03: Healing

contemporary gradient handrails perspective

Even if the most important person in your world rejects you, you are still real, and you are still okay. If you have done something inappropriate or you need to solve a problem or change a behavior, then take appropriate steps to take care of yourself. But don’t reject yourself, and don’t give so much power to other people’s rejection of you. It isn’t necessary”

Melody Beattie
Codependent No More

Every experienced counselor and doctor I talk with and read say shades of the same thing: I can only hold ©’s hand, but I cannot heal her. I cannot fix her pain and trauma.

I would catch her, I would have carried her through the initial stage of the trauma, and then walked with her every day as she works through her experience and regains strength…but I cannot heal her.

And every time I say this truth out loud, a man or woman that was betrayed – or some opinionated outsider – cry foul: “You broke it,” they cry, “You fix it!”

To that I say: grow up (which is NOT the same as saying, “Get over it!”)

This is how I see it:

It doesn’t matter how your leg gets broken, your body heals from the inside.

And if you decide to ignore it and try walking anyway, without properly setting the break and being patient in recovery? It will never heal.

And if you expect someone to carry you every day out of fear of the pain, to pick you up in their arms and carry you everywhere, instead of going to physical therapy, the break might heal but your strength will never return.

And if you demand they carry you everywhere using guilt, shame, self-pity, anger, aggression, vengeance, or some means of control, to manipulate the situation they will eventually tire of carrying you. You become a burden and they either will put you down or intentionally drop you and you will still be left alone to heal — perhaps with new break.

Of course, depending on the severity of the break it might hurt for months or years or a lifetime. However, only by leaning into the physical therapy will your body build the resiliency to overcome the trauma.

Emotional healing is the same.

In the past, I might have run to someone else to break my fall but that rush only created new traumas later. I may have changed jobs, homes, relationships, and maybe even changed my wardrobe. The point is there are lots of acceptable Patterns for avoiding grieving and loss.

Yet knowing this, I have, throughout this experience, dabbled still with all these options.

Counseling, journaling, and writing provide my framework for healing. It’s a graft to build on. Showing up in my life, facing my fears, anxieties, and consequences is emotional therapy.

It is why I didn’t run away and move to Kansas City or Pittsburgh. It is why I ignore the Flying Monkeys and Interlopers. It is why I am not actively pursuing a new relationship or opportunity.

It is why I haven’t run out and thrown myself into M’s bed, run to K, or chased some other woman’s. Sure it would be convenient and comfortable but it would be more dishonesty.

It would be more dishonest now because I see the pattern and the havoc it wreaks on people I love. Now that I know I have the choice. Part of the pattern is not finishing what “was” before starting what “is”. Doing what I have always done will only get me what I have always gotten.

Discovering resiliency by leaning into my traumas and consequences, practicing new decision-making models, is how my strength returns. It is how confidence returns.

Moving back to YoYo Town, placing myself in the emotional line of fire, being around people that may have heard the rumors (and sometimes spread them), walking away from the toxic masculinity of a 50-year-old-man wanting to start a bar fight over a 50-year-old woman, and going dancing with my friend are all ways I exercise and stretch out of my comfort zone. It is how I develop resiliency.

Only through facing my fear will my strength return. Only through more vulnerability, not less, will my heart heal.

I will never get this perfectly, but none the less, I fucking got this.