A couple of nights ago
I had a conversation with a demon.
He criticized me for wanting free time.
He implied that I am nothing more than a role to fulfill
and in the absence of that role,
I am worthless.
Well…I was speechless, and so I didn’t respond.
If I had had the words to respond then,
I would’ve said,
Yes, I do want free time.
Of course I do. Don’t you?
I deserve kindness, respect, warmth.
I won’t let you determine how I feel about myself.
Dear Person who used to be my friend
and is now in the process of attempting
to jeopardize my employment status
at the yoga studio by bringing the quality
of my teaching into question and telling the management
that you are feeling uncomfortable
with the subject matter I’m addressing in my classes:
I’m so sorry things didn’t work out between us.
You told me you were a colleague
having been through yoga teacher training yourself
and so I trusted that it was okay
to go beyond the student/teacher boundary
and explore the realm of friendship.
Oops! I was wrong!
I was wrong about you.
I thought that you were a kind person,
but when I started feeling anxious,
drained and uncomfortable around you,
I decided to back away.
I backed out as gracefully as possible.
But I guess you didn’t like that.
I guess that, like other people I’ve known,
you believe that if I’m not for you
I’m against you.
And now, for some reason,
you are trying to take me down,
and (like other people I’ve known)
you are attempting to recruit other people
to agree with you and join you
and take me down with you.
But here’s something you should know:
I have been to the very center of hell
many, many times
and I have always come back.
You can say what you want,
you can attempt to take me down.
You can even try to bring me to hell with you.
You can attempt to create an entire posse of supporters
to drag me down, to rake my name across the coals,
to convince the world that I’m worthless as a teacher.
If you try hard enough,
you might even be successful
in getting me ousted from my job.
I may have to struggle a little more
because of your childish vendetta.
But you will not win.
I will rise up from hell.
I will find new work.
I will thrive even more.
I will always come back.
Forgiveness cannot be forced.
When my family fell apart
I tried to rush to forgiveness,
thinking that it would speed up
the healing process.
But I was just engaging in
using my spirituality
to circumvent the messy trenches
of deep grief and traumatic loss.
I prayed to God to show me the way,
hoping I could fly over
the dark valley and avoid
what lurked there in the shadows
of my deepest, darkest memories.
I read books and listened to speakers,
I attended meetings,
I thought I knew what I was doing,
but I was really attempting
to avoid the inevitable.
Finally I discovered
that what I really needed
was to allow myself to feel.
I had to go through the grieving process.
I had to face the loss of the life I knew,
I had to take each day
one at a time.
Some days the pain was so intense
I didn’t think I could live through it.
People would tell me
It won’t be like this forever;
I didn’t believe them.
Over time, as I remained clear
and focused on my goal
to find a place for me and my kids,
I noticed the fog was lifting;
I felt more like myself
with each passing day.
Looking back I see
that it was my effort to heal
that blocked the healing.
It was my belief
that things should be a certain way
that kept me from embracing things
as they were.
And now I’m still working on forgiveness,
but at least I have the sense now
to allow that grace to come, naturally,
when the time is right
and my heart is ripe
for such sweetness…
You know, he said,
You really are getting a lot of this right.
And I took this in,
and I wondered why I fixated so
on everything I thought I was doing wrong.
Could it have been the way I was spoken to
during my marriage?
Or was it the way I was spoken to
when I was a child?
I’m thinking both.
I’m thinking what I learned as a child
led me to tolerate
what happened in my marriage.
Now it’s time to heal.
Now it’s time to celebrate who I’ve become.
I’m a human, and I make mistakes,
but you know what?
As a single mom/yoga teacher/meditator/
healer/visionary/creatrix/lover of God
I really am getting a lot of this right.
Overcoming the old programming
by taking action
in direct opposition to the fear.
I was told I was terrible with money
so I retaliate with a budget.
I was told I was lazy,
so my answer is hustling with all I got.
I was told I was a squatter,
so I found my own place to live.
I was told to get a real job
so I tripled my work
at the job I already had.
Go ahead. Keep talking.
Every criticism makes me stronger.
There’s a moment after hitting rock bottom
when you realize that you’re not dead.
Maybe, as you look around at where you are,
you wish you were dead,
but you’re still alive nonetheless.
Resistance will make you hurt worse.
Regret will keep you stuck in this place.
When you’ve stripped away everything
that you used as your former identity
and you find yourself, naked,
standing on rock,
it feels vulnerable, uncomfortable.
You look up…
and the light of day seems so far away.
The good news is,
you don’t have many decisions to make;
it’s very simple in this naked place
of bare, cold, hard, rock bottom.
There’s only one direction you can go—
I’m tired of living in terror,
so I’m turning this over to you.
I have no idea how you’ll help me.
I know that faith can move mountains,
but that I need to bring a shovel.
I’ve got my shovel.
Future is up in the air.
What will I do?
Where will I go?
Where will I live?
So easy to go back to victimhood,
and blame the one
who made these children with me.
Recovering from the lies and deceit,
the abandonment, betrayal and loss,
some days it’s enough
just to get out of bed
and take care of the kids.
And now I need to take care of myself,
provide for myself,
fill up the massive hole in my chest
that he left when he threw me away…
And it has been two years.
Healing isn’t linear…
it takes many twists and turns,
and there are many in-between moments
of not knowing what action to take.
Healing isn’t linear…
I just wish mine could be.
Who do I have to be for you
so that you’ll stop blaming me
and criticizing me for everything
that you perceive is wrong with this picture?
How do I have to act?
What do I have to say?
How do you need me to dress?
What, precisely, do I need to prove?
What task must I perform?
How much money do I need to make?
What do I do too much?
What do I do too little?
How should I style my hair?
Should I wear make-up?
What should I eat?
How much should I weigh?
How many friends should I have?
How often should I contact them?
What kind of car should I drive?
Where should I live?
How should I spend my time?
When should I rest?
When should I work?
Can you give me a list?
Will you promise me
that if can get it right—
you’ll love me?
Are you he,
the one who procreated with me
and then left,
blaming me for everything?
Or are you one of his minions,
currying favor with him,
by feeding the thought
that I’m the crazy one?
don’t you have anything better to do,
than to scour the internet
looking for proof
that his lies about me are true?
I am a woman
making my way back on my feet
after a devastating loss.
Are you his new victim?
Do you believe the story that he loves you?
He told me he loved me once.
But when all was said and done,
it was easier to blame me for his pain
than to man up and work on himself.
You can troll all you want.
He can say that I am “whining” online.
But I will not stop speaking my truth.
And someday you might discover
that the things you criticize in me
are the disowned places in you
crying out for your loving attention.
When you feel ready to access those places,
you’ll stop pointing your finger at others
and go in the only real direction
that you haven’t yet explored…
Yesterday in a text message my ex-husband accused me of “whining online.” If you look at my post yesterday, you’ll see I talked about some challenges I’m currently going through: his underpayment of court-ordered support and the subsequent need to take legal action, as well as my need to secure new health insurance. Admittedly I was a bit startled when he referenced my online activity—choosing words that confirmed he had read my post—because it got me thinking that he or someone else is trolling this blog, stirring up adversity and feeding the story that there is something wrong with me. I speak this out into space, because I’m discovering more and more that abuse and shame can’t exist out in the open. Our secrets make us sick, and I won’t keep it a secret that the man I once loved is deciding to take liberties with the agreement he signed his name on, and justifying withholding funds from court-ordered support for me and his children with his twisted logic. I speak this out in the open, because unfortunately, underpayment or no payment of child support is the norm in our society, and those who have a legal responsibility to provide support to their children and former partners somehow manage to dodge the law and dodge the consequences that the law would mete out if they were caught in a timely fashion. I speak this out because I want this trend to change. I realize that if it has been this awful for me—coming from relative privilege (education, resources, community, job)—how must it be for the population of underprivileged single moms out there who don’t have access to the same resources? Finally, my words are my power. By speaking my truth I know who I am. I will not back down. I plan on fighting a good fight, for myself and all moms everywhere who struggle to know what their future will hold in a time of such volatility and uncertainty.
And to you trolls out there, whether you are he himself, or his new intimate victim, or one of his “friends,” keep reading. Enjoy my posts. Have fun. May you be safe, happy, healthy, peaceful and at ease. And may the pure light of awareness shine upon you and lead you to the realization that what you do to another you do to yourself, so that you can begin helping instead of continuing to hurt. When you feed a story like this, it helps no one. I stand with my hand stretched out in friendship, and you can take it at any time. The choice is yours.