Gently Bruised

`I can clearly recall thinking that if I had tried harder that she may have remembered my kindness `

Today’s blog is part cathartic and part an attempt to ease the gentle hearts that I encounter every day. In a world that can be tragically uncomfortable I wanted to take a moment to recognize those that try to soothe it. Bless your soft and tender souls for trying to light the many dark corners.

`I can clearly recall thinking that if I had tried harder that she may have remembered my kindness `  Tania

She’d always be the last one to get to her desk; the impatient students would shove past her, the condescending would glance at her as if she were an inconvenience; an obstacle in their path.  She wore thick glasses and carried an odor of stale urine as firmly attached to her body as the steel crutches that were attached like bracelets to her wrists. I think it may have been polio perhaps, but will never know for certain I suppose.  I found her one day, not so long ago now and upon reaching out in my excitement of seeing her grown and a seemingly happy adult; felt slightly wounded as she brushed me off like a piece of lint on her sweater.  I can clearly recall thinking that if I had tried harder that she may have remembered my kindness.

I would run ahead of her as she tried to reach the bathroom before her bladder released into the telltale darkened stain on the back of her jeans.  Her best efforts at speed were only slowed by the non compliance of two feet that would be dragged behind the frantic clicking of the crutches that hung from both forearms. She rarely to never would make it and the remaining hours of the school day would be spent sitting in the dampness that shared its pungency with a room full of student nostrils.  They would pick on her while I did my best to make her feel that she was not unusual.  And I remember wondering if I could have done better back then… that perhaps she may have recalled that I tried to be gentle.

Or perhaps the insults and the cruelty of others overshadowed the softness.  And if that is true, then my heart still wants to fix it despite the passage of decades.

It’s my natural way to be gentle. I struggle to understand anything less than a desire to be kind.  I cannot comprehend cruelty, or intentions that may be less than loving.  I will never find comfort in stepping on other humans to get to my destination. I would much rather join those on the ground to help ease the burden of the weight of those that do so.

Certainly I am no saint and have followed selfish paths in the moments that I feel unsupported. We are human of course, and not one of us balanced perfectly. I can dive into bursts of anger as quickly as I can dissolve into tears.  I can hide the bag of Oreo’s just as well as the next person simply because I believe I deserve the sweetness. We have all shared of the discomforts that can manifest into human nature.

However…when all is said and done…my defining nature is to be gentle. To not step on others to gain my rewards.

It is this characteristic that will find me continuing to want to soothe the way forward despite having felt the weight of such feet press into my spine time and time again.  I say this without complaint but a simple yet new understanding that in this gentleness is my greatest strength.  Empathy is an unforgiving journey and not for the faint of heart. Empathy requires an ability to unbend a spine that is bruised, sometimes broken and unfurl it to standing without sharing the pain.

I wondered for a moment if I was practicing true empathy in questioning why this woman did not remember my kindness.  It burned ever so slightly for a minute or two to feel that I hadn’t done something good enough to be remembered.  And I had to stop and wonder if I was battling the EGO or punishing my heart for not being enough when she needed it.

Or if, perhaps, I was understanding her from the value of being different than most. And in doing so I could feel how the discomforts might overshadow the kindness; and better understand my overwhelming desire to make it go away for her.

Which leads me to question something very obvious.

Are the gentle trying to heal the world because in doing so they heal themselves?

Life offers no easy answers. But it does offer us the opportunity to ask the questions.

And I love questions.

And softness.

Don’t stop that. Your gentleness. One day it will be remembered first.

Love love and more love.

Be soft to you first. And then share.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grieving Promise

Grief is hemorrhagic.

It shares no umbrella of the same color or shape. You can’t expect someone to stay dry using yours because it worked for you.

I promise you will grieve.  And there is nothing I can do to prepare you.

I can share literature and lead by my example but there is nothing I can do to help you understand.  Like birth and like death, the journey to your  certain discomfort will only be known by yourself.  There will be nothing to catch you, nothing that can console you and nothing to fill the shatters in your soul.  A deeply painful and personal unraveling of all the words you could have said and all the moments you had the opportunity to say them.  Of all the chances you missed and the chances you took.  You will find discomfort in every choice you created and every choice you allowed.

I promise you will grieve. And there is nothing I can do to prepare you.

What I can prepare you for  is that no one will understand the depth of your pain. They will try to understand, attempt to console, try to catch you when your knees burst and you fall to the depths. But I can promise you they will not know how deeply you will drop because you are falling through your own waters and bringing your own beliefs, thoughts and regrets as your swimming companions.

I promise no one will understand your pain.

Your pain is as individual as your fingertips, your DNA and your thoughts. While many will commiserate and understand the experience of loss, they can never truly seek to understand your ownership to the individuality of your story.

If we are to help one another through grief, we must be aware that not one process is like another.  We cannot seek to know the physical and emotional results of a heart that is punctured; whether once or a thousand times over.  The choice of injurious results lies with each individual story.  Over time hearts will heal, some more quickly; while others will leave nothing more than sinew to toughen the holes and to make them impenetrable to the possibility of further bleeding.  In both there is strength. And in both we have no right in our opinion of the process.

I’ve heard it enough now in my lifetime and my career. The judgements on how the grieving can grieve.

“He’s already moved onward to a new spouse. Her body is barely cold”

We have no right.

“She’s pregnant again, so soon. She hasn’t grieved the child she lost”

We have no right.

“You are angry and not what I knew. I cannot work with what I don’t recognize”

We have no right.

“Get up from the couch. Uncurl your hands from the teddy bear. You have to keep going”

We have no right.

Until the moment that the sharp pins explode  into our own hearts, our own souls and our own understanding of what that looks like…

We have no right.

And even after that moment…

The only right we are afforded…

Is the right to finally understand that we can offer nothing to change the experience.

Nothing that is…

Except to love them through it.  Whether we disagree, we wouldn’t have done it the same way, or we think our way is better.

Their way is the only way.

Love them through it.

Love them through what they need to do in order to survive.

Surviving might be angry, risk taking or silence. Surviving might be running forward to something new. Surviving may be terror in allowing anything or anyone to come close again. Surviving might be bottled or prescribed. Surviving may be tolerable only in introversion or in dancing through the streets.  Surviving may be in dying and breathing concurrently.

Love them through it anyway.

Grief is hemorrhagic.

It shares no umbrella of the same color or shape. You can’t expect someone to stay dry using yours because it worked for you.

Love them through it.

Let them bleed.

Only they can stop the flow because only they know where the punctures exist.

Love them through it.

Love you through it.

 

Be kinder. Be more compassionate. Don’t push. Don’t force.  Be gentle. Be tolerable because understanding will be obscure.

Just love them through it.

 

Loving you through it

Tania

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Resolve To Resolve To Be Me

I resolve to live my life according to how it is intended to be lived in each breath. I have no control over the moments to come and therefore cannot decide what they will look like or who I might be. I resolve to give up my need to control that destiny and to be kind to myself when I fall on my face because I thought I knew better.

I don’t particularly like exercise and I like it far less when it’s the choreographed kind. A friend of mine tried her best this year to sway me into the mindset of the athlete and she may have succeeded were it not for the fact that I just don’t like exercise. The body is more than willing; in fact it makes it clear each morning that it really just wants a good stretch and perhaps some air beyond the apartment walls. The mind however is much stronger and it wins each time with seductive promise of hot coffee and solitude.

I was 13 years old when I first decided I wasn’t good enough. I decided at that time that I  should try to shake it out like Suzanne Somers.  I’d slide into one of my leotard tops..the all in ones with the metal snaps at the genital area. You might recall these, and further recall the sharp sting they created if they unsnapped during a leg lift.  I bought the thigh master to complement my regime. Suzanne would jump all over in her pink outfits and bobbing pony tail while I sat on the floor and felt useless with my bruised vagina and matching thighs.

And every year from then on I was all in on January 1st with the new gadget or regime of the time. I’ve been tangled in skipping ropes, fallen over stair steppers, rolled off of blow up balls, dropped free weights on my foot and lost control on a stationary bike. I am quite simply not made for this and have finally acknowledged my incapacity to be athletic.

And I am OK with that. No more resolutions to try to change who I am. I am over it.

And with that realization I swear I felt 20 pounds of guilt and not being good enough fall from both shoulders.

I resolve to be what I can be in the moments only. I do not resolve to do or be anything more or anyone different in “just three short months”.  If I am intended to be that I will get there regardless. It is just that simple.

So here is my list of what I resolve to be. If it resonates with you please copy and keep it.

I resolve to be peace when I am feeling peaceful. And if for whatever reason I am feeling less than such I resolve to allow myself to feel the reasons to the contrary. I will get back to peace eventually.

I resolve to be light when the light shines for me. And I resolve to accept the dark when the light is dimmed by the human experience. I will allow myself to feel the dark knowing that the light comes back at the end of it.

I resolve to be loving when I am capable of pure loving. I further resolve to allow myself the capacity for less than pure when the experience does not provide that desire. I will come back to love once I understand why it is difficult in this moment.

I resolve to be present at all times even if I am present for simply myself. I will allow for the need to pull back from being present to all when I must heal myself first. I will get back to being present for all eventually.

I resolve to give what I can give, when I am capable of giving it. I resolve to allow myself to be less judgemental of my capacity in the moments that I can give no further. I will come back to giving it all.

I resolve to be a better person and resolve to allow for those moments when that person is difficult to find. To be gentle on my need to fit in and fit out. I am a better person already and need to understand that.

I resolve to be strong in the moments when I am strongest and allow for the moments when weakness pushes out the power. I will get back to strong again.

I resolve to live my life according to how it is intended to be lived in each breath. I have no control over the moments to come and therefore cannot decide what they will look like or who I might be. I resolve to give up my need to control that destiny and to be kind to myself when I fall on my face because I thought I knew better.

And finally….

I resolve to love who I am in the moment. With my scars and my less than perfect pieces. I resolve to love when coffee wins over walking. And when walking wins over coffee. I resolve to love when cheesecake wins over salad. I resolve to love the bad choices and enjoy the choice I made. I resolve to love the good choices and enjoy the choice I made.

I resolve to simply resolve to be me.

And I resolve to love myself through every single step of it.

Happy New Year my friends.

In love and in light.

Tania