“Acceptance has everything to do with simplicity. With sitting in the ordinary place. With bearing witness to the plain facts of our life. With not just starting at the essential, but ending up there. Your life has been profoundly shaken by these recent revelations. It’s not your task to forgive those who immediately shook you. Forgiveness forces an impossible internal face off. Acceptance asks only that you embrace what’s true.” Cheryl Strayed, Tiny, Beautiful Things. Edited to fit my purpose.
“People spend a lot of time feeling what they’re supposed to feel instead of accepting what they do feel.” Marla, Liberating Losses
This is my way out.
That was my thought. Not that simply put. Not that clear. Maybe not a thought at all- it was the idea though, that gave birth to this blog. This blog would be my way out. Out of what? Out of my life as currently lived. Out of my relationship as currently crumbling. Out of my pain as currently crippling. Out of my grief as currently deniable. Out of my past as currently present. Out of the mistakes as currently reoccurring. It was the way out of everything…but now, as I lay here in bed at 6:30, feeling thwarted by love, drowning in grief and forced into being accountable for my own life, I am amazed, completely in awe of the fact that I failed to see how getting out would result in getting in. My way out, became the way in.
Not the way around.
God willing, it will be the way through.
For over a year now, I have craved simplicity. And I have rallied against it. I have created it and then sabotaged and destroyed it. I have welcomed it and felt the peculiar shame that comes with it…I have craved the ordinary places of which that quote above speaks. The ordinary places of my life- of my job, of laundry, mowing the yard, shoveling snow, cooking dinner- of all those ordinary places that consume me. And I have craved, I have tried relentlessly, to make either them less ordinary, or my doing them, seem less so. In the ordinary places of my life, I feel so god damn ordinary and somehow I thought that simplicity would feel less complicated- but it doesn’t. It just weeds out the useless shit that covers over the complicated, not so simple life that rests in those ordinary places. Even if you didn’t start out with the essentials, you will find yourself there…at least I have. When I try to add more to the essentials of me, it’s a fricking disaster. It’s bed at 6:30, pondering anti depressants instead of just doing the grief…the god damn grief.
I am so tired of the grief. It shakes me every day. I have spent so much time taking the emotions attached to my grief- not just the grief of my mother’s death, but of all the grief before that. Grief that I barely acknowledged at my core. Grief born of her death…along with the losses since- and tried to make them….Surface. Doable. I’ve tried to make it all how I think I should feel instead of accepting it for how it makes me feel for real. I am a vat of grief. It is safe to say that my way, if you can even call it a “way”, does not work as efficiently as I had hoped. I wanted out. I did not anticipate in. But, since I’m here, I guess I’ll reach for acceptance and embrace what’s true. Oh Ralph….Why didn’t you tell me that the only way out, is the way in, which is how we get through…?
“Because grief doesn’t just touch that particular loss; it calls forth every loss we’ve ever had. And it gives us an opportunity to finish up a lot of unfinished business, if we have the courage to go through it. Julie, Liberating Losses
For weeks now I’ve had the book, Liberating Losses next to my bed. The pallet bed that is a reflection of my simplistic desires and authentic creativity, that recently lead me to ask myself; Do you sleep on a pallet bed because you want to or because you think you only deserve pallets? The question is still with the committee. The book however, has finally been picked up. And then skimmed. At times I thought, “There is nothing in here for me…” and then those two quotes and one paragraph, on one page, became a treasure chest of “aha!” for me. They allowed me to go into the kitchen and make a little dinner, when my normal behavior would be to give in to the anorexia and find control over something, like my hunger, as a respite from the grief that was holding me down in my bed before the sun even gave thought to setting…They allowed me to ponder my unfinished business and to remain standing at the prospect of such, instead of hitting my knees in the kitchen. Those little bits…a few words, allowed me to understand that I was rejecting what I feel in lieu of what I deemed I should and granted me a tiny bit of acceptance. There’s something simple about acceptance, don’t you think?
The page that hit me said this;
“But you can’t run from yourself. Death brings us our work, and how we deal with it determines our future happiness.”
No grief, no self, no happiness. That’s pretty simple. Death has brought me my work more than once…as a matter of fact, I’m willing to bet that right now, the death of someone else- the father of someone I love, not to mention the fondness I have for the man dying, is bringing me that work again. Front and center it says. Welcome to the ordinary places of your life, it says. Grief has become ordinary and I must escape this place. I travelled so far out to find myself so far in…
An earlier text to Chris:
(In reference to cravings) “I don’t think they stop. It’s emotional. I’m laying in bed fighting the urge to get antidepressants. To fake my way back into life. Fuck grief. It’s so exhausting. I want a beer on the patio in ft.collins, a burger and fries. and then to smoke. But…not really”
That’s pretty low for me my friend. That’s quite possibly as low as I could go. But, it’s not scary. It is, but it’s somehow familiar because I know that this is what the queen does when she’s tired, like my four-year old pretty princess- pulling out all the stops. Pushing me until I may just break…because I’ve broken plenty of times before, but I don’t. I do my old stuff. I share. I don’t get what I need. I get pissed off. I fight the urge to send guilt ridden texts, of thanks for making it all about you…The Universe test me with some form of old, unhealthy behavior…I go through this internal struggle of, “get up, lay down, get up, stay down, get up, give up” and then, I lurch my body over onto it’s side and I reach…I reach for the computer, for the only community I know that rarely talks back to me anymore, but that remains my outlet because I think I’ve finally come to understand that I don’t give a shit anymore if anyone likes me, or if my writing sucks…at least today I don’t. Today I know that you have to do it yourself. For yourself. First. That you can’t run from yourself. Or grief. Or other people’s grief. That loss will teach what you have by creating loss until you see abundance, even if it’s an abundance of loss. The internal struggle where I ask myself, “When will it be enough?!” and then pathetically say, “Just a little more please…” That’s born of a life where your grief made other people uncomfortable…so you felt what you should, not what you did and then that leaked out all over the place- seeping into the ordinary places until you accept, that to be extraordinary, you have to start with the essentials of ordinary first.