I’m sitting here with a “Health and Financial Support” application from the Iowa Dept of Human Services in front of me. But I won’t fill it out. I’ve thought about filling it out. I mean, if I qualify, why not? Really, why not??
Pretty much because I just won’t. Just because I qualify doesn’t mean that I am unable to take care of myself and my children. And that’s pretty much all there is to it.
So…I suppose I should hit the rewind button for those who have no idea where I’ve been for the past 6-8 months or so. But hitting the rewind button isn’t even quite the right way to describe what has happened to me in the last year and a half. It’s more like my life has evolved from VHS to DVD to online streaming.
Yes. That would be a good metaphor of my life. Evloution. Opening my eyes. Waking up. Getting unstuck.
Sometimes the emotions and memories of how I was living are so raw that I can’t even comprehend it. I reflect on my past and for most of my life, I was wrapped up in pleasing others and working to uphold an image that was not me. I took any amount of criticism I received, internalized it, and set out to prove my critic wrong, even if they may have been right. Even if it was to my own detriment, even if it went against my internal compass.
I’ve realized that this first post is going to be very rambly and most likely cryptic. But these are words that I must get out now. I’ve not felt the urge to write until recently, but the need to express myself through writing is back with a vengenance, and I’ve got to let this pent up stuff flow before I can rein myself back in.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been so in touch with who I am. I was lost for a long time, staking my life on others’ lives instead of listening to my own conscience. It feels like I can breathe again, now that I am being true to myself. It’s also a fight for me, every day I feel the pull to try a little harder for someone else instead of myself. I fight what my inner self wants, for the sake of someone else. I still do this every day. But I am getting better at recognizing when it happens. I’m not perfect. I beat myself up. I left myself down. And then I beat myself up and let myself down for beating myself up and letting myself down.
But, I am carving out a life for myself. MY life…that others will fit into if they are supposed to. For a long time I truly believed that it was my job to mould myself into what others wanted me to be. I truly believed that I could find happiness by fulfilling another person’s dreams. I was so confused I didn’t even know I was confused!!
My mind was constantly overriding my heart. My heart was still there, and it would well up at times and remind me that it existed, but my mind was always able to beat it back down. I thought…”This is what my life is supposed to be. I am supposed to be happy. I appear happy. I’m working my damn ass off to be happy. Therefore I am happy.” But I wasn’t happy. My heart was not happy. It tried so hard to be happy in the surroundings my mind had created, but it just couldn’t. There’s a sappy ballad that probably applies right about now. Don’t know what it is…but there’s gotta be one.
Picture the fakest smile you can…you know what I’m talking about. Those women who appear so happy that they’re about to snap and kill something? I was faking it so hard, I was fooling myself most of the time. I was buried deep in denial. Every time I felt like that denial was slipping away, I dug in even harder and tried to force myself to be happy. I took on another responsibility, volunteered for another activity, entered into another new endeavor.
My heart was sending out warning signals. But when I should have been backing up, slowing down, focusing more inward, and listening to my heart…I was instead pushing it down deeper, trying to stay on the path my mind had created for me. To stay on the path that I swore would lead to happiness.
Counselors introduced me to the idea of codependence, but I resisted it. I read about it, but I fought it so hard. How can a person just be happy where they are no matter the circumstances? That just seems impossible. I believed that a person had to create their happiness, that things had to be just so in order for happiness to occur, that I had to control the world around me in order for it to be “ok.”
And I still get that way sometimes. But it really doesn’t feel good when I’m in that spot. And I recognize it, and I get out of it. It’s been a slow process, one that I cannot fully explain. I have slowly let go of trying to make things be a certain way, and I am accepting that things are just the way they are, and that it is ok for them to be that way.
I don’t know. I’m sure this all sounds like a bunch of crazy rambling. But you know, I don’t care. It makes sense to me, and it helps me. I have become a stronger, better person through my struggles. I have become surer of myself. I have also become more forgiving of myself. I still struggle with seeing some of the bad things in my life as blessings in disguise, but I am trying. Sometimes bad things bring good things we never could have imagined. Mostly, I am at peace with my life and the path it has taken.
All I ever need to do when I get all twisted up is take a step back and look at all I have to be greatful for. Appreciation. It’s so hard to appreciate anything if you are not being true to yourself. This I have learned the hard way. Through mistakes and bad times. But is there really an easy way to learn anything?
So, the school of hard knocks has dealt me a few classes lately. In the past 18 months I have gone through a transoformation that I resisted for a long time. I fought the inevitable end of my relationship with Justin for a good two years before I was even able to admit that it was over. But, once I did, the healing began. Sure, there was ALOT of pain involved. And there was ALOT of mistakes, some of them with huge pricetags. I was sick and twisted up in ways I still don’t fully understand. But slowly, and sometimes against my will, I faced up to the truth. I got down on it’s level and stared the truth in the face, and sometimes it scared me so much I ran away from it as fast as I could. But I never felt better until I faced it and admited to it. Through it all there was healing and a return to being true to myself. The further along I got, the better I felt, the more I was able to handle the circumstances I was handed. I found inner strength by simply trusting my intuition and taking care of myself.
In future posts, I will analyze and reveal more about this transformation. The details are deeply personal, and they affected a lot of lives. There is still pain there, a lot of pain, and there probably always will be, but it’s transforming into a dull pain left by a scar as opposed to the deep pain left by an untreated wound.
I write to help myself heal. I share my writing because I know that there are others out there who might be helped a little by learning about what I’ve been through. I don’t always do the right thing, but I always try to.