Summer officially ends this week for me as my son returns to school, and I could not be more relieved. No, I am not talking about needing a break from my kid – I am talking about reaching the milestone that ends this particular season of my life.
This summer has been my most difficult one of my adult life. It started and ended with a sinus infection. I had two emotional breakdowns that my therapist calls “spiritual awakenings” – regardless of the label, they hurt like hell. My husband has been battling clinical depression. A dysfunctional friendship of almost a decade (predated therapy) went rocky…and then more rocky…and then ended. I am back to weekly therapy sessions after ending therapy ~ six years ago. I feel battered and bruised from this season of my life, but I am still standing.
When I entered into therapy, nobody told me about the cost. Yes, I knew it cost $X an hour, and I even knew that I was going to have to find an amazing amount of courage to face down my demons and make huge changes in my life. However, nobody told me that healing was like “dying” to my old self and starting anew with very little resembling my “old” life still being in it. The process reminds me of this Bible verse, which I won’t include so I don’t trigger anyone with religious triggers. Because I do have a strong faith, it does help to put what I am going through into a faith context.
A part of me wants to move across the country and start over since it seems that the healing process ultimately results in the ending of relationships that started before therapy. However, once I did an accounting, I realized that I was just about there, anyhow. I only have five people regularly in my life who were there before therapy – my husband, son, and father-in-law locally; and my sister and one friend from high school who live in another state. That’s it. After almost four decades of life, loving, investing, and caring, only five people I invested in remain. That’s really not worth moving across the country for!
It’s been very difficult and a long time coming, but I am finished playing my “role” in dysfunctional relationships. I am going to be “me,” and that is going to have to be enough. If it’s not, then the relationship is over. The people I have met after therapy don’t seem to have any issue with this. I can be myself 100%, even when I am having a bad day. And you know what? If the time comes that they cannot handle it, they don’t have to stay, either.
I am tired of apologizing for being me. I am tired of having to play games and say and do exactly the “right” thing so that other person can stay in dysfunctional comfort. This is who I am. Love me, hate me, or be indifferent to me, but I am not changing for you.
Photo credit: Faith Allen