Intention. I feel like it is important that I not have a specific intention as I sit here and feel my fingers pound the letters on the keyboard.
Yet my brain is flooded with intentions:
Filling a void
Making him notice
Getting out of self
Getting in touch with self
But there’s a small voice that I’ve grown to trust in the back of my mind saying, “no, Hannah. Let all intentions go. Write. Don’t filter, don’t edit (at least, not until the Elephant Journal editors tell you to).”
So here it is.
The dull throb of rejection is still ever present in the darkest corners of my heart. I’ve tried to make it disappear with therapy, with spirituality, with deep breathing, with an overcompensating positive attitude towards the world.
But what I’ve come to accept, after reading hundreds of articles, daily meditations and wisdom from those who have dealt with pain and loss and grief, is that there isn’t an escape that works.
Escapes exist: substance abuse, new relationships, seeking validation through male friends. But an escape isn’t what I want. It isn’t what I need, down on a core level.
I need to feel it.
I’m not sure if it is a human tendency to want to run from pain to avoid it at any cost, or if it is a characteristic of my alcoholism, a reflexive habit to do anything and everything not to feel pain.
Here I am four years into my sobriety, a broken relationship and a painful rebound later.
Something in me has shifted. I no longer want to escape the pain. Something has finally clicked in the confines of my heart and I know that the only way through the pain is exactly that: through it.
So I turn towards the pain. I sit with the feelings, both good and bad that wash over me like the waves [of the Atlantic] that I’ve watched these last few weeks bounding the beach in Ocean City, Maryland.
Surrounded by hundreds of people; most which are drunk and loving life to the extent that they are capable of.
And I am alone. I am alone and I am completely and utterly whole.
They say that when we break, we are able to let the light come in.
I feel the light in every nook and cranny of my body. I feel the light when I am sitting at my desk at work, trying to stomach the harsh reality of addiction: that there is no cure. I sit with patient after patient in my office, trying to help them identify their “triggers” all the while noticing the lack of light in their lives.
And then it hits.
I am full of light.
It almost knocks me off my chair. I am full of light and I am full of love. For the first time in my 24 years of life, I feel it. I feel the complete and unconditional capacity to love and be loved.
I broke in a thousand pieces when my rebound told me he “just wasn’t feeling it.” That might have been why I didn’t feel the grief of ending a 3-year relationship. Because I had this bright, shiny new man to catch me when I fell.
This time, I don’t have anyone to put me back together.
I don’t think there has been a period of time since my adolescence that I have been single. Really single. This might be why I have found myself laying in my bed in the morning, struck with panic and anxiety and an immobilizing pain when I realize that I do not have a man to fill the void in my soul.
And then, sitting in my office, I felt that light—the light I have cultivated throughout the relationships, the growth, the pain, the loss, the confusion, the frustration.
It’s been here all along.
One day, I would love to be with someone who sees me. Who really sees me. I want a deep connection that defies all reality and hits me in the depths of my soul. I want someone who I can sit with and feel the energy between us without making small talk or jumping into bed. I want someone who can undress me with his eyes and envelop me with his presence.
But I do not need that right now.
I need to turn towards the pain. I need to stare it in the face and look at what it mirrors in me. I need to walk directly through it. I need to cry on my mat, to laugh alone in the woods. I need to smile at myself in the mirror and see all of me before I can allow someone into my life to do the same.
I need to fill my own void.
I need to stand in the light.
Without intention, without expectation, without anyone else.
Author: Hannah Rose
Apprentice editor: Lindsay Carricarte; Editor: Caroline Beaton
Image: Author’s own