I Trust You: An Apology Letter to My Heart.
Oh, my dear sweet, all-encompassing heart, I am so very sorry. I have kept you locked away, hidden from the sunshine. I caged you and starved you like an abused animal.
Feeding you only enough to allow you to keep beating inside my chest, but never enough for you to unleash your magnificent power.
It wasn’t always this way. You and I once had a relationship that love stories are written about. I felt safe with you, and together we were amazed by the beauty of our surroundings. Lost in the woods, following a stream, walking down a dirt road, or gazing out at the winter stars with my nose pressed against the cool glass of the window pane. I could hear you whisper to me, I could feel your warmth radiate through me.
I was comfortable in my solace with you.
I never quite fit in with the rest of the world, but I knew how to play the part. Engaging others just enough to feel included with the crowd, but it was only with you that I felt truly relaxed in my skin. I always knew there was something more in me, something bigger and connected to the rest of the world on a different level as long as I channeled my energy through you.
You always felt larger than life, and I wondered how you could fit within the confines of my small body.
I was just a child though, and you made me feel so much I didn’t know how to handle it. Through you I could not only feel the light, but I could sense the darkness seeping into my family tribe. You asked me to challenge the darkness, and I did as you requested. I called out the gloom that had crept into my parents’ hearts and threatened the loving home I knew.
But you didn’t tell me that everything had to break for the darkness to go away. You didn’t tell me how painful it would be, I was just a child following your request.
My tragedy may seem like nothing compared to those who have suffered through violence and abuse or disease and death, but it is my tragedy nonetheless. It changed my perspective on life and how I engaged in the world around me, and for that reason it became a pivotal before and after moment. The life I had before and the life I would embark on after.
We had a quiet, peaceful, simple childhood. A Maine way of life in a big old farmhouse surrounded by forests and fields, walking distance to the perfect swimming spot, and endless outdoor activities. A loving and nurturing mother, and dedicated and do-it-yourself man’s man of a father, and two older sisters who went back and forth between being playful sisters and extra mothers to me.
We didn’t have a lot of money, and I was unaware of the material world outside my comfortable home, but it was fine, we had everything we needed. We were happy. Ours was the home friends gravitated to. Where the door was always open and some homemade delicious meal to feed an army was baking in the oven. It was a place in which it was impossible not to feel a heart full of love and peace.
This is what I wanted, all I needed. And then it wasn’t. There was a shift in the air of our home, in the energy of the house and the energy of my parents. Maybe it had always been there. Maybe it truly shifted as their children grew and they were left to look at each other as the strangers that they had become. Whatever the cause, whenever the last straw broke, I could feel it. You made me feel it.
To this day I don’t recall any fights, arguments or abuse of any kind. I never saw anything physical break. But it was a tightening in my chest, a weight that fell squarely on you, right through the heart of me. The gut-wrenching pull when you go up and down on a roller coaster, completely tuned in to the anxiety of the next drop. I don’t know what it was or why you made me feel this way.
It shook me to my core, and you told me to do something about it.
At 15, I called a family meeting. I went to the kitchen and grabbed a wooden spoon from my mother’s utensil drawer, walked back to the family room where my sister, mother and father patiently waited for me. I am sure they had no idea what was transpiring, and probably guessed it was about to be the latest drama of a 15-year-old emotional girl.
Instead, I indicated that the only person allowed to speak was the one holding the wooden spoon, which I had a death grip on. I announced that the household wasn’t working, and that they needed to figure it out or get a divorce. I may have added some embellishments at the time, but I honestly can’t remember them. Even now I feel like it wasn’t me speaking, but rather a voice resonating deep in you.
I just know that with that final statement, I told my sister that we were going to the movies (I was too young to drive). I stood up, walked out of the family room with my sister following behind me. I put the spoon back in the drawer, and we left the house. Just like that. About a week later, my mom moved out. My perfect little peaceful life was now over, and I’m the one who called it out.
But what’s worse is that I don’t know why I was just listening to you.
So my world broke. Shattered into a million tiny pieces that couldn’t be glued back together. Because of me, because of you. I thought I had felt darkness before, but this was different — it permeated my very core. It broke me into a thousand little pieces. But you see, I’m a fighter. I’m a survivor. So I worked my way back into one mismatched, jagged self.
I was no longer the beauty I once was, but rather a conglomerate of shattered potential of what I once had been. Your power scared me, it was all too much.
So I captured you. I trapped you deep inside my chest and I told you that from now on I am in control. I could not allow you to speak for me, to empower me, to make me feel and sense things that I didn’t even know existed. The brightness of the world slowly faded. The colors weren’t gone, just muted, almost like looking at the sparkling of the ocean through dark sunglasses.
You can see the magnificence, but it isn’t bright enough to burn your eyes.
Safety, security, control, home — that became my new mission. I operated with the sole focus that I would create a new tribal world that would not be broken because I wouldn’t let you in. Oh, you tried to warn me a thousand times over.
A quiet whisper, “What are you doing?” An event or circumstance that would give me pause for a brief moment to ask, “How did I get here? This is wrong.” And the loneliness even amongst my new family, my new home, the new world I’ve built around me, would tug at my inner strings, saying “Where did you go?” For the longest time, my response to you would be, “I don’t know, and I don’t care. I’m safe here, let me be.”
But I underestimated you. I can’t confine you any more than I can control the daily dance between the sun and the moon. You are my very essence of being. You are my internal smile and power, and in attempting to lock you away I have been handicapping my very ability to flourish in this world.
As I ignored your soft whispers, you started chipping away from the inside. Subtle reminders year over year that by controlling my life I have limited my potential for true unending love, self-love.
Now, here I am, living the life I had planned to the T, and you are breaking free from my captivity. Over the past several months, you have brought me to my knees, tears streaming down my face with the realization that I can no longer starve you from the light of the world.
My new world was built out of fear, and you are forcing your way through to show me that peace and love should always outweigh the darkness of fear and anxiety.
From the Earth Angel you called for me, to the health issues you’ve given me, the countless books and audios that have hit a nerve to the point that they have debilitated my every thought and movement. But it is also in the countless sunsets and sunrises I have seen, the signs and signals, like a bird flying by or the dragonflies you sent to swirl, that have reminded me I’m safe and to just let go. Now is the time.
The bright colors of the world have started to return, and I can feel them piercing my soul.
You are calling me home. It is no longer a whisper, more of a command. “You can no longer live denying yourself the love and light that you deserve.” I hear you, and this time I won’t tell you to leave me alone.
My forgiveness to you, to myself, will not happen overnight. For you see, I’ve built a life based on fear but it is a beautiful life with some beautiful people who have graced me with their presence. I know for me to listen to you, I am going to hurt some of them. Maybe all of them. They have fallen in love with the lie of the person I told them I was.
And in order to be the person I need to be, I am going to have to shatter all over again, and they might too. Before we can be put back together, not just as a messy conglomeration, but rather a beautiful mosaic of the lessons we have learned thus far, we have to be in pieces.
The journey I am about to go on is a solo journey, and is not meant to be taken with the masks of all of the roles I have so artfully mastered or in the shadow of protection from another. The time has come to bare my naked soul to smile internally from you, to embrace all that I am.
So, my relentless heart, I am so sorry for hiding you away and ignoring your presence for all of those years. I thank you for your unending courage and support to stand by me while I tore you down and hid you from the world and myself. Thank you for ever so slowly guiding me to the awakening that you are my light source.
I will no longer blame you for my pain and suffering that I have gone through, and any that is yet to come, as I close my eyes, let go and trust that you will lead me to where I belong.
Sarah Mangiarelli is a mom of two beautiful babies. While her career is in accounting, her passion is in writing from the soul and being out in nature. She is on the precipice of a new journey in her life, and hopes that the words she writes through her struggles and triumphs may bring some peace to others who are brave enough to begin their own new adventures.