I answered the question as I sat on the couch last night in the little room on a quiet street in West Seattle, “This place? What happens here? Here I feel safe. I feel nurtured. I feel cared for…with generosity and compassion.” I shake my head like an indignant child and say “But not mothered. I don’t feel like you play the mom-card. I hate the mom-card.”
Ali, my counselor, my therapist, my partner in the journey out of crazy-town, laughed and said “What is it about being mothered that bothers you so much?”
As we discussed the next thing, I felt it lift. I felt the heaviness. The weight of it all. The veil of uncertainty. The carefulness of each step. I felt it all move away from me and wondered to myself, “Do most people know the moment their depression lifts up and off of them like that?”
Maybe? Maybe not.
With the final tendrils of my months long depression turning loose of the edges of my mind, I am able to sit with the hard knowledge that I will never be the same person I was before March of 2016. The person who types this is not the same. I am different. I have been to war with the deepest parts of myself. I have lived out on the edges of my own existence. I have clung to the fragile bits that have been spoon fed to me by my therapist, my best friends, books, and lots of sleep. I have walked 100 miles over these months. I have sat in the dark and let the white lights of the tv wash over me unwatched. I have turned pages, only to begin on those pages again.
And yet…here I am smiling through tears as I type this…I am better for all of it.
Why does the becoming have to be such hard fucking work?
I don’t have an answer. But hard work it is. Valiant. Worthy. Gut-wrenching. Sweat on the brow. Fucking hard work.
And worth it.
On the other side I am filled with more compassion. I’m more careful with myself and others. I can say I’m sorry when I’m too sarcastic or mean. I listen to and through and around the words of my friends, my loved ones, my colleagues, my customers, my team. I know what it means to hear the words “I’ll help.” I know how it feels when you are truly seen. And I know the importance of being given the space you need to be who you are, without shame, and with the joy of being known.
I also know how to say no to the things I can’t do. I eagerly say no to the things I don’t want to do. And I am able to say yes to things that would formerly have made me scared or uncomfortable. I didn’t lose my toughness or directness. If anything, these qualities are honed skills that when linked with the extra compassion allows me to erect all the right boundaries for protecting myself and others
The work was worth it because I did this. I got myself out of this. I exerted a passionate tenderness over my own well-being. I mothered myself as no one has ever mothered me.
I learned to extend myself compassion, kindness, and grace. Oh the grace. I know what that means now…really I do.
Thank you Divine. For the long hard walk.
Thank you Divine. For the light on the other side. The light in my soul. The light in my eyes. The light all around. The light inside.