Thursday, 9 April 2015

The End Of The Road

So, earlier this year I outed my deepest and most personal "secret" in a blog called Defining Moments. It was about the fact that I had survived a horrific car crash that took the life of my friend Dawn and left my then-boyfriend Steve in a coma for a while.

For those of you who have read the story, there are a few questions that haven't yet been answered. Hopefully this blog will serve up the final words on that night and fill you in on the missing pieces that I haven't yet shared.

I'll start with the verdict.

The accident happened on 8 December 1989. It was a Friday night and as you already know, we had a head-on collision with a truck. There were four of us involved. My friend Dawn who died at the scene, my boyfriend Steve (who was driving) who suffered head injuries and was in a coma for a couple of months, and then there was the driver of the truck, and me.

As neither Dawn nor Steve could testify, and because there was a question as to whether Steve or the truck driver was potentially at fault, I was the only witness.

From memory, the inquest happened around April 1990, about 5 months after the crash.

I had already walked away from my relationship with Steve, had come out the other side of a nervous breakdown and was surviving as best I could. My dad and my friend Carol came with me to the courthouse.

As you can imagine, Steve's family would have been desperately troubled over this verdict as it could potentially throw their son under the spotlight and as far as they knew, maybe he was at fault. And what would that mean?

I was no longer in contact with them and you can read all about why in my blog Broken But Not Forever. Suffice to say, I wasn't exactly over the moon when I saw his dad and one of his uncles sitting outside the courtroom when I got there.

In fact, I wish the ground could have swallowed me up because it became another chance for his family to use me as a scapegoat and take a stab at me with their projected pain.

As I sat waiting to be called, Steve's dad came over to me.

"Why did you say you were travelling at 40 miles an hour?"

He had been given a copy of my statement (that had been taken a couple of days after the crash), and he was far from pleased with what I had said. Even though it was the truth.

I honestly don't remember what I said in response but I do remember feeling mentally bashed (once again), and totally appalled at his lack of respect, lack of compassion and basic lack of human spirit as he venomously spat his thinly-veiled accusation at me.

Like it was my fault his son was in a coma and that my friend was dead?

I don't think I need to tell you, his spiteful words didn't exactly help me feel better about an already stressful situation.

Thankfully it wasn't long before our case was up and I was called to the witness stand. Declaring my oath to tell the truth and nothing but, the judge proceeded to ask me a bunch of questions which I answered as authentically as I could remember.

The verdict was given almost instantly: Accident.

That's right. Neither Steve nor the truck driver were held accountable. The verdict was that the accident was exactly that: an accident.

As for Steve's health? I don't know the answer to that. I have never heard from him since. Bar one phone call a week after I left him there has been no contact. I heard that he suffers from epilepsy and walks with a slight limp, but that's hearsay and not something I can verify.

I did write him a letter about 4 years ago. I found an address for someone with the same name as him at an address that was in the vicinity of where we lived at the time. I never got a reply. But when you think about it, it took me 22 years to write that letter, so it could take 22 years for him to respond. If it even ever reached him. Which I guess I'll never know.

The final question that I may have left unanswered is about whether I've ever actually been in love since I walked away from my first love. I wrote in Life Sentence that I hadn't ever loved a man as wholly and completely as I loved Steve, and that's at least partially true.

However, just for the record, and to clear up any misunderstanding (especially for my exes…!), I should make it clear that yes, of course I have been in love since then. The point I was making is that I had come to realise that part of me had stayed locked in that situation. Until I saw it more clearly, which is why I wrote about it.

It's not that I've never loved anyone since then, but I had a definite sense that some part of me had been holding myself accountable for walking away, and I hadn't recognised it until last year when it was the 25th anniversary of the crash.

My writing about the Life Sentence wasn't so much to say that I have been a stone cold ice queen for 25 years, it was merely that I had come to a new level of understanding of who I am in relationships and that maybe, part of me had been holding back because the first time I'd fallen in love it all ended terribly. And that maybe a part of me had held on to that because I was scared to love at that deep level incase I ended up feeling as hurt as I had back then.

So, in order to set the record straight, I should acknowledge that I have been in love many times.

There was the sensitive musician who I had a 2-year relationship with when I was 21. I definitely loved him because I was distraught when he called it off. Then there was the DJ who stole my heart and who I reconnected with 15 years after our first fling. Still love him. And of course, my longest relationship – 9 years with the kooky creative who was a brilliant athlete and all-round funny guy. That was a love that had its own recipe and came to a natural end.

They're the ones I call my most important loves, but to be honest, I fall in love on some level all the time.

So my Life Sentence wasn't about never having loved since then, it was about having baggage that I hadn't fully let go of. Which as far as I can see, means not fully allowing myself to love in the way I did when I was 16 when life seemed so bright and full of promise.

Lucky for me, that baggage has been put down and I am now in a far more available position than I can ever remember.

Maybe this is where all of us arrive at some point? I don't know. But what I do know is that I feel different. More free and ready to dive in to new things without holding on to the unconscious belief that I still owe my ex for leaving him.

So there it is. The conclusion to my 25 years of unconscious "suffering".

Having been through such an awful experience as being involved in a fatal car accident it's worth saying that I believe the worst things that happen are truly our greatest gifts.

Losing people we love and being forced to get up and dust ourselves off when all we want to do is crumble and fall is one of life's most humbling yet empowering opportunities. And I'm glad I went through all of it. Because now I get to look back on past events and see how far I've come.

I can look through the window of the past and notice how strong those painful moments have made me. They provided me with a choice to grow and become a better person. And they have certainly made me more compassionate.

I hope you've enjoyed travelling that road with me as I relived the pain and unearthed those memories that, until writing this blog, had been stored in my cells, waiting to be set free.

Because now, I'm well and truly back on the road and loving every minute.

And I hope you are too.

Choose love xx

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Save Me!

This morning I happened upon a video by Robert Ohotto – a US based astrologer who sits alongside the likes of Michael Beckwith and Carolyn Myss (two top spiritual authors/speakers).

Robert talked about how he looks at astrology as a symbolic representation of what's going on within us.

I've always leaned towards astrology as a tool to help me figure myself (and other people) out or to get some more information about what's going on in the world, so what he said resonated with me.

But whether you see astrology as science or BS, is neither here nor there, because regardless of where you find your prompts, what Robert said this morning has got me thinking.

Today is a full moon eclipse, which, from what I can gather is called a Blood Moon. This means that the Earth is moving in front of the moon creating a shadow that will eventually cause the moon to appear red (due to refracted light coupled with particles from the Earth… but enough of the science, it's not my strong point…)

Blah blah on a bit longer and what Robert said lit a lightbulb for me. He said, this particular full moon eclipse is in Libra which represents our relationships, specifically our shadow side in relationships (i.e the shit bits that we consistently cock up and can't figure out why).

And heck, I dunno about you but I have a ream of f*cked up shit that I do in relationships that scans from not speaking my mind in the moment and saving it till I'm truly pissed off – when I lose my shit and attack my partner's character as opposed to their behaviour, through to simply being awkward around guys I like when all I want to do is skip up to them, give them a smile and tell them how amazing I think they are.

As Robert Ohotto pointed out, each of us has themes that come up time and again that are not necessarily a problem unless they're in this shadow realm (the bits that don't make sense, even to us). He suggested thinking about our patterns and then choosing to do something completely opposite.

What he was talking about is based on our archetypes (Carolyn Myss is the queen of archetypes so if you want to know more, read her book Sacred Contracts).

To make it easy, I'll give you an example; I'll tell you what mine are. Firstly, I'm a rescuer. I want to save people from themselves. That's why I became a bodywork therapist and ran a healing practice for a few years. And it's why I'm moving into the space of becoming a Life Coach. I have an inner need to help people. Helping is the "shiny" side of that characteristic, but the shadow is wanting to save people who neither need to be saved nor want to be.

And trust me, I do both. If I see a man looking forlorn or better still, if I date a guy with those cute-as-hell puppy dog eyes that scream "Save me", you can bet I'll be scooping them into my healing hands and giving them the time of their lives so that they can feel whole and complete again.

Just like me.

Umm, yeah, maybe not so much, right?

Psychologists will argue about where and how these archetypes are formed, and I'm not going to go into it because 1) It's not my area of expertise and 2) You can look that up separately. However, there is most certainly a link between the role we saw for ourselves as children, and any "wounded child" behaviours that have stuck around into adulthood. But without going into where mine came from, I'll simply move on to stage 2…

Which is: flipping the shadow behaviour into something more useful.

For me, now that I can identify that I fly into rescue mode, Robert Ohotto suggests I flip that shadow trait on its head and, after first recognising that "I am enough", choose who I want to be instead of falling straight into that old shadow pattern. Just like the way the moon flips from moving into shadow, becoming a full blood moon and then perambulating through the reverse shadow until it's full again.

When I looked at my need to "save men" I reframed it to mean asking for help from men.


You might laugh, but when I wrote that down this morning I actually let out an involuntary gasp! Yup, no lie, I gasped in SHOCK at the very thought that I might ask a man/men to help ME.

[Collapse into pseudo-faint]

Tells you something, doesn't it.

So. Asking for help from men it shall be. [Breaks into cold sweat…]

The fact I had such a strong reaction to this is certainly testament that it is a valuable lesson for me. And never one to turn away from a challenge (particularly one that I've set for myself), I shall endeavour to move into this space – pronto.

In fact, I have two perfect opportunities to do this very thing today.

1) I'm going on a first date this arvo with someone who knows very little/nothing about me, and 2) I've recently made friends with a guy who, until I watched Robert's video this morning, I didn't realise had (at least partially) been on my "rescue radar". So I think I'm gonna ask him to help me with this.

If you feel like playing with the energies of the moon, or if you just like to stretch yourself and work on becoming a better version of you, I invite you to consider what your relationship shadow(s) might be?

And if you feel like you need to rescue anyone, then try me! I'll be the one in the corner looking forlorn and helpless, and trying not to save all those poor, puppy dog-eyed males from making the terrible mistake of trying to help me.

Or will I?

Let me know how you go!

h x

And PS, if you're still waiting for me to answer some of the Qs from my previous blogs about the car accident – stay tuned. I'll be writing the conclusion this Easter weekend. h xx