The Girl In The Mirror

smokingmirrors

I love the madness that is the April A to Z Blogging Challenge. The creativity, the fast-paced induced adrenaline rush of posting every 24 hours, the community spirit, and at times, the frustrating but glorious intensity.

This year I chose to write poems inspired by movies about addiction and absolution. I write often about the importance of honouring our emotions, about allowing ourselves to sit with the darkness, kicking at it until it bleeds light, but every now and then I resist the complete vulnerability and surrender that any sort of healing needs. So as April approached I took stock of my progress so far: two years of sobriety; an understanding and acceptance of my triggers; the warmth and affection that had grown in key relationships with loved ones; and the knowledge of what I felt I still needed to work on.

It was my intention to reach deep down to the dark, murky, frightening depths with both hands and pull hard against what needed to be uprooted, clearing away the weeds and plastic debris that were stunting my growth. I hoped to reveal, better understand, and become more accepting and appreciative of the dark emotions I keep at bay. I was ready, or so I thought.

Don’t get me wrong, all in all, this year’s challenge exceeded all expectations. For one, I reached the depths I wanted to and spent more time there than I cared to in the end. Even though I’ve come away with several poems that are worth shaping and rewriting, my plan to use movies about addiction as triggers worked better that I’d anticipated.

The shift was gradual and I did not notice it at first. But by the time I’d reached the middle of the alphabet I was staying in bed longer on mornings, wide-eyed with the covers to my chin, unsure and a little afraid of what the day would bring. My meditative morning habit – a cup of ginger tea on my front porch with an inspiring book – had been replaced with reviewing the difficult poem I’d written the night before, and I was no longer jumping out of bed looking forward to my day. I had underestimated my vulnerabilities. The writing challenge theme I’d set for myself, together with two unexpected life events, affected me adversely. I won’t be doing something like this again. At least not without setting some boundaries and safe zones first.

There were breakthroughs as well, which I am grateful for, with poems like The Quiet, which makes me so uncomfortable to read even though I wrote it, and Thirteen, which I wrote when I came to an understanding about my relationship with my mother. I think if there is anything I am truly happy about is turning that corner with my Mom. It was my last important relationship to heal and I believe that now I can begin doing just that.

In the end, and today I am grateful for the opportunity to learn. I am not invincible. I cannot, ever, underestimate my triggers nor the importance of boundaries. I am grateful for loved ones (online and IRL) who supported me through this “mad experiment” and never judged me for it. It has helped me to be gentler with myself and keep my own Judge in check. I even have to send a nod to the Universe for crashing my laptop two weeks into the challenge. I chuckle to myself now when I think about it. Perhaps the Universe was sending me a message after all.

Love and light,

Phoenix

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7 comments

  1. I hope you’re feeling better now that the challenge has been over for a few days! April was a really down month for me too, though for different reasons. Still, the only way out of the pain is through and I commend you for not turning away from it(I’ve been very good at that lately).

    1. Thank you for asking Dianna. 🙂 Yes, I am working on it. I hope you are doing better too. Perhaps we can find hope in the old saying: April showers bring May flowers. Hugs to you.

  2. I understand the self preservation necessary to continue this journey. If you were born a sensitive soul, you have to learn to protect yourself. I still do. I don’t see violent movies or TV shows. I don’t watch the news. I don’t read books that come too close to what I don’t want to acknowledge. Does this mean I will have to change? I admire your bravery but don’t think I could do it. Is it necessary for healing? I can’t begin to imagine how I would breech these walls.

    1. “Is it necessary for healing?” That’s a very good question, one I’ve been asking myself a lot lately. I’ve come to understand that our minds and spirits reflexively throw shields up when we are faced with situations and events that are difficult. At times, the shields block our ability to process emotions and heal. Other times, they are necessary because we’re not strong enough, yet. I’m learning that not being strong enough yet, is okay too.
      Thanks for helping me clarify this. I just might write more about this. 🙂

      1. If I am not strong enough now, I should be getting there. I have a great unwillingness to do this unless it’s necessary. I read Brene Brown’s book (she has a TedTalk: The Power of Vulnerability) and she agrees with what you say: when you numb your emotions you can no longer feel the highs either. I think that’s where I am at the moment. I wish you would write about it. ; )

  3. I enjoyed the content of your challenge so much. I kept meaning to leave a comment after I had read each one, but they provoked so many thoughts of my own that the moment had gone by the time I refocused. It was a very difficult challenge , handled superbly well. Thank you.

    1. Wow! Thank you Hawk for your support and encouragement. I am touched.

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