So what is this healing thing? Can we accept who we are now? What about accepting what we have either done to others or how we have impacted the lives of those who love us?
I’m thinking about where I am now, who I am now; mainly because of building the Butterfly Dreams Abuse Recovery project. I’ve been looking inside myself and trying to find the real me inside the damage for about five years now. It’s been hell!!!
The constant doubting myself and my ability to be me without all the mess attached; trying to get it all back together again and believe that I can help make a difference somehow. This is the struggle of people like us. This is our daily reality, it sucks!!
As I watched one of my most favorite movies this morning, “When a Man Loves a Woman” with Andy Garicia and Meg Ryan, it dawned on me that the process of dealing with an addiction, such as alcoholism as Meg was facing, and seeing how it played in her family life touched a part of me I didn’t recognize.
We’ve all done horrible things and we all have at least one thing we are ashamed of, so does this make us all similar in life? In many ways it does. Each of us has our own mess we are struggling with to keep our heads above water. Each of us is human and we all make mistakes we have to face and forgive ourselves for doing? Each of us is influenced by the ways of our childhood lessons and what we’ve learned in our adult life. To me this makes each of us more like the other than we want to admit sometimes.
At the present, I’m building my dream of providing some form of understanding, support, help for others like myself. The hardest part is believing in my ability to succeed at this and how I can build it into something really amazing. Of course I understand this cannot be done without a huge amount of support from the public. It is another huge step for this survivor and I do pray I won’t fall on my face in the process.
I’m not a perfect person and have never claimed to be one. In fact, most often I am my own worst critic and can be my own abuser. Like the millions of others who have felt this, it is darkest to see what we have done to others throughout our lives and how the choices we’ve made have impacted them. I’ve over celebrated events, such as this past 50th birthday, and then I reason away my stupidity. I’ve inappropriately yelled at my children with an undeserved voice, especially as they were growing up and stressing me out. I’ve taken and popped them upside the head when they did something senseless or talked back. However, slapping them and yelling at them can also be reasoned away as a broken parent who was merely stumbling through life not having a clue how to function in a ‘normal’ world.
‘Does this make the bad we’ve done OK, simply because we can reason it away? Can’t we reason away almost anything?’
Thankfully, my kids have all come to me separately and told me I didn’t abuse them so I can give myself a break for this, but that doesn’t mean that the choices I made and decisions to stay didn’t upset their world. My chaotic behavior brushed off on them and its taken longer for them to become functioning and stable in their world.
‘Oh how I hate what my parents created in me!!’
When I published ‘My Justice’ it was my public apology to my children; explaining to them how it all fit together and why it all matters in the big picture of who they are today and how they cope through life. It was admitting all the dark secrets I had been carrying, the guilt and the shame over what happened, but also for how it passed forward into their world.
If they could have seen inside me at 37 years old, making the decision to build a life on our own, walking away from all that had been so normal to me and a man I sincerely loved; perhaps if I had let them see me break down they too might have been able to release what was going on in them; to open up their wounds and allow them to break free from the darkness as well. I fell to my knees in our house when they went on weekend visits with their father. This was after we left their drunken stepfather, got away from the drunken boyfriend, and we were on our own.
Therapy was breaking me into pieces and everything was falling all over the ground. I was like a child trying to pick up all the jacks that had been kicked around for those 32 years. Every time I thought it was alright and I was going to make it; I would start dropping them again, losing one here or there as I went along trying to pretend I could handle all of it. I was a complete wreck. Didn’t realize it was the first time I’d ever FELT about anything that had happened, it was my first mental break down!! Work was a bitch and I under bid myself in pay status so horribly; due to my lack in self confidence and having to prove to myself that I could succeed and break out. This meant we were barely able to make it by, in fact, I had worked my way into a heavy debt trying to make up for all the bad, but I was determined to change their world. If I hadn’t gotten so sick with first the hysterectomy and then the pulmonary embolism, we might just have made it through. However, then I would never have come back to Illinois and would not have met the most wonderful man I have in this present place.
‘There is a purpose for all things; even those we do not understand”
Recovery to me is being able to see all of it for what it is and what it has done to influence the person I am today. I believe that through understanding these wounds and the horrible choices I’ve made, the problems any of us have caused others; we see ourselves in the true light of what is good in us. We don’t have to be perfect. In fact many of us will never be able to get close to that status in society, but isn’t it what we carry inside that matters most?
If we try to keep struggling to meet the standards of others and accomplish only what they expect out of us, how can we ever build our own standards and see the good we’ve accomplished in ourselves?
Recovery is being able to see your good and accept your mistakes, own them, learn from them, understand where your perceptions and mind set was when you made them and then see where it sets with you today. Do you feel the spark of a peace within? Do you have respect for yourself and the fight you’ve put forth to build something better within yourself? This is the beginning!!!
When we understand the how and why, when we admit to our imperfections and how we have been stumbling around in the dark; this is when we begin to see the light ahead. We begin to feel our soul come together as one good human being. We learn to see our reflection as the beauty within rather than the scars we carry. When we reach the point of feeling our present life instead of reacting to our past, this is our baby steps at learning how to live again. We can see the new person coming to life and we have the ability to change what we don’t like in them. We have torn down all the walls protecting that person who was battered. It is now they can begin to spread their wings. We are learning to be a new person and to believe in our possibilities. This is when we have reached the other side of the mountain and have finally been able to grow into who we were intended to be.
If you are at the stages of seeing all that has happened and being sucked into the darkness of your pain and the guilt of harming those around you, this is a dark place for you and I get that completely. You don’t have to stay there however, you can do what’s needed to come into your own person; the good person who huddles inside that block wall. Don’t worry, each of us has our own imperfections and this is who we are. Accepting them for what they are allows you to see past them and you will see the good in you as I have. You will become a new person a person you know is good and would never harm another living soul. A person who shines from within and simply puts her best foot forward each day. Will we slip and drop our jacks, of course we will? Do others have to live life constantly combatting themselves from within? I believe on some level yes they do.
Take a second and close your eyes. Think of who you were just five years ago. Think of all you’ve done that might have negatively impacted the lives of those you love and put them in danger. Now open your eyes and see who you are today, right now!!! What do you see? Would the person you are today make those same choices again or would they try to do it differently and turn it into something more positive? I believe, that most of us would do the later. This is the new person coming to life inside of you. If you like this person build on what you see in their good. Keep making it stronger and challenging yourself to do things a better way. This is how we begin to change the world, one healing survivor at a time. Every painful action matters because each one has influenced the life of another.
Remember, this is the point where every good action matters, because each one will influence the life of another!!!
Here’s to OUR new beginnings and building the person we want to thrive in our world today!!! Here’s to providing a positive influence on our tomorrow!!!