I woke up profoundly changed, about a month ago.
This change occurred while I was asleep having, what at first felt like a nightmare, but in actuality it was a dream.
Over seven years ago I ended a relationship that went on longer than it should have. I was young, naive and I did not know any better. Plus, I didn’t have the wisdom or the voice that I have now. This perspective was not in my awareness at the time.
I carried around shame for my lack of voice and strength in that relationship for about five years.
In that time I did not know that shame held me captive. While I felt I had grown, healed and moved on, when I would re-tell that experience, at random times, the emotions that came up felt fresh as though the break-up happened yesterday.
Finally, I decided to go home for my month of writing to write about that experience, but no words came for me to write. I pushed, pushed and pushed some more, but no words came.
“I think you need to let God heal you, before you write.” My college mentor told me.
So I gave myself time to heal which brought the perspective I needed. In that space I forgave myself for holding on to shame and realized that I did the best I could in that relationship.
This is the ex that I dreamt about. (I have written about him before: Breakeven pt. II.)
It’s present day 2017. I was back home at some sort of banquet/ mixer. While I was getting appetizers at a buffet table, in my peripheral view, I saw him walk into the room. I felt the nervousness that one feels when they see someone they don’t to see. In my dream, I slowed down, mindful of my actions trying not to draw attention to myself, while trying to act normal at the same time.
Next, my perspective shifted into the third-person omniscient where I know that he saw me and knew that he felt both nervous and mindful of his actions trying not to draw attention to himself while trying to act normal.
When I turn around to find a table, I find him standing in front of me. We make eye contact. Then I wake up.
When I woke up I felt like I had a nightmare because he is the last person I’d want to dream about. I felt perplexed by the dream. The woman I was when I was with him is no longer within me. I have grown so much and exert the strength that I always carried yet buried with me. What sticks out in my mind is how I saw him in my dream.
I saw him for the first time, in a way I never fully saw him when we dated. He was (and maybe still is) the boy who was very hurt, not by me, but by his past. He wasn’t vibrant, he was vulnerable which I saw through his mask. In the dream and when I woke I felt compassion for him.
Waking up to compassion has changed how I walk through life. That dream showed me how I’ve grown and healed. I feel more love and compassion for the people I encounter both friends and strangers alike.
Bring some compassion into your life today. You may need compassion or someone in your life may need your compassion.
Love – Stephanie XO