Is the song by Rodney Atkins - If You're Going Through Hell coming into rhythm in the back of your mind? It always jumps into my mind whenever I get real about walking into the fires of my healing journey. If you haven't heard the song, go give it a listen, it'll inspire your walk through the hell you're experiencing.
My own personal hell has been diving headfirst into a complete life rebuild from the ground up, guided by a therapist who specializes in the fractures within me. I stopped domestic abuse. Sounds like that should have been the end of the story, doesn't it? Yet, that was just the beginning of my wanderings through my own emotional-mental-physical hell and three years down the road of really focused, intentional self building work, I am finally feeling whole being Nita, the self reliant individual. Now I respect how quickly un-dealt with emotional wounds can drag me into the abyss of fire and brimstone in my mind, so, I continue to do the work. I continue to show up for Nita each and every day; I choose me.
A life rebuild has it's moments though. Funny, scary, $%&cuked up, real, heartbreaking, devastating, but the best moments, the best ones, are the light bulb moments of realization, acceptance and growth. This is one of those moments...
A few weeks ago I was walking the old old old hound dog on the road above my house in the snow. It was crisp, powdery snowfall, that kind of snow that lilts down and stacks up like cold clouds, then, miraculously, stays on the ground for days adding a bit more every now and again. Our walk was slow and on his terms, which means it was mostly led by the blood-hound nose that still rules his
world. My patients felt stretched thin and I was definitely not enjoying the crisp crunch of the frozen ground that blanketed the mountainside, it was no wonder that my mind wandered as he led us forward, continuing up the road. I had been physically ill. Covid, then pneumonia and ending with bronchitis. One by one these plagued me and it all started in November, ran right through December, still slowing me down way up here in the new year. That day in the snow, I was tired, alone and feeling the heavy, hurtful loss of an important friendship. I was frustrated with my health that left me unable to care for the members of my household who were also sick. My illness deepened and lingered while theirs lessened and I watched them recover and return to normal activities, yet here it was December and I'm regulated to a short walk of the dog within view of our home. Physically-mentally-emotionally; I was in hell. The fires of it burned wicked hot like lava bubbling deep inside and it seemed as though this brilliant snow should hiss, melting and turn to steam with each step as I walked this furry old man on a leash.
The dog with the nose at work was so happy, completely satisfied with his life at the moment it seemed, and I truly felt envy for his blissful journey up the road, through the snow testing out the nose that caused so much trouble in his youth. Inside me on the other hand, the lava bubbled, and I wondered if I would ever be able to find trust outside of myself again. Recently I had lost my most trusted space, and the emptiness, the grief and shock still consumed me at times when my mind had time to wander and this snowy walk was just the time to go for a walk into self pity. My ego suffered a blow that was beyond anything I had known before. I just could not understand what all had happened, or rather, not happened and walking in the snow all those cruel, self loathing lies we tell ourselves when we are in the flames of hell flew through my brain ravaging me. I was walking directly into hell in my mind while that dog was doing everything in his power to get us far enough away that we'd have to spend the night outside. You see, I had been sick enough that anything over a quarter of a football field away from the house was going to need a search party to locate me and bring me back. Yet he pulled at me and I, lost in my own hell, trudged along behind.
It happened suddenly, unwittingly trudging behind the nose attached to the old dog. I don't know if it was the lava within me or just the warming temperatures outside that were loosening the grip between icy ground and powder snow giving it the quick slickness that came out of nowhere. But, without warning the nose switched directions and yanked on me just as a snow pile fell from the power lines above us and started it's decent towards earth. In the blink of an eye, my trance was broken as I slid and skated around screaming out "ahaayyyyyaaaa", arms flailing about, legs going every direction, feet seeking traction and just as traction caught and I had some sense of safety without falling to the ground, just as the falling snow from the power line overhead landed right on my head. The laughter bubbled up through the lava and brimstone within me. It burst out of me into the icy stillness. It carried through my soul where the journey of the last three years had brought me to the edge of everything I had ever dreamed of, and delivered nothing. My laugh rang out into the shimmering white hillside. The nose, I then realized was watching me like I was wasting his walk time, and all I could do was laugh harder.
It hit me as quickly as the entire incident had happened that it was so funny I needed to share it with someone, because, of course, funny things are better when shared and witnessed by another. In the same instant the idea to share popped into my head, the first tear rolled down my cheek and I tasted the salt of it mixed with the crisp moisture of
the air. I realized there was no longer anyone to share it with. No best friend. No one in the world to witness the moment alongside me. I was now alone. Don't get me wrong, I have a few friends and lots of acquaintances, but, that best best friend who gets all your quirky things and you get theirs; that was now gone. The tears streamed down my face as the weight of it settled over me. Standing in that snowy road the world spun around me and I just stood, crying. I lived the emptiness of a thousand days deserted in seconds and then a miraculous thing happened, a spark of light deep within me. It caught to flame, and the flame, unlike the lava which brooded and punished, this flames light filled and illuminated me as it's gift washed over and throughout me. I had just received the realization that I had Nita. I had seen it. I had witnessed it. I. Nita. It was enough that I lived it, and right then and there I accepted myself as my own best friend. For the first time in my entire existence it hit me that I was capable of fulfilling all of my needs. Tears mixed with laughter now as a chill came over me and I became conscious of where I was again.
The leash tugged my hand, and giving it my attention, I looked into the big brown eyes that searched mine, urging me to push on and follow the scent ahead. He was oblivious to the hell fires within me that had just converted into a brilliant light of energy and self acceptance, he had wants, needs, desires and his nose drove them all. Much to his irritation, I tugged back on his leash and urged the