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Here I Am

So, it’s been a couple years since I’ve written a blog post. Just seeing those words: “a couple of years” is a little startling. A couple of YEARS? For someone who has been writing pretty much my entire life, I don’t know if I’ve ever gone a couple years without writing (beyond my morning journaling).

But a lot has been happening in a couple of years. There was this election, which has changed the whole world in disturbing ways. And with or without the election, I most definitely have changed. A lot. My life is pretty unrecognizable compared to the life I was living last time I shared my writing regularly. I’ve become a completely different person. Which means I have a totally different voice. But I don’t even know what my current writing voice even is anymore.

What I do know is that the only way to find your voice is to use it. So here I am. Figuring it out as I go.

What prompted me to sit down and write today was a huge aha moment I had upon waking this morning.

To preface this morning’s aha moment, I’m gonna backtrack a little and start by saying that this year has been one of the most difficult years of my life. Within the top five for sure, possibly top three. It’s interesting because it’s ten years after I hit my rock bottom and began my healing journey of becoming Who I Am. So it’s this weird full circle moment where this year began with revisiting some of the very things that sent me into the downward spiral which led to my rock bottom ten years ago.

Only this time I have the tools, knowledge, experience, wisdom and insight that I didn’t back then. I have the most amazing support system that I didn't have back then either. And perhaps most importantly, I have a healthier relationship with myself, which all makes the tough times much easier to navigate (though still not "easy").

I’ve known all these years that I was healing and recovering from a lot of emotional abuse, toxic relationships, and a little codependency. But what surprised me, when I was hit with this stuff again earlier this year, is that what I thought was “a little codependency,” was all codependency. Codependency was the core of everything.

And at the core of codependency is trauma. A word I never associated with because I thought it only belonged to people who have endured torture or war or unfathomable abuses. But I have learned so much about trauma and how the effects of it have ruled my life all these years.

And I have learned that at the core of my trauma is the absence of secure attachment in my early childhood (read up on attachment theory), which led to very unhealthy attachment styles in my adulthood (basically just recreating the relationships I was used to). 

And over the past ten years of working through this stuff, I’ve still managed to deprive myself of some of the very things I’ve wanted and needed the most, in this instance- healthy intimacy (among many other things).

So when it all hit me again this year, it was a pretty big awakening. A lot of it was not necessarily new. But a lot of it was. And after all of the healing work I’ve done, I thought I had moved past a lot of that stuff. I’d come so far from where I began ten years ago. But the cosmic joke of it all is that there is always deeper to go with it all. And there always will be. And it’s going to come up when it does. It can’t be forced. I just have to take it as it comes.

So, upon these new discoveries, I did what I do, and deep dove into the work. I’ve been reading and studying and learning so much about myself, reframing my story, changing my patterns, and developing a completely new perspective on my life, relationships, and intimacy. It’s a work in progress, y’all.

As the dust finally settled from that and I began to catch my breath, I was hit with another whammy. I got screwed over by someone, which resulted in me ending up in a huge, terrifying financial hole.

And at the bottom of that hole I was swimming in shame, despair, and a lot of painful but necessary truth. I can’t even blame the person who screwed me over either. I knew from the beginning that this person was not trustworthy, but I ignored the red flags and made excuses, because I wanted to believe otherwise. I let it happen. I let it go on. I hit a financial rock bottom. And I have to clean up the mess.

As far as financial rock bottoms go, it could be a lot worse. But for me, it’s worse than I ever wanted to get. And once again, I’m doing what I do. Rolling up my sleeves, and getting to work. Learning, educating myself, growing, and shifting my perspective and patterns. This is definitely still a work in progress, y’all.

I’m moving through it quickly and I’m out of the worst of it, but it was really scary, and extremely stressful there for a minute. Then, a couple weeks ago, while amidst a three week panic attack, I had a different aha moment.

It occurred to me that the things I have struggled with the most (which are also the things I’ve yearned for the most and prayed for healing around: wondering what has kept me from having a healthy, sustainable, fulfilling relationship, and healthy, sustainable, fulfilling finances) are the very things that have come up for me, hard, this year. (spoiler alert: It me)

Oh yeah. I forgot what healing entailed. Fuck. Facing my shit (this time via a big, fat smackdown from the Universe). But this is what I asked for. All of it. What a blessing!

When I realized that all this was coming up as a means to heal my deepest wounds in the areas of life I have experienced the most abuse around, it totally shifted my experience of the situation. I went from a state of panic to: I so got this! 

Healing work I know how to do. Facing my shit, as brutal as it can sometimes feel, I can handle. Doing the grueling work to change my patterns is kinda my jam. I may not know how it’ll all get worked out, but one foot in front of the other. Which is what I have been doing. And I am watching my life change before my eyes, in beautiful ways.

So, that is what has led to now. And it’s felt like the Universe has been rapid firing these profound life lessons on the daily. Which has made me hyper-aware some of the stuff that’s been coming up in my mind.

Last night, I was writing in my journal about how I’ve been noticing how much my mind focuses on what other people think. Other people in general, and sometimes specific people. I knew this stuff was there somewhere in my mind, pulling strings, but I just started hearing the volume get turned up on those thoughts.

It’s been like a ticker tape: “What would this person or that person think if they saw the dishes in the sink? The toothpaste splattered on the mirror? The papers piled on the table? If I say the wrong thing? If they see me in the morning with no make-up on? Puffy eyes? If my breath is gross? If they smell my stinky farts? Or see me pick my nose? Or if they look in the back of my fridge? If they don’t like how I decorate my home? If they find out what a financial fuck-up I’ve been? If they see how I can’t seem to figure out how to get rid of the fucking gnats in my plants? What would someone think of the pile of ashes on my incense burner? The fact that I haven’t been writing? Or hiking? If I watch Netflix instead of read? What I’m reading? What I’m watching? What I’m not reading or watching? When I scroll social media too much? Or eat gluten? And chocolate? Milk chocolate? The fact that I don’t drink alcohol that much? The fact that I do drink alcohol at all? The fact that I hate Christmas? And Valentine’s day? The fact that I used the word “hate?” The fact that I’m a Writer who still can’t quite fully figure out commas? If a joke I tell doesn’t land? If I get take out for dinner? The way I walk? Or just my existence? If I do it all wrong? If I Don’t. Do. Everything. Perfectly?”

“What will anyone think? How could anyone love me?”

How. Fucking. Exhausting. That’s the shit that’s going down in my mind 24/7. And I'm so used to it, I haven't even noticed it there for most of my life. No wonder I have sleep problems, and numb out in front of a screen all the time, instead of doing the damn dishes.

This is what hyper-vigilance looks like. It's a trauma response. And it's is how I’ve been living my entire life. On guard at all times.

All of these very human things. All of these things that everyone on earth experiences. It’s what connects us. It’s our Universality. And it’s what I’ve been terrified of being judged for. Because that’s what I’ve known for so much of my life.

Then I woke up this morning with the huge aha moment which I mentioned prompted me to write this. I thought about all of the hyper-criticism, scrutiny, and intense judgment that I grew up with, and thus recreated in my early adulthood, and realized how much it's been wired into my subconscious. There was nothing I could do or not do that didn’t result in being torn apart and ripped to shreds, one way or another, in the majority of my most intimate relationships.

The same is true for money- there was always this rabid fascination in my family with what other people did with their money. Spoiler alert: no one ever did the right thing with their money. It was all grounds for intense judgment and scrutiny. And we were a very financially comfortable family, but there was this mentality as if we were totally broke and one step out of complete poverty.

So this was what was wired into me. Intimacy and money were not safe. Two of the most basic, fundamental human needs. 

I have known this. But what the aha moment was, was realizing that the ticker tape running through my head, the constant worrying about criticism, was basically just me continuing the criticism in my head, that I heard for so long on the outside of my head. The unrelenting fear of being ripped to shreds over the tiniest most human things (dare I make any actual mistakes!) was a twisted way of me inflicting the abuse upon myself. I was forcing myself to listen to all of those “potential” criticisms all day, every day. That ticker tape was all of those voices from the past still running through my mind. And running my mind. I was just picking up where they left off.

My parents, my siblings, my exes- it doesn’t matter how much I distance myself from them or how many years I go without contact with some of them, I have been carrying them with me everywhere I go. And the very things I have wanted and needed the most became so scary that I pushed them away.

But just realizing that, I feel created a shift. Like: “Oh! Ok, that’s what’s happening. Well, we’re not gonna do that anymore.”

Thank God for neuroplasticity! And it’s still gonna be a work in progress, y’all.

So here I am, laying my stuff all out on the table. You can take it or leave it, but what I know right now is how deeply and truly I love myself, and how that’s where all this stuff always leads anyway. And how incredibly grateful I am for these lessons and opportunities to grow and transcend and evolve and become who I’ve always wanted to be.

Now, if you’ll excuse me. I have to go rewire my brain now.

Thanks for reading.

xx ~JRM


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