It's been a bit, and there's a reason for that. I started to feel like, in my desire to share, I was putting words to feelings that may not have been the most accurate. There's a great line of Joan Didion's that goes like this:
“We tell ourselves stories in order to live. We live entirely by the impression of a narrative line upon disparate images, the shifting phantasmagoria, which is our actual experience.”
I can't speak for all of us, but I can speak for myself, and probably those writers Didion is referring to. I do this because it's soothing.
It feels healing to reach into that well of emotion and draw out threads—lessons, narratives, morals, and philosophical or spiritual meanings...
Because it gives pain that second edge to its sword. The silver lining.
And that's okay. But what I'm coming around to is this: there is a difference between hastily attributing meaning to something because you're grasping at straws, and attributing meaning to something because you've thought long and hard about it and have come around to this conclusion.
Do you see what I mean?
This past year we've all felt so many feelings. It's been a heavy ten months, globally. But what I'm saying is that our feelings aren't always the result of what we think. Most of the time, they aren't. What's been coming up for a lot of us are multi-layered emotions that have been long stowed-away.
And so, sometimes, when we sit and try to find answers in them, to feel better, we actually only come up against illusions.
Because there are some things that our unconscious isn't willing to show us yet.
I believe that most of our pain stems back to childhood. To things we had or didn't have. To moments we wished we'd experienced or wished we hadn't experience.
I was a very solitary child, to be slightly more concrete here. I mean, I always had friends but I was never at all open with them, and so, in retrospect, I'm not sure if they really counted as friends...
Anyway, my reason for being so solitary at heart as a kid was because I didn't trust anyone. I felt so scared to be myself because, somewhere inside, I really thought if I was that no one would like me.
(The logic there is obviously flawed. I decided not to be myself and have people like my facade, which only induced further loneliness.)
I bring this up because, as I've grown into myself, I've learned how to make friendships with people that love me like I love them. Really and deeply.
However, when it comes to romantic relationships, where I am the most vulnerable, it doesn't take much to feel stung. When things get hard, or they break, I hurt in a way that is beyond the situation at hand, that was carved into child-Mackenzie. I've realized this in the past few weeks or so.
And so, I've come to see it's not actually fair to my present self, or to the one that went on his own way this summer, to lay all this pain on our ending. Because it isn't purely from that. It's unresolved pain from the past. And, as I write this, I know this is so true.
So, what a gift then. What a gift that I am being given this year to be oh so totally alone so I can properly dive into those roots grown in childhood, and begin to tease them out. It feels healthy. It feels like a cleanse.
As to how that is done, for anyone needing to do the same, there are a number of ways. If you can draw up memories from those years as a child and journal/meditate on them, that is a very good place to start.
I did this a few years back, when I was coming to the end of my 3-year stint as a nun (haha, ok, I mean my 3-year pause on all dating), and it was life-changing.
It allowed me to enter the next phase of my life then. And I'm positive going back again now will bring about such positive effects, too.
If you've done self-work like this before, know that this is a never-ending process. It's not like "Man, what did I do wrong that I need to do this again?" You did nothing wrong. We are ever evolving creatures.
And again, this opportunity to work on our hearts, our souls, it is a gift. We are in it together, my loves.