Last week Thursday I came full circle on the Isle of Wight. I’ve lived here for a year now plus a few days. I didn’t think I was going to last on the island. I thought I’d leave. I thought I’d run which is the easy option to fall back onto – my comfort zone. But that option doesn’t lead you anywhere. I have to sit still and do my best not to do a runner and ride the wave even when things get hard, challenging.
Usually the month leading up to September is hard. It’s when I am at my most vulnerable. The anniversary of my son’s death imminent. It gnaws at me. What lessons can I instil in you? What can I pass onto you? Perhaps, what I’ve got to say is of no relevance. The only thing I know is that it is important to keep your communication open with God and to speak with God and to not shy away from that. Cling onto hope.
When things are challenging or my emotions are all over the place writing is easy. It helps me to formulate my thoughts. Easier then talking out loud. Maybe it’s safer because at least I know I won’t be ridiculed. Who knows? Sometimes when I feel overwhelmed with life my natural tendency is to withdraw and to say destructive things. Maybe it is my way of pushing people away because I don’t feel like I deserve the love that others receive. I feel unworthy, I feel like I fall into the lowest category of human society. The scum of this earth. Then nothing matters. It’s easier to shrug it off, to fall into old habits. I go to counselling, and we find ways to deal with these negative thought processes. I’m learning to replace them with good healthy mechanisms. But sometimes old habits come back.
When this overwhelming sensation comes I feel trapped, I feel heavy like I can’t breathe. There is this deep inner sense of feeling stuck, like I don’t belong anywhere. And that it is impossible for people to care about me. Usually it’s during a period when I am feeling overly sensitive and emotional. I get on people’s nerves. I annoy them and it results in silly arguments. I guess it’s my fault when an argument occurs. I hate it.
It takes me a long time to recover from arguments. Usually because it’s a circle of self-condemnation. Hatred for myself. Anger that I could cause other people upset. Annoyance that I can’t seem to do anything right. Even if it’s just a small argument. It still turns my world upside down because when my biological father got angry – every time I said sorry – sorry wasn’t good enough. He’d often say I don’t belong, I don’t fit in. And then would not speak to me as a punishment. No-one would speak to me as a punishment. And so when people say that they will speak to you another day – it feels like a punishment. I’d have to sit alone in silence sometimes for hours, sometimes for days thinking of what I did wrong and then having to explain myself days later for my previous actions. I simply don’t like conflict and I don’t cope well with conflict. But yes it was my fault because I said destructive stuff. A defence mechanism put in place from years ago to protect myself on some weird level.
Sometimes when an argument occurs the best thing to do is to hug that person to say that you still care for them and love them even if you’re still slightly annoyed with them. A hug helps to affirm that you are a valued and loved person. It helps the healing process rather than talking about it later which feels like a punishment.
Have I come a long way since I arrived to the island a little over a year ago? Probably yes. I learned to self-reflect a lot. I learned to stop withdrawing, and to allow myself to be vulnerable. I took a risk in allowing people to love me and care for me. Even that goes wrong sometimes. Maybe I don’t deserve their love. Maybe it is easier to forget about me. But gentle persistent love, and gentle persistent encouragement has kept me here, and has helped me to develop a small sense of self-worth even if sometimes I fall down. I have setbacks. I’m trying not to be a disappointment or a failure. I feel like I am. I feel frustrated when there is tension. Unnecessary tension. I guess that is part of life. I have to learn to deal with conflict in a healthy manner and not believe the worst – that abandonment and rejection’s ugly head will rear to the surface. A package freely given to me many years ago. I have to believe that even in an argument that I am still of some value, still of some worth to be loved. But yesterday, and today I do not feel like that. So, I lash out, I withdraw. I want to escape. Yet I have to learn to ride the storm and not be afraid somehow.
To the reader of this blog – you are a valued and loved person. I’ve learned that over the last year. No matter what condition you find yourself in – God loves you. God cares. People care even when you don’t think they do. Allow people to love you. Take that risk because it will lead you into all sorts of blessings. A refining fire. Life is about taking risk. Learn to trust and take a risk. It will ultimately set you free.