Unlocking the Box

Sometimes I wish I had a magic ball so that I could predict what needs to happen in order for me to let go of the past and move into a better place. I feel I have already come so far, because it has taken an extraordinary amount of digging into the past so that I am not doomed to repeat it… and it is the only reason I do.

There’s no rhyme or reason as to how memories and grief interact in my brain, only that they do. Grief is not a one-time process where you slowly move in a straight line toward wholeness. It’s more like a graph, where there are points on the x, y, and z axes that are alternately hilarious and heart-wrenching. Some days are always better than others, and yesterday was not one of those days in which I could laugh off anything. I tried. God, how I tried… but grief rained down on my head like a thunderstorm, and as much as I tried to laugh, they were fleeting moments in a total shitshow of a day.

I couldn’t reach out. I could only reach in, lost in the nebula of my own mind as I tried to refocus grief into high-energy music, endorphins, anything to change my frame of reference. And then I tried to close my eyes, and that is when grief is the most annoying, because if it doesn’t keep me awake with rumination, it haunts my dreams.

It hasn’t been that long since a catastrophe of a divorce and an even shorter time since I stopped asking Argo what she thought and started reaching into my own heart to receive peace about the situation. In a huge way, it felt like taking a piece of my soul and just slicing it to bits in both directions… something from which I will never recover, but will at least fade into the background as I get further and further away with time. I have learned to trust the z-axis as much as I trust air.

I didn’t learn about the z-axis until I started working with web sites that have layers. Closer images have higher z-axis values. So, in my career, I have learned more about life and how it works. Over time, the z-axis value becomes lower and lower, and it is something to which I look forward.

My blog has to lag behind my current life, because I need to get perspective on something before I am ready to put it to “paper.” You’ll hear about now several months down the line as I process what is happening day-to-day in my head… which is why my blog is so focused on recovery from the last two or three years rather than stream-of-consciousness as I walk through my day. Of course there is some of that- how could there not? But at the same time, reflection and reminiscence is how I deal… and I’m not interested in your opinions on it. I can only help myself through my writing, and hope that those who join along can identify with what I am saying. As I have always said, “it’s my process, and you’re invited.” However, you are not required. If something about my blog bothers you, feel free not to read it. Change the channel. I’m sure Heather Armstrong and Jenny Lawson are better at this than I am. Feel free to read them instead.

Additionally, there are so few people in my life that know who my friends are.. the rest are anonymous, with just a double-paned window into my life and never a door.

Right now, I am dealing with the very real sense that nothing good can come out of Nazareth… rejected by my own people and celebrated by strangers… and trying to come to terms with it because just like Jesus, I cannot reach the people in my home town.

I love comments from my friends that don’t take away my power. I hate the ones that refuse to see that I am owning my life, mistakes, vulnerabilities, and all that comes with it… and that it will take time. Actively trying to pull me away from it only increases my anxiety, as if I am not doing enough, not being enough, that I am not enough as I am. It is a journey that I am taking into wholeness, one that is not achieved with a few steps here and there. Releasing my past takes an understanding of it. I have made mistakes; they are ones in which it will take me a long time to forgive myself. As the z-axis continues to push things further away from me, it is only because I have blessed and released my enormity of feelings about what I have done and left undone.

I cannot walk past these things, only through them.

In my current iteration, I am trying hard to create new relationships that do not have a tint of the past, meaning that I am actively using the lessons I’ve learned rather than being the man who regrets and the man who forgets. What that means is often responding to questions with what has happened rather than what is happening, and I cannot help it. Not understanding that is not understanding me and how my mind works, and I am not interested in creating relationships where I am forced to be something that I am not and will never be. My personality type dictates that I lead others forward into self-reflection by revealing my own… something that all INFJs are wont to do.

For instance, would you (if you watched) have been so invested in The Oprah Winfrey Show if she hadn’t started with telling people from whence she came, and how she handled her own obstacles before she started reaching out to others? I think not. Additionally, I do not think she would have received the platform she was given if she hadn’t.

I received a platform when I started talking about my abuse, a project that I started in solitude and people started joining along. I did not ask for the platform, it was given to me, and that has made all the difference in how I see myself. In a way, I have led by serving. Even in the military, the most regimented organization in the world, the best generals lead from the back, unwilling to have anyone do anything they would not do on their own.

The best compliment I’ve ever gotten came after I received my platform, one line that will live in my memory for ages… “you simply must keep talking… for the rest of us.” Of course, that was when I talked every day about how childhood abuse affected my adult reactions and responses, and when I was finished with it, the story had to move forward somehow… and yet, the story hasn’t changed too much, because childhood emotional abuse and PTSD are still a continuing problem, because it still affects my reactions and responses. The way I was rewired, in some sense, will never leave me. I cannot erase my past, but I can learn to manage it. My faults are where my reactions lay out their inescapable defense mechanisms, and not only can you see it, so can I.

I refuse to become a person that keeps their emotions locked in a box where I am forced not to think about them, because the longer they stay in there, the longer I allow them to torture me. Exorcising my demons is what frees me, because there are no hidden recesses in which I cannot shine light.



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