I was feeling brave last week.
I was looking for a place to work, and my mind went to the coffee shop I used to love but is now tainted with memories of trauma. I had been once before for a meeting, and it had been hard. Maybe even a little ugly. But I had survived.
Desperately I wanted the physical reminders of trauma to be gone. I didn’t want my heart to race uncontrollably. I didn’t want to feel lightheaded, and I didn’t want to think my stomach might betray me.
I wanted to be able to walk into the darn coffee shop and work the hours away.
But I couldn’t do it.
Pulling up to the light at the edge of the parking lot, the gravity of my body’s response was too much. The panic grew too strong. My mind could not win the war being waged. I wanted to fight, but instead, I had to flee.
The next hours were spent lying on my couch trying to recover. It didn’t come easily. In fact, it took days.
The past months have been filled with hard work. I have gone to the scariest of places and opened myself to the most vulnerable of emotions. I have pursued healing with relentless passion, and I believe it is coming.
But I still have limits. There are still places that are too tender, too wounded to move past quickly.
Once upon a time, those limits really hacked me off. I didn’t want to acknowledge their boundaries. I resented they were so unyielding.
Today I find myself respecting them. Do I wish they weren’t there? Sure. But I have been growing in grace. Instead of fighting, I’m willing to embrace my limits exist. Those limits are the basis of how I can care for myself.
This is a shaky road I walk. Every step is a risk. But I am seeing the risks pay off. I am seeing kindness replace condemnation. I am making choices that are good, even when they feel like the last thing I want to do.
I can not say enough what a precious thing hope is. Hope is growing friends. It’s growing.