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Racing In The Rain

riding after the rain storm at 2014 IMLP

It’s freezing here. Raining. We are wearing layers and pulling on the wool socks with our sandals and sweatshirts. Okay, I may be the only one in sandals and socks, but you get the idea.

Yesterday as I got ready for bed I realized that I had spent the entire day wearing gray. Absolutely every item of clothing I had on was gray. I matched the weather. Or perhaps my mood? Maybe both.

Do you notice your moods corresponding with the weather? I feel like I’m moving in slow motion with the clouds hovering over my brain. Do you get like that when it’s rainy out?

My daughter absolutely loves the rain. She runs outside when it starts to pour. When it’s a rainy morning she jumps out of bed and smiles. Shouting out, “Yay! I love the rain!” This amazes me every single time. It really does. I sort of stand there with my jaw dropped open and my heart skipping a few beats — its new rhythm beating out the words, “Thank you. Thank you for this beautiful person who loves the rain. Thank you.

I suspect my fog-brain is related to the fact that I am racing a Half Iron Distance Triathlon this weekend. It’s interesting to notice how I wrap myself into my familiar blanket of self-doubt and second guessing before every race. Tormenting myself. This weather lends itself to that — supporting my old patterns and behaviors. Honoring this need that I seem to have, to dig myself into a ditch right before a race and then spend the final days beforehand desperately clawing myself out of the muddy hole. Rendering myself exhausted by the effort. Truly an act of self-sabotage.

It is a painful process and I don’t like it. It is also a terrible waste of energy. I feel shivery and cold and stuck. I also think I feel a little sad that I’m here once again. “Am I not done with this? Am I still here in this very small-scared-child-place after all of the work I am doing and have done?” It appears that I am and I hate it.

I think I’m disappointed in myself for being here — in my hole, with my gray soggy blanket.

I wonder if I will ever learn to follow my own advice? To trust my own voice and the words I impart upon my children, my husband, my friends and my writing here at The Counter Stool … where I am reminding others to tap in to their amazing selves. To remember all that they do and all that they have done to help them be ready for the challenges daily living presents over and over again. To celebrate themselves and trust their authentic voice.

People who love me tell me that I don’t see myself the way that they see me. They say that they wish I could see myself through their eyes. It helps to hear that because I know I get in my own way. I do

I know that the sexual abuse I lived through as a child runs like a current through my veins. If I could sweat it out of my pores I would. God knows I’ve tried. I have sweat buckets. Honestly, I have.

Will the current ever run it’s course and finally burn itself out? Will the hole fill up and the well finally run dry? Will I ever be unburdened by this heavy blanket of feeling that I am bad? Relieved from this old assumption that if I was good enough, I would have been spared?

Yes. I have to believe that it will.

What I carry with me as an adult is this feeling that I am trying to grab on to a wet fish. To hold it steady in my hands. To keep it from slipping away. The fish being my true-self. The slipperiness being the lies I was told as a child. All that slime gets in the way. If I can just wash it off I will be able to quiet my mind enough to experience myself whole-heartedly.

Maybe I need to stop trying to catch the fish.

Perhaps I just need to stand at the edge of the dock and look down, into the deep water and watch it swim with its scales shimmering in the water and sunlight. Maybe there is no fight involved at all. Perhaps it is really a lesson in letting go.

I will one day find myself free. No longer wrangling with the belief —  if I shine too brightly I will be a threat to those who hurt me. Knowing that staying small and invisible will keep me safer. The truth is, those beliefs did serve me well as a child. But they don’t have a purpose now. They are useless and perpetuate the lies that I was told.

I have to stop casting my own shadows, like these thick clouds, blocking my own light. I am obstructing my own freedom. I am in my own way. 

Racing is quantifiable and measurable. So much of life is not. I like this yet it scares me at the same time. I often use it as a benchmark to measure how I am doing on my life-journey:

Am I at a better place with processing my abuse or does it still control the way I relate to myself and perceive myself? Am I faster than I was last year?

When I run, is there a weight around my ankle dragging me backwards as if being pulled into a dark tunnel behind me? Sucking me in to its vortex? Am I stronger than I was last year?

When I dive into the water at the start of the race do I experience that feeling of suffocating? Of claustrophobic panic while being banged and bumped as people swim on top of me. Leaving me paralyzed and afraid. This year can I swim without fear and panic?

I look for the benchmarks. For the proof that I am not broken by my past. I always believed that I was broken because that’s what I was told. I know this is not true.

I have to ask myself — do these measurements even matter? Do they only have power if I give them power? Am I already free but I just keep digging that hole and tripping into it? Am I wrestling the fish in my own mind? Is it not even real anymore?

I think so. I really do.

It is important to me that I race well. Whatever “well” looks like to me; however I choose to measure “well.” More than anything, I want to be able to race without getting in my own way. I want to live every day of my life like this — Without giving any power to my past.

Today it is gray and cold outside again. I’m wrapped in that wet blanket of shame and vulnerability and I would like to unravel it. It’s important for me to see myself fully. Living with the voices of my past is getting to be quite wearisome. Heck, this rain and cold are wearisome.

I think it’s time to be done. To stop. Each time I choose this new path towards my future — this way of relating to myself — it gets easier and I can stay here in this place of truly seeing myself for longer periods without second guessing and floundering.

Maybe one day I will celebrate the rain like my daughter. Each time I trip over the hole, it will become easier to pull myself out of it —  to see myself as I truly am. Whole. Unbroken. Perhaps the hole I have dug will one day be the home for a fruit tree. The clouds will give it respite from the hot sun and the rain will water it to help it grow. I like to think so.

Today, each word typed is a hand pulling on the threads of my blanket. Each person reading is unraveling it. Pulling. Pulling. Pulling.

Until all that is left is a pile of old useless yarn.

I don’t want to be afraid of my own potential. I do not want to be burdened by my past. I am unraveling the blanket of my abuse. You are bearing witness. We are unravelling it together.

Thank you. Take care.

13 replies »

  1. Beautiful as always, yet I feel the rawness of your emotion. I hope even from a distance I can contribute to the unraveling. Every time I read one of your posts I wish I was closer!
    I feel a need to share this song with you, and hopefully this link will work (if not, it’s Nina Simone, I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aI-ezEtJ_-s

    BTW, I love love love the rain, too!

    Much love,

    Bethany

    Liked by 3 people

    • Bethany, you made me laugh and cry (of course!) I love that you love the rain. This makes my heart so happy. Thank you for this beautiful song — I wish I could hear YOU sing it! Thank you for commenting and for helping with the unraveling. I appreciate both! Much love to you too!

      Like

  2. This is so real. So raw! So life giving in its transparent honesty.
    I’m convinced that one day, instead of you giving power to your past through anything you say or do,, you will stand on the power your past conveys to you!
    In the meantime––awaiting this certainty––run! Run strong. Run steadily. Run falteringly. It doesn’t matter. Just run! Run for the joy of running. Regardless!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I relate very closely to everything you say! I can go for a while without thinking about sexual abuse or my childhood and I am immersed in my present reality BUT then IT comes back. That feeling of smallness, the wanting to hide and be invisible. The darkness is never far away! When those unmistakable feelings come back, I question how much I have healed and in that moment it does feel like it will never get better. But the feelings do always pass and then I am ok again until the next time. It’s a hard long process and I can only offer you the comfort of knowing that YOU are not alone in this and I hear you and I am sorry!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. There’s a difference between being chained to one’s past or growing strong from it. You represent the later to me. Run free! The obstacles are all part of, living that is…
    WOW, such a lyrical post full of wisdom and wonder.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for saying that, Patricia, I like to think that I’m growing strong from it and I appreciate that you see that in me. Reading your words helps me stay strong. You made me cry! I will run free — that’s what I aspire to do anyway — to not only run but to burn a path for all that have to run and leap over obstacles. XO

      Liked by 1 person

      • It sounds like a week of vulnerability and fragility, which can ride with strong, in fact makes strong stronger. I hope you can run through tears and rain, but more that hope, you will. My admiration, and hat’s off to you!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I read this on Facebook today:
    “The healing process is best described as a spiral. Survivors go through the stages once, sometimes many times; sometimes in one order, sometimes in another. Each time they hit a stage again, they move up the spiral: they can integrate new information and a broader range of feelings, utilize more resources, take better care of themselves, and make deeper changes.”
    ― Laura Hough

    I don’t know if I’ll ever be done. I watched my 91 year old grandma cry fresh tears at the loss of her son who died 30 years ago. I wonder if never being able to fully realize our potential as children because of the abuse is like losing a child. You can never be done but we can go deeper into our new whole.

    No one will ever be as hard on us as we are on ourselves. I was swimming with my kids this weekend and felt mad at myself for not being able to tolerate them hanging on me. It makes me feel held down against my will, which is unbearable. I breathed through it, extricated myself from their little arms and resolved to do better next time. I’m unraveling it but I’m weaving something new as I go.

    I hope you can feel the hug I’m giving you from afar. We need to be gentle with ourselves. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh I love that quote, Karen. The image of a spiral is perfect and very loving and gentle. Thank you for that. You touched upon so many things — “I wonder if never being able to fully realize our potential as children because of the abuse is like losing a child. You can never be done but we can go deeper into our new whole.” Yes. Just yes. There is such a sense of loss but hope too as you described the capacity to go deeper into our new whole. Love that.

      And your description of “being held down against your will” with your children hanging on you — I was shocked when I first felt that in the water. I had always loved the water and it was my sacred place. To suddenly have it feel scary and suffocating was devastating. I am trying to reclaim it. To acknowledge that fear and understand it but to not react or be imprisoned by it. Thank you for the hug. I feel it! XO

      Liked by 1 person

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