Sat on the stairs, I admitted I had broken my brother’s motorbike. My mother frequently used to declare, I can’t STAND liars!, so I thought I better fess up. Despite him pushing and pushing and pushing. Despite him winding me up something rotten. Like he always did. I thought I would be honest. Take the wrap. And, like usual, he got away with being the jester. I took her wrath.
Back in my bedroom, I felt enraged and guilty all at once. I believed I had done the honourable thing and told the truth. Pleased my mum. Ensured she could stand me. But was left with the familiar bubbling frustration and sense of powerlessness at my brother’s ploys. He knew I would take the bait. He knew I would try to bide his jibes then snap. And this time, the snapping was his toy. Usually I would try please her by ignoring him, as she so often suggested, but this time, I had had enough.
Last week truthfulness and my relationship to it hit home. A friend had unknowingly overstepped a mark. Something she had done triggered me to my core, igniting flames inside me so hard to hold.
She had, I felt, stepped over sacred ground and I was overwhelmed with a familiar fear and distrust of speaking to her and saying my piece. And it took me the days that followed to unravel the pieces.
I read years ago a few good lines on anger. If something gets to you, makes you mad, meets your edge, but passes within twenty minutes or so, it is likely the cause was external, fleeting. If however you find yourself later that day or in the days that come by next, still spewing, it is far more likely the incident has stirred something much deeper inside and relates not directly to that specific experience but is, in fact, a trigger to one of old.
And I have learned over the last while or so, how valid and important these stirrings are. Not to dwell and make embittered my soul even more. But to give space and time to these feelings. These stirrings are in fact incredible opportunities for learning and growth, they are a calling for integration, with pearls of insight and enrichment as they are met with love and compassion.
And so, with the ears of a beautiful spirit I spoke my burning pain the next day in a listening partnership. She magnificently holding the space as I outpoured my confusion and ensuing angst. It felt so freaking important to me to be able to speak to my friend and explain to her how I felt she’d trespassed over something innately precious to me but I needed the ears of love to help me first prise where was my stuff was, where was hers and where were my projections in amongst the whole bag of mud.
The listening partnership allowed me to voice my entanglement. It felt a brave step as the ears of those who I told also knows my friend. Knowing how to manage the boundaries I was conscious but also too, so raw and on fire I was aware core respect for another might falter in my inner-child’s I’m-on-red-alert outpouring. I was trying to be honest to myself but also to the one who I felt had trespassed, trying to delineate honour for us both, and it was exhausting trying to meet well.
Intentions. Intentions. Intentions.
Or maybe just an underlying age-old subservience…..
Then, a few days later, despite toxins flowing out of my system post listening partnership, despite a sense of relief having voiced my FUCK-I-DON’T-KNOW-HOW-THE-FUCK-TO-HANDLE-THIS-SHIT-ness, suddenly guilt swung by. Big time.
But Soph, you shouldn’t have said those things aloud. You showed how judgemental you are. How you haven’t got a fucking clue. You gave yourself away. Now your listening partner will see how critical you are. Now she will not want to be friends with you…..
A familiar voice, eh?
Yes, my inner-critic was back on the scene with a second swell, another layer of trying to quell what needed hearing. She was so insanely busy trying to stifle all these big unresolved feelings back in. Like squeezing a Jack-in-the-Box back into his metal tin.
And there was a moment, a well trodden moment, that I could have swallowed all this back down. I could feel the sensations throughout my body. The numbing down. The nausea. The oh so tight tension building. Tiredness…. Yes, the whole old familiar caboodle.
I’m not quite there yet in honouring my fire so completely. Not quite trusting enough to let rip. BUT I’m on this growing up cusp of sitting between both spaces. Observing my crazy need to pull it all back in, to disappear before being seen. And my question of what if?
What if this time I rebel? What if this time I let out the shit, the mess, the mud where water and earth meet and not care about how it is received? What if I prioritise my reception and acknowledgement of it and unpick my fear of another’s response?
But it is days since I have come to this. Days since the first wave of guilt arose since speaking my voice.
Thankfully, my inner-parent has been at hand. Thankfully she saw this sway of shame and wondered some more about it. And this is where the story really began.
Some stories, possibly the best, can only be heard over time. They take years to unfold. When the soul is ready and poised to meet the terror, the heartbreak and loss. When the yearning for justice has finally arrived home. When the birthing of a new path is starting to germinate.
Fear kept my story back. This familiar, bloody awful familiar, swallowing back down, in, deadening, tightening down. Because of fear. Because I put their feelings on a pedestal before my own.
The deep fire that ripped through me the other day was the same fire I see in our daughter when her sacred boundaries have been overstepped. I’m learning to truly honour and celebrate her here, despite how trivial, how irrelevant it might seem from the outside. I am learning to meet her and give to value her expression, despite how challenging it might be for me in those moments. Because I know the significance of her defences and I want her to be able to flex this so important muscle as she grows. Her core strength will be in this and I refuse to dampen the spirit and power of her glorious inner-warrior.
And with the beautiful mirror she holds for me, I am learning to validate my own fire when it explodes. The invalidation that I acquired as a child, undoubtedly passed down from generation to generation, I want to change. NO. More than this. I want to jettison it beyond the stars for it to be something of my ancestral past. Yes. PAST.
Yesterday, with kindling still alight from earlier in the week, I met my heartspace. Tell me, I asked, what is my direct experience in my heartspace right now? Repeatedly, as I lay on the bed, and enquired and watched the weather-system that is my heart.
My subconscious spoke and I fell in and out of a dream state, an altered one so to speak. I found myself at the site in which my friend had overstepped my mark, the energy of it still swirling it’s way through my system, and asked myself what I wanted to say to her.
“I CAN’T STAND LIARS!”
Whoah! Fuck. This woke me up there and then. Fuck. Wholly fuck. These aren’t my words. Fuck.
And there I was, boom, bam, straight in my childhood and my servitude to my mother in all of this. She couldn’t stand them. Despite her, my dad, my brother and sister seeming to lie too frequently for me to remember. To be able to sit comfortably with.
As I write now, my jaw tightens. My throat constricts. My body contracts.
I see, I feel my mum’s wrath. I feel myself cowering, shoulders hunched, hands shooting up to protect my head. Dread flooding my being.
Punishment and guilt all at once.
And I realised yesterday, all too uncomfortably, my worshipping of ‘truth’ that grew as I tried to grow up. The ballast, on a sinking ship, I clung to being ‘truthful’. Fessing up about the motorbike. Feeling wholly uncomfortable, speaking anything other than my truth, lest I not get shouted down at. Or worse, trigger my mum’s own unbearable pain.
Fuck. Holy fuck.
Yesterday I sat with, or tried to, the charge of this truth. My adherence to someone else’s values because of them, not me. And how this became woven in into my existence.
How I realised yesterday, I expect this same truth-speaking of others. How my frightened inner-child is still ready to purge the world of liars for my mum.
To still be a good girl. To still serve at this alter. In the trembling foundations of my being.
And I saw yesterday how swallowed down all I wanted to say to my friend last week because I feared her response would be an ‘untruth’, so resonant to my family’s. And how my powerless to speak, and all the shudders this came with, was coz I inwardly, so deeply inwardly, I couldn’t stand a conversation based on lies, mine or hers.
Yes! Herein a new freedom was, is born.
Maybe Soph, I don’t need to adhere with such conviction to ‘truth’. And maybe others don’t either. Maybe I can let my guard down. Let down my mum. Let down her pain. Not carry her fury anymore. Despite the insanity she died two years ago this month. She’s dead Soph. Why are you still carrying her shit? Oh no, that’s right. It’s your shit now!
Yesterday, in the midst of this realisation and my struggle to acknowledge it as it came to light, I fired out at my husband and the kids, with a sense of volatility that reminded me of her. Inside this opening of insight, in it’s acute rawness, inside it’s own truth, I came so close to the bone of my mother’s terrified plight. Her own trauma that became mine too. I barked at the kids. I shouted at my husband. I didn’t want to hold this. I wanted to chuck it all back at them. Just as my mother had wanted to do with myself and my siblings. The difference, I believe, I didn’t want to hold this. She, I suspect, couldn’t.
Oh this weaving. Oh this unweaving.
My mother’s fire had filled me with fear. And to help distil her fire, I understood, whether rightly or wrongly, she wanted to cleanse the world of liars because their message was too unbearable for her. And, being a dutiful soul, I sought to help her with this.
It became my religion, this crippling law of perfection. Unbeknown to me. It became how I knew my ‘value’ in the world.
Oh. I will seek to honour my fire. I will seek to not veer and shy away because of the heat. I will seek to cherish it for the value it holds and elucidates. I will seek to greet it’s offerings of my own vital edge. Those deeply personable to the interior of my rich, abundant and wholly deserving landscape.
I will seek to honour our daughter’s fire. Our son’s too. And learn the wonders that lies beneath.
I will seek to honour yours. As well your magic.
If you see me today, I am on fire. Less from the gifts my friend’s ‘untruthfulness’ bestowed on me earlier this week. More from the truths I am currently sitting with.
Integration takes time. I believe on the other side, I will no longer reach to disappear before I have been witnessed. I will no longer cower as I unlock my true essence. My true value which can be as confused and as muddy as yours. I can step down from my own internal tower, knock down the protective walls of this outgrown righteousness adherence to ‘truth’, and dance in the unknown that is this joyous mess.
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