So much of my life has been centered on healing and finding wholeness.
I knew at a young age I needed something different from what I had grown up in and around. I knew I had to learn something other than the messages I received at such a young age: You don’t matter. You’ll never be good enough.
I used to look for this validation that I was good enough and that I mattered outside myself in relationships, jobs, achievements and other things…or people. I thought I was damaged goods and maybe, just maybe, someone else would help me be less damaged.
Marriage, kids, college degrees, jobs with status and power, intelligence, looks, nice car, great house…I had it all at one time or another.
None of it really made me feel less damaged, though. In fact, when I made mistakes (like humans do) and I made less than ideal decisions and choices (like humans do) I felt worse, like something was so irreparably broken within me or about me that I could never fit into this world and anything remotely normal.
What a crock of sh*t.
So here’s the thing.
I’ve got some stuff, you know, a past. I’ve screwed up. Big time, folks. I’ve hurt good people. I’ve left good jobs. I’ve squandered my time, resources, and money. I’ve been less of a friend, wife, mother, daughter, sister, employee or human being than I could have been. I’ve been depressed, anxious, fearful, homeless, penniless, and hopeless.
No, it’s not my mom and dad’s, ex-husband’s, ex-best friend’s, husband’s ex-wife’s, kid’s, former employer’s, the system’s, the State of the Nation’s, The President’s, the Earth’s, the Universe’s, God’s, Satan’s, Democrat’s, Republican’s, or anyone else’s FAULT.
My mistakes and my past are MINE to sort and work out. Regardless of what may have happened, who may have hurt or betrayed me or let me down, who didn’t live up to my expectations–I have to face my life and make it my own NOW.
Really, that is each and every person’s true responsibility.
No one in my life will ever be able to help me feel whole outside of myself and my own ability to accept that I am not something broken, irreparably or otherwise, and I do not need to be fixed.
I’m a creative, intelligent, intuitive, witty, charming woman with a humongous heart who loves fiercely, who is an amalgam of passion, ambition, determination, reason, practicality and wisdom. I’m also full of fear. I don’t completely believe in myself, not all the time, and I don’t love myself like I should.
So, despite some heartbreak and disappointment, loss of those I loved whether by death or by their choice to cut themselves off from me, grief over how life can kick you in the gut and change all you know in an instant…here I am.
I’ve been depressed and anxious for a while. I finally hit that bottom where if I went any lower I knew I would never come back up.
Oh, did I say I’m a fighter and a scrapper, too? I am.
I started clawing my way back up from that dark pit the minute I landed down in its depths and on the edge of the abyss–that terrifying yet, insidiously seductive place of nothingness.
A situation that was not helping matters was my job. I was at work one day and we were all herded like cattle to take our fifteen minute break. The place is okay. There is no shame in any job. However, there are some places we fit and some places we don’t fit, and this is a place I knew I would never fit, and it would not fit me. I knew I was only there for the paycheck.
I walked outside to drizzle and cloudy skies–it had been like that for at least two weeks–and I overheard some talk about the neighborhood wherein the new store now sits. There was a group of people smoking and a couple of the managers were discussing the disgruntled neighbors who opposed the store going up, almost in their back yards, or in some cases, their front yards.
One manager who has been with the company for over 25 years said, “They lucky [we] didn’t take their property by eminent domain. You can’t stop [us].”
Only, he pronounced it “entinent” and I compulsively corrected him. Yes. I. Did.
Another manager mentioned how the people who lost their property or had their property lines affected by the new store made money off the deal.
The manager who had spoken up before said, “Oh yeah, but [we] gonna make a lot more money, ha ha, A LOT more money than they ever will see. HA, HA, HA, HA…”
Feeling nauseous, I walked away. I couldn’t listen to them cackle and find pleasure at the expense of others any longer.
My despair was already a dark cloak and constant companion up to that moment. Over the next couple of weeks I slipped quickly. My descent was not only related to the job and the dehumanization of the people who lived in the neighborhood their entire lives, or the dispassionate machination of the workers who worked for the store, but the fall was being forced downward by my heavy and broken heart, my loss of hope, my fear of failure and the feeling my life had become so alien and unrecognizable to me I had to be living in some kind of nightmare or parallel universe that was screwing with me.
Finally, I could not get out of bed. Aside from the emotional and mental barrage I got from work, the physical demands pushed my body into a Fibromyalgia flare and my descent was sealed. I felt so full of shame and guilt, which only furthered my depression and darkness, which only fed my physical pain and weakness, and so round and round in a vicious cycle of pain, guilt, fear, hopelessness, shame, and grief I tumbled down.
The other day, after some weeks of fighting my way back upward and the slow and persistent tug of my husband’s love, I saw the sunlight and felt some warmth at last. One thing a therapist reiterated, though, was that I was not broken. There is no need to fix me, I’m just depressed.
I am in a place where I need to find wholeness and healing within myself and love myself, and be loved, just for who I am.
Aren’t we all?