Why does it always seem to come down to the same story?
I can want or do the thing (fill in the blank) as long as I feel bad about it (or punish myself) afterwards?
Why can I not just say 'this is how it is' and not berate myself? Why can I not leave qualifications behind, even if the 'thing' turns out to not work or be a mistake and not punish myself for my decision or desire to want it in the first place?
I won't apologize for putting my well-being first. Told at an early age that I was selfish, I did everything in my power to avoid that label; that label made me unloveable, that label brought shame, that label brought with it shoulds and ought tos that were, at times, unbelievably hard to maintain. For too many years, I put me second.
I was recently asked to stay silent on something that could have helped many people in deference to fear of negative responses and sharing secrets that weren't mine to share. This sent me into a rage. Who were they to silence my voice? How dare they dictate which forums I am allowed to share on?
As many of you know, I've been living with and managing mental illness for most of my life. Anxiety and depression have been my constant companions and powerful foes. Yet, this post isn't about my struggle. As the country shines a light on mental illness today for the purpose of reducing stigma, I too focus on bringing awareness to the disease of the mind.
"Guilt is often an attempt to keep us attached to love."
When these words came out of my counselor's mouth, they hit me right in the heart. She'd been attempting to say the same thing in a more intellectual manner, and while my brain and mind grasped what she was saying, I couldn't find the way to distill what she'd said into words that I could process back.
Yet, as soon as she re-framed guilt this way, my heart recognized a truth that made sense. It was like every cell in my body reacted and the tears started to flow.
I write to explore and express my mind and heart.
One simple sentence, one simple explanation yet it's been a life-line for me over a lifetime.
Writing has always been a form of therapy for me, whether I was conscious of it at the time or not. Even back to when I was a teenager, I wrote to express what I couldn't share with anyone else. I had a hard time verbalizing the words of my heart. It was so much easier to capture them on paper.
My heart is broken
and in pieces with grief
and will never find it's way
to wholeness again.
Those lost pieces
can never be filled
as they are the wounds of loving
and it would dishonour them
by even trying.
Those holes, those wounds
reveal the light,
the pain pierces their vacant absence.
My grief bears witness
to everything my heart
chose to hold dear.
No, those holy wounds
cannot ever be healed
but they can be honoured
for the gifts they bring;
the gifts of loving
and of letting go.
For in letting go
do we embrace
our own impermanence
and we celebrate
the fleeting act
© Tracy Kelly 2019
Tracy Kelly is a writer and artist from London, Ontario Canada who manages Anxiety, Depression and Fibromyalgia.