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Day 43 - Roller Coasters, Ferris Wheels & Fair Ground Attraction

Some facts of your childhood will remain immutable, but others won’t. You may never make sense of the bad things that happened to you, but with work and mindfulness, with understanding and heart, you will make sense of yourself.

Cheryl Strayed.

Can I get an Amen?

Today I did not wake up with a topic in mind. Well, I didn’t wake up with feeling like I had something new to say. I am becoming preoccupied with finding new things to say and put out there. I feel like I am boring myself, so what am I doing to all of you?

I feel a bit haunted by redundancy.

Then I read this quote this morning and my feelings of boredom and redundancy were transformed - I am doing the work, mindfully with understanding and heart to make sense of myself and the bad things that happened to me. Which has led me to making sense of myself.

Crystal fucking clear.

This conscious time away from men has been nice. It is nice not think about men. It is so nice not to have to talk to them at night, to not have my bed run around their needs and wants, to exist in relation to them. I don’t know exactly when I stopped being the epicenter of my life...Where exactly was I when I ceded control of my life to others?

Somewhere along the way, I decided that coupling was more important than what I wanted and needed and that to be a part of a couple meant that I had to subjugate my individual needs in order to participate in coupledom.

It has been easy to spend my life blaming men. But as I am realizing, I am the one that picked them. It was like adolescent fair ground attraction: you see a cute boy on the Midway and then the rest of your trip to the fair, directed to seeing that one boy again! Take that childhood right of passage and throw it over a couple of decades...

I was desperately needing the validation a relationship provided. It gave me legitimacy. It gave me substance. However, the way that I did relationships, I sacrificed myself and my dreams in order to maintain a status quo that I wasn’t even happy with...

Looking back now, it is so clear to me. That wound of being picked crowded out all the other needs, dreams, wishes and desires. I stayed with men that I did not really love just to feel loved. While I was never completely committed, I gave up everything else for them so that I could feel loved and supported. Before sobriety, I only really had one long term relationship. Now if you would have asked me, I would have told you that I was this independent, in charge woman who just didn’t want to settle down. And this would have been half true. I would have failed to mention the other part of me that was walking into every one of those encounters wondering if that relationship would provide redemption. Once I got sober, I just went from one relationship to the next. Frequently having the next boyfriend picked out before I left the last one. Serial dating was my thing and I was sure that it was in the next guy that I would find fulfillment.

If I am honest, in every encounter with the opposite sex, I walk in with two distinct personalities that I flip back and forth all designed to protect myself. If the men were clingy and needy, I am independent and unattainable. If the men are distant and removed, I am wondering if this is the guy - will this one finally fucking pick me so I can get off this fucking ride?

When one has significant childhood trauma everything gets all fucked up. Sex. Love. Relationships. Intimacy. Care. Concern. Everything is tainted with the sickness of abuse. I think a lot of people don’t ever even know it. They just go through life baffled about why their relationships are such a mess. They do not address the underlying issues - so the issues fester and create emotional cancerous growths that continue to fuck up their lives...sometimes to the point of extinction. I have seen it. Women and men so ruined by abuse that they take their own lives. It happens all the time...sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly.

Healing is painful. It takes heart. It takes guts. It takes determination. Blood is involved.

My attempts at an intimate life have fallen way short. I have spent most of my time inviting you in and then trying to keep you at a safe distance while also attempting to keep you in my orbit. It has been exhausting...for everyone. Kinda like inviting someone on the tilt-a-whirl but then trying not to touch them as if centrifugal force is not a thing...

My intimate life reminds me of a rollercoaster ride that I can’t get off of - lots of ups and lots of downs. Exciting. Painful. A lot of feeling like I wanted to throw up.

This new commitment to healing and changing more like riding a Ferris Wheel. I keep revisiting the same old stuff but I keep getting a higher view and that allows for a different perspective.

So round and round we go, but the vista is pretty fucking awesome. Not only do I get to see you, men, my life, my family differently, I get to be different too. I get to be new. I am no longer shackled to the rollercoaster, trapped in a seat on a ride that ceased to be fun a long time ago.

My fairground attraction made me blind to the fact that there were all these other rides besides the exciting and dangerous roller coaster. Now I feel like I am walking around the grounds and seeing that there are a lot of different rides - some of which I have no desire to ride so I can stand firmly on the ground and watch others ride and still get perspective and learn from their excitement or lack there of.

I feel like my time at the fair has been purposeful. I am learning a lot watching myself and also watching others. Because I am willing to do the work, I am more mindful. Because I am more mindful, I am more understanding. Because I am more understanding, I have access to my heart and the hearts of those about me. Because my heart is open, I can love myself and in turn you. I am able to make sense out of myself which allows me to conclude:

You can't ride to the fair unless you get on the pony. I think I am getting it, Cheryl, really I am.

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