Some answers, some responsibility and a start on forgiveness.
"On July 19 at approximately 2:30 pm I got into my car with one mission in mind. I was going to drive in one direction, pressing in until I found somewhere inside of myself where I could start forgiving the person that had done so much damage to my soul, my heart and my life."
Remember this Instagram post?
Ditching #theavocadolady this weekend and feeding my soul. Direction: West-ish Destination: unknown Soundtrack: The Fault in our Stars, Ed Sheeran on repeat currently (🙄 I know) Snacks: more sugar that I will ever admit to you. Feeling: Wooooooooooo!!!!!!
Bliss out ✌🏻#roadtrip #embracetheunknown
Well, here's what happened...
That road trip was a bit magical for me, it was the instigator of so much that has happened since then. After the crazy month of May, which had included Mental Health Week and Mommy Matters and was a culmination of so much work, it was time for a break. I finally started coming back to life in June. It was all so affirming for me and I finally knew everything was going to be okay. I relaxed for a while in the momentum I had built and starting thinking and feeling to figure out what the next steps were. And I rested, on a deep soul level, I rested for the first time in years.
As you already know from Part 1 of this blog series, I absolutely did not get it all figured out in one road trip. In fact I fell flat on my face soon after. In one or two ways I kinda feel like the only thing this road trip did was open a can of frustrated and angry worms. Ha. But it was a start. A good one.
I am getting ahead of myself though.
On July 19 at approximately 2:30 pm I got into my car with one mission in mind. I was going to drive in one direction, pressing in until I found somewhere inside of myself where I could start forgiving the person that had done so much damage to my soul, my heart and my life. Barely 40 minutes in, and in the most anti-climatic way, I found that place inside myself - just as I passed Crystal City. Haha. So much for an epic road trip story. Still beautiful though: a song came on, I'd heard it before but this time it cut right through the bullshit, my heart burst open and out came all the tears I hadn't let my daughter see over the last two years. An incredible relief flooded my soul as the grief finally found a way through the crack in the dam and out into the open where it could do some good. It spilled over everywhere inside me. I could feel it water the seeds I had been planting while I waited for this day. I could feel the tears gently evaporate into the air so that soon I would feel rain on the inside again. I felt the weight of it lift.
Songs have always been my breadcrumbs, my maps, my soul balm, the spark plug that can slam dunk me back into my body, into my story and my heart. This song, by Josh Groban, cracked me right open (every. single. line.) and helped me let go.
A single note passes, out of the ashes, a flickering ember begins
It's the courage to turn when the pages have burned and your story now seems at an end
After that tidal wave settled, the next one came in, a little softer: it was gratitude. I suddenly realized that I needed them to be that awful, to be cruel, to call me endless names and make me forget who I was. Why? I know exactly why: if there had not been something inside of me that doubted myself, they would have never been able to make me doubt myself. I needed to be pushed right out of my home, right over the highest cliff, with nothing but myself, my child and a free fall. It was the worst and the best thing that has ever happened to me. If those things had not happened, I would not be where I am. And, apart from the not so great person I was last week, I love where I am right now. Without the awful things that happened to me I would not have found my own wings, I would not have had to dig so deep into my own self that I found the diamonds I always suspected were there. I would not have been exiled back to my hometown where I was forced to rely on the generosity, care and nurturing of family, friends, new friends and fully understand that no one can do life alone: that community can matter as much as family. I would not have had to start over which means I would not have had to disassemble everything I knew so far, filter out what no longer served me, and then put it back together in a new and better way. (btw - I love the word 'disassemble,' because it always reminds me of Johnny 5, haha! If you don't know who that is, you're too young to be reading this. kidding. sorta.)
Here's another way to put this. I am quite sure that until recently I had an 'imposter' archetype operating in my life that made me doubt myself and feel like I was faking it sometimes. A lot of you reading this know that you have it too. It's the strange feeling that you're afraid everyone is going to figure out that you actually have no idea what you're doing. (Even though you do.) It's weird and yet so many of us have it. That archetype had to go for me to move into my life's work and really be able to go for it, to do what I am doing now. So this person that seemed like my greatest enemy was really the most amazing gift, he rattled the archetype in me so it could come up to be digested, broken down and kicked the f-out.
If I had not been called an untold amount of horrible names that challenged my entire existence and self-worth, I may not have fought quite so hard to find my feet again. (I did it record time while caring for a baby) I used to feel bad sometimes about not finishing my university degree (I toured with my new album and my band instead and later opted for a diploma,) but now I don't feel that way anymore. Heck, look at me. Do I look like a failure and waste of space to you? lol.
If I had not been threatened and intimidated I might not have had to dig so deep into the garden of my self-worth to plant more flowers of confidence. The success of 'Mommy Matters' just wouldn't have been as sweet.
If my motherhood had not been attacked I would not have had to invest so deeply in my authority and my truth as a mother and take a stand.
If I hadn't been called all those names and manipulated then being the keynote speaker for Mental Health Week here in Morden would not have been so rewarding. I would not have had to go to so many lengths to make sure that words from other people would never be able to bend my reality ever again.
What I know for sure now is that NO ONE can make you believe something about yourself unless a part of you doubts those things in yourself. These people and this experience gave me the greatest life lessons that anyone has ever punched me in the face with, so to speak ;)
Without the roots that I had to send so deep into myself, these new branches that I have would not have spread so far up and out. I wouldn't be working on the next big collaborative event (which I am SO excited about) and I wouldn't have written the first part of this blog series that reached 450 views in a few days.
As much as I am upset about the damage on the inside from the things that happened and the disappointment I feel in myself that I tried to take flight too soon, thereby sabotaging something nice in my life and in someone else's, it's also a gift. Last week's events forced me to let go of trying to control everything. I think I can finally stop trying to keep ALL of the collateral damage at bay - because it's exhausting to do that all the time, for years. Too much happened, I can't and I couldn't hold it all by myself. No one can. I'm tired.
And now, I think this is where I need to not-so-casually stray over, and into, responsibility. I am not writing all of this so that everyone can blame Newton's Laws on their reactions. It's never okay to hurt someone no matter what has been done to you or where it's coming from. That's the secret to healing - once you know where a sore spot is, it's your responsibility. It's still my fault that I hurt someone, even if it mostly came from pain dealt to me in my past. You have to own it. Owning it and seeking forgiveness despite the chaos, angst and crazy shit you feel on the inside is how you stop the transference. Owning it has a transformative aspect to it. Do you get what I am saying here? You do get to say 'opps' once, there may very well be some grace given to you, but you also own it and then you proceed to do everything in your power to transform that pain so that you never hurt someone with it again. And if you can't do it on your own, then you find the help you need to move it because if that pent up energy builds up again and hurts someone again - then it's all you. I mean, it was you before too, but then it's REALLY all you. That's what sucks. That's what's unfair. Someone gets to come into your life, wreak havoc, you're traumatized, you lose everything, and now you're responsible to clean up the mess of the pain and start over and heal your own heart. It's all on you. Understanding the forces at work helps, trying to figure out how we can help each other get this crap out of us is needed, (more on that coming up in this blog series) but it doesn't take the responsibility for the things we do and say away.
If you're having trouble with that, think about it this way: if someone really hurt you, what's easier to forgive, or start forgiving?:
"I am so sorry, but I just had the worst day and this triggered an old memory of what so and so did to me and then it all came out at once. Please forgive me."
"I was a jerk. Yes, I had a tough day but I was still mean, it was completely unacceptable and I really hope you'll be able to forgive me for taking it out on you. I feel terrible, you didn't deserve that."
The latter, yes?
I can take it a step further and be even more vulnerable about what I did last week. I should have known better. Jumping into an adventure too fast after a long term injury is dumb. And while it is all part of my nature to just go for it (it can be handy to be that way and it's how I got to where I am so quickly) it has also bitten me in the ass before. I didn't have to try running a half marathon as a first test to see if the leg I previously broke, that just got its cast off, had healed enough. That's my fault. Yes, Newton's law and all those things, it's real, and we need to work with that stuff, and it's an explanation that leads to finding ways to heal. But it is not an excuse. If I had had more respect for my injuries and my own heart, I would have proceeded with a little more responsibility of my own self, walked a little slower and I probably would have been able to mitigate what happened a little more rationally. The Coles notes on all this is called "self-kindness."
See what I mean? That's ownership. I also hurt this person because I made a choice that hurt me. I did not honour my limitations, I did not have a proper conversation with my heart. That's part of a proper apology that can allow the wrong that was done to heal better. And it can also help me stop beating myself up about it. Taking responsibility and owning it frees you. Standing in your own story and owning it allows you to also forgive yourself. Forgiving yourself lessens the chances of repeating the same offence again. If you beat yourself up about it, you are more likely to repeat the thing you hate yourself for doing. But if you own it, if you do what Brene Brown suggests a little further down, then you become a bad ass at life.
I am SO fully going to stand in my story and I am going to vulnerable my way right out of these injuries. I will stay with them, embrace them, grieve them, understand the shit out of them and take responsibility for them until they no longer haunt me.
And when that's done, I'll fly even higher.
PS. I have a lot more to say on these things, on healing, on the process of forgiveness I am in, how to work with archetypes, with all these laws I am talking about. I might even eventually tell you that Newton's Laws don't actually function on the Quantum level.... which is an interesting can of worms when it comes to healing ;) So stay tuned if you like. You can sign up for my email list if you want to know when other blogs in this series are posted.
And since we all like her so much, we'll let Brene have the last word today...