I've been in an abusive relationship before. It never became physical but the mental, emotional, and even spiritual warfare was real. The miscellaneous, unexplained bruises on my body left in the wake of the relationship were real. I remember that in one the last conversations I had with him I could feel a piercing pain in my throat. That pain was real. Sickness came over me just like it did when we first met. I remember in our final meeting after I cried in my house for hours determined to only cry once over the situation how I sat across from him. I think I put a curse on him in that moment. I had no words; I just rocked back and forth staring at him. In my head I said, "You are going to get it." I came home after it was all over, moving states, a shell of young woman.
All of that over a relationship that lasted no more than six months. I met him when I was lonely and had something to prove to myself. I wanted to have a successful relationship and I didn't want to go about that time in my life alone. Most of my peers had partners and from the outside looking in, it looked great, desirable. Then he showed up. There were warning signs from the beginning. He had a dark, gloomy energy despite his seemingly positive, helpful demeanor. His car was full of bags which meant he didn't really have a home and had too much baggage (emotional, mental, and physical). There were other signs that only I would get, my personal intuitive clues, like his writing style, his name, and his appearance amongst others. The biggest sign for me was that during my month and half long sickness, he cared little about my comfort or wellness. The same person who professed his love for me within three weeks of knowing me.
Of course, he had to have redeemable qualities. Why would I have been with him? He was helpful with technology...even though you can't convince me that he didn't break my external drive that had all of my artwork on it. He was a great dancer...even though he only seemed to dance with himself (awkward). He knew how to apologize...except not to me, but to men he was afraid of, I have never heard more beautiful apologies. He was affectionate...mostly in public. He was nice to me, in public. He was health conscious, obsessively so (annoyingly so). He was witty. He was creative. He had awesome friends. He took out the trash. He cleaned my house without my asking. He was incredibly helpful...but it didn't come without a price.
I feel I attracted him into my life because of the larger questions I was asking rooted in my limited understanding of relationships and the desire I had to be in a relationship. I wanted to understand my parents failed relationship. I wanted to understand a lot of the relationships I saw my close friends experiencing. Even though I knew they weren't great relationships, I didn't know the reasons exactly. This guy served as an amazing teacher. He helped me see the things I needed to heal. When he inadvertently helped to recreate an unpleasant scene of my parent's past (that I only knew in story form) I knew I had issues to work out. He showed me that difference between unconditional love and whatever he thought he was offering. My great desire not to fail in a relationship showed me some of the greatest ways they do fail: Lack of honest communication, running away from childhood issues, not healing from past traumas, lack of self-love, lack of self-awareness, inability to forgive, lack of integrity, ignoring your intuition, and lack of self-control to name several.
I felt so much shame when it was all over. I was ashamed that I chose someone who would call me names and disrespect me in private and public. I was ashamed that I even spent a day with him. I was ashamed I shared myself with him at all. I was ashamed I didn't beat him up. I was ashamed that I was afraid to end the relationship. I was ashamed that I didn't listen to my intuition. I was ashamed that the relationship proved my imperfection. I was ashamed that I was sad that the relationship ended. I was ashamed that in ways he pulled away from me before I did from him. I was ashamed that I would have this story to tell.
When I came home, my mother and an unlikely friend nursed me back to health. I was supposed to be celebrating a great accomplishment I made in my life, but I instead found myself weak, underweight, distraught, and dramatically laying on my mother's bed in a state of shock. They loved me and gave me room to forgive myself. I wrote angry unsent letters (no one would let me send them). If communication with him wasn't necessary, I didn't do it. After awhile and a few self-help books, I was able to see that in ways we were both hurt children. The big difference was that I was actively addressing my issues. It was my budding awareness of myself that created an exit for me. My ego and inner child took a beating, but my heart didn't, it was just starting to reveal itself to me. Following that relationship I made healing, forgiveness, self-awareness, and self-love my priority. I love the woman I have become. I'm thankful for that relationship. I can now identify those kinds of relationships with very little effort and even though no one likes to hear it, I'm accurate.
And for those of you who are wondering, he did "get it"...but when someone lives in that much pain, there isn't much that truly hurts them. Pain is their modus operandi. They feel lost without it as much as they claim to dislike it. So my little "Celie, Color Purple" moment was reflecting who he was and did very little to change his circumstance. It also did nothing for me. I didn't get up and leave empowered...and in the years that followed I felt no satisfaction. What if I, in that moment, decided to beam him love of the unconditional variety? No more words, wanting nothing in return, looking into his eyes, calling on the purest of love to flow through me, and beaming it straight at him. Release. Hmmm...
You can't love anger away. Trust me, I know because I've tried...and this comes from the woman who loves love. You can open your heart to anger and give it a place to express itself but you can't push it away. Anger is one of your gifts or tools to navigate this experience and true love is about acceptance. As I have said before, emotions are our fuel and anger can take you to a wonderful place if you know where you are going.
I know some people who can't seem to get anywhere and are always in some type of pain, be it emotional or physical. They carry their pain like a badge of honor or pity, yet they seek to do nothing about it other than look for a quick fix in pain relievers, drugs, alcohol, sex, and the lists goes on. Suppressed anger is usually the culprit for the pain they experience because they lack the courage to express it. They are afraid of their own anger. Some suppress so well that they never feel obvious pain, but they do have obvious weight gain. In my observations, large stomachs belie this more than a big booty. Suppressed anger shows in their plastered smiles, darting eyes, and loud lies. Nevertheless, the pain comes eventually and so does the disease. Your body is the last place it shows up, never the first.
In my previous post simply entitled Anger, I spoke rather poetically about my experience with my own anger. I talked about being chased by my anger in the form of a ferocious canine-like animal. I didn't talk about what I did next, in the midst of all of the fear of being torn to shreds by this hungry beast who seemed to be tracking my every move as if it knew my next steps before I did. First I must say that at some point I decided that I would no longer be afraid of the "darkside" and so-called negative emotions. I long found that humor is my greatest weapon but now I wield it with great tact. In the end, I had to do what was logical; I stopped running from the dog thing and I gave it a job. Just like children and pets who act up when unattended or unoccupied, anger can be easily useful and darn near pleasant to be around when you give it something to do.
I first assessed its qualities. It is extremely powerful and is a marvel at destruction and demolition. If you could have only seen the ruin it left in its chase after me. Part of me wanted to say, "This is a bit much, don't you think?", but we didn't have an open dialogue at that point. I also noticed it had a bit of a sense of humor after it got out a lot of its aggression. It has a beautiful smile. With all of that in mind, I employed it as my "go to" pal when I need to tear down blocks and perceived barriers. An added bonus is the humor that follows a job well done. I so appreciate its jokes. They are cynical, silly, sometimes demented, and always refreshing.
To summarize: When I express my anger in a productive and strategic way, new opportunities open for me and life becomes even more hilarious than it was before.
So ask yourself: How do I express my anger? If I gave my anger a job, what should it be? How do my emotions work for me now? Where do my emotions take me?
I may be just writing this to myself, but I will share this with you all anyway. Over the recent weeks I took a step back from everything to look for clarity. I do this from time to time. I limit my social interaction, reading, writing, work, and anything else that I deem a distraction. For me, everything had become muddled with opposing views and internal conflicts. The journey of self is like a constant revealing and just when you think you have something figured out, a new bit of information is added to the mix forcing you to reconfigure your previous calculations. Maybe I should stop trying to reach conclusions. Maybe there aren't any problems to be solved and the very act of trying to solve the problem is what causes the problem that never really existed... I just read that I titled the post "Anger" so I should get to it. The funny thing is what I have done so far is the perfect illustration of how I have been addressing my anger. I work so hard on an explanation that I forget I was angry. Kind readers, use your imagination and see this next paragraph as the first.
I am angry about a lot of things. If I had to describe what my anger looks like, it would resemble a black ferocious canine-like creature that when it gets really angry bulks up like a charcoal gray hulk. This androgynous hulk dog/wolf has the strength of 8000 pitbulls and the hunger 5000 packs of wolves combined. I keep it chained up, but it broke free recently and it started to hunt me. My cat-like abilities and uncanny talent to search out steel doors and high ledges have allowed me to allude it, but I have a feeling that it knows exactly where I am. It's hunting me, finding the right time to take its reward. You see, every time I seek to dive deeper into myself, there it is growling and baring its teeth. I hiss back with explanations and someone distracts me with heart shaped candy corns. It watches me sap up the unbearable sweetness as a new muscle tones in its jaw. I search for cake and it searches for me. Dun Dun Dun Duuuuun.. I have had too much cake this time. That ultimate muscle has been toned. I saw it when it happened. I heard it when it said enough was enough. I ran when I saw the chains break and the cage completely shattered. I tried to negotiate with dog-catchers. No one would help me because this is my journey.
Here is a confession: I have always had a strong disdain for the phrase "love and light". Oooh it irks me to the bone. Oh man, I don't think I could describe enough how much I can't stand those words together. Recently in an email exchange, someone said "love and darkness" and I felt my heart smile and inside I sighed, "Yes!". "Love and light" always sounded incredibly pretentious and a like a huge gargantuan LIE. Most of the people saying it from my observations seem to be saying it as a hope and not a reality. I say deal with the reality. You know good and well you aren't all about love and light so be real and say so. I know I am not. I am all of it. If I am the oppressed, I am the oppressor. If I am the beautiful, I am the ugly. If I am the shit, I am the flowers. If I am the light, I am the darkness as well...And if I am the articulate, then I am the foul-mouthed, so fuck "love and light". <-----Maybe that is the dog in me. If I am the hunted, I am the hunter.
English "Dodgy" ball time! Someone was going down!
When I lived in Seoul, Korea I became very aware of a certain phrase, "FIGHTING!" Sometimes it sounded more like "Hwaiting!" since there really isn't a "f" sound in the Korean language. I first heard it when I was watching Korean Dramas. If someone was having a "hard time" and felt "a burden" another kind person who noticed their "hard time" would say "Fighting!" or if they need that super kick, "Ajah! Ajah! Fighting!". It was like a super boost of encouragement. I used this phrase very often.
Sure my time in Korea was amazing but it wasn't absent of rough days or supreme frustrations. I have a very independent personality and never see myself subordinate to anyone. Hell, I consider myself to be the real President (sorry Obama). I frequently use terms like sovereign and self-important to help others understand me with all the seriousness in the world, universe, and galaxies beyond. I am my CEO, boss, supervisor, President, Queen, King, God, Goddess, etc in all situations. If I am not interested in leading, then I am an independent consultant or contributor. So you can imagine how that way of being was received by collectivist, hierarchical, South Korea. Some say modern day Korean culture is more like American culture in the 1950's. I like to think that is not true but sometimes I really wondered. Despite this, I met some amazing people who did their best to support me and understand me (they even prayed for me) but with all the support in the world I still had to do the real work to make my time there magical.
The first thing I did was made a decision to love the children unconditionally. I LOVED them (still do) and told them so everyday. I also loved the people I worked with and I am sure they felt it. I then changed my teaching style to smiling all of the time and being committed to having fun everyday. One day I was posing for a portrait and my friend asked me if I was getting tired holding my smile and to my shock my answer was no. Smiling became my default expression. I knew it was effective when the students were checking themselves because "Ms. Kiki is not smiling". I also made sure that I kept all school related stuff at school. Outside of school, I made my time with friends and with myself precious. We truly had a blast and I even learned how to swing dance (and I am good).
When I first started, I was so committed to being a good teacher it was painful. I wanted to be perfect and I was beyond stressed out. My mother would tell me to relax and have fun but I was convinced I didn't know how to do it. I was taking work home which has always been a big "no no" in my book. My Co-teacher would always tell me to "take a rest". I was out of control. To feel better and rid myself of a reoccurring headache, I found myself chanting with the nuns and monks at my nearby mountain temple a few times a week. I was also being counseled by the monks afterwards. The temple time just helped me sleep at night. It wasn't until I let it all go and made the decision to be love on two legs did everything change. I stopped "caring" about everything. My concept of "caring" was really just fear of everything going "wrong" and it was spoiling a perfectly good time.
So this brings me back to "Fighting"...Well after a long day it wouldn't be uncommon for fellow teachers to complain about their lives or something that would stress them out. I must admit I was guilty of this in the beginning. But what I found to be most interesting was after my twenty minute complaining session it also wouldn't be uncommon for a teacher to simply say, "Fighting!". Call me a "simple betty" but that was what made everything alright for me. It was what also made me stop complaining and start finding solutions because if after everything I said all you have for me is "Fighting!" then I need to figure something out because clearly it isn't that bad.
If you are having a rough day, week, month, year, or life I say to you, "Fighting" and if you need a little warrior cry, "AJAH! AJAH! FIGHTING!". Now go get butt-naked and run around screaming that to the top of your lungs...even if it is just in your imagination. I personally imagine myself with a stick smashing things while doing my warrior lap...and there may be some howling involved (no faeries die in this process). After you are done with that, "take a rest", set some clear boundaries for yourself, fill yourself with love and enjoy!
oh and then contact me for some of that good stuff aka healing energy...ha ha ha ha!