It was coy, quiet, barely audible, a whisper.
Can I be heard?
It’s good to see you again, thank you for this opportunity, I so would like to make up for lost time, but I need to make time to apply the lessons you have taught me, everything I’ve been willing and not so willing to learn from you. I’ve been learning, you’ve helped me.
Your lessons have at times, been well meaning and filled with love. I’ve been erratic in my response to receiving these learnings, some welcomed, I’ve known I needed to do things differently and I needed that direct influence to set things in motion, some I’ve challenged, repelled, because despite my desire for much of what you’ve presented me, I have clearly not been ready to receive or appreciate the true value of it. At other times your lessons have felt cruel and mis directed, I’ve been left scared and puzzled. Why? How? What? I’ve not understood, I’ve responded in an uneducated retaliating way.
I ended up needing to get burned again, to sit in the classroom and endure the hard lesson again, feel the confusion, pain and emotion, again. Until I have understood what you have been teaching me, with words, non words, actions, lack of action and then the words, non words, action and lack of actions of others around me. I’ve learnt I can learn from everyone and myself.
My reactions may not have always been pleasant to be on the receiving end of. I’m sorry. I kept thinking what meant so much to me was slipping away beyond my own reach – me, who I was and at times I gave it all a helping hand, pushing what I wanted most, away. It was easy to think I was protecting others and myself, by veering off towards isolation than it was to be what I truly wanted to be and wanted from you. Why had my smile and laughter become so limited in supply? Where was my ease with the world? Why were these pleasantries so short lived and contained? I was angered with and by myself as I watched seemingly helpless as my former self, the one I liked more, slip further into oblivion. Burdened by a never ending to do list, why had I allowed myself to take on so much? Why did I keep adding to it and why on top of all that was so much going wrong? When was this torture going to end? I inadvertently blamed you for some of my pains and heartache. But ultimately, I see that I wasn’t losing myself, I was always me. I was simply not conscious of the fact that I was discovering parts of me, my limits, that had never needed to be unearthed before, or I had refused to look at.
I am that person, that person who is an abundance of emotions, capabilities, strengths, achievements, weaknesses, failings, learnings, vulnerability and completely full of love and happiness that I long to share with the world and ultimately someone special.
Happiness and love that was battling to push aside all the woes of the endless tasks that kept coming at me, my happiness and love for you still shining. Yet rather than the light that shone softly through the window to light up a room, it flickered in the wind, casting long dark wonderous shadows, its luminosity stifled by the acrid air of chores, the seemingly never ending to do list, problems brought about by failing trades people, learning about my consumer rights, writing complaint letters, maintaining households, parents’ health, my health, work, committments, friendships and relationships. I was exhausted beyond all levels of exhaustion I had ever known and yet I was determined to keep shining. It was difficult to see a way out of the tunnel with this flickering light but the happiness and love shone. The happiness and love shone, just in different strengths and was easily fuelled into glowing radiance when it could be free from the chores and breathe the freedom and air that fuelled it, when the way out and future I longed for was in sight again.
I see now, it was just time for other parts of me to come forward, a little bit more self discovery. Now that I have learnt even more about me, I can continue to accept who I am, how I tick and know that with similar situations I may be better equipped to deal with them and with new scenarios I will continue to recognise patterns of me and learn even more about me.
I’ve certainly learned the importance of nurturing myself through the tough times, I can’t be everything to everyone if I can’t be good and true to even myself. I’ve learned the need to eat healthily and rest, have fun, to truly switch off and laugh, proper big belly laughter till the sparkle in my eyes turns to the tears running down my face and my sides ache. I’ve learned to cry, cry so hard without holding back, sobbing from my stomach. I’ve learned to speak the truth, no I have not been coping, yes I am struggling, I just need some space right now, I could really do with some help, I really would love a hug, please don’t let go – things I’ve been unable to admit before.
Perhaps most importantly I’ve learned so much about myself and how I function (or don’t function) under immense stress. I question why I am even feeling stress – it is typically because I am not following my heart. I’ve really learnt that I need to slow down. Stop thinking I can juggle multiple huge ticket things at once. Recognise that sometimes achieving one dream means putting other things on hold. Recognising that even to achieve that one dream, it is not always easy. There are challenges, it is not always a pleasant experience, but if I truly want it, then the hardships and difficulties are part of the journey. If I relate it to a work project – things don’t always go smoothly, yet there is a reason that project was started – an inspiration, a benefit to it, once delivered there is an expected return on the investment. We work through those tough times, charge ahead and even though we might not be pumping our fists with joy once through the other side, we have achieved it and learned much along the way that can be applied to future projects. I am familiar with people saying ‘oh if we were to do that project again, we’d do things differently’. Maybe it is harder to see when bringing personal dreams / projects into fruition because typically we are not a dedicated resource to them and we also have emotions tied up in it all.
It’s much harder to hold your own personal ‘lessons learned’ meeting, that’s for sure! But now I regularly reflect on myself and my actions, I see what I am learning from situations and yes I’ve learned the hard way that when stressed I don’t sleep, isn’t it a better lesson to recognise how to assess and reduce my exposure to high levels of stress? Stop trying to do everything at once and alone. I see that now.
I’ve learned the value of my friendships and love. Love and being there for someone doesn’t always mean someone is by your side daily, embroiled at the same depth as I in a situation, it’s when they are giving me space to be me, to deal with what I’ve needed to. To recognise the fine line of holding me tight and help when I ask and also when I’m too hurt and don’t ask. To still believe in me. Even when they’ve stepped away, they have that belief in me, when I’ve faltered to see or feel it for myself.
I’ve said on many occasions how much I love you, even when I’ve struggled to see why and I’m grateful for that lesson too. I love you for everything you bring me – the lessons, the sights, all experiences, both enjoyable and hard, for they are so valuable to me. Without those experiences, what is there? I don’t want to just ‘exist’.
I have regrets yes. Yet I know it is not healthy to get hung up on what did or did not happen. It is now the past, yes I wish I had handled things differently, yes I wish some outcomes were different, but the fact is, the past is the past and can not be changed. What is possible, is to take that past and my learnings and apply them to each day as it comes. I know things in the future can be different to the past, because I feel I have learned many lessons. Kind of like sitting in a foreign language class having been taught over and over again, the logic of sentence structures, past participals, which items are masculine, feminine or neutral yet when it comes to delivering a sentence… constantly getting it wrong. Then one day, for whatever reason, all the practice, the gradual progress, the stumbles, it all falls into place and I can apply the rules appropriately and speak confidently. This is essentially what life is about – not shying away from something because it is difficult. But to keep applying what you’ve learnt to help you achieve what you want, to stumble, pick yourself up and apply your learnings again and again. I have to keep reminding myself of that.
I’ve been catching glimpses of you, how we can be, I sleep better and as a result I am allowing me to do and see things again. I feel like we are reuniting, that you and I are stepping back out onto a level playing field. That I am now in a better position to play, to once again enjoy everything that you surround me with. I want to scream it from the top of the world, I want to run barefoot down the road with a wide joyous beam across my face, delighting in what we can have. But I’ve been so burned, your lessons have been harsh and have left me cautious. But perhaps that too is one of the most important lessons – I need to not let my heart, my joy, my dreams, gallop away wildly, in abundance, without direction, too soon. Baby steps, but not harness them to submission, let them and us be free, but not without some purpose or sense of direction – being true to myself.
My mountain of stresses – are now a far more manageable mole hill. I kept saying I no longer had a life, but how foolish and inappropriate of me to say this. I know what it is like to be at those inviting pain-free gates of glowing white lights and again upon hearing the flatline beep of my heart. Today is my eight year anniversary since my brush with death, I really do know it was very much touch and go and it would have all been gone, far too soon and without my wanting. You have continued to remind me of the value of life with family health concerns and great big shaky natural disasters, so I should know better, than to make light of something so serious, I was lucky. I am very lucky that I do have a life and I commit now to being true to myself.
I did have a life and that was it, I had allowed myself to take on too much and struggled. I believed it was possible to do it all, after all, I had long taken pride in believing I was an all or nothing at all person. I was, and it has taken me a long time to see this was breaking me. The one thing I’ve wanted most – I still don’t have.
I’ve been catching glimpses of our future and am no longer sickened by wondering how it will all fall into place. Because now, I am working on letting go, my time and life is exactly that, my time, my life. It sounds simple and sometimes it is and sometimes it’s not. I sleep more soundly and I wake, mostly refreshed for what the day holds and I can be grateful for each day I have with you and every opportunity it brings.
I’m smiling, a soft, gentle smile and I take a deep breath and exhale fully. While the sky outside is dark and dreary, the rain beating down, when I shut my eyes, the sun is shining softly and I’m looking forward to combining the best of what I had before and to applying everything you have taught me. Finding and developing that balance we hear so much about – with all those lessons, I know it is something to be worked at.
Despite my strong desire to shout the words gleefully from a rooftop, or better still, barefoot and breathless as I run along a beach with my arms out wide. I’m now just closing my eyes and breathing deeply as I hear the words in my head and the corner of my mouth turns upwards.
I’m not holding a grudge, I hope to irradicate my regrets as I do believe everything happens for a reason, what will be will be. I believe at the very least, that reason is even just to have learnt whatever it is I learned and try to apply that learning to the present day and future.
I would just like to be grateful for being together, for you are precious. The most precious thing in the world, I nearly lost you twice before, you’ve given me plenty of gentle and not so gentle reminders and I feel now, that many of the hard, valuable and priceless lessons I have been learning since I nearly lost you are starting to pay off. I look forward to taking those small, purposeful and free steps together, you are the most precious thing.
Hello, hi Life.
It’s good to be in touch again. I love you.