Much to my boyfriend's chagrin, I watch a lot of I Love Lucy. When life is feeling overwhelming or stressful, I revert back to my favorite TV show. I love the way these old shows and movies take me back in time and let me imagine the most simplistic state of living. The struggles between husband and wife are petty (not so unrealistic) and quickly resolved with a hug and a kiss (very unrealistic). Hardship for Lucy is not being able to get her California grapefruit signed by a celebrity. I laugh on cue, as always. And I always come back for more. This is how I escape life, and I imagine we all do so, in one way or another. The challenge (as we all know) is coming back to reality.
Right now I'm coming back to my blog after a month-long, impromptu hiatus. I've been in counseling for some childhood-related trauma that began creeping its gnarly head back in between the crevices of my life. And I just didn't have it in me to write much at all. In fact, at my counselor's recommendation, all of my writing for the last month and a half has remained between us. It's just too murky and dark to publish at the moment, but I can see it making real good ingredients for a fictional book one day.
This doesn't mean I haven't thought of you, subscribers to my blog. Many of you know me from my teen years or earlier (hi aunties!), and although I'm not really trying to market anything in this blog, I know that to keep an audience engaged, you have to be consistent.
Thank goodness this isn't how life must be with the ones who know and love us the best. I don't know about you, but being consistent is an act of pretense most of the time. I feel everything deeply to my core, and processing daily life can really feel like a chore sometimes. Consistent, steady, mellow, cool as a cucumber? Yeah, right! To top it off, life lately has been crazy emotional, and all I've been good at is showering, eating, working and spending time with Lee. Everything else has literally flown right out the window in this impromptu quiet time. Instead of judging myself for not being a peppy, happy, (read: robotic), cheerful gal, I let myself be quiet. In the interest of reconnecting with you all, I wanted to share a few life lessons that are floating through.
Not every season can be the harvest
Hannah told me about this one, from some smart person she heard it from: Life must have seasons. It cannot always be the harvest, celebration time. I've been thinking about this and cycling through every season in my mind (summer, fall, winter, spring) and imagining what those parallels look like in real life. For me, this is a good reminder that my impromptu quiet time is probably right on time, and instead of trying to turn it into a harvest season, I'll let it be a season of rest, planning and healing.
Trust is like a fine painting
I can't tell you how many people have told me that I'm supposed to blindly, fully and completely trust people until they prove me wrong. That this is the only way to get through life in one piece. And I can't tell you how many times I recoiled. This might work for some, but I think it's incredibly foolish. Setting aside my exceptional need for safety and security, most everyone ought to employ the time-honored value of discernment. These people assumed I just had some stage fright to get past and that "pushing" me to trust others was the way to go. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have deep trust issues, and I know this. I also know that I possess discernment in situations where others would just merrily skip down the road without batting an eye. The balance here is key. I have not found that balance, but I'm working on it.
When I think about trust, I think it should function more like a painting: everyone gets a blank canvas (for me, this means treating everyone with kindness and non-judgmental attitudes), but how that painting comes to life is a matter of time and experience. Over time, it might grow into something beautiful--or maybe not. Are all the right ingredients there to make a beautiful painting? Is there mutual respect, tolerance and love on a consistent basis? If so, then trust would grow (and rightly so, the painting).
Keeping the love you find means letting someone in
(And letting someone in, means things get very uncomfortable while they also improve.) Almost two years ago, I read this book ("Keeping the Love You Find") by Dr. Harville Hendrix. It came recommended to me at a time when I was a ball-busting wannabe entrepreneur who couldn't keep a relationship alive to save her life. (I was also in tremendous personal transition, so it wasn't surprising that no one attached to me, since I wasn't really attached to my life yet.) Written by a highly respected clinical pastoral counselor, this book walked me through agonizing but highly illuminating exercises to better understand who I was attracting into my romantic life, the type of person I was attracted to, etc. This book digs deep and it threw a right-hook at my fear-based need for independence:
In all of Dr. Hendrix's work over the years, not once has a platonic relationship been able to procure the same interpersonal healing as a romantic, monogamous one.
He has pages and pages of studies and information about different settings where he tried to recreate the same bonding and healing between a struggling woman and her sister, for example, or a depressed man and his best friend. And while the platonic exercises were beneficial, they did not speak to deep-seated issues like being connected to a romantic partner.
This was a woeful realization for me. If I wanted to heal and grow, I absolutely must trust the power of love and relinquish my fear-based independence. After finishing this book, I was faced with a harsh reality:
I could not single-handedly heal myself.
That book has helped me in more ways than I can count, and even now with dating Lee almost 9 months (eeks!), I hear the echoes of this book's wisdom in my mind. I must let my boyfriend in, I tell myself often. Otherwise, my life will circle in place like a hurricane, constantly managing old wounds without any sort of resolution.
So far, so good. Falling in love with and letting Lee into the places that scare me the most has produced a magical sort of healing. Happiness is seeking its way to the surface and fighting to stay. In the meantime, I'll be here, hoping to get to know happiness a little better myself.