Post by lavenderandroses on Nov 15, 2016 16:49:34 GMT -5
I thought I'd say it. I'm sick of trying to understand what I am and where I am going. It is draining and exhausting. It is difficult to be present for those that matter, when it matters. I seem to go around in circles. I think I've dealt with a feeling, but then it's back again with a vengeance. I cannot see a happy future and I feel disconnected with my past. The only thing that helps is being insanely busy - to the point where the background noise becomes indistinct, where it is finally drowned out. Night time is not safe. If I wake, which I do, I relive my excruciating awakening again and again.
Night time always seems to bring up the issues doesn't it? I look forward to the reprieve of sleep but then I am also plagued with sorrow and pain sometimes in the early mornings. I feel like so many of the women that I have spoken with who have gone through this loses sleep and is haunted in this way.
I don't know that many can understand the pain of this process. It is invasive and consuming, emotionally and physically, and it does take over all the parts of life whether you want it to or not. That's why if you have a counselor or therapist, I always hope it's a gay one who can understand this utter upheaval of your life in a very visceral way.
But this won't just go away. You probably can already see this. The only way to get through this is to turn towards all of the feelings, as excruciating as it is, and face them as directly as you can one step at a time. That's the fastest way anyway. If you put them away in whatever way you can or whatever mechanism you use, like busyness, they will surface again and again in more destructive and hurtful ways in your life.
If it feels too unbearable sometimes, which I understand it does quite frequently in the beginning, ride through it with a walk or reach out to a friend, let a kid give you a hug, tell someone you love them.
I should really have a PhD for crying in public and not letting anyone know it. I did it everyday for years and very few people would notice unless it was the hysterical bathroom crying. I understand the pain in this. It will pass. It will change. You will grow stronger. You can walk through this moment by moment and endure it. Even now if I am avoiding my true feelings they will come out somehow...I have also been very busy during the day but when I get in my car sometimes I find myself weeping out of the blue without warning. That is better though then when I yelled at someone I loved and I wished I would have handled it differently.
Feelings are there to show you the way to go. As painful as it is, this will lead you to yourself and a satisfying life of 'what is real' versus just walking through life in a numbed state of someone else's expectation.
Last Edit: Nov 16, 2016 10:31:59 GMT -5 by louiemay
Post by helpplease on Nov 16, 2016 11:22:35 GMT -5
A very intelligent lady once told me that sleep is essential - thanks Louie May for that but I still have not managed to get many sleep filled nights..
This all sounds so very familiar and I am sure most women would say the same that they keep themselves so busy that they don't have to think of anything during the day but at night it all comes crashing down.. I also think that once you come to this awakening it does take over your entire life.. My friend found this out she too was a very busy lady and kept her mind very active... we talked about coming to an awakening an "a ha" moment if you will.. She and I were very busy with kids running them from place to place and usually at the same time and place... We would bring the kids to their sports or activities stay, chat, laugh.. have a great time... then when the kids were a little older we would leave them and head out for a ride... 2 hrs to so shopping and heading to a nearby restaurant for a drink.. I know mother of the year right?? but it was all very innocent (or so I thought)... we talked about it being more but she bolted not wanting to talk about whatever THIS was... both married but couldn't help the obvious attraction.. and let me tell you it scared the s**t out of me... some people tend to think it's easy to just walk away but I struggled and still do with my faith and commitment to my marriage... nothing happened, but it's not to say I didn't want it to.. we kept our distance and even more of a distance when we realized what was going on. So it's been 5 months or so of little to no sleep and 3 months of no communication..
Lavenderandroses I really feel for you, and completely understand.. I hope you find peace and forgiveness for yourself. I guess I would say just do whatever you need to do to make yourself happy... this is your life, and we only go around once... may as well make it a great trip and be happy with who you are...
The noise can be relentless, you hear too much but nothing at all that makes sense. And keeping busy..until you are so exhausted you feel like you are walking through treacle. When you are in that place Lavender you cannot imagine you will ever be anywhere else. But you will. I kept going and going and going until one day I couldn't any more. I got ill because I didn't listen to myself. Then I stopped and All I listened to was my own thoughts. I can't recommend journaling enough. Just write your thoughts no matter how irrational because it stops the thoughts and noise staying within. It helps so much. I wish you peace, which will one day come
Post by lavenderandroses on Nov 17, 2016 2:59:24 GMT -5
I also have done the crying in public, without people noticing and I have cried in private, on the outside in exhausting waves of sobs that shake my body and on the inside to the core of my heart. Thank you all for your advice on working through this, kind people. Sometimes I reflect, read and write stuff down, but at other times I need the busyness for comfort, otherwise I would lose my mind. When I saw members of my family of origin over the summer I felt a strong urge to retreat into a state of denial - a voice in my head told me I was ridiculous and that I had fabricated my awakening to myself - that I was a twisted, sick woman and that it was just a fantasy that I was turning to because I was failing as a wife - a nightmare, even. I inwardly shuddered at the thought that I had desired another woman this way. But as soon as I was away from them I was back to zone of the pain of acknowledging my romantic and sexual desires towards a woman. I have never had an experience that has been so challenging to compartmentalise. I have never been in a situation where there is so much at stake. My biggest fears are that if I leave my marriage I will regret it bitterly for the rest of my life, that I will have screwed up my only chance of future happiness and my children's lives for an illusion of my own authenticity, that I will have a breakdown, be lonely and forever living in poverty as the black sheep of the family, with my family of origin stonily perceiving me as a loser and quitter (and 100% the cause of my marriage going wrong), and regarding me with little more than scorn.
I think it's a sign of health that you're no longer able to compartmentalize or "settle."
"My biggest fears are that if I leave my marriage I will regret it bitterly for the rest of my life, that I will have screwed up my only chance of future happiness and my children's lives for an illusion of my own authenticity, that I will have a breakdown, be lonely and forever living in poverty as the black sheep of the family, with my family of origin stonily perceiving me as a loser and quitter (and 100% the cause of my marriage going wrong), and regarding me with little more than scorn."
These are the messages all women are sent by a misogynistic culture: if we are true to ourselves, we'll be punished. It's deeply embedded in us, and it's a big, fat, giant lie. Yes, your family may be angry, but guess what? Eventually they will respect you. Same goes for friends. You will learn that you're smarter and stronger than you ever dreamed and, frankly, you're far more likely to have a nervous breakdown from living a lie than living a truth.
Pay attention to the things your brain is telling you. Practice countering them with all the things you have done well in your life. Name the lies.
You are not alone in this journey of truth-finding. The major religions speak of wrestling with demons: Jesus in the desert, the Buddha under the bodhi tree. You are on a sacred path. Keep going.
I am checking the board to post (I actually feel like I have something to contribute!) for the first time in a very long time. Though I'm very much on 'baby deer legs,' I'm in a good place. Today is a day that I am coming up for air. Good, clean, pure air and it IS very good. This year has been maybe the most brutal year of my life but I'm being reborn (this leg of my journey actually began in 2013). It has been an indescribable journey of personal growth. After feeling lost and useless for so long, I am currently bursting with insights and hard-won life lesson wisdom. However, I shall temper my enthusiasm to share (for now ;-) and mention two things that really helped me tremendously...
First, regarding the relentless background noise, it will absolutely grind you down, much like the process of grief. A tactic that I found that worked really well for me and has been documented to work really well for others (I actually learned about it while reading the story of a woman mourning her child) is to schedule a time in your day to fully indulge your pain, fears etc. Go to a safe place, for me that was when home alone or while walking in the woods behind my house and for the allotted time (one hour for me) just fully face down the worst of how you feel. Cry or scream it out or stare off in silence, whatever works. The important part is to undisturbed, let your emotions and brain completely focus on the horror of what you are facing down. When the allotted time is up, regroup yourself. Focus on your core values, *how* you want to be in this world and then resume your life, making choices and taking actions that align with those values, regardless of how you *feel* at the moment. This certainly requires one to be authentically in touch with what one's values are in order to avoid taking action/making choices that embody someone else's values.
Secondly, regarding this: "My biggest fears are that if I leave my marriage I will regret it bitterly for the rest of my life, that I will have screwed up my only chance of future happiness and my children's lives for an illusion of my own authenticity, that I will have a breakdown, be lonely and forever living in poverty as the black sheep of the family, with my family of origin stonily perceiving me as a loser and quitter (and 100% the cause of my marriage going wrong), and regarding me with little more than scorn."
My god did I ever struggle with such thoughts!!! But here is the thing, life is not guaranteed in ANY direction, positive or negative. The best we can do, I believe, is to identify our core values and then live FULLY using that internal compass as a guide. Breaking the compass by ignoring our feelings and compartmentalization is the path to regret. Feelings, are a crucial sensor, like sight or hearing. Ignoring your feelings is akin to blinding yourself. So rather than blind yourself, pay attention to what your feelings are indicating to you then take actions according to your values. That is how to avoid regret. Prioritization is important here because conflict will inevitably pop up. For me, my number one value is authenticity but for others it might be loyalty or whatever. To reiterate, it is of paramount importance to know with certainty what YOUR values are so that you don't become what I like to call a 'miserable success' where one is a very good at living out someone else's values, be it society's or family's or whatever.
Lastly, re spending time with your family...I totally get the impact. The world is full of micro aggressions against our authentic selves. Some of those aggressions are intentional and some are incidental. This is why it is so important to have a sturdy community that validates and affirms your authentic self. We don't have to seek out the challenges, they will come easily and are ubiquitous unless one choses to live in a bubble (my ex-in-laws are a good example of this!). Exposing yourself to situations that constantly, in a million little ways, jab at your authentic self is very damaging. I could say a lot more about that but this post is getting long and I must be off to work! But suffice it to say that, many people in my life were 'micro aggressing' me inadvertently because they were interacting with me based on a set of assumptions/truths that no longer accurately represented me. It was my job to update and inform them so that they could either A) adjust our interactions (stop asking me about my ex-husband, stop assuming I was straight etc, etc,) or B) inform me via their actions that they are incapable of interacting with me on a different plane. Either way, it provided necessary information for me to determine how to proceed and stop violating myself in a million small ways.
Ps. Undecided is a totally inappropriate name for me now! ;-P
You are not alone in this journey of truth-finding. The major religions speak of wrestling with demons: Jesus in the desert, the Buddha under the bodhi tree. You are on a sacred path. Keep going.
I love that. A sacred path. Thank you Italiana. This is exactly what this journey is. This is a spiritual or internal awakening for yourself, the same that has been written about, mythologized over and over again and which is the basis of many organized religions. The individual path to freedom and authenticity. Truth-telling. This journey for me, and many of you, started with the brutal realization that we weren't living our truth. We were pleasing our family of origin. We were pleasing our religious communities. Eventually pleasing families that we willingly created ourselves and the community that we chose along with that based on the weight of expectations outside of ourselves. When I look back, I can see that I wanted everyone to think I was happy to prove the validity of my existence. I needed the approval of others to validate my life and my goodness and that is what made my life legitimate. I don't need that anymore. It was all taken away anyway. And I had to learn to find validation from within.
This is really about learning the ins and outs of your soul and honoring it, and not denying it but instead being loyal to yourself, standing up in it and for yourself. Not making or needing to make any excuses for it. Because who you are is enough. You are valuable as the real you. You can only make a difference if you show up as yourself and become totally real.
And the journey continues after you come out. I erroneously thought that after I came out I would automatically be changed but my own pleaser of a personality comes back to haunt me again and again. My fears present themselves to me over and over again in situations for me to deal with. I have to learn to let people go over and over. I learn to honor my instincts and intuition over and over, even when others doubt me. But because it was such a brutal coming out process, I learned very quickly that I don't want to ever sell myself out again and sacrifice my integrity. So even though I may once again find myself in a situation I shouldn't be in, I can tell myself the truth about it and not the easy things I want to be true or what I want to hear or give myself the easy solutions that I want. And I can tread through this life in a way that is building respect for myself...not from others but from a internal core place for and from myself.
I would say evaluate your decisions from a hard truth that comes from the core of you. You have to ask yourself the hard questions and try not to avoid that. Which, given our situations here as latebloomers, we are probably, many of us, prone to avoiding, denying and wanting what we want even if it's not real. Why are you in this marriage? Are you honoring it? Are you honoring the other person that you are partnered with? Because if you are on here talking about another, I don't think that you are keeping your vows anyway. If you are on here and mourning your marriage, you are keeping the legal agreement of the marriage and that is all. Perhaps that is valid and the honest arrangement you have with your partner. I don't judge that.
But most of the women who write on this space come here in agony because they are living one life on the outside and living another on the inside and the two do not cohesively connect and in fact, clash with each other. That is pain. That is agony. And the only way to get from point A to point B, is to tell yourself the truth. And slowly you can gain the strength to honor the marriage with truth, and honor your partner in the marriage with truth, and mostly honor yourself and walk out or stay in with your head held high that you are doing this thing with a pure heart full of love, first for yourself, and then to all others.
Last Edit: Nov 17, 2016 12:24:48 GMT -5 by louiemay
Post by lavenderandroses on Nov 19, 2016 14:32:27 GMT -5
I have a lot to think about. Thank you all for responding. I am struggling with my truth and you are right, LouieMay, I am not honouring my marriage. Maybe I will have to jump. Into nothing. Without being absolutely confident about who I really am I feel very afraid. But if I cannot unlock the door in my heart to love him completely then I think you are suggesting it would be more honest to let him go? We have a long history. We get on in many ways. So I wish I could feel what I felt in the past but I cannot find those feelings at present. And it is not fair to make him wait indefinitely in limbo while I try to work it out. I am so frightened of making a mistake.
Oh god! I know it's crazy frightening. I know it's brutally hard and feels totally like dropping off into the dark. I am suggesting nothing but honesty to yourself and him and those that matter to you in your life. You can't get anywhere without it. You can't move into the next right place without it. Life isn't even real without it. You are living a mirage of what is real even if the idea of the pretty marriage and family is what you really really want.
I can tell you that I've been in both your shoes and I have been in the shoes of the spouse as well as I was married to a gay man. We also had a long history and complicated friendship together since our teens. We were codependent and tangled up in the roots of church, family, and faulty expectations, our own and others. We lived together in a blur and haze of incompleteness & loneliness but still with a pretty good friendship and partnership and the busyness of parenting five kids together which masked much of what was empty and missing. And he was not honest. He tried once to tell me and told some half-truths and to be honest, at that time, I really didn't want to know or deal with it. And we lived with the elephant in the room for years and years until I was smacked in the face with my own sexuality and I could not imagine keeping that kind of thing to myself. So honesty...it started the journey and it doesn't help with limiting pain but it shows you the way to go. Sometimes it is the pain that shows you the way to go.
I have to admit that in the recent past, I have felt some anger around the fact that he didn't share the full truth sooner. I've had to work through some of that though because I do admit fully that I was complicit in the illusion of our happy family, which I thought I wanted more than anything else even to sacrifice my own happiness and his for it. What I've learned since is that fear kept me there when it wasn't real, limiting truth and freedom which brings true joy. Fear also made me feel that I would destroy my kids when, in fact, our family is stronger and more intimate and my kids have become exceptional human beings from the process of both my ex-h and myself coming out and living the truth and being authentic.
I also believe that things happen in the right ways, the way it's meant to happen, and in the right times...when things are ripe to be learned and when opportunities are there to be taken.
So although this is my story and I share it hoping it helps someone, at the same time, that's all it is. My story. Your story is within you and you will walk this thing just as you should, in exactly the right time, facing all of your fears and demons yielding the weapon of truth.
Post by tattercoats on Nov 20, 2016 6:52:09 GMT -5
Chiming in because I'm reading and reflecting and learning so much from this. I'm in a very similar place to L&R at the moment... though she seems to be able to articulate the questions in my head so much better than I can (thank you). When I write, I can see my words almost like tiny defences around what I'm truly feeling, making me seem less lost, less vulnerable. It's funny, but LouieMay is almost like a future version of me, if only I could be brave enough to be truthful with myself, brave enough to face this fully rather than cling to the image of a happy family I so desperately want. Keep asking those questions, L&R - it's helping both of us. X
ha! tattercoats...you don' k*ll anything. It only adds.
I was smacked in the face with my sexuality when I fell in love with a woman that I worked with. And it was presented in a way that I could not deny it to myself. omg! I wanted her like no other in my life. I separated from my then H and she and I had a painful relationship due to the conditions surrounding our situations, she also being married to a woman and having a baby together. The relationship was crushed under the weight of everyone's grief and she left me and went back to her wife. It was really at that point that I started to know myself truly. Even though I knew I loved her, I really didn't know the extent of my feelings until she left. And deciding what to do next was pivotal in my growth, healing, and gaining my own power. I. Was. Devastated. And I was petrified. And I had already come out to my kids & close family and they were in the thick of that grieving process and really couldn't help me with support in any way. I lived far from all my family and the mormon community I was involved with was gone. In fact, my extended family really hasn't come back at this point but I know it will just take more time. Anyway. Even though my, now ex, H still hadn't let go and was still raging and hoping I would come back and make some kind of family work, open marriage or whatever, he really couldn't even stand to look at my face which wore the grief and pain of the loss of her all over it. And he knew in a painful and visceral way that I had never loved him in that way. Because marriage is long. And you hurt each other and you break vows and promises, and there are family deaths, deep losses, and disappointments along with catastrophic events that hurt and that you must grieve and heal from, but he had never seen me decimated like this. He eventually just stopped communicating with me for about a year. It was painful and I missed him but it was an important healing time for both of us. I was afraid for myself during this time. I hustled though into therapy and a coming out therapy support group and I made a group from this site and started building a community for myself. And even though I walked through that first year in a catatonic zombie state, I started to rely on my feelings and follow them even though I was afraid and full of grief and devastation.
I know our circumstances for getting here will all be different. But what is similar is that learning to follow those gut feelings inside you despite the noise, pressures, and expectations of others outside of you is the same. That is what will take you to yourself. That is what will take you to your power. I had to let go of whatever feelings I thought she had had for me and concentrate and validate my own. So whoever or whatever your catalyst situation is, it doesn't matter what her feelings are. What are your feelings? Honor those. Dig deep into those and find that truth. Start to honor that truth by following it one baby step, or small stride, or gigantic leap at a time. All of those will be taken in the right moments and times for you if you follow that internal voice.
And omg I wish I could tell you, you won't make mistakes. You probably will. I did. But those mistakes also taught me the truth. You don't lose your personality traits in this. You don't stop wanting to be wanted and loved and you don't stop seeking safety and comfort. And those things in and of themselves aren't bad. But you can wind up in a situation where you are back in a place like your marriage thinking it's okay because you are with a woman and at least you are in the right category of sexuality. I woke up one early morning in a woman's bed weeping for her and knowing that this was also a bullshit situation that I needed to correct. And you face your fears again and walk through that honoring those feelings. And you make it right. Again. And you will have other situations come up...and you make it right. And sometimes you even are in-tuned enough with your feelings right there in the moment and you choose right first.
It sounds grueling doesn't it. It is. And my god you will be grateful for that. It makes you strong. And it makes you trust yourself. And it gives you a confidence that is hard to describe. What starts to happen is that you follow yourself over everyone else's advice and assistance and then you relax into the grief and fear and pain, and the right things show up for you and the right people come just in the right time. The right living situation. The right job. It's truly miraculous sometimes. And you just start to know and live with this sense of abundance that everything is where it should be. And will be. And if you need to make a move or change, your gut feelings will show you the way. Listening to others and receiving them into your life is still so important and crucial. But you won't ever honor their feelings and opinions of what you should do over your own again. That will belong to you.
Last Edit: Nov 20, 2016 9:09:10 GMT -5 by louiemay