As I’ve been working my way through trauma recovery, it has been important to examine recurring patterns in my life. There is one particular pattern which I’ve long recognized, and simply haven’t been able to make a real breakthrough with. Claiming my space. My biggest passions have always been to write, learn, incorporate a lot of spirituality into daily life, and to sprinkle in spurts of making art. The one key ingredient to bring all of those passions to life is solitude, and I’ve not been able to figure out how to make it work for me. Plus, the more that I get to truly know myself, I have been able to discover that introversion is definitely a personality trait that I have, which is completely separate from my trauma. For a while, I wasn’t sure whether I truly were as introverted as I am, or if that introversion was the chicken to the egg of my trauma.
The pattern which has been so destructive to my progress, and even my health, is to continue allowing others to disregard the importance of that quiet space required in the life of a creator. That quiet space is sacrosanct, and takes as long as it takes. My creative and spiritual life has been stalled for quite a while, and the longing to get back into it is causing a literal ache in me. I am coming out of a prolonged period of illness and heightened stress, which has taken a huge toll. Now though, I have been trying to resume my creative endeavors and keep hitting walls.
Those walls aren’t anything new. They’re part of the trauma patterns which have been at the periphery of my awareness for decades. Until now though, I haven’t had the tools to truly break through them. I have been trying to assert boundaries for quite a while now, and apparently my attempts have been too gentle. I could easily blame this on the people who keep stepping over the line of those boundaries, but ultimately the responsibility for keeping those lines clear belongs to me.
This too, is something I’ve been aware of for many years. My previous training of being responsible for the happiness of others was just a little too ingrained for me to gather both the courage and understanding required to change it. The most important thing I’ve learned over the last few years is that boundaries are something you just take. No amount of speaking them aloud, complaining about them, or explaining the need for them is going to work. They simply must be implemented. This means no more guilt trips, no more repeated explanations, and absolutely no more allowing temper tantrums to remove me from what I need and love.
This has gone on for far too long. I have allowed the relationships in my life to dictate my time and actions. There is no joy in that. It is exhausting. Going forward, if the people who are in my life do not feel as though they are getting what they want from their interactions with me, it can no longer be something that I take ownership of. Mutual respect and simple joy of interaction when it works for all involved has to be the new normal. With each passing year that I’ve denied these key elements of myself, I increasingly fear that those parts of me will be lost, especially since becoming more self aware. I now deeply understand that I was not put on this earth to please others. No one is. We are here to grow, and discover who we really are. If we happen to please someone else through our presence in the in-between spaces, that is simply an added bonus. It’s a joyous thing when we are able to see, beyond the barriers of fear and guilt, into the truth of not only who we are, but our right to be so.
This is a long post, to simply say that there are big changes ahead for me. Now that the blinders have been torn off, I can no longer keep circling around the same dilemmas. Doing so for so long, along with trauma work, and heavy health and stress issues over the past few years, left me in a deep, dark hole unlike any I’ve ever experienced, which I’ve begun digging my way out of. The solution to all of it is that I have to be myself, unapologetically. Time to start exercising my creative and spiritual muscles again. It’ll take a little time for me to get back into that joyful space, but I’m finally headed in that direction. I encourage anyone reading this post to seek out your hidden ingredients and live the delicious recipe which only you can give to the world.
As an ending, I want to thank someone who has always stood by my side, and helped me to learn to truly love and see the real me, underneath it all. Her support has been a real source of strength, and I cannot begin to sufficiently express my gratitude. Thank you!