I am struggling with something deep inside of me that I am trying to express, identify, birth into reality. Muffled voices in my head, not yet clear, keep holding me back from something I know I was born to accomplish. They are the voices of reason, doubt, fear and disbelief that challenge the reality that someone like me can be accomplished, successful, respected and believed. The woman raised by alcoholic parents – neglected due to a disease that challenged even the truth of my own existence. I imagine my mother carrying her surprise burden at 17, dazed and confused at the turn of events that were catapulting her life into dangerous territory. Marrying quickly to assure propriety occurred to help mitigate a drunken mistake. Two drunk teens starting a chain reaction that in 7 years became a houseful of 5 children. So many times I heard them both talk about what could have been…but never saw anything change for the good. No one is to blame. It was just something that happened. Yet the hole that opens up inside of me is always about nurturing.
I am torn between the need for a loving mentor and the fear that no one will measure up. It keeps me living contemplatively and looking for ways to feed that need for approval. On occasion I reach out and open up to the intimacy of letting someone else see me, but I either reject the ones who can out of fear, or find little to enjoy in the company of other beings. I want to be lifted up, not judged. Encouraged to fly, not have my feet held to the floor because of someone else’s lack of vision. Most of all, I want someone who intuitively knows me or at least is skilled in helping me know myself. Risking exposure and being vulnerable are my greatest fears.
If we are to forgive then we ego-driven humans seem to have to decide where to place blame so that our forgiveness has meaning. When I am honest and in fit spiritual condition, I see how ludicrous that can be. If I am blaming others then I become a puzzle made from incompatible pieces whose finished product will never be coherent. Blaming others for my feelings and actions is the default reaction for those who are afraid to be themselves.
My general disposition is one of joy…rarely do I feel anything less than contentment. Early on in my recovery, a loving mentor suggested that my constant smile made others disbelieve me. A doctor suggested that my constant laughter was often a sign of some hidden mental anguish. I even had a female employer tell me I should stop smiling so much because in my later years I would be sorry when I saw the wrinkles it would cause. I thank those people because they made me look within at the cause of my feelings. Whether I was genuinely happy then could be called into question in the light of my abuse of alcohol and some of the poor decisions I made regarding relationships. I want to believe that I knew all along that if I could find a way to get to happiness, it would come to stay. Every behavior, whether it can be perceived as good or bad, healthy or unhealthy, was my way of seeking that which I was born to experience – joy. I sought it in approval of teachers, the touch of a man, the flavor of a favorite food, the excitement of a new outfit, the abandon of a night on the dance floor, the euphoria of a mind altering experience or substance. Everything I do…everything…is about finding and embracing a better feeling.
As I have watched these words evolve on the page I realize that the fears that keep me stuck have nothing to do with who I am right now. When I stop and write down everything I have accomplished in the past year I am amazed. That critical gremlin of self-doubt only pops up when I am isolating from the rest of the world and relying on my own mind to pull me through. I could view it as a mistake, but the beauty of it all is that I learn something new every time. My desire to bring others the joy I have found in living is my life work because it is the life I am experiencing.
The person I need to forgive today is myself. For being afraid to be human, and afraid to be spiritual. For doubting myself, based on false and imaginary thoughts. For forgetting and refusing the things that make me feel good being me. For forgetting that serving others and extending the love, recovery, and beautiful truths I have learned is what keeps me happy.
Looking at what I have done right, what I have accomplished, and looking for someone I can help is my assurance that regardless of what I am faced with, I can choose happiness and let go of the need for forgiveness.
Be who you want to be today and look forward to what that will bring you.
It is your choice.