@sarahklugman (31st December 2011)
I turn the page to another year, a new chapter to start without fear. I have now stepped into my light, with gratitude and new found might.
There was a life to be lived, new people to meet and new places to explore. My spirit was in me and I knew that I was an extraordinary human being, one in seven billion. I had crossed a threshold within myself and for the first time in my life, was not shying away from feeling my emotions and was seeing myself afresh through new eyes, recognizing all that I was and all that I could be. I knew there would be dark days, days when the sense of loss would engulf me and feel like it was more than I could possibly handle, but these days would pass and it would start to feel easier through the passage of time. I knew that I must allow this process to happen as the universe intended, to not fight it, or force my own outcome onto it. All I needed to do was to remain authentic and be honest with myself and with all those around me. This was my process. This was my time.
I was being offered an opportunity to step out of my comfort zone, to enjoy life and embrace my feminine power, taking the time to think about myself, think about what worked for me; it was a time to be brave. To embrace the pain, but not become engulfed by it and most importantly, to not let it stop me from moving forward and do what felt right for me in that moment. It was time to get up close and personal with the doubting observer in my mind, to open my eyes fully to that part of me, the part of me that sought to hold me back.
I believed in life and that every experience we have ever had, everything we have ever learnt, through both wonderful and painful lessons, were all for a reason. I recognized that I had lived my whole life through other people, making them somehow responsible for my happiness and my sense of belonging to this world. As this became clear, I started to awake from my fear riddled slumber and see my world, through my own eyes. My mantra, was to strive to be the best me I could be. My own happiness was very important and I knew that I should and would never be reliant on another, to give me what I needed and wanted, to be able to give myself.
One of the most interesting changes I experienced at this time was listening to music. Growing up, music had not played a large part in my life and my exposure had been limited to soundtracks from musicals and the music my parents listened to, such as The Beatles, Rod Stewart and classics from the sixties. I remember when my husband had first come round to my flat, before we had even started dating and had laughed, like many had, at the puny collection of music I owned. I have a lot of style in many things, but my taste in music was atrocious. For some reason, music scared me. I didn’t know what I liked or what I was meant to like. My husband on the other hand, listened to music ferociously. He loved discovering new music and his collection was vast and forever growing.
During our marriage, there had always been a backdrop of music and more often than not, I found it very distracting. It irritated me, clouded my mind and made my thinking muddled. I never really listened to the words of the songs; I enjoyed some of the tunes but never felt held by them, or comforted by their intent.
This changed after my husband left. The iPod I had always given such a wide berth to, became a loyal friend. I would put it on shuffle and with over 5000 songs on it, I began to listen to the lyrics and I would hear my story and my pain in some of them and feel the joy of what could be in many, many more. The synchronicity of the random selection became obvious to me, with the ‘right’ song coming on, at just the ‘right’ moment.
There were so many changes in motion and I embraced all of them, firmly believing that flowing with life, was becoming far preferable to fighting upstream, against the current of my life.
@sarahklugman (31st December 2011)
The end of an era, the end of a year. A lot has been learnt, there’s reason to cheer. Eyes wide open, stepping forth, reality created henceforth.
It was the last day of the year, a traditional time of reflection, of letting go and moving forward. It all felt very exciting; it was the eve of 2012. Somehow everything felt very clean and fresh. I had an immense feeling of pride for how I had conducted myself over the past six or so weeks and despite being in the very early days of becoming aware of, well, being aware, I knew that I would be okay. I think it is really important to allow yourself to feel proud of your actions and how you conduct yourself in life. It is all too easy to fall into the trap of accepting and expecting the worst. It is how we are programmed, which is so absurd when you really think about it. Who are we not to shine and be free, to fulfill our potential, to live our dreams, to truly soar within our own lives? I had been holding onto so many misguided beliefs about what the purpose of my life was supposed to be. As women, we are brought up to get a good education, get a good job, with good prospects, marry well, have children… The list of what we should be is endless and totally limiting.
I had always assumed I would be a Mother, my husband and I tried to have children, and went through a total of four IVF cycles. We hadn’t really known if we wanted children at the time, or what becoming a parent really meant. That hadn’t mattered, because we were faced with only a few hours left on my fertility stopwatch and society deems that you resort to whatever means possible, to achieve your right, as a human being, to give birth to and raise a family, joining the masses who believe that is the next step after marriage. I don’t ever remember my husband and I actually having a conversation about what it would mean to have children; the responsibility of bringing another pure born soul, into this mad, mad world. I think perhaps, that we got carried away with everyone else’s ideas and opinions.
When you are told at the tender age of thirty-one, following several ovarian related operations, that you have a small window of opportunity to have your own children, love and ego can take hold of the reins. Despite the mental and physical trials of the first year of our relationship, we felt a deep connection and love for each other. No other words can explain our union, well not in my mind anyway. It was the obvious next step. Twelve months however, can only equip you with so much. We hadn’t quite nailed honest communication and were still presenting our best selves to each other. I think this was because we were both, quite defensive individuals, defending our unspoken insecurities. I yearned for him to see through my feelings of not belonging, of not knowing how to be in this life. To show me how I was meant to think, feel and behave; to show me how to be happy. I was so deeply entrenched inside my own mind, that my body felt surplus to requirement. I had felt like this all of my life. I was always looking for approval and reassurance. It’s a very tiresome way to go through life. Draining, to the point of exhaustion. Looking back, I am amazed at how well I managed to move forward and take risks in my life, given the fact that I was barely present.
In all of my relationships, my ego had continually enforced the misguided belief that I wasn’t good enough and that I would never, ever be good enough. That’s all that’s required really, to keep you in a sealed, self-created box. Despite its discomfort, it offers you a false sense of security and safety.
I had absolutely no idea that it was self-created and that it was my own choice to remain locked inside myself. In my husband, I saw daring and I saw safety. I saw a truly wonderful man, with whom I believed, we could co-create the lives we were both, at that time, unconsciously and consciously seeking. I saw a lover, a friend and a true ally. I saw greatness. I just didn’t know how to vocalize what I saw and was scared to speak my mind, because I didn’t know my mind, nor, must I say, did he. I just believed he did, as I wrongly assumed that I was the only human being on earth, who didn’t believe in themselves, who didn’t feel they would ever be good enough.
It was also around this time that we moved in together, several months after we had started dating. I have such fond and wonderful memories of that time in our relationship. Long weekends spent in bed, making love, giving each other a massage ignoring the phone, the door, blissfully oblivious of the world outside our front door. My husband loved his bed, if given the choice, he could have remained horizontal indefinitely. I am not sure if this is an inherent male gene, which becomes dominant in all men when they hit adolescence. He could spend the whole day in bed, reading, watching TV, writing, eating… I also enjoyed lazing around in bed, but only up to a certain point and then my ‘doing’ drive would kick in and I had the need to fill time with action. Fill it with cleaning, shopping or worst of all, mentally beating myself up for not doing enough, for wasting the day. This was my mode of operation. I would start the day knowing how I wanted it to pan out and then spend the rest of the day, with a feeling of not belonging or feeling comfortable anywhere. Mix that with an inner dialogue, not suitable for the ears of young children and you have the makings of a very unhappy life.
I think to a certain extent, we both had many insecurities around who we were. I think we were both striving for the same things and that was one of the reasons we came together. Together, we could find our life purposes and live them, yet we weren’t evolved enough to see that we already had everything we needed, that we already were everything and more. We were both asleep, like most of the people around us. We were following the masses, in a confused state, unable to communicate the fact that we both felt lost. So, in this un-evolved state of mind, we embarked on the difficult path of IVF treatment, which brings up a whole bundle of issues and uncertainties, most of which, we were ill-equipped to deal with.
I am not sure how I really felt about the treatment, I wanted it to work, in some way believing that becoming a Mother, would propel me out of my head and into a semblance of a normal life, yet I sabotaged myself continually. I was a torrent of negative thought, continually beating myself up, thinking that I was not a good enough person to have a child, that this would work for everyone else, but not for me and I had absolutely no idea how to shift from this way of being; I was totally clueless. I would beat myself up all day, every day, within the haze of artificial hormones.
Fuck, the IVF was hard, really hard, yet we kept going and after each failed attempt, they would increase the drugs I had to take and my body took a real battering. Eighteen months into the treatment, with three failed attempts behind us, we became engaged and with that I felt my first inner shift. I relaxed into knowing that he did really love me and that he did want and need to be with me. Up to his proposal, I had always had a niggling feeling that I had never been good enough for him and that he would about-turn at any moment and leave, further reinforcing my belief that I was inadequate in every way.
Prior to our wedding, we did a fourth and final IVF cycle, using eggs donated from a friend. We got as far as the embryo transfer and a positive pregnancy test and then I miscarried. It was a devastating time for me. I don’t know how my husband felt about this ‘failure’, as we never discussed it and I didn’t know how to tell him how sad I felt about it all. Like many other difficult issues within our relationship, they got swept under the carpet, unresolved and unsaid and we instead shifted our focus onto our upcoming nuptials.
We married in a beautiful celebration in my parent’s garden, surrounded by family and friends and then honeymoon’d like kings and queens. The high of the magical trip, held us both in a new place and we closed the door on the IVF.
Outwardly, we were the golden couple. Inwardly, we were and we weren’t. Communication was still a real problem and personal grievances were often mishandled and taken personally, resulting in profound introspection, each of us retreating into our own mind-made rooms of silence, sulking, with a loud, unspoken expectation of the other person. I know that I was completely guilty of this. I was so frustrated with myself and just wanted something to happen that would silence my mind once and for all. I was a victim of myself. Everything had to be perfect, all in its correct place. I just couldn’t sit still, I had to always be doing and if I wasn’t doing, I would generally get stoned, resulting in a cycle of behaviour that achieved nothing more, than making me feel shit about myself. I had no confidence in my body, no confidence at all and found it increasingly difficult to get out of my head, especially during sex. I wanted to be pounced on, wanted my husband to know me better than myself, to know how to communicate with me better than I knew how, and I know now, that I was expecting the impossible.
During the final days of our marriage, before he came back from Berlin, my heart knew he was pulling away; it was probably far too late by then anyway. I had such a deep feeling of regret, that I hadn’t been able to push past my ego and just live, that I had not pounced, fought through his clouded mind, and rescued him, in the way I myself had wanted to be rescued; too much realization, far too late. So as the new year dawned, I made the choice to live my life and enjoy the journey, knowing that in not knowing how it’s all going to look, you open yourself up to many more possibilities, than your mind could ever have imagined.
I asked myself how I wanted my life to look. Believe me, this felt so alien. I had been brought up to put others before myself. Taught that it is selfish to put yourself and your own happiness first and it finally dawned on me how limiting and more importantly, how untrue that was, and I resolved to have joy and love in my life and fearlessly move into the new chapter of my life.