Life glorious life!
I have felt good lately. The flu and stomach bug have come and gone. The sun has shone brightly over the last week. And not just figuratively. The weather has been gorgeous in my neck of the woods, which lends itself to more happiness and less depression.
I’ve been able to run outside a few times. Hooray! On top of that, my brother and his fiancé were here last weekend. Much of our time was spent outside enjoying all the sensory experiences, such as the feel of fresh air on our faces, that only nature can offer. But enough about the weather!
I had a therapy appointment on Tuesday — the first one in weeks because I had to cancel the last one when I was sick. As the session started I found myself piecing together more thoughts about my Dad. I concluded (with my therapist’s help) that when I talk to my Dad in an upcoming “meeting” about the awful ways he talked to me when I was growing up and the emotional pain he caused me when he was having an affair, I need to use the word “I” when I start my sentences.
When I am mad at him in my head or brooding about him to someone, I realize I am accusatory. My Dad is not an entirely bad guy and I am certain if he knew the extent of the damage that was happening, he would have chosen his words and actions differently. Me, too. I would have stood up to him.
At this point, it’s too late go back in time and fix anything. At present, we have a respectful and enjoyable relationship. It’d be silly to go back and accuse him of all the things “he did” to me.
When I talk to him (late-May, I hope) instead of saying things like…
“You hurt me…” and “You caused…” and “You did this to me…” and “You did that to me…”
I need to say things like…
“I felt bad about myself when…” and “I was hurt when…” and “Because of this, I felt…” and Because of that, I was…”
Using the word “I” gives me ownership of my thoughts and feelings. It puts me on solid ground because it’s my observations and analysis and I can speak with more confidence. It’s harder for him to counter-attack than if I accuse him or hold him responsible for the emotional pain I’ve endured.
After I figured that out, I started talking to my therapist about my brother (the one who just visited). He and I often turn away from each other in the face of emotional pain. I’m certain it’s because, in a way, we are trying to protect each other, but in another way, it’s because it’s EASIER to skirt around issues, pretend they aren’t there or that we are over them or that they are part of a closed case. I mean, why would we want to dig at that?
I’ll tell you why — because, for me, my wounds won’t heal until I do. At least that is where I am at right now. I liken it to a splinter.
You get a splinter.
You have to dig at it to get the teeny, tiny piece of wood out.
It hurts more as you poke a needle around under your skin.
Then you get it out (most of the time).
It doesn’t hurt anymore.
Sometimes you don’t get it all out.
Sometimes getting it out takes a long time.
Sometimes it even gets infected.
Sometimes you must have someone else help you.
And sometimes, just when you think it is all out, you realize it is still hurting you because there is still the tiniest piece of wood in there.
The point in all of this?
It’s impossible for “it” to heal until you dig a little more, feel more pain, and completely clean it out before the true healing begins. When it comes to splinters, no one would bat an eye about digging at it until every last shard was removed from under their skin, now would they?
So what makes emotional pain so different? Why do I live with the pain when it could get better?
In my life, it’s so much easier to endure physical pain than emotional pain. As I continue to explore my past, I think there is still a tiny shard of (emotional) wood inside me that I need to dig out before I can move on. Yes, it’s going to hurt, but I am up for it because I want to stop ruminating — to stop living with unnecessary pain, to stop digging around inside myself with no success, to stop living with a (figurative this time) shard of wood under my skin. To ask for my brother’s help, or at the very least ask him to lend me an ear.
Until now, I don’t even think I knew a shard was still in me because I have put so many band aids on my heart and spirit. I learned to live with the discomfort of it all. I found a decent amount of happiness in spite of it.
Lately, and as I feel better, I don’t think I am living my life to the fullest or putting forth my best efforts. I am working on that. As I “trust the process” of all that is happening in my life now, I am certain, that at some point I need to have a heart-to-heart with my brother — the person I share the most history with and who is genetically most like me.
Ok, good. I have the next step in my plan.
- Talk to my Dad.
- Talk to my brother.
In the meantime, until those conversations happen, I need to keep living my life for myself in the best way I know how.
Eventually, I need to be the one who starts the conversations with my Dad and brother, but I do believe there will be natural openings or an obvious opportunity to connect with them. In fact, I believe these conversations will flow from one to the next if I let them and not force issues.
Last night in yoga the instructor started talking about flowing through transitions in life with grace and ease. It was a nice affirmation and I will hold onto it, but I had to laugh when I thought about some of my past life transitions. There was anything but grace and ease!! More like falling flat on my face and taking the most difficult path as possible that eventually led to nowhere.
The good thing is that we, as people, go through transitions our whole lives. In my most recent transition, that is happening now, I believe that the next steps don’t have to be clumsy or crazy or difficult or irrational or ugly. With patience and awareness I can let my feelings and actions flow through me with as much grace and ease as I want, within the realm of my capabilities. This next phase of my life is a new opportunity to do better.
I am driving my (emotional) boat, and I have the power to steer in any direction. For starters, I want out of the ocean’s rough waters and into a simple, flowing river with fresh water.