I'm Writing

I feel like writing lately. I even have a notebook. I haven't written anything in it yet, but I have it. I've even had some poetry imagery come to me.  This is a big deal. I haven't considered myself a writer in years.  I feel the need to use my voice and put my words out there. I don't know where "there" is yet, but I have to start experimenting and this is a good place to start.

A while back, I thought I was at the cusp of a mid-life crisis or a depressive episode (if only medication could fix it).  It turns out it was a mid-life crisis, breakdown, awakening or something like that. That all sounds kind of dramatic. I'm not sure what to name it. I think naming it is kind of reductive. There are a lot of things that have been leading up to this.

Here is what Brene Brown said on the subject, "People may call what happens at midlife "a crisis," but it's not.  It's an unraveling -- a time when you feel a desperate pull to live the life you want to live,
not the one you're "supposed" to live.  The unraveling is a time when you are challenged by the universe to let go of who you think you are supposed to be and to embrace who you are."

It was painful and I was crying a lot, that's why I thought it was depression.  I'll maybe write more about it later, but what I want to write about now is how much better I'm feeling. Not only do I feel
better, but I feel hungry for knowledge and learning.  This last year has become a time of self discovery and inquiry. It's been hard and scary but very fulfilling. I guess you could say I was living on auto pilot and getting knocked off that has been a huge growing experience.

I wrote this a while back about being a feminist in the Mormon church.  This was the start of my unravelling.  It became impossible to stay on auto pilot and I could no longer resist my emotions.  I was afraid of being overpowered by sadness. The unraveling had been trying to happen for years.  I actually remember calling it a pre-mid life crisis after Hank's birth. This excommunication and backlash against Mormon Feminists broke my heart. I was hesitant when I wrote this post, and I never publicly shared it since it's such a charged subject but I'm much stronger now. I was afraid of what people would think of me or say to me or afraid they would stop loving me. I was so desperate for approval that I was afraid to use my voice.

I have come a long way in trusting myself.  It's okay if people don't feel the same way I do.  I also understand that some people didn't give a second thought to this subject. I know most Mormons are over it, but it affected me deeply.  I had absurd expectations about how my beloved religion (institutionally and socially) would treat it's members. I was so disappointed.

I increased my medication last year and it could not touch what I was feeling, which I think was grief.  I started a round of therapy, at the recommendation of my doctor. I have had several positive
experiences with therapy and I agreed it would be helpful.   I have something I call my "cry-o-meter".  To give you an example, my first session of therapy, I did not come up for air in my crying the whole time. Sobbing for an hour straight is exhausting. I had been holding a lot in. Every session I cried a little less until I eventually didn't cry at all and started feeling much better and in control of my own life.  Once my therapist and I started talking about things, like where I got my highlights or what book I was reading, we decided that it was time for me to stop coming.

The therapy book we used, Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life, was an answer to prayer. It showed me that I was creating mental pain for myself and living a life in my head, instead of living a full and meaningful life right now. I was suffering from negative thought patterns.  The voice in my head is judgmental, self righteous, belittling and mean. I was believing the voice in my head. I was
believing those damaging thoughts instead of seeing and accepting the real me.  I was resisting feeling and examining my pain. Pain from fear and shame. I was loosing myself in it. I had to be willing to take my emotions in the moment without defense.

To quote from the book, "Willingness and acceptance means adopting a gentle, loving posture toward yourself, your history, and you programming so that it becomes more likely for you simply to be aware of your own experience. The goal of willingness is not to feel better. The goal is to open up yourself to the vitality of the moment, and to move more effectively toward what you value."

This whole experience includes a lot of aspects of my life (spirituality, culture, family, my creativity, embracing aging, my values, religion, belief, doubts, wants, regrets, uncertainty, body image, motherhood, etc).  My capacity for empathy has opened up, my capacity for love has deepened, my connection to God is stronger.  I'm trying to embrace uncertainty.  I'm trusting my intuition. The best way I can explain it, is that my heart broke wide open and I'm so thankful.


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