I’ve always bounced back. From every knock I’ve ever experienced, I’ve found a way to reflect, rebuild and go again.
My Psych on Wednesday was pretty hard. He pushed me to recall really difficult stuff, he challenged my thinking, my self-esteem, my perception. Considering it was the second day after we said “in a bit” to our Mark, I have spent the last few days really struggling. Where was the compassion, where was the softness, where was the kindness?
I have resorted to my default protection position; lock myself away. I’m rolling my own eyes just typing this. How have I let this happen again? I’m annoyed with myself. And still really angry. I’ve failed again. At least, that’s how I feel; it’s my perception, it’s my reality, so therefore it’s true, right?
What “Hard-Ass Psych” enabled me to see on Wednesday was that, given the last 25 years and specifically the last 2, I have been able to develop strategies that ensure I overcome the hardest of times. How have I learned these and developed them so sufficiently that I have always bounced back?
Stubbornness, mainly, because I had the will to not give up and prove people right, but I’ve also been blessed to have accessed epic therapy over the years. I’ve always been totally open and transparent about what I feel and what I experience, perhaps a little too much, and that makes me vulnerable. My belief is that through vulnerability comes openness, improved communication, hope, support, a deeper understanding of what makes us human and kindness. So much kindness. The sheer will to do good by others, simply, by being kind. Being true to you. That has served me well, until now.
Yes, my current situation is hard. In fact, it’s much bigger than that. It’s absofuckinglutely brutal but I’ve allowed myself to focus on so many negative life experiences, the vast majority within the last 12 months, and it’s eating away at me. I have sat here for the last couple of days, Mark next to me, in a deep depression. That’s OK, it’s a shit time and I’m allowed to feel like this. I don’t want to, but I’m giving myself time to just be and to just feel whatever is there.
What I should not allow my mind to do is fuck with me. “Hard-Ass” helped me to appreciate that my thinking perpetuates my feelings, resulting in physical symptoms, affecting behaviour, which feeds the thinking again. Standard Psych 101. Yes, my situation is, politely, a shocker, but I’m not alone. There are so many people going through stuff, not comparable even when it’s kind of the same.
I think of what’s happened to me, to our family, and I feel lost and lonely, layered with sadness and guilt and shame and embarrassment and anger. The list goes on. That is my permitted reality. I’m allowing them to be the only things I’m feeling because of what I’m thinking about.
When I truly reflect, I’ve realised that I’ve allowed my thoughts to focus only on the shit. The actual reality is that there is so much more going on “up there” but I’m not allowing the good stuff to fight through and get to the front, keeping it at the back of the queue, if you will.
I know somewhere back there is a deep gratefulness and joy and appreciation with laughter and love and hope and kindness chucked in for good measure. I need to open the door and invite that stuff to come through, too.
Life can be really cruel. It’s not personal, although I’ll seriously be having some words with the Universe after my light goes out. We have the ability, not to necessarily control what we feel, but to allow a balanced reality to present itself. That then becomes our whole truth.
“Hard-Ass” did leave me with some words of wisdom which I have pondered upon:
“Experience is not what happens to a person, it is what a person does with what has happened to them. It is a gift for dealing with the accidents of existence, not the accidents themselves”.
So, what now? Fuck knows. It’s going to take a whole bunch of time for me, and our family, to learn to live without Mark and for me to process and deal with the “other stuff”.
I have heard from so many people who have lost partners, Wives, Husbands, and they tell me it doesn’t get any easier, but you find a way to get through a day, a week, a month, a year and, before you know it, 10 years. It still hurts, I’m assured, but it is possible to shape a different life, and one in which you can feel a little like the old you again. A life which enables joy and laughter and happiness and, possibly, love again.
I’ve had messages from many people who don’t know what to say but have just said “I’m so sorry” or “I’m here”, sending love, well wishes, offering support and just generally being ace humans. Nothing more. Some of these people I don’t even know. How kind is that? That means so much to me, to our family.
The sad part is there are many people who haven’t contacted me or our family. I’ve dwelled far too much on that and it hasn’t helped how I feel, my wellbeing and, therefore, my behaviour. What’s the kindest thing I can do? For me, I need to let it go. The alternative is to go all Liam Neeson, metaphorically obvs. Just because I believe in being kind and being there for people, I have learned that not everyone, even if they talk a good game, truly live that way.
A little kindness really does go a long way. Look around you. Who would benefit from a little of your kindness right now?