all of it is you

Monday was a weird, tough day for me. I couldn’t sleep at all and was feeling off all day. Then, one thing after another happened. I got a lot of small things done–important victories–but I felt this kinetic shittiness in my body–the kind that used to be a daily thing in my world before I started therapy. It was this nondescript stress in my body–this physical need to cry or scream.

It’s not entirely unusual for dead Mama week, but it hasn’t been a thing for me this year. This year, I’ve been this even keel. And it didn’t require me to numb or disassociate–though I definitely have had moments of those.

To be honest, this off feeling started several weeks ago, right before my ex showed up again. I was so down–that kind of down that makes it hard to crawl out of bed. I had this sense of him–this inner knowing that he was going to appear when I least expected. The calls would come, and I wouldn’t answer–afraid to–but knowing it was him–knowing what he wanted–knowing what would happen if I answered and if I went. Deja vu. But worse–choosing your own groundhog day.

The night he called, and I answered, was a particularly rough night where I felt I had nothing left to lose. I was in such a dark place, and I couldn’t crawl out of it–so much so that the self-respect I’d fought for after our last meeting went right out the window and I justified it. I justified being a fool. I justified using his body as a way to forget. And it was exactly what I needed–but when it went as it always had–I found myself losing a bit more respect for myself–though I felt so much better. Feeling better was what allowed me to finally make better choices–but not before I gave others choices they didn’t deserve and I found myself right back where I started–this neverending cycle of me bashing my face against walls.

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Earlier today, I watched this tarot thing on YouTube because of the whole Saturn conjunction thing. I’ve gotten into tarot a lot this year, out of some way of tapping into my intuition. It’s been part of a whole course of things I’ve tried to feel things because I felt my brain shutting shit down. So, I’d go on road trips so I could smell the ocean and forests. I’d sign up for virtual meetups. I’d take workshops. I’d dance any which way I wanted. I ate whatever the Hell I wanted too. A few weeks ago, I started writing in a journal–physically writing up exercises I concocted or finding them. I started meditating and doing whatever I could to tap into my own wisdom and move the energy. But a few weeks ago, I sort of stopped that. It happened when I stopped that torturous friendship and when I met someone new. I stopped even bothering to get up and do things. I gave myself full permission to eat all the sugar and sleep in all day. The household chores would wait. Granted–I WAS injured and also had a bad sinus infection–but this was a pattern. I recognize it now–but even though I knew I was off–I couldn’t drag myself away from doing it. I realize now that I was punishing myself for giving up. For choosing something that made me happier.

Anyway, the tarot thing today was spot-on. Warned about something I’ve suspected and called out my part of the nonsense. And I realized something about this year. This year has been the Universe testing me…who are you, really? Are you the girl you’ve always been–the girl you say you don’t want to be–the girl you don’t respect? Or are you the woman you’re claiming? The one everyone else thinks you are? The one that all your dreams and hopes require you be? And that is what has kept me stuck. That same girl who dropped everything to feel something? She’s what I’m afraid of. Because if I really am that girl–I can’t do anything of those things.

Here’s the thing, though–something I’ve learned after boatloads of therapy…that girl I dislike so much–that girl I don’t respect…the one who is pathetically allowing this shit to continue when she has full power to stop it? Like it or not, there will always be a part of me that IS her. And I can’t bully her away. I can’t will her out of existence. That’s been me this whole year–trying so hard to be “good.” To manage her–I have to let her feel all the damn feelings. I have to let her make the dumbass mistakes. I have to self-destruct a bit, sometimes, too. I have to love her and value her–because she isn’t all bad. She’s the hopeless romantic who never gives up. She’s the nurturing caretaker. She’s fun AF. But she can’t take over because she’s not who I’m becoming. She can’t be where I live. But to do that–I have to allow her to exist–but make it safe for her to exist. Meaning–she can be all those things–but only for the right people. And the right people will love her too. So I have to listen to her–acknowledge her–give her managed bits of what she needs–and then take back my power–because I don’t live there anymore. Because I don’t want to. And that’s not my path. It was a path that was chosen for me. And it’s time to make better choices.

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My Mama and my Daddy loved each other. Of this, I have no doubt. And in some ways, they were good for each other. But she always felt he saved her, when–in fact–she saved herself. He just threatened to leave. He just gave her an ultimatum. The whole drama triangle is alive and well in their story. The codependent dance I learned so well–and the one I’ve recreated my entire life–in almost all my love relationships.

But never once was I fully me in any of those relationships. And coincidentally–I never once felt actually loved. Which makes sense, I guess, because I was never me. I was always some watered down version. Some crafted person. Some thing I thought they needed or wanted or expected. Some stereotype of who I thought I was. Never ever fully me.

I never respected my mother in love. I respected her in her life–as the strongest–best woman I knew. But in love, she was stupid–she was lesser. She showed none of the strength or the backbone I admired so much. And I vowed to never be her. And yet–just like her–I’ve dated people with addictions–men who cheated and lied–men who needed me to be less than. Men who avoided. And I’ve been that dumb fucking girl who keeps going back.

But it started breaking this year–even as I repeated that codependent nonsense of all the shit I’ve always been. It started breaking with my ex. Even though I let him come back–I didn’t make it easy. Even though I wanted to hate him–I didn’t shut down. I opened up–I accepted him instead of trying to change him. And I showed the fuck up–being vulnerable in ways I never had–maybe foolishly–but he knew me. Maybe better than anyone ever has–and maybe that’s why I kept letting him. Convincing myself it was something about him, when–really–it was something about me.

Maybe I opened up because I finally knew myself. Maybe I finally accepted myself. Maybe I finally owned all of it–the good and the bad and the shit I hated.

With the near miss–same–only opposite. I didn’t accept that my experience of him had to be my experience. And yes–that made me stubbornly disbelieve he was that person–but it also meant I spoke up–loudly–when I was mistreated. I didn’t let it go. I didn’t jump on the grenade. I walked away often–I just didn’t stay away. Until now.

I’ve somehow managed to stay away from these people who baffled me all year. These people who I connected with because I was more connected with myself. And I’m realizing that it was never about them. They were never the point.

Lately, I’ve been getting to know someone–and for once in my life–I feel like me. Not because I’m trying to impress or trying to make something be something. But because the me I am now bubbles out–even when I’m off-kilter and flailing in the life I’m fighting so hard to live. Maybe all of it is me.

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