Alright, this blog has been a long time coming…even as I write this I feel the anxiety rising as my mind races to find an excuse of something else to do…anything else.
But I know that this is where I need to be and this blog has become like a journal for healing for me.
I’ve been doing some real inner work and trying to understand where my urge to numb out comes from. Why I can’t stop, like the fear of actually being still and having to sit with my feelings would actually eat me alive. Swallow me up and I might never be able to surface.
I realize that’s incredibly dramatic, but a real fear nonetheless.
I’ve finally come to a place where I can say the words out loud, “I forgive you”.
And I’m saying them, to me.
Through a very exposing process of interviews over online video chats with a dear friend, I completed an exercise called “The Interview”. Basically in a nutshell it’s just a process where you share your story by being asked pointed and not-so-pointed questions to get clear about who you are, what struggles you’ve overcome, what you have to say and how you can help others through these realizations. An incredibly important exercise for someone like me, who shares her life on social media.
Through this process there came a point where I broke down.
I wasn’t even prepared and didn’t know that it was going to come out of my mouth.
Two major events in my life collided as if I was seeing them and their affect on each other for the first time. And really I feel like it was for the first time.
This is hard. Really hard for me to share. I still even over a decade later have flashbacks, dreams, anxiety and a lot of guilt and shame tied to it. But, I have also realized that it is time to let the pain and suffering over this go. It’s time to release it and forgive myself.
The two events I’m talking about: A car accident and my sudden weight gain in early adulthood after never having struggled with my weight in my life beforehand.
It was in the summer of 2004. I was living on my own for the first time in a basement suit in the river valley and enjoying time with boyfriend (now husband) at the Folk Fest. My basement suite was mere blocks away but Jay had parked up at the top of a big hill on the other side of a traffic circle from where I lived and once the festival shut down for the night I drove him back to his car.
It was dark & pouring down rain, hard. Sheets of rain.
I had dropped Jay off and started back down the hill towards my place. At the base of the hill was a cobble stone cross walk, there was a black garbage bag over one of the signs of the pedestrian crossing…it all happened so fast.
There were two people crossing the street wearing black garbage bags as rain coats.
I saw them and tried my best to stop but because I had slammed on the breaks I hydroplaned and slid into both pedestrians. The man coming up onto my hood and into my windshield.
Then it was like everything was in slow motion.
I won’t go into all the details after that other than to say that they both sustained injuries but recovered (which I am so thankful that they recovered every single day).
I was picked up my Jay’s parents and taken to his house after a long stay in the back of a police car and a lot of questioning.
I never gave myself the opportunity to deal with it or process it. I wanted nothing more than to be able to apologize and try to help in any way to, I don’t even know…make things right. I thought about that night ALL the time. Flashbacks, constantly wondering how they were and if they were suffering because of me.
I went to court and paid my fines – failing to yield to a pedestrian.
I was terrified to drive and felt incredibly stressed behind the wheel. I isolated myself and worked two jobs and kept myself as busy as I possibly could. I began to drink, a LOT and eat A LOT. To check out and numb myself I suppose.
The weight came on quickly, almost as quickly as the anxiety and depression. The feelings of remorse mixed with struggling to not let the whole thing take me down completely. Feeling like I wasn’t a good person. Labeling myself and associating myself with the accident. Only irresponsible, horrible people ever get in accidents involving pedestrians….
And so, the cycle of destructive behaviors began & the “coping” mechanism of drinking, smoking, over booking and overworking myself, along with binge eating and isolating myself continued.
I don’t expect a lot of people to understand and I fully understand that writing this blog is now and finally putting it out there and opening myself up to judgement and commentary…but it’s ok. It really is. Because I’m finally freeing myself from this.
It took this interview and these seemingly innocent questions for me to completely breakdown and say things I didn’t even fully realize I was holding on to. These things that have caused me so much suffering. I have caused myself so much suffering. I know that it needs to stop.
I forgive myself.
I know in my heart that this event does not define me and that it truly was an accident. I know that it was not SOLELY my fault and that I did not set out to harm anyone.
I know how sorry I feel and how I would give anything to go back and change the outcome. But I can’t. So, I’ve learned through much time spent on personal development that holding on to the past only stops you from living in the present. There’s also a saying that goes something like…if you don’t stop touching the wound, it will never heal.
So, it’s time for me to let this go, to stop punishing myself. To stop believing that I must be a bad person. To forgive myself and move forward from this.
Again, I’m sharing this because honestly…blogging is a super cheap form of therapy 😉 for real you should try it 😉
And more importantly because, if there is anyone else out there who is hanging on to something in their past, whatever it is and it is causing you pain. Causing you to sabotage yourself, creating self destructive behavior or just causing you unnecessary pain.