I’m thinking about love today. How love can tear you apart or stitch you back together again. How love can be used to heal a heart, or how vulnerability in love can take you down to hell and rip you so deeply you don’t recognize yourself.
Watching the world burn itself up with disease and racism and then seeing health care workers selflessly care for Covid patients and protesters creating art and love–wrecks me to my core. Simultaneously, I’ve been falling in love during all of this. It’s odd and it’s beautiful.
On the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacán in June 2018, finally recognizing that my life had become unmanageable.
I have always needed really big signs to get my attention, and even then I have ignored them half the time. I imagine God looking down at me and thinking “I AM SENDING YOU SO MUCH TO LEARN FROM!” shaking their head, and continuing to send me messages, one holy eye twitching, still full of love. Just like any parent, sometimes children can be exasperating. I’m sure I’ve exasperated God more times than I could count.
To feel this love, and to be awake for the real life around you, means to be comfortable with who you are. Loving your weaknesses and honoring them as you would losing a life in a video game. When you lose a life (or your kid does as you watch them playing, let’s be real for a second), you don’t really get emotionally distraught. You just try again. So, the weaknesses teach us, if we pay attention. You need to love your weaknesses as much as loving your strengths. Being your best self requires a re-parenting of yourself. I’m not saying to forget everything you learned from your birth parents/those that raised you. I’m saying to remember that childhood is like a primer for life, an elemental time that attempts to create who you are. So many of us, me included, spend our adulthoods reshaping and relearning who we really are. We need to strip ourselves of the pressures and expectations of others and be. Just BE. Just be that little person again that knew yourself. I’m still learning what that really means.
I’m still figuring out my best self, my best BE. Everytime I get my heart broken, or I see brokenness in the world I wrestle with who am I? again. I think this is ok. I don’t have to go all the way back to the very start. For example, watching the country explode in massive protest over Black people being murdered by police and the police having no repercussions definitely reignited me. I had to search myself for “who am I” in this space. I’m re-learning how to advocate, how to ally, how to be an accomplice in a new way. I had some frustration with myself for not doing more, but guilt has no place in this work. Just the noticing. And now the doing better.
“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”
― Maya Angelou
Pain is hard. It’s hard for me to see others in pain, because I struggle with not taking it on. Pain in any form can rip sensitive people like me in half easily–unless we learn to set boundaries. Those boundaries make it possible for us to be our aligned and sensitive selves and not let the pain of others be our actual physical pain. Empathy is to put oneself in another’s shoes. But empathy does not require us to take on their burdens. Empathy is to sit with someone in their pain. Empathy is not feeling that tearing within yourself. Giving reparations to those that have been oppressed does not mean to physically, emotionally and financially tear yourself down to build others up. It means to GIVE what you can. And only you know what that means for you.
I’m learning to say No and not have guilt about it. None. It feels amazing. It is impossible to love others if we don’t love ourselves enough to say No when we mean No.
I’ve been thinking about all of the times I could have said No, but said Yes and it caused me great pain. I said Yes to keep others comfortable, because I thought that loving them meant the sacrifice of my wants and needs. I have said Yes to so many things that my intuition told me were really NOs for me. All I can say is when your intuition is speaking to you, it is when God is within you, lovingly trying to guide you to what is right for you.
Since I met my love, Jess, I have been simultaneously terrified and joyful as I’ve witnessed what my intuition has had to say. I’ve been very hesitant to even write about him. I’ve been hesitant to write much at all since I finished the major work on Lucy and therefore, on the external parts of my world. I got my heart ripped open last year, mostly by myself, and I honestly didn’t feel up for it.
But there he was.
I chose bravery and vulnerability. When we found each other, I stepped into the space with a big heart. I’ve watched myself falling in love this time and it’s not like anything else I’ve ever experienced. He is true and beautiful and feels like a miracle. But the thing that is the most miraculous is how much I am in love with myself. Falling in love with Jess has been evidence of how much work I’ve done and how much I love ME. We will be doing life together and I’ll just step back and pause, looking inward, noticing. I’m so ME. And this relationship feels so normal. And Calm. And not Chaotic. And Good. And not really Scary. The terror I feel, because it’s there, is that I will have to examine my darkness again, and that it will be painful. His witness of my pain doesn’t scare me. I scare myself. I worry I will slip into old habits or self-inflicted toxicity. So all I can do is talk to him about it. And praise all that is holy, he loves to talk about it with me. He shares his, too.
Um. HELL YES it is super terrifying to know the dark will come again.
Let’s circle back to that idea of “being done” or “never wanting to feel ____ again.” Part of my experience of knowing myself has been that life is a never ending hero’s journey. You keep going round and round that circle. You take a journey and master it, and then you go back through the steps again as you grow. It’s not just one time around. For some lessons perhaps, it’s your whole life to complete the path. But for Love. Love. I think Love is one thing that takes you round and round your whole life as you learn and grow.
Accepting that it’s ok to not get things perfectly done the first time (first marriage and then divorce, and so on) whatever your story is, it’s yours. I have worked through so much of my baggage about divorce, but while doing that work I was dealing with how I was parented, how I parented, school bullies, teaching, body identity, sex, addiction, home, food as numbing and so much more. The mind is not always rational. And dealing with our interiors is the least rational job we’ll ever have. I saw a woman on IG talk about how our inner child takes a long time to get to the point…just like a real child does. Exactly. Kind of like this post, all over the damn place. I’m not caught up in perfection anymore.
I guess the point is that life is absolutely amazing in the biblical sense. It can be full of joy, or truly devastating. It’s all part of the package deal. We don’t get one without the other. Appreciating the pain as a lesson can help it feel less like it will become the boss of you. Appreciating the joy of love lets it truly become part of you.
Namaste. Let it all flow.