Every other year or so I come back to this story on the blog, to this ‘little’ event in my life.
This year it is the 15th anniversary of a big decision I took as a 19 year old gal looking for some adventure in life. Just after 9/11 15 years ago, I took a plane to Sarajevo. I was going to work on the American led HQ camp Butmir. Later a detour to Kosovo punched the last air out of me.
It was the beginning of a journey that changed be. Broke me it felt like, coming back.
The thing about coming back to this story isn’t so much re-living and slumping about in the same old wounds. For me, this year, it has more to do with the story. Over the past 3 years I have been digging deep into story work, how they change, how new aspects of story become relevant and triggered at different times. How our relationship to it shifts. How we cling and how we let go.
Like any woven material, one thread is a part of the bigger picture and it goes into the fabric; you can’t see where it disappeared to, but it is there, holding the structure. This fraction of my story still holds part of the structure. But it is no longer the main color.
For the first 10 years after returning home, the story was anxiety, alcohol, mis-trust, no peace inside, stress in my body, anger, frustration, depression. Slowly the fog started to clear and I felt a little more alive. I found myself with children, a man, a chill-laxed life. But turmoil was still there and it still needs some tending to.
Back in the day I thought I would go back to my old self, but the fact is I still don’t take overwhelm that well to put it lightly… It is a challenge with kids and relationships in general, but I am starting to see that this is a part of the foundation I work with right now. Before I thought it was the main fix it focus of my life.
I need to create some space for silence or it caves in on me. I stress easily and little things can quickly became very large. I know that too many people, their bullshit, the amount of games being played, creates too much chaos in me; I need to learn to let it be. I cannot create safety within for myself by knowing what everyone’s thinking or doing… the control freak must be let off. She was however a good companion for a while.
I need my life to be simple. Complex does my head in. It may seem boring or isolating, but I need to have simplicity to function. It is not an escape; it is my lifeline. Oh and sleep, for a recovering anxiety person, sleep is essential - I have not been getting enough of that for the past 4 years…
It has been a battle between ambition, dreams, owning and honoring the small steps I need to take to be well. A battle of being a resourceful woman, but with a bigger faucet that drains the tank quicker. For saying yes to shit, when no would’ve been the wiser choice.
As I sit back and remember, it was a wild ride, I had fun, it was horrible and destroying. I am grateful for, some of, the people I met, for the learnings and for spending a year and a half in a beautiful country that was re-building itself after terror beyond our imagination.
But this story is becoming a thread in the very beginning of the now large woven fabric. I accept that it has left permanent marks on my body and in my soul, but the story is changing in its toll.
Basically, this past - while it has been about acceptance rather than bulldozing through to get to where the world seemed to want me - has been about creating the right boundaries for me. About trying to sense what was me and what was everyone else. About owning me and not saying I am sorry for being so.
A journey we all take - being us - this is just how that thread played out for me.
Here’s to stories that hurt and adventures that allow us to grow…
Maybe to return in a few years, maybe not.