Piecing Myself (Back) Together
Updated: Jul 12, 2019
If you’ve read the brief bio on my website, you know that there is abuse in my background, and it wasn’t until my early 30s that I looked that history directly in the eye and saw it for what it was. That’s a long time to live with the distortions that being abused creates, but it turns out that was just the beginning. Part of my recovery process included attending an Al-Anon group, where I first heard this little nugget: “It took you 30 years to get to this point; it will take another 30 years to unwind it all.” That wasn’t happy news.
It turned out to be true, though. The initial challenges were learning to release the deep-seated anger I held, and to confront the fear that seemed ubiquitous. I had a lot to show for my life, in terms of the kinds of things that would be counted as conventional accomplishments—a beautiful family, advanced education, and so on—but once I scratched that surface, there was LOTS of fear…mostly, fear of judgement and failure. I was also doing a fair amount of judging, which interfered with creating the kind of deep connections I wanted with the people in my life.
Releasing this negativity was not enough though. I needed to reconnect to my spirit. So I developed my yoga practice, studied Reiki, explored animal communication, and worked to develop my intuitive abilities. I enjoyed it all, but couldn’t quite shake the feeling that they didn’t all fit together. To me, they were part of my spiritual exploration and I enjoyed them, so pursuing them made sense from that standpoint. But I still felt like there had to be some larger purpose, or a grand path: Why these particular pursuits? What am I doing with all of this stuff?
On a walk about a week ago I was pondering these questions, when my paternal grandmother came to mind. Though she had her own problems and contributed to the overall family dysfunction, she was a bright spot in my childhood. She would invite me to spend the night at her house, where she taught me her baking secrets, and took me shopping and out to lunch, making me feel very grown up indeed. Among her many talents was sewing. She made dolls, pillows, and quilts—mostly out of the clothes family members had outgrown or outworn. My mother would often point to a square in Grammy’s quilt and say something like, “That comes from a pair of pedal-pushers I had when you were a baby.” Grammy would lay all the pieces of her quilt out carefully on a long table in the basement, and I used to love to watch her sew them together. My favorites were the ones she called “crazy quilts,” where she would take all the leftover, misshapen pieces and then turn them into something warm and beautiful. As I held this image in my mind, I instantly knew that this was what I have been doing, too, all these years—collecting small bits of beautiful things…piecing myself back together.
Grammy’s quilts can be found throughout my home—still in use and still loved. And now, they will serve as a reminder of my journey—that it’s OK to gather anything I want along my way…knowing it will all be beautiful in the end.