Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Yeesh! Where Have I Been???



I feel like I might as well have been on the moon - for the last 15 years!!
I understand that, for someone who knows me a bit or has been following me a bit, that is a profoundly confusing statement. My own counselor (who has only known me about 4 years) felt the same confusion. I'll unpack that statement in a moment... I promise.

Looking back on my past posts, I've been absent a few years. That's mainly because my husband went to prison and my life fell apart. Suddenly, I was a single mom living with her in-laws and fielding the emotional damage of everyone in the household. It was hard and depressing and miserable. Thankfully, though, I'd had a few years to grow accustomed to the idea that my husband was going to prison, so I had a plan of action to fall back on: I made my life even more complicated by going to university online.

At first, I was going to try and be a paralegal. No one laughed in my face when I told people because, yeah, I could pull it off (and I like to argue so they could see me someday being a lawyer). I took a bunch of courses that were heavy with writing papers, and I thought I was going to die. I mean, don't get me wrong - I loved the courses and the material - but writing so many papers was so endlessly tiring and tedious (If you know anything about an ENFP, you'll know what kind of a death sentence it is for anything to be tedious). I had one course that assigned a few Power Point Presentations and I felt like I had found a glorious oasis; I knew I was majoring in the wrong field. And, lucky me, my online university was unveiling a new Graphic Design major (one of only a few in the country and the only decently-priced one). So, I jumped on that, and all my friends said a collective "duh."

Step one to getting myself back on track had commenced and I didn't even realize it was in "The Plan." But, as I traversed the misery of the next year (this previous year), I came to realize that nothing I had planned was part of "The Plan." (And, since the banner of my blog discusses THE Capital-G Man Himself, it should come as no surprise to you that I'm about to drop His name.) God was making "The Plan" for me, and where was I? Hell if I know. Somewhere in husband-land with my head so far up his backside that I had lost me and lost me well, perhaps?

See, I spent roughly a year trying to carry the whole world on my shoulders, by myself, because every support I thought I had for me had crumbled away. I spent a lot of time angry at God, and in retrospect, I think He was just sitting there wondering when I was going to stop trying to ride a dead camel. My husband was in prison having a pity party while I was managing everything, every mess, that he had left behind. And instead of getting encouragement, I became my husband's whipping boy - for everyone who was mad at him but couldn't express it to him. It might have been manageable, I am a pertinacious person when I dig my heels in against the opposition, but my husband was refusing to be supportive of me. He refused to send me a single letter until I resumed sending him one on a more regular basis (on top of daily phone calls), and he didn't want to hear anything negative.

At that point in my life, I didn't have anything much more than negative things to say. I was at the point of praying for God to just let me die already. It was the beginning of a serious change in my life, in my head.

I realized that I had been packing pieces of myself into boxes that I had shoved into the sidelines of my head and it dated back to about the time my husband and I had started our relationship. I would sometimes take those pieces of myself out of the boxes and wear them when I was around certain friends and I could wear them all when I was on the internet. But, eventually, all of me got packed away until I didn't really like myself much anymore, or even know why I couldn't be my whole self around my husband.

See, after 14 years, I finally fully revisited a traumatic experience of my newly-adult life that had marred me, I thought, irreparably. Four years prior, Beth Moore's Breaking Free study had made me aware that there even was a problem, and I had sat on the bathroom floor (where I was self-studying in the middle of the night) and prayed to God to address those ruins in my life and to no longer let me sidestep them. I had finished the study just in time for my husband to get in trouble and it gave me the personal value and clarity to realize that my husband's sins were not my own. I thought that was the end of God's work in me. I was wrong.

Step two to getting myself back on track had commenced, and I still had no idea what was really going on. Then, I faced the man who I had let obliterate my self-esteem. And I realized that his life was terribly depressing, that he carried the guilt of what he had thought he had done to me through his life for 14 years, and that he had been pining for me.

I realized that I had been stuffing myself into boxes for years because I was sure that no one could handle or love me at my full self. And I had realized that my husband had only been encouraging me to stuff myself into boxes to change me into a person he liked better. But the most powerful thing that I learned was that I never needed to stuff myself into anything, ever - and I never needed to do it again.

Step three to getting myself back on track had commenced, and I was finally starting to see the bigger picture.

Fast forward to now, and I am slowly unpacking myself. I have moved in with people who genuinely love me - all of me, especially the pieces I packed away. I am reconnecting with friends who knew me before the packing process. I am realizing that my marriage has been dead a long time. And I am asking God what He has in store for me next with this "Plan" of His, because I'm not completely clueless anymore.

So, where have I been all these years? In a box - in a few boxes, in fact - buried in my head, so terrified of being rejected that I didn't even realize what I was doing to myself.

I don't know how soon I will be back here, let alone with any kind of consistency. What comes after unpacking one's self is trying to balance the time for all of my passions and responsibilities that are not all vying for attention. What does one keep? What does one discard?

Well, following my favourite decluttering genius (KonMari), I've gotta decide which things bring me joy, and I have to discard before I can put things back. I'm partially through it, but it is a long process. And that's a post for another time. ;)

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