I come here today with watery eyes and an achy heart. And I hate it. I hate feeling like this. But I’m pushing through regardless because an important lesson I’ve learned in the last two years is that life gets messy. There really is no such thing as smooth. Sometimes we walk on dry paths in sunshine and sometime we wade through shit. And yet, no matter how I am feeling right now — all teary, frustrated and helpless to stop it — I know that this too will pass, and I will come out on the other side a little bit stronger.
My heart wants what it wants.
There is this little girl inside of me who was taught to be as tiny and as quiet as possible so that all the bigger, more important people around her could thrive. And she went along with these instructions from her survival-mode Self for so long (decades!), that she became mute as words bubbled into her neck until she was choking. And like a prisoner locked in a box, desperate for air, she began scratching to be let out. But I didn’t know what to do with her because I thought she was an embarrassment: soiled, broken, damaged, ruined— she didn’t fit into my adult life. I had no idea that I would be lost without her, that she was my genius, my goddess and my shaman.
There was no way for me to know the extent of her monstrosity or her power. All I knew was I had to keep her quiet. She stunk of dirty secrets and shame.
And when I ignored her scratching to be let out, she began whispering incessantly to be heard. And still I covered her with the placid surface of my facade. Sshhh!I I’m parenting. Sshhh! I’m in a meeting. Sshhh! I have work to do. Sshhh! I’m in church, this isn’t a good time. Sshhh! We have company. Sshhh! I’m walking the dog, people can see me. Sshhh! I’m in the library. Sshhh! Not now, later. Her whispers became whimpering and calling out.
I don’t know when it happened but eventually — inevitably — the little girl inside me flew into a rage, clawing, spitting, kicking and screaming for me to at least look at her. Even if I wasn’t going to let her out, she begged, just LOOK. Oh dammit to all hell! Alright! So I looked. I was shocked at what I saw. She was sweet, you know? And she was just so hurt, so tender, and so beautiful that she glowed. She forgave me. But more than anything else, she was also RELIEVED. We embraced, we merged, outer-me with inner-me, and she showed me things. I had no idea I possessed such brilliance. This little girl inside showed me how I could live life as a truer version of mySelf, the realest me I had ever known.
Bit by bit I let her shine, I let her guide my choices. I quit my job. I turned towards my writing dreams and have been pursuing them ever since. I started this blog. I opened myself up to the world, wrote about my vulnerabilities, bared pieces of my soul. I took risks, introduced myself to strangers. I discovered a world full of courageous people, people full of kindness and generosity, people who taught me, all you have to do is ask, and sure, why not. I surveyed, I interviewed, I wrote and I wrote. I’m still writing.
And yet ….
My heart wants what it wants.
And it’s killing me! Because I didn’t know how deep and wide unknowing could go, but my heart has asked for this delving and now it’s too late to turn back. Pandora’s box has been opened, the genie is released and there is no going back to my oblivious life.
When I became a mother twice over, I was twenty-two and then twenty-five years old. I was a baby! A severely damaged, broken, hurting, and alcoholic baby. And in repeated moments of those early parenting years, beginning with the birth of my first, I crashed into the realization that for the foreseeable future it would be, child first and then, me second (or last). That understanding not only sent me into a tailspin of panic, it drove me deeper into my alcoholism. My inner child was all like, wait-whaaaatttt??!!
Thank God for those two beautiful, warrior angels who came here to be my daughters. Because they each took my hand and showed me how to do my job. None of us escaped unscathed, but each of us are still standing.
And thank God for sobriety. Eight years and getting clearer everyday.
As for my inner-girl? Well, she kept up with pounding, kicking and screaming until the damns burst. There came inexplicable and unpredictable crying spells at work. She was all like, Oh I’m sorry, is this a bad time? *Blam!* Open the damn door, now!! My 50-year charade was over. So I quit the job. And then I began the blog. And I thought okay, transparency on a blog? I can do that. So I did that.
And now she’s saying, not so fast, Human. We made a pact. We share this heart and we know what it wants and needs more of. Oh you thought you’d be all magically morphed into healthy, functional human after a few transparent blog posts? Aw, you’re so cute! We’re only just getting started. It’s time to go a little bit deeper.
So there’s about to be a lot more silence around here. (And for my friends and loved ones reading, please don’t feel the need to do something. I know as women, sometimes we can get uncomfortable with the idea that someone we care about might be in pain. I assure you, I am fine. I have support systems in place and trust me, I am leaning on them. But thank you!) I have more work to do, both inner and outer. This is a great time for a blog hiatus, so I am taking one. When I come back, I plan on coming back refreshed, rebooted and ready to keep going here.
I can’t say how long I’ll be gone because I don’t want to put any restrictions on my Self. I’m following my inner-guides, including the high priestess herSelf, my inner-girl. Here’s what I know so far. All of us human beings have a vibrant and powerful inner-life. We see it in our dreams and if we choose to, during meditation. I’ve recently discovered that mine is beautifully driven by the Wild Woman archetype, which by the way, resides in ALL women. In this society I have been shut up for a lot of years by hard-fast external rules about my role as a woman. These social rules were toxically reinforced by a dangerous childhood, and so deeply imbedded into my psyche, that I am having to undo a whole lot of mental programming.
What I also know is, I am brilliant and powerful. And although fear of the unknown still looms, I have no desire to back away or back down. So off I go. The journey continues. I’ll see you again …. eventually.
Compliance causes a shocking realization that must be registered by all women. That is, to be ourselves causes us to be exiled by many others, and yet to comply with what others want causes us to be exiled from ourselves. It is a tormenting tension and it must be borne, but the choice is clear.
Women Who Run With the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, PhD