Slideshow image

I’ve written in the past about how seemingly opposite things can be true at the same time. I wrote about times when I recognized my growth and healing along with my past and remaining pain. I gave an example of how during COVID lockdown, I felt both lonely from the isolation and relieved to have a slower pace of life.

Over the last year, I really wrestled to reconcile the feelings and opposites I experienced through a difficult situation. I haven’t been able to communicate with a couple who previously welcomed me into their home for tea, chats, and even to stay the night when I was struggling to keep myself safe because of suicidal thoughts. Their family has been going through a hard time, and they’ve needed space to focus on their family.

I understood their need for space, the importance of protecting and caring for their family, that they stepped away from other commitments too, and that they were struggling.

And it was so hard. I felt abandoned. I wondered if their need for space was personal, if my actions caused them too much stress to deal with me anymore. I ran away from their home last year when I was in a suicidal crisis. I ran down the street for a while but then stopped. They called an ambulance and waited with me until it came, one of them holding me tight as we sat on the sidewalk. The ambulance took me to the hospital, and that’s when I was admitted to the psych ward for three weeks. I felt like my worst fear had come true – that if someone saw all of me, if they saw the darkest, worst parts of me, it would be too much to handle, and they’d pull away. I felt confused and frustrated not being able to talk to them to get a sense of where the truth lay, not being able to ask if I’d be able to talk to them again at some point in the future.

A few weeks ago, I carefully crafted an email to ask for some clarity around the boundaries they set. It was a relief to ask some questions and better understand the situation. Before that, I struggled to balance my two different reactions, my rational understanding and empathy with my hurt and fear. It is not always easy to understand, accept, or integrate seemingly contradictory thoughts or feelings.

There’s another way I’ve encountered the coexistence of opposites recently. Even though I’ve been learning to recognize and hold opposites for three years now, it was still striking to me just how hard and how wonderful the first five months of 2023 were for me.

I felt stressed and overwhelmed often until things lightened up a couple weeks ago. I had to adjust to working in the office every day again. I navigated through a housemate transition. I did a bedroom renovation that took a lot of time and energy. Five things in my house broke in two days. I dealt with an ankle injury. I had some extra commitments, such preparing tax receipts for my church. I participated in a therapy program with meetings twice a week and homework. I had a lot of different things going on. It was difficult.

At the same time, this year has been great so far! As of the beginning of June, I’ve been dating for seven and half months, and it’s so exciting! My boyfriend and I are great partners for each other, and our relationship is developing wonderfully. I had a meaningful, lovely, and relaxing week with my grandma at her winter home in Texas. I have a good connection with my housemates, who are a woman and her nine-year-old daughter. It’s been good for me and so fun to play, do crafts, and bake with the daughter. I managed several stressors well. I’m proud of that, and that’s a good sign for my health. The hard work I put into my therapy program was worth it; the program was very helpful!

We as people are complex, and our lives and experiences are complex. I understood that couple’s boundaries, and I felt hurt by them. The first five months of this year were taxing for me, and they were encouraging. Situations or feelings that seem contradictory can coexist. I find a sense of relief in that. Opposites don’t have to conflict with each other; I can validate and hold them together.



Kyle 4 months ago

Good to have an update on here from you! Thanks for writting again.

Cindy 4 months ago

The wisdom and insight you have gained about yourself and the world in the last few years is quite astounding. You can certainly be proud of yourself and hold your head high, even when you feel like the darkest and worst parts of yourself are overshadowing the good. There is still, and always will be, goodness in you, in life. Maybe that is part of this concept of opposites being able to co-exist and both being true. I have been intrigued by this concept since you first introduced it.

Your growth and healing, and the vulnerable sharing of your story and journey, has allowed me to learn and stretch and grow both with you and on my own. Thank you.

Comments for this post are now off.