When the kind of help you need changes, so too does the way you have to ask for it. Grace is what helps you through this period. The awkwardness, the uncertainty. Of saying (and typing) things that feel wrong, but are really the truest things you’ve ever said; of not knowing how else or what else to say or do, just yet. It’s a painful process. Lonely, isolating. Without Grace, no one would make it through.
Grace is having neighbours, who behave neighbourly. Building community is second nature to them. Grace is taking all those things you learned about how to connect to people when you were growing up, and using them to connect to the person on the other end of the phone, at work. Grace is that voice saying, you are not alone. Grace is what keeps you going when you can’t seem to do or say anything right. Grace is a butterfly come to visit you, twice. Grace is having an art practice you started 6 years ago, that can serve you now. An art practice that taught you to rip things up, only to piece them back together again, because that is true process. Grace is seeing something come of it.
Grace is what keeps you going when you didn’t get the job, when that person doesn’t want to hear from you, and this person won’t look you in the eye…and then, again, it’s a neighbour who comes outside, acknowledges the hard things, and invites you over for tea. Grace is people showing up. Grace is flashes of beauty. It feels like a gift.
Getting out of bed is an act of faith and courage for me each day. Interacting with life, in any capacity, is a fucking roller coaster ride when you’re this raw. Grace is what gets me out of bed. Grace is the courage to forgive myself. Grace is turning fear into curiosity.
Expansion is necessary. The bubble I was living in has burst. I see now that the bubble was an illusion all along. The big wide world isn’t going anywhere (and neither am I, at least not just yet), and so I will have to learn. New words. New questions. New boundaries. New ways of dreaming of what it is I newly desire. All the while, I will learn how to stay in this body I’ve been given, because dissociation no longer serves me for the work ahead.
And now, a note to the men entering my life (for it was a man that inflicted the trauma I am working my way through). Men, it’s not your ego, or your bravado that I am interested in. I want to know, Are you boundaried? Are you generous? Are you listening? What are you willing to add to the conversation? Can you laugh with others? I want to know what healing looks like in your life, because we all have scars. I don’t want to feel that I owe you anything. I don’t owe you my body. I don’t owe you my attention or my time. I don’t take myself for granted, I am not here to be used by you. This time is for me to figure out me. This process of reclamation has been called for, and I called for it. I listen for that which calls to me, ‘here, come here, move this way’. Being an attractive human being, means I get to decide what I attract, and this time I choose men with qualities unlike those I have attracted in the past. I choose otherwise.
The lines of my life don’t go out like a road, they continue on like those on the page. I walk along a line until it ends, until I must hop down to the one beginning below. Each line is a fresh start, and new beginning, not a descent. It’s not where I’m going, but rather, it’s what I will have created at the end. What will fill those lines? What words? What drawings? What feelings? What ideas? What actions? How did anything get accomplished? Show your process. And remember, rough drafts are messy. Your syntax and message will need editing. But keep trying, with each new sentence. Over and over again. Grace will keep showing up for you.
I’ve written, and will post this blog post today, but tomorrow, I may have something new to add. I give myself permission to change my mind, to open up somewhere new on the page. This blog post is a picture of the woman I am today, imperfect and proud, courageous and vulnerable. The actual pictures I posted are of the art work I produced these last few months, as the journey continues, as my world falls apart.
There is strength to be found here, alone, together, in Grace.