It sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. God teaches me things with media references I guess.
Growing up watching Drop Dead Fred (DDF) I always thought the ending was so darn weird. For those of you who have never seen this classic crass movie, it’s about a little girl who’s Mom is mean to her so she has an imaginary friend named DDF that helps her cause chaos. When she grows up her Mom is still mean to her and it’s still affecting her happiness and love for herself. The movie is crazy and way over the top with lots of crazy stunts by DDF and hilarity ensues. (My husband and I love this movie-but it’s not for everyone!) She’s married to a manipulative cheating husband and finally realizes it and DDF tries to save her. He takes her to this imaginary dream world that visually looks like she’s in a Tim Burton film. There she climbs the stairs to save her child self taped to a bed in her bedroom. She then symbolic releases her pain from her childhood to help heal her.
As a child watching the end I was so confused and bored but kind of understood what was going on. I never took to it much thought until one night when I was cleaning up my apartment. I was lost in thought about why I’m so hard on myself. I didn’t understand why I beat myself up so much about when I say dumb things or if I’m worried my friends don’t like me and so on. I was wishing I could just be kinder to myself when out of nowhere the visual of the little Elizabeth in DDF was lying on her bed with the tape. The older Elizabeth came in and set her free. Then it hit me, I needed to do the same to myself.
It was one of the most powerful experiences of my life. I sat down on my couch and had the strongest impression to go back in my memory to when I was a child and so I closed my eyes and began to think back to my childhood. I immediately tried not to because I was terrified of re-opening the pain and I wanted to bury. But I felt that it was something I couldn’t avoid anymore, so I went back to my 2nd grade self. I was a happy, well-liked child even though I still had struggles I was holding my own well and enjoyed my life. I would spend hours in my front yard playing by myself and riding my bike all over while going on adventures in my head. I loved that yard. I loved the trees I would drive around with my bike. I loved being alone in my thoughts on those adventures until it was dinner time. I loved my school and I loved my friends.
Then we moved. We moved to a school where I wasn’t as well-liked, or so I perceived. I would come up with tons of excuses or fake illnesses to call home and leave the school. I hated my school. I felt very lonely and was so happy when we moved. The odd thing about the next move was that since we’d moved a lot so far in my life I guess I expected we would again so I was always waiting for wherever we’d move to. I didn’t think I would stay in the same house from 4th grade to graduation. I started to see in my memory that I thrived in times I had friends and not so much when I didn’t have friends. I saw a pattern of feeling accepted and happy when I knew my friends loved me. If they loved me and I knew it, I was happy. If I doubted it, then I was sad. There was other things going on in life but that’s where I focused on in this moment.
I recalled crying in my room at one point in high school to “The Scientist” on repeat over and over and wishing things were different. I realized looking back in that moment, that my friend’s love for me would never be what I was looking for. Even when I had moments when I did feel really loved, if I did feel loved, there was always something missing. I was always waiting from approval that never came. And still hadn’t come.
I realized I was just like Elizabeth the girl in DDF in many ways. I had to go back and set myself free from the hurt I was still feeling. I realized I could relate to Sméagol and Gollum from The Lord of the Rings. Sméagol was sweet and kind but overpowered by this horrible Gollum in his mind that treated Sméagol horribly. This was the part that surprised me the most about myself. I had let the Gollum part of me take over. The Gollum part of me was cruel and never happy or grateful and never let myself feel proud of myself. The Gollum was very quick to point out the flaws and then beat them relentlessly into my heart over and over again to remind myself I was not good enough, and above all, not loved.
Then the most crucial part happened for me right then and there as I sat on my couch, crying through all these realizations and pain. Right then I realized if I wanted to heal, I needed to heal myself. I needed to heal myself by loving myself. I needed to go back and be there for myself when I was hoping someone else would. I needed to tell myself “I love you.” It felt so foreign and strange to think that. What a ridiculous thought that I didn’t love myself. I thought I liked myself well enough but I just had high standards for myself so I was trying to overcome the flaws. Instead I was letting this angry hurt child self still control my happiness and self-worth. This angry child that would never be satisfied, and would always have enough time to bring me down.
So in many ways the scene where Sméagol tells Gollum to “Leave now and never come back,” is very much what I had to do.
I knew I had to go back again when I had moments in my life that I felt hurt or alone, that I had to go back and be the one to be there for myself. No one else could do that for me. It would never be enough, this was the only way.
So I started to go back memory by memory and tell myself I loved myself. I would hug my younger self and be there for me. I was doing hte healing I had been waiting for. I was the one that I needed all along to be “enough”. I just needed my own love, I didn’t need to rely on anyone else for that love.
In a lot of ways, I was also like Goob from the movie Meet the Robinsons. When everyone was saying “Hey Goob cool binder!” Or “Hey Good want to come to my house?” and all he sees was that they hated him. I can see that I was like that a lot, only seeing the negative or just bringing myself down.
After I got done loving myself throughout my life I immediately felt the most calming, joyful feeling. I felt so peaceful. I didn’t feel this need to hurt myself or say mean things. I was just..calm.
This is one of my hardest blogs to share because this is so deeply personal. This isn’t a normal thing to say or talk about. But this worked for me. I honestly feel the biggest weight gone.
The other day I was watching Glee and the gym teacher (Beiste) was being abused by her husband.
When she tells him she’s leaving him he asks her “Who will love you now?”
Her reply was, “I will.”