• eschaden

Touching Our Brokenness

I read a lot. About healing. About compassion. About recovery in all its various forms. And all of this reading and then writing about it, helps me...and hopefully a few of you. What strikes me most about all of the feedback I get is that we are all the same yet suffer from this persistent and ever present delusion that we are different.


When I write about how I feel about what happens in my life, so many of you, write me back and tell me you feel the same. You call my words brave, authentic, honest. But what you write back to me is exactly the same. Exactly. The fact that I have this compulsion to share the inner workings (or not) of my mind, body, heart and soul is my own attempt to connect to those very same places in you. Because I know we all suffer, experience joy, love, and pain the same. The causes and conditions might be different but the underlying feelings of inadequacy, lack of worth, fear, insecurity, dread those are all the same.


I cannot tell anyone how to heal. I can only share my own journey in the hope that my willingness to throw myself under a giant fucking spotlight will help just one other person find their own path. To help someone else as so many, many others have helped me. I could not, would not, be where I am in my life without so many people who helped me along the way. As perverse as it sounds, I am most grateful for the betrayals, losses, heartbreaks, and crushing blows to my delicate ego and fragile sense of worth. These felt like they were my undoing but they were not. They were my becoming. Every fucking time.


It has happened so damn often that I can see it as it is happening now. The love that walks away contains an immense gift. The unrequited love affair that never quite materializes, the job that challenges me in ways that I would rather not experience, the children who lift me up only to cause me to soar head first into my own insufferable arrogance.


Now, when the shit storm is happening, I have conversations like this with myself:


Me:

FUCK! Look at this shit raining down...


Also Me:

Yep, look at that.


Me:

I am afraid, pissed, enraged, upset, hurt, injured, devastated, depressed, discontented...choose whichever one applies to the crisis du jour...


Also Me:

Yep, life is filled with some scary ass shit. But it will be ok. In fact, it is ok right now.


Me:

Ummm, sometimes I think you aren’t really paying attention to our life...


Also Me:

No I see it so fucking clearly. Shit is going down...I see that and it is totally unsettling. But right now, in this full moment of life, we are ok. You are only afraid, pissed, enraged, upset, hurt, injured, devastated, depressed, discontented about what you think is going to happen...


Me:

Ummmm, are you paying attention to our life at ALL?!


Also Me:

Yes I am. But I can see we are here, breathing in and out. And we know, because we have made it this far that it is going to be ok...even if it isn’t.


Me:

BUT THE FUCKING PAIN!


Also Me:

I am not sure where you got the idea that life was not going to be painful...I am pretty sure I told you fucking years ago to get a helmet...

Me:

I do not like this.

Also Me:

No one on the planet, beast or human, likes this. But it is a part of being alive. Pain and suffering are a part of living.


Me:

I hate this.


Also Me:

So you choose to suffer more...


Me:

I gotta go back to bed.


Also Me:

Ok, we can try again tomorrow.


And through a billion of these conversations with myself and all of you, I have come to be willing to touch my own brokenness. I am not afraid of it anymore. I see it and while it is still frustrating to me, and I still wish to cover it up and pretend that it is better or worse or anything other than what it is...I have come to have this other life altering conversation with myself:


Me:

I am broken...


Also Me:

Yep, welcome home.

Me:

I do not like this.


Also Me:

It is ok. No one does.


Me:

I am afraid to look too closely...


Also Me:

Why, would you turn away from a friend, a lover, your parent, or your child if they showed you their brokenness?


Me:

No, never.

Also Me:

Then why would you do that to us? Do we not deserve the same consideration, love, understanding and compassion we routinely give others?


Me:

I do, we do. Why are there two of me in here?


Also Me:

It is cute that you think there are only two of us. There are many more, but these types of conversations, seem to only occur between you and I. The actor and the watcher. You are busy out there doing and I am a lot less busy watching all you are doing. Your job is to act, my job is to see that we are not what we do and if we can slow down enough to stop running, then there is a lot to be learned from this committee of Erins that reside in here.


Me:

This seems complicated.


Also Me:

It isn't. You, I, We all serve different purposes but on one mission.


Me:

What is the mission?


Also Me:

To wake up and see all the myriad of ways that we sleep walk our way through life. Trapped in fear, doubt and self obsession. And to wake up to the fact that all of us on the planet are doing the same thing.


Me:

What do we do now?


Also Me:

I think it is really, really simple: Trust God (or whatever you call God), Clean house (deal with all this shit that occurs within your mind), Help others (because that is what makes what happens in your life useful).


Me:

Even with all this brokenness?


Also Me:

Most especially with all the brokenness!


Me:

What do you think living this way will do to us?


Also Me:

I believe it is the path to living our best life, and helping others do the same. Shall we get on with it then?


Me:

Yes...I think so.


And so I/we do. The two parts of me, the parent and the child, the teacher and the student, the beginner and the master...we both pick up right there at the most broken place within us and we take one step forward and begin to do whatever is next...an email, a phone call, a text, a hug, lunch, a workout, a cry, a fuck, or a love. Whatever is in front of me at that exact moment in time, is how I begin to live with my brokenness.


I don’t have to set up camp there. I don’t have to build a prison of my brokenness surrounded with razor wire and 24/7 guards. I can just touch and go...I can see it, give it a nod and get on with my life taking the broken parts of me with me. They are not old iterations of me that I am trying to out run, they are just places where I am wounded and still walking. They are the places I am trying and failing and trying some more. They are simply some of the best parts of me and I have only come to know that because I was willing to touch them, examine them, turn them around in my mind and heart. I am not the things that broke me, but the things that broke me own a patch of me. They reside like small patchwork farms on the rolling countryside of my internal landscape. And they can be tended to, made to feel manageable and cohesive or I can ignore them, watching them take over, making each broken spot indistinguishable from the other, until all I have left, all I can see over the endless miles of Erin is the shattered, out of control remnants of myself.


I do not choose to live that way today. So much easier to touch the brokenness, giving it whatever it needs from me and then when it is done (and it never takes as long as I think) I am able to move on with the broken parts of me, adhered to me owning their rightful place within.


Perhaps the most painful brokenness for me was the loss of Lane. God, I fucking loved him. All of him, even his most broken parts. But he could not or would not love those parts within himself. At least I think that is what happened. I don’t know. What I do know is that with great pain he left my life and I was left to try to piece together a story that made sense to me. It has taken four years. Four long years for me to sort this through and heal. And on the eve of Valentine’s Day weekend, I can for the first time say I am no longer broken by him.


My attempts at dating and relating have been feeble and fumbled and laughable. But I kept trying. I kept showing up and doing it even when I didn’t want to. Even when it hurt so much. And then I would retreat into my brokenness and swear that I would live there forever, never allowing any one else in or me out.


But that is the thing about spending a great deal of time touching your own brokenness...it changes you. And it has changed me. It isn’t that I no longer fear the pain of rejection or love lost. I do. I am human and I will have those fears as long as I live.


But through this painful, heart rendering process, I have come to love me. All of me. The parts that are worthy and the ones that I fear are not. It isn't brave or boastful, it is just love for myself. I love myself by holding myself accountable to myself, about myself, for myself. This is not arrogant, or narcissistic, because either of those lack all accountability. No, today, I am fucking accountable to me. To how I show up, or how I don’t. I am also accountable to you. I tell you the truth, most especially when I don’t want to.


And it is within this willingness to hold myself accountable that I have found the laughter and joy in being me. The love and the hilarity of being who I am has become the best thing that I do every day. Some days are not pretty...some days are still fucking hard. And there are moments when overcome with my own inadequacy, I would like to be someone else...still.


But most days, most of the days, and all of those hours and minutes in those days I am content in my own skin. I don’t wish to be anyone else, I simply get up each day and try to be the best version of myself that I can be. Some days I hit the target, other days I am way, way off. But regardless, I love the me who shows up for this life. All of it. And I do not really spend much time anymore beating myself up for being human, for falling, for hurting, for being broken by all the things that life brings to bear. Instead, through the beings that have been brought into my life, I have learned to be less afraid to touch, to see, to hear, to love the broken parts of myself and in some how doing, have learned to love myself and that has freed up large parts of me to love others more completely and with a much lighter heart and mind.


To my wary but intrepid readers, let’s all be terrified to touch our own brokenness but with mad defiance, let’s fucking do it anyway!




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