Are we half way through January already?
Ok, so these past two weeks don't really seem to have flown by per se, but certainly I feel like it is time to do some writing on where I am in life, what I want from life, and what I can realistically do about my life in order to make it functional and healthy. I have been rolling around the words reflection, resolve, and re-imagining in my mind, letting them siphon off all the gunk and rise to the top bobbing like little rubber duckies, hoping to catch my attention.
Reflection is a hard place to start. For me, there is a lot of pain and regret in my recent past. And there is anxiety about the work that is to come, the healing that has yet to be done. Often in my sessions with Trusty Therapist Judy, my heart rate jolts and my forehead buzzes. These are moments of revelation, where I realize that my attitudes, assumptions, thoughts, and judgments about myself are not based in reality, but in emotion. These emotions - shame, bewilderment, hopelessness, anxiety - have been with me, have twisted my thoughts, have governed my behavior. As I reflect on this, the world both opens up with new freedom, but I am also left feeling even more hollow than when under the spell of self-hate.
Returning to our more authentic selves sounds like such an overwhelming proposition. How much of our lives will we have to disrupt in order to allow for this freedom? How much of our lives will we tear away from in order to cling on to our own voices? What is the cost of being heard, seen, empowered? And why does that cost seem too high a price when what we would get in return is ourselves?
I believe the risk to remain unchanged is greater than the risk to make daring steps toward change. I believe that shifting my focus in small measures, every day, to what I am grateful for and for what makes me me, is enough to keep myself emotionally connected and real. The process of healing may be spiritual but it doesn't have to come in the form of a burning bush or second sight. We don't have to see the purple auras of grace to know that we are taking care of ourselves.
I am reflecting on the past, knowing how much I hurt myself. I am reflecting on the future, scared that I am not capable of being real, that I will detach myself - observe and fantasize like the writer I am - and continue building walls around me. But, I remind myself, walls aren't inherently bad. A low-risk life is perfectly legitimate and noble. I am allowed to baby step my way towards authenticity, make mistakes, hide, run, return, kick up dust, spit, cry, hug. I am scared of myself. Scared of my own empowerment. Today, though, I realize I don't have to be. Because self-empowerment can come in the form of My So Called Life marathons. It can be going to the movies, taking a weekend road trip, staring at the ocean, petting my cat. The big stuff isn't so big. Keeping it small can keep it accessible, keep it close, and keep it alive.