Thursday, January 3, 2008

Borrowed from "My Dissonance"

If you have not checked out her blog, by all means, PLEASE DO! What an incredibly brave and emotional writer she is. I'm sharing, with her permission, some of the things she wrote in a recent post that really, REALLY spoke to me. I did pare down some of it but it's absolutely worth visiting her site to read the unedited version! I bolded the parts that hit me the hardest.

4. What were the three hardest obstacles to overcome?
Figuring out who I am was incredibly difficult, but figuring out that I was enough, as a human being, was even harder. For the longest time I felt and believed what I needed to, in order to adapt and thus survive within my environment. Due to this manner of developing my authentic self simply got very lost along the way. I was always trying to be enough, or to do enough in order to change the circumstances I was born into. I never realized that me - just me, with my OWN thoughts, beliefs, and feelings -- I'd ALWAYS been enough. All along there had never really been a need for me to have changed anything about myself. Finally I began to not just realize, but know in my heart, that nothing I could have ever been, or could have ever done would have changed, prevented, or stopped any of it.

Knowing that its okay for me to relax and let go was, and still can be, quite a challenge. Learning that I had to let go of any responsibility for the people and things around me, for which I have no actual control over, has been quite a challenge. To say that living in "survival mode" -- dreading whats behind every corner -- has worn me down is a vast understatement. So learning to not live in the delusion that life is a game, or an opponent of sorts, that I have to stay one step ahead of in order to not be destroyed, relieves me of a tremendous burden. Ironically the greatest thing that I ever learned was that I was doing it all wrong ... that there were other ways to perceive the world and the people around me.

Learning to have faith and trust in anything or anyone around me has been paramount to my healing. I used to feel that I couldn't depend on anyone for anything. And yet the only worth I thought I had in this world lay in the ability for other people to depend on me. We all need help sometimes. I wasn't less of a person for it. I wasn't weak. At the time I would have argued these truths but finally I let go of my fear of trusting others. I realized the world wasn't against me. And I realized that others could love me for me, rather than just for what I could do for them. With this I finally allowed myself the feeling of connectedness to the people and events around me. I'd always felt so much powerlessness and that the only way to survive in this world was to stay one step ahead of the game, always watching behind my back for the next crisis. I began to listen to my intuition and came to realize that there were certain instincts that I needed to tune into and trust -- and that those instincts were what was meant to guide me in my life. My wary and 'wired-for-the-next shoe that drops' lifestyle wasn't. I found I wasn't bound by or limited to the perspectives of the people whom had past negative or skewed ideas about me. They were actually wrong. I could instead permit myself to be deeply-connected to those who'd helped me when I felt I didn't deserve their effort, or when I'd been so sure that it couldn't be trusted.

What does forgiveness mean to you?For me, forgiving someone who has abused me in the past is a way of saying, "What you did to me isn't okay. I may never understand it, even though I've tried. I understand that you're broken and incredibly sick, but all the blame is on you despite your sickness and brokenness. But I'm not going to spend the rest of my life hating you for it. I'm not going to spend the rest of my life enraged. I'm not going to spend the rest of my life feeling sick whenever I hear your name or every time I think of you. You're not worth the heart attack or the ulcer. But I AM worth letting you go, along with all of this hate, rage, and sadness that you stir in me.

Okay...this is back to me commenting:

I could have just bolded that entire last paragraph about forgiveness. Honestly, forgiveness is something I have struggled with for decades. This is the first and only definition of it that I can actually accept and begin to feel like maybe I can do that. I've always felt like forgiving my abusers absolved them of what they did to me. I've known that it's about me, the benefit to me, for a while now....but I've still never heard it defined in a way that "sat right" in my heart. But this does. And it opens me up to begin to consider taking that step. I realize that I cling to this anger because it's the only connection I have to those who abused me. I guess part of me wants to remain connected. Once I let go of that.....then it's gone. There is no connection. And any hope of retribution or of their repentance is gone. I'm really stuck on that for some reason. Why? But I started to cry as I wrote it so I know it's striking a chord. I guess this is one of those cases of being afraid to let go of what is for fear of what will take it's place. Sometimes even when the familiar is harmful, it's still comforting. That's so f**ed up.

HOLY CRAP. I published this post and I went back to read it a minute later. I tend to publish, clear my head and then proofread . And I realized as I read this last thing I wrote about being afraid to forgive my abusers.....that is not entirely why I struggle with forgiveness. I don't forgive myself. I am determined to punish ME. Funny that is an idea that I'm not oblivious to....but I certainly do tuck it away tightly so I need not deal with it. Well, I am officially dealing with it. As of now.

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