Today, I’m writing for me. Just for me. Nobody else.
I’m a typical libra. I crave balance, and today, balance needs to come through deep healing. Beyond my typical needs for physical healing from this brain injury, I need emotional healing. I need emotional healing that only comes by turning myself inside out, twisting myself into knots, sweating, purging, crying, and screaming. This isn’t something that can be done in the quiet of a dark closet, alone, with my face in a pillow and my eye makeup running down my cheeks feeling sorry for myself because of what I’ve had to endure. No, this type of healing happens only in a giant field of wild flowers, embraced by the warmth of the sun, caressed by the gentleness of Zephyr’s breeze, wrapped in the only thing I’ll ever need – my greater spiritual Self, of which I am simply a point in Its infinite perfection. Because it’s only in this place where the heart opening required for emotional healing will take place.
But now it’s winter. Everything is beginning to freeze, and I can feel my emotions stiffening and crystallizing, like frost on a window, into a pattern of sorrow. And it’s not like I’m even sad for myself. I’m sad for all of it. I’m sad for everything that doesn’t feel compassionate or loving. I feel it so deeply, and it’s throwing me off balance.
When I started writing these blogs, I did it because I was at a place where I finally realized I was stronger than my past, I was stronger than my failures, I was stronger than the pain of all the experiences that held me down for so long. And in that same strength, I knew that I needed to write my story. I knew that I wasn’t alone. I was never alone. People who I knew in my life, who walked along side me in the halls of my elementary school, and who played jump rope with me at recess were going through what I was going through. And I know many of those people never had the courage to speak for themselves, and when some did they weren’t heard because nobody believed them. Yesterday was a day of awakening for me. My mom’s family has been attacking me over my blogs, making veiled threats, trying to get me on a phone so they can yell at me, and posting aggressively on Facebook calling me a liar. While this sadness has been building over the last few months, it really knocked me off balance yesterday. It came from one comment about a place called The Hardwig House.
The Hardwig House is a wonderful place. That’s the only way I can describe it. It’s a place where people like my dad, who is mentally ill, can be safe, make friends, share meals and experiences, and know they won’t be judged. My dad goes to The Hardwig House nearly every day.
My dad is a wonderful man. He’s a magical man. No one can make you laugh like my dad. No one make up the silliest songs and jam them out on a guitar like my dad. No one has the spiritual and emotional wisdom that my dad does. You know why? Because HE HAS NOTHING. HE HAS FUCKING NOTHING. He’s got a shitty apartment, no money, no prospects for work because of his injuries, and no skills for anything other than manual labor. He’s had multiple failed back surgeries. He was hit by two cars in the past year. People are always stealing from him. He won’t move out east because he lives his life to serve his elderly mother, my most beautiful Grandma Jenny, who is well into her 90s. …and he has The Hardwig House. THAT’S IT.
So, I’m cool with the fact my uncle, my supposed “elder” and supposed “role model” shits on me by saying I’m crazy, should be on meds, and calling me a liar, but saying anything negative about the Hardwig House is so low. Telling me that I’m crazy and that’s where I need to be in such a derogatory way is not only attempting to put me beneath you, but it’s also saying that the mentally ill are less than you.
…and that’s where things get sad. That’s what makes me so frustrated. That gets right under my skin like a freaking parasite that’s just gnawing away at my life force.
Do you think my dad chose this life? Do you think my dad enjoys this burden? The weekly injections. The experimental drugs. The life of psychotherapy so he can be semi-functional? The alienation from society? The need to live disability check to disability check? The judgement? The stigma? The ignorance because people don’t want to know him?
Do you think mental ill people choose to be this way?
…and why do you think you’re better than the “crazy” people that end up at The Hardwig House? Why do you cut so deep by making these insensitive comments with the only purpose of freeing yourself from any pain you might feel only to inflict it on your niece or anyone else who read those comments?
These are all rhetorical questions, and obviously they’ll never be answered without someone telling me to shut up, stop being crazy, stop lying, stop embarrassing myself, and all the other stuff I’ve had to hear and read.
The saddest part of all of this was the realization I had last night. If I would have told these people in my family what I had to go through as a child, they wouldn’t have believed me. They would’ve called me a liar. They would’ve told me how horrible I am for saying the things I’m saying. They would’ve blamed me for the things that are happening to me and told me to take responsibility for my life. How do I know this? Because they’re doing it right now. And if they’re going to say this to a completely sane and rational adult, they’re definitely going to say it to a kid – because in my family kids are less than adults, and we know where we are in the pecking order. In this realization, I have come to understand that God truly had a hand in this part of my life. All my guardian angels, all my inner knowing, everything was telling me to just keep chugging on and getting through by keeping my head down. Fake it. Get through it. Put on a smile and pretend.
The old me would probably tell myself not to write this blog. “Be strong. Don’t let them know they’re hurting you. Don’t let them know that they were able to uproot you and throw you off balance. Don’t let them see that they get under your skin. Put on a strong face and ignore it. Just block these jerks on Facebook and be done with it.”
But then I had a thought:
No. I won’t pretend. I won’t put on the mask. I won’t keep up this bullshit facade of being ok. This did hurt me, but surprisingly it didn’t take away my power. These feelings are not something I should be ashamed of or hide. It’s normal and natural to have feelings, and the constant pretending that I’m not hurt is was what caused all my problems in the first place. I deserve to be sad about this, and I deserve to be able to express that sadness. Life is going to keep giving me this same lesson and kicking me in the ass in the same way unless I learn from it, so this is my opportunity to completely change and learn the damn lesson.
First, I’m going to move on. What value did they ever add anyway? Not much. My fantasy of what I thought my family was is obviously not the reality. I have to remember that the disassociation won’t stop me from feeling – really feeling – these emotions and particularly this sadness. It will however, assist me in the brave move that I need to remove myself from the toxicity of these people once and for all. This is another step to becoming the most authentic version of myself. THIS is what it means to be human, and THIS is how I will practice setting boundaries for how I deserve to be treated. Family is a choice, and it’s not me who has cut the cord. They have already cut it. They cut it a long time ago. They have made it very clear I am not welcome. I don’t need to stand at the edge of the cord and long for connection because there’s nothing there for me. I’m their ugly duckling. I’m their outcast. I’m the black sheep.
I’m glad I learned this lesson as an adult, because if this happened when I was 15, I strongly suspect that I wouldn’t be where I am today. Learning this lesson as a child may well have killed me – or at least my spirit and my will.
I spent years of my life being strong and sad. Now I’m busy being vulnerable, happy (even in my sadness), truly authentic, and it feels sooooooooo good.
Winter won’t stop me from finding that field on a warm spring day to melt my sorrows – even if I only find it in my mind.
Ra Ma Da Sa Sa Say So Hung.
I call on the the sun, the moon, the earth, and the Infinite Spirit to bring deep healing.
I call on the most sacred Spirit to lift up my dad, everyone at The Hardwig House, and every mentally ill person on this planet. You are the most beautiful of us all. It’s you that have overcome the most. You are the strongest and the most beautiful. I’m honored to be called crazy and that I should be at The Hardwig House. That’s a much better place to be than where I came from.