Shutting Down to Remember What’s Important
Life gets in the way.
Sometimes, I get so caught up in doing I forget to just Be. My inner child who spent so many years being on the outside becomes enamored with being included, and loses sight of what truly matters.
Belonging ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.
It’s all well and fine to be part of a crowd, especially one everyone looks to for energy and light. But often that energy is simply a mask for a darker, bleaker place the participants are trying to run from. We can’t hide from our darker selves forever.
I noticed it first in their eyes. I tried to ignore it, or deny it. But it was undeniable. The manic glitter; the desperate need to keep moving or else…what? At one point I was reminded of Christopher Robin, but with a more sinister bent. A need to keep moving but not because it meant they wouldn’t go anywhere. Instead, they feared old demons would catch up and bury them.
We can’t run from our demons.
I tried to run from mine. I buried them deep inside in what I told myself was an impermeable box—until it burst open spilling all the old hurts; all the ugliness I’d kept inside out into the world in an unholy mess. Feelings I’d denied; that I’d never allowed myself to feel and release boiled to the surface, fighting each other for attention. Overwhelmed, I allowed them to bury me in a mire of hopelessness and misery.
Eventually, I dug my way out. I had to acknowledge the feelings; admit to the hurts. Then I started writing about them from the safe haven of my home with the doors and windows securely locked. I could feel the feelings without prejudice. No one could touch me while I was feeling raw, yet I could share my own rawness for others who needed to know they weren’t alone, even though I felt I was, and, at the time, always would be.
Writing helped me unearth my personal sludge. It helped me flush out a heart that had grown cold and clogged with misery and loneliness. As I got feedback from some of my posts, I learned how many others were feeling as disconnected as me, but put on a brave face so no one could shatter the delicate balance that carried them through each day.
The ice around my heart began to thaw and I started opening up a little face-to-face. Carefully at first, but with less caution as time went on. Sometimes I built strong bonds, but there were times I chose badly and my heart got stomped on again. Still, I’d learned locking it away in a frozen wasteland wasn’t the answer.
Opening Up Without Guarantees
Opening my own heart has been a double-edged sword. It’s humanized me and helped me connect with others. But it also opens me up to other peoples’ pain. I see the near-panic in their eyes as they maintain a crazy pace in hopes they won’t have to feel what leveled them before. I see and feel the futility of their efforts, but for the most part, I keep it to myself. I know from my own experience telling them what they’re doing to themselves isn’t going to change things. More likely, it will piss them off, or make them withdraw from someone like me who sees too much.
I attract the broken ones; the abused, the beaten down, the neglected, the lonely. I stay as long as I can, trying to help, though often, they can’t accept it. Still, I have to try. The truth is, we all have to find our own way, and often learning to reach out to others is the hardest lesson of all. I learned to be self-sufficient and refuse to be helped no matter how far I’d fallen. I still struggle with asking, and am quick to retreat when I don’t get the response I feel I need. Why would I expect others to react differently?
The broken ones push me away when I begin to care too much, or when I set boundaries. When their drama and pain begin to exhaust me, I have to pull away. I’ve learned some want my energy but not my empathy. When I refuse one and offer the other, they move on. It’s not personal. They think they know what they need just as I do, though like a vampire seeking blood to replace what they lack, they seek to fill themselves from wells that contain a substance they’ve yet to figure out how to distill on their own.
When it’s Time to Walk Away
I’m learning there’s a time when I have to walk away knowing I’ve done all I could. Maybe I’ve helped make a chink in their armor, and maybe I haven’t. It isn’t for me to say. Like me, they have to choose to make the effort and yes, feel the pain before it can be released. It isn’t a choice I take lightly as making it myself forced me to relive some of the darkest moments of my life. I know some of the people I’ve attracted have moments so dark they believe they haven’t the strength or support to relive them. I only wish I could convince them it will be better on the other side.
I wouldn’t have believed anyone who told me “it’ll get better” when I was wallowing in my own cavern of misery. It’s one of those choices we have to make knowing it’ll get worse before it gets better. It took me nearly 5 decades to make that choice. I also know there’s every chance I might never have made it. All I have to do is look at my own mother. She chose death over dealing with her demons. Too many others do too.
I wish I could save them all, but no one person can. All I can do is listen and offer—and accept rejection time and time again. Even now, there are times I, too feel like a burden and don’t want to bother people, even the ones I know care enough to listen. There are times I retreat, though the duration is shorter than it once was.
I’ve learned to cry it out when I need to cry; sleep more when exhaustion shuts everything down. The greatest lesson I’ve learned, though is to let my feelings show. Those who care will understand, and those who don’t, well, maybe they’ll gain something from it too.
Grateful for Moments Large and Small
My gratitudes today are:
- I’m grateful for the people in my life who understand sometimes I need to be sad.
- I’m grateful for the years I’ve spent clearing old wounds, and for learning to keep going through the process, digging deeper into wounds both personal and ancestral.
- I’m grateful for my writing. Sometimes my words are dark, and sometimes they’re light and airy-fairy. They all have value, if to no one but myself.
- I’m grateful for music. It takes me out of myself when I need it, and into myself when I’m trying to unearth some of the more deeply embedded sludge.
- I’m grateful for abundance; love, life, energy, empathy, compassion, sadness, inspiration, motivation, redirection, self-worth, peace, health, harmony, balance, philanthropy, and prosperity.
Love and Light
About the Author
Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward