The first step to healing is accepting that you are sick. But how do you know you’re sick or what your illness is?
Those signs that indicate that something’s not quite as it should be. But what happens when we miss the signs or misinterpret them? Dismissing them as symptoms of a bigger issue and treating them as minor daily obstacles to step over.
Well I figured that out, like many of us, the hard way! And it put me in recovery for life!
Root to Diagnosis
Like many of the women of my generation, ‘I’m A 90s Girl’ who grew up listening to Mary J Blige and Jodeci. Meaning, I got mixed messages: and those mixed messages led to confusion. What I didn’t know was that at 35 years old, I really didn’t know who I was. I knew what I was: and that lack of knowing meant I was missing a sense of self, that unbeknown to me was critical for my health, happiness and peace.
I was sick. At initial glance I would appear to be asymptomatic. But in actual fact, my lack of knowing myself, meant that I didn’t understand the signs that my body (intuition) and the Universe (God) was sending.
Life was whispering, and I thought it was a whistle. So, it was time for a rude awakening, and mine came in the form of a 6’2” entrepreneur (literally God’s way of slapping me about).
I thought he was everything I wanted; what I needed and not just the aesthetics. He was educated, motivated and seeking adventure. My idea of chocolate perfection. (God knows how to get my attention). Plus, he felt familiar. That warmth you get when you feel like you’ve known each other forever. I was ready to thank the Lord for answering my Ciara prayer. Could this finally, be my Russell?
Well, I was right with one thing – he was what I needed – but instead of being my Russell Ever After, he was in fact my Future lesson.
He was (in part) the aspects of myself that I didn’t know. And frankly I didn’t want to know! My fallibility. My dis-ease. The self-entitlement which shrouded low self-esteem; the confusion which disguised a lack of self-worth, and the mixed message which blinded me to the lack of integrity. I should have been doing better, personally and professionally, but I wasn’t! It wasn’t bad, because by then I had ‘international’ and ‘BBC’ on my CV; but it wasn’t good either. I wasn’t fulfilling my potential; and he was the same.
He, like me, was a functioning addict!
Addicted to seeking external validation, wanting to be seen as nice and yearning to be held in high esteem. We were numb and had become emotionally unavailable, to the world, ourselves and consequently each other. We hid in our individual realms of safety, determined to avoid the pain that can be inflicted through true vulnerability. In doing so, we also deprived ourselves of the true love, that only vulnerability serves.
Our long conversations and joint business projects simply delayed the reveal of the inevitable truth – he just wasn’t that into me. We both ignored that fact for as long as we could, until I could no longer hide the fever of my affection, and that’s when the wheels started to fall off! I’ll save that convoluted tale for a different day.
In the succinct, popular version – he’s a nice guy, f*boy (and don’t worry I told him that!)
But in the version where we all have our own experience of the world that shapes the decisions that we make and the version of ourselves who we embody; I realised that it was my job to heal from my dis-ease, rather than worry about diagnosing his.
The years of playing games with him, was a symptom of my sickness – not his. It was a result of me not knowing myself, my worth or my value in a way that would allow me to recognise my own responsibility and accountability in the situation. It was my lack of self-love (2 words that are hugely misunderstood). There I was trying to mend the broken pieces of someone else, without even identifying my own.
To be fair, it was an audacity, and a right that I didn’t have.
And how could I be the best version of myself (professionally or personally), when I was relying on him to build me, because I took it upon myself to build him.
It was time for me to stay in my own lane, and my road led to counselling, and that’s when the real journey began. And believe me it’s been a rocky one, with more f*boys featuring (my mom was right, my ears are hard) unfortunately.
But here’s what I learned about recovery.
It’s a state of being, not a destination.
We are who we are and see through our own lenses. We are not wrong for being in the circumstances and environments that we find ourselves. It is only wrong, when we refuse to heal ourselves and in doing so choose to infect another.
So, I want you to know that I am in recovery, from
- People pleasing
- Lack of integrity
- Lacking forgiveness
- Punishing others
- Punishing myself
- Lacking boundaries
- Not speaking my truth, and the list goes on.
The road to recovery isn’t easy, but it’s got me back on track. Towards my purpose, my destiny and my legacy.
It’s brought me peace, and the courage to stand in my own truth, even when it’s not pretty.
So, allow me to re-introduce myself, “I’m Merisha and I’m in recovery! May I ask, who are you?”