I’m a huge fan of the show Insecure. I love how flawed these characters are. This is a show where it’s tough to pick “favorites” because at some point, everyone has their share of “mess.” This season we watched as two central characters, Issa and Lawrence, break up and we follow each of them and their movements “post breakup.” Everyone is making poor decisions, but the commonality is that each character is still hurting inside but no one is taking the time to process and deal with those emotions. Instead, Issa is focused on entering her “hoe phase", and Lawrence is content in embracing his “fuckboy” stage of life. Each of them bringing new people into their individual dysfunction. Each of their movements is frustrating to watch, but as I watched, I couldn't help but think about how many of us are guilty of doing the same thing. We don’t take time to heal in relationships. We are so focused on moving on, acting like we are completely unaffected and getting over the end of a relationship, we find ourselves in messy situations or other relationships that could have been avoided if we had just recognized and acknowledged our feelings and taken the time to process and deal with them.
"We are trying to microwave our emotional healing"-D. Sanders
I was in a dark space around the end of July to Mid-August. I took a much-needed break and went on vacation with my family and used that time to “be still,” “get quiet” and clean out my mental space. I had two events happen before my leaving on vacation that forced me to stop moving, be still and get quiet. I had two people step back into my life; an ex-boyfriend and my ex-husband. They both had life threatening illnesses; my ex-boyfriend the week before my birthday and my ex-husband the week after. It was like an emotional and mental one, two punch. What are the chances? Forgiveness doesn’t come easy for me, and when my ex-boyfriend needed to be hospitalized for a life threatening issue, I had to decide if I could put aside the hurt he had caused me to be there for him in his time of need. I did and stayed with him during his hospital stay. During that time, we had time to talk, he apologized and expressed his desire to start over. He was humble, contrite and seemed genuine. (Those masks can be convincing!) The entire time he was hospitalized was like some predictable love story where the guy has a near death experience and realizes his one true love is the one who never left his side. There was a lot of “I love you’s” and other sweet nothings shared and I felt my heart soften. I let my guard down and I allowed myself to get caught up in the “fairytale” and found myself open to the possibility of reconciliation. After all, a near death experience was pretty traumatic for both of us and emotions and feelings were at an all-time high. Soon after his release, predictably, once he started feeling better, his old ways returned, he changed his tune, and I again became someone he no longer needed, someone he used until he received what he wanted then left. I was furious, but I think I was angrier at myself, because I should have known better. It was the final straw for me and I had no choice but to see him without rose colored glasses. It was the wake-up call I needed and I officially had the closure I had prayed for. Sometimes it takes something so blatantly obvious you can’t ignore reality anymore. There were no more grey areas, it was crystal clear. I saw the reality of who he was instead of who I wanted him to be or hoped he would become.
Days after I officially closed the door on that relationship and was trying to process my feelings, my ex-husband returned into my life after a several year absence. One of his closest friends found me on social media and reached out to me to tell me my ex-husband was in ICU alone. His own family wouldn’t visit him. He asked me to check on him because he was concerned he might not make it. I was immediately overcome with a plethora of emotions. This is the man who bullied and abused me throughout our marriage, abandoned his children and had caused me more hurt, pain and anguish than anyone in my life. I was angry. Why were you calling me? What did you want me to do? What makes you think I want to be anywhere near him? I escaped that relationship and was free. My life isn’t easy, but I had peace of mind. I had no desire to go to the hospital at all. I said no initially, but then my conscience began to eat away at me. He was the father of my children. If anything happened to him, I should be the one to inform my kids. If he were to pass, wouldn’t I want my children to know that I had tried to be compassionate in his last days? I resolved to go there to find out what his status was. I wanted to know exactly what was going on and find out why the hospital had me listed as next of kin even though we are divorced. I went and immediately was triggered from the moment I saw him. In spite of being in ICU with a variety of different issues, he was still the same person I remember. He cursed me, berated me and even blamed me for his present condition. And just like that I was transported back to the place I had fought so hard to get out of; the space I was when we were married. Those emotions, the feelings I had fought to purge, came rushing back to me. I left disgusted that I even cared to know how he was. What in the hell was the universe trying to tell me with all of this foolishness going on in my life? I was angry, confused, and numb.
Remember my previous post about "The Necessity of Anger"? I knew the level of anger, frustration and hate that was building up inside of me. I hate feeling unappreciated and undervalued. I knew the emotions inside of me were toxic to my spirit. The days after these two events were dark and depressing. I was in a really bad space mentally. I wasn't writing and I wasn't practicing self-care. I was doing to much. Sometimes we use busyness as an excuse to not deal with things. I knew I needed time to process what I was feeling, sit with it, grieve it, and release it. Time is how I transform anger into progression. I needed a break. I was emotional, mentally and spiritually drained. Those two back to back instances, combined with "life", had drained every inch of me. Thankfully, I had a vacation planned with my family and took that time to “break” and be still. I spent a lot of time on vacation in my thoughts, writing. I’ve always found healing in writing, but lately, I had spent more time writing blog posts than just writing for myself. In my writing I began to see my ex-boyfriend and my ex-husband were two sides of the same coin; selfish, narcissistic, self-absorbed and emotional leeches. These two men had one thing in common; ME! How was it that the two men I’ve loved in my adult life had so many similar qualities? I was giving myself the side eye at that moment! How could you be so dumb, so naïve? After all, I KNEW BETTER!!!! (Reality Check in 5…4…3….2…)
It was then that I realized it was time for me to take a moment to be still, be quiet and focus on me. What was it about me that attracted these types of men and what was it that made these types of men attractive to me? I’ve known I was an empath for a long time and I started reading more and more about people with these character types. I spoke about it in my blog, The Problematic Empath. I realized that my heart is an emotional magnet and sometimes I have an overwhelming need to “save” or “fix” people. I take people’s problems on as if they are my own and when I don’t get the same love, encouragement and appreciation in return, I’m left feeling empty and used. Two men both in the hospital one week apart with various health issues that “needed” me at that time. Why? Because narcissistic people leech onto empaths. They drain them, use them, and they cast them aside when they no longer suit their purposes. That was who they were but there was more to it than that. (it’s time to get real yall) In being there for my ex-boyfriend, he would see my worth and my value because I was the only one there. Not the many women that he entertained in his inbox and elsewhere. In my being there for him in his darkest time, it would be the wake-up call he needed to recognize “my value”. In the case of my ex-husband, he would recognize my value finally and feel regret for the way he treated me during our marriage. Aww shiggity, now we are digging up all my stuff and it’ ain’t pretty!!! Talk about a gut punch to the ego! When you give yourself time to properly analyze, recognize and realize…The universe will truly give you the answers you were searching for.
Reality Check: YOU WANT TO BE VALUED BUT KEEP LOOKING OUTWARD INSTEAD OF INWARD
In both instances, I was looking for these men to see my value when I should have known my value wasn’t dependent on either one of them. My value was how I saw myself. I knew who I was and what I brought to the table. Why was I trying to make someone else see that? Instead of surrounding myself with those who already knew my value, I was looking for validation outside of myself. It was the moment of clarity I needed. At that moment, I realized I truly had more work to do on myself. I thought I healed after my marriage and in many ways, I did, but my work wasn’t done. It was time to cut some things out at the root, and that meant, acknowledging that they existed and recognizing them for what they were. Now that I could name them, I could heal them…This time for good. Ughhh…. It’s ain’t pretty, but that was the ugly truth.
This year I chose the word, “Heal” as my word for 2017 and in speaking it over my life, the universe is lining things up that make me remove the masks I wear and face some hardcore truths about myself. Healing isn’t easy, it’s hard, and it can force you to confront the worst and ugliest parts of yourself. The payoff is the growth you experience after and the wisdom you gain. That’s where I am right now..standing right in the muck that is my life. I’m standing still in this truth, my reality and getting ready to dig deep and perform some much-needed soul surgery on me right now. I could spend my time being angry at these two individuals (and sometimes I am) but the truth is, these two events pushed me to go deeper inside of myself and dive within and now I’m one step closer to embracing my divine self and the blessings that come along with removing the emotional, psychological tumors that lived within me. I’m grateful that I was able to be there and show compassion because at my core that’s who I am and that’s not a bad thing. I'm confident in the way I love someone but I'm learning to be more discerning with whom I choose to give that love to. My heart is pure, my intentions are pure and one day that will align with the right individual. That’s the lesson I’m learning during this time of stillness. I’m hoping to get to a place of forgiveness with them at some point but for now, I’m focusing on healing and forgiving myself. I just want to get better, be better, do better, live better and experience better. I’m so ready to walk into the many blessings life is ready to offer me but I can’t do that carrying all of this “dead weight”. Time and stillness pushed me right into my breakthrough.
The best thing to do after any traumatic ending of any relationship is to take the necessary time and space to heal properly. That means you have to sit with some things and some emotions. You have to feel your way though those stages, acknowledge that they exist instead of acting like you are unaffected. That's how you purge them. That's how you release them, that's how you heal yourself.
"You have to be real to heal"-D. Sanders
It stops the dysfunctional relationship cycles that so many of us are in. Entering into relationships that seem to have the same outcomes; dragging people into our mess and causing more pain. We are like hamsters in a wheel sometimes, just running unnecessarily and going nowhere. It’s ok to stop, be still, be quiet and allow your spirit to speak to you. It already knows what you need; you just have to be quiet enough to hear. That’s where you really experience the real “GlowUp”.
Until next time,
Take care of yourself and one another
Next in the Series: Pt. 4: When it's time for Forgiveness