This weeks theme for Jen’s Spin Cycle is called Surviving the battle, winning the war. Since I wrote a post recently on the topic of change and that post talked about many of the things I have been through in my life, I won’t rehash all the things I have survived. There are things that I survived, that I don’t talk about here and very rarely in my real life. There are things…secrets, that I have never shared with anyone. I am a survivor. Or at least I was a survivor…of drugs, abuse, sickness, divorce, death and loss.
I have said it here before that it’s a miracle that I am still alive…that I have survived through some tough shit sandwiches that really should have killed me. Some of these shit sandwiches were of my own making. Some were not. Surviving changes a person…changes our perspectives. After those moments of survival…after we get safely to the other side, after we breath in that sigh of relief, and it’s time to start living again, because life always goes on regardless of what shit sandwich you are trying to digest…whatever circumstances brought us here…we have choices of whether these things we survived are going to break us or make us.
Living in survival mode can be a way of life because there is safety in living this way or at least we think so. In survival mode we are fighting for our lives, so we are on constant red alert for the next attack. Fight or flight. For some of us, it is how we grew up and what we learned…it’s all we know how to do and be. Surviving can be a habit because we have done it for so long. Stepping out of survival mode and into living is a big step…a risky step and a step that many will never know how to do. It can be like stepping out into an unknown abyss. Laying down our swords or weapons is necessary if we want to call a truce.
After we survive, we have a choice in how we will respond to life’s adversities…to those shit sandwiches. We can eat them with a smile on our face, pretend they are not what they are and that they have no affect on us. When really the stench they leave in us can be smelled from across the room. Because these things, are just like food that goes undigested or does not get put away properly, it spoils and leaves a smell and can make us sick. Everyone can smell us, but us. They leave their mark and everyone can see it but us.
The bitterness, the anger, the hurt, the hate, the shame, the blame, the unforgiveness…all those things that remain unresolved can cause us to act just as stinky as we feel inside. The rotten stench of things left out, and not dealt with leave us with thinking, actions and words that are stinky…and it‘s with this filter that we view life and those around us. Broken.
Or we can spit them out and not accept them. We can call these shit sandwiches for what they are…shit. We choose to do something about them. We take a good look and don’t pretend they are something they are not. We cry. We grieve. We even forgive. We even see the good parts of the sandwich…because every shit sandwich has layers and some of those layers are good…and we take the good out of them and keep them like a priceless gift. And when we are done, what remains of the shit sandwiches get flushed down the toilet, where they belong. We let them go. We don’t forget, but we don’t carry their stink with us. We don’t allow the stink that they caused yesterday to stink up today.
It’s a choice. We stop feeling sorry for ourselves and start feeling thankful for ourselves. And sometimes, if were lucky we are even thankful for the shit sandwich. It’s in these moments of choosing to spit out and not accept, that we go from survival mode to living. The filter through which we see ourselves and the world, is not seen through a shit sandwich.
I made the choice to spit. I made the choice to stop living life in survivor mode and just started to live life. Life is beautiful when your living outside of the box. Yes, part of me will always have a survivor in me. These things that I learned from surviving will always be with me. These shit sandwiches do not define me, but they did help make me who I am today.
In a sense these shit sandwiches are a gift. They are my gift. They are my gift that I share openly and willingly with others. I made the choice for these things I survived, to make me better instead of breaking me. In the end, it’s these things, that made me want to go from living as a survivor, to living life out loud.
How do you live?
This was my spin on survival. For more spins on survival go check out Sprites Keeper.