October 5, 2014
Reading all your e-mails and comments was hard. It was encouraging and affirming on so many levels but it was hard also.
Sharing my hurt opens the path for healing but also the chance for judgement, misunderstanding, and assumptions. The chance for more hurt. The worst part is that I know I have inflicted this type of hurt on other people in their own times of vulnerability. Unintentionally of course, in my self-righteousness ideas, answers, advice and more benignly, in my general enthusiasm for intentional, values-driven living.
It probably takes a certain amount of personal hurt for an ESTJ to be truly softened to the pain of other people. The compassion I feel for other people's suffering is a gift of my own suffering, and I don't mean that in any cliché kind of way. Some people need to feel hurt themselves in order to have empathy for others. I am one of those people.
I'm pretty vulnerable right now (duh) and in order to protect myself emotionally I'm filtering everything very carefully. I don't spend much time on the Internet these days. I have no desire. A new lovely habit in my life, a carry over from living six months mostly in the woods.
Wading through all your loving assurances and advice has taken me some time. And as soon as something starts to make me feel anxious, you'd be surprised how low that threshold is, I close the computer and make progress on the many projects going on around here. The completion of each one making me feel more at home, more at ease.
I feel incredibly blessed to be loved by so many people. I have friends across the globe. I have friends down the street. I have friends who hosted our family in their home as we thru-hiked the AT. I have extended family who have reached across the continent to love and relate, adding their prayers and"family history" insight to my struggles. I have the four people I share my days with who have been so generous in their love and understanding.
I feel so loved right now. This is a good place to be.
I feel incredibly blessed to be living in and caring for our friend's home. Given that I don't have my own home to return to after a life changing adventure, I see now this was the softest landing possible. Thank you Julie and Tony.
Whenever I share a vulnerability, or a dark place where I'm struggling I am tempted to qualify (I'm not "that" depressed), justify (it was "such and such" that caused this), and otherwise explain all the nuances of my tender heart.
As a thinker, trying to understand my feelings, digging down to the roots is something I need to do, something I am compelled to do. But teasing apart this convoluted, yet beautiful, ball of yarn that is my post-hike life will take time and requires the gentlest of touch. Yanking is not going to unravel those knots but careful diligence and time will.
An unraveling to sort things out.
I've started a little project, which is actually a large scale assessment of my life and plan of action for moving forward. Planning, acting, doing something about it makes me feel better and moves me in the direction of healing and resolution.
I had thought it would be cool to share the outline of that project here, she shall go forth and conquer, but it's an outline in progress, like life itself. And so I think my blogging time is better spent chronicling and sharing the individual pieces of that plan and then at a future point, weaving those threads together into the tapestry they have created.
(In organizational speak I am starting a new personal venture called Project: Home and Healing. Based on my aforementioned life assessment I am creating a three part strategy consisting of mental health work, a return to my roots, and a vision quest to, for lack of a better phrase, "figure things out". As the different pieces of this strategy, the colorful threads of yarn if you will, play out in my life I will share them here. And eventually, hopefully, I will publish the outline as a summary of action, the tapestry. Though the outline may publish itself simply as a list of posts. We'll see.)
I am doing what comes naturally to me, what I am strong at, and feel confident in: creating a structure to help me solve a problem. There are holes in the structure, it isn't complete yet, and it will evolve. Therefore I can't really write it out here. Nor do I want to, it's kind of personal.
But as the pieces of the structure come together, as I recognize and celebrate them, or struggle to build them, I want to share those here as part of my project.
That's the plan.
Renee Tougas participates in affiliate marketing, including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. Whenever you buy something on Amazon from a link you clicked here, I get a (very) small percentage of that sale. See disclosure for further explanation.
You can subscribe to comments on this article using this form.
If you have already commented on this article, you do not need to do this, as you were automatically subscribed.