That’s how it felt. To-hell-and-back was the subject line of one of my recent newsletters. In it, I was referencing the long dark months of this past winter. It was the most brutal winter I ever remember experiencing. Not the cold, but the cocoon of sorts that I was in (by choice). I was sick for much of it. When you’re alone and sick with nowhere to run- it’s incredible what your mind can conjure up. Mine always goes to the darkest crevices and corners. But… the body keeps the score- always!
Our minds will lie to us, but the body will always speak the truth. It’s why it gives us symptoms… (hello??? Are you listening to me???) My body was ready to purge all that it had been holding onto for a long time.
This was the first winter in nine years that I had not gone to Florida. I missed the sunshine, the water, and the sand- not to mention my friends that I love so much! That alone wasn’t easy, but when I finally tackled Joe’s man cave, and yes, it felt good to get it done; but it was also very challenging to do. With the help of Kenny and Christie, we made it into a beautiful guest room. But it was Amanda and Erin that gave me the push I desperately needed by coming over and helping me sort through things. I thought I wanted to do it alone, but I wasn’t doing it. Procrastination…another form of avoidance. So I finally acquiesced when Amanda called and said she wanted to come over for a visit on the same day Erin also wanted to come over. I KNEW intuitively this was what was supposed to happen. They’d offered before, but I turned them down. This time I asked them for help. I’m so happy with how the room turned out. Better than I imagined, and I’m spending an adequate amount of time in there myself. Several of my girlfriends have already come to stay and visit (if you build it, they will come.) The room is still very masculine with Joe’s essence all around.
I still have all of his clothes; I’m just not ready to part with those. I’ve had friends offer to make me a quilt, and I appreciate that, but I’m not prepared just yet. Joe only had a few select items of clothing he wore regularly, and they all have meaning. Memories that I can’t imagine cutting up. One day I’ll find a new way to look at it, I’m sure.
Trauma. I didn’t realize how much “shit” I had been avoiding and running from since Joe died. Wasn’t it me that kept saying––deal with your shit before your shit deals with you? I really thought I was doing a good job of it myself. But once I was completely alone, I realized the degree to which I was not dealing. When all of the things begin to come to the surface and start screaming-demanding-to be heard and seen, you can no longer ignore it. The symptoms that have presented in my body are unmistakably trauma wounds.
It wasn’t until a couple of other incidents occurred over these winter months that I began to feel truly empowered.
I decided that I’d had ENOUGH, and I was finally awake!
I’m the only one that can determine who and what is allowed inside these walls. I get to choose if I remain a victim or a victor, and I prefer the latter. And, for the first time since Joe died, I feel taken care of and protected. Not only by “me” but by those who rallied around me and supported me through these challenges. So to say THANK YOU for the pain and the fear… well, that is truly an understatement. Without these things happening, I might still be asleep.
I’ve declared to several friends that my health is my top priority this year. But as I thought about it a bit more, I realized I needed to flip that thought on its head.
My top priority is to feel good and live in JOY; better health is the side effect, a bonus.
Once I decided that no one could “save me” (it’s no one’s job to “save me.” In fact, it’s ALL an inside job.) I got busy doing what I felt was necessary for that happiness and joy to show up. I hired a financial coach, a naturopathic doctor, and a massage therapist- talk about moving trauma out of the body…there has not been one massage without tears. That’s a release, no holding back or holding on…. moving OUT what’s been stuck in the body. I’m currently in a six-week program taking full responsibility for my body and health—no more “victim” mindset, and facing the trauma––my trauma, head on. I’m educating myself and still cleaning and purging. I am living intuitively and paying attention to all the signs. Sometimes I miss them and sometimes it’s a bullseye! Keep practicing.
One thing I’m no longer doing is living to please others. Making decisions based on someone else’s agenda or being coaxed into doing something is NOT living intuitively. It’s OK to say; I’ll think about it, or I’ll get back to you. When I have something I want someone to do with me or to participate in, I don’t want them to be there if they don’t want to be there. Who’s that serving? Wouldn’t the world be kinder if we were all true to ourselves? It’s also OK to change your mind. It means you’re growing, seeing things differently, and having new perspectives. I love all the insights this to-hell-and-back winter has given me.
I feel better than I have in a long time. Joe is right here with me, smiling at me and cheering me on. I feel him! I feel empowered and on purpose. I am loving my own company. I talk to myself all the time. I am learning to navigate the world as I want—my agenda, and… I really like myself! I know I’m kind, compassionate, and loving… my heart is BIG!
And I’m exactly where I’m meant to be right here and right now.
To your healing and mine.
xo, and peace.
I’m still educating myself about grief, suicide, and child sexual abuse. These may seem like dark and depressing topics to most, and I get that, but my question is: if not now, when? You may not think you’re directly affected, but your family or friends are. 1/4 girls, 1/6 boys are sexually abused.