I know what it is.
I have stepped back into an old identity, one I wrote about in Torii. The ragged girl, the girl who must deal with the leavings of her parent's love and affection.
I don't have to do that now, of course, but when I was a child, that is how I learned to view myself. When I started to demand more, in my late teen years, I created this chasm between what I wanted from my parents, and what they were able to give me.
I felt guilty, like a bad, bad girl, for demanding something from my parents. The sense of worthlessness was almost crushing. I felt as though my needs were invalid and gross; I felt as if they revealed something wrong about me.
It was as though I was the cuckoo in the nest, knocking the other sweet little chicks out, endlessly squawking, ugly and misplaced. Only the cuckoo gets fed, in nature, so that's a bad metaphor.
Now, my parents are able to pour out love and validation at the drop of a hat. They have heard all my anger without reflecting it away and grieved with me over my pain. This is an incredible gift. I realize how rare it is to have parents that strong and that healthy.
They aren't the same people. I'm not the same person. But sometimes I step back into the old identity, like when a sibling receives a beautiful baby girl, and I continue infertile. Then, along with my grief, I feel like an ugly, bitter person for feeling my own sorrow at the same time that I feel joy and excitement for them.
This doesn't make me an ugly, bitter person; this makes me a human person. I seem to have labeled my humanity as evil, bad, unnecessary, and unsightly. I can write beautiful letters to a friend, telling her to love herself and nurture herself, but I can't seem so easily to tell my own self this.
Maybe I should try doing that deliberately- I should stand in front of the mirror and say that flacky phrase "Every day, in every way, I'm getting better and better." Only that's all wrong. Because the trick is not to teach yourself to value self improvement, but to teach yourself to value who you are right now.
You know why else this is coming up for me right now? It's because I'm writing Gilly up through adolescence, so I've already unlocked the door on that little shop of horrors. Mmmm.... unwanted renaissance. Such are the dangers of writing.
Yesterday, not surprisingly, I was able to go back and rewrite a key scene. The first time I wrote it, Gilly reflected a surface part of my personality and didn't act like herself. Then I fiddled with it almost endlessly, but all I was doing was rearranging the wrong dialogue.
Then yesterday, I pretty much destroyed the entire scene and wrote it from a much deeper part of myself, and Gilly was herself. But after three hours of this, I was emotionally exhausted and watched anime on Netflix instead.
I'm going to have to do this the entire way through everything that I've already written.
What an exhausting prospect.
I think I'll go grocery shopping instead.