I have a desire to be honest but the truth will make me appear vulnerable. So I choose to bury my feelings deep in my subconscious where they cannot hurt me anymore. The hope is that what lies dormant will eventually fade away. Or that there will come a time when I am able to embrace the necessity of change. After all, it is the heart that is most resistant. It fights in the midst of our self-inflicted pain and throws itself back into the fire over and over again. Right now it is fighting for me. Now, my heart fights against the fantasy it was sold. It grieves the lie of a happy ending. Now, it is working to protect the most precious thing I have remaining–my belief. I feel caught up in a bitter loop of broken memories. Trying desperately to suppress these thoughts that no longer serve me. I remember the last time I wandered towards the cusp of a permanent heartbreak. Numbing my emotions with spirits and physical interactions for which my soul will ultimately pay. Forgiveness still lingers in the atmosphere begging me to release that which I am struggling to forget. But the hardest truth we sometimes face with painful memories, is the fact that they are not done with you yet.
I admire your intentional steps away from the object (or person) that is causing you pain. But maybe–just maybe our refusal to embrace what we are feeling is the reason why we have such a hard time accepting change. I learned early on that “strong” people do not talk about their problems. They give them a proper room in a cage, with three balanced meals a day. They do not talk or try to work things out, they run away. They reject uncomfortable conversations that make them call out their shame. They ignore the issue that is driving them insane. It is only after we can no longer contain the pressure that we begin to fight back against the source of our captivity. We start asking smarter questions and looking for ways to set ourselves free. After all, I did not ask for this prison. No one in their right mind chooses to be broken and subjected to exhausting cycles of anger and hostility. No one wakes up in the morning thinking about how they can create more chaos in their surroundings. Most of us just want to be free. This freedom, however, is a foreign concept. I have grown comfortable with being indirect about my needs and obsessively controlling. I have no idea where to begin to tear down these concrete walls or the iron bars that stand in between my pain and my healing. I am at once an innocent victim and the indignant warden with the only key.
And I will have to face the both of these, if I really want to be free.
“You will only prolong the pain if you run away from accepting responsibility.”
What hurts more than giving your all to someone and finding out it is still not enough? What kills a spirit faster than realizing you compromised everything in pursuit of someone else? What shatters a heart more definitively than fighting for someone who has a hard time taking care of their self? The answer is nothing. Nothing hurts more than sacrificing your self worth and valid feelings to the point where you can no longer recognize what you need. Codependency is debilitating. Instead of investing in my gifts I sat still while another promised things they would never give. At this moment however, it is not about them. It is my responsibility to address how I again abandoned my progress to follow a familiar dead end street. Same movie with the exact same ending. Me attempting to convince a heart to open up properly. Them trying to make up for the past I did not release. Me disappointing them and them disappointing me. It is all quite humbling. I thought I was well enough to redirect the dysfunctional dynamic. But I knew from the beginning my mental health was in jeopardy. So of course I am angry. Months and years of my life seemingly flushed down the drain. The love I thought would last forever is on the chopping block again.
Still, I have to be responsible. Pick myself back up and take care of my home.
Maybe if we both were healthier, neither of us would have felt so alone.
I am my own foundation. Behind closed doors and before I can support another and their additional weight; I must take care of my own needs. For so long I believed I could operate with conflicting goals. Holding onto patterns that wear on my fragile soul. The truth is you yourself cannot become whole if while broken you are trying to fit people into improper positions. Self care is always your divine responsibility. We try to make excuses for dysfunction and push it down until it does not actively hurt anymore. Throwing busyness and topical responsibilities on top of wounds that are multiplying without relief. I am a product of my history. A casual tale of a woman who did not get what she needed. From childhood to adolescence–the wait was never ending. Instead, I went out into dark spaces that seemed to know me better than I knew myself. There were desires deep in my heart that I could not release. There were nights I failed to surrender and days I wished I would never see. There were people I thought would never leave.
But healing is not about them, it is about getting better–for me.
Every morning I have to make a difficult choice as an adult who does not always make the best decisions. I do not struggle to wake up. It is like I am waiting for the alarm to remind me that I have things to do, so therefore sleep escapes me. I am in a self-reflective and stagnant limbo. Watching myself from the outside and screaming at the destructive patterns that this unrecognizable person is struggling to control. I have known dark places and people who were enticing enough that I forgot to keep my thoughts honorable. Now I am terrified that I am the very darkness that I used to think was my help. I am frozen in a lake of broken dreams, trying to muster up my apathy. The truth is I care too much and not enough about the things that should matter to me. I used to believe that if one part was in its place then the rest would manifest into a beautiful story. But I have to believe there is some beauty to be found in this brokenness even if my ideal is dying.
Too many steps forward and you will be forced to leap back to the beginning. In every instance of regression we feel slighted as if we did not have a say in whether or not we went all the way. It is fair to be weary. To have a heart weighed down by an irrepressible pain.
But the art of forgiveness requires us to change.
I have no stock in another person’s recovery steps. They can be silent and broken, refusing to ask for help. They can be recklessly happy and move forward with grace.
But the art of forgiveness means we do not stay the same.
Each time we “get back up” a piece falls off from our resiliency. After awhile, there is no more hopefulness. No more faith. No more peace. I have written bitter endings into my narrative so much so that now I do not know how to get rid of the ache.
But the art of forgiveness means we put old things away.
The dream died. If we are being honest it never had a chance to survive. You put two people in a story who both believe they are right and it is only a matter of time before they end up on different sides. Fighting for a future that neither can fully provide.
But the art of forgiveness means you move forward with the rest of your life.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news in my own expectations or the facilitator of less than my absolute best when I am actively pursuing my dreams. I want to grow tired of the lies I sell myself and follow my heart as it leads me to truth. But it takes so much more than hopes and good thoughts to inspire lasting and effectual change.
Sometimes, you have to break down completely before you will ever follow through.
I am not infallible. Every day I wake up just like you with a choice to do better or to stay statically still. I could go on and on about the times I wasted or the balls I let drop while the world around me refused to stop–but none of that will matter unless I choose to make a difference now, for me.
When you are not emotionally connected to your actions, you will continue to fail without any regard to who you are taking down with you. You will emote and feel things deeply but forget that it is not all about your problems. It is about finding a path in the middle towards achieving and maintaining peace. Peace that can not exist if we are constantly fighting.
I do not want to hear “suck it up” when the truth in love inspires us to speak words of healing over people who are truly suffering. There are a thousand ways we can say the same thing without wounding sensitive spirits with our harsh expressions.
Some days this is harder for us to do–but the most beautiful things have a way of happening in spite of you.
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– Jen Cosby