In My Journey I've Learned: Things Fall A Part
Several years ago, I had a conversation with a friend about how I felt that my life had arranged itself in such a way, that I as forced to face myself and address the role I played in creating an internal mess of myself, and an external crisis (because divorce will make you think real hard about these things, ha!)
It was 2012. Fresh from separation, I spent a lot of time alone in my bedroom of my apartment. I, along with my kids, recently moved out of the apartment that my then husband (and their father) and I shared. I was hurt, angry, sad, depressed, and disappointed. These emotions ebbed and flowed like waves, each one paralyzing me with idleness. Outside of working, caring for my kids, and running (think Forrest Gump after Jenny left him), I would find myself doing nothing for hours but sitting, staring blankly at nothing in particular.
So spending my Saturday afternoon, kid free, and lying on my my bed, gazing at the ceiling was no different than any other day. Not really thinking or feeling. Just open. I like to call these my "pre-meditation" days, as I was meditating without realizing that that's what it was. Some time had passed, and I had a vision of a house. I'm standing in a yard, and the house looks like it's in okay shape, but the exterior paint is terrible. On some sections of the house the paint started to wear away and fade. Other parts it is chipped and peeling. The house was in desperate need of a paint job.
Two approaches to address how to repaint this house came into mind. I could 1) Paint over it, or 2) Scrape the old paint away, and then apply new paint. Both approaches will get the job done, but the first approach will give the illusion of a nicely painted house in the distance, until you get closer to it. The paint coats will be uneven, bubbled up, and prone to chipping and peeling soon if there are any drastic temperature changes. You just added another coat of paint to cover up the mess underneath and it shows. The second approach is a more thorough method, but it takes longer. It's time consuming, at times frustrating, uncomfortable, and it may cost you. But you know what? The paint finish is smooth and will last longer, because you took the time to remove the old, before adding anything new. This house looks good far away and up close.
As my awareness brought me back to my room, one thing became quite clear to me; no matter how painful and time consuming it was going to be, I MUST do the work to become a better version of ME NOW. How often do we take the time to remove from our minds and hearts the attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs that are causing discord within us and our relationships? How often do we just add more "stuff" to mask our dysfunction, hoping no one really notices how uneven and imbalanced we really are? How many times do we intentionally put ourselves in a state of denial that our house needs work?
It takes courage to address ourselves. I needed to face the one person I knew the least, feared the most, and caused me the most suffering - me. I had to get dirty and real with myself, my flaws, my programming, my ego - my UGLY because I did not want to have to continue to live with my dysfunction and masking it with layers of "everything's good over here" when deep down I did not like the person I embodied, the people I attracted, and the predicament I found myself in. The thought of recreating the life I lived for the almost 7 years I was married made me mentally, and emotionally sick. The life I had fell a part. It was time for me to rebuild it.
In my journey, I've learned that when you're desperate for change, you're willing to do whatever it takes to see it realized. Two group therapy sessions, two life coaches, one therapist, a few yoga retreats, a number of motivational and personal transformation books, and hundreds of journal entries later, I can confidently look at the mirror and smile at the woman I see, love the person I've become, and am enthusiastic about the life I've created for myself. The process was not easy, and every time I thought I defeated one personal demon, another one popped up bigger in it's place. There were moments when I wanted to stop the process, because improvement oftentimes meant more isolation. But it was so worth it. My life continues to amaze and excite me, and never would I have imagined that the personal work I started in 2012 would create the life I'm living now. My life may not be ideal or perfect for some, but it has been perfect for me.