It was once so heavy, this boulder of emotions that I carried around on my back. I allowed it to grow bigger and bigger as I added parts of my life that were dark and horrible to feed this creation of mine. I carried it with me everywhere I went. Fear kept me from ever leaving home without it. It didn’t take long before I was weakened by the load. But I refused to let it go, I grew dependent on that weight. so tired at points from moving his heavy stone from place to place in my life, that I often felt so weighted down that I didn’t leave my house, didn’t grow and enjoy life as I should have been allowed to. I not only hated this boulder and loathed the life that it gave me, but I also began to have a relationship with it. I named it, I fed it, and I cared for it with my whole being. I sought out other people in my life that also had a relationship with their pain as I did with mine.
I knew it was there and protected it with deceptive conversations and excuses. I hoarded it with lies and sheltered it from anyone who wanted to take it away. This was my life, my burden, my addiction and I would be damned if I let anyone take it away. I became so comfortable with my burden that I began to build layer upon layer of armor around it to shield me from ever having to live without it. But why?
When I wanted something more for myself, having been empowered by the layers of armor that I wore around, I was so heavy with this growing boulder of my pain that moving was almost impossible. Then I saw what needed to be seen, I had to unload my pain and let it go. Let it go… really just allow that boulder to become smaller and smaller. Allow those moments when I felt so alone and so unwanted to just peel off and fall away, I had to allow the past to shed off. I don’t want to carry this around so heavy that it threatens to lay me down upon the ground and smother me if I can’t control the burden anymore. Instead I want to be free.
This stone grew lighter with moments of happiness that I allowed to become more important to me than my pain until it became only a stone in my pocket that I have concentrated every waking moment on keeping small. I know it’s there, I know that without control this will grow out of control again and I won’t know how to return.
I know where it started, feeling responsible for other’s pain. I always felt as if I were the one everyone looked at when life began to become unbearable even as a small child. I would nestle into the warm arms of my great-grandmother who would hold me until my small body would need to be free to run around. But I could tell that she had her own pain that I wanted so desperately to calm. Perhaps it was the loss of her soul-mate, the life that she left behind to become a mother, grandmother, and then great-grandmother. Perhaps she had her own burdens to carry that I never knew about. She would always look at me when she needed reassurance, her beautiful blue eyes would sometimes grow wet with tears that would always cause me to run to her and want more than anything to see her smile again. I still think about her every day and wish that I had been kinder, more loving, listened more, gave more time to her, asked her more about her and her dreams, and told her more that I loved her.
I know she carried her own feelings of guilt, responsibility, and they were as heavy for her as they were for me. But, I think that when I look at my life now, I have worked so hard to become a good person that she would be proud of, I know she wouldn’t want me to feel guilty for any part of my life. And that is where I have to stop myself from feeling like I am not good enough for this life that I live and own it.
I can’t say that this road to where I am in life has been easy, or that in truth that it has been too difficult. I tend to live my life from my heart, in spite of knowing how to guard it. I have always tried to look at things and feel which way to turn. If it feels wrong, then I know I shouldn’t be a part of that path. However, that has always called for me to question myself over and over and wonder if I am on the right road.
I have a lot of guilt about leaving a life behind and moving on for what I know was the right direction. I had to make hard choices about who to stay in contact with and who to let go. I know I don’t always believe in myself as much as my husband and friends seem to believe in me. But I am learning and slowly but surely my boulder has become just a tiny stone in my pocket that I carry around as a reminder of who I used to be, who I have to work hard not to be, and where I want to land.
One day, I’d love to reach into my pocket and find I have lost that stone and learned how to live without guilt and the bad memories have been forgotten. I’ll let you know when that happens.
Live happy or at least fake it!
( first published Jun 11, 2012 after coming to terms with the fact that I don't have to live a life of guilt. I am thankful for the life I have been blessed with, it's time to enjoy it. )