My emotions have been everywhere as my 2 years in Atlanta approaches and what would have been my 2 year wedding anniversary. Facebook memories reminding me of the excitement and how happy I was preparing for both. Embarking on a new chapter of my life not knowing what lies ahead. Instead of creating new memories I’m having to let go of what was and what could have been. It’s hard to let go of something that you never wanted to end all while still trying to understand the “why.” Thinking that I would be carrying (🤰🏽) proof of a promise around this time, instead I had to watch it die. These past 2 years has challenged me in every area of my life. This has been one of the hardest seasons of my life. It hurt me in a way I can’t even put into words, in a way that I didn’t even know was possible. As I’m going through my healing process I now understand the importance of grieving. Something I wish I was taught at an early age, but hey you live and you learn.
Growing up I only knew grief to be correlated with death. That was the only time I heard the words “grief” or “grieving.” As I think about it I probably do not grieve the loss/death of someone properly either (LOL). I was taught 3 things: 1- You push through and move on 2- Be strong and don’t stay there too long and 3- You should be over this by now. I applied this to everything that caused me pain. I probably applied this in other areas of my life. I never took the time to really unpack things or feelings. The issue that I’ve come across with this method is that I didn’t allow myself to feel or really took the time to acknowledge how it affected me. I minimized the pain and told myself that I was ok when I wasn’t. I told myself that time would heal all wounds. Time passed, but the bruises was still there (wounds bleed out and bruises bleed in). I just found ways to cope with it and put up defense mechanisms to protect myself. I suppressed everything and didn’t talk about it. I didn’t know how to articulate what I was feeling and didn’t know how to express the emotions that came with what I was facing. I didn’t give myself time to analyze what went wrong in its entirety, accepted my mistakes and figuring out how I could improve. It wasn’t until I came to Atlanta when I start hearing things like I needed to grieve losing that job, my disappointments, my failures, failed relationships, friendships and etc.. As my pastor would be mentioning and explaining why it is necessary in his sermons I would be taken back by it. Like WOW…I didn’t know or think of like that.
One day my counselor ask me something:
Counselor: “Why are laughing and smiling while you are crying? You’re body posture is telling me that this hurt you. You’re hurting.”
Me: “Because I have to believe/hope that there is something on the other side of this.”
Counselor: “It’s ok to know that things are going to get better because it will. But it’s dangerous not to allow yourself to feel/grieve. You keep trying to get to spring and summer without going through winter. When you need to go through winter to enjoy spring and summer.” He goes on to say, “You keep trying to process it in my mind, but not with your heart. Your heart is hurting and you’re denying it to feel and grieve.” He says, “I give you permission to grieve.” You don’t have to be strong.” Needless to say I left this session perplexed. Questions like, how does one properly grieve a thing? What does healthy grieving look like?
Tasha, you don’t have to be strong echoing in my head. Truthfully I was over being strong I was sick of it. I wanted to be weak. I wanted to be able to put down my false strength and superwoman cape and just be without allowing what I was feeling to consume me. Asking myself how to not be strong because that is all I ever known. Everyone that I thought would be there disappeared. It’s just me and this empty space. I felt lonely, lost, and afraid because this space is unfamiliar to me. A space where my present and my past collides. My past trigger to the 10th power and my present speaks everywhere I turn because it’s a reminder of what failed. “Rejection” and “trust no one” speaking louder. Yet and still God is telling me to try again and trust Him. I found it difficult to do because I felt that He abandoned me and that He saw His daughter in pain and lacked concern. How was this for my good? To me, God and I was beefin’ (Lol)! I wasn’t in a good space, but I was lying by saying I was ok. I put on a mask because I couldn’t allow myself to be hurt more with empty promises from people. I wouldn’t have been able to handle it. People saw me hurting, but yet no words. People with words….yet no actions
So, I decided to take some time for myself and unplug. I unplugged from social media and removed myself from everything and everyone. I allowed myself to feel it all. Whatever emotion I felt I didn’t stop myself from feeling it. I sat in my truth. Sitting in your truth is one of the hardest things ever. Especially when you have nowhere to turn nor can you run and hide. Every avenue presented was uncharted territory. All of my comfort zones were destroyed. Where I once felt accepted I felt like an outcast. Forced to heal in front of the people that caused the pain and in the place where I was hurt. Although this was and still is difficult I decided that I was going to grieve and heal properly. I made it up in my mind that I wanted to be whole. I’m tired of the recycled patterns. Although I was angry with God I found myself at His feet because I knew that I couldn’t do it without Him. Every attempt to do it in my own strength failed. I had to allow God in the secret places of my heart. I had to allow God access again. I had to trust that He knew what was best for me, although I lacked understanding. This was a constant battle because of the cloudy perception I had of God in the mist of my pain. I wanted to run away from God and I tried too. Somehow it seemed that I was getting closer to God instead further away. I learned the safest place throughout this process is in God. (Psalm 27:5) I learned to be vulnerable with God. Vulnerability is something that I struggled with, but I found freedom in being vulnerable with Him. In Him I didn’t have to put on a mask nor hide my pain. I knew that God wouldn’t judge me and I was able to be real with how I was feeling. When all I could do was cry He was there with me. I gave God complete access to my heart. I didn’t always like what was revealed to me. (Psalm 26:2) The things I became aware of, for instance, I trusted man more with heart than I trusted God. How crazy is that? I also depended on people’s validation instead of God’s. These were hard truths. I’m still learning more about myself as I continue to grieve and allow God to work on my heart.
Grief Has No Time Limit
Grieve it! Each trauma grief period is different. Some things may only take a day and others 6 months or more. Don’t allow others to tell you how far along you should be in your process. They don’t know the depth of how something affected you. Don’t rush your process on account of someone else either. Everyone grieves differently and people will always have opinions. Take time for yourself. Be honest with yourself if something hurt you. It’s okay to admit it. It’s okay not to be okay. That is something that I learned throughout this process. Once I got this revelation your girl was walking around telling people, “No, I’m not okay.” It helped relieve the pressure of my false strength. Just because I wasn’t ok didn’t minimize my strength or who I was. Don’t refuse the help that God sends you. This was a tough one for me because trust was broken. Truth is, God will send you help. He’ll send people that will pray for you when you can’t pray for yourself. People that’s not afraid of your truth. People that will get in the trenches with you. People that will build you up and encourage you. People whose actions match their words. People that are concerned about you and want to see you become the best version of yourself. Yes, this process has been extremely hard and painful. Yes, during the process I wanted to give up and I did relapse. After I gathered myself or someone would read me, I got up and tried again. I’m in the process of becoming the UPDATED version of myself. Learning to grieve and grieve properly has been one heck of a journey. But one that I’m determined to complete because I have to meet the HEALED me.
Click on the link for context. Mourn It • Leave It • Live