Thursday, May 15, 2014

Vulnerability: the Sanest Place To Be

We're going to Europe. That is what's on my mind. I should probably be looking for places to stay in Frankfurt. And researching good, cheap places to eat for foodies in the Black Forest. Which shop sells the best chocolate in Switzerland? I CAN'T WAIT TO VISIT THE MARKET PLACES IN GERMANY!! AHHHHH!!! That being said, a month long adventure is not the only thing occupying my thoughts. So, instead of looking at hundreds of room listings and affordable restaurants, here I am. For the first time in a year, I am endeavoring to write a blog post. It feels... strange.

September 13th, 2014 will mark four years since I left home. The first four years, they say. After 1460 days, things start getting better. Your brain can keep up with your emotions. Your soul doesn't feel so flattened under the stress of figuring out exactly who you are. Your heart can open itself with a little more trust. You don't remember the voices and accusations and mind games so clearly; each breath becomes a little easier. Has it worked? Am I more... me?

Ask me in September.

What I can tell you is that I have been learning and changing. (A lot.) For instance: as long as I can remember, my emotions were frowned upon, punished and thrown negatively at me as "female." Apparently, only females have emotions and all emotion is bad. (Unless, of course, you're "content" and "joyful".) :nods:

It's come to my attention that my emotions exist and I cannot negate them without negating myself. 

Before we go any further, let me tell you: men and women have emotions. The angriest, most depressed, violently emotional person I know is a male and the most emotionally repressed people I know are of both genders. Being told that my emotions were insignificant was a way of making me doubt myself. After years of being told that all women are easily deceived and that I couldn't trust thoughts, feelings or emotions, getting out of a harmful relationship and an abusive home situation was almost impossible. Saving myself was the most difficult thing I have ever done. But I did it. This gives me hope for everyone involved in abusive situations. We don't need people to save us. Yes, we need people to help us ... maybe even give us that little nudge onto a different path.. but ultimately, we must save ourselves. That is what this blog post is about.

Negative emotions. Anger. Sorrow. Pain. Frustration. Fear. Yes, there are days when they do overwhelm me. There are still days that I would rather traverse a room filled with snakes and spiders than face my emotions. My anger and horror and fears about my previous home and some of the authoritarian figures in the past years of my life had been pushed down for decades. The worse my life became, the happier the mask I put on. After an entire life of pretending, I didn't know what what was real or false. What was I? Sad? Happy? What should I be? I should be happy, right? At approx. 1350 days, I've discovered that the strain of holding down that much negativity can seriously dent a person.

I refuse to play this game any longer. I am so sick and tired of the lies I was forced to live and adhere to. I finally do not have to feel any thing or any way for any one. So yes, there is much for me to be angry about. I'm sad, I'm scared, I'm confused. In facing these emotions, I find myself finally being honest and discovering things about myself. I am also finding that after all those years of pushing down those emotions, feeling resembles a dam bursting and the resulting flood.

"I am so sad. I feel like my parents will never admit anything. My siblings will never stop pushing me away. It doesn't matter how much I reach out to them, they are never safe. I remember what it feels like to not be accepted for who I am. I remember how it feels to live in constant fear. The long days and months and years of waiting... it feels hopeless..."

"Yeah! I am so happy! The world is a wonderful place! Everybody needs to feel this happy. Jesse is amazing and wonderful and more than I could ever ask for. I can't believe how lucky we are. He is my soul. Just thinking about him makes my heart do strange things. Each day, love feels more real and tangible than the last. L. is also on this journey of healing... she is so strong. Every day, I am amazed by her. H. is opening her eyes and starting to accept our past. Her path is rocky but she is up for the challenge. God is real and close. I cannot believe the how much he knows about me and how strong he wants me to be. I know that he has been there all along for me. I know that this hard path my siblings are walking right now must have some purpose. I trust that eventually, they will find the courage and strength to accept the truth and reach out for help."

These are things I have every right to feel deeply saddened about. These are things I have every right to feel elated about. Most of my days, I can handle parts of both -- balancing the sorrow and joy is something healthy people do. My journey is not so simple, though. I've just begun. Some of my days are deeply sad or ecstatically happy. But there is a good part to this: something I've learned over the past few months is that I can acknowledge my emotions.

"I am sad. It's ok to be sad. Why am I sad? Because that man reminded you of someone who hurt you for many years. It's ok. Don't stop looking. Be sad. Don't hide it. Tell someone if you need to."

"I'm scared. Why am I scared? I was happy and I'm scared that if I'm happy, someone will see that and use it against me. That happened to you many times. You would have things you liked or appreciated taken from you just because you felt affection towards them. Why did he do this to you? Because he had to be in control. But you are in control now. Jesse is not an abusive person. He is a loving person. Trust yourself; trust him. Start there."

"I'm happy! Why am I happy? Because I feel loved. Why do you feel loved? Because you are loving yourself and those around you. You are able. You are in control of your life and your emotions. I'm also listening to the main theme from Indiana Jones. That might have something to do with it."

"I have faith in people. Why do I have faith? Because my heart is able to open itself today. It doesn't matter how many times people turn their backs on me, I am going to be there when they need me again. I am actively forgiving them. I have faith that eventually, they will reach out for love and acceptance. When they hurt me, it is because they feel vulnerable. When they slap my face, it is because they feel that someone is doing something much worse to them. When they reject me, it's because they are afraid someone is going to reject them. When they refuse my love, it is because they are terrified of their world crashing around them and all the doors closing. I've been there. I understand. I love them."

There are millions of other emotions. I have just touched the surface of mine. In the midst of the swirling pool of confusion, there is something I know in certainty: I can become stronger. Today, I am stronger. Who knows what tomorrow holds? Who cares? Yesterday doesn't matter either. Today, I am writing a blog post. Today, I woke up. Today, I told my husband that I loved him. Today, I listened to the sounds from Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Braveheart and The Artist. Today, I picked up some shirts from the floor. Today, I love my brothers and sisters deeply and painfully. Today, beauty has already taken my breath away. Today, I forgive myself and accept another chance at love and strength.

Yesterday and yesterday people: this is about me and the universe. Go away.

Tomorrow and tomorrow people: this is about me and the universe. Go away.

Today and today people: this about me and my journey and my healing and the people I care about. You can stay.

Note: When I was writing, I had to fight the urge to write in generalizations. Each time I opened a little of myself, I would erase it and put in something else much safer. As you can see, my deeper instincts took over and my vulnerability is on display for all who care to see. Thank you for looking. 

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