A bit of a mess : allowing life to be

Is a mystery to me how happiness comes out of upset, how new blessings come out of what, we at a certain time, judge to be tough. For two weeks now I have been meeting my dog park friend, Deb for a walk by the lake, on these walks we have been sharing while slowly meandering with her dog Bobby who is a little deaf and blind and likes to stop and sniff a lot.. Bobby has the shakes from a nervous condition and at times it is a bit slow making that walk but then we get to see the scenery and enjoy our chats as we stop along the way. Often Deb’s attention is diverted but that is all part of it. We make our way to the picnic area and then dogs have a treat, while we share some more.. all of this started because I reached out to say I was struggling on Facebook about 10 days into lock down and Deb replied saying she would love to walk with the dogs.. So a good, thing came out of it.

I am liking the fact lately of seeing that being in control doesn’t lead to happiness. I am not sure how long ago I realised how controlled our childhood was, but it was in attending Al Anon meetings and exploring our traumatic past on Mum’s side that I came to understand her obsession with cleanliness and perfection. I have stopped Mum mid flight in a cleaning binge only to see her break down in tears.. and I remember stories of how my second sister’s oldest son hit his head after climbing onto the bathroom vanity to polish the mirror.. he was very young at this stage.. Today we have to drive by his daughter’s place and honk our horn and leave a gift on the letterbox for her 10th birthday as we are not allowed contact due to Covid 19. I will pick my sister up and do this even though I am sure we could have organised to meet in a park and keep distance, I will cut us all some slack as these are the times we are living in and the best way to go is to be patient and understanding of the part fear plays in so many of our lives.

I cried a lot thinking I cannot give my grand niece a hug.. I have not been able to approach them at other birthdays due to the fear distance trauma issue, so am glad I made an effort to start now.. It hurts to have the birthdays go by and not acknowledge them. We never got to know our Dutch aunts who Dad left behind in 1938, though when Aunty Lies and I finally met and bonded in 2000 we grew to love each other and she was such a support after Jonathan left me. When I had the head injury in Cambridge in 2005 she asked me to go to Maastricht in Holland to be with her. I wish I had but I was not able to travel due to the concussion side effects. As it was I was kicked out of the house I was lodging in and went to Glastonbury…and everything is a bit of a blur.. I just kept everyone at arms length…apart from those loving souls at the ashram and in five rhythms dances classes who embraced me in the grief which began to open there when Jonathan told me he had met someone else.

In therapy Kat was saying its probably easier for me, with significant mistrust/attachment trauma to want to keep relationships a bit distant.. I have also been shamed for sensitivity and the symptoms of complicated grief and PTSD so many times in an emotionally unintelligent world that it never felt that safe to be close to those who were not safe.. Now I have more discrimination I still am strong on boundaries but I can risk the threat of being rejected…as a child it was hard to survive but as an adult I may feel abandoned at times but I can only ever be left.. the abandonment depression occurs when I ABANDON MYSELF AND MY INNER CHILD and leave myself alone in it or reach to the wrong people.. From now on I don’t have to do that any more…

Something that I have learned over the past week is that its by having the courage to risk fully entering the vulnerability, chaos, mess or weakness that I truly find my strength.. Often my feelings come as body symptoms and it takes time to unpack them, sometimes triggers can fragment me but I can withstand the fear of annihilation now.. the truth is that I was annihilated so often as a child emotionally and it left me unsure, insecure and frightened. I used alcohol to cope for a while but now I use my own inner intelligence to make sense of things… after years of therapy and painful experiences lately I am finding moments of genuine connection, love and joy even amidst all the difficult stuff.. For those moments I am so very very grateful.

Deb was telling me today that her mother never allowed her to feel anything.. she was given lectures on getting over it.. I just said to her “Deb you don’t get over feelings, you go through them.” For me learning to differentiate, contain and integrate my intense feelings has returned me to my authentic soul, spirit and true self.. my rebel yell usually comes from an authentic place when I trust it.. I just have to be discriminating with how I express it in a world that so often misunderstands the truth of things.

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