The Blessing of Disappointment and Pain

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I have spent the past fifteen days floundering, reacting to life out of fear. Grasping to any reason to run from the existence I made for myself toward a painful self-imposed isolation similar to how I used to live at the same time fighting to remain present all the while being overwhelmed with dismay and anxiety. The sudden change in financial stability triggered old memories from a time where I had nothing and had started the long hard fight to a sense of security, all of which I now know is an illusion. That coupled with the fear of the unknown led me to spiral into this anxiety ridden way of thought that used to rule my days.  Of course some of those are valid fears which can easily become amplified in the anxious mind. I assessed my financial security; I am fine for quite some time so how shall I proceed.

I was running around without intention or purpose. A week ago a friend saw it, reminding me that under fire, a calm mind will Captureachieve what I never thought it could with the adage slow is smooth and smooth is fast; they observed my distress and behavior well before I could identify what I was doing. In the week since I have managed to upset them for which I feel guilty; I hope to formulate an apology which may offer them solace.

Now I begin the search for my intention. I have stepped back from life, from friendships, and am focusing solely on me; something I have never done. I took today to say my goodbye for now to those who are still around; I have one left to do which may be the hardest but I need to do that out of respect irrelevant of how painful it will be to me. I am trying to identify my purpose from which I have wandered so far. I am striving to identify a way to do what I am passionate about and still be financially viable. One thing I am sure of is as I navigate this portion of my life alone, I will ensure I do no other harm even if it was unintentional. This part of my journey must be navigated alone and I believe I will be all the stronger for it. This part of my journey allows me to find myself, to make my new life just as it should be. Although all of this was originally delivered as a painful blow it may become quite the blessing.

“The cure for pain is in the pain”-Rumi

 

Kept in Confidence

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I am a thinker, those very few people close to me know I try to understand everything I come in contact with.  My therapist actually told me that not everyone thinks about life at the depth I do, so try not to expect people to understand it at that depth. So this weekend afforded my time to analyze my life, where I came from, what I went through, the people that are in my life, those who may weather the storm and those who are deciding to leave me at this point of my journey. I think it was a time for me to consider the gifts I have had and regrets I carry since the point my life began again.

Throughout the night my thoughts kept drifting back to what I have shared; having spent my entire life trying to hide the pain through the past few years I opened up and parceled out my past. Although I am a deeply private person having only mentioned a tiny portion to a few people, that shallow acknowledgement, I kept my stories buried deeply until a few came into my life, people who had some shared experiences, who understood the pain, who listened without judgement, and never pried for my details. Unconditional acceptance and lack of criticism did allow me to assess my past and its impact on my present; how it limits my trust, how it restricts my ability to be vulnerable, and my fear of certain closeness.I opened up and apportioned my past with the trust that it would be kept in confidence. Now I am working to collect those pieces, place those stories back into their makeshift tomb.

So as I retreat, how do I secure my stories I cannot collect? How do I approach the topic of privacy? I do not want my secrets shared in a fashion that can undermine my struggle or be used as a means to minimize me for I have spent a lifetime negated. Is this just a concern based in my struggle to trust; the time I did will it be validated or dismissed? I know when one shares their story, their struggle, their past,  I treat it with the utmost respect for I was trusted enough for one to disclose. I would never share the story, never violate the trust by besmirching their truth, in a light that be disparaging, as a means to justify my behavior or choices?  This is quite possibly a fear based in my experiences with people for I have seen this done to others, been a victim, stories used to displace accountability, vilified for no reason.  How does one even broach the topic?

“Confidentiality is a virtue of the loyal, as loyalty is the virtue of faithfulness” -Edwin Louis Cole

Lost in Translation

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At times I detest text messages and although I am not a fan of talking on the phone so much more gets lost in translation with a text. Think of the difference between a conversation over a cup of coffee and over messenger.  I wrote a message the other day, when I was in pain and struggling and my pain was interpreted as anger. So here in lies some of life’s challenges. As I wrote this, I am learning to advocate for myself, trying to be honest with someone I trust about my feelings. I struggled to ensure I was clear and honest with full disclosure.  In learning to advocate for myself, to speak my voice, I did not consider the past of the recipient. They have known a past of anger and hostility in those close relationships so irrelevant of my wording the interpretation was into their framework. For this I carry regret.

This coupled with another conversation with a different friend about me not being angry with my present situation has really started the gears turning. Anger is an emotion I work to control. Having experienced the damage anger can inflict, I choose to identify the root of my emotion and work to respond as opposed to react in anger.I believe anger is truly a misunderstood emotion such as frustration, disappointment, or being overwhelmed. If I can take the time to identify the reason I am beginning to feel anger, I  can identify the cause and strive to mitigate the issue, identify my culpability in the situation  and take the appropriate action; explain, apologize, etc.  While anger is a natural emotional response to some conditions, it is rarely the real emotion underlying the situation and is never beneficial.  Maybe this is a skill I have learned from a bad situation, something positive from a long list of negatives.

 

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”  ― George Bernard Shaw

Crisis of Faith

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I am felling the weight of my brokenness much more than normal as of late. I don’t know how else to describe it. I feel like all the piece of me I have fought so long to keep up with are becoming too difficult to carry, some of them are jagged and painful and keep gouging me…

I believe we are all broken, we all have some crack or ding, some scar. Maybe we caused the damage ourselves, maybe it is something we have been carrying since childhood, maybe it was caused by someone else and quite possibly there are many of them. Sometimes I think that is where our beauty grows from the courage to continue in our brokenness. I often wonder if that is the source of our empathy and compassion. I believe our imperfection is what makes us impeccably suitable for life, for one another; from our damage we can heal, from our mistakes we can learn, and from shortcomings we can grow.

So why do we fight so hard to keep our brokenness concealed, why do we chose to not embrace our vulnerability but strive to hide our struggles? In my heart and soul I believe you are the exact right person in this moment, you are who you need to be for the purpose of now, you are who you were intended to be. So why am I struggling with that belief? Why this crisis of faith?

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” –Ernest Hemingway

Project to Disprove Isolation

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This wonderful project from iknowiknow.me shows what we all go through. It is a reminder that we all are battling something that most of us never even know about. That smile can sometimes be a facade or the external trait of your internal fight to go on.

“A person who truly loves you is someone who sees the pain in your eyes while everyone else believes in the smile on your face.” – Unknown

Note to Former Self

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I am a believer of getting it out of my head either by talking it through or writing it down.  If I put it on paper it adds perspective and allows me to process through my thoughts instead of them continually bouncing around inside my head.  The other day I shared with my dear friend the process I have used to let go when you have no way of actually dealing with the person or event; writing a letter and hold nothing back, there is no need for civility only honesty about your feelings, pain, etc. then I find a quiet place and set it ablaze leaving only a trail of smoke. I have been known to scrawl my thoughts of anger and pain on napkins or compose detailed letters of forgiveness on my fine stationary; it has ran the gamut.  I have written many to myself throughout the years, focusing on forgiveness or to clarify things. Over the past week or two the same topic has surfaced in conversations with different people; what would you tell to your young naïve self.  I don’t spend too much time on regrets, this just made me think what words of wisdom would I impart. Here goes….

 

 

Dear Chicka,

At twenty-two you are so young, have so much of your life to live but you feel like you have been swept off your feet with love. Although you have been loved by your parents and siblings, you have no idea this is not real love. Before you know it you will be facing motherhood and within a few months of that you will know fear. Not that silly scary movie type or the heart racing because you are frightened in a dark parking lot type but true fear for yourself and your unborn child. I am sorry I put you in that position.

You will know a love like no other the moment you hold your first child in your arms and from that moment forward you will make all your decisions as a means to protect, nurture, and provide for them all. You work so hard, you try more than anyone I have ever known, always telling yourself if you just love a little more, try a little harder, find a bit more patience for that is what role you are supposed to play. So many nuances you will learn for yourself just know I am so proud of you for your strength, your courage, and all you have given to your children.

Please try to remember to love yourself, be kind to yourself but I know there will be times that is lost, know there will be moments where you set yourself ablaze to keep someone else warm, and where you sacrifice you dreams a beliefs for some false greater-good. You will return to yourself in time.  Try to hold fast to what you believe in your heart and soul. In your late twenties,  you will lose sight of who you are, you will lose hope, and your faith will be challenged but know it will be found again, to be stronger than you knew. When you face those moments, remember to never lose sight of your kindness, compassion, and love; just know not everyone is deserving of those gifts. Know you deserve so much better, your children do too and one day you will have it.

In your early thirties  you find the courage to finally leave, to have a plan in place and all the elements align for it to occur remember you are strong enough to make it; you are a survivor! You will regain your financial independence, some security for you and your children, and strike a career path that will carry you through another rough patch or two.  When you return later, know too that everything happens for a reason, try to retain your belief that life is unfolding as it should.  You trusted in the words, you wanted to believe more than anything. Who would think the person who professes to love you would even…?  When you begin to doubt yourself, when you lose confidence in your choice hold fast to your conviction that this is all part of a plan.  Stay strong, be courageous, and love your children with all your heart for it will work out. In your mid-thirties you will understand why you returned, why in all the prayers and moments of silence seeking the path and strength to leave that little voice would say not yet.  You are blessed with a do-over and there are not many of those in life so enjoy it!

It will eventually all fall apart one fateful morning. All the financial security you created will see you through a nasty divorce and you will be able to maintain a decent lifestyle for you and your children. You will begin to live life as you had only dreamed. There will come one morning on the beach where you will forgive, a sunrise all alone where you learned to lay down the burdens forced upon you by another for you know they are not yours to carry.  You will also learn to forgive yourself which will be the most difficult; at times I still remind myself of this.You will regain your confidence and although there are times you struggle you know all you were told was not true for you know your own truth, worth, and beauty. You will know a peace in your heart you never knew existed. You will live a life of contentment where so many of the things you endured have given you a skillset that proves useful.  One evening at the dinner table, you will laugh with your children and know the journey while difficult was worth those smiles and in that moment life will be as it should.

Know that even now there are difficult times, moments that revisit your psyche but at this mid-point in your life you are wiser than you could have even hoped. There is still so much to learn, so many experiences, so far to travel but you will be doing so with a full spirit and a peaceful heart surrounded by loving friends.

 

Be kind and love yourself on this journey,

~Your middle-aged self

 

Tears and Salsa

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Had to run an errand and decided to stop and treat myself to Mexican food for lunch. It has been a difficult few days, too many responsibilities and too little time with a few plot twists added into the mix. While waiting on my food, I was perusing blog posts and came across on that I typically enjoy and I found myself fighting back tears. I have been incredibly nostalgic over the past week, thinking of my upbringing, people I have lost, those in my life now, what I am grateful for, what I want to ensure I leave behind. I have also thought about how my life has made me who I am and wonder what I have imparted to my children, overtly as well as indirectly. I have spent a lot of time considering the parts of myself that I have lose on my journey, the parts I have let be damaged by others, the scars that I will always carry, the strength I have gained by surviving, and the courage to keep moving forward. Sitting there in that moment reading her words I fell so full of my own, reminded of all the things I have wanted to share but have not been courageous enough to say, thought of the words and deeds left undone, the things I have wanted to do and may never get to experience, my overwhelming need to be held tight, and all the gratitude in my heart and I was overcome…. I suppose lunch with tears and salsa was what needed to be served.

“…I gave you painted air – tears I couldn’t weep – truths I couldn’t speak – all the words that caught in my throat…”

― John Geddes