Friday, February 20, 2015

Hurt Sometimes

There have been two big hurts in my two years of recovery. Both happened with me: that is, I was a part of the hurt.

The thing about hurt is that it really wants blame. It wants a face to glare at, a person to shake a finger at: you did this to me. Like all things scuttle and switch their feet for balance hurt does too. And there can be fault, and there can be blame. After some time I forgot about blame and fault and realized that I was ok again.

Both of these things were disagreements. They were instances where I thought one way and someone else thought another way and although I thought we thought the same way we couldn't or wouldn't meet in the middle. These come and go in my daily thinks inventory: some days my heart hurts, some days my head hurts, some days I don't think of them at all. I have distance from both things and so I have lost the urge to be right, but I still feel sad about it, mad about it. Some days.

The other day I saw one of the women from my old recovery group. It was so lovely to look at her grinning face and hug her close and remember that deep down without words she gets where I'm coming from. That is a comfort I share with few people in my life so it was such a good feeling to hear her say kind words and to say them back. It was a balm to my spirit to remember that this woman is in my corner, that she would help me if I needed her. I was sort of collateral damage in my leaving of the group, I was in the hurt, part of the hurt- but I didn't make the hurt. Even so I had to quit the group to honor my own self.

There are things I no longer stand for.

There are so many things that have nothing to do with me. There are things that happened to my parents that shipwrecked them both, things that happen to other people that I can't help, control, or even know about. These things made me so careful with others that I forgot to be less breakable for myself. Both of these hurts came from me standing in my own two feet and saying my own brave truth. In both instances I lost something: a dear friend, a recovery group. But to sit quiet and muzzle my own self would have hurt worse in the long run. That's what I used to do: remain silent. Since I started silent I had to stay that way. Now I am allowed to say what I mean because it makes me who I am: me.

I've been thinking a lot about impermanence. About how, when my six year old cries because he doesn't want to take a shower, it just won't last forever. About how some days I feel angry, or happy, or calm, or extra hungry. But no matter, because it will be different tomorrow, or next week, or by 3 o'clock. I've been learning to live in the moment by recognizing that it is really just one moment. I've been thinking about how when I'm looking for my piece of just right it is already that way because it keeps changing.

I thought I would drink forever. I thought that because I did and had it was the way I would always be. I'm learning that I can change course midstream. That maybe because even though I believe a friend is forever we may change and not be forever and then that's ok. I can take the parts of our friendship that taught me and use those forever. That a group can help me for a time and then I can do what's best for my feelings and not make it right for anyone but me. That because something is true today it does not have to be true tomorrow, or even for the rest of today.

I think about how much I have changed in the past couple years. How I used to be afraid to care for myself. How I would go out of my way to make it ok for others even when it wasn't ok for me. I think about all the times, the hundreds of them, that I put up and shut up because it was easier than doing something hard: sticking up for myself. I have been practicing disagreeing and compromise, along with ignoring the fairy tale that is all or nothing. I have been honoring the power of somethings. Some things. I have been trying to be graceful and not too clumsy, and I apologize when I get ham-handed. Happily some people love me anyway.

In that wonderful way the universe has of giving me a pat on the back I saw another of the women from my recovery group yesterday. It's been such a nice surprise to see two of them because I haven't seen anyone since I left the group around June-ish. We hugged the same heartfelt hug. We looked into each others eyes and no time had passed. It made me miss group- the way it was before everything went all sideways. I really dig the way that when I've shelved something the forces at work remind me to take another look and see how I'm doing.

It's hard to explain the mechanics of loss- what it means to lose a friend, or a group. What it means to plod on. How in that moment it all feels gigantic and huge but then time keeps passing and somehow I get healed even when I think that could never be true.

There's a reason why it's called "growing apart". Because even though I am being apart I am growing- and because I am growing maybe things just aren't matching up the way they used to. That while I am growing everyone else is growing too. Growing apart doesn't have rules, and just because I grow apart it doesn't mean I have to stay apart, it just means there needs to be some stretching room- even if that room gets to be stretching months or years. Part of stretching can always be a bounce back to check- and part of growing is knowing if it's the right thing for me to do so.

This moment isn't really forever. The labels you and I give ourselves don't have to stick. Life things that get too tight or too loose don't have to be made to fit. Today I am open hearted and kind, tomorrow I have no patience for anybody's shit.  Seeing that things aren't permanent helps me see the levels and layers of what I thought was only my simple self. It helps me try things again, do-overs that were maybe meant for another time after I'd had more practice. Because I change every day my life can change every day too- and that isn't bad or wrong, it's just different. It feels different to wave like seaweed when I want to be stock still like a stick in the mud. But all of this gets better with practice. I keep practicing waving around, and I keep getting more comfortable at it.

It helps me know that some things aren't forever- and that's totally fine. When I can see past the permanence of the moment and be comfortable in the sometimes of it all I can handle things like hurt and shift with the bravery and grace my self deserves. I can see that maybe things aren't always like they seem- that retrospect (looking back) and introspect (looking in) can give me the perspective (looking around it all) that allows me to flow with my life instead of fighting against it. That I can be hurt, and feel hurt. But I am not hurt. Only sometimes.


  1. Oh so beautifully stated, Amy. Lots of wisdom and insight here. Honouring yourself...what a concept. Especially from the years of sitting on our hands and letting things flog us while we allowed it too, our voices lodged in our throats. Hearts corroded from dis-ease. I can learn from you, because i still struggle with these things. It's a slow process, and sometimes I do slip back into the old me - the one that wants to have everyone like me, and damned if I am not in that equation any more.

    I like what you said about growing apart too - there is still growth and it's nobody's "fault" and it's life. Impermanence.

    Thank you for this. Loved it. Your writing captures your large and loving spirit.


    1. Paul, thank you. I know, I know! I still can't help my peace keeping people pleasing self some days. But I'm not drunk. So there's that. :)

  2. 'That I can be hurt, and feel hurt. But I am not hurt. Only sometimes.' What a great finishing line Amy and so true :) xx

  3. Great post and thoughts about impermanence. That things don't last forever, in fact, they usually don't last very long. Including our hurts.
    I read somewhere awhile back that conflicts with other people drive women to alcohol. It makes so much sense. But it doesn't have to be that way and it's good to know it deep down.

    1. I know that part of the reason I drank was to escape from me: afraid of who I really was- the person who never felt good enough for anyone. I can remember feeling like I couldn't say or do or wear or be the right thing: ever. Now that I don't drink I am learning that I am the right thing just because I'm me.

  4. You have no idea how much I needed this today. I love how the universe works sometimes. I'm dealing with the loss of a friendship. I've been hurt and I can't seem to let it go. I want to tell her - to explain why but I know that just because I want her to know she hurt me...again. It won't help me deal with the grief of her not being who I thought she was. It won't help the fact that I opened the walls around my heart and let her in and she betrayed that trust and used me. It will just hurt her and I can't do that.

    It helps to think about this as you've written it here. That it's just for today (or the last few months) that I've felt this way and that maybe tomorrow I'll feel differently. Maybe tomorrow is the day I learn to just accept that it is what it is and move on.

    Thank you for this Amy. I love you...ham handed or not.


    1. I love you too! It's been an interesting exercise separating my ego from what actually happened. To boil it down to what will help me rather than make me the rightest or the one who wins. It fascinates me that I can think about things one way today, and that it's OK to change that if I need to.

  5. Hi,
    I just found your site after spending two days surfing the net looking for some help. I'm a mum of seven, published author, Personal Trainer, Psychiatric nurse and own and run a successful international company. I'm 49 next month and have drunk heavily since I was around 17 years old. I've had countless day ones! I abstained for the whole of January for charity and found it easy, but then I let the vino monster back in through the front door! A bottle more or less every night has been the norm and I really have decided that enough is enough. I used to run Ultras and after foot surgery last year I gained a lot of weight - primarily through drinking and the subsequent carb/sugar binges the day after. I'm running a marathon in June, so really have to get serious training under way! Anyway, found your blog very helpful...also Belle's. My first challenge is 100 days, then six months, then a more day one's! :-)

  6. This was a great read for me. Thanks for writing about it. Loss and hurt are so different every day. Just this morning I was thinking of a friendship that is fading in my life and how it hurts sometimes and others not. Your post brought tears to my eyes and a bit of closure too, weirdly. That idea of impermanence and bouncing back and stretching -- life is long and who knows where we'll all end up. Thanks again for the post. Hope you're finding peace on this Sunday.