Dear Dani: A letter, an apology, a commitment to myself

Dear Dani,

I am so sorry. I am sorry for all of the terrible things you’ve endured in your life. You didn’t deserve any of it and none of it was your fault. You were a child, you experienced terrible things and kept them a secret. You were scared and felt very alone in what you were going through.

As you got older you found that similar experiences repeated themselves. You felt like you had no control of anything. Life was just one experience after another, ugly things continued to happen to you and in your life, and you did the best you could to get through it all. You were still really a child, even though as a teenager that wasn’t how you saw yourself, but you were. Like all teenagers you thought you knew everything, but later years taught you that you had no idea. What you learned to this point in your life was how to manage your chaos and you did so by building massive walls and shutting down any real emotion or connection to anyone. It was what you had to do to survive. For awhile it seemed like you were ok. No one could hurt you because you had constructed such a strong exterior. I am sorry that you were brought to a place in your young life that forced you to lock everyone out or rather to lock yourself in, to shut down your very own emotions, to have to become so closed off in order to not feel the pain of everything you had endured and were continuing to endure. I am sorry you had to carry that kind of pain.

What I am most sorry for is that even as an adult I’ve treated you the same as so many others have. I’ve neglected you; I’ve disrespected you; I’ve abused you emotionally and verbally; I’ve knowingly walked you into heartache; I’ve made regrettable decisions you’ve had to live with; I’ve let you down time and time again. I am so sorry that I, too, victimized you. You did nothing to deserve any of this and I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me for the ways I’ve wronged you. No rush, take all of the time you need, I’m not going anywhere.

I didn’t know how to love and care for you the way that you so desperately needed me to, and I’m still learning. The more I learn the more I admire you. Everything that you have been through, endured, seen, heard, felt…you’re still standing. No matter how many times you’ve been knocked down you always get back up. You have a strength inside of you, a will, a desire, a passion that is so incredibly powerful; and that my Darling, is something to be admired. I haven’t always seen you as having that kind of strength and that is another thing I am sorry for. I have underestimated you and your ability so many times. Again, I didn’t know how to love and care for you. I’m not trying to make excuses for my behaviors and actions towards you but, given everything we’ve been through, I think we could ease up on ourselves a little. It’s amazing we are even still alive and I owe that to you! Without your strength, resilience, and determination there is no way we would’ve come this far and I will forever be grateful for your ability to get back up when it would’ve been so much easier just stay down. Thank you for fighting for us.

Sweetheart, you’ve carried more than enough of the load on your own for far too long, I’m going to take it from here. I know you don’t trust me and you have every reason in the world not to. I’ve not been here for you like you needed me to be, you’ve never been able to depend on me, I’ve put you at risk and in danger numerous times but I am asking you to please trust me one more time and to be patient with me as we go forward, as I said, I am still learning.

My commitment to you as we go forward:

I promise I will do my best not to let you down.

I promise I will put you first and I will always protect you.

I promise I won’t knowingly put you in any more unhealthy situations.

I promise to do a much better job at loving and caring for you and meeting your needs.

I promise I will clear a path for you to follow your dreams, passions, and desires.

I promise I will keep us working towards thriving rather than just surviving.

And I promise to listen when you tell me that you’re not okay.

I will not abandon you. I am right here. You are not alone.

 

With Love,

Your Functional Adult Self

You Can Lead A Horse To Water But You Can’t Make It Drink

Yesterday I saw the love of my life for the first time in quite awhile, Anejo, the horse who stole my heart. I had been looking forward to seeing him for several weeks…

I might be getting a little ahead of myself:

I know I’ve written about him in previous posts, but I don’t recall if I’ve explained how he came into my life. Anejo is one of my therapist’s horses. Outside of being what I would describe as the most wonderful and amazing “talk” therapist, she also does equine therapy (if you’re not familiar with this type of therapy, Google it, it’s pretty cool). She is how I met Anejo, the only guy who has ever stolen my heart at first sight.

People who are very close to me, and some readers may have also picked up on it, know that I have a large supply of insecurities and a pretty massive fear of rejection. Couple insecurities and fear of rejection with a belief of not being good enough or worthy enough and you get the wounded child, adaptive adult version of me. I avoid, disconnect, disengage, distract myself, and whatever else it takes to not have to feel or face my insecurities, rejection, not being good enough or worth enough. 

It shouldn’t come as any surprise that I was filled with anxiety the first time I met the horses. In fact the first time, I didn’t even interact with them at all. I was in a very unhealthy emotional state the first time. It was some time later when my therapist brought me back out to them. I can’t recall if I met Anejo the first time or if she even had him the first time. I do know he was there and I met him the second time. As scared as I was, I connected with Anejo and he seemed to connect with me. I saw him a few more times after that, not really any less fearful of rejection than the times before, but I was getting a little more comfortable with him. It’s so strange to want to connect and engage with him and to feel love for him but yet be so afraid of being rejected by him (Jesus Christ, I think I just summed up my entire life in that sentence). 

…As I was saying, I had been looking forward to seeing him for several weeks. As I approached the driveway yesterday I could see him; he was so handsome. I had mentally prepared myself for seeing him. I told myself I was going to engage, I was going to connect with him, I even knew the first thing I was going to say to him when I connected with him again (that’s between him and me).

However, insecurities, fear of rejection, feelings of not being good enough or worthy enough took center stage and I couldn’t bring myself to go to him. The other horses connected with me, but only because they came to me. I didn’t connect with my (our) boy yesterday. My time, my opportunity to connect with him had run out for the day. My therapist gave me plenty of opportunity to make the connection and I let it pass, leaving myself disappointed with my inability to act, to connect. I know I will have another chance next session, but I had a plan. I had set a goal for myself. I told myself that this time I wasn’t going to let anything get in my way, I was going to connect and engage with him because I wanted to, I had missed him for so long and I was finally going to see him again. I let myself down. It was like I had set a boundary for myself and once again I failed to meet.

What gets in my way? The easy answer is me; I get in my way. But it’s more than that, it goes much deeper than the easy answer. In order to get myself out of my way I have to dig deeper for deeper answers to deeper questions.

What about me gets in my way? What emotions get in my way? Then the question becomes, why do I get in my way? Finally the hardest and most important question is, how do I get out of my way?

This isn’t just about connecting with Anejo; it’s about me connecting with my life. It’s about me living a happy and healthy life. My therapist goes above and beyond to help me and I need to get out of my way enough to help her help me. If I can’t figure out how to get out of my way when it comes to connecting with Anejo, how am I ever going to connect with the rest of my life?

A very special thank you to my amazing kindhearted therapist. I have grown so much and come so far with her guidance, which is sometimes given to me through subtle facial expressions, not so subtle sounds (“hmm”), and always her ability to help me gain an awareness of so many things I had no awareness of before her. I have such deep gratitude for her unwavering support, encouragement, belief, and love for me. Although our sessions aren’t always easy, I always look forward to them. I adore the time she gives me. I have no idea what I did to deserve The Universe leading me to her but there is not a single day that goes by that I take it or her for granted. So I thank her for all she has done and still does for me. She is truly an amazing and beautiful person. 

-Dani