Leave it to me to embark on a journey of self-discovery and then be in the clutches of the crap I thought I had worked through. Some might interpret this as some sort of self-punishment but I compare it to cleaning out a closet. If your closets are like mine, (don’t lie I know you have at least one where you discard your unwanted shit), they are bursting at the seams. So, when you go to retrieve just one item and you open the door, an avalanche of items falls on you. That is the description of what I am walking through now.
I started my journey sixteen years ago when Brian got sober. It is no secret that when you live or have lived in active alcoholism, you are deeply, deeply, deeply affected. At least I was. I came to the realization that I was a huge part of the problem. As I have worked diligently at my own spiritual recovery program, I thought I had tapped into everything. Not to say that I was the guru of being the best version of me, but I felt comfortable. I thought I dealt better in situations and I was no longer defined by other people. I could be at ease being me. Then one of my close friends invited me into a book study that was all about intimacy. I was eager to explore this as I thought I had shed all of the residue that had built up over the years. But, what I did was open an emotional closet that I had forgotten to clean out and I am swimming in discomfort.
I am looking at my relationships from a different angle and questioning the authenticity of them. Are they a safe place for me to share my deepest fears and thoughts? Do they empower me? And then after evaluating those relationships and what I want from them, I turned the tables on myself. Do I empower others? Do I take the time to cultivate deep relationships? Do I make an effort to reach out to others? Truth be told, I am not the best at reaching out. To my closets friends, yes, but to others probably not as much as I should. So if I am wanting better relationships that provide the type of intimacy I am looking for, shouldn’t it begin with me? Of course it should. I am learning that I tell myself stories that paint a different portrait and realizing that those stories are many times fictional.
And it isn’t just my relationships that are being evaluated, but it is also the emotional residue leftover by many of life’s most somber moments. It is making me look deeper and it isn’t a bad thing. It is simply uncomfortable and the feeling will pass. I know that I will be grateful once I trudge through the muck. I compare it to cultivating a garden. We are weeding and preparing for the beautiful bounty, but then one of my friends said, “Actually we are just in the composting stage,” which allowed me to find the humor in the midst of discomfort.
I want to shed the pretense. I want to evolve each and everyday to be the best version of me, but I can’t do that if I am telling myself a fictional story. I can’t grow if I am not willing to look at the things in my life that need attention. You have to get incredibly uncomfortable in order to get to the place of great beauty.