if you’ve been following along, you know that i returned to my hometown in ohio in early august. and as anyone who’s lived with their parents into adulthood knows all too well, it’s meant getting to examine the source of my wounding up close.
and for the first month, that really fucked with me.
i struggled to communicate my truth. to speak my needs, as an autonomous adult, to the two people whose initial failure to meet them has resulted in so much of my trauma. to watch their faces contort with confusion (if i was lucky) or anger and sadness (if i wasn’t). to see their unconscious disappointment when i no longer “followed the script” that dictated our interactions.
so, as i’ve mentioned before, i drowned a little bit. slept too much, kept to myself, and stopped trying to get my parents to be present with me. we all went back to our patterns of hiding from one another, just as we’d done as long as i can remember.
but banging your head against the same brick wall for enough years will eventually inspire you to stop and ask, is there another way to do this? surely this can’t be it.
it can be powerful, speaking from pain. and sometimes, it even works. but so often pain acts as a trigger for the pain of another. or the pain of one derails the conversation in favor of making the other person feel better. so it started to become clear to me that it’s not about talking through a linear series of events, from memories that are still dripping with your vitriol. owning your story is what comes at the end of sifting through the shitty minutiae for the gold and condensing it into the medicine that provides a healing opportunity for all hearts.
i learned something about real ownership. real maturity and personal responsibility. and you know, it looks a lot like gratitude.
to own your story is to turn your pain to gold. the alchemist is gratitude.
acknowledge that if your upbringing and your experiences and your relationships were exactly what you’d wanted them to be, if everything had always been handed to you wrapped in a bow, you would never be the person you are. and you’d never have the capacity to transform into the person you’re becoming. so…
- i am grateful for the ways in which others failed to show up for me. because in the craters carved from neglect, i had time and space to foster creativity and independence.
- i am grateful for those who were unable to hear me. because now i can speak clearly and effectively.
- i am grateful for those who manipulated me. because the process of reclaiming my truth and my identity made my mind sharp and my emotional intelligence uniquely acute.
- i am grateful for those who prioritized their addictions over me. because i saw first-hand how devastating substance abuse can be and have never, ever been tempted.
- i am grateful for those who abandoned me. because i learned, through hard and dedicated work, the value of showing up for myself.
- i am grateful for those who were unable to anticipate my needs. because eventually i grew into a self-sufficient, self-motivated, free-thinking individual whose life is entirely her own.
- i am grateful for those who condemned me for not conforming. because i learned that my self-worth wasn’t dependent on the acceptance of others.
- i am grateful for all experiences of abuse. because i experienced viscerally the dangers of unclear boundaries, of the festering poison that anger can become, and that motivates me to maintain firm boundaries now and to honor my anger without allowing it to control me.
- i am grateful for those who exploited my body. because in the painstaking decade of learning to live inside it again has given me the intimate, wild, and dynamic relationship with myself and my body that i know today.
- i am grateful for every instance of rejection, betrayal, and oppression. because it showed me the depths of my own strength and resilience.
if you’re here to own your story, then own all of it. and if you can turn that into gold, what can’t you do?