They say that you can’t go home again.
But, sometimes, that’s all that you can do.
This past month has been… a doozy. A family emergency is calling me back to my childhood home, and, truth be told, I’m not sure what the future holds. As I write this, I’m feeling all colors of unsettled and uncertainty.
This morning, as I drove through the crowded streets of Seattle, past the pedestrians heading to work and the crowded masses waiting for their busses, I was struck by all of the emotions that I had been holding back. Anger. Loss. Anxiety. Fear.
There once was a time where I would have ignored them, those pesky emotions. I would have dug into the nitty-gritty of to-do’s and errands. I would have focused on the emotional wellbeing of others and totally neglected my own. I would have let them dig at me, one by one, until all that was left was resentment and a whole lot less heart.
I don’t know if it’s because it’s the first time that I’m meeting something like this with a loving partner by my side or if it’s the fact that all of those years of therapy and intentional self-awareness are finally coming to fruition, but I can wholeheartedly say that something is different. My self-care boundaries are in place and my heart has been opened to trust and vulnerability. I'm using my voice to connect and heal.
In the midst of all of those so-called “negative" emotions (which, if we really take the time to look at them, aren’t so “negative,” after all), I’m also recognizing a few others. Ones that, in a previous life, would have been buried beneath the resentment and rage and self-pity.
I see hope. And strength. And resolve.
The truth is that I used to inhabit a space where I denied myself the permission to feel. It was as if feeling the depth and breadth of my emotions would cause me to break apart. But I've found that, in that space, the only thing that can survive is resentment, bitterness, and fear. You don't get a voice, don't get to own how you show up in the world. No joy or connection. No creativity or expansion. I couldn't write, couldn't speak, couldn't dream.
When I finally chose to leave that space... when I finally gave myself the permission to feel into the depths and free my emotions, I found that all of those things that had been suffocating under the resentment -- the joy and connection, creativity and expansion -- finally had room to breathe.
Creativity requires deep self-awareness. She's fueled by attention and intention and connection. She needs the freedom to move and expand and engage with your truest, deepest, darkest spaces. She uses those shadowy spaces to shine light and love into the world. Through your voice, your expression, your presence.
So, as for me, I'll keep feeling, in spite of the discomfort and pain.
I'll keep shining a light and embracing the depth and breadth of my emotions, because, rather than breaking, my voice is strong and clear and true. It's scary and unknown, undeniably vulnerable and uncomfortably revealing, but it's also where life and love and light reside.