“If you don’t heal what hurt you, you will bleed on people who never cut you.”
This quote perfectly sums up my year in 2019. The manifestation of pain – physical or emotional at some point takes its toll on our very existence – we shatter. It’s so easy to ignore the things that hurt us with distractions – a new purchase, a fling or a brief encounter with success. However, beneath the surface underlying emotions are accumulating. According to Eckart Tolle, “Illusion will never satisfy you. Only the truth of who you are, if realised, will set you free.”
It’s hard to admit this but 2019 was the first year in my life that I cried and didn’t feel totally ashamed about it. As the salty teardrops fell from the windows of my soul, the immediate pang of shame always hit me like a ton of bricks. I was embarrassed to be in the presence of my own self. I am an expert at burying my feelings, filing them away to a cabinet deep in my subconscious. However, I finally realised I was at full capacity. It was time to declutter and make space. I always looked at friends or strangers with envy as they cried tears, happy or sad. Of course, my capacity for empathy exists, but it made me feel uncomfortable. I never knew how to approach the person, to console them and make the tears go away. Here I return back to the shame, similar to many people’s views on sex, usually attached to a religious dogma. Why is there a shame attached to this normal human emotion or need for connection? Before a storm, the energy in the atmosphere is overwhelmingly heavy. The clouds are dark and the floodgates open. Soon after balance is restored and the sun reappears, similar to our mental clarity.
I am a spontaneous person. I jump into situations without giving it much thought; both questionably a flaw, but also a commendable attribute of my personality. I whole-heartily believe your gut intuition acts as the internal compass of your destiny. However, I foolishly ignored it. But these mistakes are sometimes the lessons in life we need in order to stop and become aware of who we are and who we want to become. Eckart Tolle talks about alienation as not feeling at ease in any situation, place or with any person, not even with yourself. “You are always trying to get ‘home’ but never feel at home.” Running from my emotions, the disconnect of self. My ego created the separateness that meant I could never heal and feel whole. How could I trust myself if I didn’t feel at ease with myself?
The Amsterdam coat of arms features three Xs. It’s a symbol you frequently see around the city and it reportedly represents three concerns to always be mindful of in the Old Ages – fire, floods and the Black Plague. I sometimes joke to myself that I cried so many tears in 2019 that I could have flooded the canals of Amsterdam. For this ‘sin’, I deserved to be exiled and what better excuse to run away from my problems and continue the vicious cycle.
Let’s cut to the chase – Remember I said I like to be spontaneous? I moved into an apartment with a guy I didn’t even know for one week. I’ve had more lessons in 365 days than I’ve had in my entire life. I attended boarding school as a child, lived with others girls, but this was the first time I ever allowed myself to be emotionally close to another person. Consciously or subconsciously entwining your life with another doesn’t come without feelings (platonically and intimately) and it’s always so much easier to deny that than embrace it.
My previous living situation was far from ideal. Upon reflection, leaving that living space ended up being quite traumatic. The housing crisis in Amsterdam is no joke, similar to other global capital cities. The negative impact it can have on your mental health is immeasurable and you cannot fathom the realities of it, if you haven’t experienced it. Often you are either homeless or living with an individual with severe mental health issues. Of course, I placed those feelings and memories to the back of my mind. I believed my new job, beautiful apartment and new impromptu romance would be the quick fix I needed. It wasn’t, but it opened my eyes to how I viewed life. We are all deeply flawed human beings, no matter how you try to romanticise it. No one will save you from yourself, only you can do that if you take responsibility for your actions. I recently listened to a podcast and something really resonated with me. It strangely made me feel less alone in this big world – we come into this world alone and we leave this world alone.
The above painting hung in my old apartment. Simply a person in a turquoise kitchen apron. There was always a mystery behind the ambiguity – who was it? My dreams in this apartment were always so turbulent and strangely enough I could never see my face in any of my dreams. I was a body without a face – another mystery. Dreams are apparently the manifestation of your subconscious thoughts. The entirety of last year felt like a dream. I see this painting as a symbol of who I was; a wounded spirit and a lost soul. It’s so easy to blame others for your misfortunes, bad luck, or negative behaviour. The fear that whispers in your ear – the ego that manifests and tries so hard to renew itself through old pain to create an identity of who you are. But who you are and who you think you are, are two very different versions of reality. Finally, I revert back to my opening quote, “If you don’t heal what hurt you, you will bleed on people who never cut you.”
This was a very raw post to write. Nonetheless, the power of reflection is best mechanism for change. Last night, my friend Chiara and I were working on our ‘The Year Ahead’ diary. Get yourself a hot drink, a piece of chocolate, reflect on last year and get ready to take the lessons of 2019 and apply them to 2020!