You have to do things differently, try a different thing, if you want things to change.
When you would normally panic, stay calm. When you would normally crumble, stay firm.
When you feel like running, stand your ground. When you’re sure you’re drowning, swim.
Easy enough to say. The mind is a stubborn creature. It’s hard to change. And when confronted will always do what it knows best. It will always return to type.
But what if the brain’s not really in charge. What if the heart decides?
I am strong. I am smart. I can cope with what’s coming.
It won’t always be perfect. It probably never will be.
But I’m climbing towards the light, stronger, clearer.
And the light is beautiful. And it’s waiting for me, to be me.
The dark waters are pulling me down again.
They pull me down to awareness, they pull me deeper into myself.
And I know I shouldn’t panic. I know I should have faith.
I’ve been strong, I will continue to be strong.
But fear is ingrained. It is learnt and it is taught.
And unlearning is hard.
Fear is the place I go to when challenges arise.
It is the never ending thing I keep returning too.
It is punishment when the punisher has left the building and moved away.
Surrender, because what we resist, persists.
And I don’t want to be in the dark anymore. Not forever.
I’ve been in a bubble.
It’s quiet there and my thoughts come and go.
Not bad. Not good. Just flowing through me.
Without judgement I’ve learnt about fear.
Fear inside me, fear of perfection and my inability to find it, has created a deep dark pit.
It’s a bottomless pit that I’ve filled with self loathing. Everyday, spooning a little more in until the blackness reaches the top.
The hole is so full. And so now I’m spooning that hate out into the world. A little dollop for you. Plop plop plop. I hate myself. Let me show you how hateful I can be.
Everyday I pray for change. I pray I can hold on to the understanding.
I pray I can pull myself out of the depths.
I don’t belong there.
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.
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.
Sometimes self harm looks like suicide.
Typically we cut and there’s blood and making yourself bleed means you want to die. Right?
Then it’s very small leap to make to think that instead of just self harming, you really do want to end your life.
I remember, not long after my eldest child was born, sitting in the bath as he screamed in the next room. I remember my husband treating me with disdain as I asked him to help me with the baby.
“He’s your kid” he said. “You wanted him”
I remember feeling confused. Wasn’t he the same man who openly wept as he held his tiny child for the first time only weeks before?
Entirely hopeless, my mind buzzed as I broke open the disposable razor. I hated the sensation of the sharp edge against the thin skin of my wrist. I hated the sting.
But the red blood signified something. It offered something tangible.
“This how I feel!” Help me.
And in the other room the baby still cried, and somehow that lonely noise pulled me out of myself.
He was alone too. And whatever I was doing there in the bath, in my despair, placed him at risk.
What if I did kill myself. What if I died and he grew up to blame himself?
That was not a burden I could put on him. I was hopeless and floundering, but I couldn’t abandon my helpless child.
The blood didn’t mean I wanted to die. It meant I needed help.
It would be a long time coming.
Every parent is doing the best they can with the skills they have at the time.
At least that’s what they say.
But what if that just isn’t enough?
What if, you (me really) deserved better?
What if you deserved to know you were loved?
What if you deserved to feel accepted, unconditionally.
What if a hug, or a kiss good night as you were being tucked into bed, what if that was the thing that would have made all the difference?
What if, instead of being made to feel like an outsider, or being told to go away, you were made to feel safe and wanted and important?
What if you deserved all of that, and your parents just fucked it up?