I have been away….it’s ok…..
I am back…..it’s ok…..
I may go away again….it’s ok…….
While she used to escape into the fog, I can see her now…..she’s going to be ok…..
We all have our stuff.
We have hang ups and isms that make this life difficult, at times, to traverse. We have a lifetime of influences that helped mold who we are and what we do. We all make choices that will inevitably change the trajectory of our path. We live with scars left by other people who didn’t have our best interests at heart. We live with abuse of all kinds, and no one escapes this, no matter how perfect things may appear from the street. There are teachers, friends, complete strangers and even family who will happily knock you down and stomp a mud hole in your ass with no regard for the fallout. These are the things that bring us to where we are right now. I recently had a birthday and I always seem to reminisce and wonder how my life might have turned out differently if I had chosen to be as some people are. In so many ways I am thankful that I am the person that has been hurt a lot, because it made me realize what I never wanted to be!! I knew from what I experienced that no matter what, I was going to break the cycle and do what I feel to be the right thing! I can proudly say that I have done that. Proudly.
Years ago, when I was a young, 24 year old girl I moved to Nebraska to start my married life with my husband and a new baby. All I wanted was a place to belong and make new friends; instead, I immediately found that fitting into their group and small community was more than difficult. Truth is, I never really fit into a group! I still don’t! Often, when you move to a new community people only want to introduce themselves to you so that they can find the chinks in your armor, to find the dirt on you, or find out your story! The fact is, they don’t really want to get to know you, they want to find out about you and then they want to know what you can do for them, or they jump in and tear you up by using your weaknesses against you. After that it becomes about judgement! This has followed throughout my entire life as a truism and it doesn’t matter if you are moving towns or your kids are changing schools. People ask you all kinds of leading questions and pretend interested and yet if you don’t perform well during the inquisition, the odds of you being included in their circle are pretty slim! When my kids started a new school district some of the “nicest” people came up and interviewed me! They pretended to be so interested in where we came from, what we did, and anything else they thought might be pertinent information to decide if I passed the test! What I all too quickly discovered was that my interview skills were lacking, the only thing they cared about was what benefitted their kid and I was not invited to be in the group! I became their topic rather than included in their group. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not one to sit silently by and play nice in the sandbox when there is injustice, pain, torment and abuse. I was immediately too much for them, and realistically I am “too much” for most and that is OK with me!! It always makes me laugh because so many of them feel sorry for Mike! Like he is the best guy because he will stroke their ego and make them feel like they matter and I am the hag in the background! I am good with the truth and my reality! I am good with being honest with who I am and not pretending! Along the way, I have managed to pick up a couple of good friends and that is perfect for me!! (More than a few, and you all know who you are!)
In the past 18 months I have found writing has been dreadfully difficult and have taken quite a long hiatus. Throughout my blog I have been very open about my mental health, depression, anxiety, sleeplessness….. Now, I am happy to announce that I am finally feeling like I am in a place of relief, truth, validation, gratitude and goodness. I have been able to walk away from situations that are no longer healthy for me and I have drawn boundaries that suit me very well. I have consistently gone to counseling and found that I am stronger, healthier and braver than I have ever been. I safely unpacked my suitcase and this time I filled it with the things that I want. I no longer carry anyone else’s baggage, choices and unhappiness. I no longer accept being manipulated by the people I thought loved me. I no longer protect the reputations of those people who abuse us and our good nature. The abuse we suffered in the past at the hands of those who encourage jealousy and unkindness are now unable to disrupt our lives because we acknowledge what was so incredibly mean. We call it what it is…..abuse. The unfortunate part is that not only is the past filled with that behavior but they continue to live their lives in a manner that we are unable to even understand. I am not responsible for other people’s happiness, no matter how many times I have tried; but I am called to honor them. I honor them by not recounting all of the damaging words, hurts, and trauma and I allow them to live the life they have chosen to live. The saying “you do you” couldn’t be more appropriate because that is what this life really, really is. It is your responsibility to be accountable for the choices you have made. If you hurt people and never acknowledge your part, then don’t play the victim when they make the choice to stop the gaslighting. Choices are made and prices are paid for each and every thing that you do, and although it may not be in your lifetime, the choices that were made to deliberately hurt people, or maim animals, or verbally abuse, or gaslight, control, manipulate, dishonor, lie, cheat, steal, all will come to rest on the next generation, your children. Generational abuse is the worst and someone has to break the chain…..break it! Move on!! Don’t condone the behavior by ignoring it or by saying “it’s how they have always been!” or “I’m used to it, it’s never been good!” Even when the end comes you will never be treated fairly!! You will never be treated fairly by people who have never had to walk in your shoes and are at the helm and in control and judgement is all they know. In their pathetic existences they find power and they are consumed by the games and how to hang onto all of the things around them. It becomes the noose that someday will tighten on them. In so many ways it is sad, yet I do not feel sorry for them. Not only can I see it for what it is, but I am able to see why it is. No excuses, but I see why. Those are called choices.
I am able to see me in my own light and I am not concerned about “fitting” into someone else’s idea of who I am or who I am not. That is the freedom that comes with understanding the “whys?”. Oddly, as I type this description of recovery, it sounds almost out of body. It sounds like something anyone could repeat because it is so matter of fact, but that’s the point! All of these things are things that I knew! I knew all of this, but because of years of conditioning, I couldn’t hear my own voice or see my own worth. If there is a point to any of this, it is to listen to your heart/mind, inner voice and realize that sometimes you just need validation and an internal monologue tune up! The things that I said to myself were things I had heard a better part of my life and unfortunately my heart believed what others said, not what I knew. I am worthy of better treatment. I deserve better treatment, but like anything, there always has to be a scapegoat or someone to blame.
When I think about the choices that I have made, good and bad, I am humbled by a couple of things! First and foremost that I survived and kept my dignity intact. I have acknowledged all of my growth and have not denied my mistakes no matter how painful. I don’t need reminded of the girl I was, she did what she had to do to survive. No apologies for that! I am so far past her that she is just a memory! Second, I take pride in the fact that I kept moving and that I didn’t fit in. Had I changed me to fit in with those I thought had it all, I could have easily molded myself into the same tragic form. I could have been just like the people that caused a lot of damage. If I hurt you in my journey, I am sorry. I ask for forgiveness, truly. My fight or flight programming suited me pretty well for a long time in that I was really good at handling crisis. I was equipped to think quickly and organize the troops. I could handle everything thrown at me until I cratered when I was worn out physically. After years of sleeping with my fists clenched so tightly that my fingernails have left permanent marks in my palms, did I decide to exorcise the pains of the past that were buried deep inside. Getting diagnosed with a disease that I can’t fix or heal has only exacerbated my high alert mode continuing to keep me afraid of the unknown. I have constantly wondered if I was going to explode an aneurysm or worse yet, if I was going to be left in a vegetative state because it didn’t kill me. Fear has robbed me of some of the sweetest moments in our lives. I knew that I couldn’t unpack these things alone and that mentally it was time to do some work. I also knew that I was at a stage in my life that I could no longer protect the people who continue to shoot lies, daggers and barbs through the universe at me. They still think I don’t know what they say and they couldn’t be more wrong. Not only do I know what they say, I know who believes them. I thank them for the insight, I can avoid that hurtfulness as well. This is a journey I never thought I would have to take, but I am determined to live whatever time I have left away from the pain. As my friend Mary tells me, “We are all on our own journey in this life and not everyone is supposed to stay for the entire trip!”
Here are the truths that I know. “Love” isn’t supposed to hurt you over and over again. “I’m sorry” is only good if the behavior changes. “It is the way it is” is gaslighting, you have the power to walk away and change it. “Respect” isn’t just from the young to the old. “Family” is not always blood. “Forgiveness” isn’t always necessary for you to give if you are the one injured, but asking for it when you have hurt someone is. “Hiding” and “burying” isn’t healthy. “Peace” comes from God. “Blessings” can be disguised as pain until you figure out where your blessings come from, sometimes the “blessing” is freedom. “Blessing” someone doesn’t mean praying for them to gain or amass wealth or things, it means “truth” and bringing the “truth” into the light. (The devil hates that!) “Love” is the one thing that you can do for yourself to free yourself from the past. It is amazing. “Loving” gets easier when God removes the people who don’t know what that is! When you know better, you do better. Take the plunge…read the books…get the help.
I know that I am anything but alone in this. So many people have walked this path before me and were brave enough to call it what it is and say their truths. It is scary because you are vulnerable, but you are in a safe place with no judgement. Say your truth. Live your life. Enjoy the moments that can no longer be clouded with fear. It isn’t easy and it is constant work but it is worth every single step. Don’t waste time worrying what others think, it’s none of your business!!
My ending is a thank you to my husband and to my children and their families. Couldn’t do it without you. This love is real. This love is strong. This love is as pure as I can make it because it is bathed in truth!