And finally…I Exhaled!
It’s been a long time coming. For the last two years, I’ve been inhaling and inhaling – the disappointment, the hurt, the pain, the negative urges… Oh, the things I wanted to say and the things I wanted to do – but never acted on – well, except for those few times I allowed myself to stoop. Those were the times I exhaled a little. But those exhales weren’t filled with relief; they were filled with the hurt, pain, and anger that I wanted to release. And yet, I still found myself hurting. And so goes my journey to truly exhale…
I was hurting on the inside from something that was done to me. Initially, I responded in a positive way, but somewhere along the [communication] lines things got negative. “What about my hurt and my pain,” I thought. “What about the things that were said and done to me”? “Did anyone think about my feelings”? “Did anyone care”? I believe that actions speak louder than words. First, the actions were foul – and now, so were the words. So, I retaliated [verbally].
I wanted to release. I needed to release. So, I did. I exhaled a little, and afterwards I felt guilty for doing so. “I shouldn’t have said that,” I thought to myself, and it haunted me for a while. I wanted to be the “better” person. And, those words didn’t help the situation. They just made me feel better. And no matter how true I felt they were – sometimes, some things are better left unsaid. So, for a while, that’s what I did. I inhaled and moved on…
Then, there came a time when I was tested. It seemed that everywhere I turned there was a reminder of what had happened – my email, social network sites, my blog. “This is crazy and childish,” I thought to myself. “Who does this”?! And then it came to me, [maybe] someone who’s hurting just as much as me. So I responded – truthfully, genuinely, and positively. And that was that. Or so I thought. And yet, my journey continued…
Months later I came across something that encouraged me to make right what I felt I had done wrong [read more here]. So, I attempted to do just that. At first, I thought all went well. But, as it turned out my words made me seem fake. Those [positive] words couldn’t be received coming from me. Not the one who said those negative things before. Not the one who thought those negative things before. Not the one who wanted to do those negative things before. Not… Ciara Walker.
I reflected. “Damn, am I being fake,” I asked myself. “I did say some negative things, and I did have some negative thoughts – and oh, let’s not forget the negative/horrible things I wanted to do [but didn’t]”! “How can that be true, and yet here I am trying to make peace.” “Why do I even care”? “Do I really care, or am I just being fake”? I thought about it and the answer seemed clear to me, but why was it so hard for others to understand – to believe? I didn’t understand and that bothered me, but again, I inhaled and moved on…until recently.
As I mentioned in a previous post [here], I am studying to get my Masters in Counseling. Through this program, I am learning a lot of things – not just about how to help others, but about how to help myself as well. I’m learning to exhale….
You see, all along this journey to exhale, I’ve let out a few breaths here and there – I’ve retaliated [verbally], I’ve yelled, I’ve cried, and I’ve shared pieces of my feelings. But nothing has come close to a full exhale. Still, there was disappointment, hurt, and pain. And, I didn’t understand why. What was I not doing right? What did I need to do? What did I need to say [and to whom]? These are the questions that filled my mind, and yet, I didn’t know the answers – or so I thought. As the months went by my journey to fully exhale continued, and then, with a little help and prayer I began to realize what was there all along. I began to exhale.
That day, the tears began to flow and I began to release the hurt and pain – positively. I was hurting because of something that was done to me. And part of me believed it happened because of something [not exact] I had done to someone else. My mother always told me to treat others how I want to be treated! I know this. However, I’ve made a few mistakes in the past. I’ve never done anything to the extent of what was done to me, but like they say, no one sin is greater than another. And Karma, she can be a bitch sometimes [I know].
Don’t misunderstand, I realize that what was done to me is not my fault. But, I had already forgiven [those who hurt me]. I had even apologized to those I know I hurt. Now, I needed to forgive myself – and make peace with my past. I was hurting because of what was done to me, and I was also hurting because of what I had done in my past. And it was that hurt [caused by me] that made me feel guilty for what I had said to the one who hurt me. In someone else’s eyes [back then], I was…that girl.
I couldn’t explain it then because I really didn’t understand it myself. All I knew was how I felt. But, they say hindsight is 20/20 – and now I see. A part of me understood the feelings of the one who was partially responsible for causing my pain and – as a female – I felt for her, and I felt bad for allowing myself to retaliate in a negative way. She is human. I am human. We’re all human. That’s why my initial response was positive. That’s why I attempted to make peace. And that’s why I cared. [Exhale…]
I am perfectly imperfect, and I accepted that the day I began to exhale – and release the guilt. I felt a sense of release and relief! It was cathartic. Sometimes… I choose to smile instead of crying; I choose to laugh instead of screaming; I choose to be positive instead of fighting; and when I have the opportunity, I choose to right a wrong. Yes, I’ve said some negative and hurtful things. But, even through my disappointment, hurt, and pain, I still feel and show what some others may not – compassion. And that doesn’t mean that I’m a bad person. That doesn’t mean that I’m a fake person. If anything, it means that I’m a real person! I didn’t understand this at first, but now, I do – and I embrace it. Now, I’m exhaling!
~ Ciara Walker