Mascara Mishap or what I like to call “Face down in the dirt Healing”
Where the grief of yet another relationship finally breaks me open to healing the most intimate relationship I have always been blocking.
Between the months of August and December of 2017 all that I knew to be real and important was slipping away and it wouldn’t be long before I lost myself and my surroundings. I could see it happening to people around me. Good friends, colleagues, complete strangers were losing parents, pets, breaking up with partners, losing jobs.
I couldn’t see what was happening to me though, I too was lost in the illusion, desperately trying to hold on to something that I can only describe as a slippery fish… It was going, there was nothing I could do about it, other than ignore it and hold on tighter.
I was in a relationship with a man I believed to be “The One” (I know, it’s a cliche, but a common one). I had a history of being attracted to unavailable men and had spent the last few years working on healing that pattern for myself and truly believed myself to be “cured” when he showed up. Truthfully, the work and preparation I had done did make a big difference in the beginning. I let him come to me, let him take the lead, I let myself be romanced and gave nothing of myself too easily. It was a beautiful courtship to what I believed to be a lifelong relationship, but which in fact turned out to be built on quicksand.
He was a Widower with two children. We met not long after his wife passed, but didn’t date until a few months later. In the beginning, I questioned whether he was ready, and he convinced me he was. My first mistake was to ignore my intuition, I knew it was too soon, I wished I had paid attention.
Anyway, fast forward a year and a half and of course, his world is crashing in on him. His children are playing up, and his relationship with me is seen as the cause for everyone’s unhappiness, his grief laid dormant ready to consume him.
He withdrew, and he withdrew, and in the end, he texted me to say that he needed some time out, to get his head together… I haven’t heard from him since…
So, my world caved in… The worst had happened… This man wanted to marry me… We were making plans for the future… He designed and bought an engagement ring… And one day, he was just gone. That was the hardest part, the sheer “gone-ness” of him.
I recognised this place, I was face down in the dirt… again. This is how my life lessons tend to turn up, me brought to my knees, face down in the dirt with nowhere left to go, no escape, no distraction, just dirt.
Of course, there had been warnings along the way, but I had ignored them. Why? Because I was scared of losing him. Why would that scare me? This is a good question and one I have asked myself many times.
I knew I definitely didn’t want to experience this level of pain again… Heartbreak… It hurts.
I knew I had to heal this deep wound and really own my part in all of it.
It was around this time I became aware of a writer called Jeff Foster, and in particular two poems “Your open Heart” and “Breaking the cycle of abandonment.” There were a couple of sections that spoke to me in a way that cut to the very core of my wounding, the first being:
“Love is not an excited nervous system,
a peak experience, a wonderful feeling.
Even the most volcanic feelings are temporary.
And even the most sincere promises can crumble.
And even the most beautiful dreams can die,
for this existence is without ground,
and you have always known.”
Yes… The death of the dream, that was what was hurting me so much…The plans we had, the future, the fairytale…
“It was always your job, you see, to love yourself,
to not beg for love, or seek it externally,
or wait for it, or try to hold onto it,
but to drench yourself with it, moment by precious moment.”
I had been doing all of the above, even though I considered myself to be spiritually aware and a conscious being. Oh how quickly I had fallen asleep… I was holding on, begging, waiting, willing to put up with anything. I was shedding all integrity I had to hold on to a man who couldn’t be with me. I had shrunk myself, abandoned my spirituality, forgotten what I was here for, just to be… Loved.
“Do not abandon yourself when you feel abandoned,
for there is a pain worse than abandonment:
the abandonment of self, the flight from presence.”
And this one was the real dart to the heart. I knew on some level I must not have been available to myself in order to attract in yet another unavailable man, but I couldn’t figure it out… Until this. I realised that in my grief I had abandoned myself. I wanted to push away the pain and the sadness, I wanted someone or something to fix me or change this or take it away… Something, anything other than to be present with my pain. And this is where I began to understand how I could be needy. Because I had made my wellbeing somebody else’s responsibility, in fact, anybody else would do.
I became a container for my pain, I held my feelings, cradled them, I was big enough to hold them and there was such presence in that, such relief, such grace. I felt safe. I was there for me, in a way I had never, ever been before. I said to myself repeatedly “I am Here”.
One night I had a bath and when I got out and looked at my reflection in the mirror I could see my mascara had run all down my face and there was perfection in it for me. There was a rawness in my eyes, an energy, a presence and honestly I have never looked more beautiful. Fascinated by my bath time mascara mishap… There was something poetic about this perfectly placed mess… I felt inspired to write a poem:
I have been broken open
Brought to my knees
Face down in the dirt, again
Insignificant slips and trips
I made you my God
I have been broken open
But in this pain is a rawness for life
A nowness that brings me closer
I am alive
I rise from the ashes
With healed wounds and scars to bare
More present then before
Humbled to my core
And oh how grateful to still Be
There is beauty in the mess of me
I Am Here.
When I was with him and when he looked at me, deep into my eyes, I felt like he could see the blueprint of who I really am, who I am meant to be. I thought that was why we were so special, why he must be the one… Now when I look in the mirror I can see it for myself, I see beauty and mystery and all of the Universe contained in the glint of my eye. I have faced my pain. I have taken the invitation to be with the grief and in doing so I have been gifted with a presence I have never experienced before.
There has been a change in me. People have spotted it. Louisa directed me towards it and now sees it. I am no longer afraid of anything. I am content. I have risen up, dusted my knees, wiped the dirt from my face and I am ready. I am willing. I am present. I am here.
And so it is