I have two arrow tattoos on my hands. One on my left ring finger and the other on my right ring finger. I got them because I love arrows (I am the archer after all) and I got them on these fingers to symbolize the love coming out and flowing in.
So my left ring finger arrow points out. Representing a true path of all the love in my heart to flow outwards to others. To see in reality the love that I give out, leak out, push out, move out of me and into and onto you.
My right ring finger has the arrow pointing in. Symbolizing the love that I get and receive being brought back to me. Now it is telling that I got the left one first. And then waited months to get the right one. Absolutely representing that I am better at giving than I am receiving.
Interestingly - the right arrow tattoo faded into some form that was unrecognizable as an arrow. Like you couldn’t tell what it was. So I had to go back and get it redone. And so I did a few weeks ago and it looked good. But fuck if it isn’t fading again. Still recognizable as an arrow but deteriorating as we speak.
And the symbolism of THAT is not lost on me.
I have a hard time receiving, always have. And there are a couple of reasons:
1. People giving things to me has always made me feel beholden. And I do not like that feeling. I have experienced the world in this way and manner that has underscored that strings are, in fact, attached. I think I was like 45 before I let a man buy me dinner, preferring always to go dutch. I wanted it clear from the get go that I can and could and would take care of myself.
2. I don’t know how to express my appreciation. It feels forced and canned. And I feel like I cannot adequately express my true feelings - positive or negative. Let’s say you give me something and I love it. I always feel forced and pushed and like I am not being real, even though I love it. Now let’s say that you give me something that I can’t stand - I do not feel ok saying that I do not like or want it. I do not want to hurt your feelings and there is this terrible wall that is built within me immediately. I now feel like I have to keep my true feelings hidden from you which is a very old feeling for me.
3. This divide that is created within me makes me feel so alone and empty and vacant. And if you are someone close to me who has let me down in anyway, creating this huge vacuous place of disappointment, I do not know what to do with it. I fear you knowing it exists and then I have a great number of maladaptive survival strategies that come pushing forth and take over my life. It isn’t voluntary. It just happens.
I don’t want to lie to you, but I do not want you to know the truth either. And this is a very old paradigm in my life. I have spent the better part of my life hiding from how I really feel, and then doing a lot of activity to keep you guessing also. Because I felt, and still do feel a great deal of the time, that it is my life’s work to never let you know what I really think but most especially how I really feel.
I know...I know. This isn’t good.
But it is how I feel. Which makes it near impossible to receive. Because receiving seems to beg authenticity. And for me, being able to be who I am and let you see that when you are giving me something makes me feel this immense and pervasive desire to hide. Hide me, hide how I feel, hide what I think, hide, hide hide.
And this does not foster intimate relations with others. This I know to be true.
But here I am.
So it is very interesting that this tattoo symbolizing love flowing back into me is waning...again. What does this mean? What am I to do about it? The tattoo I can get fixed...again. But it isn’t lost on me that I have trouble allowing the love in. And apparently, so do my tattoos.
I prefer to give it to myself. Presents? I have got that, no problem. Parties or celebrations? I will do without or throw it myself. Love? I prefer to give it really. Although if I am really honest, I crave it and long for it and want it with a desperation that has been problematic for the whole of my existence.
And underscoring all of the above is this fear that I don’t deserve it and that is why I have had such a hard time receiving it...because I am not really worthy of it. Like at all.
And I have all these reinforcing stories that I tell myself that take me back to the beginning that tell me that if I were really worthwhile this whole receiving thing would be easier.
And I would be remiss if I didn’t own that receiving is hard for me because receiving means ceasing control. When you are giving, you are in charge. But when you are receiving, someone else is. And I fundamentally do not like this dynamic either. I want the control. I want the say so. I want that and, I guess, need it. It isn’t a want really, it is a need. In order for me to feel safe, I have to be in charge of me, because bad things have happened when someone else took control over my body, my life and my power.
And I am not sure that I will ever get over it.
Although I am trying every single fucking day.
I am really working on giving less because those muscles are over developed and are really just a nicer name for my desire to control others to suit myself. And to allow safe people to give to me and care for me and show up for me and allow their love and support to flow into my being and life.
It is a struggle. I can’t lie about that. My motivation for giving less and receiving more is somewhat sporadic and a bit of a shit show in how it all plays out. I foray out into new territory and usually come flying back into my realm of safety at the first sign of trouble...reinforcing again that I am ok, and better off, doing this whole thing on my own.