But I finally know what I need. Which feels timely, because I’m in the midst of another immensely challenging moment. I feel a little lost, frankly.
It’s funny how life will knock you on your ass with a well-timed round house. Sometimes you need a few of these before you can clear away the stars and canaries and see what you’re supposed to see. I’ve got my fists in front of my face at this point.
I thought the best plan for me was to lean on a student loan and get two degrees so I could have the career I’ve been dreaming of. Then I realized I couldn’t earn money while making this happen, and I did the math. It made no sense to keep digging myself into a financial hole. The school plan isn’t going to work.
Maybe I can find my way to a career in therapy via private school? It takes less time, but there’s no hope of government funding.
These writing workshops I’ve been leading though…they feel like magic. I’m trying to teach people what I’ve done for myself for years; to float on a raft of words over the sea of life. Sometimes clinging through the tossing and roiling. Sometimes floating and feeling breathless at the beauty of the cloud formations. I believe so deeply in the power of words that I’m taking on private coaching clients. It feels like the work I’ve always wanted to do. Maybe it’s a plan that could grow into something.
So many maybes…
I’m trying to be good at being in a relationship. Sometimes I think I’m brilliant at this. Sometimes I dream of building a life and home and family with the person I am loving. I want it so deeply that it keeps me awake at night, wondering how I can have the audacity to want such things again, knowing what I know.
About love. About life. About trust.
My childhood trauma was triggered two weeks ago by a drunken idiot at one of my favourite local bars. And this week, something else happened that I can’t write yet. There’s nothing like trying to find your way back from a vivid PTSD moment to really put life into perspective. Of course, any of you who have embraced your trauma know that it’s not the kind of perspective anyone wants to live with. It’s the kind of perspective that makes nearly everyone you know a source of danger. It shines a light on all the broken parts of you. It feels like you’re in a yolk, designed to show the world that you are so deeply flawed that you’ll never quite be part of the pack. Yes, I booked a therapy appointment as soon as I could. Yes, I’m laying low and trying to be easy with myself as I move through this.
But I need care right now. I need gentle words, lots of loving words. I need to be told daily about the parts of me that are lovable. I need touch and physical affection. I need sweet, romantic gestures. I need someone to make me coffee in the morning.
I’m trying to be good at being in a relationship. I want to build that life. But building that life means needing to trust someone again with my whole heart. And my whole heart needs safety.
There it is. The thing I need. Emotional safety. Not a solid life plan. Not a career change.
What’s safe for me isn’t the same as what’s safe for others. I have grown from a complex mixture of intuition and experience. I have an abundance of patience with myself and with the people I love. I know when I’m being anxious and when irrationality is slipping in. I’m willing to hit the pause button and try to gain a different vantage point. If I feel uncomfortable enough to voice discomfort, believe it. I’m too old to doubt myself any longer about these kinds of things. I’ve kept my mouth shut for too long, far too many times before. If I’m asking for something, it’s because I’ve thought it through.
For my entire life, I’ve been trying to protect myself from the thing I couldn’t when I was a little girl. I can see how this has made me difficult. I can also feel pride in how I’ve grown enough to accept my part. I’ve been in the stranglehold of life enough times now to know when my self-protection serves me and when it doesn’t.
I’m not settling without that safety. It’s not about being stubborn. It’s about accepting what is possible, and what is doomed to fail.
I need to lean in hard and know that I won’t be left to topple. I need steady hands to hold me when life pulls at those unhealed child places in me. I am so often the one people seek out when their lives feel overwhelming. I need someone who will be present and nurturing when I am the one who needs care.
I am a mother. I am a minister. I am a writer, a poet, and now a coach. This sounds like a solid life and a rewarding career. I will do my very best to be a strong partner, to build a home with someone. I’ll take all that I’ve learned about life and love and trust and apply it with my whole heart. Maybe this time it will all work out.