In the Spring of last year, my husband told me that I was not myself and that I was no longer present to our family. It was hard to hear becase I knew it was true. A month later I left my job to rest, recover, and re-engage with the people I love. What I didn’t anticipate was how lengthy and arduous the journey ahead would be.
By the Fall I was finding the time and space in my life rather uncomfortable. I got antsy, so I let myself dream and consider the possibility of moving our family to the West Coast. At the time it made complete sense to me. Our family loves the Coast, we have family there, and I was already in transition, so why not make it a huge transition, I thought. But the opportunity to move didn’t end up working out, and I was devastated.
Not knowing how to cope, I learned how to crochet, got back to scrapbooking, and started painting various rooms in our home. I thought I was embracing my creative side, but in hindsight I can see that I was looking to the sense of accomplishment to fill the void. Instead of the satisfaction I normally would have experienced, I found myself feeling lackluster and lonely.
I wondered if maybe it was time to connect with people again. So I booked coffee dates with friends, and volunteered at my kids schools. A part of me was genuinely looking forward to seeing people, but I was also ashamed of how horribly lost and sad I felt after making what I thought to be a good decision to leave my job. How could a good decision make me feel so horrible I wondered. But I pushed those thoughts aside and got myself ready to re-engage. Then my son got a concussion, and all the coffee dates I had booked were cancelled for an undetermined amount of time while my son recuperated at home.
My life slowed to a grinding halt, and suddenly I was confronted with every emotion I had tried to ignore and deny. Deep down I was angry and bitter, and had questions that needed resolve. I finally allowed myself to feel the hurt and pain, and to forgive where needed. It’s easy enough to write about this now, but walking through this part of the journey was hard, really hard. It was also releasing. I slowly began to feel lighter, and then something mysterious happened. I was reading books and listening to podcasts, which affirmed the person I had forgotten I was. Then I found answers to fundamental questions I had about my worth, significance and value. Slowly I was transformed from the shell of a person I had become, back into me, but a new, refined version of me.
It is only now in hindsight that I can see that I had been trying to use old patterns of behavior to navigate new territory; I was turning my back and attempting to walk in the opposite direction of my discomfort, or was attempting to numb the pain with a sense of accomplishment or connection with people. The old patterns may have worked in the past, but they weren’t working anymore.
Now I can see that I was given the opportunity to be undone, in order that I might be made new. I had to sit in the discomfort, allowing myself to feel it and forgive where needed, so that I could experience new freedom, growth, and perspective that were awaiting on the other side. I’m not sure it could have come any other way, and as uncomfortable, lonely, and painful this past year and a half has been, I would not change it, for I find I am more wholly and comfortably me.