I stand surveying my room. Complete devastation. The room itself and my heart.
A high school party. Parents out of town. Me, out with friends. He promised he wouldn’t. He did. The whole house ransacked.
I think I might have to burn my mattress . . . who knows what went on there!
My stuff tornado-tossed. The recently given family heirloom ring I was gifted with for my college graduation . . . Gone. I hope the 16 year old wearing it knows what she has . . . I doubt it.
I want to scream, hit, curse LOUDLY. I don’t. I calmly let my brother know . . . you owe me. You owe me BIG time. I won’t tell Mom and Dad. You will. He and his friends hand over half the cash they made from the party. It won’t even begin the cover what was lost. Nothing will.
But this is not something new for me. So, I shrug it off. I force myself to rationalize and get over it. I mean, really, what can I do anyway?
The pets given away when we were at school. The promises of time together taken away by business that had to get done. The promise of opportunities at a school where I felt the most unsafe for years . . . and later, the I love yous, but . . . all of it, I stuffed inside, only feeling briefly. Getting over it as soon as I humanly could.
And I, learning the rules of the road. The tricks of the trade. Friends and loved ones becoming my own personal punching bags. Trust . . . broken. Feeling angry and hurt and then lashing out by doing the very thing that had devastated me the most. Broken trust . . . time and time again.
Not every time is big and monumentally obvious. “I’ll be there in 10 minutes to read to you, honey.” Then finding my child fast asleep 20 minutes later clutching her favorite book that mommy never did read. Broken trust.
My husband recently trying to plan a surprise for me. Unfortunately, as a part of the process, he makes the fatal mistake of doing something I have said I really do not like. I react. Oh boy, do I react. I don’t know why I feel the anger, the hurt and the deep feelings of broken trust so profoundly.
But this time, it’s different. This time, I do not rationalize my feelings, stuffing them in that overflowing box with all the rest. This time, I feel them. Man oh man, do I feel them, and in this process, I begin to feel ALL of them. I grieve, deeply. I feel what I need to feel until I can see. And what I see is amazing to me.
The patterns. The reasons. Then, I’m ready to process and make sense of it. And finally, it’s time to communicate.
I can separate the “I am hurt” from the “you hurt me.” I can take ownership of my feelings and I don’t have to project blame on what was, really, a messenger.
In that moment, my husband, my daughter, my friends and my family are seen as the greatest gifts. They are there, and have been, to teach me a valuable lesson.
As humans, we break trust. We may do it knowingly or not, but we do it. The hurt that comes needs to be felt, processed and integrated, otherwise, it becomes a festering place where shame, blame and patterns of breaking the trust of others can manifest and grow like starving wolves, waiting to pounce on anything that triggers their hunger.
We need to feel. The good – to celebrate it. The bad – to learn and celebrate it. We were created to emote. All of us.
What I think is worth mention is if you look up the word emote in the dictionary, it talks about showing emotion in a theatrical, pretend or excessive way. The true meaning is simply to show emotion, but our culture has even termed the show of emotion as something overdone. Interesting.
If you see a child who has experienced pain or discomfort of any kind, he or she cries. The child immediately processes that pain and emotes. We only learn not to cry when we hear time and time again, “Stop it!” “Get over it!” “You’re fine!” “Don’t be a baby!”
But the emotions AREN’T about being a baby. Not at all. They are about being human. It takes courage and vulnerability to emote. It’s one of the toughest things to do, really. This is why we’d rather distract ourselves with alcohol, drugs, sex, work or just “being busy” to keep ourselves from feeling our emotions. It’s hard work to get through all of that conditioning and back to what we were made to do, naturally.
And why were we made to emote? Well, because it’s a big part of the healing process. So big, in fact, that if we don’t allow ourselves to feel, we cannot truly heal.
So, I have made it my new quest to feel and heal . . . no matter what! It’s been an interesting, exhausting journey so far, and what I can say is I definitely feel more connected to who I truly am than I have in a very long time . . . perhaps since the last time I really cried as a child.
Maybe you want to take the “Feel to Heal” challenge yourself. What emotions have you been avoiding and projecting on others? Guess what, they are not there to cause ongoing pain, they are yours to discover and learn from. They are your gift to receive. Do you have the courage? I believe you do!
And remember, you’re not alone . . . I’m right here, doing it with you! Traci