My Heart is Aching & Here’s How I’m Getting Through It
A few days ago my life flipped upside down. My heart has been aching ever since. While I usually don’t shy away from specifics, right now my grief is in process, and I’m going to respect that processing. It’s confusing and difficult and paralyzing at times. I have moments of clarity and moments of being a complete weeping mess. I always share what I’m going through because I feel like the transmission is most powerful and authentic at that time.
I’ve been through a a good amount of grief in my 32 years. My heart has been stampeded more times than I’d like to remember. I have dealt with the death of people I have loved dearly at 12, 14, 16, 19, and 22 years old. I have given my heart completely and felt it slip through the fingers of men and splatter on the floor. I haven’t managed to avoid grief one bit.
I know some people in their 30s who have somehow escaped this dreadful human experience. I’m not sure who I consider to be luckier, me or them. In the current moment I’d probably say they are because living with this heavy heart is nothing I’d wish upon anyone. On the other hand I’d say me because having this broken heart is something I’d wish upon everyone.
Walking through the fire in my heart has always been the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, and it’s always lead me to a deeper, fuller understanding of myself and of this life.
When I was younger, and didn’t know how to heal myself, I hardened to stone. My warmth evaporated, my emotions felt far from reach, and everything felt numb. I didn’t know how to be truly intimate. I didn’t know how to let people in and see me. I didn’t know how to be truly vulnerable. Numb felt normal until I was ready to feel again.
Right now, I am grateful for the pain of my past, specifically the challenges I went through just a few years ago which lead me to this new relationship to myself. I’m grateful because now I know how to process my pain in a way that’s constructive. I have learned that I need to sit with it, feel it, express it, and do that over and over again until my wounds slowly begin to heal. I will admit to you that it’s a long, grueling process. It doesn’t feel as direct as it sounds. It’s full of confusion and pain and that feeling like it’s never going to get better. But it’s human, and it’s what I know has to be done to live the life I want to live.
My mind has been flushing me with every thought you can imagine these past few days. I have had moments of gratitude for what I’m going through. I have had the opportunity to see things about myself I thought I had completely worked through that are resurfacing and others that I have discovered have been there gently murmuring all along the way. On the other hand, my mind has also tried to tell me how worthless I am, how I am constantly being shown that I’m not worthy of love, that I should just give up already.
This is where my growth shows up. I am no longer a victim of my mind. I have learned that these thoughts are not who I am, that because they show up doesn’t mean I have to acknowledge them. Instead, through tears, I looked into the mirror, directly into my own eyes, and declared my love for myself. As I try to fall asleep at night and feel overwhelming sorrow and shame wash over me I repeat, “I love you, Michelle.” over and over again until I drift off.
This love for myself is the one thing I have now that I never had when I was grieving before.
It is the one thing that has given me true strength, true perseverance. It has allowed me to choose love over fear.
Being in this space now, with my heart so vulnerable and with my entire life transformed I want to tell you not to wait to learn to love yourself. Do it now. If you’re not in excruciating pain, do it now so you’re prepared. If you are in pain, do it now because you have to. Do it now, no matter where you’re at in life, because now is the only time to do it.