Hi I'm Leonie, Collector of feathers, pebbles, words and adventures, with an overactive mind and a sunshine-filled heart.

This blog is all about: NATURE ~ RUNNING ~ ART ~ FOOD ~ LOVE ~ SELF-DISCOVERY

Weathering the storm

Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn't something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. 

This storm is you. 

Something inside of you. 

So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn't get in, and walk through it, step by step. There's no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized bones. That's the kind of sandstorm you need to imagine. 

And you really will have to make it through that violent, metaphysical, symbolic storm. No matter how metaphysical or symbolic it might be, make no mistake about it: it will cut through flesh like a thousand razor blades. People will bleed there, and you will bleed too. Hot, red blood. You'll catch that blood in your hands, your own blood and the blood of others. 

And once the storm is over you won't remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won't even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. 

When you come out of the storm you won't be the same person who walked in. 

That's what this storm's all about.

- Haruki Murakami 
(Kafka on the Shore)

*  *  *

Sounds pretty intense, hey?

I've just come out the other side of my own personal storm. 

For years I have automatically resorted to a flight response when my life was not 100% satisfying. This was particularly evident in my relationships. I thought that my husband's blinkered view of the world and inability to process anyone else's point of view was at the root of our problems. He never meant to hurt me, but he did, with his words and moods. I bottled it up, we fought, we resolved to make it better, we became complacent, and it happened all over again.

Sometimes I thought about how nice and peaceful it would be to be by myself (with the kids). Eventually, 'sometimes' became regularly. Although I thought about parting ways a lot, I didn't want to leave; apart from the kids and everything else, he is a good man and it would completely destroy him. I simply couldn't see a way out without hurting anyone. Hurting myself started to look like a viable option.

I have lived with mental illness long enough to recognise destructive thought patterns and how insidious they are. The balance between 'managing depression' and 'being depressed' is so fine, and can shift imperceptibly like eroding rock, till one day you find yourself way down in the blackness inside yourself, unsure how you got there. 

Last week, we had one of those fights again. I had bottled it up, we fought, then we fought some more. Pent up emotion flew out of me with violent force. I punched paint off the wall. I made his hands bleed and I don't know how. A primal scream came from somewhere inside and my muscles tensed for I don't know how long. I couldn't come down off my tiptoes. My knuckles bled but I didn't feel it. 

Afterwards, I thought immediately that this was clearly not a healthy way to deal with emotion. But then I thought on it a bit more, and realised with blinding clarity that this had been a catharsis. Something that needed to get out had gone away. I had always assumed with my history, and my tendency to research and analyse things, that I'd learnt it all, I knew everything about myself, I had insight in droves. I could see my own mind and knew what it was up to. But no. I realised something that I had not seen before. Somewhat shamefully, I saw that for years, I was comfortable playing the victim. 

And, now that I know this, I want to change it. I need to change it.

Already, the mere knowledge of this has given me immense feelings of hope and positivity towards our relationship that I haven't felt in years. I know now that I can change MY mindset, for it is mine alone to control.

And for the first time I don't feel I am doing this to compensate for someone else's absent commitment to change. I have tried to change before, for all the wrong reasons. Now, I am not changing in order to mould myself to someone else's worldview. I am changing because I am growing spiritually. It's all in me. 

The storm is me.

I read the Murukami quote at the top of this post one day recently; then the very next day, I found the book, Kafka on the Shore, in a second hand bookshop in the most unlikely of circumstances. It nearly fell off the shelf in front of me. 

It's funny how the universe works sometimes. 

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