Today I am joining with Honoré and sharing an update on my journey with my 2020 One Little Word, Open.
I find myself thinking about the word open a lot. In my darker moments I strongly dislike (I won’t use the word hate but you know I’m thinking it) this word. It has challenged me in ways I never could have predicted and it has been difficult. Difficult to be open when life is scary and I want to close down. Difficult to remain open when all I want to do is hide myself away from the wor(l)d. And now, particularly, difficult to re-open the parts of myself that I shut down to protect myself from trauma.
As Dale has gotten stronger and more independent, I find myself wanting to protect him more. Even though I longed for this back in the days when he was very very helpless, now I find myself scared of it. Scared to let him drive a car by himself. Scared to have him go up and down the stairs alone. Scared, frankly, to let him out of the bubble I closed him up in to protect him and enable him to heal.
That bubble of protection? The one I stuck him in when he came home from the hospital? It’s very similar to the the one I put myself in a lot when I was a kid and I had to deal with the trauma of my childhood. The bubble is pretty and safe. It’s calm and quiet and the walls are thick and nothing can get in unless I allow it. Not fighting parents and brothers who leave, not alcoholism and chaos and domestic violence, and definitely not accidents and death. The flipside, of course, is that nothing can get out either. And nothing can grow or change because the bubble won’t allow for that. The bubble keeps us safe. The bubble also keeps us stagnant.
As we approach another month, I know that I have to put the trauma bubble away. I have to open up and allow for change and growth as we move into the next phase of recovery, both physically and emotionally.
The reality is that I might not be ready to put the bubble away completely. I might still need some protection from the chaos of the outside world. But I’m definitely ready to put some windows in the bubble and open them up to let the light back in.
Your level of self awareness will see you through, Carole. I’m sure you will find the balance of being open just enough and protecting those you love as well as yourself.
Sending you ALL the love and support you need to open that bubble up — just a little bit. XOXO
(And . . . what a perfect word for this year for you. I know you don’t like it. But WOW. It’s a powerful one.)
Mary K. in Rockport says
No wonder you love books and stories.
Carole, you are one strong woman. We should all be as honest with ourselves as you have been
Agreeing with others – your honesty and openness is so nice…and it will see you through these rough/tough and terrible times. You will figure out how and when to open slowly…..
I once had a professor who told me that self-awareness was the greatest skill a person could cultivate – knowing yourself, your likes, dislikes, strengths, and weaknesses. You have been admirably honest and open and I think you have done incredible work with your word (and it’s only June)!
Just sharing your innermost thoughts and feelings is making you more open than you realize. Keeping you and Dale in my prayers.
Thank you for being open and honest and sharing a new view about our bubbles. So many truths.
After my dad’s stroke, we talked a lit about the bubble effect. He wanted to be independent but the staff wanted to bubble wrap him, keep him “safe.” It is a tough place to be. I know you will thoughtfully work it out.
I remember this… Rusty’s accident/recovery wasn’t nearly as severe as Dale’s, but there was definitely a protective bubble. I also remember that it wasn’t all on ME… that he had responsibility, too, as recovery progressed. I had to TRUST — myself, him, and the world. (Sometimes I had to hold my breath.) Love to you.
Once again I am impressed by your self-awareness. I think this word has been a challenge for you, but it’s a good challenge, because it’s forcing you to put yourself in uncomfortable places that are allowing you to grow. That bubble isn’t always a bad thing (I mean, the pandemic isn’t going away anytime soon), but I think you’re right that you can begin to put some windows in it now.
Bob Lavallee says
I hope the days ahead are easier for you both.
I am nodding in agreement with Kym. Boy, what a great word. (says the person who is so closed… yeah, I can say it but I can’t do it) You though, are an inspiration, Carole. I think it is okay to be afraid. (and I adore your openness to share all these hard feelings!) XO
I love you for this post! I know how hard it is for you to share things that are not always perfect and knowing that bubbles may keep you safe, but you can’t grow in a bubble for it will pop. This word has proven to be a difficult one for you, but it’s forcing you to grow into a bolder, more confident you. <3
Katie @ The Cozy Burrow says
What an amazing update. Thank you for writing it! You’re going to get past this – it sounds like you’ve moved through a lot in your life and know how to do it. You’re protecting yourself right now because you need to. You’ll know how to add more windows until you no longer need the bubble. You have every reason to trust yourself!
You’ve got this! I hope you see some light (and feel a fresh breeze) through an open window this month. Y’all both need it!!