I see you’re here and you’ve been here for a while — a long while, in fact — but I’m over you, now. I’ve been over you since you first stumbled into my life, but something’s different now. You’re still the same, but my relationship with you has changed.
I’m learning to meet you where you need to be met, rather than doing everything I can to avoid or ignore you, to resist the messages you’re trying to pass to me, through my body, or to try and translate them into messages I want to hear rather than the ones you’re actually sending.
I’m learning not to fight you, anymore — not to hustle and grind with adrenaline, but instead to breathe deep and then stop. Even if that stop is longer than I might want it to be — months, rather than moments.
I’m beginning to finish your sentences — sometimes before you’ve even started speaking them.
I look after myself differently, now, you see.
I love myself.
I mother myself. When I hold myself, I know, for the first time in my life, that I’m never letting go.
I look in the mirror and I tell myself all the things I so desperately needed, and wanted, to hear as a kid. And the things I so desperately need to hear, now. I know how to give — and am giving — the kindness or gentleness to myself that I’ve always needed.
Each day, my own tenderness, warmth, and affection, leaves me teary.
I’m coming home.
And on days in which I can’t find the connection, the warmth, the mothering, or the part of me that doesn’t want to find these things has taken the reigns, I know that by the end of the day, I always want to come home again.
Those days of disconnection or neglect don’t last as long, anymore. And they’re never as intense or destructive as they used to be.
I’m learning and listening to the language of my body, with a beautiful intimacy that’s only growing deeper and more loving.
I’m falling in love with myself and finding myself, and the more I do, the less I want to abandon myself or my needs.
For all these reasons, I know I don’t need you anymore.
I don’t need you to remind me to do all of this loving and mothering of myself. I don’t need your presence be the reason that I take it easy, rest and nap, drink herbs, be gentle with myself, eat well, because I’ll do those things out of love for myself, not just to ease the weight of you.
I used to ask you to leave me alone every day, sometimes every hour. I asked, I cried, from the depths of my being, for you to give me space and allow myself to feel, and find, myself again.
It was a desperate longing and ache for the air I breathe to be air of vitality, health, and wellness, not one of fatigue, pain, or a flu-like malaise. To be able to step outside into the life that surrounds me, and connect with the life that I have inside of me.
I still often feel these things, but I’m asking now, from a place that isn’t so desperate. It’s simply a solid need for distance from you, and a solid knowing that it is possible.
For the first time in a long time, I can see what health looks like. And for short moments, I actually feel it, too. These moments aren’t long, but they’ve begun to be here. It’s a health that’s come from within, regardless of symptoms or physical experience. I’ve felt healthy with you here.
I’m still struggling with various physical things, but the sense that health — health without you — is on my horizon, is something I’m beginning to know and trust, not just hope or wonder whether it will be.
I’ve learnt to enjoy your company. I haven’t chosen our friendship, and I still wouldn’t choose it, but I’m learning to revel in the coziness that you bring, rather than feeling a tumbleweed of worry, hatred, anger and frustration, towards you.
I read, I write, I nap, I lie on the grass with you. I take you and my body into bed, and give myself the rest I so deserve and need. I tuck my inner girl inside my duvet and hold her.
I allow her gratitude, sense of safety, warmth, and relief, float up and embrace me, reminding me that I’m doing the right thing.
I lie for hours beneath the Spring sun, allowing my teen to feel the freedom, nourishment, and adventure she needs.
I still feel all the same feelings towards you — grief, sorrow, hatred, anger, a sense of injustice and frustration — but I understand you more, now. I don’t feel as lost. I’m not desperately looking for something or someone to fix it, fix you, fix me.
It makes sense that you’re here. It’s shit in so many ways, but it makes sense.
It made sense when you first showed up, but I couldn’t see that — I refused to. All I saw and heard was fear and a No that rose up from inside myself, and stayed.
Suddenly, I now tell myself all the reasons why you’re here, and all the things people used to tell me, upon hearing that I’m hanging out with you, and upon hearing my story.
Of course you’re going to need this time of rest. You deserve, and need, this time out. And you’ve got time — so much time. It’s okay to need this now — it’s not forever.
I’m able to see further down the line than just now. For a while now, I’ve been able to know and trust that if I give myself this time with you, one day you and I will be distant strangers that occasionally pass each other in the park.
Or you’ll come back to visit for a holiday when things get to be a bit too much. I know you won’t disappear forever, but that’s okay. I’ll need you sometimes.
The thing is, I want this time of distancing, to be now. I need to feel independent from you, and most importantly, I need to feel myself. I need to go on dates with Vitality, and have naked morning cuddles with Energy. I need to write poetry with Freedom and sing rap songs with Life.
I need to look in the mirror and know that the face of wellness that and everybody else (including me) sees, is the body I also feel.
I can thrive with you here, because that’s what I’ve learned to do — and thriving amongst pain or hardship is something I’m really fucking good at — but I don’t want to need to be good at this, anymore.
I want to thrive without you here, and I want to hear my heart singing as I live the life I want to, rather than the life your presence prescribes.
Be well, Tired.
Previously published on Rebelle Society