The Other Side
You will get to the Other Side of things eventually. It may not happen in a way you ever wanted. It may not happen tomorrow. It may break your heart and your spirit in the process, but you will one day pick up those scattered pieces and build a life that you want. That you deserve and that you control. You may need to make some scary decisions; you may need to go out on your own, take some chances and stand
firm for what you want, what you need. But never doubt that you will get there.
The older I get the more like my grandmother I become. This in itself is totally not a bad thing, except she was always awake before the sun even thought about getting out of bed and apparently I will be too. I wake up at 4 in the morning - every morning - whether I want to or not. I stumble downstairs, blindly find my coffee pot, pour my first cup and settle into my corner of the couch. When this first started happening I was really not ok with being up before the rest of the world. But, as time has gone on, I have come to treasure these moments of my day that are entirely my own. I don't have to be anywhere, do anything, or take care of anyone. I am not distracted by ringing phones, laptops, deadlines or the busy that is my life. It is really the only part of my day til late at night that it is just me, my coffee and my random thoughts.
It was during one of these mornings recently that my thoughts decided to take a random trip down memory lane. The past is not something I visit normally. I lived it once and I really don't need to relive it again. But for some reason my subconscious - which is undeniably way smarter that my conscious brain - saw the need. Funny how when we stop distracting ourselves for a few moments what our brain brings forth for us to think about. It usually isn't something you want to be thinking about, but probably something you should be thinking about, at least for that moment.
I think what triggered this stroll down memory lane was an off-the-cuff comment a guy made to me during a conversation the day before. About people seeing who you are today and having no idea what it took to get you there. Every trial, life lesson, heartache and struggle you faced. Made me look at where I am today and step back to trace my journey here. For it is not just strangers that do not appreciate all that you have overcome, but it is also ourselves that do not stop long enough, and occasionally pat ourselves on the back for what we have accomplished.
We made to it to today. We made it to this very moment. For some this is a milestone in itself. Those that wake up in the morning and never know what the day will bring forth. The ones that wake up and only open one eye in order to peer out to the morning and see if the bad is waiting silently next to the bed. Or the ones that wake up every morning with a sickness, facing a day of pain, medications, doctors and procedures. The women who wake up next to their husbands never knowing which man will show up that day. The caring partner or the controlling, abusive monster? For some just getting through each moment is an accomplishment worth noting.
I have had moments in life when just making it through the day in one piece felt like I climbed the tallest mountain. When what I faced on a daily basis by all means should have dropped me to my knees, head bowed and arms thrown up, saying "I quit." But somehow - I made it through each and every one of them. Not because I am anyone special. Not because I have secret powers or magic cape - but because somewhere buried inside of me, I believed in the other side.
The Other Side.
When I was nestled into my corner of the couch, blanket drawn up around me and coffee in hand - I time traveled in my mind a bit. I was feeling anxious about the future and all the new things that I have in my life now. Awesome things. Exciting things. Things I had only dreamed about, where slowly coming to fruition. I was having a hard time believing in the good and that bothered me. See, I know where I came from, what I overcame, fought and dealt with, to get to this moment. But apparently I needed to remind myself the journey to the Other Side actually happened, I can trust in it.
Finding the Other Side took me over 30 years. I didn't even know it existed. To me the Other Side was a myth. Mired in life, no hope for the future and lacking the ability to see beyond my now - even the thought that someday everything would be different, be better, would make me laugh out loud. The sheer craziness of the thought would have me shaking my head, dropping my shoulders and continue to solider on to what I was facing at the time. I didn't have time for fairy-tales.
I sat there that morning and traveled the roads that led me to here and now. From the philandering drunk father, to finding out when I was 21, he wasn't really my father, to meeting my real father and finding out I have 5 brothers and sisters I knew nothing about 10 years later. To spending decades locked in my mother's mental illness, never knowing day-to-day which woman I would get. And on through the years of unhealthy relationships, periods of self-imposed isolation from the world, bad decisions, and self-loathing. The tenacity I hated myself with for so many of those years, leaves me breathless. The losses, the battles, the never ending cycle of bad that was life. I played my history like a video montage in my mind, seeing everything clearly as if it was someone else's life.
When I came to the last few years I stopped for a moment. The sun was peeking through the trees and the quiet in my living room was calming. I sipped from my steaming cup of coffee and focused on its warmth in my hand. The past 3 years have been the culmination of all of it. The breaking point coming with my mother's death. The shock of her suicide, the devastation and the overwhelming urge to make sense of it all - was the final act. It was not as I wanted. It was not what I had envisioned. But it was the hand that life dealt me and I was left holding the cards with a decision to make. Do I hold? Do I fold? Do I play them?
I couldn't hold on to them. I refused to fold. So, I played them. What I won from that hand was - the other side.
So many of you are facing daily struggles that not many in your life see. Abusive relationships, depression, addiction, family problems, and illnesses. Life. It can be so hard to see the end game because you are too busy trying to make it through the day. It seems never ending. It starts to feel like this is the life you are supposed to have and that it will never get any better. That you are destined to suffer through whatever it is you're facing and that is just how it is. But take it from me, for it is one of the only things in life that I am 100% sure of - You will get to the Other Side of things eventually. It may not happen in a way you ever wanted. It may not happen tomorrow. It may break your heart and your spirit in the process, but you will one day pick up those scattered pieces and build a life that you want. That you deserve and that you control. You may need to make some scary decisions; you may need to go out on your own, take some chances and stand firm for what you want, what you need. But never doubt that you will get there.
When I finished my coffee that morning I realized with startling clarity something I had been missing all along. I had done it. I had found the Other Side. All the struggles, all the sadness and all the loss had led me here. I just needed to see it. I needed to believe in it.
Maybe you are getting there; maybe you have taken the steps to get to where life is good. Maybe, just maybe, you are already there and just like me - didn't realize it. Wherever you are on your journey, however bad or how hard a struggle it is - know in your heart and soul this one thing... The Other Side exists. You will get there and you will be content. You will be happy and safe. You will feel the one emotion so many of us gave up long ago - hope.
JV Manning's work and keep her in coffee ♥
©JVManning 2020 All Rights Reserved