After five years of enduring a relationship that almost killed me, freedom tastes so sweet. In the aftermath of being freed from that living hell, when anyone asked me, “How are you?” my first response was, “I’m alive!”
Being alive, after feeling like I was the living dead, and believing (and hoping) the reality of death was waiting just beyond my next breath, being able to say, “I’m alive” and mean it was pure joy.
Sitting here, almost 20 years away from that moment of release, it’s hard to remember how lost and alone, terrified and depressed I was.
What I can and do still feel, is the elation I felt, and still feel, with being alive.
And, while I haven’t quite mastered the art of being grateful for the things he did that brought me to the point of trying to unhook gravity’s hold on my body so I could simply fall into the ocean and be washed out to sea forever, I am grateful for the realization I carry with me today. A realization that came from having walked that path of abuse and self-annihilation so long ago. Life is a precious gift. It asks only that we fall in love with ourselves and all of life moment by precious moment.
There is not one moment of the past that I can change. Regretting that relationship and all the pain and harm it caused those I love is a journey of futility.
In living my realization that life is precious, I fall in love with the woman I was then, and the woman I am today and every day when I hold firmly to my belief in the precious nature of life and celebrate every breath as an act of freedom.
And in that realization, I embrace the deep knowing that I don’t need to be nor become grateful for the things he did. To live in freedom, I only need to live with a grateful heart full of love for this beautiful, fulfilling, love-filled life I live today.
My gratitude I know today is not based on what he did back then. It’s founded in knowing that what he did is nothing compared to what I do, every day, when I embrace everything in my life, the good, the bad, and the ugly, with arms, heart, and all my being wide open in gratitude and love.
Long ago, I fell into the trap of believing someone else held the answers to my life and could give me a shortcut to happiness. I am grateful that through that journey, I have learned the truth.
I am 100% accountable for my own happiness. In claiming my responsibility for my life, all of it, I set myself free of regretting things I did and that happened in the past as I say, “Thank you” for the good, the bad and the ugly. IT is all a beautiful gift opening up to the gift of becoming, me.”
And in that gift, I lean, with anticipation and joy, into all life has to teach me on how to live without regret so I can experience the wonder, beauty, and awe of all the world unfolding in its mystery and magic all around me.
Wonderful writing in this and recent pieces. I say this with ‘much care and affection’, it seems to me like your re-stirring a bowl of ingredients you’ve stirred and re-stirred – and you are talking about ‘seeing today/future differently’ while whisking faster and faster on rehashing the past. A short-lived but poignant friend, Annie from New Jersey, complete with NH accent said, “Mark, build a bridge, and get over it” … and she was right for me then. I often recall that sage advice fondly.
My point for Louise is this, DARE BOLDLY, please, in a forward direction – DO the forward thing, WRITE the forward thing, and ‘not so much about the old things’.
p.s. I realize giving unsolicited advice is usually worth what you pay for it – just know that I’m a long-time fan and cheerleader, wishing you well in the next chapter – urging you to start doing the next chapter, because the last chapters are behind you and while they are real and sometime painful foundation – they are also a launch pad, so launch!
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We have such different perspectives on this Mark. For me, I view the sharing of that story as inspiring for others. I no longer think of it as ‘my story’. I see it as a tool to continue to move me forward in doing what calls to my heart — inspire others to live true to themselves.
I carry no shame, regret, anger about what happened. In fact, I love that those events have inspired me to stand up and be me, in all my beauty, flaws and contradictions.
In having had a couple of documentaries made from it, in having had a book published and many articles including one in Chatelaine, I know the power of that story to connect and inspire others to move through their own trauma of abuse either of their own or someone they love. I’ve had strangers stop me in airports to tell me how that story inspired them and to thank me for having the courage to share the story. I’ve had mother’s contact me to thank me for saving their daughter’s life.
I am so grateful for the power of what I experienced and my ability to share it and how it helps others come through to live their lives fearlessly in love.
So… no. While I appreciate your perspective, I do not believe I am stirring a pot. I am living my purpose of touching hearts and opening minds to set spirits free to live fearlessly in love with all that they can be.
I do value your opinion and I appreciate your vulnerability and willingness to speak your truth. I recognize it comes through your lens and that is what makes it so valuable. You always give me a wonderful opportunity to see where I stand in the field of possibility you lay out with such cogency and honesty.
Thanks my friend!
I liked this post, I know some who find it hard to be grateful
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I always find that sad JoAnne — Gratitude is such a healing balm. ❤
i find it okay when you write about your past, as you did here.
it was good to read something about regrets, as i still struggle with regret of things that i allowed and my lack of dealing well with things, which contributed my youngest daughter’s alienation of me.
It’s been years. And anyway. We move on, yes, but mending is not always an option.
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Dearest Nance. Thank you. I am grateful that this sharing touched you as it did.
I always remember my therapist telling me once that healing the relationship with my mother may never happen in ‘the real world’. That it was an inside job for me to learn to psychically embrace her in Love so that in real time, I only held loving words/thoughts.
I also remember how terrified I was when I first got my life back and was told my daughters didn’t want to speak to me. My heart sends tender, loving care to yours.
I believe, that even though it’s been years, and we move on, mending is always in process. ❤
Thank you for caring, and your encouraging words. I will work on redirecting my thoughts about mending going on.
May gratitude whisper in your ear.
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