Healing is Messy: Step into the Arena

I am starting this post with, I am good and I’m in a good place. But, healing is messy and it is unattractive and it is an individual process, and as a result, can be quite shameful. Mental health still has a deeply ingrained stigma attached to it that is entirely unwarranted and socially unhealthy for us, people.

My perception of my childhood is that it was traumatic. I have resolved a lot of the deeper stuff, but every now and again, another layer becomes ready to be peeled off and I need to put the work in to do that. I’ve been doing this work on myself for thirty or so years.

I live a blessed life because I worked hard to create it. I’m a strong, wise, resilient and empowered woman because I do the work and own my truth.

I would love for it to be finished, but it isn’t.

Last weekend, I was at an intensive training weekend for tuning forks for my Diploma in Sound Healing. It unlocked another hurt that needed to be healed.

Healing is a process.

First, there was the unlocking of a deep hurt. I cried and cried and sobbed and ugly cried and then cried some more.

It took a few hours of just sitting in this teary grief before I felt an old anger pattern emerge. Anger that no one loves me, anger that no one reaches out, anger that I give so much to others and it never feels balanced or reciprocated or fair. Just plain pure unadulterated anger. Unreasonable, unfair, childlike and fully ego based and driven.

Then, well, then came the heaviness, the numbness, the desire to run away, the embarrassment, the shame, the fear that you’ve fucked your entire life up and scared everyone away because you are ungrateful for all that you do have and all the people you’ve shared time with throughout your life. And really, shouldn’t you be over this by now.

So, at this point, self care became important. For me, this means one breath at a time, and time for the soul to reconnect to source in nature. I did this yesterday. I left, breathing deeply again with a headache lol. But, balanced and calm.

This enabled me to work and to start sharing my energy again, in small doses with armour around my heart. Just the reality.

Back in this space, I can ask questions: what is the root cause of this grief, this recurring pattern, this destructive and intense emotional response?

The answers come. On the toilet this time.

Abandonment.

As a child, ideally, we feel supported and loved and safe and protected.

I didn’t feel this way.

The narrative I crafted for myself was that I wasn’t worthy of being held safely, I wasn’t valuable, I wasn’t good enough just as I was.

I give to receive. That’s the ugly truth of it. In recent times, I’ve shifted that motivation significantly and have surrendered a lot of that attachment to expectation, but obviously, not enough. I had never dig into the root cause, around it, sure, but not into its marrow.

The time has come for me to do just that.

From the abandonment fears, deeply connected to it, is a strong sense of betrayal and trust.

As I reflect to my miscarriage, I see these patterns and threads weaving together. As I reflect on the Investigation, again, these threads interweave. Now, my life is ready to do the deep soul work to correct and rebalance this imbalanced perception.

Before I could do that though, I needed to relive it one more time, out of a crisis situation, that I could understand it without the immediate intensity of emotion.

I share my journey because I think it’s important that we all share our stories to heal, not just for ourselves, but for past generations and for our world.

We don’t talk about the darkness and heaviness in ourselves and our world enough. We hide in it. And we do this because too many people don’t understand it. And we are scared of being labelled or stigmatized it judged.

A very well intentioned friend said that I was better than this. I’m human. I’m a work in progress. I have many layers and many faces. My strength in spirit comes from me standing in my truth. I still feel the shame of this though. I acknowledge it and tell it to fuck off because I think more positive comes from me doing this, than from hiding it. Time might prove me wrong. But I don’t believe so.

My truth isn’t always tidy; it’s very often a very messy conglomeration of different things. It takes courage to be real in a world where real seems to be a dirty word. I own my trauma and I own the impact. I’ve lost good people from my life as a result of my messy truth; I am an acquired taste and I can be intense. I can be mean and bitchy and ego driven. I can be selfless and wise and so loving.

I am all.

And I make no apology for that.

Being A Girl

When did being a girl become such a bad thing again?

A friend posted the ‘Like A Girl’ video this morning. It’s been years since I watched it. I had a cry. Even I use language that is derogatory to girls or the perception of girls. And women. What the.

Why do I think that’s okay? Why am I not more conscious about the impact of my language?

I’m happy to be a woman. Proud to be me.

I’m soft. I’m fierce. I can defend myself. I can shower the world in love. I’ve been battered and bruised. I’ve risen. I am everything in one body, one soul. I’ve battled demons and triumphed. I’ve cried, raged and laughed. I’m funny. I’m smart. I’m beautiful. I’m me.

This past three weeks has been full on for my brain and heart. I have chosen to surrender my life to service, whatever that may look like. Whatever fulfills my life’s purpose, I am open to doing. I have no real idea what this will look like, but I’m open and I’ve surrendered.

I am saying yes to opportunities that sit right. And that’s about it. That’s all I can do in surrender. I am trusting that I will he guided to what serves me and the greater good, and I’m dismantling old ways of being and outdated patterns.

And, I’m a girl.

In so many ways, a blessing only.

I can cry and emote and gush, without judgement. I can get angry and scream, without judgement. I can be intelligent and carve my own path, surround myself only with support, and be impervious to judgement. I can be and do and choose whatever I want to be, do and choose.

I am strong – I’ve weathered many storms. I am not angry or bitter or twisted. I love, and I love fiercely, with all that I have. I choose peace over war, when war would sometimes be easier. I choose learning over staying ignorant, when ignorance can be blissful because it requires nothing from us to be. I choose me over others, because I am strong and worthy of all that is good in this life, in this realm, on this Earth.

I am strong. And, I am girl. Woman. Lady. Witch. Sister. Daughter. Aunt. I am me.

Out of the Darkness

Intense past month or so for me. And many others, I know, I feel you.

I have been (and am) in a massive place of transition at the moment. I can feel it – it’s like I’m lost, utterly lost, but know I need to feel that way to be able to shed and leave behind everything that no longer serves me.

As many of you know, I once thought (and for a very long time) that I wasn’t worth very much and I was pretty much an ugly duckling. I’ve had a recent lesson that has supported me in owning and accepting my worth and my beauty (in and out).

I finally believe that I am worthy and deserving to be my best self and have people around me who are striving to create a beautiful inner and outer world for themselves and others.

I feel like I have developed, through the darkness, a stronger sense of why I am here. It’s a little scary – not in achieving it, but in the machinations of how to achieve it.

I have a vision for this world.

A unity and community borne of, and from, love, as well as a deep connection arising from our collective similarities rather than our differences. I believe it is achievable. And I believe the way to get there is through collective healing.

I’ve had to step back from my normal lifestyle to regenerate and repair my energy. At the end of last term, I was completely exhausted – physically, emotionally and at a deep soul level. I tend to give a lot of energy out. All. Of. The. Time.

I have slowed down. I am realising that too much work brings money in, and takes happiness and fulfillment out. For me, in this moment. Money is great. I’m not knocking it. I’m just not wholly fulfilled earning it the way that I am. So, I’ve started pulling back from that. If I don’t believe I am serving people well, I need to step out. It’s hard, but necessary.

I have also realised that I am worthy of a deep and profound love. I do second guess it a bit, but in my core, I am worthy.

I have chatted to a couple of people over the last couple of days, overwhelmed that people can see me as amazing when I’m just being me.

I’ve been me my whole life, and have never been regarded with as much enthusiasm and validation as I have since India in November of 2016. Just recently, it has amped up even more.

My healing intentions for the world are being supported and people are ‘impressed’ by me. Freaks me out. Little girl lost is finding herself. I wish that for everyone.

I’m ready to evolve. Ascending higher. I know that won’t be solitary work. And it will be fraught with challenges for me to learn and grow from. But, I’m learning that there is a larger plan, that I need to be patient, that everyone who enters my life enters to teach me something, and that not everyone is here to stay. And, that’s okay.

A little lost still. Reread a book today and finished another book. Peaceful, but a little lonely. An interesting feeling for me because it’s a foreign feeling. I also feel raw, open and exceptionally vulnerable. Yet, I blog. I’m such a weirdo.

I am grateful for this darker period. I am grateful for the light occasionally flickering to remind me it is temporary. I am grateful for the deep connections I am able to build with people. I am grateful that I have courage. I am grateful that I am me. I am grateful for growth. I am grateful for pain. I am grateful for loveliness. All serve to remind me of where I have come from and where I am.

A Valuable Lesson

I’m back to being self-absorbed (am I ever not 🤔). I cried a lot yesterday. I felt very sorry for myself in parts. Sorry for others in the other parts. I woke up this morning after a long sleep, feeling like I’d been hit by a bus and rolled over by a truck.

No surprises there. When I’m sad, I become self-destructive in the sense that I start to have very high expectations of those around me. So high, that no one can reach them or come close to fulfilling them. The soul sisters had messaged me. They were both awake, with time, and we could unpack the purpose of the shadow self.

I knew there were old behaviour and emotion patterns that needed to be broken, and were so presenting themselves AGAIN. They have reared their heads now because I am in transition and they will not serve me in my next phase. I needed to acknowledge them, wrestle with them, speak to them, and ultimately, love and release them.

Healing work takes time, and I’ve realised, with such busy lives, we don’t tend to make time for it. I used to a lot more than I do now. Ironically, running a healing business takes my time. I grin wryly and shake my head at the folly that is human.

I gave myself permission to not feel guilt when I cancelled my plans today. When the guilt rises, I let it know that it’s okay that today, we put our needs first. And it is okay, even though I feel like I’ve been doing it a hell of a lot, too much, in recent weeks. Then, I chat to my shame and I let it know that it’s okay, we are in transition and we are growing and that causes disruption.

It’s important to walk the talk. I preach at others to do what they need. When they present excuses, I am firm. It is more than okay that I make myself do what I tell others to do because I know it works. So, I have.

Off to Bunnings to grab a few final touches for my meditation space. I realised that just being near the plants released stick parts of myself, so on the way home, I explored roads I’ve never been down (I did think they lead somewhere different, but it didn’t matter that they didn’t go where I thought they would).

Words kept going through my head – you have to become lost to find yourself.

A constant mantra as, mesmerised, I stopped the car to be mindful of and to where I was. I expressed gratitude and kept going, stopping every fifty or so metres to acknowledge the different sights, sounds and feelings.

I was free. I was empowered. I was present.

After hitting the car’s undercarriage on a rock, I was forced to turn around and head back to a road I knew.

I live very close to a national park. It’s one of my soothing places. I don’t go there enough. I’m scared of being raped and murdered and no one finding the body because I’ve turned location settings off on my phone. I know. Welcome to my brain. Residue from childhood trauma.

Today, though, I turned right without hesitation and started the descent to the dried out lake beds.

I love water and I am devastated that there is no water in the lakes anymore (thank you, fracking). However, the bush is still there, and it soothes my soul almost as much as water does. Well, today it did that and more.

There were people eating lunch and I’m avoiding humans to the best of my ability, so I decided to walk down a walking track – just a little way.

Oh my. Forget your pain. Forget your self-obsession. Forget everything. Just be.

I started to feel inspired. Ideas for workshops started to crystallise. Directions became clear. My spirit strength gushed back through my veins and arteries, exploding my heart.

I only felt mildly concerned when some guys on trail bikes were at the head of the path and the other picnickers had gone. I don’t think males appreciate how vulnerable females can feel.

I started the journey home. I felt lighter.

And then, the purpose to the misery yesterday revealed itself. Funnily, I had to feel, really feel, something I believe and something I always say, to the extent it’s the byline for both of my businesses – empower yourself.

Healing is a solo journey. Healers hold space so that you are safe as you journey your healing path. But, ultimately, healing is a solo endeavour. And, it’s scary to do it alone.

I think it’s human nature to want someone else to hold you, to save you, to do the work. To be there, even just to listen and to hold your hand. I also think that that doesn’t really help you brave the healing wilderness and come out the other side, more whole than when you started.

This is MY life. I am responsible for it. I, and only I, am responsible for it. I make choices, as an adult, that dictate my days and my life. I need to walk the path alone so that I can be mindful of everything I experience along the way. Other people can offer their wisdom and their support, but ultimately, I need to do the work to attain my own wisdom.

Personal responsibility and empowering the self.

I know what makes me feel peaceful. It’s nature. When I’m out of balance, and I know when I am, I need to go into nature. But, so often, too often, I don’t. I put the needs of others and my ‘responsibilities’ first. I have dozens of excuses to not do what my soul cries for.

And I face the consequences for not listening.

I am worthy of giving to myself first. Just as you are. In fact, it’s my core responsibility. Without fulfilling it, I am less able to do the things I choose to do for others.

Healed. Lol. Thank you, kind old tree.

Death is a Profound Teacher

I have been to too many funerals. Definitely too many funerals for people who died before old age. Death is an amazing teacher. Like all classrooms though, we don’t all choose to learn the lessons.

Today, a group of broken people gathered to remember and celebrate the life of a beautiful human being. Belinda and I sat and stood together, as we always have, and we supported ‘our babies’ and each other in our collective grief.

Trae’s death has impacted me beyond – I am not sure why. Love is love. Bel suggested it’s because this group of kids is the last group that we had such a strong connection to. We both taught 8E and we shared stories and jokes and learning. So many of that class are no longer at school. One, no longer alive.

Meh. I am writing this out so often because I don’t know how to talk about it. I can’t find the spoken words. I’ve turned to my faith to try to make sense if it, and I can.

Death teaches us.

When my friend, Natalie, died, I vowed to live my best life because her life ended way too soon. I wanted to honour the gift that my life is, that each of our lives is. I still think of Nat every day. Every day without fail. And I love that. She drives me.

I also think of all of the people I love every day. I carry them with me, even when I can’t see them for loooong periods of time. I feel blessed to be able to love so many people. To have known so many people. To have shared life with so many people.

Death has taught me that even a long life, is really a short life. Our time in this body, in this incarnation, with these people as we see and know them, is short. Some, a lot shorter than others.

We all have choices to make; I choose life.

It’s often the seemingly insignificant and routine things that are the hardest to let go of. Trae’s brother, whom he lived with, spoke beautifully today, remembering the dumb shit that brothers do that in the day to day, means nothing really, but ultimately, means everything.

Everyone that spoke, touched on these things. The memories that make the loss of Trae significant. We are all that for someone. We touch people’s lives, often in ways we never fully appreciate.

One of our beautiful kids humbled us by being her authentic self today. I’m so proud of her. She’s had a tough life. She knows where she’s at, even though she’s not always sure, and she knows she has a long path ahead of her to heal her childhood trauma, but she’s walking it, every day.

The trust kids hold for adults they connect with never fails to humble me. Being a teacher to so many kids has truly been a great blessing in my life. I truly do hope they know and believe how very very much I love them and how significantly they have imprinted on my soul.

There is more that connects us, than divides us. Sometimes we struggle to see that. And when someone so well loved dies, it is easy to look for someone to blame, someone who can be responsible, someone we can take our extreme feelings of loss out on, to unleash the anger and the pain and sometimes, the misplaced guilt.

The thing though, is that Trae wouldn’t want division. He wouldn’t want his death to be responsible for more unnecessary pain. When people die, we need to honour their life and their impact by living our best lives and being our best selves. This is what death teaches us.

There are broken young adults en masse today. I hope they find peace. I love them. I always have and I always will. I hope they feel that and truly know that. I miss those connections; would be lying if I said otherwise. Like all parents, I want them to live long and happy lives, but ultimately, that choice to do so is their choice, and their choice alone.

If only cotton wool was sold in massive bulk.

Meh.

Until we meet again, Trae. You were a gorgeous kid. Thank you for being my student and being a great kid. I wish I’d told you more.

Healing is Hard

I am in a slump, spiralling down into the hole.

The difference this time is that I am mindful and have been mindful and am doing what I need to do.

I could feel and see it coming. I was tired, like soul tired; I had nothing left to give. I became impatient. It was harder to stay in balance. I just wanted to hide away. I got sick and couldn’t shake it. I had no patience for other people who’s experiences are mirroring mine – no one likes a mirror on a bad day.

I started to self care. I cancelled appointments, but I explained why. I have said no. I have been careful to not over commit. I have had a lot of silence. I have been really honest with myself about where I am at.

I know this transition is temporary. I know my body, mind and spirit need time out to process all of the changes I have made to my life in the last twelve months. I need to process who this new identity is. And I need time to really love her, for all that she is. She’s pretty darn amazing and quite a beautiful person. I’m happy to be her.

Massive growth right there.

I think when we’ve experienced trauma (and I did this for more years than I can count and feel blessed that people have stayed with me), it is easy to feel like the world owes us something. It is easy to blame other people for not getting it and for not trying to get it.

The impact of trauma really changes the way your brain is wired. A traumatised brain doesn’t see the world the way a healthy brain does. Everything is personal – everything. It is a horrible way to live. It keeps you victimised. It doesn’t permit happiness or stability.

During my tapping class last night, I was triggered by what we were doing – playing it small in life. I had a flashback to a moment in childhood. The word uncertainty kept popping into my head.

I was uncertain I would be safe, uncertain I would be cared for, uncertain that I would be okay.

I was safe, I was taken care of and I was okay in this moment.

However, that loss of certainty because of the trauma I endured has lead my life. It has kept me small – the what if question was always framed negatively. Now, I am rewriting it positively. Or need to.

Because I am not that child anymore. I am a strong, resilient, empowered woman with a strong voice and a massive heart who doesn’t tolerate bullshit.

As children, we didn’t have choice, or control, or the knowledge that we were going to be okay.

As adults, we do. As adults, we create our lives through our choices.

I think it is easier to stay where you are safe, as a victim living in the trauma, but it keeps you small and none of us were destined to be small.

As adults, we can change what we aren’t happy with. We can move through and alter patterns. We can own our own shit. And we need to. If you aren’t happy, be honest with yourself, step out of the victim mentality, and own your healing.

Empower yourself.

You are worth that effort.

Unsettled

This doesn’t happen often anymore very much at all. I’m going to own it though now that it has happened.

I’ve woken up with a head heavy with swirling thoughts. I think one of my friends sensed the downward spiral starting yesterday because they randomly asked if I were okay.

I was – mostly – I have been sick and have pushed through except for Tuesday when I cancelled all of the clients I remembered (a sign in itself) and slept through the afternoon.

I’m exhausted. It’s been a big start to the year and feels like December already. The term is almost done, and I decided to write the bloody trauma book lol. It triggered my process last week. This week the process has triggered something.

I dreamed of sexual abuse last night. I can’t remember the dreams. I was not the abused. I feel that. Meh.

I knew the book would be difficult to write. And I know I’ll be okay. I’ll work through whatever this is.

I have already stood on the grass to ground myself. I’m going to do some body groove and I’m going to do a grounding mantra I learned at yoga yesterday.

Once my brain is ready to release whatever emotion it is processing, I’ll work through that too.

Childhood trauma is the gift that keeps giving. Like IVF lol.

Memories, feelings, stuff can come up at any time and knock you. And that’s okay when you have a self-care strategy. I do – years in the making to deal with these times. I won’t slide deep. I know what to do. And I’ll take the time I need to do it by saying no more often.

I’ve got this. You’ve got this. We’ve all got this.

A Healthy Ego v Arrogance

I was chatting to one of my sister tribe this morning. I’ve said a hundred times before that whilst I was a teacher, I became used to keeping myself small. I was safe there, being small, working within the parameters I was given by an institution. It suited me to not expect very much from myself. I was scared of so much.

It took me fifteen years to acknowledge to myself and then to others that I was an amazing teacher. I still am.

I build amazing relationships with my students and I work from a place of love. And, I myself, am a lifelong learner. Education is holistic – it involves significantly more than delivering content and enabling skills.

I am now developing into an amazing business woman, but I am a work in progress and wouldn’t have come this far in my businesses without the help of four women specifically ~ Karyn, Donna, Mai Mai and Michelle.

And then, wouldn’t be here without the support of my family and extended family ~ people who love me and support me through the every day. I may not see them often, definitely not as much as I want to, but they are in my heart every day and I know they are in my corner which enables me to keep moving forward.

I am humble in my arrogance. Hehe. And I will never allow myself to be small again.

In our society, as women, we believe (are taught) that to stand in our truth, the truth of who we are, and express what we are good at, what we have achieved, what we can achieve, what we have done, is wrong.

It isn’t.

There is a distinct difference between a healthy ego and arrogance.

We should be able to speak our truth. We should be encouraged to speak our truth. We should stand proud when we speak our truth.

I’ve worked fucking hard in my life and on myself to be the strong resilient woman that I am. I have had very low lows and some amazing highs. I’ve lived a full life of extremes and of balance. I’ve weathered storms and basked in sunlight. I’ve had it all. I’m proud of myself.

Every day, I wake up, blessed (and bloody tired lol) and ready to serve. Every day, I am grateful for all that I have and all that I am. Every day, I take steps towards achieving the life I want to live, and every day, I live the life I want to live.

I own this. I own me.

If you call me arrogant, I ask you to look within yourself and ask where that need to judge comes from. If you think you shouldn’t own the best in you, ask who is keeping you small and who that serves.

Me being amazing does not diminish your amazing-ness. There is enough light in this world for us all to shine.

Today, mentally, vocally, in writing, List the qualities, the things, that make you amazing. And then, stand proud in your truth.

We are phenomenal people.

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A War Within Yourself

I think one of the hardest parts in resolving trauma, in particular childhood trauma, is that it is a long process. A looooong process.

The journey for me, has spanned decades. I had to go through every uncomfortable thing I did to get to health, and I’m still getting there.

Through my twenties and thirties and early forties, I struggled to manage depression. I engaged suicidal thoughts too much and was a roller coaster of irrational emotions.

I endured an inner blood curdling scream for over twenty years. I never felt in control and I never felt worthy of good things. I sabotaged friendships and potential good relationships all of the time. I was almost happy being unhappy, but not.

My mid forties has been a reckoning for me. I’ve learned so much about myself, about the healing process, and about managing our pain.

Two things have to be present for healing to take place:

1. The desire to heal.

2. The right time.

You might scoff at both. You might say, No one wants to be unhappy.

You are wrong. It’s not that people want to be unhappy, but they have become safe in that place and pain has become their identity. Breaking through that requires a great deal of work.

I encounter people all of the time who say they want things to change, they want to heal, but they are stuck where they are and unwilling to take any steps away from the safety of where they are.

I get that. It sounds harsh of me, but it’s true. Sometimes, in our head, where we are and what we know feels safer than the unknown. Feels safer than risking it and failing.

The worst thing we can do though, is stagnate, not move, die where we are. You don’t want that.

And yes, the second we have little control over.

I have had opportunities my whole life to heal. Most I’ve taken, some I have not.

What I know for sure is that if we don’t listen to the whispers of intuition we get that we need to change something, our lives will eventually crash around us and force us to take action.

That’s what happened to me in 2016. I had been too scared, too stuck in the fear of life outside of teaching, that I had not left. As a result, investigation for almost a whole year.

Now, I’m grateful for every second of the torment and anxiety and life as it was.

The Phoenix rose.

Because of that, because of the psychological and emotional healing, I’m now ready to manage my weight effectively. The last frontier for my healing journey.

After this, it will become a journey of maintaining mental, emotional and physical health whilst I grow spiritually and intellectually.

I’m excited.

Healing takes a lot of work and a lot of time, but it’s worth it. Every tear, every breakdown, every second.

Boundaries After Childhood Trauma

A difficult post to write and to own; cuts to the heart of vulnerability and shame for me. I’ve been writing it in my head and processing the truth of it since my workshop on Wednesday night when I realised I had unresolved business for myself. It’s taken a few days but I think I’ve managed to focus on the heart of it.

It might trigger some people – childhood abuse and adult content.

One of the very long term impacts from childhood trauma, for me, focuses on boundaries. I’ve had to, and am in the process, of re-learning them. By boundaries, I mean social, sexual and self boundaries, what is appropriate behaviour and what is not, for a myriad of reasons.

When you experience childhood trauma, it changes you – the way you perceive the world, your place in it, the people around you, everything. You no longer quite understand the way things are meant to work and you spend a lot of your time scanning your environment and the people in it to determine what is normal, what is acceptable, and how you should be behaving. If your environment is dysfunctional, well, no other way to put it, but you’re screwed.

This week, I’ve realised that I’ve been trying to work out the boundary thing my whole life.

It starts with me, just being in the world. My perception as a child was that I wasn’t worth very much. Rightly or wrongly. That perception, unchecked until much later on in my life (last five or so years), really governed how I fit into my world.

Because I perceived I wasn’t worth much, I found my value in giving to and doing for others. Most of my life I’ve been a fixer for and supporter of others.

Don’t get me wrong, that’s a good way to be, but only if it is who you are and not because you’re scrambling to belong, to be accepted, to be worthy. I had no real boundaries – I didn’t know when to stop giving or doing or being. I just gave and gave and gave – not altruistically – and that makes the giving unhealthy.

It is also unhealthy because I did have the expectation that because I gave and gave and gave, others needed to give back.

What they gave was never enough though.

And it wasn’t enough because I was really wanting someone to rewrite my narrative and tell me I was worthy. I was filling a hole inside my soul that only I could fill. Only I could rewrite that narrative of misperceptions.

And I now know, you can’t belong with others until you wholly belong to yourself. Ooh, that pricks tears.

I always felt a little betrayed in friendships – by myself mostly – because I didn’t maintain them well. I could walk away easily – never really fully invested – until about fifteen years ago. And even still, I’ve been relearning all of that time what it means to be a friend, relaxing unrealistic expectations, and understanding what is healthy. And understanding that friendships don’t have to be suffocating – I don’t need to be in their faces or on the phone all of the time.

It’s been, at times, very painful, very vulnerable, very shameful work. I’m still learning the boundaries of what is acceptable and what is not. I’m just blessed to have beautiful friends who cut me slack.

And then there are the boundaries of intimate relationships. I’ve fallen for quite a few married men – yep. Safe in one sense because they are unattainable in a holistic sense. And because I was so thirsty to be loved, desired, and found to be worthy, would follow blindly and become hurt eventually.

I’ve also fallen for people who are like me and can’t commit emotionally – the reality of emotional connection sounds great in theory, but in practice, completely untenable between two broken people. Too much vulnerability, no understanding of boundary, and god knows what else lol.

So, I’ve found myself in situations I haven’t known how to handle in any way, shape or form.

I don’t regret anything, but I am developing a clearer understanding of how my lack of understanding of boundaries, has shaped my life.

I feel that some people have, consciously or unconsciously, taken advantage of the broken person throughout the years. It’s a given. Some ‘friends’ have used me for money, for connections, for support to fix their own brokenness, for their own agendas. They provided lessons for me. More friends have not.

As a child, I felt I had no power. To function, to survive, I learned to do as I was told. As an adult, until very recent years, I was still doing this. I felt and expressed an unreasonable, child-like fear of getting into trouble. The thought of doing something wrong and getting into trouble paralyzed me – hello, 2016.

There is one that I’m still processing. It resulted in me losing people I thought were friends, again the need to be loved and to be badged as worthy, and whilst the behaviours made me feel ‘normal’ and like I could belong, I now realise it was all far from that.

I was trying to recapture the experiences of youth, of normal adolescence, of that rite of passage of doing dumb stuff before you start to mature and grow up. I never had a normal adolescence and it stunted my emotional growth. Ultimately, to move forward I had to experience this time in my life. I’m grateful for it. The last bit of anger is trickling away.

Sometimes, without clear boundaries, we make snap decisions that enable us to think we are normal and do things to belong, or because we feel loved in the moment, or for both reasons, and it’s just plain unhealthy. We end up in a deep pit trying to find ourselves and understand what happened. It’s important to make peace with that and to understand it’s a process in healing. It takes us to where we are meant to be.

I think I’ve made peace, now, with a lot of my adult behaviours and decisions that were or were close to inappropriate. I can see the drawbacks and the benefits in each one, at the time, and for me now.

Still some work to do – we are all works in progress.