Being Kind.

November 4, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Posted in Choosing Happiness., Cult of Personality, My life, NaBloPoMo | 11 Comments

When my cousin Amy committed suicide nearly 18 years ago, I blamed myself. I ignored the signs, pretended she was fine, didn’t reach out to help her like I should have. I ignored the letter she sent me, full of pain and darkness. I did the bare minimum for someone I loved.

And for years, I really believed she didn’t actually want to die, but she was put into a situation where the only way out was death. I believed I could help her, if I had only reached out.

In hindsight, man, I needed therapy a LONG time ago. Because that’s what suicide does to people who are left behind. Makes you think it was your fault – if you were a better person, you’d have done more to help.

Intellectually, I knew it wasn’t my fault.

But it was hard to convince my heart of that.

Aunt Judy told me years ago, when I confessed that I wished I could have done more: Serenity, we found her journal after she died. She wanted to die every day of her life. I don’t think ANYONE could have done any more.

(Do you see why she was so amazing? The longer she’s gone, the more, it seems, I miss her.)

I spent so many years punishing myself for my perceived failings as a person. And the most awful thing: I never REALIZED I was doing it. It wasn’t until I started seeing my therapist that I realized, holy shit I’m awful to myself.

When you’re not kind to yourself, when something hurts you, you tell yourself you don’t really have it all that bad, that so many other people have it worse than you, and you don’t really have any right to complain.

It’s just recently that I’ve started to see these patterns in how I treat myself. Awful, negative patterns. I tell myself I shouldn’t feel something, I don’t allow myself to feel my feelings, and then I get so pissed off when I can’t handle how BIG my feelings get, and I get overwhelmed, and I call myself names and tell myself to suck it the fuck up, it’s just a feeling.

I’ve heard, for years, Be kind to yourself.

And I never knew what that meant.

What I’ve been doing these past couple of weeks is to treat myself like I would my best friend. Would I tell her to suck it up and deal with the crappy reality of a non-viable pregnancy?

HELL no. I would show up at her door with wine and ice cream, and I’d let her cry, and I’d listen when she obsessed about what was next, and maybe she should stop. And I’d listen to her when she decided to lose weight and train for a marathon because she hates her body.

And you know something? I actually feel okay.

Like really, honestly, okay.

I’m bleeding, which sucks. And I don’t know how I’ll handle it when our doctor tells us the results of the chromosomal testing on the 16th when we have our follow up. And we are still facing the reality that we will not get our Happy Ending when it comes to family building.

But I’m running, and Lucky is writing, and learning how to read, and he’s growing up right in front of my eyes. And we never, ever lose sight of the fact that we are a family NOW, the three of us, and that’s okay.

Being Kind to myself has allowed me to work through my grief. Sitting with the hurt has shown me that I am much stronger than I thought. It hasn’t drowned me, which quite honestly, was the whole reason for trying to not feel.

And even bigger? I can feel this pain; really experience it, and realize something.

I am not broken.

Let me repeat it again: I AM NOT BROKEN.

I am whole, and I am me. And I am SO. Much. Stronger than I have ever given myself credit for.



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  1. This is inspiring. You are inspiring. I know I haven’t written much on your posts recently. It’s because I’m honesty not sure what to say. I’m so blow away by your strength and your understanding. I feel incapable of adding anything of value to your life. But you add so much value to my life. Thank you.

  2. Bravo and touché. And, above all, you’re the only you you, Lucky, and Charlie Brown have. And, just as you would never want Lucky to sel-flagellate, he would not want you to, either.

    Be kind.

  3. You rock. Beyond. You are not broken. ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

  4. Love this! Love it!

  5. Love this post. I followed your blog a little while ago never knowing that we shared this in common. My grandmother took her own life 6 years ago almost to date and it is very hard. There are so many what ifs, what could I have done, why didn’t I see it, and then the other elements of anger,confusion, sadness, and crazy things you don’t even expect to feel. I get mad at life and especially myself for so many things and am my worst critic, so I’m going to make an effort to stop all that. I need to stop being so hard on myself because I’m actually pretty cool. Thanks for posting this.

  6. This is a wonderful post. You are not just “not broken.” You are amazing.

  7. You are amazing. I love this post. I too have been through a lot in the last 5-7 years that I have no control over. It is hard to just sit with the grief. Like you, and so many others, I am a doer. I want to fix it. Some things are not fixable and when we allow ourselves to accept that fact it is easier to find peace….marginally easier anyway.

  8. You have so many “lights to guide you home.” Thinking of you XOXO

  9. What Esperanza said. This is what happens when I don’t comment right away – everyone else says it all better than I can. 🙂

  10. As a person who has been suicidal more than once in my life-a suicidal person’s number two goal is to do everything possible to keep people from knowing you are suicidal-so that you can achieve your number one goal in life-committing suicide. Ever notice that funny people kill themselves-like Chris Farley (I think he o’ed-but same difference). I’ve always-even when suicidial-maybe even more so-at least tried to be very funny and to make everyone around me laugh-in public.

    Before I had kids that is-and probably would be were it not for the fact that my father attempted suicide (and basically dead since), his father -my grandfather did commit suicide-i.e. I know how unfair it is to children survivors.

    So, your Aunt’s right-you couldn’t have done anything-you couldn’t have known-your cousin not letting you even suspect for for a second-was a full time job for her.

    My cousin (more like a sister, really) killed herself too. It sucked, sucks. I, like you, “know” I coulnd’t have saved her even if I could have known (because, you know, people who don’t want to be saved can’t be saved by anyone)-but I don’t think I’ll ever believe.

    This is a great post to remind those who are suicidial -that they do matter, that their deed will forever leave a hole in the lives who love them.

  11. Wonderful, wonderful post. You’ve come so far in the last couple of years.

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