“Whatever happens to you belongs to you. Make it yours. Feed it to yourself even if it feels impossible to swallow. Let it nurture you, because it will.” – Cheryl Strayed
During the years immediately following my divorce, I went through hell. I refer to it now as a dark “season” of my life. A season in which I really f*cked up. In pretty much every way. I regressed and seemingly unlearned some very valuable lessons of my past. Sometimes I look back on that time and honestly wonder who the heck that woman was, doing those things. Wellll, it was me!! All me. Every last ugly crazy sad messed-up bit of it was me. No matter how many hours I dedicate to ruminating on the absurdity of my choices and the lack of maturity in my actions, that dark patch remains as part of the landscape of my life.
As such, I am getting better at using those dark times as fertile compost. Amending my present life with shit I have learned.
I went through a stretch of awkward dating, as most newly divorced folks my age do. Lots of dating followed by lots of swearing I will never date again. I learned a lot about myself through those years. Some lessons were immediate, sharp and stinging. Some were akin to agreeing to get a slow painful year-long tattoo…a dull tugging jagged pain that takes months to heal.
One date evolved after my genius epiphany that alcohol and first dates don’t mix. (really. it took many moons & some personal lows for this lesson to stick.) So this first date was a run. A little trail run. A jog really. “Perfect! This will be great!”, I thought. My favorite thing to do and I can really just be myself! I think that “date” was the beginning of the end for me and Mr. Ego Trip. As we were rounding a bend in the trail, jogging along, I thought “this is so much better than sitting in a bar…!!” Breathing in the clean breeze, relaxing into the forest green, chatting as we ran.
And then he pipes up. “Hey! You know what I love most right now?” (um, the clean breeze? the green? the soft pine forest floor??)
“No, what??” I smile back.
“I LOVE how when you run I can see the light shine through the gap in your thighs. I love that you are thin like that.”
YEP. A grown man with kids said that. On a first date. My stomach dropped and I couldn’t get back to my car fast enough.
This comment stays with me, nearly 10 years later. Why???
Because in my moment of clarity…trying to grow & be REAL, honest and authentic, the outside world (specifically that dude) didn’t play along. There is never going to be a guarantee that those around me will have my best interests at heart. All I can do is remind myself, again and again, what I know. Where I have been, what I have learned, where I am going.
I read this Anne Lamott quote the other day: “…..the three things I cannot change are the past, the truth, and you.”
Here’s to moving through the world empowered by the truth of all your moments of learning, growing & amending your soil.