This one I have mastered. This one I have been actually really, really good at. This one I have a deep intimacy with. This one feels like home base. This one is familiar. This one is comforting, yet not so comforting. This one has been my M.O. my entire life. This one I have longed for in a fucked up way and I would start to panic if I haven’t touched in with it in too long. It is an anxiety that has lived below the surface, that has risen when things feel just a little too good, because I simply could not allow myself to feel too good because then what?? Then I feel good. That’s all. Then I move forward in my life in an embodied, happy, and integrated place. Then I become more and more of myself, of whom I truly am, below the surface, above the surface…all of me.
But, the little voices that love to interfere with that goodness quite often have reigned supreme in many situations.
I am recognizing, though, that self-sabotage and all of the actions that go along with it serve a purpose – they have kept me alive in many ways. They have served as protector, as mediator, as a fortress in which I have resided when the world and what was being asked of me was simply too scary. Self-sabotage and I go way back. I do not hold her in angst even as we meet again and again. I am softening to her just as I am softening to life. I am comforted by her presence at my back in a way that I am not with any other. And, it has come time to take some space from her hold. It has become clear and safe for me to emerge from that cycle of being, that cycle of living and that way of shielding myself from the scary world. Because the world is not scary anymore at 42 years of age. The petrified and lonely 7, 10, 13, 18 year old in me is safe, as I have embraced her wholly. I have taken the scared young Alison and I have wrapped myself around her many, many times and she feels it. She feels the love, the unconditional acceptance; she feels seen, acknowledged, and not blamed or punished. She feels what she was longing for all those years of struggle, of hidden addiction and self-inflicted torture. All those years of shoving food down her throat, binge drinking until passing out, throwing her body into any man’s bed who would take her – who would “love” her – who would take the pain of living away even just for a moment. At 42 years of age, I see it all, I feel it all, I understand it all, and I have the deepest compassion for the young Alison who was doing the best she could in the circumstances that society inflicted. I speak up for her now and all of the other young girls who did not feel safe enough to open up to the adults around them. Who felt that there was something wrong with them, who turned to substances to try and soothe the excruciating pain of being alive in a body that had, to them, failed.
Self-sabotage has been my go-to.
It has kept me safe in so many ways and allowed me to heal in my own timing. It has allowed me to unfurl in a way that has felt welcoming to my entire being. The layers that have been needed to work through have been dense and have required patience, perseverance, and compassion in the most palpable sense of the word. Doing this healing work amongst living a life, working, having a baby, the incessant demands of solitary parenting, being a friend, attempting at being a lover… is not a straightforward path.
Self-sabotage has allowed for me to pace myself while living my life amongst other human seekers. It has protected my heart when the pain of it all has just felt too unbearable. It has allowed me to take the steps backward that perhaps I have needed to do in order to regroup, reevaluate, and recreate.
At 42 years of age, I have released the grip of self-sabotage, released the need to take such extreme steps backward, and continue to tap into the beautiful wisdom that lies within and truly knows exactly what I need to do next, how to genuinely comfort myself, and where the love is…within.