on how i found myself

a lot of the things i’ve achieved in my life are a direct result of my mother pushing me, as mothers do. she always believed that i could do anything. i never believed that, at least, not most of the time. it wasn’t until my mother had died that i realised how much i’d come to rely on her for unwavering support and encouragement. don’t get me wrong, she wasn’t a yes-woman, cheer-leading at all costs – to the contrary, she was wise and she knew what i was capable of better than i did. and she was smart –

when she was gone i was suddenly alone. yes, i had siblings and other family, my own family, friends all around; but like i said in the last post, none of these people really knew me. nobody knew what i was really capable of. my mother knew me very well.

when that time came, i had to find my own strength, and it took me a long time to feel alive again. i had to cheer myself on when i felt like giving up, and get myself moving again when i had given up. it was a very difficult time, and frightening. there were days when i was afraid that i was depressed and heading towards suicidal. The idea of just not having to deal with things was very appealing and i was afraid that my lack of direction and my hopelessness about the future signalled a desire to harm myself. i fought feelings of worthlessness and under-achievement; i really battled a desire to give up. i wanted to not be bothered, but i didn’t really want to be dead.

i admitted to myself that i wanted to surrender to the darkness, then i listed all the things that counted. i reminded myself that there is no one i  trust to raise my son the way he needs to be raised – and that was the single most important factor. there were others, other people who needed me, but my son was the one person that i looked at and thought of and felt physical pain when i considered someone else being responsible for his well-being. i decided to move on. but i didn’t know how to. then, the idea came to me that laughing would help. weird i know.

so i set out to watch funny tv shows and movies. i watched comedy acts. i could do this because these were things that i already enjoyed doing. i did things that took my mind off of my problems. i read a lot – not just funny books either. i did things that i had always wanted to do but felt odd doing –  like going to make-up counters and getting my face all dolled-up. i actively sought out those things that appealed to me, that would stop me thinking about my loss. i took it one day at a time.

sometimes when we’re overwhelmed, what we need is not to focus, but to unfocus. we need to get out of ourselves, to stop thinking about the cause of misery and find something to takes our minds off of ourselves. for some people, acts of service do this. for me, serving others would not have helped. i needed to get through this in my own way, at my own pace. i needed to find my own path to redemption…

the mind is a miraculous thing: its deepest instinct is self-preservation. as i ignored my issues, which is different from denying them, my subconscious found ways to cope with my new reality. surprisingly, i got to  a point where i could consider my mother’s death without feeling like i was choking, hurtling breathlessly towards my own death. i got to a place where i could cry for the pain she went through and not feel consumed by the darkness i thought i could never escape.

do i miss my mother? not a day goes by that i don’t think of her and miss her, and wish that she could be here. yet now i accept that she is not here, and that i will not see her again in this lifetime.

finding freedom

funny tv shows are not the secret -that will not work for everyone. the secret is unfocusing. the secret is admitting the hurt and the anger -then finding ways to avoid focusing on your pain and the negative emotion, without denying the feelings or hiding from them; but instead giving the mind time and permission and space to find those things that are good and right and beautiful. and allowing these things to touch and heal in a way that is miraculous and pure.

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