Today, is just as times before. When I feel the pain of another’s story, long after my ears have heard. When I remember back to my own journeys through the pain of chronic ill-health. And the mental anguish of being unable to function for days, weeks, months. The self-imposed stresses. The very real stress of maintaining a relationship whilst unable to maintain yourself. Being unable to work, unable to generate income, unable to meet deadlines.
Unable. Disable. Needing more enable, but those days were rare.
I have known defeat, suffering, struggle, and loss. Somehow I have found my way out of those depths and stand here today.
Pain reaches forwards
Up from the past
Clutching and dragging me
Fearing all that
Now, as then
And I tell myself right now
These are emotional ghosts
They have no power over me
Except that which I give them.
Though I feel unsteady, unsafe
My comfort lies in others
Asking for help
Accepting supportive hands
Belief in my own inner strength.
These are my tools
With these now I survive
And prepare to thrive once more
This is my hope, my truth.
I question why it is such a struggle to care for myself.
I observe my own situation, with compassion and curiosity,
and look for explanations, understanding, answers.
I feel the inner pain that is so common –
When it feels that I don’t know how to look after myself internally –
Am I seeking attention, love in a way that I understand,
from childhood experiences?
I question my early experiences with acceptance
I don’t recall those feelings,
I remember quite the opposite.
Religious instruction that constantly threatened punishment
A strict father who only saw black and white, right and wrong,
and failed to see past his preconception of a situation
Yes, he loved, but
I don’t remember a loving, supportive atmosphere.
And while I have come to an acceptance of my adult life experiences
I wonder about my childhood experiences
I search for memories, or thoughts, of
The type of loving care that I need to give myself Now.
Maybe this struggle to pull forth loving consideration for myself
Is due to a lack of experience,
A lack of early grounding in these lessons for myself
And maybe anyone trying to help me needs to remember this
Maybe I need to remember this
And be gentle, be understanding,
Be compassionate with myself, when
I struggle to treat myself in a way that others take for granted.
As the tug-of-war flares up inside me
I feel both, the forwards momentum, and
The screaming fear pulling me back
“That way hurts”; “That way is unknown, scary”
And many other words, whispered so secretly I can’t quite make them out
Being so exhausted, it’s too easy to let go and be pulled back
When did I last win this game anyway?
The joy and energy of victory are long forgotten.
Yet others join in on my side, grab the rope and pull for a while
Close friends, online friends, strangers,
Who all have my best interests at heart
Others who believe in me
While I try so hard to feel their faith,
To feed off the encouragement they give
And for the strangest time, I feel so little.
“23” © Mary Jo Boughton, 2015. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
Wanting to help others
Is in your nature
So wanting to help yourself
Comes naturally too.
Beware the critic
The diviner of right and wrong,
Embrace the loving supporter
The kind and compassionate persister.
You deserve to be happy
Though that strange place
Brings fears of losing your self
Trust me, trust you,
That place is better, ’tis true
You will grow there
Feeling life’s meaning
And you will feel safe
As the security comes from within.
[ this is my response to Ruby Browne’s words on struggle ]
Woke up this morning to an email from my friend Abbie. Part of it was reminding me of our conversation the night before, and how I was going to care for myself today.
That consideration and guidance stuck with me all through the day, even though surviving was a great struggle.
This is what silver linings are all about. Those little sparkles of hope that get you through despite everything crazy going on inside your head.
Support. Assistance. Words of guidance. Words of encouragement. We all need these at times.
When you need it, ask for help. If you are unsure, ask for help. Real friends will be there. And sometimes it doesn’t even matter if they are half a day away in a different timezone on the other side of this rock we call earth.
I need my friends to survive. How about you?
I want to feel all that is inside me
and let it go
I want to be – all that I am
and ignore the opinions of others
I want to find my way forward
and leave the past behind
I want to work out
whether to embrace all the emotions
or let them go and walk away
I want to work out
when I can’t do all of the above
am I failing
or just being who I am in this moment?
Why do I want to change?
Why do i want anything to be different?
I think it hurts and damages me
But, does it?
Yes I have been damaged
By my worries about it all
By my mental reaction to it all
And my desire for something different
What do these two words mean, to me?
Do they destroy my life?
Do they push me forwards?
Do they chain me down?
Ego, pride, beliefs
I wish I had some answers to all this
Any answers would do
Please help me see what I need to see
Self blindness is my mortality
The trauma of my childhood
That no-one was ever there for me
Consistently, patiently, lovingly
No-one to talk with
About the confusion of life
Trying to learn what it all meant
And how it all worked
I developed my own coping
But now those inexperienced patterns
Are more harmful than beneficial.
35 years later
I am relearning healthy ways
Helping myself most days
But still sometimes
Falling into a deep hole, where
Blinded by darkness and isolation
I am lost.
The difference now is friends
People I trust enough
People who care enough
Fully respond to my cries
Support me through the terrors
And gently pull me out afterwards.
Finally feeling love
Enables self-love to grow
Is a terrifying new experience
But the backup from my friends
Lends me enough strength
That no matter how much I slip backwards
Each day steps forwards can be made.
I shared this with a select few of my friends, those that have been of big assistance in the past year, to express gratitude in my own way. These words are like a photo or picture, conveying a snapshot of one moment’s relevance to my whole life. There is so much more, there always is, just as there is a world beyond the edges of a photograph. But taking it all in is overwhelming. So this little view tells a story, makes a few connections, and leaves the rest open for interpretation.
“When you have only felt able to truly rely on yourself, real friendship can seem strange.”
I can sit
I can just be
Easy to sleep
Hard to move
But the day
Call and push
Just one step
(3 February 2015)