A Blessing from Day Past

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Life is an amazing journey, one filled with surprising twists and turns.  I have always thought if you can pay attention opportunities present themselves, if you can quiet the noise of the world your inner voice will tell you what to do, and every experience no matter how painful is an opportunity to grow and learn. There have been times when life was dreadful that I needed to hold tightly to those beliefs. Other times my faith was shaken but I clung firmly. I felt like I floundered a bit this past year or so, taking the time to dig all those skeletons from my closet. What is it George Bernard Shaw said, “If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.”  Being aware of the impact of my past  I had decided to dance with my skeletons, to truly understand the impact the may have on my life; past, present, and future.

Funny how life surprises you at certain points of your journey. At the end of all this dancing I have reconnected with an amazing person from my past. Someone who I so fondly remember conversing, analyzing life, and sharing laughs. While I have kept up with a few friends from that portion of my life, we had only crossed paths now and again but never quite had a chance to catch up. This is someone who knows me, the me from days past, the person I have worked so hard to protect and preserve.

To spend time with someone who know you at your core, to see you even though there are now rough jagged edges from your battles in life but still embraces you, values you, and understand you is a wonderful gift; a blessing. It is such an experience to be with someone who allows me to be as  authentic as he is, who not only embraces my analysis of life but meets it with the same depth of perspective, who not only tolerates my need to look at all sides of a situation but returns my “wisdom” when my perspective becomes short sided. Someone who encourages me to be my authentic self with my flaws and imperfections, someone who wants to know all of me, even the dark parts and seems to stand steady when I share. This blessing from days pasts has reminded me of some of my foundational beliefs that had been lost in the murkiness of life as of late.  I only hope I can offer him the same in return, to be enough even though I know I have lost parts of myself along the way; I hope those missing pieces have not been replaced with a darkness that fills too much of life. I hope to be able to always meet his openness, honesty, and vulnerability with the same as well as the encouragement and reassurance that I will be a good steward of all he shares, of the love and care he offers, of the kindness and encouragement I am met with. I pray that I can be enough.

 

“Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another.”  ― Thomas Merton

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The Next Act

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I noticed it beginning a few weeks ago and it is proceeding with a fury. I even wrote a spot about it and thought I should begin my retreat to protect myself, my heart and spirit. But I made the decision to fight my survival instinct and stay open, to be present in the world.  Having spent decades being reminded of my shortcomings, having my faults slung at me as if they were ammunition in some war, even being held accountable for things that were not mine to bear, I was adept at shutting off, at accepting the barrage of painful assault and continual condemnation. The decision to stay present went against all I have known for so long.

So now I am unsure how to proceed. Last night a close friend was enraged with her husband and began ranting, as she proceeded through this I grew increasingly uncomfortable; she clearly was struggling and in pain and I felt for her but once the name calling and belittling began, I could not remain silent. I know how detrimental that can be, the pain words can inflict can result in scars that remain forever. In her anger she said she was finished, ended the friendship in haste, deleting my from all social media and blocking my number so I cannot even check to see if she is doing alright.  A few days before another friend, someone who taught me the importance of being open, someone with whom we had each shared so very much  told me they were uncomfortable with me sharing what was upsetting and painful for me; having spent a lifetime filtering my needs and minimizing myself I am still unsure how to respond from me heart.  So that leaves two in my circle, one of which is moving for love very soon and the other which I have not heard from in days.

Was it all some false existence, some charade? Although I struggle to hold to my empathy and compassion, have I lost all worth to these people I held close?  Years spent living isolated, alone while life proceeded alongside of me, unconnected people wandering through their days with only shallow interactions I grew to believe life was meant to be lived alone until someone convinced me otherwise, taught me that we are not intended to navigate life in isolation. Was I believing in something that is not to be, something founded in hope that cannot come to fruition? How does one continue to bear the blow of disappointment that not everyone, cares as I do, is empathetic or compassionate as I try to be, nor do they value loyalty as I do. Maybe living without something makes you hold it in higher regard.  I have never asked for anything from anyone other than an occasional ear, honesty, and for people to be true and authentic; self-reliance was at my foundation because I never learned to trust in the stability and consistency of others so why ask for more.  I have reached out of the darkness a few times recently, trying to find something, to get my bearings, to hear a kind word, some sense of normalcy, someone to invalidate my lack of hope but have only felt the cold emptiness of nothing. Maybe it is time to draw the curtain to prepare for the next act. Let’s hope I have the courage to face the possibility of some sad monologue.

“Sometimes you have to move on without certain people. If they’re meant to be in your life, they’ll catch up.”  -Mandy Hale

As Intended

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I have always believed you are the exact person you are supposed to be in this moment; you are who you are meant to be and you should embrace and love yourself. I have offered this wisdom to many friends at their times of struggle and self doubt.  Sometimes we find it is difficult to have faith that we are as we are intended to be at this juncture; especially when we feel broken, or not enough, or it is not how we want it to be;  now I am struggling with this. That faith is so difficult but there must be a plan and in those moments I hold tight to that belief or else the struggle may be for naught. So I remind  myself with fervor that I am where I am needed as I am supposed to be…. and try to focus on the love….and try to give that as much of that type of care, kindness,  and compassion as I feel I may need it in that moment. This morning I tried to focus on that, on my gratitude and share with those who have enriched my life over the past three years. I spread today’s love by thanking each and every person for their individual impacts on my life, by showing my gratitude for their gifts. While I am still struggling with this period of growth, struggling to see the opportunities to embrace, looking  finding that door which has opened I am a bit more centered and I suppose that is more than I should ask for. I shall wander to the porch and watch the rain, listening to find my peace.

“I promise you, these storms are only trying to wash you clean”.- Jessica Katoff

 

Vintage Handkerchiefs

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Even as a child I have liked things from days pasts. I have a special fondness for vintage handkerchiefs thus my small collection. Some are new, having been gently stored away for some special occasion that never arrived while others are well worn, having been neatly ironed and stored away to arrive at an estate sale or antique shop. I love the patterns, tiny flowers, sometimes lace, or embroidered prints.  I am quite curious about the owner; was it a gift, had she liked the pattern, what special event was she saving it for? I often wonder what stories they could tell; did they catch the tears of a love lost, of the joy of a wedding day, or of regret for lost dreams?

My collection has had use as of late for I have had cause to shed tears. While struggling to reconcile my brokenness, to learn to bear the weight of my missing pieces, in my darkness life decided to deliver another blow. As with any time of darkness, people can be lost along the way. You quickly learn who cares by seeing who is traversing your darkness with you, who will sit with you when the candle of hope is extinguished.   In my pain, my insecurities could not be kept tucked away, hidden from myself any longer. So once again I was reminded that not everyone has the same belief system I do, that not everyone cares as deeply as I do, not everyone can stand in the pain of life with another just to support them in silence. So my lovely violet printed hankie is collecting my tears of disappointment and fear.  So  I have decided to retreat and make the change at my own hand as opposed to add to  the tally of those lost on this journey. I do know I am too tired to fight for my place in one’s world.

“The only love you have to prove in life is your love of God and helping others. Anyone that can’t see that has proven themselves to be unworthy of your time because why would you spend your life with someone that can’t tell the difference between a diamond and dirt?”  ― Shannon L. Alder

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

This Is Where I Leave You

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I am tired, it feels as if I have fought for everything my entire life. I have fought to keep myself intact, to maintain my financial stability, to progress in my career… I am tired of it all. When I found my freedom to pursue a different life, my life I made myself some promises. I promised I would not make myself small again, that I would embrace myself, that I would ensure I was true to my convictions, to my needs. I found myself editing, not speaking for myself when I need something and I panicked. In that moment I wondered if I need to tell the world.  ‘this is where I leave you”, step back and find my center. How can I continue to navigate when I was not speaking my truth, not advocating for myself? Is this one of those times where I need to navigate the storm alone to define myself? I am tired of holding it all together, but is there another choice?

“She never stumbles, she’s got no place to fall.” –Bob Dylan

Major Faux Pas

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So I really messed up, big time! I have been pretty emotionally raw for the past ten days or so. My anxiety levels are all over the place and nothing is predictable or controllable. On top of that I had an awful dream, the type where you wake up in a sweat, shaking, heart racing…I actually heard myself screaming as I was waking up on this one. In the dream old friends, a couple I have known for over twenty years, came to visit and we were reminiscing then out of nowhere my ex storms into the room, screaming, all those painful words flying,  he pushed me backwards as the friends try to diffuse the situation I fall over something and he begins to kick me.  I didn’t sleep the rest of the night, only falling asleep in the chair as the sun was coming up.  I woke up late, rushed to the auto mechanics to get some work done on my car and then to breakfast with a friend. I tried to focus all morning, still feeling rushed and out of sorts I was blaming it on the hurried morning, my to-do list but in reality it was so much more.  As the day went on I tried to focus on others but I was quickly crumbling. I wasn’t able to complete my errands so I decided to go do some readings and get a cup of coffee.

Here is where it went to hell in a handbasket. I had been out and about more this week than I have all summer so I had my fill of noise and people. I was sitting in the coffee shop and felt it escalating so I decided to get my earphones and listen to some calm peaceful music, focus on my breathing and find my center. I left in tears only to sit in the rental car for the next hour trying to compose myself enough to get mine from the shop. On my way home I was a disaster, the twenty minute drive was filled with tears and anxiety…not as bad as it has been but nothing I can manage.  I understand what is happening and can even find the trigger for this one but still it is no easier. But oh it gets better….

I made it home. I had offered to take dinner to a friend and they declined to which I sent a hateful reply because I was hurting and needed someone, some support, but of course I didn’t explain and of that in detail. I did explain I could use a friend but still was not brave enough to share the details, to explain that dark place I was in. What would usually be considered a neutral reply really stung me. I was hurt, in that moment I needed to know I had someone to lean on, a person in my corner, and I could have used a hug but I couldn’t vocalize it quite that way…but unfortunatly I did say something. I do know I should have expressed my situation better for they are not a mind reader.

So the mess with complex-ptsd is there are triggers and emotional flashbacks, one finds themselves back in that terrifying emotional state. When I am in that place, the smallest thing can be taken the wrong way and I begin that cycle and it can make me feel hopeless, or fearful, or worthless or a hodgepodge of all three. Sprinkle in the anxiety there are good days and then those not so good. Yesterday was not so good.  Add to that the fact I have never learned to advocate for myself; doing so when emotions are so raw and I am in a bad place didn’t actually get presented in a way that it was intended. I feel so guilty, I was trying to say I need help, I need to know I have someone out there to check in because right now its pretty dark and I didn’t say it anywhere close to that. I have tried to explain and I have apologized for the delivery but I sit here afraid that I have damaged things…. I feel like I have more justification to keep to myself but I know that is not the right answer either. I hope I can rectify what I have done….

“I’m sorry.’ The two most inadequate words in the English language.”

– Beth Revis