Hey all, can you believe it’s been two weeks since I’ve told y’all about my emotions? I know you are all desperately waiting to hear how I’ve been holding up since my last blog. You know, the one where I was an anxious hot mess. Yeah, that one. Well good news, I am doing FABULOUS now. I know that sounded a little sarcastic, but I am being completely truthful with y’all- as always.
The real question though, is how did I go from an anxious hot mess back to a confident boss babe in a matter of two weeks. Well, I am sure I can attribute it to a lot of things, but I would say the number one contributing factor was *drum roll* LISTENING AND TRUSTING MYSELF.
After my last big relationship, I had a really hard time believing myself. I was convinced that I didn’t know anything and that I could not, under any circumstance, listen to my instincts. That, my friends, is the result of being lied to by people you love and trust. Your internal meter for what is right and real gets twisted and begins to resemble The Persistence of Memory by Salvado Dalí. Reality just melts and it feels near impossible to get it back to its original shape.
This is the result of trauma.
Trauma bends our reality and alters our brain and, to be honest, f*cks sh*t up. So, how do we get them back to that original shape? How do we unf*ck sh*t up? Where is that place where a clock is a clock and there is no question about it? If you read my blog, you know what I am about to say… therapyyyy. You’re welcome. That is how we get reality back to its shape. We have a professional person guide us back to the spot where we trust our gut, where a clock looks like a clock and therefore is a clock.
My therapist guides me through my body, eyes closed, with full trust in her and in myself. After my last post the first message that I listened to from myself was that I needed to speak with my therapist. I am not kidding. I posted my blog at 5 and then went to therapy at 6. Before I had a therapist I would convince myself I was fine. I wouldn’t listen when my body was literally pouring out tears uncontrollably or my brain was saying things like “nobody loves you”. I didn’t listen when I would eat until it hurt to avoid feeling anything else. Once I started listening to myself, all the pain I felt was still there, but it was healable. That pain was no longer an abstract, never-ending “this is just how I feel and I can’t change it” part of myself. You can only heal when you know what you are trying to heal.
So, let’s circle back to that session of healing and how I got back to feeling stable. I fired up my laptop, hit the FaceTime button, and waited for my therapist to answer. I could feel the anxiety coursing through my body as I sat on my floor with my laptop perched on my bed. By the end of the session the anxiety was minimized, near gone. She helped me release the ties I was holding so tightly to. It was a beautiful exercise in release and I encourage you to try it if my description resonates with you. I closed my eyes and she said “I want you to picture that relationship, the one that hurt you. Where can you feel it?” Without hesitation I saw a tight rope, thick and strong, tied so tightly to my heart it was strangling it. Each time it pumped, I could see the rope tighten. She wanted me to look at the memories that painted the rope. The good, the bad, the ugly; see the rope connected to that person. Then, she wanted me to cut it.
I hesitated. I couldn’t cut it. I wasn’t ready. I was sobbing, not quite sure that I knew how to be without this part of myself. I was scared that letting go of that pain meant moving on and moving on meant finding someone new; scared because I didn’t know what any of that truly looked like. In the calmest of voices she said “only when you are ready Sarah.” And then the most beautiful healing imagery appeared:
She grabbed my hand and whispered ‘we could cut it together.’ That little face of mine, with big dreams, staring up at me just wanting us to be happy. My sobbing slowed as we picked up the pair of golden scissors together. I squeezed her hand as I began to cut into the thick rope. It didn’t budge at first and I looked down at her again and she looked up at me as if to say “keep going” and I did. I cut again and again and again. Each cut made the rope fray ever so slightly. Then it happened, as if I was watching my own cartoon version of what I was doing, the rope slid to the floor, his end back to him and my end back to me and my heart started to glow like the sun. I didn’t realize I had been holding my breath until the rope broke free and I took a huge gasp of air. It almost felt like I had been holding my breath for the last two years. I opened my eyes and saw my therapist looking back at me. She said “I am so proud of you.” Those words again, setting me free. I said I wasn’t sure if I was ready to do it and she interrupted me and said “Sarah, if you weren’t ready to, we wouldn’t have done it.” That was the power of listening to myself- knowing when I’m ready to let go, ready to heal. Just as important as knowing when I am not ready.
So, I spent the last two weeks remaining in tune with myself. I took a break, I ran away with me for the summer. I did not go upstate though, I went to Wisconsin. (Solid Hamilton reference in case you missed it.) I rented a car, drove 14 hours there and 14 hours back, got a COVID test before and after, and was able to be in tune with myself. My wants and needs were met every inch of the way. I stopped everything that was giving me anxiety and I just lived. I took a break from this blog (not that this blog gives me anxiety, but I do feel the pressure of deadlines and wanting more people to read, etc.). I had dance parties in my kitchen with my roommate; I watched TV; I read a book; I took my antidepressant every day; I listened to me and trusted what I was hearing.
So, here I am refreshed. My head is clear and my heart is … free. Of course, it’s all a practice and I’ll forget to listen and/or trust myself again, but that’s what learning is all about. We fail and we try again and again and again until we no longer have to think about. Until listening and trusting myself is as second nature as obnoxiously quoting Hamilton is. And please remember, it is more than okay to fail and forget and to make mistakes. If we didn’t we would be robots and we wouldn’t have feelings and this blog would be meaningless.
Plus, without the mistakes I’ve made along the way, I’m not sure this blog would even exist. Scratch that, I know this blog wouldn’t exist.
into a vast sea of yourself.
deep, powerful, real.