Sharing the burdens

I've not kept it a secret that I have been going through some pretty heavy shit in my personal life lately. There's no new news there, but it's just a slow process, and one that I'm constantly working on. It's hard to balance your everyday responsibilities and these really intense emotions that you're feeling, but I'm trying really hard to do that.

I'm not entirely sure how or why this has happened, but recently, I've had a couple different people disclose to me their own heavy burdens. In each case, it was absolutely shocking to hear these words from these people that I thought I knew so well. I can't go into any details at all, because they are not mine to share, but what I can share is how I feel about this, which is the only thing I can control. I absolutely cannot fix their things and I know that. So what now?

Back to therapy time, folks.

When someone tells you something that is a Big Deal, it is almost impossible to know what to do or say. It is quite literally shocking. Then there is the surprise that it took so long for them to tell you, which can be quite hurtful. Then there is the guilt that you're making it all about you and your feelings when you're not even the one who went through the experience. It's kind of an endless loop.

What I have taken from these experiences is that almost everyone has secrets that they feel they need to keep, for whatever reason... shame, embarrassment, self protection, etc. Keeping secrets is hard work. In order to keep them, you have to compartmentalize your life, and make sacrifices. We are only given so much energy and when you have a secret to keep, it is extremely draining. Therefore, other areas of your life suffer. It just happens, and it's probably not something you wanted to have happen, but if your secret is big enough that it must be kept secret, it becomes more important than any of those other things.

Dear god, how much energy that must take. It's almost admirable.

I wish that I could take these burdens and have them make sense, but it can't happen. They don't make sense, whatever way I turn them. I can't make them fit into a box. And I don't like that. I'm not used to not having control over situations. So that makes me feel extremely uncomfortable. I'm in an icky, gooey space right now where I FEEL things with INTENSITY, but I can't DO anything about them. I am quite literally devastated. I feel like this is the worst thing that has ever happened to me, and none of it is even MY thing.

I'm making this about me, which it is and it isn't. But I can't DO anything, like I said, and I am still feeling things intensely, so I have to work on what I control: me.

Part of why I am so upset is that it took these people so long, in some cases decades, to tell me these things. These really major things. It just makes me so sad for them, and me, that they didn't feel like they could trust me with them earlier.

The fact that these people that I know and care about have been having to carry these secrets alone makes me so sad for them.

The fact that these things happened are... incomprehensible. It took me three minutes to come up with that word because I just can't understand.

I have been wracking my brain, literally sleeping and crying off and on, with how to handle this. I was already in a pretty intense spot in my life, but it has been skyrocketing. Basically, everyone should tell me all of their things now because I will hear anything that you tell me. I will absorb this with you. I feel like I am at the lowest of low points, and you probably can't take me down any farther.

And I am not unhappy about this.

Quite the opposite, I feel so relieved that I can help share these burdens. This is something I can DO. I can take some of it on myself. I can listen to you talk about it. I'm so grateful that they trusted me with these things.

I can't take away what happened or make it better in any way, but I can be here for you. I will keep your secrets with you, even though it pains me to do so. It pains me most that you have these secrets to begin with.

Today I could not get out of my head, so I went to my safe place. I ran my fastest mile ever to get there, and I sat down expecting to feel better and... it didn't work. It didn't help. I sat there for three minutes and got disgusted and had to leave.

I walked for another mile, and I cried the whole time.

On the third mile, I stopped caring that I was crying, and I just let myself be sad. I am just so very sad.

I turned around and went a different way and found a place I had forgotten about. This place...

I can't believe I forgot about this place. It was literally shocking to see it again, and I am often on this trail, I just don't ever go this way. It's an old train tunnel on the MKT trail in Rocheport, if you're wondering. Turn right on the trail and it's a half mile up.

When I was in college, a friend's mom was in town and came and picked me up during my sorority's rush week, to steal me away for a few hours. Rush is super intense and I was grateful. This is where she took me. It's a longer story than that, but that's the important information. We sat here in this tunnel and I was able to come back to myself, where I had been so very far outside of myself. Hours and days and it felt like years of talking to strangers. So not my thing.

But this place has a sedative in it or something. It's impossible to be anything other than what you are in this place. It's bigger than you.

I was walking very slowly now, and I'm just trying to process what I'm feeling: Sad. Sad. Sad.

And then I thought, so what? What happens if I feel sad? Why do we not allow ourselves to just be sad sometimes?

I know that if these individuals knew that I was feeling sad, they wouldn't be mad at me for taking a minute to be sad. It's totally ok for me to be sad about these burdens that they have. In a way, I feel like that can maybe help them let go a bit of their own sadness. I'm sharing the sadness with them.

So I'm going to have to be sad about this stuff for awhile. If I'm sharing in the burden, I'm taking it on as much as I can. I'm going to be really fucking sad about it for awhile. And I'm giving myself permission to do so.

Then there was this guy, who followed me with his soulful eyes as I passed him twice. I felt certain that he had the mysteries of life solved and was trying to convey them to me, but I was too stupid to understand. It was a moment, me and the alpaca. I sent this picture to a friend and she responded, "That alpaca has Seen Some Things." Yes. Things that I may never understand but could potentially rock my world. Sorry, alpaca, I'm just not there yet. You tried.

So the fourth mile was me laughing at my own stupidity, then the perfect song came on and I was smiling. Plus, I just love that little town so much, it's hard to be sad there.

I sat with my sadness, and I still feel it, but I'm not crying about it right now and that's a win. Although it wouldn't be a lose if I was. It was a win that I'm sitting with my sadness.

When I was thinking about how hard it is to keep these things secret, I talked about how you have to compartmentalize, and I think I am doing that right now as well. My filter may be exactly nonexistent right now, because I can't even care about how others think of me. There are bigger issues.

Maybe that's one of the benefits in getting older, we just stop caring about things because we all have bigger issues. Other people's judgement doesn't matter, so we can't care about that. It's actually pretty freeing.

So, where I go from here is... probably nowhere. There is not one thing that I can physically do to make this better. I guess I just hope that these relationships I have can benefit from the sharing of the burdens. That's a very good thing.

I hope that these individuals feel better for having shared. I know that after I process the hurt that I feel, I will be so glad that they did. I do not think that there is any greater sign of trust than sharing an intensely personal secret.

So I'm grateful for that. And still very sad.

This will go on for awhile, I think. Be forewarned.