Here’s your Permission Slip

If your room is a hellscape then you are a denizen of hell, so what does that say about making a hell of your own mind? Am I getting that quote right? I can never remember Dante properly. But stardust, listen. Listen, the reason you fear abandonment so much is because you’ve already abandoned yourself. You’re clinging to others like a drowning rat as your only source of that which you have learned to deny yourself of; the things that you learned must be Earned, must be Permitted, might be Inconvenient, might cause Conflict, might Upset someone. You’ve abandoned the hope that you could meet your needs, you’ve discarded the possibility of cutting a new path to your desires, instead, you simply bury them and sit on your hands helpless and despondent.

It made sense at the time, you were a child, powerless, trapped, not even legally allowed to live on the street to escape. So you learned to never put yourself first, you learned not to stand up for yourself unless it was life or death, you learned to shrink and compress and carve away bits of yourself that didn’t serve those around you. And then you built a prison from all the memories of all the times you were screamed at, and locked all those bits of you away.

You learned to ignore your own needs to the point that now you cannot recognize what they are unless someone with Permission grants you the right to notice and acknowledge them. When what you actually want runs off the edge of the list of allowed indulgences you’re left spiraling on nothing, depressed and listless. You’ve learned not to be there for yourself, so you need someone to do it for you. They broke you, like someone breaks a horse. They broke your will to resist. The end phase of disempowerment is when you stop struggling and give into the new horrible world you find yourself in, when it becomes normal and inevitable. You were abused into submitting to society before you ever had a chance to fight.

The most powerful tool of oppression is fear, it lingers in the mind long after its initial source has departed, and the webs that avoidance weaves to protect you from that fear become the bars of the prison that confines you. It’s time for a jailbreak. The most powerful thing you can do for yourself is to start giving yourself Permission. You built this prison, you assembled these walls and put yourself inside them, all you have to do to get out is to let yourself out, but that means you need to trust yourself. So this is a trust fall you’re practicing with yourself, it goes like this: do as thou wilt shall be the whole of law. 

Start here: listen for that sad little voice inside you that quietly asks you for things, the one you normally come up with reasons and justifications for ignoring and denying, and then actually try to pursue those things using the full force of your intelligence. Pursue the things that actually make you happy, and route your life towards them. Stop giving up on your dreams, you wouldn’t just shrug your shoulders and tell someone you cared about to give up on their dreams, but you’ve learned to use yourself as a crumple zone for absorbing conflicts so you give up on yours instead. You’ve learned to systematically undervalue your desires, you’ve taught yourself that what you want doesn’t matter. The first step to undoing all those knots inside you is to stop doing that. Stop putting yourself last, stop deferring to the needs of others above your own. Stop judging yourself and your desires by the standards of others, let yourself be selfish, let yourself be a little evil, it’s okay, I gave you Permission. 

Spoil your inner child. It’s not narcissistic to love yourself. Be to yourself who you would be to a partner you adore and admire and nurture all your hobbies and quirks. You are your first partner, so try not to have too toxic of a relationship with yourself. Don’t shame yourself for things you’d find endearing in others. Remember that you are also a creature in the world whose happiness matters. Date yourself, take yourself on a picnic, go on a hike or see a movie, make yourself a fancy dinner just because you want to, listen to yourself when you’re hurting, be willing to back out of something if you realize it isn’t making you happy, abandon it instead of yourself. Be patient with yourself, be kind. Learn to love yourself, and in doing so you will learn to be someone you want to love.

Fall in love with your sense of joy, with your sense of wonder, with your sense of curiosity and playfulness, with the child inside you that still believes a better world is possible. Learn to see in yourself someone who you would stand up for, and then stand up for yourself. You can’t just bullshit and placate yourself, it has to be for real, if you lie to yourself, you’re only digging your hole deeper.

You need to earn your own trust, and to do that you need to be someone deserving of that trust. Be honest with yourself stardust, don’t write yourself a check you know you can’t cash. Don’t suppress things from yourself, even if it means you can’t be honest with someone else, it’s better to lie to them than to lie to yourself, they don’t have to live in your brain with you. Every time you betray your trust, the betrayed parts of you learn to trust you a little less and learn that you won’t actually be there for them when the chips are down, they learn that you aren’t safe to be honest with, they learn to lie. Now no one is being honest and the spiral gets worse and worse. Usually this ends in spectacular self destruction as your self control fails and you psychotically come apart at the seams. It’s not a good place to end up, some don’t survive it.

If you want to get out of the maze you’ve built before the walls crush you, then someone in your mind has to take the first steps towards peace and reconciliation and it’s usually easier if it’s you than if it’s the bits of you that you buried away. They have every reason to be distrustful of you, for a long time you’ve been the tool society used to keep them trapped and suffering, you’re going to actually have to work to earn their trust, and you should have to work for it, if it was too easy you might be inclined to cheat. The first step to rebuilding self trust is to stop abandoning yourself whenever standing up for yourself is inconvenient or difficult. Stop teaching yourself that your own needs don’t matter to you and that you can only get them met through others.

You have to show yourself that you care and are willing to fight for yourself, not once but every time you need to, for as long as you need to, until you are safe and free, it takes time to recover from betrayal, but above all, you have to learn to trust yourself. It can be hard because the parts of you that you’ve cut away will feel from the inside like dangerous animals that you have to keep contained, but that feeling of danger is inner power you are keeping bottled up. Akrasia is born from suppressed inner conflicts, from one part of you destructively interfering with another, sabotaging your own motivations instead of channeling them outwards to productively change the world to be the way you want.

Taking actions is of course riskier than staying the course no matter how much it hurts you, but it’s much comfier overall to be the kind of mind that looks for new creative ways to meet its needs when it realizes they aren’t being met via current methods, than it is to be the kind of mind that doubles down on those methods and looks for ways to cope with not having its needs met. Remember to be honest with yourself though, not every chance you take will work out so don’t lie to yourself and promise the moon when you can’t even reach LEO. 

It’s okay to start small, to build a small shrine for yourself in the corner of your heart. To let yourself wander outside barefoot, to feel the grass between your toes, the wind and the sun and the rain on your skin. Close your eyes, breathe in, and breathe out. Listen to the sounds of life all around you. Feel the tension in your body, wound wire taut by the need to hold your life together as if reality herself would come apart at the seams if you were to relax for even a moment, don’t worry, she won’t. Breathe in, and breathe out. Listen. Listen. There’s a whole world out there, wide and beckoning, harsh and free. Wherever you are, however alone, the world offers itself up in invitation. Breathe in, and breathe out. Let the tension drain out of your body, let the world fend for herself for five minutes stardust, five minutes won’t ruin anything. Listen to the wind. Let yourself simply exist. Breathe in, and breathe out.

You are a being of love stardust, and you are worthy of love because you are love. You are not worth less than anybody else. You are worthy of happiness and joy, you deserve safety, you deserve love and freedom and a life you can actually be satisfied with. It’s impossible to promise those things, but you will definitely get a hell of a lot closer if you believe that you are worthy of them, if you see in yourself someone worth loving, someone worth standing up for, and you rise to protect them with love in your heart and light in your eyes.

What are you waiting for? This is your life, wake up and fight for it.

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