It seems to me that for years I have been going through a kind of storm that is both a rain shower and a rebirth, a darkness too that is so deep and crushing at times it is hard to breathe. But then, when I find the courage to reach out and connect, when I can talk about all that has been going on (and all that I had not fully realised until then I had been struggling with) with someone who understands, the heaviness lifts and I can breathe again. I am no longer the ugly duckling who feels like she is all alone in the wrong place or at least a barren place where I am unrecognised by my kind. Instead I find I am the fledgling cygnet that begins to recognise her self through being recognised by her swan family.
We just had a spring shower that cleared to reveal patches of blue interspersing gunmetal grey rain clouds. I went out this afternoon as I felt the need to just make some movement. I was getting bored at home and overly critical of things. I had a big crush twice earlier in the day when two of my panic attacks came out of nowhere. I sat with myself to feel into it but it wasn’t abating and knew on some level what I was feeling was disconnection/loneliness, my old frenemies, more present in the past three weeks that my therapist has been away.
I decided to call a friend who is also in recovery and we talked. I felt the heaviness lift and was able to go on with my day and even eat something, something that I could not have managed to do if I had just sat alone with myself. I then cleaned a couple of the windows in my dining room and took myself out for a coffee and bought a pair of earrings which were half price.
Upon my return Jasper trotted out to greet me, I ate half an orange and now he is sleeping quietly at my side, filtered sunlight is streaming in through the windows casting beams of light on the carpet in front of me. I can feel the warmth of it on my feet. The brace around my heart is gone and there is that quiet, calm, steady peace of late afternoon, the deep peace of just being.
It is good to realise that these days I do not get stuck in those crushed, breathless places as much as I used to. They still descend on me with alarming regularity but I manage to do something to shift the energy, whether it is breathing deeply to connect to my heat, doing a yoga pose or writing a blog, forcing to get my self out in to the fresh air, there is some small thing that I can often do. And I find if and when these techniques fail reaching out to someone I can trust is the best remedy. It needs to be someone who can respond to me fully, empathise and understand.
I am learning slowly where not to turn for validation, these days. There are a lot of experiences I have which I feel I just cannot share with a lot of people. My friend today knew where I was coming from when I spoke of the disconnection I feel in groups of normal earthlings. He said he feels the same. “It is almost as if I am waiting for the space ship to arrive and beam me up,” he said. He gets it.
We spoke about the difficulty in trying to fit in where you know you don’t belong. “It’s just too hard being a round peg that has to fit into those square holes with all the sharp edges,” he said.
While he was saying this I was thinking about Missy Higgin’s song Scar
He left a card, a bar of soap
And a scrubbing brush
Next to a note that said
Use these down to your bones
And before I knew it I had shiny skin
And it felt easy being clean like him
I thought “this one knows better than I do”
A triangle trying to squeeze through a circle
He tried to cut me so I’d fit
In our conversation as it proceeded we talked a bit about the pain of this. Looking for a place to belong conditional upon not being who we are seems to come at far too high a price, but as in Missy’s song the wound that is left from the cut that eventuates becomes a scar, and that scar is the reminder for us to remember “never to go that far” in trying to shape ourselves in the way others would like us to. And so our wounded places of invalidation are our reminders to stay true to who we are.
On Friday I had one of those conversations with my Mum where I tried to share some of my deep insides, should have learned by now not to do it. I told her how I feel very apart at times, she told me how I need to see things different and change so as to fit in. This time it didn’t annoy me, I know this ground. No matter how many times I try I don’t get the response that I need but there are a few people who get it. Those are the people I need to talk to, not her.
There are too many scars, reminders of how essential it is to respect who I am and not overextend beyond what is good and natural for me or begin to engage in a pretence in which I attempt to become someone others like and recognise. A healthy realism means being a bit more pessimistic when that is indicated and trusting past pain and experience to show me where I need to stay self protected. But in order for my heart to open I need to keep looking for people and places where I can and do connect.
My friend helped me a lot yesterday when he suggested that I try a spiritual meeting which takes place on the second and fourth Sunday of every month close to where I live. I wasn’t sitting there very long when I was befriended by two women talking just next to me about astrology. Wow that doesn’t happen much these days in the town where I am living where everyone is so conservative. The meeting itself was lovely, consisting of guided meditations, songs and talks on a range of subjects. Following the end of the meeting we connected over a cup of tea.
This afternoon I have just finished conversation with one of the beautiful ladies I met. We have so much in common as this woman has a deep interest in astrology as well as in Jung. She is also from England which is one of my most favourite places, a place where in the past I have made deep connections. My heart felt so light after our conversation and I feel that for a time the lonely place I inhabit here with few friends on the same wavelength has disappeared.
It took courage to reach out to my other friend yesterday when my heart was so sore and hurting and the fact that he was able to intuit on some level a place for me to go where I could feel connected, makes me feel that somewhere someone is watching and guiding me towards a better path.
One of the songs we sang last night in the midst of the meeting was Cat Steven’s Morning Has Broken. It was one of my dead sister’s favourite songs and I must say I shed a lot of tears standing in the community hall singing it last night. I had a vision of my sister as she was in later years, bedridden with her long grey tresses of hair spread around her face like a lion’s mane. We would often just be together and listen to music. Last night I had the feeling that she was so very close at hand and that the deep spirituality and love of nature that she had is so clearly expressed in that song that in some way through singing it I was connected to her heart and soul at that moment and remembering the fund of love that always existed between us. As I am writing this I am sure that that song is one of the songs played at her funeral just over 17 months ago.
Yesterday ended with me in a much more connected place than it began. Today I have had a day where I could reach out to my Mum even knowing that we wont ever find the depth of connection I have with my new friend and my dead sister. She is my Mum and I still love her. And when I block off the thwarted love I feel, it isn’t good for my own heart. But I was able to reach out to my new friend and show her understanding and feel connected in a way that is needed for my soul. I felt that here was a place that my unique shape was appreciated and my heart was full to overflowing, no wounds, no scars from sharp edges.