I have started and stopped several blog posts here. I’m in this kinda weird middle space, the floundering around space of figuring out how this next bit works, how to be the person that owns the role I’m embarking upon. I’m changing, again.
I’ve been struggling with stress at work, changes at home, and an inner shifting and rearranging that is the discomfort of growing out of an old skin and into a new one.
These started and unfinished blog posts are evidence of my work to grasp this shift. It is not subtle and yet… it is not entirely tangible. Part of that is because I have realized that I am growing out of the role of survivor. It’s an identity I wore for a long time without knowing it; I hardly noticed I was a survivor, that I was surviving, that I was moving through these incredible trials of my life like it was no big thing and yet it was absolutely everything. Much of my life felt like it was bigger than me and yet I I had to climb it’s highest peaks anyway because the alternative would be to lay down and die. Truth, I did lay down a few times and hope for death but, second truth, one can only lay down and hope for passive death for so long. Eventually you have to be active which means make a choice; either do it yourself or do it yourself. And every time I chose to do my life, my self.
I kinda feel like I missed out on the chest thumping and fist pumping and yelling out loud in the streets and the taking of ownership over being a survivor. I missed reveling in the power of claiming myself from victimhood and telling everyone about it. I was too busy being completely bewildered without really grasping why I felt so damn lost. Too busy ignoring the thing that was so firmly in my way.
Part of me wishes I had started this blog 2 or 3 or more years ago. Part of me wishes I had invited you all on that early part of my journey, when I finally turned around to look into the mirror that had been following me all that time, waiting patiently for my attention. I feel like… that was the juicy part. That’s really kinda silly though because all of it is the juicy part. And the fact is I started this blog a few weeks ago, not several years ago, so… here we are.
Almost on the other side of survivor.
I am really aware that there are still a lot of people who hold that identity so near to their hearts. I’m really aware that I am still tangled in survivorship. Survivor is an identity of being a champion and y’know, it is still a part of my identity. It’s the part of me I call upon when I have hard things to do and I don’t seem to have the gumption to just love myself through it. However “survivor” is growing too small. It is too narrow an identity to fit all of me in. It’s a sliver of space compared to the vastness I am growing into. It is not a place of love; not for me, not anymore. And a place of love for myself is where I am going, is what I am growing into.
Like yesterday. I had a hard thing to do. It was a hard thing I’d been needing to do for probably a few months but, because I got so good at ignoring being a survivor and thus, ignoring the monumental tasks I floundered my way through, and ignoring all the messages my body and heart and mind tried to tell me about the tasks I had to do, I didn’t do the hard thing I had to do for several weeks (a few months, really) until just last Wednesday. 2 days ago. I had to have a hard conversation with my boss. I had to tell him how I was feeling. How the conversations with him left me frozen with anxiety and then horribly disappointed in myself for not saying the things I needed to say or falling into “please and appease” mode whenever I did say the things I needed to say. Especially if they were things I knew he didn’t want to hear, didn’t like to hear or would be upset by.
So I stalled and hummed and hawed and waited and paced and finally found myself in the bathroom looking into my own eyes in the mirror. And I just stood there and remembered a video I’d watched earlier in the day. In it the woman spoke about a self love exercise she had been recommended to practice. To place your hands on your body and say I love you. She said it was powerful for her and in that moment I thought oh why not? I looked into my eyes, into the pupils. They are just little dark holes behind which a bunch of nerves and brain junk interpret wave lengths of light bouncing off of the world and into these little portals. They are portals. Looking into my eyes I said “I’m going to take care of you. Because I do love you.”
And then I thought to myself, well now I have to do it.
So I went into his office and told him what I needed. And then we had to talk again the next day when I just spilled it all. Cause I was feeling things and trying to keep them in had lead to anxiety and sleeplessness and feeling depressed and just blah. So I told him everything; I had some critiques for things that I saw him doing that I thought were errors, I told him that the way he had talked to me upset me, I told him that I felt like I was supposed to be happy and I wasn’t and I didn’t understand why until the night before. I laid it all out.
And you know? It was ok. I got what I needed out of it, I was heard and was able to say the things I needed to say and I was heard. But more importantly, I loved myself. I integrated being my own champion/survivor, with being my own lover, my own best friend.
Survivor is too small an identity to have, it is just a small part of all of me.
Next to me, my love is watching the movie Silver Linings Playbook. In it the character Tiffany says this: “There’s always gonna be a part of me that’s sloppy and dirty but I like that. with all the other parts of me. Can you say that? Can you forgive?”
The victim/survivor dichotomy is the sloppy dirty part of me. But right next to it is this new creature that is growing, this creature that loves me, that loves being me, that just can’t get enough of the whole damn messy beautiful puzzle.
This is what it means to be a survivor rising. Once just surviving, but now rising and soon… thriving.