I awoke this morning with the memory that I shared in my book Shameless: How I Ditched the Diet, Got Naked, Found True Pleasure… and Somehow Got Home in Time to Cook Dinner of the forbidden frozen raspberries. How, as a child I had found them in the refrigerator and took some. The memory of the frozen sweet fruit and how I had run to my mother to share my delight in the discovery of this amazing new mouth pleasure and was scolded because they weren’t meant for me. The pain of that feeling. Of something delicious not being meant for you. And then “The Tiger” placing the forbidden fruit in my mouth in a session and telling me that the raspberries were always meant for me. That all I had to do was reach for them. What do you think in your life is not for you? What is forbidden? How can you change that? I am sitting in that for myself right now. This feeling that something is not for me. Blocked. And it’s time to change that. The raspberries, frozen and sweet are waiting. ——Pamela Madsen
I read this on Pamela Madsen’s Facebook page when I was at the nadir of a situational depression in early January. I’m not sure if I can fully articulate the epiphany this provoked. The number of things I felt weren’t “meant for me” over the long span of my adult life would be a huge number mirroring the US deficit. Needless to say, I spent a great deal of time blocked. But it wasn’t my mother or father or teachers or a sister or anyone who told me those things I desired weren’t for me, it was me.
She asked me a hard question in that post: “How can you change that?” Oh my God I was already so stuck in a depression and in a dark low place the first answer was: “Leave off on wanting all those raspberries. It will save on the disappointment when someone walks up to me and waxes on about the delicious berries they have just eaten.”
If there was a contest for negative self-talk I would win it on that statement alone. I am the one espousing the abundant Universe. I guess my abundant Universe is finite and stops with me. Obviously, if I haven’t eaten all the raspberries I’ve longed for it must be because I don’t deserve them.
But how to get to the place of integrating how deserved those delicious raspberries are in my life? It’s one thing to say: “Oh yeah, I deserve those morsels of fruit and I deserve to savor the pungent sweetness with their dash of sour and dainty whiskers on my tongue.” It’s another to believe it.
I was also having a hard time believing anything I desired would ever come to me because a few things I want have eluded me. I was dangerously close to drowning in anger and despair. This victim spiral is not a good look for me and it’s been a long time since I’ve let myself sink to such a place. I was feasting on self-pity (picture a big bowl of gray oatmeal, cold and lumpy) while everyone else was snacking on raspberries. And the only person keeping me away from those raspberries was me. Did I have the courage to open the freezer door?
I’ve done a few courageous things in my life but they have been for the sake of others rather than just me. I’ve only done two courageous things just for me: I quit a job in 1986 because I was suffering a burnout so significant it was diagnosed as PTSD and to heal I needed to step away from nursing for a few months. The second courageous thing I did for myself was fifteen years ago when I walked away from a marriage for the sake of myself. Granted, I was responsible for breaking open our family but I was saving myself for the sake of my children. I wanted them to have a mother and not the legacy of a mother who committed suicide.
Where the Hell had my mojo gone? I was theoretically lying on the kitchen floor just in front of the freezer longing for raspberries and telling myself I couldn’t have them despite they were just behind the freezer door.
I’ve been popping raspberries in my mouth for fifteen years so why was I suddenly slamming the door on my own fingers as I reached for more?