Burning Bridges: A Personal Post on Self-Sabotage, Healing and Transition
Last year, about this time, I spoke words that destroyed the two closest female relationships I had.
I loved these ladies like sisters. I knew that if I said "the thing" (which at the time was deeply true for me) it would break the heart of one, and therefore the other, and therefore mine as well, and that our friendships - our sisterhood - may never recover.
I said the thing anyways.
I still don't know if it was the 'right' thing to do. Some people would say it was courageous and inspiring. Some people would say it clearly wasn't. Some would say it was selfish and reckless, and even cruel. People have said all of these things. I myself have doubted the decision I made several times over the past year, as my friendships with these women quickly crumbled.
I was left with a gaping aching void, where sisters had been, and I couldn't help but wonder - why did I say the thing?
The funny (heartbreaking) thing is that it wasn't about 'the thing'. I can't justify the pain that ensued by saying that the thing was vital to my survival or physical well-being in any visible or tangible way. I have no way to rationalize why I did it, other than I felt like I was being squeezed into a smaller and smaller box by holding it in. It was true in my soul. And in that sense it was vital in a way I could not ignore. I couldn't let it go without saying it.
A few months ago, a mentor of mine (who has been there for me through many of my soul's stories), in a kind, joking way, made a comment about my "burning bridges".
It hit a place of pain deep inside me.
Is this what I am doing with my 'truth'? Burning bridges?
I wonder this sometimes. Are my soul revelations simply the "safe" way that I have learned to do endings? Do I set fire to the bridge from high above on newly formed wings - only to inevitably fall into searing flames of my own fire as the other person runs away, the bridge collapses, and I am consumed by the raging waters below? To be honest, that is how it has felt, at times. Sure, it is a painful way to transition, but at least I can say it wasn't me who did the leaving.
This possibility has crossed my mind many times in the past in a judgmental accusatory way. I have used it to beat myself up. But what I haven't been willing to do is to invite it in, and take a look with compassion and curiosity.
I am doing that now.
I am sitting with this possibility in an honest and kind-to-myself way. It is humbling to be with this part of my humanity. The part that wants to destroy and to kill.
As I sit with it, I begin to hear her: hissing and snarling in the deepest corners of my heart; wild, like a wounded animal. Ready to slice through anything (or anyone) that finds its way in.
She frightens me, but I realize I love her. I instantly want to mother her.
One day soon I will get to hold her, and to tend to her wounds. For now I am grateful I have found her. She has let me see her. I know where she lives.
I have faith that in time, and with love, my dragon heart will find ways to stop crossing a bridge that no longer aligns with my soul, without incinerating it. I can see that I have already learned to do this in many areas of my life that are less intimate.
This willingness to be human - this tending to my own wounds - is an integral part of what it means to live the story of my soul.
I don't expect an answer will arrive about the 'rightness' or 'wrongness' of any particular thing I have said or done in the past. I don't think that is what this is about. I suspect my truth has been, and always will be, a combination of pure soul, and human limitations, beliefs and wounding. Life is not meant to be about separating out (or eliminating one of) these things.
What it is about is cultivating the courage and compassion to allow ourselves to be both.
It is about being willing to have the faith to speak our truth when we need to, and being willing to be transformed by the heartbreak of losing our sisters, our brothers, our lovers, and our dreams.
It is about finding ways to surrender to the consequences of our choices; to accept the inevitable loss and rejection that will come alongside the love and the celebration; and to, day by day, become a kinder, more honest, and more fiercely loving, version of ourselves in the process.
A true soul, story.