Wednesday, June 14, 2017

That Kind of Growth

I missed an appointment with my therapist because I found out that I was able to go up on a field excursion to Vatnajökull last week, so I let the ice and the Icelanders be my substitute therapist for the time being. It was rad, because we all noticed how everything from down the glacier melted away (literally and figuratively) and the only things that mattered just then were situated on top of Grímsfjall with us. But now, we're back in the land of signals and deadlines, and I have some things to think about.

Specifically, how to balance the dichotomous void between living the healthiest life I've ever lived, and keeping my empathy for the people in my life who remain in the trenches through no fault of their own, of course. I don't know how to do this; rather, I'm anxious about vicarious anxiety. Because of all the things that contribute to my traumatic stress, a considerable amount of it is vicarious and that is kryptonite for a self-sacrificial empath.

One of the things that has kept me unhealthy in the past, or rather has prevented me from taking advantage of all of my potential, is the fact that I absolutely refuse to deny myself my roots. Because denying my roots is denying my story, which is fundamentally a betrayal of self and an ignorant sway away from acknowledging the things that had to be accomplished, destroyed, upwelled, replaced in order to grow. 

But then, there's some sagely bit about not being able to move onto the next chapter of my life if I insist upon re-reading the previous ones, and I re-read my chapters like clockwork every night before bed. 

I always will, because I don't want to forget. If I forget, I forget myself and I'm tempted to smooth my rough edges and sweeten the bitter words I've spoken, the sour tantrums I've thrown, the dry throated threats I've made. Sweet things are nice to remember, but they really require a balance of salt. They aren't the whole truth.

The whole truth is the healing truth, and once we stop romanticizing everybody's healing processes and understand that the process is instead a difficult thing to which we need to square up, I've found grace for that.

Grace and growth, I guess. Growth in the sense that not everything is such a huge deal all the time. Not every day. Growth as a calm, collected, calculated widening of my horizons. Growth that will yield its own seeds someday. Growth that changes and evolves and adapts. Growth that moves me upward and upheaves the structures I have fastened around myself that aren't necessary anymore. Growth that points my eyes forward instead of rolling them backward. Growth that does more than sustain me, but strengthens me.

That kind of growth.

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