Hang Up Your Sword….

Some things will just never make sense.  The longer I continue down my path of healing, the more I acquiesce to the reality that many of the answers I so desperately seek, may forever elude me.  While this is both a powerful and liberating truth, it is also incredibly frustrating and bittersweet. At times this conundrum has summoned the Homecoming Queen of Crazy Town, daring her to make a rare, yet unforgettable appearance.  In those moments, her Royal Highness has not disappointed the jesters of life, reacting with her usual mixture of madness and high drama.

No one can predict what the Queen will do.  Her behavior, after all, isn’t based on rational thinking. It’s fueled by raw emotion, insecurity, and a horrifyingly low self-worth—as I’m sure you can imagine, that is a terrifying trifecta.    As I began to slowly build my self- worth and eliminate the thoughts of insecurity that once consumed me, I was eventually able to tell the Queen that the time had come for her to retire to her chamber–healthy, grown-up Kelley, could handle things from here.  The Queen, in all her glory, laughed as if she was saying, “you’ll call on me when someone oversteps a boundary and touches one of those nerves of yours, and I’ll be right here, ready to jump into battle to fight for your honor.”

The truth is, no matter how much we heal or how mature we become, none of us have an immunity idol that prevents us from responding poorly when we are hurting or overwhelmed by life.  There are a myriad of circumstances and atrocities that just scream out the blatant fact that life isn’t easy and certainly doesn’t play by any set of rules.  Despite our best attempts at living right, sometimes life just blindsides us with pain so unbearable that it’s hard to ever imagine life being good again.  In those darkest of dark times, it’s even more overwhelming to witness the fact that most of the world is completely oblivious to our pain. Yes, life keeps moving regardless of our crisis.

People let us down and that is just the truth of life.  I’ve learned that presents aren’t promises, kisses aren’t contracts, and sometimes love just doesn’t last.  It’s sad and unfortunate, but it’s the reality that we live in today.   What I choose to believe though, is that the majority of people we encounter, do the best they can, at the time, with the emotional resources they possess.  That’s been a difficult concept for me to wrap my brain around, but I’ve finally gotten to a place where I am certain it is accurate.  For the longest time people would excuse the behavior of others, behavior I saw as betrayal, dismissing it with, “Kelley, not everyone is as strong as you.”  That statement, in itself, would cause such rage to run through my body that I would literally implore the Queen to resurface, show her royal ass, and let everyone know exactly how much I never wanted to hear that line of BS again.

For me there wasn’t any gray area when it came to love.  I am loyal to a fault.  If I love you, then I love you.  You will never have to wonder if I will have your back, or fight for you, or stand behind you, because I don’t know any other way to be when it comes to the ones I love.  I love hard—it’s who I am.  So when people behaved in such a manner that I felt abandoned, I surmised that they never loved me to begin with and I crammed them all into a fake friend file. I was angry, I was hurting, and the last thing I wanted to do was see anything from their side. I didn’t want to walk a single step in their shoes, and I didn’t want to consider their perspective.   I think that’s a much more difficult concept for any of us to accomplish than anyone cares to admit.  We can try to step into someone else’s shoes, but in a highly volatile situation, emotions and feelings run way too deep for anyone to really be able to navigate that terrain successfully.

It hurt me deeply to think that all of the people I had loved so deeply for many years, people I had considered my family, people I had adored, had never really loved me at all.  Talk about an emotional landmine, it blew my life into tiny little pieces that I knew could never be put back together again.  So I was angry, very angry, and I needed a lot of assistance to walk through the darkest nights of that journey.  My faith and my hope were at their weakest, but I clung to them with everything I had.  I begged God to remove the anger and hate from my heart and to allow me to begin to heal.

Healing is not for those who are in a hurry.  Healing takes time.  The progression of healing is not a smooth, easy one– it is more of a jagged line, like a lightning bolt—you may take three steps forward and then you take 5 steps back.  Through my own very intense healing, I began to soften a little bit in regards to the people in my past who I felt had betrayed me.   As more and more healing began to infiltrate my soul, I began to finally grasp what I feel is one of the most complex, yet simplistic truths in the world—people are imperfect.  People make mistakes, they love us and then they just might leave us, but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t love us at all.  Maybe they loved us the best they could at the time, but the truth is, friendships sometimes end, family members betray us, loved ones let us down.  We made mistakes, they made mistakes, but ultimately it is what it is.

I have finally arrived at the point where I take the best of what people have given me of themselves, I cherish it in a special place in my heart, and I hope they do the same.   I can laugh at the memories we created, the fun times we shared, and the difficult storms we weathered together. As I have slowly learned to love myself and embrace all of the imperfections that make me who I am, I am also beginning to overlook the imperfections in others as well.  Make no mistake, I’m not saying I would ever want those people back in my life, (my newly formed self-worth wouldn’t allow that), but I choose to not allow the darkness of how some situations ended, to be the most prominent memory engraved on my soul. I have decided to drag the hurt, the lies, the manipulation, the betrayals, and the abandonment out to the curb with the rest of the garbage.  There is no place for it in my life.

Even if we don’t like the way a situation with a friend or loved one went down, we don’t have to harbor all of that resentment in our heart; we don’t have to walk around with a chip on our shoulder.  The worst kind of person to be around is a bitter, angry one.  There are so many things in life that we have no control over and it’s a useless waste of our time to try to influence them. The sooner you accept that the only thing or person you can control is yourself, you will have slayed a beast many never conquer. In that moment, you will have removed one of the biggest obstacles in your pursuit of peace and joy.

Happiness is magnetic and so irresistible, choose to find yours and then let it radiate and shine onto everyone you encounter.  Happiness need not forever elude you.  You can’t change the difficulties life hurls your way or how other people react to them, so you might as well change your mindset and learn to be happy.  You can focus on all the hurts and disappointments in your life, or you can choose to embrace the positive, amazing world that is waiting to be discovered.  My Nonnie told me once, “if you go looking for shit, I promise you, 100% of the time, you will find it.”

Everything we see in life is filtered through the lens of our perception.  Choose to see the good, remember the good, reinforce the good.  Hunt the damn good down and embrace it. Having lost so many of the people I have loved with my entire soul, I realize how fleeting our time on this planet truly is and I don’t take a single day for granted.  You can hate someone for the rest of your days, but chances are they don’t care and all you’re doing is destroying yourself.  Decide enough is enough and let it end today.  You will be so glad that you did.

As for the Queen, let her rest in her chambers for a while longer.  We all have those moments when she rears her beautiful head and causes widespread shock and awe amongst those who witness her furor, but we almost always regret those moments and we can’t erase them later.  Bottom line, none of us have this thing called life down to an art. We may allow the Queen to influence our emotions and actions every once in a while, but remember she rules over Crazy Town, and that isn’t a nice place to visit—let alone live.

Hang up your sword and let your battle wounds begin to heal.

You have the heart of a champion,  now embrace your life like one.