i was thinking of this word, these past couple of days, and i’m not sure i do very much wholeheartedly anymore.
i mean, it sounds so positive and good, right? being dedicated with the entirety of your heart to something, having so much sincerity, really committing fully to it.
it’s just that i have a good one-quarter to maybe even one-third of my heart cordoned off, blockaded, protected. i don’t bring the whole of my heart very many places anymore.
coz when i have brought all of me (and i used to do this, all the time) and i inevitably get trampled (coz i will), it is fucking terrible. and terrifying. because there’s nothing left just for me, there’s no little corner into which i can retreat and howl and hide. there’s just hurt and hurt and hurt.
i mean honestly, do you know how dangerous it is to live wholeheartedly? yeah, pretty sure it’s not for me, no siree bob.
i know i’ve referenced brené brown already this past week but i can’t help it. she has a new special on netflix right now that is so, so good, and is an expert in shame, so we have that in common (the latter, not the former, lol). i find her incredibly likeable and relatable and awkward, and she is an engaging speaker, which i respect. and even though i tend to resist people promoted by oprah just because i can’t stand how she stamps her gigantic O on everything, i find myself making an exception for ms brown.
anyway, long story short, she has these ten ‘guideposts’ for wholehearted living that fascinate me. i’ve read them on other websites before, or maybe seen them in list form on her own website, but what i really need to do is read this one book of hers, where she explores them further. here they are – and i’ve taken the liberty to rate my progress in relation to each of them, just for shits and giggles:
- cultivating authenticity – letting go of what other people think (nope)
- cultivating self-compassion – letting go of perfectionism (double nope)
- cultivating a resilient spirit – letting go of numbing and powerlessness (again, no)
- cultivating gratitude and joy – letting go of scarcity and fear of the dark (i wish…but alas, no)
- cultivating intuition and trusting faith – letting go of the need for certainty (i’m sorry, but letting go of certainty sounds like a stupid idea)
- cultivating creativity: letting go of comparison (i’ll give myself 0.5/1 for this one)
- cultivating play and rest – letting go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth (also 0.5/1 here)
- cultivating calm and still: letting go of anxiety as a lifestyle (i’d be more than happy to let it go – you mean to say we’ve all been choosing it all this time and we can just…not?!)
- cultivating meaningful work: letting go of self-doubt and ‘supposed to’ (bahahahaha newwwwp)
- cultivating laughter, song and dance: letting go of being cool and ‘always in control’ (finally! one i’ve got!)
so basically, i’m 2 for 10. abysmal. mostly in the letting go categories, if i’m honest. i can cultivate all kinds of things, i’m all over that shit. but it’s when i try to remove resistance that i drag my heels extra. pun intended.
i guess i also feel like wholeheartedness requires an innocence that i no longer have. a naivete that i cannot subscribe to, knowing what i know now.
but i want to be challenged on this. i actually do want to live from my whole heart, i want to trust, i want that earnest sense of okayness that must pervade the lives of those who go forth with every corner of their heart open. i want to know how to do that, i really do.
I wholeheartedly cannot wait for the end of summer when I get off the plane and get to hug my best friend. The more we talk about it, the more I start looking like the Cheshire cat. Please time, could ya hurry it along a bit?
i forget sometimes that mine and pocketbrit’s relationship was built upon the common experience of trauma. that we met online, on a forum where we could be anonymous but also share our stories and our struggles. and that what brought us there was the pain and hurt and desperation we were feeling daily.
and then we have days like we have recently, where we are both young and spinning and triggered, where we lash out and hurt each other and isolate ourselves, and i remember. and i hate it. i hate that she knows it. i hate that we’re so hurt and hurting, that our ability to tolerate and foster love and intimacy has been so profoundly affected.
i got a book from the library yesterday called baffled by love: stories of the lasting impact of childhood trauma inflicted by loved ones. i don’t usually read books like this; i’m steeped enough in my own experience of trauma (and deal with it enough in my work) that i get overwhelmed easily. but this one seems different, it is easy to read, and i appreciate the author’s voice in telling her stories along with the stories of her clients.
by page 20, i had already found words that resonated with me deeply, that made me remember that i’m more than a big bag of triggers covered in skin; that i have more to offer pocketbrit than just activating her own hurt. these are those words: “trauma is hard to speak about and hard to hear about. but stories unshared don’t disappear; they return in relationships, silently taking prisoners. if the trauma remains unknown, unspoken, and unconscious, it does harm. telling your story to a compassionate witness, in contrast, can be healing.”
and that’s what my pocketbrit is: a compassionate witness. she is one of the most important people to whom i tell my stories. she is the person with whom i work through the majority of my core wounds. it is my relationship with her – the one built on all of this ugliness, all this stuff i want to forget – that is helping to heal my heart, that makes me feel like i might one day be okay. it is so fucking hard sometimes, but so far, despite the hard, despite the hurt, it is always worth it.
I’m not a person that uses the word enemy…it feels like a 13 year old girl type of word to use.
But over the day I’ve had the word in my head, and I guess without even realising I was doing it I started thinking of who I would consider an enemy, if I was going to use that word. The people that keep popping into my mind are the people that facilitate it, or turn a blind eye, that allow abuse to happen and make no effort to stop it. They’re even worse than the people that abuse. At least that’s how I’m feeling right now….likely because of how I’m feeling towards these people that are still in my life right now.
Because it’s one thing to abuse a kid. You’ve got to be pretty fucked up to do that to begin with. But to be a ‘normal’ person, and to sit back, do nothing, say nothing, allow a child to be abused because it would cause too much of a scene to do otherwise…that just makes me feel sick.
And then something made me feel sicker still….Aren’t I one of those? I’m doing nothing while my abuser gets married and has kids (the latter happening first, and I think, soon. I’m saying nothing, I’m giving her no warning, no heads up, just ignoring it. What if there is even the tiniest possibility of him doing that to his own kids? Isn’t it my duty to make sure that never happens? Aren’t I just sitting back and allowing him to get away with it? Not making him confront what he did to me, not making him access help, not asking for any reassurance that he would never do it again?
Am I not just one of those people that I would consider an ‘enemy’ if I was forced to use that word?