Authentically Me…Ouch

I genuinely meant to write about the holidays and how painful they can be for so many, but instead I took the time to engage in self care and enjoy mine for the first time ever.

My son and I were invited to my boyfriends parents cabin to spend 3 days of Christmas celebrations. I found myself fascinated by how loving and caring they all were with each other. They had beautiful traditions and so much love and contentment abounded that I was soaking it up.

Holidays at my house were marked by a drunk and abusive mom and so much fighting. Even if there were good presents, the stress of actually putting my family in one room for an extended period of time negated it all. Holidays were scary and even more eggshells to walk on than usual.

Back to this years Christmas celebration. I almost studied their interactions like I was watching a nature documentary. The difference for me this year is that I felt zero fear. I was excited to be around them knowing that this family may become mine someday.

I was very authentically me, but I pushed myself. I didn’t want my introduction to be me as the chronically ill self I am. They definitely asked about my illnesses and I definitely downplayed it. Considering I just had thoracic spine surgery 6 weeks ago, I can’t believe I made it through three days of being present and content, but they all made me feel so comfortable and loved.

We got home last night. This morning started with a bit of aggravation leading to near constant tears all day. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. It finally hit me that I was grieving. As exciting and wonderful as it was to be around my boyfriends family this year, I realized how much fear holidays have brought me. All that fear and anger and sadness had to get out of my body today. I cried, sobbed, even yelled some bad words for a lifetime of holidays lost.

I look forward with gratitude to a shift in my life to being safe and living safely, but grief is real. Shoving those feelings down today probably would have meant an anxiety attack tonight. Instead I’m still horribly sad, but I’m calm, peaceful, and grateful. This was a terribly uncomfortable day, but I got through the yucky feelings and hopefully will have a more enjoyable day tomorrow.

This painting comes from a complex place of explaining the experience of the past few days. A representative that nothing is simple and you can be hopeful for a new future while being incredibly sad for your past while remaining grounded in the present to handle it all.

I hope the holiday wasn’t too rough. I hope you knew some safety. I hope you got some peace.

Love

Lizzie

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