I had a few startling revelations this week. It seems my new normal is a ding dong bell ringing with irregular frequency. If I were a cartoon there would surely be stars in a bubble just above my head. New insights to old patterns– and I think it stems from the space that opens up after terrible grief– the counter balance of the pendulum swinging so far in one direction is that it must swing the other way– with deeper grief comes deeper joy. I feel this ever present duality, and it is like being on a tilt a whirl. I cannot imagine grasping the fullness of this without experiencing it first hand, so if you get it, I salute you. If you don’t, I salute you.
While really looking at Nice vs Kind in the quest for authenticity, I felt like I figured out the passcode to a locked gate. I think this may be an important discovery for my healing. When you are motivated by fear of rejection, you will behave nicely in an effort to avoid confronting what you fear most: not belonging to something/someone. You will stifle your opinions, concerns, boundaries, truth—-if it feels risky, to keep you safe. You will sweep things under the rug to avoid the potential unsafety of standing firm. While this may keep your attachments in tact, it is a form of self betrayal. Over a lifetime of being nice and not saying what you think, those self betrayals accumulate– your self doesn’t trust you to care for it/you. Your fear of rejection haunts you from the inside– because you have disconnected from your authentic voice and you are alone/rejected. I believe this is the root of (my) chronic depression, which preceded Isaac’s death/my grief and complicated my life/relationships/codependency for many years.
Recognizing myself as two distinct selves– myself and my higher self, I have straddled this fence unconsciously, unaware that they could truly coexist; that I didn’t have to sublimate, or that being who I actually am would release the grip of depression from self betrayal– if I was willing to accept loss of an identity as someone lovable/likable/agreeable, and embrace myself whole unto myself, needing no Other to validate me/my purpose/my presence.
After losing Isaac, and the label I have identified with as long as I’ve been an adult, (mama), I felt both eviscerated/devoid of attachments and labels AND an urgency to connect with people who loved me and might give me a label. My work has continually been to disentangle and define myself based on my truth over projecting a lovable image while also waiting for the dust to settle enough that I could find my way. Rinse and repeat and repeat and repeat.
The sobering reality is that I have kept my mouth shut for so long that I’m not even always sure how I feel or what I think. That leaves me with only that “still small voice within” as my guide– resonating with or repelling from the truths of others. It feels like trying to understand Braille, it feels like trying to comprehend a foreign tongue through body language. It feels a little like walking on uneven ground. I am frequently stumbly.
While my effort to release myself from the bondage of self betrayal is like cutting each link of a chain, one by one, one from the next–slow and arduous, the clarity that this was necessary came swiftly into my life– the surest indication to my self that I had been irrevocably altered by the shock and awe of sudden death of my most beloved. There was an immediacy of understanding AND a gradual unfolding of this information being downloaded.
It didn’t turn me into a super bitch. (Or a classless ass or provocateur as this post title may suggest?) I haven’t gone off the rails with demands and unchecked selfishness. I have not become one who rants unfiltered. (Yet?). But it has cleaned up, or attempted to clean up some of the messiness in my life/relationships/entanglements/dramas. It evolves EVERY. Single. Day.
And it is a relief, for fucks sake.
If I could have any wish, I would wish for Isaac to be here. For order restored and joy as we knew it and love intact. For his safety and comfort and ease. That laugh to be unscathed. I would wish that in 2 weeks I would be buying him a shot for his 21st birthday, teaching him how to pace himself, and praying he made good and safe choices, as always.
Since that wish is incredibly unlikely to come true, my other wish is for liberation from my limitations perpetuated by my fears so that I can do what matters, what’s needed, what I believe in, without doubt so that I may fully live and open my heart and inhabit my body and my days in totality. Life without irrational fear. Liberation. Freedom. Emancipation. From any bondage I’ve created or participated in.
As I strive to be free, I still want you (you know who you are) to know:
When I release myself from the fear of losing you, it does not mean that I don’t value you anymore. Love remains, unrepentant. It means that I assess myself, my sanity, my healing, my wellness, my needs, and my abilities, now, before I commit to anyone or anything. It means that I may not go with the flow or be easy to agree with or nice to a fault. It means I won’t make unyielding effort to be liked or forgiven or tolerated or connected. It means whatever expectations you had of me should be dissolved and any new ones discussed. It means whether you choose to understand it or not, my life, right now, is a before and after and even as I relocate from despairing grief to accepting grief, as a residence, I am not whoever I was. But you are welcome to get to know who I am.
It feels tantamount to (my) sanity that I must now be true to myself. That WE must be true to ourselves. That the kindest thing I can do is be honest about where I am and respect and accept where you are, whether you’re doing your work or running from it. And for us to drop resentment for wherever each other is or isn’t and merge–LEAN–into brave, unabashed alignment with our higherselves, where we can maybe meet up and tell our truths together.
“I honor the place in you which is of love and light and peace. When you are in that place in you and I am in that place in me, we are one”