Green Eyes

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My heart pounded at what seemed miles per second as I sped down the street in my mother’s car- I could care less about the changing stop lights. The only purpose I had was to get to his house and see if he was home. I could feel my face so hot with tears as the fiery rage of jealousy coursed through my veins- I focused on the anger so I didn’t have to feel the ache of loneliness.

Jealousy was always a problem that would rear its head as often as it could- regardless of the person and whether or not it was rational. It was something I tried to control through the means of controlling others- so needless to say it took me down a long dark road for years until I was finally willing to look it in the face and see it for what it was.

The peeling of the onion layers was just as painful, if not more, than the actual jealousy itself. It forced me to see the deep insecurity within myself. It led me to discover the deeply rooted fear of abandonment from childhood and its marriage to my anxious attachment as an adult. I was petrified that the man I loved, my best friend, my parents... would all leave me. That they would rather spend their time with other people, doing other things, instead of be with me. I didn’t value myself so why would anyone else value me? And that was the belief that I constantly chased to prove right- and the Universe did not disappoint.

Every text, call, and person down the street was of higher worth than I believed myself to be- and my mind took that and ran. I would often find myself lost in time as I fantasized of the shoulda-coulda-wouldas and the what ifs. I would imagine myself finding out about there being another woman, and create an award-winning scenario that you would only see in a movie. I was so engulfed in what my brain invented that I would drag those made up feelings with me into my real life. Snapping at my loved ones because of the shit I made up in my mind.I couldn’t even watch films or shows with cheating or partying because I would immediately think that the same would happen to me- as if the experience was transmittable through tv.

I believed that if someone were to make plans with another person that it was a personal attack towards me- as if it was solely based off the fact that they didn’t want me in their life. I whined and fought to make people hang out with only me- the thought of sharing someone was torture. Would they come back?

Jealousy caused me to repel friendships because I wouldn’t allow myself to believe that good women existed. I assumed all women were here to be homewreckers and rip my relationships away from me, not noticing that I was destroying them myself. Everything was a competition, each interaction had to be catty, fuming with spite. I even found myself developing those exact same characteristics of the people I was jealous of- in order to “win.”

The loneliness I lived in was excruciating- the more I clung, begged and demanded- the more I pushed everyone away. Creating the vicious cycle that kept me hooked to the behavior for more than a decade.  Sometimes, my suspicions were correct- making it even harder to stop living in paranoia. Other times, I was so overwhelmed from the imaginary that I couldn’t decipher the real.

Jealousy allowed me to stand on my own two feet, to seek solace in myself so I could finally find interdependence in my relationships. It helped lead me to the life changing work of letting go of codependency, and start the healing of my inner child. I was finally able to start grounding myself so I wasn’t lost in the infinite space of my mind- floating away in the abyss of unreality. At last, I was able to decide what I wanted and what I needed in my life once I made the decision that jealousy wasn’t part of it. Through this I was able to create boundaries in all areas of my life- with all people. It even helped me to realize that love is abundant and spending time with other people didn’t take love away from me.

I’m still working on it as I find the fine line between rampant possessiveness and a healthy dose of attachment. I think it’s normal to feel the ping of jealousy now and then as it reminds us of the work we still need to do and the behaviors we won’t tolerate. Envy can be the fuel to rising above and seeking more for yourself which then helps you enjoy the success of others. I work every day to become a happier and healthier person and though there are times when I feel the flare up of jealousy in the horizon, I allow myself the time to reflect inwardly and offer compassion and kindness as I navigate the familiar territory one last time...

Love always,

Mabes

A letter to you

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Young and naive, confused and alone, the cycle would go on for years. Absorbing my surroundings like a sponge, memorizing words of hate to use decades later in my own personal attacks of those whom I cherished. The chaos continued and here began my addiction of escape and coping mechanisms that allowed me to merely exist in this world- floating through my constant cloud of depression that became so normalized that I had a full out battle with my ego when I later tried to give it up. The safe haven of darkness that was so familiar and cozy- ripped out from under me was enough to give me my first of many mental breakdowns.

It wasn’t until I chose to start doing this increasingly difficult work, that I was able to finally begin to make sense of it all. The process of questioning, unlearning, rewiring and digging up the roots that ran so deep within me and had grown into enormously miserable yet thriving plants of despair and flowers of hopelessness flipped it all around for me. The new self-awareness and hyper sensitivity of becoming a completely different person gave me the much-needed perspective to make sense of it all.

They say that at birth we come into this world having the cumulative trauma of four generations embedded into our DNA, a shockingly simple realization for me now. At the almost age of 30, I squeeze the murky water from my childhood sponge to see its contents spilled out in front of me. Even as adult children it’s difficult for us to remember that our parents are merely humans, like the rest of us. We create unreachable expectations for those around us and collapse to the ground when they aren’t met. I understand that you came from different backgrounds and generations. I understand that you had good intentions all along, but they never matched your expectations because they didn’t align with your values that you had inherited from someone else without question. I see how you did your best, even if it meant showing up empty- because no one ever modeled self-care to you. I know that the invisible line between love and co-dependency is easy to cross- and I’m even more familiar with how that mindset sends you spiraling into the darkness of a victim mentality. It’s easy to be a victim; to be miserable, to blame the world and everyone in it for your mood swings, depression, resentment, self-loathing and failures. That style of life is a much more instinctual pick versus the one where we take responsibility for our problems, reflect and question ourselves and what we put out in this world. The ego is here to protect us and keep us alive, but it also loves labels and identities and it works overtime to construct the resilient pride that refuses to let go of what no longer is working, for fear of its necessary ego-death. Many of us will never be able to admit that we get what we put out.

It’s one thing to finally look in the mirror and realize what you’ve been projecting onto others; seeing the damage you’ve caused and the effect it had on everyone around you- but it’s a much more difficult road to learn the healthy way to behave and think- let alone apply it in real life. Many of us choose the long road of denial- something I had difficulty finding my way out of thanks to those coping mechanisms I mentioned earlier. Material things, escaping with drugs and an exploding social calendar, even romantic comedies were a way to keep my head in the clouds- not noticing how it would bring about the crumbling of many un-sturdy foundations when they didn’t match the fluffy Disney-like happy endings I fantasized my codependency would lead to.

I know that it seems much easier to keep pointing the finger, stonewall and run away than to do what seems impossible- heal. But the healing is exactly what you will be preventing from yourselves if you don’t use this experience wisely- Spirit will only give you so many opportunities for growth before you can no longer live with the regret. Blaming will only lead to worse problems that never get fixed because you are denying yourself the opportunity to take responsibility and make necessary changes. Criticizing, judging and using hate filled words to air out the pressure of pent up resentment is just a mere projection of what is inside- anger and sadness. It’s hard to let go of the entitlement that comes from refusing to accept, or even fathom the idea, that other possible perspectives exist or the fact that other people having opinions and feelings too. The incessant pain that you try to squash with distractions will never dissipate because deep down you know that acknowledging it means admitting defeat and the fact that you can never take back the hurt you caused others.

I close my eyes; my mind’s eye settles in the darkness and I fixate my sight on a little girl-myself. She’s small and seems helpless, with tear-filled eyes she looks up at me. Her hand in mine, trembling with fear and sadness. She is hurt but she knows she will be ok. We walk together to the other side of the room, where two other children are standing. My mother, young and frail looking- scared to death. Her only known purpose is the family she raises- the struggles of motherhood and not knowing how to express her love raveled in a nest of depression and loneliness. My father is thin, with a sad boyish face. His eyes long for more, yet he fears he will never reach it so he constantly and subconsciously does just that. Neither of them feels worthy or deserving- the affection they received only showed glimpses of what true and unconditional love was, so together they would struggle, blindly, until they could learn to love themselves first. My younger self and I forgive you; we understand and we accept what has happened and what is happening. Regardless of the immense pain and trauma that it has caused to resurface, I am grateful for this because it is making me look at what I was running away from for two decades. As Freud said “one day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.” That is the only thing I am certain of.

I am the daughter of you two beautiful beings and I will never stop being that, I am not here to choose sides- I see the pain behind both of your experiences. I just wish you the best of luck and I hope you find your way back home-wherever that may be.

 

Love always,

Mabelyn