I write. A LOT. You might not think so, because very few articles have shown up on this site... where I keep promising to add more. My writing is mostly personal. I have journals packed full of the meanderings of my mind. Lately, I've been struggling with a few things, so pages and pages have been filled. It's my therapy. Occasionally, I will have a break-through, like I did this morning; and I feel an urgent need to share with my close friends who may benefit also.
Let's get right to it; shall we?
At the tail-end of this past summer, matters of the heart suddenly jumped to the forefront of my everyday life. After seven years of desert conditions, it felt like giant waves of cool, refreshing water just filled every dry, cracked area of my heart. Yep! I met someone. It was wonderful while it lasted! Then it was over. Just like that. My point has nothing to do with the actual relationship itself, so those details are not important here. I will tell you, it was good. I have emerged with a fascinating new friend, whom I will always think of fondly.
Because the relationship was always positive, I found it very difficult to cope with the loss. I am a deeply emotional person, and he was... not. It's okay. People are different. Honestly, I think that was the attraction. You know what they say about opposites. I went through all the stages: denial, rationalization, self-deprecation, blame, anger, hurt... A close, personal friend of mine could tell you what a roller coaster of personalities I have been over the past several weeks.
I believe all of this is a good thing. Those steps are important. They should not be left out. Healing is messy sometimes. Okay, it is probably always messy if we're honest. But, healing is the end goal. It must take place before moving on. You can't drag all of your old wounds around with you into the next relationship. It will be flawed right from the start. Every new person you meet will have to deal with your old hurts... directly or indirectly. That is not fair to either one of you. Some people get stuck here, and decide all relationships are hurtful, so they stop hoping. I refuse to do that. I know I am not here on this earth to be miserable.
Here is where I tell you, there is always a silver lining. Always. You have to look for it. Sometimes the clouds are so dark, and so big that it's hard to see past them. But... they are movable. They're not solid. You can push through them, or skirt around them. They really only look like monsters. It's an illusion. Has anyone ever told you, "This too shall pass"? Believe them! It's true!
I have a very objective inner voice. It likes to play hide and seek though. Fortunately, it has very good timing. Just when I think, 'I can't do this. It's hopeless', my voice tells me, 'You've got this! Have faith in yourself.' That's what happened this morning.
Here is the analogy that played out in my journal:
Your heart is like your child. It is YOURS to take care of, nurture, teach. It is your responsibility to protect it. You are its caretaker. Just like your very own child, there will come a time when you need to let it go out on its own, to find the place where it belongs. You cannot place it there. It has to find its own way. If you truly love your heart, you will be less likely to just let it go prematurely. You'll weigh the decisions affecting your heart more carefully. You'll watch out for its well-being. What it boils down to is... self love. You have to love yourself first. If you don't, your heart will not be prepared for the great big, real world out there.
Okay, so this all sounds a little daunting. No matter how you come to parenting, at some point you realize this is your baby... literally! It's your ballgame. You call the shots. You are in control. You have to be. Yes, it is a huge responsibility to parent your heart; but, there are also tremendous rewards waiting for you. I fervently believe this! Parenting requires faith.
One of my favorite quotes: "What if I fall?" "Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?"
If you've been nurturing, paying attention to what your heart's needs are along the way, it will grow wings. When you get to that jumping off point, you'll be able to fly.
Up to this point in my life, I can tell you... my heart has only experienced this wonderful, soaring flight pattern once or twice. I've had a few false starts, and had to fly the plane back to the runway for refueling. And, I've had some pretty long flights, full of turbulence. I've even crash-landed a few times. But, I refuse to close the airport just because life gets rough sometimes.
As for those hurts and scars - healing. Healing takes time and attention. This applies to all kinds of grief. Some things are just not in your control. I've lost a few loved ones in the past couple years. I thought my heart would break right in half, and be unrepairable. It's hard when you can't control the outside situations that affect your heart. The key is to build up your heart to be strong. When things like that happen, you'll be able to withstand the blow. It's like wearing a bullet-proof vest. Yes, there will be bruises, but you won't die.
Love yourself. Nurture your heart. Be a good parent. Don't stop caring about other people. These things make your heart strong. When the time comes... you'll be ready for take off! ;)
As for me, I can now return to my regularly scheduled life. All those emotions have been sorted out and placed in their respective cubbies. They make sense to me now. Sometimes, one of them will crawl out and try to wreak havoc; but, because I'm paying attention, I can wrangle it back to where it belongs without too much trouble, hopefully. In the meantime, I will be preparing for the next... or last flight.
Someone asked me the other day, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Yes, I'm 51; but, the question caught me off guard. In truth, I was a little ashamed that I didn't have a well-thought-out answer. I thought to myself, 'Shouldn't I be that person by now? I've had this many years. Surely, I'm there, right?' Sadly, I admit, my feeble answer... "I don't know".
I think the universe was focused on me during that conversation. It seems as though a path has been cleared for me to do some soul-searching this weekend. I've found myself sitting smack in the middle of a four-day weekend with no obligations pressing me for attention. No commitments. No schedule. No kids. Not even my dog! No REAL responsibilities to speak of.
So, what is a woman to do with all this time on her hands, and a burning question in her heart? Think. Ponder. Wrestle with her conscience. Then, write it all down. Well... that's what I do anyway. Writing it down has always given me clarity. When I'm done writing, I usually have my answer.
Initially, I wrote everything down in a journal. At some point (roughly 13 years ago), I started publishing my thoughts on a website that I built myself. You are here. (Thanks, by the way, for being interested in my ramblings.) I still write all the personal stuff in my journal; but sometimes the not so personal stuff ends up on this website, when I feel that others might benefit from the solutions I come up with. Because I have received private messages and phone calls after publishing some articles, I know that some people DO benefit. I am encouraged and humbled. Thank you.
So, what do I want to be when I grow up? I thought I knew once. A lot has changed in the past several years, and the person I thought I was going to be has disappeared completely. Just like that. Poof! Gone! Where did she go?
Life has a way of throwing you for a loop sometimes. It's easy to get so caught up in the chaos, that you lose yourself, the identity that you thought was yours. Here is where you need to step back, take a deep breath, and recognize this moment for what it is... a turning point. Take some time to think about where you are. Try to find the lesson in your circumstances. Usually, I start with all the negative, yucky feelings I'm having. Be glad you don't have to deal with THAT anymore! If you're feeling shame or guilt, congratulations! That means you are human. Take the lesson from it, and don't forget what you've learned. Now... move on.
Then, realize you have a golden opportunity to change things for the better. You can start over, and shape your path yourself. Think about the things that make you happy. Realize that you can NOW incorporate those things into the new you. It's YOUR life. You are in charge. Don't be scared. You are already coming out of this sharp curve, headed for a straight-away. You are in control of you!
Well, there now. Was that so bad? Guess what I just figured out. I like to write. I like to help other people. In turn, my writing helps me feel better about myself. It gives me confidence. It gives me clarity during the confusing turning points in my life. I'm thinking maybe I should revive my neglected little website and start writing a few more articles. I might never make money doing it, but I already have a job. And if it helps someone else, all the better!
I am already grown-up, and I am a writer. :)