“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