A year ago I had a choice in my hands. I could have slayed the dragon; but I dropped the knife, and decided to save her instead.
I need to forgive myself for how I chose to survive. I need to forgive myself for betraying myself. For not loving myself. For letting myself not matter. For accepting the unacceptable. For giving what I shouldn’t have given. I need to forgive myself for thinking so low of myself it was justified for others to step on me. I need to forgive myself for finding worth down there.
I need forgive myself for considering not surviving it. I need to love that girl who felt so trapped she didn’t even believe there was a way out of this.
I need to stop minimizing the weight of what was on me and blaming my own weakness for my struggle.
I need to forgive myself for needing a video to teach me something I should have known. I need to forgive myself for not truly getting the message for so long.
I need to forgive myself for almost giving up the possibility of what I have now, for almost giving up everything I believe in and everything I had created and wanted to create, out of fear. Out of terror.
I need to forgive myself for not holding myself in compassion. I need to love the part that makes it so hard to be kind to myself. To forgive. To accept. To love.
The part that still judges me for all of this. The part that judged me into all of this. That’s not the part that got me out.
I was so brave. It didn’t usually feel that way. But I was so fucking brave. Brave enough to shake my way through it. Brave enough to throw away my blinders and do something about it. To decide to matter. To decide to live. To decide to love myself enough to save myself.
This year I experience it all over, in a whole different light. I have distance, perspective, I’m on the other side now. I am proud and grateful for that girl’s struggle. For my decision and perseverance and determination. I love her for what she did for me.
But it’s not all happy when I look back. I can see how horrible and terrifying and sad it was on a whole other level now. Now that I’m not in it, coping, surviving. I can feel it with a new knowing. A knowing of how unacceptable that was. Of how terrifying it was. Of how wrong it was.
At the time I was going through it, I was still working my way through the wrongness of it. I was still battling with whether it was “actually bad”, whether I was just making it seem worse. I remember sitting there, bargaining with my therapist, of trying to determine where the “line” really is – how I should be deciding what is okay and what isn’t. How I determine if I’m terrified because I’m weak or because it’s dangerous. I wanted to justify my situation and work on my reaction to it. I wanted to excuse it. I was flailing through this. All this bargaining of lines and trying to avoid the reality. I remember him stopping me mid-ramble of what I can only describe as one last desperate plea on my part – “It sounds to me like you are trying to get me to give you permission to stay in an unsafe situation”. I’ll never forget it. He was dead on. In a way that utterly crushed me – and freed me at the same time. I’ll forever be grateful for having the wind knocked out of me that day.
And this year, I know this all on a deeper level. I’ve seen what it can be like when it’s not like that. I’ve experienced what a healthy relationship feels like. How being treated with respect and love can feel. And it certainly isn’t even in the same realm. There’s no need to question which behaviour is acceptable. No trying to determine where the line is of abuse versus my sensitivity. I’m able to be open, connected, vulnerable, authentic – in safety, always. And for this, I’m deeply grateful. To him and to myself.
And yet, knowing this side. Being on this side, clarifies how blind I was and how hurt I was. How wrong it was. How much of a decision it was for someone to do that- not just simply “what relationships are like”. Knowing how good it can be highlights how bad of a situation I was in before – how badly someone decided to hurt me and thought it was okay. How much I didn’t matter.
I have been consumed with sadness and anger lately; turning it so quickly inwards that it’s coming out as feeling like a failure in everything I do. I find myself judging how I am with friends, feeling incapable in business, and having no energy to accomplish anything I feel I should be doing. Feeling like a bad person. Feeling not good enough. Making me want to quit.
Avoiding the emotions beneath – it’s easier to just feel inadequate and beat myself up. Similar to last year. It was the easier choice – to give up and go back to being weak and just decide not to press on. And this year? I guess it’s easier to beat myself up and determine I’m a failure, instead of sitting in the emotions of my experience. And why don’t I just do this?
Because I haven’t forgiven myself. Because I still judge myself. Because I still won’t face the severity of what I went through. Of how hurt I was. Because I still own too much of it. Because I stubbornly want my new life to be all that matters, to not give my past and my emotions from past things to be heard or acknowledged. I want to be better than them, not at the mercy of what happened to me. I judge myself for still being affected. And yet I know, this is anger for what did happen, it shouldn’t be a weapon against myself.
So a choice again. A choice to be with what is – to lean into it. To give myself permission to let those emotions be there. A choice to love myself through it. To be brave enough to sit in it. To be open with what’s going on for me.
To not let myself just give up, minimize, and hate myself for my struggle. To not just have nightmares, but to wake up and face them.
To process whatever I need to, even when I don’t want to.
You can’t be the bully and the friend at the same time.
You can’t be trying to save yourself while you hold yourself under the knife. Well, you can try. But, trust me, it just doesn’t work out. No matter how much you say you want to help yourself and love yourself, you’re still the threat. And no one can get better when it’s not safe.
So here’s my choice again. And yet, I know. It’s really no choice. It’s a done deal. I just have to get to the point that I’ll give myself enough permission to act on it. Because I know there’s only one end I want to end up on.
I can’t be the one holding the knife. The last time I had this decision, I wasn’t the threat. It’s different now, and yet it’s still the same choice. I won’t let the dragon be threatened. Even if I’m the threat. I need to be the one helping the dragon get stronger, or better yet, just accepting it for everything it is.
I must put down the knife I’m carrying, and just fucking love the dragon.