The Sadness is still away. In fact each day I feel more like myself, ambition and curiosity pulsing again through my veins. How I’ve missed that. I hold to the hope that I’ve sobbed and raged through enough of the toxic waste that I’m breaking through to the other side.
On Monday, the first day I felt the fog lift, I saw a rainbow as the sun began to set, even though there had been no rain. I consider myself a rational and scientifically minded person but I faced the heavens and asked if that rainbow was for me. I hope it’s the rainbow that marks the (beginning of the) end of the dark and stormy part of the healing process.
A week or so ago a friend sent me this article*. At first I was confused, not understanding the connection between the philandering husband and my struggles. But then, in a paragraph all its own, were these words:
“Acceptance asks only that you embrace what’s true.”
And I started to sob. I sobbed for several days when that short, powerful train of words crashed through my mind. Acceptance asks only that you embrace what’s true. At first I couldn’t really comprehend the words and I didn’t understand why they dislodged so much raw emotion. But I sat with it, turned it over and over, until the message sank in.
I have not accepted what happened to me. In fact I’ve raged mightily to not accept it. For much of my life that rejection has (sort of) served me well. Refusing to accept my reality created space to accept a different reality, one with a stable home, a future, and a loving husband. But that rejection has exacted a high price, it has prevented me from making peace with my past. Those untidy ends are live wires, burning and tormenting me whenever I’d make the mistake of touching them.
Now that I’m in therapy I’ve been struggling to figure out how to accept it, how to stop the instinctual rejection. Those words were a roadmap, a how to. Acceptance asks only that you embrace what’s true.
I’ve been deeply afraid of what acceptance entails. How much of myself would I have to give up to make room? What would that mean? Would that process give all my ugly realities more room to roam, would it unleash even greater demons? Does it mean I’d simply have to surrender to the darkness that haunts the corners of my mind?
In a word, no, it doesn’t mean those things. All I have to do is embrace what’s true. I was a child. I was abused by adults who used me for their gratification. I could have done nothing to provoke or prevent it. It wasn’t my fault. I was neglected. I was not allowed to grow and develop as a child should. I deserved to be loved and cared for, even if that didn’t happen. There was nothing wrong with me. The years of fear and abuse changed how my brain works and I’ll likely deal with anxiety and depression for the rest of my life. It’s not fair and it shouldn’t have happened, but it did. The perpetrators should be jailed, or worse, but they won’t be. They’ll live out their lives as average citizens and I have to figure out a way to live in the world with them. Those are not easy truths to embrace. But they are truths. They are my truths. And struggling against them is fruitless. Ugly as the truth might be, it will not be ignored.
Acceptance doesn’t mean I have to prove, defend, or like it. I need only embrace it. It’s a spiny, mean thing to embrace, but it’s mine and I need to find a way to live with it.