“Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.”
“I tell you this
to break your heart,
by which I mean only
that it break open and never close again
to the rest of the world.”
― Mary Oliver
What do you do with your anger?
I am making friends with it, as I think it has been shamed enough, and has something it has been trying to tell me all my life.
Codependent people see boundaries as abandonment.
Setting and keeping boundaries can feel “mean,”
if we have been taught from a young age that our life purpose is to please other people.
But you and I are not slaves. So let’s toss out that bullshit and consider anger for a second.
Anger is my fence – it tells me when I have violated my own well-being by allowing, accepting, that which I do not actually like.
Anger is extremely painful for me to sit with. I’d rather do just about anything else. I would rather distract myself, dance, put on a show, build costumes, paint, or people-please into the wee hours of the morning,
and if Anger comes in my sleep to try to knock on the gates of my heart,
I’d rather not sleep.
There was a man named Quentin who passed away in April, a few months before my own homeworld imploded. I had a complicated relationship with Quentin. I loved him. Anger was somewhere he lived. I wanted to rescue Quentin from his own despair, from his bitter stories about how unloved he was. I wanted to love him into knowing he was worthy, into seeing his own goodness. This is a lifelong practice of mine. I seem to find the most unhappy man in the room, the one who is usually standing alone, and go love him. Try to love him into healing. (Yeah, working on changing that practice. It’s exhausting, and people build their own shadowy islands, and don’t necessarily want to be welcomed on a boat back to the sunlit lands.)
Yesterday, Quentin came to me in my sleep. I had been contemplating a new relationship; I had been wavering on the edge of – I know I am not ready, but I wish to believe what someone is saying to me, and I wish to be held. I am so, so weary, and I wish, above all things, to rest. I wish peace – I wish to love and be loved, and really, what I really actually want is a good, heart-connected, solid, hug. 🙂
And so Quentin came to me. In my dream, we were playing a game. I had taken a sort of mystical chip-thing (probably Mandalorian-influenced, cause whatever, I’m addicted to the props and costumes of that show) from him, dared him to catch me. This was the sort of game Quentin and I played all the time I knew him. Dare and double-dare, hide and seek; he was the Loki in my life – he was not healthy for me and he intrigued and drew me. Quentin was a dangerous dark fire I did not understand.
So in my dream, he finally caught me- I laughed,
and he held me.
He held me a long, long time. Just held, like the best and longest hug from a friend or family member you are completely safe with, like the most important kind of heart to heart cuddle.
And I realized when I woke up (too soon) that I would not harm another with my unreadiness. I will keep my boundaries solid, though I do long to love and be loved-
I won’t be bringing my toxic minefield with me into someone else’s life and heart- until I clear and heal this energy, I have to reinforce certain walls.
Healthy people do not dance with unhealthy people – water seeks its own level- so what happened in relationship with me was something I co-created. Toxicity, misunderstanding, distrust, abandonment – these were the ghosts that haunted something that could have been healthy and beautiful.
No more. No. More.
I am evolving toward the primary relationship I envision; I can feel what it will be, to be healthy and in good communication, mutual autonomy, support, individual freedom, trust, respectful choices, honoring each other, and also – affection generously shared. Shared adventures and work, joys and yes, sorrows and lessons. Abundance, not lack.
I’m not made to walk in this life alone. I love people too much, and I have too much love and care to give.
But until it is as darkness-free as it can be, I will not be passing on this gift to another.
So I sit with the box of darkness. I accept it. I invite it to teach me what it has to give.
I am so weary – so very tired of learning and growing – and I’m trying to shift this into an adventure of sorts, because I need to love my life;
but sometimes Strider is just fucking sick of sleeping rough, and being on the lone path, and remaining silent while the Jolly Old Inkeepers whisper stories about her, and insist that she is dangerous. Sometimes she just wants to pull her tattered cloak aside, and say “I am the lost king, you stupid, silly, reactive, gossiping peasants,”
but she can’t.
She’s got to wait for the Gandalf who will write the note that says “all that is gold does not glitter;
not all those who wander are lost…”
(unsurprisingly, I was obsessed with Strider as a child. I loved him beyond reason. The man alone? Check. The misunderstood one? Check. The gold that only the wise would see? Oh, I thought *I* was that wise rescuer, to see the good in Strider – I’ve been looking for him all my life, and little did I know, I actually AM Strider.)
To stretch a metaphor until it squeaks like an irritated Hobbit: Strider has to bide her time and do her work, and pray that she’ll live long enough to stand beside her Arwen and lift her face to the sun at last.
(but you know what? What if we were each our very own Arwen? She refuses to leave Aragorn. She gives up immortality in order to stand by his side. I think being as loyal as that to ourselves would have us be able to create boundaries with a little more ease, and enforce them with steady grace, and fierceness if it became necessary.)
Dreams. (thank you, Quentin)
and, of course, the stories, that somehow make it all a little more bearable.