View this post on Instagram
We all have them, don’t we?
Those tattoos across our hearts tell a story about the roads we have traveled.
The cracks we have filled with glittering gold in our souls were carved out by those moments that have left us broken—wounded.
Others cannot see them, nor can we see them ourselves. Our scars are buried with the ghosts of our pasts within our depths, safe and quiet until they are ready to haunt us.
Most recently, my ghosts have come out of those depths. I have to say, first and foremost, I have not spoken about this out loud to an audience. Bear with me while I prepare every inch of my being for the uncomfortableness to follow as I share with you what lays within the shallows of my existence.
I like to dive headfirst into the ocean of feelings and tread each current no matter the direction it’s pulling me. It truly is the purest way of experiencing life, isn’t it?
Falling in love was no exception for me, even with my tumultuous childhood traumas waiting beneath the surface. I give my all while I swim with my current love partner—until there is nothing left to give.
I will never make that mistake again, but it is relevant to the story I am sharing because every man I have ever loved has opened up those scars. The searing pain of reliving traumatic events and abandonment causes me each time to sink to the ocean floor, where I am left to face the poor judgment that has led me there.
I used to believe I was living with a generational curse. My mother always told me the women in our family were “doomed” when it came to romantic relationships. It wasn’t until my early 30s that I had realized it wasn’t a curse at all: it was a cycle.
I chose partners who replicated the environment I grew up in. It is part of that vicious cycle to choose what we feel is familiar. It seems as though we try to recreate the traumatic experiences so we can remedy them. Unfortunately, this is a subconscious act, so unless we are aware, it will be perpetuating.
We will continue to stay within our current confines, or we will leave only to choose the same situations within someone new. With a victim mentality, we will continue to blame everyone else besides ourselves. We will pour ourselves consistently into the person we have chosen this dance with until there is nothing more to pour. We eventually will be nothing more than a diluted version of ourselves. The only way out is through the fire, but most never make it to even see the spark. Luckily for me, I began to choose differently.
My childhood wasn’t easy. You can imagine after that, most would be ruined. Yes, I carried that into my intimate relationships, as I have already explained. But I somehow remained compassionate and did not build walls to lock myself behind. I wore my story as a definition of myself. I let it define me and create a delusional world around me that I maintained for several years.
Late into my second destructive relationship, everything began to collapse. The very foundation I built my life around was a few years away from being demolished—if only I could have had a crystal ball. I left that relationship lifeless with only a sliver of the spirit I entered with. It was the beginning of something amazingly beautiful, yet dark and isolating. It was the beginning of a path I would walk alone, down my crooked, engraved heart to meet my soul. It would be the first day of many when I would start to face myself and the emotional scars I allowed others to place upon me.
No one tells you how difficult the healing journey is.
You hear about the beauty it brings and how elated you will be once you find release. The stories you’re told hardly ever involve the darkness you will face. The person you will look at every morning in the mirror will be unrecognizable somedays, and yet, you will have to see them.
The number one thing I wish someone would have briefed me for during the process is that you most likely have to keep meeting your shadow self within people—to truly fix the roots of your pain. Through heavy meditation and soaking myself with nature and exercise, I reached a place that led me to believe I was free.
Marriage taught me otherwise. Every problem I thought I had turned around lit up like a wildfire about a year in. I was devastated—how could I do that to myself? The miracle in this, which I did not recognize then, was that I was becoming aware of myself. I started seeing that it was indeed my problem. I had my first real encounter with accountability—that is one of the many keys to success in ending toxic cycles, by far the most difficult.
I am currently nine years into rewiring every fiber of my being—because that is necessary to truly break free. As per the usual, I met the “one” a few years ago. This man was everything I had ever dreamed of. He was young and in shape and ate healthily and his family was strong, but he loved me most of all.
I had never had someone look at me the way he did. He accepted my son as well who also needed someone to love him that way. This man did that—his whole world began spinning around my son. It didn’t take long for us to start growing our family. Within months, I was pregnant with my daughter, and we moved far, far away. I had finally made it to the other side of midnight, where the sun was shining and my garden was blossoming. I had broken the cycle and finally could live healthily and happily.
It is truly fascinating watching someone transform in front of your eyes. When the blinders are removed and you witness what seems to be a shape-shifter in your midst. Toxic energy holds the power to vibrate every wall within the household. It is almost as if you watch someone’s eyes turn cold as ice while every switch is removed, so there is no turning the warmth back on.
I was a different person during this experience and had built some healthy boundaries. This made it easier to empathize and try to understand the other person. The deeper I went, the more entangled I became. I wasn’t giving up this time, though; I was different, and I had made it out of my cycle.
When it seemed as though the voices began echoing that this was his “normal,” my greatest fears began to seep in. After my daughter was born, I don’t even think I was living on planet Earth anymore; I was living in his world and was merely existing to bring light to his darkness.
Sitting upon a windowsill, I stared outwards toward the crimson sun. I recognized this feeling; I remembered this emptiness. I found my way so deep into the abyss of heartache that my spirit had taken flight. Believe it or not, I would usually stay a bit longer just to say I tried it all, but not this time. I tried something different. I started putting myself first for a few days to prevent the dramatic flare. I didn’t want an all-out destructive fallout; I had been through enough of those. I left that person—with my head held high, not one teardrop shed.
I spent a whole year in self-reflection after that battle. It was amazing how quickly I pieced myself back together. I had learned so much about myself during those years. The aftermath was so peaceful. I discovered that, as human beings, we see ourselves in others, even if we don’t exist within them.
I learned that every scar that was ripped open was due to the unhealed issues I had yet to address.
I learned how to be gentle with myself and that healing is not a linear process. We take back steps and side steps and hurl forward some days at the speed of light. I learned how far my compassion and empathy could genuinely stretch.
I also realized that the Japanese were correct about the three faces of man. The one we show to the world, the one we reveal to our closest family and friends, and we all have one we offer to no one. The representative we meet in people is not the true face, nor is the one that is shown within the home.
I learned that even when the layers of someone’s true self begin unraveling, their core can be so much eviler than we realize. They say hindsight is 20/20; I say that our intuition always leads us in the appropriate direction.
The truth is, once we have allowed ourselves to be entangled the way some of us do, our intuition is just merely another voice inside our head that makes us feel insane. We have to learn somehow to listen and trust that voice to be completely honest. Our intuition is the guide we yearn for when all seems lost.
I read somewhere today that we must also discipline ourselves because if we don’t, the world will do it for us. That is what sparked this entire story. Everywhere I turn, I see the consequences of my choices and what lack of discipline in my personal boundaries and silencing of my inner guide has caused.
We have to learn to trust ourselves even though we see trust as a weakness to our core. We have to hold ourselves accountable and be present in our experiences. We have to be so aware of every move we make that we are almost watching ourselves from a third-person perspective to catch ourselves when falling into the tricks and traps of life. We have to face ourselves and our scars so that we can be the support and disciplinary figure that we wished we had growing up.
I must say that those who carry this type of weight are the most beautiful creatures to walk the planet. (That is if we have taken the time to reinvent ourselves and nurture ourselves back to emotional well-being.)
Before all the pain and heartache, before the trauma, existed an innocence we lose over time. With that comes a pearl of wisdom that runs so deep it can only be felt; it remains unseen by the naked eye. We carry a fierceness behind our being that can be felt when we walk into a room.
We have a particular type of love that is so unique and powerful that it engrains itself inside the hearts of others. Our natural capability to help others goes beyond what other people can muster because we have carried such a weight of our own that a few more pounds are just exercise.
The challenges we have faced have been that of one thousand men, and we carry our intensity like armor. But again, only if we have decided to meet ourselves and decide that the character I described above is who we want to identify as.
Facing our emotional scars is not an easy feat, along with putting to rest the ghosts that linger in the shadows of our depths. It is not for the faint of heart, but it is necessary if you long to live a life free of your own personal suffering.
We have to begin by understanding it is us, at some point, who are to blame for the pain we experience. While the world is filled with predators and evil, only we can decide to let them in. While we are not responsible for the traumas we experienced as a child, we are the only person in the entire world responsible for healing them and putting an end to the perpetuating cycle of toxicity.
I say this with extreme sincerity: you deserve better. I deserve better.
When we begin to take accountability, we must meet ourselves with gentleness beyond what the outside world can offer. We must start to surround ourselves with people who seek greatness and understand that life is more than just floating along. There are lessons and significant meaning behind every encounter we happen upon.
Each person we have met or yet to meet can offer us insight as long as our eyes remain open. Experience life knowing that it only happens once; it is up to us how it is lived.
Our scars will always remain, so we must allow them to be our teachers. We can draw strength from the cracks within our spirits and fill them with something so substantial—no ghost or evil can penetrate.
Remember that healing requires a mental fortitude that we have if we have lived a life like mine and survived. But life is so much bigger than merely surviving. It is meant to be lived with passion and to our most tremendous potential.
After all, what is one more day of facing our pain if, on the other side, waits a powerful unknown we’ve yet to discover?