*Trigger Warning - I’m about to tell you about some of my triggers which may or may not trigger you...or if they didn’t already trigger you, you may find a new trigger to ruminate on...I’m sorry and you’re welcome.
I am constantly fighting a battle.
Clinically, I will call it ‘Ineedtoknow-itis’….and you may suffer from this syndrome as well, if you:
As living, breathing, feeling humans, I don’t think I am making a broad generalization to ascertain that we often want to feel reassured. We want to feel secure in our choices and in the feelings we feel; at times, not wanting to feel them unless we know they are right, or true or safe...or at the very least, worth it.
So how do we resolve these feelings, doubts and the chaos that is often associated with matters of the heart?
Well, for a really long time, I assumed they could only be resolved one way. In the arms of that man, holding me on the jetty, in the above picture.
I told myself I couldn’t do this life without him. That together we made a whole. That he was the peanut butter to my jelly and that he completed me. If I was spiraling or upset, lost or angry...or even hangry...all of these things could be resolved (which thank goodness for our sanity and our relationship, Juan figured out very early on) by enveloping me in a long silent hug.
Because he could calm me, and I did not yet understand how to calm myself, I assumed only he was capable...which is a belief that is really damaging when your person up and dies…
Today - I understand just how sensory-based of a person I am.
Yes - a good hug by a trusted person can really melt stress away - but so does an immersive experience like sitting at the beach alone, rocking a baby to sleep, or taking a yoga studio class with dim lights, music, incense burning and movement.
Basically, I am constantly seeking to be hugged by the universe. I seem to want someone or something to hang on to, to hold me tightly, so that for a few moments, everything can seem alright.
What This Means:
So despite what some may assume about this ‘Ineedtoknow-itis’ condition, wanting to know isn’t a matter of control (at least not of others) but an attempt to make an educated decision as to how open to stay, or how much to protect myself from another potentially hurtful situation. (a.k.a. trauma)
Yes, these are the things I think through. Sorry for giving you the sneak peek you never ever asked for!
Somewhere along the way I have seen patterns and internalized some of the lessons life has sent my way...these include:
All of this leads me to the conclusion that it would seem my preferred genre is Choose Your Own Adventure...and that my close reading skills (a.k.a. Spidey senses) include eyes darting back and forth, like on a forest road at dusk, always alert for that family of deer who may run into your path. I want to know, or at least suspect the danger ahead of time. I want to prepare myself, or find a way to fix it, or make so much of the remaining moments, that I won’t have a single, solitary regret as to how I lived them. Again...trauma response.
As prepared as I have tried to be...I keep getting caught off guard by pain.
Chapter 1: I knew Juan was sick. I knew I couldn’t help but love him anyway. We knew he was getting worse. That eventually he didn’t qualify for a lung transplant anymore. I even knew he would die...eventually. But when he did die, I was shocked.
I was shocked that someone thought I should be capable of living this life without him. That I wouldn’t actually grow old and wrinkly with him, that he died without us having a chance to build a family or a home or a real adult life of our own.
How did I console myself?
I decided to find what must come next. Because being alone and childless, without a plan, wasn’t the adventure I had chosen.
I decided to love again. I decided to find joy again. I decided to travel the world.
All while waiting for that child to arrive.
All while never giving myself the chance to learn who I was or how to seek a hug from the universe on my own.
Chapter 2: My favorite hobby in the world is a selfish one, because I already revealed to you that I am a sensory person...and that for me, holding a baby is the most mind blowing experience I can fathom. The warmth of this new little body, the smell of a brand new human being, their kissable heads...I figured that since I chose love again, it would ultimately lead me to this comfort I was seeking...this child...or 5- 8 children if we are being honest.
Gotta love happy chaos!
So I Choose My Own Adventure again...this one started with planning out lists of baby names, Pinterest boards full of baby nursery decor and ended years later, with failed treatments, countless injections, more tears than I ever thought possible to cry, and a diagnosis that revealed that I wouldn’t be having my own children.
This hard stuff…. this awful, soul-destroying stuff, this is the living. Not the hallmark movie where the cute girl next door gets the hardly flawed guy with the adorable smile and they live happily ever after.
So these are the two really big chapters...there are many more in between...and by now, the message that first whispered, and then screamed, “Katie, stop with the Choosing already...it clearly hasn’t worked out for you...” has finally started to get through. What I am understanding, despite how difficult it can be, is that sometimes, you have to just wait and see.
See I was born equal parts doer and dreamer. The problem with that is that I have the dream or thought or feeling or inspiration, and I am super driven to act on it, pretty much immediately.
I got the message somewhere along the way, that prepared people, successful people, know what’s happening and they are the directors in life, not the bystanders.
I love being a director so much that I am very uncomfortable with the whole not knowing thing.
But lately, many wonderful happy bits of happenstance have wandered into my world that I never planned, never sought, and they have brought me great joy.
Joy….CUE the trauma response….”What will this look like in a year?”, “Do they really like me, or am I being used?”, “Am I falling into bad habits and old ways again?”, “Is this too good to be true?”.....and so on.
Now would be the time for a hug!
So...I soldier on. I go to that yoga class...I move and breathe and realize everything is just fine.
I go to the beach. I listen to the waves, and smell the salt air, become a human lobster, and realize, everything but my sunburn, is just fine.
If it is meant for me, it will be there. If it speaks to my soul, I will know. If my body tells me it’s right, it’s okay to listen to it. If my body tells me it’s wrong, it’s okay to listen to it. I know myself, I love myself and I trust myself. I don’t need to know what someone else thinks, or what the future holds to know that I will continue on, listening to myself, living my most busual life, and making the next right choice for me, one choice at a time.