I was talking to a good friend today, and we were discussing something somewhat deep and heavy. We were discussing abuses, how people end up there, how they get out, stay in the same space, how things are all different for different people. While we all like to think we will never find ourselves in an abusive situation, we often do, and a lot of the time without our knowledge or consent. Many of you may be disagreeing with me, and that is fine, but maybe what you define as abuse is only of a physical nature. Perhaps that difficult relative of yours is abusive and you just don’t know how to identify it.
I found myself in this situation. Most people I grew up with or who have known me my whole life would probably think there is no way that I would put up with being mistreated, or that I am too strong for that. Both things are very true, I am too strong for that, and no way would I tolerate that. Yet I did. Love makes you whacko. Love makes you accept things that are not yours to accept. Love and protectiveness keeps you in places you long to escape, especially when you have no options, or help.
I have been slowly and diligently fighting for my life, A life, for several years. As many of you know, I had Bell’s Palsy 3 years ago, exactly today. That was the beginning of my real fight, the start of what was a long time coming, the wake up call that I needed and yet denied. It was not the ground shaker God thought it was, because I had not hit rock bottom. You see, even though I felt helpless and hopeless, suicidal daily, it still wasn’t enough. I even had Children’s Protective Services called on me, because I felt that way, even though I assured the case worker that was not something I would do, and they could find that knowledge in my medical chart from my Bell’s visit to the ER. I explained why I was mentally and physically exhausted, stressed beyond belief, and that Bell’s Palsy had just set in and that I even told the doctor that I could feel that way, but choose not to act on it, thank God for Dr. Brad. I do appreciate the kind citizen that called CPS though, it proved that racism is a nasty thing and it isn’t always who you think it is. That is a story for another day.
Even though I had these experiences, I still kept going, kept enduring abuse, kept my children safe and kept my husband from further harm. I did what I was capable of doing, I remained a warrior, a survivor, and while I felt so out of control, I kept moving forward, every single day.
I always said that every 24 hours is a new opportunity, but I had gotten to the place that was even a bleak outlook. I was just looking to survive, and I did through the grace of Rainbow Yoga, breathing and being in a safe space, and a safe community. Without that place, those girls, the women I became friends with, I am not really sure if I could have made it to the other side of all of this. Seriously the odds were stacked against me, but someone was looking out for me to show me that place via Facebook ads. When things became weird and crazy in 2020, I relied on yoga, I still do, but in a different way. Breath work is seriously life altering, and you would be amazed at how much better you feel with it, than without it. I digress, but felt this important to include.
Anyhow, I have always had theories, thoughts, observations and experiences coupled with knowledge that have guided my thoughts and actions, I am highly intuitive, instinctual. I have always been patient and listen when dealing with other people, and their problems. I feel that I have helped so many people through the years and yet, I found myself helpless, in a hopeless situation. And I stayed in that place for a long time, slowly losing myself, my identity and my desire for anything.
I started reading things that I needed to find out about to help myself, my husband, my family. I started reading things that reminded me of what I already knew. I started seeing things that felt like slaps to the ass to get this “old nag” moving, and functioning, again. And then it happened, the thing that always happens after I realized I am seriously depressed, I got extremely angry. EXTREMELY.
A)Why did no one see how bad off I was? B)Why did no one ask me how they could help me? C)Why am I always the one figuring shit out to help others? D)Why was I throwing myself a pity party???
Well, here is what I know: I am good at hiding things about myself so as to not make people feel bad, to not burden others, and because I am the helper that others seek. No one is going to help you unless you ask for help, or unless they think you are in grave danger, and sometimes helpers are helping, just in quiet ways. I am an extremely strong, extremely kind person, and I often take on the rescuer/fixer role, so it looks like I am just weird or crazy when in reality I am suffering. I do not need to pity myself, nor victimize myself, nor do I need to linger in a spot I don’t want to be. Had I forgotten who I was???
Yes, the answer is YES. When you are around someone with a very poor mental health, it starts to wear you down, wear you thin and wear you out. You start taking on the same characteristics of the ill person, especially when they try to condition you like they were conditioned. To abuse you like they were abused, because, isn’t that normal? Isn’t this what life is like?
Nope, that is not normal, but that is how I found myself somewhere I never expected to be. I lowered myself to help lift another. I thought if I wasn’t so dynamic, the other person could feel secure, that they would rise, that they would come to trust, understand and acknowledge that they were in a bad way and that they could choose better for themselves. And you know what? That did not happen. Instead I ended up more miserable than them. Things did not change, they did not change and shame on me for thinking that betraying myself would be helpful, LOL. Always be true to you, people.
So, I decided to shirk all their crap off, straighten my crown, be the woman that I truly am. I told that person they no longer mattered, they were irrelevant to me, their problems are their own, they are not mine, nor mine to fix and their shit was no longer welcome in my life. Whew! This was actually received a bit better than I thought, but it still didn’t matter to me. They finally had reacquainted themselves with the real me, and I am larger than life, so buckle up, buttercup, take care of your own damn self.
I finally knew that in order for my life to change, I needed to make uncomfortable changes. I took a 6 month break from photography, I started seeing friends socially, I quit my beloved yoga studio. That one really hurt. I then paused and took several breaths, released what didn’t serve me, that wasn’t mine and the shame and disappointment I had for myself and for betraying myself. It was time.
I felt that I was in a different place, that I needed to stand on my own, that I needed to be solitary for a while and I needed to strip myself bare, to get back to my bones, so that I can build myself the way I choose to. I am doing yoga at home most days, but I pick up classes here and there, as I still need to function in polite society-even I as I undomesticate/rewild myself. I am done being small for all you insecure people out there. I am done being polite in lieu of honesty. I am no longer accepting your feeble excuses for how you treat me. Erin is back,and you have all been put on notice.
Oh, and I will be building my photography services up, so be on the look out for that because it is going to be awesome! May you all be your true selves, choose you always, and blessings to you all!