Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I am Beauty and the Beast

As you become more clear about who you really are, you'll be better able to decide what is best for you - the first time around. Oprah Winfrey
Several years ago, after I was freed from the man who loved me in such unloving ways I almost died, I asked my psychiatrist why I took such a difficult path to get to where I was. Healing from that relationship has been the most powerful journey I've ever taken. At the time with my psychiatrist, we were talking about how happy I was, how satisfied I felt with where I was in life, "But I took such a difficult and painful route to get here," I told him. "Wasn't there an easier way?"

"Perhaps there was," he replied. "There were probably a thousand routes you could have taken to get to where you are. This is the one you chose. You can't change how you got here. You can only change your attitude towards the path you took."

My attitude about my journey at that time was relatively healthy. But, if I look at my concern over why I took such a difficult path, I realize that my attitude was tinged with regret and dismay. Regret I had to make it so difficult. Dismay that my journey could have been different, but it wasn't. In my regret and dismay, I was ignoring a very important fact. I was where I wanted to be. I was happy with me.

How I got here doesn't matter now. That I'm here is what counts today.

Underlying my choices that took me upon that painful route was a search for 'me'. The quest to understand who I am, what makes me me. My choices were founded on a faulty belief that I was unworthy. Undeserving of love and attention that nourished me in healthy and fulfilling ways. I knew I didn't feel good about me, at least not in the way all the self-help books I consumed told me I should feel about me. I wanted to feel better and so, tired of the slow process of uncovering myself through time spent with me, I went searching for my answers to 'me' in someone else's arms. I tried many arms that were unwieldy, kept making choices that took me in confusing directions, until I came upon the arms that held me in such terror I had to make a choice. To live or die.

For a long time, I chose to die. To let myself slowly sink into the quicksand of despair that sucked at me with the inexorable pull of gravity drawing me under, erasing every breath from my being, rubbing out every footprint I took upon this planet.

And then I was set free. I had to make the choice. Live or die?

I chose life.

It was that choice that led me here, to where I am today. Because in that choice to live, I had to choose how I wanted to live. In love? Or sorrow? Harmony or discord? With forgiveness or regret? With contentment or resentment? I had to choose to 'do it differently'. To love myself exactly as I was. As an abused woman. As a woman who had hurt the one's she loves. As a woman who had hurt herself. Who had lied and cheated. Deceived and denied. I had to love me as me, not as I wanted to be.

And then, I had to be committed to be the woman I want to be. Filled with integrity. Courage, truth, strength. I had to become myself without the protective shield of someone else's arms wrapping themselves around me, keeping me from finding me amidst the voices clamouring inside whispering I was 'the Beast'. I wanted to be Beauty. I did not want to be, The Beast.

In coming through that darkness, I awaken to the light of who I am. Beauty and the Beast. I am yin and yang. The light and the shadow.

In embracing my duality, I know the Beast lurks. I know he cowers in the dark, waiting to trap me into believing I am frightened by the light. That the path to easy is lined with someone else's footprints leading the way on a shortcut to happiness. I know he looms up when I am frightened of stepping out, of leaping beyond my comfort zone into the possibilities of limitless space to be all I've ever dreamed of. I know the Beast is confused by Beauty. Fearful for her well-being. Fearful she will make a mistake.

I know the Beast is there, frightened and insecure. I know him. I see him. I love him. He is part of me. I am Beauty and the Beast.

In knowing who I am, I make choices that love and support me, first time around.

It is the gift of having been where I was so that I could come home to where I belong, in love with me, Beauty and the Beast.

The question is: Where are you? Searching for answers out there somewhere, hoping that this path will take you where you want to go even if you don't know where that is? Or, are you finding your true self within you, loving yourself to well-being as you give yourself the gift of knowing, who you are is who you are meant to be when you love yourself in the light of beauty holding the beast in love.


Anonymous said...

Hi, this is justabouthealed from lovefraud. This was a powerful post for me. Yes, I've needed the protective shield of someone else's arms wrapping themselves found me. And I really do struggle, despite my bravado posts sometimes about how I was attacked, recognize that I have lied and cheated. Deceived and denied. Though I did NONE of it to hurt anyone, I really didn't. But nonetheless my actions did hurt others, especially me. And after not hearing from my bad guy for almost a year, obviously I'm the one still hanging on to the pain, the post traumatic stuff, and I must love myself...that beast that has struggled to protect me, but has only hurt me more.

Thanks for the post....will be pondering this for awhile.

M.L. Gallagher said...

Hello justabouthealed.

I think that is one of the most challenging aspects of our healing. We didn't do what we did in these relationships because we wanted to hurt others, we did it to protect ourselves, to protect 'him', to make sense of the nonsense. The reality is, though, I did hurt the people I love most in this world -- in acknowledging that, I am able to ask for forgiveness and to forgive myself so that I can let go of that pain which includes self-hatred, anger, disgust...

The hard part to balance out is the fact that the 'bad man' did do what he did knowingly, willingly, consciously -- and didn't care if it hurt, and doesn't care today if it hurts. Our minds cry out -- it's not fair.

And yup. It's not fair. Doesn't it change it. Nor does it change the fact we must heal ourselves by loving ourselves completely.

Good for you for knowing you can do it, and will do it. Good for your for awakening to your truth -- beauty and the beast within you.