Patience

They say patience is a virtue.  Who “they” are, I’m not quite sure, but for me, patience is a challenge.  I was never a patient child.  I was never gifted with that laissez-faire, what happens will happen personality growing up.  Patience is hard.  In fact, on the list of virtues, I’d say that’s the hardest one for me to achieve.

I’m a girl who knows what I want.  And when I don’t get it, I can get very frustrated.

Take healing for instance.  I knew I wanted it from the moment I realized what happened to me.  I thought maybe if I pushed myself hard enough, if I found the magic words, fought and braved challenges and overcame, that healing would be a cinch.  Healing would be like getting an A in a history class for me, it would just come naturally.

“By the end of the summer, I’ll be better I’m sure,”  I remember telling my friend one May month.

I guess the tricky part about healing is that there is no magic formula.  There is no magical combination so that I can snap my fingers and voila!  like magic, I’m better!

Healing takes time.  Healing takes patience.  And it can be the most difficult and frustrating thing to accept, because in the end, you have to be patient with yourself.

I wish there was a magic pill to heal all the hurt in the world, some 12-step plan that eliminated the pain that abuse leaves behind.  But it just takes time, my friends.  Time and dedication and an unconditional love for yourself that whispers to your heart that you are worth the wait.

Because you are.

This is the year of patience.

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Starting Over

Last time I wrote about flashbacks, and about how they can affect you.  How they can disrupt your life, your work, and your relationships.  I think the hardest part about starting any new relationship is the fear that it will be like the old one.  Like that negative, abusive relationship you ran from screaming.

If you’re anything like me, starting a new relationship can be terrifying.  After breaking up with my abusive ex, I felt like my heart collapsed for a while.  Like I’d lost confidence in the world of men.  Even being around guys was scary.  Being alone with a guy, even in the breakroom at work, where people constantly roamed in and out, made my heart pound and my palms sweat.  I would sit on the edge of my seat with my back against the wall so I could have a clear view of the exit, of my escape route.

I was always poised to run at a moment’s notice.  Just in case.  I was living on the edge of my seat in life and in love.

I spent a year focusing on my healing journey.  I didn’t go on dates, and it took me a very long time to even have guy friends again.  But I have to say, throughout that time, that time of terrified tentativeness, I met some really amazing guys.  Guys who were kind, motivated, who had hearts full of compassion and full of love.  Guys who only treated women with respect and understanding.  Guys who I could trust to talk to, trust to hang out alone around.  It was as if the layers of protective barriers were shedding out from around my heart.  And the feeling…it’s amazing.  I feel like Life returned hope to me.  Slowly, like doling precious chocolates out of a box, life gave me back my heart, one piece at a time.

I couldn’t live on the edge of my seat any longer.  I knew I either had to sit back and relax, or fall off the edge laughing.  I guess you could say I’ve done a little bit of both.  I’ve managed, through trust and understanding and kindness, to give my heart away again.  And, while it’s too soon to tell how the relationship will go, and I still have flashbacks sometimes, it feels so good to trust someone again.  Especially when that person is worthy of your trust.  It feels so good to trust myself enough to let go, to trust the world enough to let it catch me, and to have faith, for the first time in my life (regardless of whether or not the relationship lasts) that life is  good.

As humans, we all have baggage, we all have triggers, scars, fears and rust.  But just as life gave us those, life can scrape the rust off again if we let it.  The trick is to surround yourself with positive people, positive environments, healthy lifestyles, and an open heart.  Being vulnerable can be terrifying, trusting again can be terrifying, starting a new relationship can be terrifying.  But at the same time, I’ve never been happier in my life.