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The Depths of Despair.

5 Heart it! Paula Taylor 500
September 17, 2018
Paula Taylor
5 Heart it! 500

I was 11 when I first attempted suicide. I don’t know if I even knew what it meant but I do know that I felt it didn’t matter in my house if I lived or died. I never knew anything stable and with that never experienced a loss of anything important or longstanding to me and therefore I had no connection to what my own undoing would have done to my family. My mother was tragically occupied with her own toxic chaos that she had no conceptual awareness that she was slipping in her responsibility as a parent. In hindsight of course I forgive her, she was only doing the best she could with what she had; and to hold anger for that would take up valuable space that I now only hold for love. She knew no peace in her home when she was a child either so despite her best efforts, my mother never made it passed her own brokenness to see that was breaking us too.

I was raped a few years later; he was my boyfriend at the time whom I was allowed unsupervised and completely free access to at any time. I knew it was rape immediately because I was a non-consenting, non-participant in the event itself and so it was pretty hard to deny. The first people I told were my peers at the time, those I considered friends however they told me I was must be mistaken, he was far too popular and cool. I waivered in between my own intuition and the strong opinions of those I trusted most and in that time this boy dropped me so fast it wasn’t funny, I do not blame him for any of it.

I buried those feelings under 60 pounds of weight gain in one year; imagine that on my tiny teenage frame that hadn’t hit 100 pounds yet. How this undeniably visible red flag did not itself generate scrutiny from others still baffles me today. And so I hid like the world hide and seek champion without the ability just yet to seek the answers. I became introverted, terrified to let anyone in. I had to lie, shut down, tune out, detach and was wildly committed to the process of staying untouchable.

Years later, I confessed my truth to my mom draped on the floor head buried in her lap while she sat on a kitchen chair in our apartment; I can remember the ticking of the clock; she patted my head and asked who the boy was because she didn’t recall anyone significant then she asked if I was just regretful of bad behaviour, so I buried my truth again. That was when I was 16. I downed a bottle of pills in the school bathroom the next day, I bailed about 30 minutes later telling a guidance counsellor that I had taken a bottle of Tylenol and that’s the last thing I recall before getting strapped to a stretcher.

My dedication to my emotional neglect continued right into my first serious boyfriend when I was 18. I picked what I thought I was worth. Immersing myself in a volatile relationship defined by infidelity and physical abuse which ultimately culminated with another failed attempt to commit suicide after our most eventful dramatic finale. I was desperately trying to keep any semblance of what I thought love was and apparently pumping my stomach was it.

In the aftermath of that failure, I decided to I had to commit to creating myself because I was failing epically at destroying myself. I didn’t know where to start but applying to school seemed like a positive step. I straightened my crown, started to own my cracks and do the hard work. Regardless of where I had been- I was going to end up somewhere beautiful. I changed the people I surrounded myself with and joined all the social leadership groups I could l so that I could be surrounded by those with the drive to go somewhere beautiful. Then as life would have it, at a time in my life where I was singly focused on bettering myself, I met a boy and we fell in love. Isn’t it serendipitous that when you start to love yourself, love shows up for you?

He was the pinnacle in my life up to that point and while we weren’t meant to be ultimately; blame age and maturity; I give him every ounce of my appreciation today for what he did for me yesterday. For he taught me what love was supposed to look like. He was happy, handsome, kind, full of poetry and romance. Responsible, open minded, considerate and hardworking. He was driven and dedicated to a successful life which is something I hadn’t seen up to that point. His family opened their heart and moved me in to their home just because they loved me and for that I will never forget plus there was that time he emptied his entire bank account to buy me a purebred pug. I never had a dog before and Paddington and that dog ended up being my biggest teacher of unconditional love, how can I not thank him for that?  He won the award for being Big Brother of the Year that last year we were together and I graduated with a 4.0. I don’t recall ever being more proud of two people in my life.

I moved forward and got married and subsequently threw myself wholey into helping create the family I dreamed of. I committed to years of therapy, hours of yoga and building the support systems that lifted me up instead of holding me down. I built a wellness business from the ground up, that not only grounds me but that allows me to to fly high while guiding others through the cloudy skies.

Today, I have three incredible, healthy, strong independent children that are my legacy. My involvement, intuitive and natural connection to them sometimes astounds me as I never learned it but I seem to intrinsically have it. Every day I make the conscious intentional and convicted decision to not repeat any dysfunctional cycles for my children. It is my mission in life to walk and serach the path of wellness, joy and love without conditions in every dimension of my life. As I face the reality of my own divorce and the changing landscapes of what family will look like I keep reminding myself to be less concerned with what it looks like and start connecting with what it feels like.

This is a merely a plot change and will not break me, my husband nor our children. We can do this brilliantly even if we stumble as humans do, we can simply get back up and dust off and try again with a deeper compassion for each other.  My frame of reference for life allows me to know we are taking this to a beautiful place even though the path may have some barren spots… all we have to do is keep walking.

When I was putting those pills in my mouth thinking that I could not live another moment under the weight of all the things that were holding me down I saw the depths of despair. It wasn’t what I was going through at that specific moment, it was all of the stuff I had buried deep within me trying to be escape. Still to this day I refuse to blame my upbringing or anyone for the hand that I was dealt.  Did it suck that I didn’t have the Family Matters tv show raising me, yeah but I had responsibility in all of it too. It would be pointless anyway, even children of loving supportive, incredible families end up facing all of which I faced, worse or they might end up with afflictions for bad choices, drug addictions and poor life skills.  We can’t try to decipher why things ended up the way they did as we will never know.  All that we can do is commit ourselves to putting our best foot forward with our new knowledge, desires and actions while embracing love.

I am stronger than any of that. I was meant to survive, thrive, shine and redefine. I was given this life to not only change the patterns I was shown but to completely eliminate the option once and for all. I am better for what I went through. I am not always on cruise control as evidenced by the quality meltdown I had today. I do celebrate the fact that my response to a meltdown lies speaking the truth not hiding behind lies. As unglorious as my meltdown felt today I didn’t feel the need to take even one Tylenol for the ugly-cry-headache I received as a parting gift for being open instead of closing off, which Is perfectly okay.

All of that crap from the past definitely shaped me but it does not define me. My smile, my laughter, my joy, the legacy I live today and my friends that have become my chosen family does define me. I have the deepest capacity to withstand another hit- line em up! Trust me when I say I can take all the hits, I can swing with the best of them, I could even take the exact same hits and change my reactions and thus the endings of those chapters knowing what I know now.

Regardless it’s not like we have any control over anything life throws at us anyway, we can only control our reactions so I won’t live in anticipation of the darkness when I know I can turn on the light. Over the years every catastrophic event I ever went though has built my arsenal of wisdom, resolve and self-awareness.

I once committed myself to being untouchable and now stand arms outstretched ready to shine despite having seen the depths of despair.

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5 Heart it! Paula Taylor 500
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