Walking the Line
After my dad died, I started following a lot of people online who had also recently experienced a loss. Being in their company felt safe. A lot of our worsts had already happened and we were all on the same team. It was in these circles that I started to hear the phrase “healing is not linear”. As time has stretched on, this phrase has become something of a mantra in my life. As I walk my line of healing, I am continually blindsided by loops, curves, and times when the line simply folds in on itself and I’m suddenly walking into a wall.
On this line, I have found solace in therapy but not at all in the ways I had anticipated when I first started. Therapy had always been sold to me as a fainting chair in a dimly lit room with a straight-faced, glasses-wearing individual who is taking judgmental notes as they ask me how I feel. I believed that when I saw a therapist for an extended period of time, I would stop feeling bothered by the things that once sent me over the edge. I believed that therapy would rid me of anxiety and would minimize my pain while amplifying my joy.
Essentially, I believed that I was broken and that therapy would fix me.
But, what I learned was so much better than that.
I learned how to feel again. And that shit is excruciatingly painful. But I learned how to walk through my pain so that I could leave it in its place rather than struggling to carry it with me because I had not yet addressed it. And while my moments of pain take my breath away and leave me bloody and bruised, I also get to experience the other side of my emotions in a way I haven’t in years. My joy truly is amplified. The sweet moments are overwhelmingly beautiful. I often find myself crying in disbelief over the incredible experiences that are peppered into my every day.
I learned that we are all broken. And in therapy, I was taught how to use glue to pick up the pieces of my broken heart and create something new with them. I learned that I don’t have to be walking on the shattered glass of my pain all the time.
I still find myself lost as I move forward through my grief. The line I’m on truly is unpredictable. But sometimes my line takes me through places that are so wonderful I can’t believe that I get to feel so great. I was certain that losing my dad meant permanently losing the type of uncomplicated bliss that comes from a life free of any major trials. I wasn’t entirely wrong. But there is happiness in my life. It looks different than it used to, but it also carries more weight and I feel it more deeply.
I don’t have a bow to tie up this thought. I just know that the next time my line flips my world upside down, I will feel every second of it and then I will pick up my glue and get to work repairing myself.