Archives for posts with tag: it takes time to heal

It’s raining this morning. I slept deeply through the night. It’s been a painful couple of days, but the pain has been just that physical experience of arthritis and of aging. I could feel the rain coming.

This morning, I sip my coffee and welcome the rain. The window of my studio is open to the sound of it, the smell of it, and the coolness of the fresh damp air that has begun to the fill the room. Refreshing. The cadence of it varies; sometimes falling quite heavily, a momentary drenching downpour, other times a soft quiet spattering of smaller drops, sometimes stopping briefly. I could listen to the rain for hours, doing nothing else but enjoying the sound of rain falling.

I sip my coffee and think about how the garden flowers will appreciate this rain. I think about taking my walk in the rain after so much dry summer weather. A bird begins to carry on rather loudly, somewhere in the pear tree beyond the fence, outside the window, disturbed by something I don’t see. Today I’ll run an errand or two, which will take me down the road, on this rainy day. I smile at the thought. It’s not raining hard enough to cause me any stress over the driving, and I realize as I consider that… well, it’s been a long-ish time since I experienced any stress about driving in the rain. ๐Ÿ™‚ Progress. Trauma does heal over time – given a chance. That’s nice to experience, and to recognize, firsthand.

…Let’s be real, though, y’all… The event that caused the trauma that drove the driving stress specific to driving in the rain? That happened back in… 1997? It’s now 2021. We’re talking about 24 years here. 24 years to heal from a single traumatic incident. Of that 24 years, I didn’t drive at all for about 14 years. I even let my license lapse and just replaced it with an ID card. Circumstances rather unforgivingly nudged me in the direction of needing to get over my anxiety about driving and just fucking deal with it, about 7 years ago. The first 6 months were sometimes challenging, and for a handful of years after I got my license renewed, I drove when I had to, and it wasn’t something I enjoyed at all. That changed when my Traveling Partner more or less insisted that I go ahead and buy a car for myself, that I would really enjoy driving, when he needed his car back (he’d loaned it to me while I was moving, and it suited us both for me to keep and maintain it for awhile). I enjoyed shopping for a car for myself, on my own, with very little input from anyone else. It was fun. I found something affordable that I really liked, for me, and went for it. I still love my car. I’ll probably replace it, one day, with another just like it – only newer.

Am I rambling? I’ll blame the rain, and this good cup of coffee, and this very relaxed morning. ๐Ÿ™‚

I guess what I’m saying is that healing takes the time it takes. Yeah, we can (and do) make choices that may slow that progress (or seek to rush it through), but none of that truly matters – it still takes the time it takes to heal. Physical hurts, emotional injuries, mental health trauma: all of it takes the time it takes, to heal. Seriously. Give yourself enough compassion and kindness and general decency to understand that it’ll take time to “get over” something that has wounded you. The time it takes you, versus the time it takes me, or someone else? Those things don’t compare directly; we’re each having our own experience. If I resist being open to healing, I’ll for sure slow the progress I can make toward wellness – I’ll say that again – If I am not open to healing, or unwilling to let go of my pain, and my chaos, and my damage, healing will definitely take longer. Let’s not quibble, and just accept this for a minute; sometimes we are “not ready” to get well from emotional injuries. Anger or resentment that still needs acceptance and soothing, and authentic understanding and love can really get in the way of emotional wellness, however sincerely we weep that we wish to be well and whole again. It’s complicated, isn’t it?

I sip my coffee thinking about the many days and years of this journey, behind me. I listen to the rain fall and consider the path ahead. I still have flare ups of my PTSD. The chaos and damage may be, to an extent, a permanent part of the emotional landscape (although things have improved so much over the years!). I give myself a moment of kindness as I consider that. My cognitive quirks, and eccentricities resulting from head injuries, are part of who I am – some of them I would not trade for an opportunity to be “normal”, ever. This? This life now, these moments, here? Pretty splendid, generally. I can recall a very different life, mired in misery, anxiety, chaos, anger, and pure effort spent hiding as much of who I am from everyone as I comfortably could – even from myself. I was deeply unhappy, and doing not much at all about that. I was consumed with resignation and a sense of utter futility.

I stare out the window, watching the rain fall, thinking about that life, and that woman and her deep deep suffering. I sip my coffee, silently acknowledging how much of my pain was actually self-inflicted, and how many verbs were involved in getting from there, to here. So many new beginnings. So many “failures” along the way. So many opportunities to inch a little bit closer to the woman I most wanted to be, living that beautiful life I could envision, and somehow could not achieve. I wish I could reach back and assure her we got here, and how good it is. Enough. More than enough.

There’s still a journey ahead. That’s living life, is it not? One moment after another, and always time to begin again. ๐Ÿ™‚

…Is what I want to say. I hear the echo of the intent in my thoughts any time life or love go sideways, even for a moment. I’m not so good at getting the words out there… soon enough? Calmly enough? Sufficiently lacking in any expression of emotional intensity that might tend to cause skepticism about my intentions? Yeah. Probably all of that. More. Other stuff I don’t think to manage, to deal with, to minimize, limit, regulate, scale down… I’m right here, every bit of me. Ferociously human. You too?

It’s a very quiet solo evening. I do need this time, he’s right about that. I miss him anyway. I manage to miss his scent, his voice, his hugs, his laughter – everything about his presence that is easy I miss with a fierceness akin to physical pain, as though something I need has been taken from me.ย I sometimes miss the harder stuff too, the qualities that challenge me to be the very best human I can, the very best lover, the most well-intentioned, authentic, supportive, affectionate and gracious being I could ever craft from the raw materials I’ve got… He’s every bit as human as I am myself, so there’s plenty to challenge me to grow. We fail each other regularly in small ways, rarely in any big ones.

Love matters most.

Love matters most.

The week together has been an interesting mix of easy and challenging. I find myself thinking over the things that worked so well, the things that didn’t work as easily, even taking time to tenderly consider the moment or two that went poorly; it’s nice to notice how few of those there really were. I know that in our human hearts those can sometimes weigh most heavily in our thoughts. I’m no expert, but I’m definitely done with treating myself badly when I fall short of my own expectations – and those are hard enough to keep up with – I am done, too, with beating myself up when I fall short of someone else’s expectations. I’ve a long journey ahead as a human being. One step at a time is fast enough, and slow progress is still progress. For him, too; love can afford to be patient, to be kind.

I still struggle with interrupting people, especially if I am especially passionate, engaged, or excited about the topic being discussed. Listening deeply doesn’t come naturally to me. I practice. I do my best. I let it go when I don’t get it right, and I begin again. It matters enough that practice is worth it, and incremental change over time is enough. ‘The interrupting thing’ is especially difficult for people to take. I get it. I get interrupted a lot, and even by people who ‘don’t do that’ – because I don’t limit my speech to short phrases, very simple language, ย and don’t do brevity with any ease… or even staying entirely on topic, I suppose. I speak very much the way I write. Whatever this is. Wordy. Verbose? Too much sometimes. I know – I accept it because it’s who I am, and I don’t mind it. I like the poetry of language, and the connection of good communication. I have time to listen, the interest, the intent, the desire to be sufficiently considerate and dialed in to the person I am talking with to really make a great conversation… only… I also interrupt. I’ll keep working on that, World, if you’ll just keep showing up so I can practice.

Tonight is easy. At long last, at least being alone with the woman in the mirror is easy. It wasn’t always. Tonight, this is enough.