There are times when it’s best not to publicize what’s going on. Sometimes there aren’t words. Sometimes the words would not accurately depict, they would just be an oozing of figurative ink – a blot, a blob, confusion.
I’ve just come through a stretch of such time.
Emotional haunts from time gone by will occasionally grasp our heart and soul with such force that we’ve no recourse but to submit, lay victim, and wait out the predatory-like clutch to release the hold on our seemingly lifeless remains.
Escaping from a seemingly skeletal and soul paining clasp, I’ve taken cleansing gulps of fresh air and perspective to find myself somewhat purged of what I had unwittingly stuffed into the dark forgotten crevices of memory. Shaken those haunts out, I have.
One of the things that I believe, as a strictly Torah person, is that there is no hell except what we live through or else what we choose to accept in our lives.
Sometimes we choose our hell from a perspective of worthlessness; sometimes we are running furiously far away from all sense of authority, taking our own damn control and creating our hell by consequence of our own rebellious actions. Sometimes we are born into a hell from which we don’t know enough to escape – or else we are able to glimpse outside of that hell and slowly build ourselves a new environment.
Many people know at least one of these variations of hell. It’s the survivors of such who will understand me and mine.
I was born into an environment that was quickly erected by two hell survivors, a variant and much weakened form of hell in its own mutated form of normalcy – foundered with good intent, but lacking quality materials. As a young adult, I ran gleefully and furiously from the control I perceived, and quickly defined a new hell for myself. My construct was a chameleon hell – it would change structure depending on the variables presented and the characters introduced or dismissed. I am thankful to say that I was able to lock in on a variation that was truly a functional and sturdy place, no hell perceived.
The final and most damage inducing hell was my own self-perception; what I had attached as my title, my label, stamped in the dark recesses – the center of my own personal value – my soul. It would simmer in those recesses as I continued on in my new seemingly hell-less structure, quietly burbling and bubbling like an unsettling miasma of discord, raising its ugly head whenever trauma or drama arose and shucked me back into a repressed or depressed emotional state.
This is the hell that I forced myself to come to terms with over the past six months. It is the hell that has bounced me in and out of perpetual shame and discontent for most of my life. It was something that I had to uncover, discover, acknowledge, reach down deep and wrench out of myself, piece by ugly piece. It was hard, it was emotional, and it was painful.
It was not depression. It was different. There was not the fog, the inability to express, the disconnect with routines and normalcy, the uncaring. This was not an overlay, it was part of my construct. It was f’ugly.
So – I’m back. Moving slowly, and assessing damage. Addressing the reality of me – who I am and what I am. Solidly placing my feet on the ground, planting my resolve, defining and enforcing my boundaries.
Working from an inherent acceptance of being ‘less than’, I had resigned myself to relationship terms that healthy people would quickly assess and reject. I became easily taken advantage of, taken for granted because I allowed such.
Stating boundaries and enforcing them causes some damage, some rifts, some kicked shins, so to speak. At work I get surprised looks, but general acceptance. At home, there have been tense moments at times, but things get talked out, worked out. Boundary enforcement with friends runs the risk of severed ties, to this I can readily attest. One of my relationships may not recover – it is one of my longest friendships, forged in the midst of my chameleon hell.
It all comes back to my acceptance of or rejection of the hell to which I had succumbed.
I choose to live to love myself, to value who and what I am, and to live life outside of the hell that I have unknowingly known.
I am ever so thankful for choices, one of the gifts of Almighty.