I’ve prayed for help. I’ve asked God to make me strong, asked my spirit guides to show me the way. I’ve beseeched the Universe to open her heart to me – to see me, and make me whole. I’ve stood under countless full moons begging for guidance and release.
There’s not another human being on the planet more open to change and healing than me.
And yet – there never seems to be a reply.
Reminds me of this joke I heard years ago.
John, who was in financial difficulty, walked into a church and started to pray. ”Listen God,” John said. ”I know I haven’t been perfect but I really need to win the lottery. I don’t have a lot of money. Please help me out.” He left the church, a week went by, and he hadn’t won the lottery, so he walked into a synagogue. ”Come on, God,” he said. ”I really need this money. My mom needs surgery and I have bills to pay. Please let me win the lottery.” He left the synagogue, a week went by, and he didn’t win the lottery. So, he went to a mosque and started to pray again. ”You’re starting to disappoint me, God,” he said. ”I’ve prayed and prayed. If you just let me win the lottery, I’ll be a better person. I don’t have to win the jackpot, just enough to get me out of debt. I’ll give some to charity, even. Just let me win the lottery.” John thought this did it, so he got up and walked outside.
The clouds opened up and a booming voice said, ”John, buy a f*cking lottery ticket.”
You have to be willing to do the work.
I have to be willing to do the work, that’s what I’ve learnt.
I can ask for all the help in the galaxy. I can ask someone else to show me the way, but the truth of the matter – the bare bones reality, is that the help I need is already here.
I have everything I need.
I’m not a good friend.
I don’t know how to be.
Sometimes I see acquaintances smiling at me, uncertain.
Like I’m a simpleton, or a fragile egg.
“Do you even want to be here?” “Are we an inconvenience?”
No, that’s not it.
It’s just that I’m just pretty certain you don’t like me.
And I don’t want to waste your time.
I was having a sneaky read of The Guardian at work today. The topic was death.
More precisely, our fear of death.
A lot of the comments suggested that what people feared most was dying a painful death.
I don’t fear pain. I sleep with pain, wake with it and have lived with it everyday day for the last 8 years.
And no, I don’t mean spiritual existential pain, but actual physical pain.
Pain I can come to terms with. Yes, it grinds you down, can make you numb. But it’s known.
Pain is not the thing I fear about death.
I fear the idea that I will cease to exist. That the thing that makes me me, can and will vanish.
Where will I go? Where will my thoughts go? How can I just not be here?
To vanish into darkness, how is that possible? I mean really? How can the sum total of all our experiences and feelings over the course of our lives just disappear in the blink of an eye?
Maybe there’s a heaven, or at the very least an afterlife.
But maybe there’s not.
What if there’s not?
It’s the biggest cliche ever written, but Eat Pray Love changed my life.
It was never a book I considered reading. I avoided it for months, despite Oprah’s urging that I should read read read!
But then, it was made into a movie and I figured at some point I probably would stumble across the film, and I’d be damned if I hadn’t read the book first.
I’d been married for long time by the time I picked it up. I was unhappy, desperately lonely and living a loveless lie.
So I found this book, with no expectation. I read in the bath, night after night, and by the time I’d finished Pray my heart had been split wide open.
I wanted to be seen. I wanted to by seen by my God. And I wanted to be loved and to be happy. I wanted to be embraced and welcomed.
I felt cracked in two, with no one to turn to. My husband had long ago turned his back on me. I was a hole to be fucked and a body to be blamed.
I had no safe space.
So this book asked me the question I needed to ask my entire adult life.
“What do you want?”
“I want to be happy.”
“Can you be happy continuing to do what you’ve been doing? Can you be happy here?”
I cried. I cried a lot. Anguish poured out of me.
And for the first time in endless attempts to leave, I felt supported entirely.
I’d leave. And I’d be ok.
I’ve not picked that book up since I read the last page 8 years ago. I’ve not needed to.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not cured or less neurotic. I’m not even sure I’m any better at relationships than I was before I read it.
But I am free. Freer.
A bunch of stuff has happened to me in my life.
But the things I did, I did.
There’s no palming it off onto upbringing or environment.
It was all me. I just didn’t know.
I didn’t know I was the person I was.
Years ago, during a short lived stint of therapy I learnt about Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.
Basically, you look at a problem and ask yourself if you can deal with it right here right now. If the answer is yes then you use the CBT process to work through the stages of addressing the problem. Sounds great right?
Sure does. Except if the answer is no, I can’t do anything about this right now, CBT allows you put the problem aside to come back to later.
Well, I heard this and woohoo! This information was like the voice of God. Not only did I not have to chew over every piece of crap that was worrying me, I could actively send it away.
The key to CBT though is to come back.
Aaaaahhhh, but not for me. I put shit aside, I pushed it down, I looked the other way. CBT said I could.
I stopped looking at my anxiety. I stopped looking at my unhappiness.
I swung from one extreme to the other. I went from fixating on every little thing to almost ceasing to exist on an emotional level.
And for someone who struggles with emotional regulation and had experienced a lifetime of abuses, this left me in a very dangerous spot.
Now I was relying on others to tell me if things were bad. Some of those people were not trustworthy, others ill-equipped.
I had handed my life over to other people to decide what was good for me.
I was desperate for help, and it seemed my every action and inaction cried out for it.
I am no mere victim in my own life.
I have been harmed and in being harmed I have harmed others.
I’ve shouted. I’ve lied. I’ve hit. I’ve hated and hissed venom.
I’ve wished for and said the most awful things to those closest to me.
And often I’ve felt nothing but justified.
Remorse is hard. It’s a thing I have to work on.
I’ve never really seen it. I know people apologise. I know it’s an integral part of any relationship. But the words often sit like a lead weight in my throat.
I’d rather drive my car into a lake.
Is that a fear of being vulnerable?
Or is it really that deep down/right below the surface, I’m a despicable, self centred ego maniac, just attempting to be human?
I’m trying to fit in. I want to be the good person other people see I am.
But maybe I’m a wolf in sheeps clothing. Maybe that’s all I’ll ever be.