I’ve been restless and running for years without direction or purpose, frantically putting out fires, and desperately warning others to contain their flames or they will get burned. It seemed that most around me were in danger or were stagnating and without considering my own downward spiral, I relentlessly pursued the impossible feat of helping those in my life who, at the time, had no real desire to change. I not only dove in, but was swimming laps around the lake, often alone, in the dark. It became exhausting, dangerous, and desperate. And ultimately, those who needed the help did not care that I was drowning as a result.
The two individuals in my life where I spent the majority of my time desperately seeking love were my sister and my ex fiancé. My sister’s addiction and the devastating impact it has had on her now adult children captured my time and attention resulting in intense strife between me and my entire family. I was the one confronting while my sister used and my Mom enabled. The abusive relationship with my fiancé, a Narc, set the stage for an intense decade of both physical and psychological abuse, gaslighting, stonewalling, devaluing, and discarding. It was a cycle that continued for nearly ten years and consumed me.
These two relationships taught me to listen to and honor my spirit. Initially, they stripped me of my dignity, self worth, and esteem. In the end, I felt broken, unloved, and devastated. I spent the last two years of my life in darkness due to the complete demise of these bonds, which resulted in severe depression and an exacerbation of my Bipolar illness. I lost employment and as a result I am in the process currently of potentially getting onto disability. My world came crashing down and left me in a space stripped of everything I had clung to for years. It took several months, but I began letting go and learning who I am within the stillness, without the chaos that had defined my life.
The confusion is slowly subsiding as I learn to embrace what is mine and let go of what I cannot control. There is the shame and embarrassment for getting too involved, not letting go earlier, and for the behaviors that resulted from years of rejection and alienation. There were days spent in agony where I was enraged and in despair for the love I could not make mine. If I learned nothing else in this process, I learned that holding on was more painful and destructive than letting go.
While at the same time, there is forgiveness and acceptance with the awareness that I was learning and doing the hard work of carving out my self esteem, fighting for my own self worth. I’ve spent time comparing my successes and failures to others which I have learned is a dangerous practice because it is impossible to truly know another person’s story and each of us have our own unique path to wholeness. My desire was to make myself whole, starting with the events in my childhood that had immobilized me, and left certain places in my life dark, desolate, and without care. I longed for a space of complete healing where no part of me from the beginning of my existence to the present moment would be left untouched, unchanged, immature. This desired growth would be my metamorphosis. I would not be satiated until I could spread my wings and fly, lightly, at ease, with joy and reverence for what I had accomplished.
And thus, I continue to touch those untouched places with kindness and compassion. I continue to come back to this place of healing after every distraction and derailing. I continue to forgive and focus on the goal of freedom. I continue to create boundaries that foster this growth instead of pull me away from it. And lastly, and the most difficult, I continually remind myself to only engage and invest in those who turn towards me, not away from me. My heart continually breaks for those I know suffering, and yet, I admit, my involvement does not change their situation, it has only left me feeling hopeless, helpless, and often discarded. I must heal myself, invest in myself, and be a lighthouse and safe harbor when and if they are ready to heal. In this stillness, my garden will grow and I can rebuild. My intention is in light and love and the energy and investment is in creating this space for myself. It’s my most challenging and rewarding work.