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  • Reland Diva Johnson

Time Marches On

RIP to Betty White, she will be forever missed, she truly was a Golden Girl.

I’ve always lived a somewhat mercurial life often becoming listless and melancholy by turns, I’ve also spent years reflecting on circumstances that I couldn’t change. I’ve been reading a lot of books in the last few months, in addition to changing who I follow on social media. The reason I’ve been doing these things is two-fold, one being so that I could open my mind to broader horizons; another being so that I could find more things to write about.

Something I realized during this era of change is that everything I need is inside of me. I used to think that I wasn’t good enough, that because I quit college that made me less of a person. I felt looked down on for that, and trust me I was my harshest critic during these times. I used to judge my own choices so harshly that at times I felt paralyzed by the decisions that I had to make because I was so unsure of where I was heading. As a result of that, I spent a lot of time thinking about the past. I was so critical of myself that I spent years analyzing past choices. I would disseminate my life ad nauseam, always wondering if I had truly made the right decisions.

Of course, self-reflection isn’t always bad. In fact in one of my first articles I touted self-reflection as one of the tools that I used to get me here. And that’s still true. But it wasn’t until recently that I was able to break some old habits, reflect on a larger scale, and put some spiritual beliefs into full context. It was through the process of some soul searching, starting this business, and talking to some confidantes that I have had one of the biggest awakenings of my adult life.

The crosses that I have borne too long are mostly situations that I was too young to change, too young to understand, and truthfully most of the choices I’ve made over the years; I would probably make again.

I’ve spent years hiding the truth, misunderstanding, and missing the mark in my own life. The pressures of work-life balance, of making a living, doing our duty, of living up to our full potential. As we go about our daily lives we are bombarded by the thoughts and feelings of others. Social media is constantly telling you who you need to be and how you need to get there. Similarly, the news is always feeding us the next story until our lives become a feedback loop of now, future, next.

For those still paying attention I’ll delve into anecdotes first, and then try to help you on your journey towards healing, enlightenment, etc. I know it isn’t always easy to let sleeping dogs lie so rather than bore you to tears with a long journey, I’ll spill some quick tea. Of course keep in mind as it comes down the spout that I’ve conflated names, dates, genders, etc to protect the privacy of those involved. As much as I’d like to share every tawdry and intimate detail, that ain’t Christian.

As children we are often impulsive, conflicted, and find it difficult to express our feelings. When we are young we make choices without much forethought, conversely as we age our brains grow and we are capable of more complex thought. As a result, when we grow up we often find that there are choices in our past that we regret. As I sit here now, I can think of a few situations I haven’t been able to circumvent. No matter how hard I tried my mind would skate-the-figure-eight. I would trace the circuitous path, always covering the same ground.

A few years ago I was faced with some hard situations in a very short time, one involved an ex we will call Samantha. Samantha was a long-time friend turned lover and the first few months as you can imagine were good. Perhaps not the greatest of all time, but things started innocently enough. It seemed to be destiny, or certainly a coincidence, that after years of being good friends, attending the same parties, and running in the same circles; that we would fall into this easy-going relationship. I won’t talk about their past, it’s rich enough but not my story to tell. However I can tell you we were doomed from the start, sometimes love is an illusion. Even looking back now it’s obvious we were fundamentally different. We were unable to communicate despite multiple tries with different approaches, we wanted different things, and we both had a rich dating history that included a fair amount of heartbreak.

As much as I’d like to blame Samantha for everything that happened between us, the truth is that we were just different. We spent hours trying to make it work and playing the part, but like many new relationships, we ignored the signs from the very beginning. Once the inevitable end did come, it was over. The friendship, the relationship, and the good times were lopped off like loose thread; Samantha relinquished everything to forge a new future without me. To be honest it wasn’t the breakup that hurt the most, we had nearly broken up so many times that when it did happen it was expected. After so many attempts at better communication, and so many failures, the silence was deafening. For someone to completely throw me away was crushing. After all, we had many good years of friendship outside of the few tumultuous months we had spent as a couple. I’d like to say that I bounced back right away, but it didn’t quite happen like that.

I did cry, a little anyway, but after a few nights with friends and a few crying jags, I was on the road to recovery. But little did I know that I would go back to this breakup for years and it took me a long time to understand why I was upset. I had done everything I could, bent over backward as the saying goes to meet every demand and be as accommodating as possible. Why then should I be left with the feeling that everything was unresolved? When we suffer a loss we are often left with many unanswered questions. In my case, I spent years trying to understand how we ended up so far from where we began. I spent years trying to gain clarity where I thought no clarity existed.

As I made my way through this chapter of my story I was faced with the ending of an equally tumultuous relationship; we will call this person Brent. I won’t say how long we were friends but suffice it to say that we shared a lot of time together. In our younger years we had many good times, and things moved happily along in that vein for years. However in the end we had multiple disagreements over many things, including personal choices and relationships outside of our long-time friendship. Disagreements aside we did our best to maintain a connection, but ultimately the depth of years between us is what drove us apart.

I will not disseminate their choices here, nor will I talk trash; although I’m fond of doing so on occasion. I will however make a few irrefutable assertions as to what took place near the end of our road together. The truth is that we fell out over choices they were making, and I could no longer be a party to the consequences those choices had. I won’t sit here and tell you that I am perfect, I’ve made a few wrong turns over the years. But I can live with my choices. Still this ending felt so foreign, I couldn’t live with the idea of knowing this person would be gone. After so many years together, without them, who would I be? I know this probably sounds melodramatic, but it’s truly how I felt at the time. So much of our self-image gets wrapped up in how we are perceived by others, and I hadn’t yet realized that I spent years using memories as stilts to prop myself up.

These are just a few examples of things I’ve held onto over the years. For a long time I was unable to understand why I couldn’t let go. Certainly Brent or Samantha did nothing that hadn’t been done before, and I’ve been through a few things. But still these situations would continuously run through my mind. It wasn’t until much later that I realized I still had a lot to learn. I had such animosity for the people in my past who seemed intent on maligning me. I spent years compartmentalizing the hurt and anger that I felt for others because I didn’t see another way out. I wanted the pain to go away so I used the tools I had to deal with the trauma, and for a long time that worked. For a long time I was able to look the other way, and pretend as if the harshest facts about my life weren’t true. I can’t hide who I am or the hurt that I’ve been through, and I no longer see that as an option. I am no longer interested in pushing the pain into boxes to be examined later. Generally one of two things happens, either later never comes and we pretend as if the pain doesn’t exist. Or the pain is simply too great to fit into a box and it stays on the heart (and mind) longer than necessary.

Let your heart guide you, it whispers so listen closely.

- The Land Before Time

I have learned that it’s better to hurt in private than pretend in public. I spent years denying my feelings so when they finally did bubble over, things escalated quickly. I cannot tell you the exact solution for you, but I can tell you what I’ve found helpful. I’ve met many people over the years, and I know that everyone has a story just as vivid and complex as my own. I may only play a small part in your life, this may be a story that you read and our paths may never cross again. Whichever way the river rolls, I know the following to be true. I’ve found it incredibly helpful to talk things out. For a long time I only discussed them with myself, through journaling, rumination, etc. Once I found more clarity within I started talking to the people that knew me best. Finally once I was able to communicate how I was feeling with people that I trusted implicitly, I was then able to discuss my issues on a broader scale; such as with outsiders or in counseling. We all have our own ways of coping with the stress and trauma that comes into our lives. If the ways that we deal with those issues are unhealthy, it is up to us to find better, healthier ways of processing our trauma so that we can move on for good.

In conclusion, don’t hide how you’re feeling simply because it’s painful; find a way of dealing with it now so that it can ebb and flow as it naturally should. This may be through talking, journaling, counseling, painting, reading, or many other ways we find to escape. If you allow yourself to take things as they come, moment by moment, and allow them to flow naturally; you’ll find that time marches on. Something that matters today may not matter tomorrow. If you’re struggling with something, you’re not alone, and all it takes is a post or a conversation to start your journey towards healing. The simple truth is that too many of us don’t know we’re drowning until it’s too late, but by listening to each other we can make the world around us a better place to live in. One day at a time.

A special Thank You to my almost husband for this week’s cover art. This week’s post is brought to you by the letter ‘S.’ As in please Share, Subscribe, and give us a Shoutout if you see something splendid. As Always I’m Diva, and thanks for dropping by.

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