Gratitude for Friends

Thank You For My Friends

I remember a time in my life when I was ‘out of control’. Three times, to be exact.  Three times when, looking back, I can see that I was looking to feel good. I needed to feel good.  Instead of looking inside and listening, I looked out side. Anywhere. To anyone. To anything that was different than what I was feeling inside.

Looking back, I can see when it all started … I was just 14 years old and discovered that not only were my Mom and Dad not married, my Dad was married and had 4 other daughters.  My Mom never knew that I knew yet somehow she knew I knew.  It’s like we had this silent communication.  I knew not to ask questions.

The discovery sent me down a rabbit hole of discovery, temptation, revelation and a lot of experiences I am not proud of.  Looking back, I simply see the patterns, I understand now what I didn’t then.

I needed to feel good. I wanted to feel good.  I wanted to stop feeling empty, ashamed, embarrassed, hurt, angry.  I wanted people to stop laughing at me.  I wanted to be normal. I wanted to be accepted, liked, included. At least, that’s what I see in that young girl when I look back.

I am grateful for friends. I didn’t think about my behaviour or the consequences, I didn’t care, I was just looking to find something and someone that felt good.  What I did care about though, were my friends.  As my best friend watched me on my path to self-destruction, she let me know that she loved me and as long as I continued down this path, she couldn’t be seen associating with me.  I was 16 years old.

Ouch … I’d felt a lot of hurt and pain in my young life already but nothing prepared me for that.

I vowed to change – and change I did.

The only problem was that, as with all things bad, I buried those behaviours and those memories and those actions. I wrote a new and improved story, met my prince charming, fell in love, got married, had a family – I was living my dream life.

And then I lost my mom. I’d never felt anything like that before. It was like someone ripped my chest out, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t think. I remember falling to the floor and the phone just dangling there.  And then a part of me remembered my Dad and from that moment on, I focused my energy on him.  He needed me now.

I had no idea how but I knew I could get through this.  I had my two children to think of and my husband.  Life was good.  It would all be ok.

It wasn’t ok.  I remember feeling like no one cared that I had just lost my mom.  They were all drowning in their own grief and ignoring me. And I had NO idea how to grieve. And so I ‘disappeared’.

And then little things started happening and past behaviours started creeping back in … slowly, innocently at first.

Then, before I knew it, I was turning 30.  A pivotal point for me.  I was pretty excited about it.  We had a thriving business, three great kids, living a great life.  I was excited to venture into a new decade having fun, living the dream life.

It was such a little thing that got that ball rolling … one little statement followed by a large lack of action.  “How’s it feel to be old?” was my greeting on my 30th birthday.  I laughed, thinking it was meant to be funny but as the day rolled on there was no other celebration.  No card, No gift, No special Dinner out … not even, Happy Birthday.  Nothing. Just a “How’s it feel to be old?”.

It turned out that living the dream life was not the dream life I’d signed up for. Oh, don’t get me wrong, for the most part it truly was a dream life but for the important parts … it was a living hell and that small part of living hell caused much havoc in my split up brain.

The little things started to set a scene for disaster as I slipped further and further away into a world of feeling empty, ashamed, embarrassed, hurt, angry.  And slowly I began down that path of self destruction.  Only this time, no one knew.  No one who mattered knew.  No one there to tell me I was back on that path of self-destruction.  No one to tell me I was spinning out of control.  And so it went on for many years until it one day, my best friend who saved me so many years ago, stepped in to save me again.

I didn’t want to hear what she was saying and I knew she was right.  I stopped long enough to listen and chose to be honest with myself.

Somehow, I got it back together again.  Restored my amazing life and began, once again to live the life of my dreams with my prince charming and my beautiful family.

But those little things … they continued to happen and it seemed no matter what I did, it was never enough. That continuous drip of control weighed on me in so many ways.

I thrived in my career.  I thrived in every part of my life except one.  I was drowning emotionally and working very hard to figure out why. It was then that things all started to unravel and I discovered things about my childhood I’d buried all these years.  Things that happened to me that should never happen to any child.

It was the best day of my life!

I was 41 and at last, I had an answer. Now I knew why I behaved as I did, why I felt how I did.  Knowing the truth set me free.

Only, the news was not as well received at home. The one person who should have been as excited as me responded with “I always knew you had a shitty childhood.” and he went on and on about how I talked about what a great childhood I had and what a great family and I thought, but I did have a great childhood and a VERY loving family, how could he not see that?

That was another pivotal point in my life.  Separation then Divorce.

I was on a mission to get well and while on that mission, I once again journeyed out of control only this time I was out of control with a modicum of safety in place.  Not much but at least there was some sort of safety net.  I was out to feel good. If it felt good, I did it.

And once again – a best friend let me know when it was time.

It’s only in looking back now that I can see how I was searching out there for what I already had inside here.  Everything I needed I already had.  I had already created much magic in my life.

Looking back, I know that I was looking OUT there to feel good IN here.  I was focusing on the drip of wrong instead of the outpouring of right.  I had everything I needed all along what I lacked was the knowledge that I had it and the skills to use it.

It’s been a long and arduous journey and one that could have gone so many ways. I am grateful always to my friends who’s intervention helped me look inside and be honest with me.

I was having fun but the person I was becoming was not someone I was proud to be. When I allowed myself to be honest with me, I could see that the person I was pretending to be was not the person I wanted to become.

I am grateful for my friends, for the love they shared, for the care they showed.  They saved my life. They helped me see the kind, loving, generous, funny, smart, talented, beautiful woman that I had become. They helped me to learn to love me.

For me, the real change began when I met someone who saw that happy, loving, confident woman and understood the scared, hurt child inside.  He made me laugh, he loved me “no matter what” and thanks to him, I’ve learned to find that happy, loving, confident woman again. He let me spread my wings and picked me up when I fell. He helped me discover who I really want to be.

Do I have regrets?  I could say many except I have none. The lessons I learned will help me to help others. My experiences gave me a gift of empathy and understanding and a knowledge that life can be anything you want it to be.  I know that I am not the only woman out there struggling with feelings of being empty, ashamed, embarrassed, hurt, angry, alone. Likely a few men too.  It’s no one’s fault, really.

We all will discover it sooner or later.  I’m grateful I discovered it now.

As I learn to actively think thoughts and think and do on purpose, I learn how magic happens every day – and I know that I can choose to be an active part in my life and live it or simply watch it happen.

As one of my good friends says, “once you know something, you can’t unknow it”. Once you understand that you alone control your thoughts and that your thoughts create your experience.  You CAN choose different thoughts. You really can.

I chose to be a part of the magic and I thank my friends for seeing the magic in me.  You are special to me.

 

 

 

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