Change is constant, perception is everything
This year, for me, has been filled with a ridiculously large amount of changes both welcome and refuted. For most of it, I’ve lamented that the Universe was out to get me. It really felt like that because of the volume of changes. Each day seemed wrought with catastrophe, a dread that caused me to question every decision to the point where I felt frozen (I’m a freeze in the fight/fight/freeze/fawn/flop). Every step I made seemed like I faced another wall, another miscalculation, or another difficult navigation. I truly felt put upon by the world.
As I near the end of this year, however, I’m coming to understand that the oppression I have been feeling has been a repression of my feelings of inadequacy. My lack of trust in my own self-reliance contributed greatly to my sense of belonging. I had been clinging to what I expected to happen instead of rolling with the flow of my life.
I’m reflecting back, I realize how much I’ve overcome. I am becoming resentful of the labels of survivor, warrior, or victim. I’m gaining a power I didn’t even know I had. Even though I kind of did, confirmation of my successes has been liberating. My perception of life events is shifting. I’m allowing the events of this year to nurture my spirit, allow growth into new frontiers, and to realize I’m totally worth all the hard work I’ve put in to get to this point in my life.
No. It’s not ideal or how I expected things to be, but this is MY life. I love who I’m becoming. It’s taken me a long time of believing myself to be unworthy to finally understand that I am, at this time, my largest critic, but also my own biggest fan. It’s up to me to continue this journey, come what may.
Death and Loss are part of the chaos of living
Grief has been a hallmark of this year. The inevitable cycle has continuously run its course like a proverbial bull in the China shop. It has submerged me in baptismal tears. I’ve been looking out through tear-stained cheeks so frequently that I, again, felt frozen in time. It felt as if it would just never end, but that’s, in part, because it doesn’t.
Grief isn’t something to get through. It’s not a journey with an end. It’s a massive migration to a new way of alien being. It’s a daily reflection on how to manifest the support and love of the dead and dying. It is a constant companion that reminds me that I don’t know what’s going to happen or even when. It’s a revolution without resolution based on the depth of love that I carry forth from the impact they had on my life.
It is said that grief isn’t a place to dwell which is true. But it is a constant acceptance of what was in the here and now. It is okay to be messy in the emotions. It’s okay to lose sight on the future because that is no more promised than the next breath. It’s okay to sit with it, even indulging in the howling of the soul.
Grief transcends time. It allows acknowledgement that my fellow beings once lived, breathed, and also grieved. While at the same time reminding me of the joy, happiness, and sacred holy moments we shared are just as valid. They no longer walk with me but they are never absent from my heart which is deeply comforting.
Document everything when facing challenges
Awareness of any problem is already a step towards a solution. At the first realization that things are amiss, write it down. Write what happened as if you were giving a testimony. If you make a phone call seeking resolution, write it down. Write down who you spoke to, what was said, dates and times. Hold your temper even if you’re livid. Cool down if you reach this point before continuing. Take pictures of videos of what the issue actually is to help insure the accuracy of your documentation. Follow up phone calls with emails if possible. Save those emails in a folder specifically marked for that interaction. Social media? Use the tool to reach out to the offending party or even to make a public record to hold them accountable. Listen to others who have similar interactions and how they were able to reach a positive outcome. Whatever it is, making sure you speak to the offending party with respect is a key to integrity. Maintain yours until the result is satisfactory. DO NOT GIVE UP. They’re counting on you to not fight when you have been wronged.
Giving up isn’t really an option but walking away might be
I was married for 15 years, with him for 17. The last two years of that relationship were in hopes that things could still be resolved. Even up to the night before the divorce was finalized, I held out hope that he would want things to change. He opted out while, probably even now, blaming me.
It wasn’t about blame. It wasn’t about fault. It was about not having needs met that were crucial for my survival. I didn’t want the divorce. I didn’t move away seeking an ending. I walked away because it was necessary. It was an unpleasant task that had to be done.
As much as I loved him, I couldn’t “make” him love me back in the way that I needed. It was with regret that I had to let it go, but it has returned my life to me in ways I didn’t even know I was missing. It has allowed me an opportunity to rebuild a life that is mine. It has given me a gift that I didn’t, nor could I have known, if I’d stayed where I was no longer welcome or cherished.
Trusting those who truly love you is totally worth it
I’ve been in survival mode for so long that my self-sufficiency, or my “I can do it myself” way of thinking dominated everything about me. Where it lends me to be resourceful, it’s taken up SO MUCH time seeking work arounds for things I’ve been forced to settle for in my life. I could trust or depend on no one but myself because the people I chose to love in my past were unable to help me meet my needs.
That changed when I not only accepted my own compassion and love for myself, but allowing others to help and support me as well. People who have nothing but my happiness exhibited in their love for me have shown up. They’re doing the work to show me that I am a valued, trusted, kind, and loving human. It is through their commitment in my community of life that I am learning to trust. I’m learning to accept that I belong.
Having felt like an outsider with secrets so heinous I couldn’t imagine ever allowing anyone intimacy, the support and kindness I’ve found among my tribe have helped me to mature, succeed, prosper and thrive in such an incredible way that I finally feel nurtured. I finally feel heard. I believe myself to be seen which is proven to me time and again.
There are no hidden agendas. There aren’t back-handed compliments. There isn’t any gaslighting. There is only support, love, and most importantly to me: Love.