Capturing life in words…
Yet, if you stay busy, really busy doing things for your children and community, you don’t have to feel your life. If you over-extend yourself and swim in activities which consume all your time and attention, you can be as unaware of the depth of pain/loss as the homeless person addicted to crack, heroin, alcohol, or whatever. The result is same, in my experience– unresolved feelings of shame, fear, guilt, inadequacy, regret, remorse, denial…
I lost my only sibling, my sister suddenly; lost my mother more slowly; learned my son was autistic;obtained a divorce; was treated for cancer; learned my father is seriously mentally ill; walked away from what should have been a fatal car accident and obtained my Master’s degree all in one decade. And should I include my entire life events, you would wonder if I was delusional or narcissistic and craving attention by creating a series of unbelievable lies. However, I am a survivor.
A survivor is someone who has amazingly cruel events occur, yet clings to the positives- no matter how small- (ie “I am thankful I have time for lunch today”) and presses forward. A survivor can make dinner for three children on 21,000 dollars a year and make sure they get to school, get to speciality doctor appointments AND show up for the soccer game. A survivor knows their childhood was blemished, but does not let this define her/him. A survivor will always, indubitably rise to the occasion. A survivor is incredibly creative, smart and resilient. But, I notice survivors lack very badly in one area, and this deficit is damn near equivalent to America’s National Debt. Survivors have a exclusive right of losing vision when it comes to the flip-side. We typically minimize our grief, loss and extent of damage/pain incurred. It is obvious to others something is wrong — the indicators are there. When balance or moderation is lost, it’s a pretty good indicator something is wrong. For me, throwing myself into socially acceptable acitivities to validate my worth was a sign. I was on committees, volunteering, working and going to school as I parented three children whose father struggled with his own demon. And I made all “A’s” in college as a “non-traditional student” (aka: older student). Let me be clear too, I was not accepting of just any “A”. I demanded of myself 98% to 100%– anything else was unacceptable. I’ll be damned if I didn’t do it. I graduated with a 3.87 on a 4.0 scale. Yet, there was a price for my alleged success.
I didn’t spend the time I should have with each child. I was not “present” and sadly, waved off a lot of special moments with, “Mommy’s doing a paper right now, I’ll be there in a minute.” I missed so many opportunities to make memories. I didn’t realize love (as I didn’t experience it) was not in the success and status in modern America, but success was being content and at peace within. As I sought validation from worldly populations such as employers, the university and even my doctor, I was ignoring my relationship with God (Spirituality) and failing to treasure the sacred in my daily interactions.
If I read this earlier in life, my OCD side would say, “Oh shit, how did this happen? I don’t want this to happen to me!” Personally, my dysfunctional pursuit of approval was connected to some critical incidents and issues in my childhood. This truism will piss insurance companies off as they mandate depression and anxiety should be resolved in six to twelve visits with a licensed social worker. Why? Well, the obvious. It’s not cheap to go deep. Put a band-aid on the severed artery and move forward into battle.
So let me not digress too much. The critical point I noted in talking with clients and going through my own journey of self- discovery is survivors do not attend to areas which hurt. We don’t like probing of tender spots. There’s just no time or reason for such nonsense. It’s the past– let’s get on with life.
Yet life unexplored fully is not living.
Loss is not grieved by survivors for many reasons. In my personal and professional experience, it ranges from not having permission from early role models to grieve (as it was considered a weakness) to not knowing how or not having the time.
Yet, the reason does not matter as much as the need to heal. Knowing how one avoided humanness and healthy closure is not the deal. The deal is we must process the cause of our avoidance.Workaholic, alcoholic, foodaholic, gambling, shopping addiction are all avoidance strategies, in my humble opinion.
You cannot avoid your feelings without experiencing a negative consequence. And if you do not process your humanity, God will orchestrate life so you have no other choice.
my car accident last spring was representative of the condition of my heart/soul. I literally totaled my car and should have been killed. Yet, I wasn’t. As I have been rehabilitating from this motor vehicle accident, I realize I was emotionally going to “crash and burn” per se’ , if I did not attend to my inner self.
I truly believe my car accident was a gift. I have told all who will listen, when God sits your butt in a house and the family is either at work or school, you are alone with your thoughts and your demons.
There is no way out but through the cross.
Tragedy is truly rebirth.