Someone once observed how I was able to self-reflect, how I can take a horrible situation and pick it apart, peeling back the painful layers of sadness, guilt, anger, and despair and analyzing each one. Why am I feeling this particular emotion? Can I do anything about it? Have I felt it before? What does it all mean? How do I move forward from this?
Carl Jung wrote that “one does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” This is what I do when I analyze why I feel what I feel. I keep the closet door of dark emotions open so I can inspect each one of them – even when I don’t feel like it, even when I want to slam the door closed and never look at it again.
For the last year, I’ve done just that. I’ve journaled and blogged about what it’s been like to be a sudden widow, to have a beautiful relationship end within the confines of a sterilized hospital. As I’ve crested the mountainous milestones of firsts, I’ll continue to do the same thing I’ve always done, peel back the layers of what has become of my life and use them to create my new life. In the uncertainty of the current COVID-19 pandemic, I hope. I hope for a new series of beautiful firsts – my first new home of my own (check), being able to travel and experience the world (working on that), falling in love again, and just experience life. Because that’s what Bryan would have wanted me to do.
Here’s to the joy of experiencing firsts, the bad ones as well as the good ones – may they help us to grow and blossom into the beautiful humans that we are all capable of being.