October 30, 2013

One End, Two Beginnings. ~ Claudia Richey

Three years ago I found myself in my kitchen in tears, screaming and throwing my arms in the air. A heaping pile of misery and pure desperation, I collapsed into an ill-placed bowl of cat food. Perfect.

It wasn’t the pain of being broken up with, it was not knowing if I was being left behind. It was the cruelty in the withdrawal of someone I loved who now wouldn’t even grant me the simple mercy of a face-to-face break up—a parting shot.

It wasn’t self-pity, anger, sadness or fear. It was the confusion that broke me. The big question mark burning into my brain. What happened? What is going to happen now? Will I survive? And then the sweet surrender knowing that there was nothing I could do.

I stayed on my kitchen floor for some time, until the sobbing subsided and there was nothing left but emptiness. Two souls were injured and both of us had to own up to our part in what happened. Life can be so cruel—pulling the rug out from underneath your feet in the first feeling of safety.

Sometimes it’s not the break up or the loss of someone that is devastating, but the realization that all the while you had actually lost yourself. You had given yourself away, one little piece at a time—one word, one compromise, one silent prayer or tear at a time. Until there was little left. And that little bit was firmly attached to the person in your life you gave yourself to, like a leech stuck to another body.

When I uncurled myself that day on the kitchen floor, and made my way into a kneeling and then standing position, I knew that I had taken myself back. I was an empty shell at this moment, with nothing but potential to fill myself up, with love and hope and beauty and all the things that were important again.

Hummingbirds and red flowers. Homemade chocolate truffles and strong black coffee. Cookies with gluten in them, thank you very much, and real dairy milk, because I am neither gluten nor lactose intolerant. I had given these up along with everything else that had defined me.

It took one moment in time, a second, a minute, that changed my life forever. One moment I didn’t see coming that took away everything I knew and gave me so much I didn’t. The gift of a scary, terrifying new life so full of possibility.

For me this moment was three years ago. That’s when I re-opened my heart and looked inside, then outside, and took the first step toward a new life. Leaving behind security that was no longer meaningful and embracing the new.

“It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.”

~ Alan Cohen


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Assistant Ed: Zenna James/Ed: Bryonie Wise

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Claudia Richey