The colors I am holding right now are pink, gold, and green. I have paired this with compassion, integrity, and self worth.
I reached for strength. My history is peppered with people and words and many moments in which I found I was not worth much. My desire to feel my self worth has always had me railing against these situations. I never stopped trying to fight them. For a while, I fought them by embracing them. That didn't work very well because it fed the demon. When I realized that, I continued to try to fight. But fighting yourself, the words in your head, your feelings, your pain...that is counter productive.
So a figure from the past came into my sphere and offered kindness. That kindness stepped over the lines of integrity. I went willingly, happily. I am very glad I did. Because I needed the help of this figure. He mistreated me, years and years ago. I have always had periods of my life when I was facing backwards, in an attempt to understand and identify and heal. It was in this period John entered my sphere. He didn't understand why I was looking backwards, and kept telling me to move forward. I knew enough to tell him to just let me do what I was doing- I was searching for old wounds, to break again what had been broken and set incorrectly. I was searching out the pain, not to add more, but to create a more appropriate cast. To heal more fully. He listened and supported me. For hours and hours every night. And that is likely why I fell in love with him.
A huge part of this battle has been seeing myself as worthy of good things. When you grow up with verbal abuse, the voices in your head, the old tapes, are not very helpful. Mine centered around my inner goddess, for lack of a better term. The part of me that wanted love and sex and touch and tenderness. It took a huge amount of time to learn, at least in part, that I did not have to see that part as a tool. That when I did, I got the wrong things.
My journey in these parts of my soul came to some strange tangled forest after I had our first child and my body changed on me. I still had this deep seated belief that my worth, my value, was tied to my body and my looks. John never stopped being attracted to me, but I doubted his love for me. I was not an athlete, or a coach...and I thought by marrying me, he had settled because he couldn't get one of those things. In reality, he went outside his comfort zone to be with me since I wasn't one of those things. He loved me for who I was. But when I gained the 60 pounds that came with our babies, I thought I wasn't beautiful anymore. Combine that with all the young athletes he coached and the powerful coaches he was friends with, whether or not they were past lovers (and some were), I felt small and wrong and unattractive. He never was so great with words- he used too many, and too often the wrong ones. He could speak to a crowd. Speaking to me, he was often lost. Perhaps that is because my love of the right word was intimidating.
Either way, he died before we could reconcile this. He left me in a place where I doubted my beauty, my worth, my desirability.
This figure from my past not only knew some of my buttons, he was one. He was the first one. And he gave me the gift of explaining...no, showing me that I was so much more to him than was apparent in our mistake. He gave me the gift of knowing that I held an incredible place in his heart, that I did then and I did for years.
So now that I see this, I can employ integrity. I can wish this person more happiness than should be legal. How brave and true to not stop trying to face your mistakes. How brave and real to try to make amends for something that cannot be fixed. But being open to him and what he carries in his heart enabled as much fixing as possible.
So now, the challenge is to have the courage to let that affirmation go. I have to know that it is there, and not check in on it. I have to know inside myself, without John, without this figure, without anyone else beside me. I have to know I am beautiful, I am worthy, I am amazing. All by myself. With my grief, my anger, my fear that I am trying to let wash over me, through me, and go beyond me...he has said over and over we will "just know". I didn't get that until today.
And as I think about the teenage girl I was when he took something from me, I love her. And as I think about the woman that I am now, who allowed him to try to give it back, I love him. And in loving the two of us from so long ago, perhaps I can allow the love that John had for me to flow through everything I do from here forward. Perhaps I can walk into the future with John in my mind and heart to guide my steps.
For he is not gone, when I hold him close. And he chose me above everyone else. He chose the woman not from his world, because I am adventurous, athletic, I can throw and catch with ease, I laugh loud and easily, I am smart and sexy, sweet and playful...perhaps now I can learn to see me through his eyes. Perhaps I can move forward in a way that will make him proud.
I know I will still get too angry. I know I have oceans of tears left. A friend at church today said that she missed John. She said that she wished he had been there, at the 10 year anniversary of the dedication of the building we are in now. I cried. She apologized. I told her not to do that. She said she didn't want to make me cry. And she didn't. The tears are there and they need to come to help me heal. I keep them inside because I need to function. I don't push them away, but I don't call to them, either. They just hover right behind my eyes. And when someone else talks of their love of him, how they miss him, the things they would like to share with him or the things that did share...that keeps him alive. That invites the tears out, letting me know that it is safe for them to come. That is a gift. My job is to tell you when I can't do that, because there are times when I can't. But I am certainly strong enough to say if it is the time or not. Strong enough for that. Strong enough for much more than I ever thought.
I am a woman warrior.
I am not alone. Even in my solitude. What a strange gift from a strange place. I love that I am open to strangeness. I thank this person deeply. I thank John for loving me. I thank my friend for talking about him. I hate the universe and cancer for taking him. I know he will never be gone because I swear on everything I love that I will fight for the best in me as a way to honor him and the love he had for me. And when I feel like maybe my strength isn't enough, he will always be inside me. He, in his entirety...and pieces of others, moments, words, gifts of courage, baring bodies and souls, reaching, trying...life is nothing, if it is not connection. I will try to connect. I will accept the gift of even odd connections. Because that is what they are. They are a gift. They are everything....