Reckoning. Reconciling. Learning to trust again.
I wasn’t going to write tonight. Each time I had started to do so, I came up with nothing but feisty, unkind, passive aggressive wording, yet, here I am. Thanks to the love, prayers, positive energy and encouragement that surround me, I have decided to try to be brave and share my heart. Let’s hope I don’t regret it in the morning.
This is not a pretty post. Not at all. It’s kind of ugly and I just pray that I keep it about my experience and not someone else’s story. Whatever.
I am in the middle of learning some tough lessons. About myself, relationships, the difference between love and lust…so much. So fucking much. Lessons that I expect I ‘should’ have down by down at the ripe age of 46. I guess after being with one man for 23 years, I’m not joking when I say I am like a teenager at times and these growing pains are simply yuck.
My heart aches. Deeply. Every time I face rejection from a man, in any aspect, it’s like I bring into it a lifetime of rejection. It rapidly becomes all about everything I am not rather than about what the situation really is. Tonight, someone I am particularly fond and who has been precious (in my eyes) ‘defriended’ me on social media. Really. So familiar to what I hear my teenagers struggle with at times. I don’t even know why. It doesn’t matter. It stung and started a flood of tears that I can’t seem to stop.
An onslaught of failures, lies and struggles suck me in. Failed marriage. Poor choices. Less than. Never enough. Won’t happen. Negligent. Disorganized. Scattered. Settled for. Two faced. Fat. Broken. Messed up. Crazy. Damaged. Wounded. Stubborn. Less than, again. Optional. Disposable. Debris. Stupid. Boring. Too much. Not enough, again. Temporary. Unworthy. Plain. Short hair. Gross. Hurting. The list goes on.
Through it all, my mind keeps hearing the words of a dear friends prayer for me, along with a sermon that I have listened to numerous times lately. It’s all about the story we tell ourselves. We might tell ourselves something that is not necessarily a lie, but instead a twisted up version of the truth. It really pinged my heart because I know that I tend to live in the truth of my story instead of the truth of who God really made me to be….especially in regard to my relationships with men.
I am happily confident in my job, work hard in school, and adore my internship. I am a magnificent friend, the best Momma for my kids and try hard to fill my other roles with all the love, giving, compassion and care that I can give. Bottom line, I feel ‘good enough’ in these roles for the most part and when I don’t, I make changes accordingly. That’s one Sarah. She knows who she is and what she wants. She believes it is just as important to play hard as it is to work hard; she is not hesitant to go for what she wants.
Then…there is the Sarah who sees herself as disposable. She is seeking a real and deep love, a true connection with a gentleman that holds truth and freedom in it. She is looking for the hands that will hold her heart with love, gentleness and protection. She knows she has much to give BUT….this woman sees herself as a young girl who is overweight, awkward, painfully shy and unwanted. No matter how she ‘looks’ to others, and despite the way she works on positive changes…she mostly sees herself as someone broken, deeply lacking or undesirable. This feeling sucks. I know it’s not truth, but it ‘feels’ truthful in the moment and operating from that truth leads to a plethora of poor choices. Choices that disregard who I am at my core and what I hope for in this life. Choices that are made out of a fear of being without companionship. Choices that give a temporary band-aid to lonely feelings but absolutely do not result in long term fulfillment. Choices that are made because there is gratitude that someone desires me vs. knowing it is a privilege to have time with me.
I’m not speaking to intentional choices I make as a grown woman to participate in relationships that are fun, fulfilling in their own way and not long term. I am referring specifically to participating in relationships knowing full well that it won’t be what I want it to be, but choosing to believe I can change it to what I desire. I can BS myself like no other, but don’t worry, I speak the truth to others. So often that it gets me in trouble…not everyone wants that.
The story that I tell myself is that I will never find the love of my life, so I may as well enjoy whatever the moment offers. I will not ever be ‘the one’ to someone special, so I shall act accordingly. I’ve already had that, kind of, so God wants me to live the rest of my life alone and serving others. (I put those words to God, nothing I feel from him). I may as well go for the men who are not going to be long lasting, because in the end, they will leave. So why choose the ones I will really give my heart to? They too, will leave. Both will hurt but the latter will hurt far less. Choose the lesser of two evils, right? In the process, I am getting hurt and I am hurting others…unintentional as it may be. All of my protective forces are accomplishing nothing worth mentioning.
Who knows what of this is true and what is not? I know I am supposed to honor who I believe I am…a brave, worthy, happy, truly loved by God, whimsical, whole and surrendered woman. That is who I believe I was made to be, yet when I am engaging with men I am willing to trade that in for whatever they need me to be. That’s got to be better than what I really have to offer, right? Better even, let me serve as therapist and best friend ever, maybe even as a nurturing mom role. Ewwww. But it comes so natural.
A precious friend recently told me that “God made me and his work is always beautiful”. I love that friend and his heart. I want to believe his words. My heart agrees, it is beautiful…my brain taunts me by letting me know I’ll never measure up. But to who? How long am I going to let others opinion of me determine how I view myself. It’s ridiculous. Real stuff, but ridiculous.
I have a safety plan. Another dear friend and I have a ‘twenty year plan’. If neither of us are married at age 60, or in 20 years…we can marry each other. This is our little funny! In truth, I freak myself out. What if I die before then without experiencing the gift of a deep and abiding love with the ‘right’ man. I know…God’s timing…it’s just so hard for me to trust.
I am tired. I cannot believe I am ‘here’. There are new crinkles around my eyes and I see faint wrinkles on the delicate skin of my neck. I can’t seem to keep up with the fastness of passing time.
My precious children…lots of love and hugs from them tonight. That should be more than sufficient. Why do I long for anything more? I just do. Even in my deep gratitude, there is a constant yearning.
This is my story. I’m trying to figure out how to live in the truth of who I am…in ALL of the circumstances and with ALL of the people. I am trying to let go of the story I once helped me survive and embrace the story that is truth.
This is my honesty.
Oh mercy. Mercy, mercy, mercy, freaking mercy….I give.
Tonight has been unpretty. My beautiful daughter and I had an ugly word explosion in the car and in this moment, we are in our separate rooms working through our own muck. I hate it. i hate the separateness from my precious child. Speaking of ugly word explosions, they have become common between my beloved son and I. We seem to be constantly jolted by one another, and not in a positive way. Distance reigns. I want desperately to regain our closeness.
I don’t share any of this to “out” my children. They are teenagers and going through their own stuff. The abundance of pressures on them from their social networks, hormones, temptations and more are weighty on my 46 year old shoulders. God bless it….teenagering is just as tough as parenting sometimes. It’s a difficult season for all of us. They have been through alot and truly are amazing young people. I wonder how often I get caught up in their errors and forget what’s truly important. Considering the ease I have in getting absorbed in my own guilt, shame and errors…I’m guessing I do it with them all too often.
I get stuck thinking that the kids Dad and I have failed them. We divorced…not in the plan. We kinda quit raising them in church…not in the plan. I struggle financially….not in the plan. They are faced with all of the things I can’t protect them from….kind of not in the plan and if it was I was going to have prepared them better. I am sometimes so scattered and that can’t feel super safe to a kiddo who is searching for solidarity….not in the plan. It’s easy to feel like one big oops.
Are we suffering? Not in comparison to many. Are we operating out of hurt?…too often, yes.
And so it is….here we are with our growing pains. I heard a sermon in which the preacher spoke about tomatoes and the yummy, delightful, ripe juiciness they provide us after growing all summer on a vine. His point was that this little tomato made huge progress while it was only a tiny little seed in the dark. It was in fertile soil and when that tiny little seed had so much pressure from growing it burst…but the bursting led to the root and vine growth and eventually to that delectable tomato.
Right now, I can’t see everything on the outside and the inside feels horribly painful, sometimes I want to throw my hands in the air and say F it all. But…there is this tiny little part of me that knows better. Trying to hang on and maintain control, keeping us afloat…I guess that’s a decent option. Throwing my hands in the air and releasing this gob of goo that I’m holding onto so tightly would be best for us all.
“Give it to God”, they say. “Lean into it”, they say. “You are enough”, they say.
I’m trying to find my trust, It’s just super hard. Endless unknowns. Can I trust the outcome even though I’m walking in the dark? I pray His mercies are as abundant as my scattered spirit.
My kiddos and I ….just tiny little seeds going through some growing pains. We are gonna be alright.
There are occasions that I wish I could go back with my magic wand to erase certain points in time; there are other times that I’d like to go back and sprinkle more pixie dust where I previously restrained myself from doing so. As this post-divorce journey complete with the roller coaster of grief, healing and transformation progress, I am still at times surprised by my own strong emotional reactions.
My beloved Anais Nin so eloquently said, “Sometimes we reveal ourselves when we are least like ourselves.” There is intense applicable truth for me in this quote. Recently, I was retelling my precious Mother something I had done that left me full of regret and shame. She replied with, “Sarah Ann! That doesn’t even sound like you!” (She’s right, I know). In other instances, I have found myself jumping quicker into aspects of a relationship that I ‘normally’ would think to hold much more stringent boundaries around. This time, I scold myself…”Sarah! Gaaaa…this isn’t even you!” Hmmmm…is it not me or is it the me I have always restrained?
A dear friend mentioned “this version of me” in a conversation about this very topic. Initially, this was a struggle to understand. How can I be authentic and still a very different version of myself…what is real? We are always changing, ever evolving, consistently transforming, right? It seems the harder we resist change, the stronger change overtakes us. I guess it’s all about riding the wave but why is that so much easier to preach than to practice?
In the ongoing self study I am doing, there are absolutely new aspects of me that are emerging. I’ve decided that there is far more value in embracing and accepting myself than there is in trying to discern whether the aspects are truly new or just now being allowed to be present. In the multitude of errors I’ve been making, there are lessons (albeit painful), there is growth, and mostly…there is grace. I have to talk myself into the last one though.
HUGE valuable lessons I’ve received lately, they’ve been hard but in light of trusting the process and enjoying the journey, I’m doing the best I can to take accountability, apologize and move forward. There’s always that inner voice telling me to make things right for everyone else and it’s exhausting. One thing at a time, right?
- Sexual intimacy…no matter what I tell myself…changes the emotional attachment dynamic. When sexual intimacy occurs too early, it can decrease brain power and increase ideation….thus elevating the chances that inappropriate emotional reactivity will occur. Ugh.
- People will judge behaviors. Only God and I get to decide the best actions, thoughts and behaviors for me. Feedback is always appreciated and weighed carefully, but in the end, the one who will confront my inner conflict is me. So…thank you for caring enough to share, I promise to weigh it carefully. 🙂
- Dating is an adventure. There are friends to be made, things to learn about others and myself and tons of value in this season…but I still miss my family as it was and that is okay. Grief for a loss and celebration of new can absolutely walk hand in hand.
- Due to a chaotic childhood, I tend toward the ‘what if’s’ and control. Not control to control; rather to keep my world feeling safe. Not everyone (actually no one) is super appreciative of that…including me. Rather than constantly worrying about creating safety through control, I’m changing my definition of safety and remembering my God, who has me in His hands…that’s really the only safety assurance I need. (coming to terms…a process!)
- Just because I have a great imagination and may have determined exactly how something will play out does not make my determination accurate. As a matter of fact, following my imaginary scenario results in the aforementioned emotional reactivity which I strongly desire to move away from.
- I may have missed a few spectacular opportunities because of my own reactivity. I have embraced the icky lessons, asked forgiveness (from myself too), defined what I can do different next time and moved on with grace. I still hate myself a little bit for it though.
- Unrelated….the stroke has less power over me than it once did but still too much power. Working on that. Trying to replace my fear with constant faith and gratitude. Keeping my eyes and heart open…I am incredibly blessed and I know it.
“Sometimes we reveal ourselves when we are least like ourselves.” – Anais Nin It is remarkable what I have learned through the errors that are ‘so unlike me’.
Grateful in all things.