I am in a process of change right now, transitioning from one internship to another. I am leaving a space where I had found belonging, purpose, and comfort, and now I enter a new space where I have none of that, at least, not yet. It is difficult and unsettling, and makes me more prone to feeling overwhelmed and overly sensitive in other areas of my life. I also find myself resisting and feeling critical of the new experiences that are coming, and am trying to remain open and willing to something new. I will miss my old internship and the relationships I made there, and I guess I have to grieve the loss of that a bit.
On my course to becoming a therapist, I’ve learned that emotional pain comes with resistance, or lack of acceptance. When we accept things as they are and love things as they are, there is no pain. When we want something different than what we have, we feel pain. I am in a state of pain. I am realizing (again) the reality of some of my family relationships and grieving what I’ve never had and will possibly never have. There is a void. There is a longing. There is pain.
Through the last two years, I’ve been on an intense journey that has stretched me in ways I have never been stretched before. I have gained strength, courage and confidence. I have also learned who is “there for me” and who I can rely on to help carry me in difficult times. My husband, my children, my husband’s parents, my supportive friends near and far. My consistent support people are not in my immediate family of origin. I know I cannot change that. Accepting that is hard.
For as long as I can remember, it has been a stressful and painful space, the space with my family of origin. We did not learn to love others or treat others with kindness. We did not learn to love ourselves or expect to be treated with love. Somehow I’ve found a way out of that, and have learned how to be a part of something better. The road has been bumpy and messy, and I have hurt so many people along the way (self included). I’ve had to unlearn so much, find new seeds, and plant them. I call these my “seeds of change.” It has been so much work. Looking back, I am not sure how I got here, other than by being really fucking stubborn, persistent and resilient–which were all viewed as negative traits when I was younger. I love my family of origin unconditionally, without a doubt.
And maybe that’s what hurts so much. Loving someone who I am often embarrassed by, feel rejected by, or feel unimportant to–it fucking hurts sometimes. Loving someone who is outwardly racist and bigoted, spiteful, and arrogant is a painful thing to be a part of. The more I grow into my own purpose and truth, the more I want something else with them. I want a loving, caring space. I want a space where we can share our own joys and sorrows, a space of safety and comfort. I want to be mothered. I just want to be taken care of sometimes. I want to be asked how I am doing, what I’ve been up to, what I want from life.
I am feeling really sorry for myself right now.
This all sounds so unhealthy, and I can just imagine what I, as a therapist, would say if a client spoke these words to me. I am not sure what I would say, other than words of validation. I understand that primal pain, that pain that comes with longing that will never be satisfied. It is an empty place, a bucket with holes in it. It’s the recipe for a vast array of mental disorders. It has affected every relationship I have ever had. And this is something I must accept. And it is what fuels me. I want to create change and hope. I want to strive for healing in myself and others.
I know I can only change myself, and that through changing myself, the family dynamic changes. I have seen that happen. In my own development from an unhealthy to a more healthy being, I have needed further and firmer boundaries with my family. I have felt more and more as an outsider, and really as an alien in my family. I do not support the legacy I have been handed down. I want it to die with me.
Mother’s Day is bittersweet. I celebrate the love I have for my children and the joy in my heart from my own journey as a mother. It has been healing, and it has been vulnerable and difficult, too. I celebrate the unconditional love I have for my mother, alongside the pain and longing that comes with that love. I want so much more. And at the same time, life simply “just is.” Acceptance releases pain. That’s what I am striving for.