The soul cannot forgive until it
is restored to wholeness and health.
In the absence of love - how can one forgive?

With an abundance of love, starting with one's self,
forgiveness becomes a viable opportunity.
-Nancy Richards

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Safe Place to Fall

When I was a girl, I simply wanted to be safe.

Night after night, I’d wake up at 3:00 am and lie vigilant until morning, terrified to greet the new day. Oh, how I needed a safe place.

As a teenager, I used to walk around Green Lake by myself late at night. People told me I was crazy to be out alone after dark. In retrospect, it seems more sad than crazy that I felt safer out by myself in the dark than I did in my own home.

As an adult, I met Nina. She was the first person to willingly listen to and bear witness to my pain. She helped me create a “safe space” to deal with my abuse.

And still, it wasn’t enough. I wanted my Mom to comfort me.

My Aunt Julie became an important presence in my life, offering the maternal and therapeutic guidance that was otherwise unavailable to me. When faced with life’s traumas, I ran to her. She taught me through words and actions that what makes seemingly unbearable pain bearable is the ability of another to hold your pain.

And still, it wasn’t enough. I’d leave my safe place and walk into harms way; I wanted my Mom to be my safe place.

I turned to my mother, only to be devastated by her responses. Then, I’d nose-dive like an airplane, spinning out of control in a downward spiral.

The most basic relationship of my life – the unsafe connection with my mother – defined my sense of norm. My “norm” was to “sign on” and ignore the red flags in intimate relationships until I was hooked. Then, I tried to change unsafe conditions rather than to simply shun that which was damaging to me to begin with.

I teetered back and forth between safe places and unsafe places until the day came when I stopped trying to pathologically get support where it is was unobtainable – and to only seek support from where it was available.

I learned that there is no reason to ever accept feeling unsafe….

….Because, at the end of the day, we all need a safe place to fall.

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