Listening to: “Poems, Prayers, Promises” – John Denver “…And talk of poems and prayers and promises and things that we believe in. How sweet it is to love someone, how right it is to care. How long its been since yesterday, and what about tomorrow….”
…And now when I start to write I find myself wondering how to honor my desire to reach out to, and be a voice of encouragement for, those who are or have experienced domestic violence/abuse, who may read what I am writing, and may find something of it value in it.
It is 6 days to the date of the one year anniversary of when I moved to New Jersey, putting hundreds of miles between myself, and the life formerly known as mine. With the exception of the on-going legal stuff, nothing about that life seems real. Or at least it for the most part doesn’t. I am very far removed from the feelings I had while living in that ridiculous hell, kind of being in labor with a child, or at least my experience of it. I have a distinct memory of how intense was the pain. I know it was painful, but I can’t FEEL that pain anymore, and that for me, is the key to moving forward.
For most of my life, I have been comfortable in my own skin, (well, except for body image issues which have always plagued me, and my loathing of my distinctly Roman nose) other than that, at some point in my life, I became pretty cool with me. Right up until, whenever it was, that I started to question everything about me, and how I am, how I treat people, what I look like, how I dress, speak, walk, think. And then decided I had nothing of value to offer the world, and that there was nothing beautiful left for me, to include nothing about me being beautiful. My own skin, then, became my prison, as did my life. And how unfathomable to me now that I was broken down to that point. I’m obstinate as fuck, so I really don’t know how someone managed to get so far in my head… or why I’d stay in that ridiculous hell for so long. It took me a long time to realize how far-reaching were the effects of the ridiculous hell.
A little over a week ago, I celebrated my 50th birthday. It exists in the realm of possibility that had I not been through the ridiculous hell, and the subsequent transformation to a person who is happier than I’ve ever been, that I might have approached that date, and that number, with some trepidation. Maybe I’d feel OLD, and the desire to hide that number from the world. Instead of that, to me it is just a number that doesn’t signify much, except for 51 times around the sun, and 51 years of experience as this person known as Michelle. And MAYBE, because of the ridiculous hell, and current happiness, I feel the most remarkable sense of freedom to be just exactly who, and how, I am. Where in the past I might have felt the need to justify or explain who I am, while being who I am, now my attitude is much more fuck it, I dig me, and if you don’t, that’s cool. I’m, just…. me. I don’t want to waste any more time in this life fighting with others in the hope that they’ll become OK with me, being me.
As turning 50 relates to the life that was formerly known as mine, beside being back to cool with who I am, one of the most profound changes for me, about me, is my appearance. I place very little value on my appearance, with the exception of how I personally feel about the way I look. I was taught a very valuable lesson long ago, that my looks may open doors for me, which I did not ask to have opened, but once they were, the “wowing” with my intellect, with the deeper parts of me, would be what led me to where I really wanted to be. Maybe that’s why I didn’t notice the changes. I had no idea that while I was going through the ridiculous hell, I looked about 100 years older than I now do. My posture changed, along with the way I carry myself. My smile became rare, and reluctant. My weight too, changed, thanks to the back injury, the medication for it, the months of immobility, and the years of being unable to work out, and for a long time, to even stand or walk for long stretches. Mostly though, it was my eyes that changed. My eyes which are green, sometimes light, sometimes dark, and other times are grey, except for when they lean more toward blue. The best way I can put it is, they lost their “light” as in, illumination. Rarely did they become wide with excitement, and wonder. Or soft, gentle, with the comfort of giving love in moments brought on by being able to deeply trust in the knowledge that I was safe to do so.
More than any of that, though, what having been through the ridiculous hell, and “growing up” have given me, is finally understanding what self-care means. To those I love, I will give everything I have, even when it may not seem that I am doing so to anyone on the outside. While that’s cool and all, I did, in the life formerly known as mine, even as I was fighting in words for myself, often forget about ensuring my needs were met. This of course increased 10 fold, as I imagine it does for everyone, due to the nature of the marriage formerly known as mine. Although I’ve no doubt he would say this isn’t true, because it is impossible to fulfill ALL the needs (which are really wants) of someone capable of breaking another emotionally, and being physically abusive, I was constantly chasing my own tail, in an effort to please him, placate him, meet his expectations. I accepted life in an abusive, passionless marriage, in which none of my mental, spiritual, emotional, or physical desires were met, FOR YEARS, with the hope that somehow doing, or not doing, something, would fix everything. Or at least fix something. Instead I became empty, and exhausted, hopeless and bitchy. Not to mention lonely.
While I do forever aspire to be a person who gives to those she loves, and I DO derive the most pleasure in life from giving, whether it be actual gifts, or just doing thoughtful, caring things, I also now know, I have to give to myself as well. I currently find myself in uncharted territory, and it would be VERY easy to lean too far to the meeting the needs of others, over my own. BUT, it would be equally easy to think of only what I need, and be inconsiderate, and quite honestly selfish. Having seen both sides of that coin, and finding both to be lacking in anything shiny, or happy, my chosen balance point is now more a “non-zero sum game.” Where I once may have held an inflexible boundary, albeit for what was meant to be my own good, I now place as much value on perspective, as I do on values.
I could stray now into deep-thoughts on the potentiality for situational ethics to be that about which I’m speaking, (which I am not) or further elaborate on what I am trying to say, without actually saying it. Instead of any of that, I think it is sufficient to be said that what I have learned at such a deep level, is that I can be loving, and giving, and do my sincere best to do no harm to others, and still take care of myself. I was never much for black, and white thinking, but am even less so now. What I have often been though, is one who spins herself out, over-thinking things. I want always to be thoughtful, but I also want to not spend so much time thinking about things, that I miss out on living my life!
I absolutely adore the idea of having a man in my life upon whom I dote, to whom I give caring, and pampering, and whose wants, needs, desires, I meet, and whose dreams, I help to see to fruition. But while also doing those things for myself! And accepting getting those same things in return! All while dancing around, singing, sometimes leaving a trail of glitter, and hopefully always, leaving a smile on a (beloved) face. I want always to give to my kids, and my grandson, and future grandchildren, but not to the detriment of myself. Same holds true for anyone with whom I cross paths. I don’t wish to ever again find myself empty, because I gave so much. Especially I don’t wish to ever again be giving, and be abused in return.
So for anyone who may be reading these words, who may need to read them, and who may find value in what they say, because I write of my experiences with you in mind, if it has not done, know that the pain WILL recede. It will fade to a memory, and it won’t hurt at all anymore. And when you finally find the strength to start giving caring again, because I get how it feels to think you’ll never have the energy to give a fuck about anyone or thing again, make sure your priority, in the most unselfish way possible, is you. Also, 5o is the new 30 so, there’s plenty of time to re-write the script, and the plot twists of your future, can be pretty amazing.
Maybe because tonight, which is now actually last night, is (was) the new moon, and rooms, and people, were smudged, hearts, minds, and souls were opened to ask for wisdom, overtone chanting was listened to, to raise the vibration, and intentions were written, and then burned, I am moved to (told to) include in this writing, some additional words.
To him, I offer my thanks for finally giving me the push to get, and stay away. To her, that is now with him, I thank her for her actions, which further aided me in staying away. I’d say I wish that I’d done sooner, but, I wouldn’t be here now, and here is where I want to be so, I guess it’s all perfect. To him I also say, I forgive you. I have released all anger I had toward you, and her. Go with God, or whatever/whomever you want.
To anyone I may have hurt in the past, I sincerely ask your forgiveness. To anyone I may unintentionally hurt in the future, for your forgiveness I also ask. And to you, I also send love, and wishes for everything beautiful.
To the most amazing extra-terrestrial unicorn, with whom I have traveled the ages, (or with whom I am currently sharing life, in times which parallel the one we know currently as our reality), I give endless thanks for space-holding, given, and accepted, for always, always seeing me, hearing me, encouraging me, trusting me, and for the brilliant words, wisdom, laughter, tears, and moments of magick of all sorts, shared. You are remarkable. And I send love enough to span oceans, and time.
And to my daughters, the most beautiful, amazing creatures, for your forgiveness I also ask, for anything I have done, or not done, which may have hurt you, in any way. You are that of which I will always be the most proud. I am every single day amazed by your strength, your resilience, your intelligence, your humor, your kindness, your beauty in every sense of the word. It is my profound pleasure to watch you both, in your own ways, find your wings, and fly. I love you beyond measure. Never forget, you can do, and be, anything you wish!!!
Listening to: The sound of silence. Not Simon and Garfunkel. The literal sound, of silence.