feeling my way to freedom

by rebecca on January 23, 2012

Post image for feeling my way to freedom

Welcome guest blogger Stacia from MyFluffyBunnies!

One Sunday last August, I crashed a Vespa on vacation in Florence. My tibia cracked just below the knee, right there on the dusty Tuscan roadside. After four days in the hospital, I had surgery. Four days after that, my husband and I finally flew home to Romania.

Home. Reunited with our children. Sleeping in our own almost-queen-size European bed. Watching dump trucks and horses whinny past our front window. Home.

But, really, the journey was still ahead of us.

Only two months into a yearlong assignment in Romania, I suddenly had an injury I knew very little about and a wildly uncertain prognosis. I couldn’t convey simple things to my doctor because the only Romanian words I had learned were from grocery store placards and restaurant menus. And critical medications with labels I couldn’t read lined our medicine shelf.

But that wasn’t the worst of it.

The worst part came about six weeks in. The kids were in bed. My husband sat watching a movie on his laptop and headphones. My dad, who had flown 6,000 miles to help us, was taking a shower. I rested on the couch, my bad leg strategically propped up by seven pillows. Gunshots and jet engines blared in some silly action movie on the television, and the baby started to cry.

I looked at the remote control on the other couch. I couldn’t reach it. I looked at the baby’s door. I couldn’t get up to open it and soothe him. I called for my husband. He didn’t hear me. I called for my dad. He didn’t hear me. I looked and called and looked and called, a little more desperate and despairing each time.

The television roared. The baby roared. So I roared, too. I punched the couch over and over, releasing 42 days of held-back emotion. Stress. Shock. Pain. Fear. Frustration. Grief. Anger. Oh, yes, anger.

All that I couldn’t express in words, I spit out in growls and screams and rage.

And then it was done, gone, over. My dad turned down the television. My husband coaxed the baby back to sleep. I melted into the cool, soft leather of the couch. Exhausted. Sweaty. Empty. Free. Oh, yes, free.

Free to actually feel.

To feel the jarring sharpness of my bones knitting themselves back together.

To accept the utter impotence of being physically incapable of caring for my own family.

To ache for the year abroad that we had imagined and then lost.

To begin, slowly, embracing the year we would have instead, step by tentative step.

Have you ever stifled emotions unintentionally? How did it feel when you finally let them go? And how do you cope with drastic changes in your life’s plan?

 

I have loved Stacia’s blog because of her intimate photos. I feel like I get a regular glimpse of the altared spaces in her life. It’s been particularly fun to watch as she decided which things to take to Romania and which things to leave behind. Then, after her leg broke, it’s been a welcome journey to listen, as she sifted through her life to find what was still whole.

I’m cleaning out in January. Are there places in your home, your body or your thoughts that are cluttered or clogging you up?

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Stacia January 23, 2012 at 11:56 am

Thank you for inviting me to share your space today, Rebecca. My tibia and I are happy to be here. =>

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rebecca January 23, 2012 at 12:12 pm

It’s so great to have you at my virtual home. Your story about letting go is just what the doctor ordered this month. January, for me, is about shedding. I get inspired by people who find a way to peel back the layers and let the Truth of their life land. Thanks for allowing your life to be another anchor for me as I find my way to myself.

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Lady Jennie January 23, 2012 at 5:48 pm

I really feel for you. That must have been so challenging. I thought you had broken your leg in Romania itself (not that breaking it in Tuscany makes it any easier).

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rebecca January 23, 2012 at 6:42 pm

I think it’s a double whammy though. Stacia was on a trip within a trip and that makes for a double dose of “away from home”.

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Stacia January 25, 2012 at 7:54 pm

Yes, one day … one day! … this story about our “adventure” is going to be a fun (or at least more fun) one to tell. Now, my husband makes a joke, and I give him a look. “Okay, too soon,” he says. But he’s getting me there, one quip at a time.

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Lesley Reid Cross January 24, 2012 at 6:38 pm

Ah, Rebecca, you chose such thought provoking guest bloggers. Love it. Beautiful post, Stacia. I am a recovering habitual emotion stifler, after a history of not feeling free to express my emotions- feeling as if my emotions could be wrong, making my emotions mean bad things about me- that I was weak, or “too much”, or overly sensitive. And even *knowing* that’s untrue, the emotion stifling remains- the ghost of the past. For me resolving it is about awareness and allowing myself to feel what I’m feeling. I’m pretty silent. But just feeling what I’m feeling. So freeing.

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rebecca January 24, 2012 at 7:08 pm

“For me resolving it is about awareness and allowing myself to feel what I’m feeling.” If I can just remember it is this simple 🙂

Thanks for being here, Lesley. Loving your new homepage!

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Stacia January 25, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Thank you, Lesley. I am a habitual stifler, too, and come from a family of stiflers. We’re a work in progress, all of us, aren’t we? And it helps to know we’re not alone.

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SuziCate January 24, 2012 at 6:45 pm

I can’t imagine going through all of that AWAY from home; how frustrating. Sometimes we must simply resort back to the original humanity of life, let those utterances and moans out…after all that’s how the Blues came about. Might be why I find the Blues so freeing and personal, soul music!
I started decluttering yesterday, and it is freeing. I’ve held onto things that I need to let go of…emotions have changed as life has…time to embrace what is rather than what I wish it was.

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rebecca January 24, 2012 at 7:10 pm

Ahhhh, letting go of what wishes and embracing what is. Now that is freedom!

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Stacia January 25, 2012 at 8:06 pm

Yes, growling and raging like I did here reminded me of my childbirth experiences. There was indeed something intrinsically … human … about it.

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rebecca January 25, 2012 at 9:12 pm

Love this “human” expression. I believe our deepest emotions are the most human, and, thus, connect us.

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Privilege of Parenting January 25, 2012 at 1:53 am

Hi Guys, I can relate to this couch punching rage in a synchronistically uncanny way (that story is in my book, but the gist of it was about preverbal memory and the release of rage and fear and anger when the original trauma was revealed to me by my own mother; hence the uncanny sense of baby crying and mother wanting to help but unable…).

In any event, it’s cool to see your two voices mingling in this particular place. As our single bones and memories knit themselves together I’m excited about the idea of a collective consciousness knitting itself together, not merely in serene love (although that would be nice) but in playful, fully felt, connected and loving life. So much is muted and so much is bullshit in our recent history and so-called culture.

As we witness each other’s pain and poetry, perhaps we arrive at the realness of life and accept that while it must hurt to be fully lived, it need not be lived in the illusion of total isolation.

Not sure if this makes sense; I saw the Pina Bausch movie and that says with dance more than I can possibly say with words.

Namaste (& HBDC)

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rebecca January 25, 2012 at 12:08 pm

I haven’t seen this movie, Bruce, but I am taking Tango lessons and I know the feeling of a physical release. Letting my body say something for me is phenomenally liberating. After I’ve danced, I’m light. Whatever might have been needling me is gone. My body expresses far more than words could. …. And maybe that knitting together thing is part of the equation 🙂

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Stacia January 25, 2012 at 8:11 pm

I love the idea that isolation is an illusion. That’s so very hard to remember in times of pain or sorrow. Thanks, Bruce.

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Privilege of Parenting January 26, 2012 at 5:36 am

Thank you, Stacia, for joining me in this feeling—in these more quiet corners of what seems to me an often loud and manic world I find solace and hope for authentic, and thus emotionally layered, connecting. Here’s to soul when so much is surface.

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Marjory January 25, 2012 at 2:43 am

I love discovering your altared space Rebecca. I found you through Mahala. There is something to be said about receiving. To answer Stacia’s question, when I finally let go, there is a sense of surrender and a range of emotions flow. I know that life has some sweet medicine in every situation that is out of my control.. ha I’m grinning as I say this because control is such an illusion. All the best,

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rebecca January 25, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Oh Marjory, I’m so glad we found each other! A big thank you to Mahala. Surrender is always my key to receiving. Of course course I would never know anything about trying to control things… 🙂

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Stacia January 25, 2012 at 8:12 pm

Surrender can be such a powerful thing sometimes, can’t it? Thanks for reading, Marjory.

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6512 and growing January 25, 2012 at 9:05 pm

Stacia, you’ve been so brave. I can’t imagine how it’s been to go through the pain, the uncertainty, the language barrier, and what I would imagine might stir up the biggest fears of all: not being able to totally care for your kids.
And yet, you’ve mostly written about it comically, not complainingly.
I would love to hear more about how it has been to not be able to fully care for your kids, if you ever feel so moved to write about it.
xo,
Rachel

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rebecca January 25, 2012 at 9:14 pm

Brave. Yes. Both going through it with such perspective and brave to allow herself to let the anger explode out the edges.

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Yvette Francino January 26, 2012 at 6:10 am

Thanks to both Stacia and Rebecca! I can relate to that feeling of pent-up emotion… all bottled up and then it all comes out, maybe at some unexpected moment, or maybe when we just can’t keep it in.

Letting go is a wonderful theme. January is the month I *try* and let go of clutter. I’m motivated to clean out closets and go through drawers and cabinets, getting rid of all those dusty, dirty, broken, old, whatchamathings. Though I’m afraid I’m too sentimental to let go of it all, I am getting better about at least whittling my clutter down to a manageable amount of neatly stored “stuff”!

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rebecca January 26, 2012 at 1:12 pm

I’ve been grateful for your January momentum. Your successes have bouyed me this month when I have been experiencing a darker than normal winter. It’s funny how cleaning out the stuff in our basements and closets seems, also, to make room for relationships. I’m not sure why that’s true, but it seems to be the case. I noticed it acutely at your home this month.

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Christine @ Coffees & Commutes January 26, 2012 at 11:25 pm

It’s been so long since I’ve come to visit and today I come and find two lovely people in the same place. I’ve been so inspired by Stacia strength, moving so far and then having to struggle through this very difficult journey. You are such a brave and strong women, and I’m proud to consider you a friend.
xo

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rebecca January 28, 2012 at 3:07 pm

It’s lovely to have you here.

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