Begin Again

“Tragedy stays alive by feeling what’s been done to us, while peace comes alive by living with the results.” -Mark Nepo

I have been unable to stop replaying this statement in my head since I read it weeks ago. It spoke right to my heart. I am trying to find peace but haven’t given up reliving painful experiences over and over and over again. No wonder I feel stuck. Last night in therapy I broke down when I finally admitted to myself that as much as I have loved, I have only scratched the surface of the kind of love I truly want. The kind where I bare all. The kind where I allow myself to love someone enough that I need them in a way that makes me feel any little bit of dependency. The kind of love that would break me into a million pieces if it were to leave. I don’t go there. I have not loved anyone that way since I loved my dad.

This makes me so fucking sad I can’t even begin to articulate it. But I’ll try.

I don’t mean to say that the love I’ve felt since losing my dad is diminished or not real. Absolutely not. But I can count on my one hand the number of people that I would allow to see me broken open, the people that if taken from my life the pain would rip me in two, the ones who have seen my dark side and love me anyway. I’ve gotten by all this time and I could live the rest of my life this way. Loving people just enough. Letting them in just close enough that maybe they won’t notice that they haven’t slipped past the guard stationed at my heart. Maybe I could. . .but I don’t want to.

It goes back to my father, of course. I say this so often I feel like a fucking cliche but it’s true. He was the first man I ever loved and for the first half of my childhood, I idolized him. He was strong and brave and funny and loving in my child’s eye. But the man I most often remember was the one who was so lost, depressed, discouraged and sad that he gave up. He gave up on himself, on life and on us. I was just a kid. My kid heart says, “Why aren’t I enough for you to choose to stay, Daddy?” I’ve asked that question over and over through the years with no answer, with no peace. I just keep FEELING what has been done to me. I even find men to recreate the feeling for me. Men who will talk about love so beautifully I get spun up in their words but who never actually show up in their actions. Maybe I don’t let them show up. Maybe they aren’t the type to do so. It doesn’t really matter. The point is- I’m stuck and I want to be un-stuck.

I WANT TO FEEL.

I have so many self-protections set up that it’s like dodging a mine field to get really close to me. I push people away before they can hurt me. I hold others at arms length. I give a lot to distract others from knowing that I am clueless at receiving because receiving means I need you in some way (at least to my messed up head). I spend my life being ferociously independent. I am preparing for a life of being alone because I am convinced no one will want to spend the rest of their life with me. It’s all a front so that I never have to feel abandoned like I did with my father.

All of this is coming out of a hurt place so it clearly sounds more dramatic than I mean it to. I don’t have a bad life- it’s actually pretty great. I’ve been lucky to be loved. I AM blessed with a lot of love. I guess what I am trying to get at is that there is something more, something deeper, that I’ve been afraid to go after all these years. But because I want peace I’m tearing down the fortress. I’m really fucking trying to be different for my own sake.

Finally, I’m doing it for me.

“When I’m lost/In your eyes/I see a way for me…” -Someone Else’s Life, Joshua Radin

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26 thoughts on “Begin Again

  1. We make a choice every morning when we wake up. We make a choice every step we make our feet take. We make choices all day long. And just because we’ve spent a long time walking in one direction, doesn’t mean we went the wrong way, nor does it mean we need to keep going that direction. Every day is a new day. Start walking in a new direction and one foot after another, you will find yourself far away from your current place. Just remember, we are always moving forward whether we feel it or not… make choices with your foot steps and walk away from the person you aren’t happy with and walk towards the person you want to be. I believe in you xoxo

  2. This is really an amazing journey you’re on. So many people never have the courage to do what you’re doing. You should be so proud of yourself. And really, I think you should focus all your effort and thought on loving yourself. There are never guarantees in life – any of us could get abandoned at any point – when it comes down to it, we’re all we’ve really got. So we better love ourselves.

    If you haven’t read it, I would suggest getting Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth.” Oprah did a book club for it (I think the webcasts are still online) and it talks a lot about carrying around past pain. I thought it was an incredible book. I have also heard that Elizabeth Lesser’s “Broken Open” is great. Just the fact that you used the words “break open” in your post made me think it might be a good fit for you.

    Keep up the good fight. You are so, so close to getting to where you want to be.

  3. In a twisted way, when you say, I WANT TO FEEL, you remind me of how schizophrenics describe the way they feel when they go off their meds. And, in a way, you emulate them (in a very twisted & good way, of course). You’ve been medicated by the fear of loss. The fear of rejection. The fear of hurt. Where you live now is in a very safe place. But, to shed that wall of self-prescribed medicine is going to be incredibly liberating. And I can’t wait to see you when it happens. Because once you want it, you’re gonna go get it. I just know it!

  4. I think you pretty much nailed it right on the head. You can’t love completely because you’re not letting yourself.
    You’re doing an awesome job of working through all this, don’t give up and keep going. Just one day at a time and please remember, you are not alone! lots of hugs to you.

  5. I’m so glad that therapy is helping you reach into this — I know it hurts but I think you’ll feel so much better in the long run.

  6. I very much get this. Opening yourself fully to love is an ongoing process, I think (at least in my experience), and even though I know Chris loves me completely, for who I am always, there are days where I still have to remind myself to talk to him more, to open up, more. I wonder if that will ever go away, the need to remind myself to share my heart, but part of me thinks it never will.

    Here’s to love. xoxo

  7. “I am preparing for a life of being alone because I am convinced no one will want to spend the rest of their life with me.” I feel like I could have written this…

    Damn you for making me cry at my desk!

  8. Oh honey, this was me for so long. I date guys for years that my friends said I tended to talk about in a “clinical” fashion.
    On our second or third or maybe fourth date, E. told me he didn’t think I liked him very much. And I just started crying, because I liked him very, VERY much but I was too used to having my walls up all the time to show it.
    When it’s time, I promise you it will come.

  9. I don’t think I’ve ever loved anyone like that, ever, but I’m optimistic that’s not a life sentence. I’ve always held back too, but I think that might be because I haven’t found the right person.

    I think you’ll get there- you’re way more in touch with your feelings than I am; I think you’ll be fine.

  10. recognizing that you want to do this, for you, is the first step in the journey. good luck finding your way there. you have a whole cheering section of people rooting for your win.

  11. this. fucking this.
    i’ve seen the dark, the cloudy…and the light…
    i watch you changing, shifting…becoming…YOU
    trust your process, remember the small steps, the big steps…each one better than the last…
    always in your corner
    xo
    j

  12. You do NOT have a problem loving or letting your walls down– look what you do EVERY DAY. You may battle letting that same energy into romantic love– but you know it, are working on it, and you WILL. You’re just as perfect as anyone out there.

  13. Sometimes safe (protecting yourself from everyone) doesn’t equal good. I love that you are working towards getting to where you want to be. I really admire that about you!

  14. Mark Nepo also says “live deeply enough, and there is only one direction”.

    I like to think that direction is happiness.

    You’re doing awesome!

  15. This reminded me of something I used to tell a friend of mine. She is really outgoing and ballsy, says what she thinks and is very candid about personal struggles. I told her that it must be lonely sometimes being her because she’s so candid that people think they’re getting the real thing and don’t dig any further. But it wasn’t the real thing that she was giving – the candor was a kind of red herring. Does that make sense?

    I thought of my friend Lynn when you wrote about letting people in just enough that they don’t notice they’re not *really* in.

    Great post, Sizzie 🙂

  16. This is the most amazingly honest post I’ve ever read.

    Now your “gentle mother” the Magpie has some thoughts: Let go and be free. I know that sounds trite, like it’s so easy to let go. But recently, I have known three women who husbands died and I watched their grief in horror, feeling like my life would end if I lost mine. And then I worry about it. (Because I’m morbid and stupid that way.) But there’s a freedom that comes with knowing you’ve held nothing back. That you have bared it all. It’s glorious when it happens . . . glorious enough that it makes the risk bearable.

  17. I think you are really brave. Most people aren’t reflective enough to do the work and be honest about who they are. I love your honesty. I think it is my favorite thing about you.

  18. I’m glad your on this journey of knowing yourself and learning about the things you truly want and the path that you have to take to get there. I believe that once you allow yourself to have the love you want it’s going to be long lasting.

  19. Your first comment from Bob says it all, I totally agree. Make new choices, it is possible and it is your choice, you can do it. We love you. xoxo

  20. You are so incredibly brave, not just for really working through things in therapy (some people go to say they are going, but don’t really utilize it the way you are) but for actually putting all this out here on the internet! I am hoping that you keep yourself on this path of working through things and being brave and admitting your feelings, you are a good example of what a lot of women strive to be.

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