For any of you who have been through the kind of loss and separation that I've experienced this year, you know...you know that there's a soft kind place called denial that comforts you and helps you through the worst of the pain.
Denial is a safe place. A place where you can hold yourself tight and stay safe and become comfortable with yourself...the thing that's outside of denial, well...you don't have to pay attention to it, do you?
Denial is a warm place. A place where you are protected from the cold winds and the harsh climate of reality. A place that is cozy, comforting and, if not happy, at least it's not terrible.
Denial may be the place that allows us to stay alive. By denying the things that are going on around us we build some kind of protective walls from the anguish and pain that if we had to face it head on would certainly break us.
Denial is the place that we go to heal from the awful...and as we heal, we start to tiptoe outside of denial. Often we have to go back, but more and more we become aware that the awful isn't going to kill us anymore and we can approach it.
Look it in the eyes.
Stare it down.
And cry. Feel sad, feel scared. Feel alone.
But we aren't in denial anymore, and we know that it's there if we need to run back to it.
I think, too, that each of us has our own kind of denial. Some people throw themselves into work or hobbies or their children in order to avoid the hurt that's waiting for them when they're done with that project.
Or they pretend that the thing that's real--the awful--simply isn't. (that's me).
Some folks turn their backs on the real and walk away from it. They acknowledge that it's there but they deny its power over them.
Facing reality has been the hardest thing I've ever had to do. Staring down demons that were there in my life...the ones that made me miserable, the ones that made me pretend that I wasn't miserable. The ones that hurt me day in and day out and I denied their presence and their pain because it was simply easier to go on...more comfortable to put on my blanket of denial and pretend that things weren't what they were.
I can't pretend any longer. I have to say it...to write it...to tell people the truth. The awful, sad, painful truth. And while I know I'm ready to say it, I know that others may not be ready to hear it. Their own blanket of denial is protecting them from whatever demons lurk in their lives.
So, I sit...and I write it down...and it hurts and it scares me.
But I came to a realization last week. One that I've kept to myself because it's so precious. One that has made all the difference in the world to me. One that has made me happier than I think I've ever been in my life.
I'm safe. I've built a space for myself, here in my apartment in Reno, in my wonderful job at JBW, with my new friends and colleagues, with my old friends and colleagues, with my family, with my therapist, with my pets, with the demons from my past...a space that I've created by facing the reality that I have...here and now. The one I'm living.
There are still things that may hurt me, people who have the ability and probably desire to do something harmful to me. But I can decide how much to let them in and in knowing that little truth. Knowing that I have power. That I can build, and have built, the boundaries around me to hold me safe and protect me--AND NOT DENY MY PRESENT OR THE RELATIONSHIPS WITH PEOPLE AROUND ME--I have become something that I treasure. Something that I know that I will do whatever it takes to protect MYSELF.
This one thing...this knowing...these boundaries...this safety. It's monumental, paradigm shifting.
And I'm so proud of myself for it all.