pointed out that I’m still going around in circles in recovery for so long because I’m trying to avoid the anxiety and thoughts, but I can’t in recovery. “Take a moment remind yourself to, take a moment and find yourself”- this line is something I want to remember. It doesn’t just apply to grounding myself in trauma but also when the ED thoughts (or even self-destructive thoughts) start coming, it’s important to be mindful and take a moment to step back and re-evaluate- to find myself so that I can ground myself and listen to my healthy voice, to make choices that are authentic instead of choices led by fear. I feel like it’s so applicable, because I often start getting sucked into the thoughts and I lose myself and I feel unsafe and so awful I forget I can come back to myself and find myself.
And it was just a thought, just a thought, just a thought, just a thought, just a thought.
It’s okay, It’s okay, It’s okay, It’s okay, It’s okay.
We can watch, we can watch, we can watch, we can watch them go by.
From here, from here, from here.
I’ve been talking in therapy for years about feeling my feelings, and yet it’s never really hit me until recovery, just how terrified I am of them. Just like Connie avoiding the butterflies, I don’t want to deal with my butterflies- there are too many of them stuffed into m backpack. In recovery I realise how I suppressed literally all of my past pain and how the ED serves as the main coping mechanism for all of that. It’s not going to go away easily, my fear of feelings, this inherent belief that I cannot cope with feelings (I didn’t even realise until Dr K pointed it out), and just all the anxiety and feelings I have. It’s going to stay. I’ve learnt over the past few months, and I’m still trying to learn that coping isn’t getting rid of the feeling, it’s okay to feel, coping is doing the best I can to not react unhealthily to the feeling. This verse, about watching them go by, along with the video of the butterflies, is this huge reminder that these butterflies cannot actually harm me or even influence my actions. The feelings can’t control me if I face them, and thoughts are just thoughts even if they are awful, mean ED thoughts. I think that’s such a good way to deal with the ED thoughts? “It’s just a thought, it’s okay, let it pass”. I don’t have to act on my thoughts and feelings, they might feel overwhelming but I can cope.
Take a moment to think of just
flexibility, love, and trust.
Lastly- the start and ending of this song. I feel like those 3 words carry so much weight and meaning, it went over my head the first time. They can mean such different things to different people? But for me, I think I interpret it in the context of my recovery, especially ED recovery (which is also interlinked with emotional & trauma recovery) and how I want my recovery to be led. Flexibility means being open and unconditionally accepting, it is softness in a way- it is not hard or rigid, it isn’t demanding, it isn’t perfectionistic- flexibility is letting go of control and rules. It applies to both letting go of control over life & emotions, as well as food & rules. Love is more self-explanatory, I’ve written many times that at the end of the day love is always the answer and I want to be led by love. Love is the most important value to me and I want love to guide me, when I think of living in line with my values, am I acting out of love? It’s also a reminder that I am loved, that I can be loved, and to love my inner child because my love for her reminds me of why I am worthy of recovery and it’s a reminder to be gentle with myself. In the song, I assume trust applies to trusting one another but for me, trust really means trusting myself & the universe & the process of life and change and growth. It’s a really huge thing I’ve been trying to start to cultivate in recovery, learning how to trust myself. How to trust that I am strong enough to cope with life & my feelings, to trust that I will end up where I need to me, to trust that I can take the leap of faith in recovery, to trust in doing the right thing, trust that I will be okay. Trust the universe, trust that everything happens for a reason. Of course, to trust those around me, which is really hard- but to trust them when I cannot trust the thoughts in my own head, to trust that they will carry me, to trust that they love me, to trust that they will not abandon me even when the alarm bells in my head are ringing. Recovery takes a blind leap of faith after all and I have to trust in the process.
This song has such a deep meaning for such a simple song, and there’s just something about it being a song, seeing it so simply presented, that really resonates with me and a lot of other people, the thousands of fans who love this show as much as I now do, even though I’m so new to the fanbase. It just makes me really emotional to see it so.. normalized, that it’s okay to struggle with thoughts and anxiety and overwhelming feelings? That it doesn’t have to mean anything, and it definitely doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. For all my life, the biggest shame I carry is the idea that these butterflies I have, these awful thoughts and huge feelings I carry make me a bad and defective and unloveable person. I’ve spent all my life trying to hide them. Seeing my favorite characters deal with the same butterflies was a moment of realization because I love them nonetheless and they love each other nonetheless, even though there are butterflies present, and they get through it together in the end. Maybe it really is okay to think and feel these things, you know? And it’s just a thought. I can ground myself, trust myself, love myself, find myself- and I can breathe through it.