Healing is complicated. I am beginning to wonder if I know what in the world I am doing. Some days it feels clear and calming other days it feels like a hot emotional mess. Sure I am doing a lot of inner reflection and work and self-expression which has been great. At the same time, I have bad days when I can barely focus or function or get out of bed. One of my favorite Instagram accounts, @spiritualgangster posted a quote that said: “Be so aligned nothing fucks with your vibration.” While that is my ultimate goal I am working towards each day, that is easier said than done at this moment. The last few weeks all my triggers have come to the party to mess with my grounded vibration. With the holidays coming up it will be the first time in 13 years that I am spending them alone without a partner. It has been weighing really heavy on me, stirring up all kinds of emotional triggers, and really fucking with my vibration. All of this happening in my new home where I am alone clumsily trying to learn how to navigate my new love-hate relationship with silence and solitude.
Solitude is a weird thing. When I was married I craved it and sought it out all the time. I recall feeling so stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed at my ex’s presence on bad days. I remember trying to squeeze every ounce of goodness out of the silence and solitude I had before he’d get home from work. I once told him, “I don’t know how to be around your noise” in the middle of one of our very bad arguments. Everything about him was noisy and, at that moment in my life, I needed silence and solitude so badly. I was working so hard to find peace in all the things I was grieving. I savored the moments when I got to be home alone with my thoughts in the silence. Now I am living alone for the first time ever in my life. I have an abundance of silence. Its like I won the silence lottery it is so freaking quiet. Now I have all the solitude I could have ever wanted back then. Now its so hard to be in this new little home of mine, just me, the abundance of silence, and my thoughts. My loud, painful, and judgemental ass thoughts. And I don’t know what to do with it all. I have even less of a clue of how this overwhelm will help me heal when the silence feels like I may drown in it.
That is the thing about healing. You never get the thing you want when you want it. You get it when the universe wants to give it to you. It is an imperfect process that feels like you go 1 step forward and 3 steps back. Even knowing everything I know about surrender and acceptance, I am still impatient with this process and with myself. Last week, I still stumbled hard. I let my anger and sadness get the best of me. I missed a family gathering because I was not ready to be there acting like the person I thought they expected me to be. In my family, I am the joyful daughter, crazy tia, and funny sister. I make the jokes and sing the songs and make people smile. But that day, I didn’t have it in me to be that person. I didn’t want to show up sad and broken because I didn’t want them to be disappointed at who I was that day. I didn’t want them to worry about me. As hard as it was I still showed up because I wanted to see their smiles and laughs even if it was not me who gave it to them. The minute I walked in the door of my childhood home and saw my family gathered laughing together, I broke down in front of everyone. I cried like I had never before cried in front of them. I just let it all out all the raw, snot-filled tears and emotions. I let them see me broken. I shared how sad I was about the holidays coming up. I was struggling to catch my breath between my tears. I told them I was angry at my ex, angry at my situation, and angry at myself for letting this negative emotion be louder than my intuition and wisdom. They consoled me with hugs and prayers and food. Then all the love got so overwhelming that I freaked out. It got too hard to be there and I needed my solitude once again. I drove myself back home, beating myself up for not being able to rise above these feelings. I beat myself up for not being able to be the daughter, tia, and sister I love to be around my family that day. I beat myself up for letting my anger shit on my joy. In my solitude that evening after seeing my family, I made a confession to myself that I will make here to all of you: I have days where I try and fail to project manage my healing.
Confession: I have days where I try and fail to project manage my healing.
That’s right. Despite everything I know to be true about surrendering and manifesting and speaking things into existence and treating emotions like visitors with wisdom and all that. Despite having the full logical understanding that I cannot control everything no matter how hard I try. I still have this tiny little piece of me that is acting like my healing and grief are nicely laid out on a 10-page project plan with milestones and metrics for success that will prove that I am officially healed and moved on. There have been many days in the last few months where this tiny little piece of me is louder and more powerful than all the other parts of me that know better.
This little part of me is half efficient project manager half Regina George from Mean Girls. She waits. She chills in the corner during my moments of clarity. She watches me meditate and do yoga. She watches me use my cleansing sprays and say my affirmations. She just waits. She is there when I am with family and friends letting their company and wise words give me solace. Then out of nowhere just when I think I am comfortable and finding my rhythm, she sees her chance and she swoops in with her judgments and hurtful words and throws me off. I go from being a resilient healing scar to a throbbing open wound. All the work I do to be centered and grounded goes to shit. I get triggered by the world and start numbing myself with time wasters, rushing all the things that cannot be rushed, and trying to control the things that cannot be controlled. When I fail at all of it there is she acting like none of it was her doing. The parts of me that know better stay behind and pick up the pieces. I know it’s only a matter of time before it happens again and when it does, I will not be ready for it. Perhaps that is the point.
Heather Ash Amara talks about how healing is a cycle in her book, Warrior Goddess Training. She says there are some women who begin their healing journey and just when they think they’ve got it and figured it out, something happens that takes them back to their default setting of old behaviors. Some of us expect perfection to quickly I guess. When I read this passage in her book, I pictured an impatient 5-year-old in the back seat of a car saying “Are we there yet?” over and over. There (in this case) being over the hump of this painful end of my marriage, over the hump of learning how to live and be alone, over the hump of grieving. Obviously, I am not there yet. This road trip to healing is going to take a while. That impatient 5-year old represents all my emotions – anger, sadness, anxiety, fear. She is going to have to learn to be patient right along with me. We’re in for a bumpy emotional ride together.
At some point in our lives, all of us will find ourselves on one of these bumpy emotional journeys. Thinking we’ve figured it out only to get slapped in the face with the realization that we know even less than Jon Snow in Game of Thrones does (for those of you non-GOT fans: please refer to gif above). At that moment we will stumble. We will be reactive. We will be triggered by our emotions. We may even take some of that out on the wrong people. But just know this: if you stumble during your healing process you are doing it right. Stumbling is part of the cycle of healing. There are some lessons we can only learn by stumbling through them. Some wisdom is internalized differently when you gain it through pain. Trust that and trust yourself. Even in the middle of a tornado of negative emotions, we are hardwired to have all the strength we need to move past it. Even if we don’t know it or believe it. This has been a hard idea for me to hold on to and embrace fully but I am working daily to accept it as a universal and undisputed truth.
Own your scars and bruises with the confidence of a little girl with scabby knees heading to her next adventure.
So if you are finding yourself struggling through your own healing remember: stumbling means you are doing it right. Give yourself some grace, embrace solitude if you need it, fall apart in front of loved ones if you must, fall apart alone so you can fully feel the emotions that want to emerge, and give yourself the gift of patience. As a wise friend of mine told me: being able to find yourself in the process is the greatest return on an investment of money, love, time, or anything else. So stumble my friends. Stumble epically. Own your scars and bruises with the confidence of a little girl with scabby knees heading to her next adventure. Cry when you fall with your whole body if you have to until you feel relief. Healing is imperfect and the only way to do it right is to fully embrace the days when you are a hot mess of emotions. If we want to go hard when we are healing, we must first go hard when we are crying and stumbling. So give yourself grace through your stumbling today. You will find yourself on the other end of whatever this hump is and that will be the best return on your investment of tears.
Thanks for reading.