Thursday, May 6, 2010

Standing My Own Witness

There are so many things I desire to write about tonight. The ideas are flowing faster than I can keep up with them. I am titling future blog posts so I can remember the topics that inspire me and hope that when I get to them, it will be right timing and all I desire to say will be said.

But right now my heart tells me to write about this…

I received an anonymous love and gratitude note in my mailbox yesterday.

April, Thank you for everything you do and are. You share so much of yourself and I know sometimes you don’t feel appreciated, but you always are.

As you heal your heart, call on your creativity. Make something beautiful. Pour your love and disappointment, your joy and anguish into the art. Heal yourself through your joy of creating. You are an amazing woman, and have strengths that are admirable.

Love, A Sister on this Journey

I am deeply touched. I feel incredibly loved. The Universe is totally looking out for me right now. Many messengers of love and guidance are being sent my way.

One of the primary causes of my relationship strife has been a sense of not being fully supported, not always being held when I think or feel I need to be, and fear that I am not really seen or loved. It is so incredibly easy (and lazy) to believe such things. It takes work—diligence, intention, discipline—to consciously maintain an experience of abundance.

Right now, even in my grief, the abundance cannot be ignored. The Universe is showering me with blessings. I am experiencing being supported and held, witnessed and loved every single day. But it isn’t always so apparent. When visible, audible, and touchable experiences have spaces between them, it is easy to fall into the old stories. I start telling myself the stories of invisibility--the stories that say I am not seen, so I am not loved.

Rewriting the old stories is hard, hard work. I am the daughter of a mentally ill, narcissistic, addicted mother. My bio father disappeared before my birth, my adopted father had his own dysfunction and did not protect us from my mother’s sickness, and my stepfather was an alcoholic and drug addict. Instead of my needs being met for proper emotional development, I experienced trauma after trauma. Most of my existence was about surviving neglect or violence of some kind. My brain was programmed from birth to think that I am invisible – I am not seen, I always live in the shadow of others – and I do not deserve emotional support. I was also programmed to believe that violence—physical or verbal—and emotional manipulation is normal and acceptable behavior.

I have been consciously working on changing the stories for a long time. As a teenager I knew there was another way of being and I sought it. I started reading self-development books at 15. I read all of Leo Buscaglia’s books. I read Scott Peck’s The Road Less Traveled and Christina Baldwin’s Life’s Companion. I also took religion very seriously. I have been in love with God for as long as I can remember. I have always known that there is a place of healing for me in a combination of Psychology and Mysticism.

And then there was the writing. I have always been a writer. I wrote letters to my friends and started journaling in junior high. I wrote out all the heartache that I was experiencing at home. I wrote to connect with others. And eventually, I wrote myself sane.

I was diagnosable with Borderline Personality Disorder when I was a young adult (that is a whole story of its own that will come one day). I tried many approaches to mental health. I took medications. Zoloft for depression. Something else for panic attacks. And I went to therapy with a few different providers. Medication managed my symptoms but didn't change any stories. Therapy was intermittently effective. At least I was witnessed and I could talk myself into insights. But I needed more engagement and guidance than therapy offered. I needed to really understand myself. I didn’t just need to be listened to, I needed to learn.

I took my healing into my own hands. I read everything I could get my hands on about psychology, consciousness and various aspects of spirituality. And I wrote. I wrote a lot. I have a trunk full of journals. I wrote about everything I was experiencing and how I was evolving. I wrote about everything I dream I could be. I also wrote creatively. Poetry, creative nonfiction, and essays/articles.

I truly believe that writing saved my life and by extension my children’s lives. I believe I am a good mother with fairly healthy (not broken) children because I studied and wrote myself into enough emotional health to meet their developmental needs.

I stopped writing for most of my 7 year marriage. I didn’t have the time or solitary space for it. And I couldn’t risk what I would have to face about myself and the life I was choosing if I did wrote it down. I knew I wasn’t living an authentic life. I traded a sense of security (believing I was seen and loved) for an authentic expression of everything that I am. I did whatever I had to do to maintain the illusion. With him that meant making myself as small and afraid as him. I stopped doing nearly everything that really mattered to me. Until I met my mama-writers group and I wrote myself out of my marriage and into a significantly more authentic life.

Then the Imps happened and I stopped writing again. I have been so busy with being a hostess and developing a multitude of amazing relationships. I have immersed myself in relationship again. It’s a much healthier immersion than my marriage, but it’s still immersion and it has shadow. I am so hungry to be seen and loved that I try to spend every minute with someone else or doing Imps work that makes me visible in the community. I haven’t made the time and space for what I need – to write, to study, and to nurture a relationship with the Divine.

The result? I have been out of control emotionally and now I have lost a life-partner relationship with the love of my life because of it. This is my wake up call. I am going to heal myself through writing. I am going to meet my own needs through acts of self-care. I am going to find my Center again and consciously strive to maintain it.

My “Sister of the Journey” has affirmed that I am on the right path. Right now my creativity is writing, telling my story. I am “pouring my love and disappointment, my joy and anguish” into this blog. I am believing that my own story is beautiful.

As I’ve thought about the growth of the Imps and my desire to do work-of-my-heart, I’ve considered turning this blog into part of our/my marketing strategy. I've been reading about the business of blogging so that I can sell myself. But that’s not what I need right now. I just need to write for my healing so that I don’t ever have to experience giving up the love of my life again. And so that I never hurt another human being like I have hurt him…and myself. It doesn’t matter how many people read this or if some people don’t like that my posts are so long and personal. The people who are meant to will read it. What matters is that I tell my truth and witness my own experience.

Wow! More serendipitous support. A friend of mine asked me the other day, “How can you stand as your own witness?” I see now that this blog is the answer. I can trust that I have a story to tell, a story worthy of being documented and witnessed, if only by myself.

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