There’s something to be said for self-aware individuals who understand the value of human connection, who never glorify being too busy to maintain those connections, and who actively live a life upholding that integrity. I salute you, I am grateful for you, and I hope to meet more of you so as to surround myself with your strength and your reliability. It takes a heightened level of awareness to be honest, not just with others but also with ourselves and we don’t just wake up one day at that point. It takes courage and lots of hard, sometimes painful, work. Again, I applaud you. Thank you for choosing the road less travelled.
It’s fascinating how one day someone who was once the very center of your life is no longer the center, the back or front, not even the very far side. This person is simply no longer a part of your life – This person whom for years was considered in almost every single life decision you made right down to the minute dinner plans on a Friday night after work to the living arrangements thousands of miles away on the other side of the country.
It has come to my attention that I rarely speak of David, let alone think of him. This does not mean I don’t have any more stories to show and tell but in case any of my dear readers were curious, I thought I’d use this blog to address the lack of tales of life with David.
My therapist is frequently encouraging me to express pride in my accomplishments and I can say that I am extremely proud of the woman I have become for having made it through the three years I spent with David and the three years thereafter. I would not be the person who I am today had I not met him and married him. The past three years since our split have opened so many doors, professionally and personally, that I can no longer confidently utter regret for the short life I spent loving him.
I have come so far in self-awareness and personal growth that I simply don’t think about that past life very often. And when I do, the thoughts have thankfully taken their proper place among my life experiences and my perspective is no longer one of cynicism and bitterness but realism and subjective development. I suppose one could call it a righteous revival.
It isn’t too late. Time is not running out. Your life is here and now. And the moment has arrived at which you’re finally ready to change.
Those were the words sprawled across the page I turned to in Cheryl Strayed’s, Brave Enough. Many would deem this happenstance though I happen not to believe in such an underestimation of the Universe’s magical workings. I turned to that page because those are the words I needed to read in that moment. Those are the words that I needed said to me – the words I needed to believe.
So many people who are not familiar with talk therapy assume that all we do is go into a room for an hour a week and tell a stranger all of our problems, then we conduct our daily lives for the following week only to return and repeat. It is so much more than that – I actually go twice a week, every Wednesday and Saturday, and those two, sometimes grueling, hours I spend in that private room per week are hard work extended into my daily life. The work does not stop. It requires almost 24/7 self-awareness for it to be at all effective. At times, my mind and my heart fight back in fits of anger because what is to be revealed is so painful that the anger becomes an automatic response, a defense mechanism.
All the discussion, the analysis, the tears, the revelations – all of it must somehow be applied to my daily life. It is essentially teaching an old dog new tricks and while extremely difficult it is not impossible if one is willing to learn.
Wednesday nights are especially challenging because they come after a long day at work and sometimes those days might be exceptionally stressful – the kind of stressful that makes one only want to withdraw to his or her home with a bottle of wine. Alas, I must push on through and basically force myself to show up. In fact, I believe I have become, for lack of better terms, “so good” at therapy that I compulsorily talk about and say things that in a social setting would be judged completely absurd or inappropriate. I justify this otherwise uncomfortable situation with the fact that holding back is not productive thus I try and say all the things, no matter how dark and gritty, that come to mind.
If the above sounds simple, one would be severely mistaken in thinking so. In fact, there have definitely been times where the thought that occurs to me or the memory I recall is so intensely painful the only response I can enact is one of detached silence or a waterfall of tears. I’m not afraid to say, “I can’t go there right now” and I won’t – or I may force myself to.
My first experience with therapy began in 2007 when something, perhaps an inkling of identifiable depression, prompted me to call someone and tell her that I wasn’t quite sure why I wanted to see her but that I felt like I needed to. Fortunately, I was happy with the work we were doing in there but unfortunately I lost my job and thus, my insurance, in 2008 so our sessions seized.
In 2011, shortly after my parents’ death and living in New York City, I attempted therapy again only to be deeply disappointed by the doctor I had made the appointment with and inevitably discouraged from seeking an alternative one. During the darkest time of my life, it just felt like too much work.
I’ve been seeing my current therapist for three years. Initially, she was my marriage counselor. David and I would see her every Saturday up until we decided to end our marriage. I decided I wanted to continue seeing her on an individual level instead of seeking a new therapist because she already knew David and I knew he would be a recurring topic of conversation in those beginning months. About a year and a half into our one on one sessions, I began seeing her twice a week.
I’m constantly evolving, changing and this is thankfully, in part to the self-work I do on a daily basis, the therapy I regularly attend. The life I live here and now is work – enjoyable work much of the time but trying, nonetheless. There are no time outs no matter how much we may pretend. I know I can get caught up in that destructive thinking that “it’s too late” or “there’s not enough time.” Oftentimes, I hear my mother’s encouraging voice in my ear, “One thing at a time…” as I attempt to tackle a multitude of issues, racing the ticking second hand on the clock. I must live with me, and the only me I can stand to live with is the one that is proactively working on becoming a better version of herself.
As I sit at my computer right now, I am unsure of what I am about to write. I only know I wish to share something of depth, something that will instill one to contemplate. I have yet to exhaust the exhausting storytelling of my history or to near the finish of revealing some of the unkempt corners of my soul. In time, I tell you, my readers and myself – in time.
And then I ponder how foolish you are, Lindsay! How foolish you are to think there is such a thing – time! Ha, I scoff at my audacity. I am consistently reminded of mortality, of the shortness of not only a breath but of this bitch we call life. This life that excites me, thrills me, insists I get up every single day and strive for more, more, more – that leaves me short of breath after a struggle, that leaves me at a loss for words at its beauty, in awe of the unknown and constantly seeking, sometimes fearful but always courageous, taking it by the helm.
I have never been more self aware and observant in my thirty-one years of existence and every day that I wake up, I am grateful for the opportunity to learn something new, to learn more – not only about myself but the world around me, the people I love. The chance to listen rather than the chance to speak and the opportunity to experience an adventure and share that experience with another human being – And the humility to recognize and feel upon my fingertips that it could all end in the blink of one’s eye. This keeps me grounded and anxious for more, sometimes impatient though aware of the limitations that my impatience imposes.
To a happy New Year everyone – make it what not only what you want but figure out what you need and make it that, too. Much love!
I deeply envy those who still have their mother’s wisdom to consult, their mother’s hand to hold and her number to call. There is no consolation for the devastating void I have felt every single day of my life for the past 1,430 days. There is nothing and no one that will ever fill it – it is simply something one must learn to live with and that will never be okay.
I have recently begun reiterating that last line to myself after listening to a plethora of interviews with one of my favorite authors, Cheryl Strayed. She said that in reference to the loss of her own mother and it has since stuck with me because I think in the days following the overwhelming loss of a loved one we’re constantly looking for ways to “make it okay” or waiting for it to at least “feel okay” when the reality is that it will never be okay and that is okay.
Not only do I envy, I feel angered at times – mostly when I witness young people taking their parents for granted or speaking as if they have all of the time in the world – this immature sense of invincibility. I recognize it because I used to be this way. We all think we’re going to live the “typical,” “normal” life where our parents will die when we’re in our fifties, at least. Unfortunately, one cannot teach experience or cast the agonizing pain he/she feels upon naïve beings, if only for a brief moment.
Yesterday evening, I had an interesting conversation with my eighty-five-year-old grandmother, my mama’s mother, about death. I asked her if death became easier to accept the more loss she experienced throughout her years. She replied that she believes that it does. We both agreed that if we are to look upon life with such endearment then we must learn to do the same with death because without life, there would be no such thing.
We agreed experience forces one’s perspective to change and influences one’s thoughts. I told her how I think about death on a daily basis whereas when I was, say twenty-two, I did not think of death quite as often. It was a lovely, candid conversation to have with someone who has an extra five and a half decades on me, who has lost three children, her husband, several siblings, and her own parents.
Focusing on one’s immortality can positively impact self-awareness, promote consciousness and produce immense amounts of anxiety. Daily, I face the pros and cons of this reality I was catapulted into four years ago. With self-awareness comes the ability to check myself when feeling envy – I am able to be genuinely happy for those who can consult their mother’s wisdom, hold her hand and hear her voice at the click of a button on their phone. The anxiety can become overwhelming at times though I am working intensely hard to manage it through therapy, through writing and other outlets.
I feel as if I am a sponge, soaking up all the experience I can handle until being squeezed dry and sharing with the world all that I have learned, hopefully inspiring and consoling others. I am on a constant self-improvement and growth regimen and my words are only a minute, but intentionally momentous piece of this journey. And, this is okay.