“…there’s nothing to be afraid of, even when the night changes…”

Listening to: One Direction – “Night Changes”

A few months ago, one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Gilbert, most well known for her book, turned into a movie, “Eat, Pray, Love”  posted on social media that she was no longer going to apologize for how she feels. She elaborated on what that meant for her in a specific situation. I, at the time, kinda judged her for it. And by kinda, I mean 100% judged her for it. Thought her wrong, wrong, wrong, for the choice, which led to her making that post. But also, was a little in awe of her fearlessness in making the difficult choices she needed to make, choices that didn’t affect only her, so that she could be living as  her authentic (I hate buzzwords, but it fits) self.  But now, I get it.

To quote another lyric, one that has stuck with me from the first time I heard it is “…I don’t wanna live like my mother, I don’t wanna let fear rule my life. And I don’t wanna live like my father, I don’t wanna give up, before I die…”  (Smile Empty Soul – “Silhouettes”) (This quote in no way intended to make a statement about any of my parents.) These words, and this idea, have become increasingly more true for me over the last several months. Coming out of a place where fear ruled every single choice I made, and having been on the precipice of giving up, and in some ways had actually done, I feel them to the core of my being.

As a half a Jew, who was baptized Roman Catholic, and attended Catholic school for 8 or 9 years, weirdly enough, the core “religious” teachings of my life have been predominantly based on principals of spirituality. I mean, aside from what I learned from the nun who was my teacher when I was 6, who told me that since my parents had gotten a divorce when I was 3, for their sin, I was going to hell. Which in my precocious mind meant I had carte blanche to do as I pleased ’cause I was already fucked.Six year old me hollering YOLO! Except not really, because YOLO wasn’t a thing then. And, I was six. But I did believe, at least for a while, that I was fucked. Except, spirituality.

Bat shit crazy nuns aside, I have long KNOWN that living a fear filled life, a life fraught with negativity, and coming from a place of lack, is counterproductive. Yet for many years, it was my absolute truth. Not fear of getting hit, because I never really feared that. But fear of what would or wouldn’t happen if I did, or didn’t, do, or say, or look, or act, speak, think, respond, FEEL, the right way. I (subconsciously) chose to merely exist, instead of choosing to LIVE. At a point I became consciously aware of my choice, and yet I kept making the same choice. Not that I didn’t put up a fight for change, but I kept waiting for another to change what they were doing, while the Magical 8 Ball kept saying “shit ain’t happenin’ GTFO while you can.”

Part of what living in fear, and giving up meant was that I was closed-off to possibilities. Literally. I did not see a future for myself in which there would be happiness. This wasn’t about being with my ex, or not, it was much more expansive than that. I remember sitting in a counselors office, and crying, telling her exactly that I saw no future which for me held happiness. That I was hopelessness, personified. Where once I used to “hear music in the sunrise,” (City of Angels) and had in what were previous to this, my toughest times, fully believed that as long as there is in the world such a thing as a beautiful sunrise, there is hope, living embroiled in fear washed that away. And this I now speak of because it IS a huge part of the truth of what experiencing domestic violence, and for me, concurrently, being married to a sex addict, can do. (Although without a doubt, some of it has roots more deep than that.)

It may smack of melodrama to say what I’ve been through is analogues to a near death experience, but I’ve a very real sense of having “seen life from both sides now.” (Yes, lyrics, again. Standing on the shoulders of giants, as it were. Joni Mitchell – “Both Sides Now”) If death, for purposes of this writing, can be described as one side, and the utter absence of light, I have indeed seen death. Conversely, if life can be said to be the other side, and all that is brilliantly bright, this is now my view.

Which brings me back to Elizabeth Gilbert, no longer apologizing for feelings, and fearlessness.

To live now, as my most authentic (bleh) self, I do not apologize for my feelings, no matter what anyone else may think of them. So if I love, and “…my three words have two meanings…” (Ed Sheeran – “Lego House”) I do not apologize. “Love, is love, is love, is love is love is love is love…” (Lin Manuel Miranda – Tonys Acceptance Speech) And I will be fearless in speaking my love to anyone for whom I have love, because love is only ever a good thing. If I don’t love, for that I will also not apologize. (Although I will always strive to hold love for everyone, in a spiritual sense. So I guess three words have three meanings, Ed.)Because I wish to facilitate others feeling the way I feel when receiving a compliment or kindness, these things too, I will do, with no apology, and no fear of anyone maybe thinking I’m weird for doing so. For my evolving/deepening spiritual beliefs, which are absolutely rooted in what FEELS like truth to me, and more importantly, feels like what has always been my truth, which got sometimes lost in dogma, and the fear others held, there will be no apology.

I could continue to cite examples of what this looks like for me, but for anyone who reads this, who may need it, it is for you to decide for what you do not wish to apologize, and how fearlessness will show up, for you. And none of this is to say that I will thoughtlessly launch myself into unwise situations, nor do I encourage anyone else to do so. I’m talking about being unapologetic for feelings, and fearlessness here, not being stupid. And while I will always try to be very considerate of others in the making of my choices, at the end of the day, I have to live for myself.

What I can say is the absolute truth in my life, and for me, is that each step, and in some instances, leap, I have taken, without fear of what might happen next, and without apology for it, has led me to a place where I am happier than I can ever recall being. I am amazed at what I am now attracting into my life, simply (and not so simply) by virtue of no longer living in a place of fear, with a side of self love, and support when needed, thrown in. I’m actually excited about my life now, and the prospect of what is next for me. I don’t have everything figured out, and in fact I have mostly nothing figured out, but it’s all pretty fuckin’ cool. Especially the stuff that is the most messy, and unexpected. And now I can (again) hear the music in the sunrise, and magic(k) is everywhere I look.

Listening to: Goo Goo Dolls  – “Black Balloon”

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