I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.
40 has been a hell of a year. Much that I’ve achieved makes me quite proud, really, and it’s a good feeling to be satisfied with your own courage and success. I’ve also been revisited by familiar demons, in new and rather frightening ways. 2013 gave me pause. It alarms me still. I had the standard failure of a new romance. It looked and seemed different in the process of discovery but hindsight shows, of course, that it’s the same problem I always have: me. I chose the wrong person for the wrong reasons – truly not knowing or seeing it – but reflection reveals the same old habits. There’s something I’m missing in my selection process. Once the breakup has begun, I’m all-too-aware of my flaws when responding to things that go wrong. I freak out.
I will give myself credit for leaving my ex-boyfriend quickly. Not working? Don’t linger! I didn’t figure that out in my youth. I guess to have mid-life flashing before my very eyes really does help me to cut ties that hold me back. So that’s hopeful, I suppose. No. The fact is I was in danger. I was running. I wasn’t leaving a bad situation quickly due to any wisdom or self-love (or love of anything). I still marvel that I found a job, started said job, found an apartment, and moved into it in one week. But being impressed with my mad urban survival skills is not the same as behaving better in/out of a relationship.
I haven’t spoken at all about the decline of my body. I’m so afraid of what it means and will the pain just continue to increase? I can’t even begin to voice my discomfort and anxiety for fear of making it “real” and lasting. I’ve finally taken action and made some decisions that I’ll talk about in the coming year as the results show themselves. Or don’t. (Please work! Please let me get better!) It’s a bitter thing when the body betrays.
That said, I’ve had some profound spiritual experiences, “promptings,” the Mormons call them. I’m kind of going through it right now, but I believe that the changes I’m in the middle of are necessary for the next big step. There’s something I’m missing. There’s something in the pattern of self-destructive behavior that I don’t even see. I am in the process of fixing that, right now. I believe that my physical symptoms are an opportunity for me to work on the whole being. Aches that I’ve ignored for years because they don’t plague my every waking moment… now do. It’s the same with my spirit. I’ve been ignoring my intuition my entire life. I want to trust myself to listen to my guides and angels before a misstep onto the wrong path results in danger or cruelty. My angels have to SCREAM at me before I listen, even to the good stuff. I realize later that I heard them all along, but I ignore it. Actually, I dismiss them as delusion or hubris. Mormons call it “the still, small voice,” and I don’t know what the hell to do with it. I grew up screaming in a screaming family. I want different, but I don’t know how to create it. I want to choose the right course and then navigate the difficulties of life thereupon – kindly, gently – rather than jumping from catastrophe to sanctuary to disaster to quivering mass of failure. Again. (I’m not there right now but I have been, like a default setting, for the whole of my life.)
Speaking of blaming my upbringing, haha! Remember when I told you, “My family gets together, decides what my behavior means, then tells me about it during the holidays”? My mom’s Christmas card implied that I am adding to a burden of sorrow on my grandmother’s shoulders because my immediate family has not yet come to an amicable reconciliation. In fact, I have. I gave my cache of free tickets to “How To Succeed” to anyone who wanted them, and hung out with everyone at Thanksgiving, hugs all around and hand-me-down clothes from my wealthy friends, a holiday tradition. I participated in the sibling gift exchange, and sent mom and dad a book for Christmas. https://wildwesterngirl.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/happy-one-year-blogiversary-a-review/
I’ve never spoken a word to my beloved grandparents about the terrifying reality of life in my immediate family. I haven’t said one negative thing. Ever.
I couldn’t believe it. The timing was like a sick joke to prove me right. Dr. Phil would call me a right fighter. When I’m in the chaos of immediate anger and emotion, I don’t care about solving the problem. I care about keeping score and proving myself the more-wronged party. Deep down, though, after a little time in the Cave of Solitude and Recovery, I secretly believe that they’re right. I’m just a horrible b-word (insert “brat” and “bitch” here), who blames a loving family for things they don’t do. But there it was in black and white. Now I get to reconcile myself again to the fact – proof in hand, neatly penned on a Christmas card – that they continue to employ emotional manipulation to bully me.
Perhaps they don’t know how to avoid the truth of their own dysfunction now that their scapegoat has decided to love herself enough to leave toxic people behind, even when they’re her own family. All I know is that cutting them out of my life is the right thing. Even the smallest dealings with them take me weeks of recuperation. I’m fragile, and they are the chink in my armor. I’m capable of personal and interpersonal greatness, I feel it, if I turn my back entirely. Not just on my sister’s racist husband, who physically assaulted me, but on all of them. In the context of my immediate family, I hate myself. I have the right to walk away, no matter how ugly they make it.
I got that card 3 days ago. I’m not going to answer. What could I possibly say?
I was juuust starting to second-guess my decision to maintain distance from them. In a way, I feel like this was what I needed to trust myself. I get to protect myself, even if I’m shamed for doing so. I’m reminded to celebrate and honor my intuition, regardless of what is said about it. The change I seek is to put this into practice somehow, to make it my lifestyle in 2014 and the second half of my life.
I have survived. I’m a rockstar. Now I thrive.