I was asked by my therapist recently who my support system is. I stared blankly at her for a good 12 seconds, not because I don’t know what a support system is but because I don’t have one. I have no family and one parent whose depth of conversation usually involves my dogs and work. I know plenty of people but have no good friends ( I had several childhood and close friends but we are no longer in contact). I’ve heard the saying we can get used to anything but hadn’t truly grasped how real that was for me. I am alone. Not out of choice but out of circumstance. Truly alone. And I’m so used to this I barely noticed it. I could say support isn’t really necessary, look how far I’ve made it. Look how strong I am but that would be false. I am in fact so without support that I am paying someone to be there for me (insert laughter, because I find humor in everything). I pride myself on being able to outlast anyone and live through anything but I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. We need support, friendships, relationships to go. To learn. When all you have is yourself you become a different kind of tough and it’s not always for the best but it’s because you have no other choice.
I was talking to a friend today about a situation that I just can’t seem to completely remove myself from or have removed from me. I said I was aware that my actions often backslid myself into the position I didn’t want to be in and I had two choices: 1. do things how I usually do them, which is to make continual, slow and griding process-up the mountain 3 steps forward 4 steps back or to stop walking completely and just sit with it. Sit with it until it’s gone, until it means nothing, until it means everything. She noted that that is obviously, short-term the much harder option but long-term the less exhaustive option. Sitting with it is what we are least likely to do, we will do anything to avoid having to deal with pain, the suffering, the anguish head-on with no distractions. We live in a culture that does not value the time it takes to do this or the willpower and decisiveness. And that is why I think sitting with it is always the answer.
Fear has become a fascination for me. I’m constantly afraid. Afraid of not fitting in, afraid of fitting in, afraid of never succeeding, afraid of actual success. All this fear keeps me trapped in this tiny cramped bubble of nothing so I’ve started searching for fear. Anything that makes me uncomfortable? Let’s go do it! Let’s talk to the person we’re intimidated by, let’s try something that we know we are going to be judged for (and stick with it for 6-12 months). I don’t choose to look at fear as something negative, it’s really there just trying to keep me safe. It doesn’t realize that we don’t live a thousand years ago and now, staying in is the thing that will kill us not the opposite. I think that’s why so many more people struggle now with fear and change-we have to work against our natural biology to succeed. We no longer live in a world where we have to be physical and go out and the world pushes our boundaries. Our boundaries are here, they live with us in our homes and cars, on our laptops and phones. We don’t have to search any more because we have everything. So now the challenge is, we have to actively search to make ourselves afraid because when we are afraid we’re working, we’re fighting, we’re pushing our boundaries. It’s ironic how things being easier actually makes them harder.
So I took a few days from posting realizing that I felt like I had nothing to say and didn’t want to put filler out just to say I was being active. It’s been a particularly difficult time this last month. I recently ended/transitioned out of an emotionally and mentally abusive relationship and wanted to be upfront and honest with y’all because I feel that it’s important for people to know they aren’t alone. I think it’s startling to reach a place where you realize that you’ve blinded yourself, made excuses and tried to cover up something that you knew was unhealthy and ultimately destructive even as you were trying to better yourself as a human being. When we finally step away from something and can look at it clearly and see just how terrible, damaging and draining it was we find a whole new perspective from which we need to work. I am beginning again and trying to forgive myself, every day for all the harm I caused myself by staying in a situation that continually hurt me as a person. I think that although the person who is being abusive is obviously accountable for that pain we also need to take responsibility for our own actions, our own faults and say no, this is my fault too. I allowed myself to be hurt, I didn’t take of myself, I stayed when I knew I shouldn’t etc. and that is absolutely 120% my fault and I own that. I am incredibly grateful for everything I have learned from this and although it has put a new set of challenges on me it has also made me so much stronger and taught me about myself and where my weaknesses are as an individual and also in a relationship. I encourage anyone in an abusive relationship to of course not only dig deep (you’re going to have to dig real deep) and find the strength leave but also to reach out, share, create a support for myself whether it’s family or friends and be honest. Honesty is such a huge part of growing up and healing. Hold yourself accountable because no one else is going to do it for you.